The Local crafts a serious twist on fish and chips

June 27, 2011

I had driven down to Coral Gables to meet some friends after work last week and got there a bit earlier than anticipated. I decided to park, walk around and kill some time. While doing so, I stumbled upon a chalkboard on the sidewalk that read, "Happy Hour 1/2 off all drinks." Being that I had just survived a horrible day at work, this peaked my attention heavily and I decided to go in. The restaurant was relatively small and only had a few patrons inside, I decided to sit at the bar and grab a drink. The place has the look and feel of a modern and inviting pub, not what we're really used to here in good ol' Miami.

They had an impressive beer selection and I decided to go with the Dogfish Head 90 Min IPA (India Pale Ale). The bartender was very friendly and suggested I try their Avery Breweries Maharaja Imperial Double IPA; he even gave me a sample of a couple different beers to try before settling on my beer. I ended up going with his original suggestion and having a glass of Maharaja Imperial. The bartender was really helpful and definitely knew his beer. The Maharaja Imperial is definitely not your typical Corona Light, it has a very strong pine and citrus aroma and taste with a dark amber color. Definitely what I needed after my long day. 

Even though I was meeting some friends, I decided to take a gander at their food menu. They had an interesting selection of snacks and entrees. Since I was killing time I decided to get a small snack and decided to go with the Salt Cod Chicharrones. I genuinely didn't know what to expect, but I felt adventurous and decided to take a chance. When the chicharrones finally came out, what I got looked like a bowl of funky chips. I took a bite out of one of the chips and sure enough... I got a burst of salt cod flavor in my mouth. How they had transformed salt cod (or as my Cuban counterparts know it, bacalao) to what had the feel, look and texture of a chip was beyond me. The salt cod also came with fresh malanga chips and a parsley aioli that cut the saltiness of the cod wonderfully. I inhaled my chips and debated on a second beer. When the bartender came and asked how it was all I could say was, "Great!" The staff was very knowledgeable about how the food is made and how they try to buy from local farms. They were even nice enough to answer my questions about how in the world they made the chips and without giving me too many secrets, he stated the chicharrones are a 3 day process that is all done in-house.

While I was there, I was also lucky enough to overhear chef Cabrera mention that he is looking to start offering Brunch in the near future and is on the hunt for a pastry chef. If their brunch is as creative as their dinner time offerings, I plan to definitely check it out. Next time it won’t be a mistaken find.

Restaurant Details:
The Local-Craft Food & Drink
150 Giralda Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134

The Local - Craft Food & Drink on Urbanspoon

:CLOSED: Sweet Point Breakfast

June 26, 2011

It was a lazy Sunday when my best friend and I decided to head out for some breakfast. He was in one of his moods and didn’t want to drive to the beach, or to Kendall, or to Aventura or to anywhere for that matter. We drove around aimlessly and found our way into Midtown, my best friend shot down every suggestion I threw at him. Until finally, I convinced him to just park and we’d walk around and find something, we ended up at Sweet Point Bakery and Café. A small café located across from the Hurricane Grill and Wings in the new Midtown a building that has an inviting feel that drew us in. The décor inside the place is simple, with phrases painted on the walls, cheesecakes and desserts behind a glass display and smiling faces greeting you. They have indoor and outdoor seating available; it was a nice day so we sat outside. Their menu was simple, direct and to the point as you can see here:

I went with the Little Donkey (scrambled eggs, chorizo, potatoes, tomatoes and onions wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla), short stack of pancakes and a cup of coffee. I should note that I added Havarti cheese to my would-be burrito, because a morning breakfast burrito requires cheese, end of story. After some wait, we received our drinks and I got my cup of coffee, which was nice and hot. The flavor was nothing extraordinary; it was a generic cup of coffee like any other. After some more waiting, my friend and I realized the food was taking quite a long while. There is nothing worse than a long wait time when you’re starving and you know your food is coming to you… eventually. We figured that maybe the kitchen was busy, but we quickly realized the restaurant wasn't even half full. There were only a handful of patrons dining at the restaurant, and although our waitress was very courteous and accommodating, this sista was hungry. Luckily, our food arrived minutes before I took off my earrings and things got ugly. 

As a saving grace, our food was indeed good. My Little Donkey was great, the chorizo and havarti tasted great together and the potatoes were really well seasoned but not enough to overpower the chorizo. It was a flavorful and filling way to start my lazy Sunday. I was very thankful for having added cheese to it; it really livened up the plate. 

My short stack of pancakes came with a side of Sweet Point's homemade maple syrup. How can maple syrup be homemade you ask? I asked the same question and the waitress said they infuse their maple syrup with strawberries and blueberries to give it a unique taste. These pancakes were great, they tasted fresh and completely different to any pancake I've ever had. They had a very light dusting of confectioner's sugar over the top that gave them an added hint of sweetness. The cake itself had a soft and fluffy interior, but the outside of the pancake actually had a tiny crispiness to it, I'd never had pancakes that were crisp on the outside. The edges of the pancakes also had a little more crisp to them. The maple syrup was also very good and flavorful. Initially, I didn't pick up any blueberry or strawberry flavor in the syrup, but none the less it did taste different in a positive way. I was left wanting more pancakes even though I was completely stuffed. 

This was a good find; the only downside was the overextended wait time for our food. Luckily, the food was good and somewhat made up for the delay. I left without trying any desserts which is what the place is mostly known for, so I'll try to make it back another day. Hopefully when there won't be any problems on the next visit.

Restaurant Details:
Sweet Point Bakery & Cafe
3252 NE 1st Ave Suite 108
Miami, FL 33137

Sweet Point Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Shake Shack can do no wrong.

June 24, 2011

Shake Shack was introduced to Miami one year ago; with it's low key appearance yet perfectly situated location in Lincoln Road Mall, this place is a force to be reckoned with. Originally from New York City, the growing Shake Shack franchise has made its way down the east coast to meet the eager fatasses of Miami (myself included). I go to Shake Shack fairly regularly since it first opened up and from the first bite I've been hooked, so naturally I had to blog about it.

Historically, I've always gotten the single shack burger which consists of one Black Angus beef patty, American cheese, shack sauce, lettuce, and tomato. On this last visit, I decided to up the ante and go for a double shack burger, which of course means double the meat (oh yea baby!). Their burgers are always cooked medium, unless otherwise specified. I ordered mine with no lettuce or tomato, just the good stuff. I stepped up to the challenge and made that burger my bitch; It was absolutely delicious. The meat is juicy and tender, the bun isn't sliced completely in two, so it doesn't fall apart on you or make a mess (which is ingenious if you ask me). The shack sauce on this little piece of heaven is just as important as the meat itself. The sauce is their take on Thousand Island dressing which consists of mayo, some ketchup, mustard, a few spices, and pickles (not relish) blended in.

Along with my amazing burger, I went ahead and ordered a side of cheese fries. The fries themselves are nothing impressive, they're Yukon Gold potatoes in a simple crinkle cut. What makes the fries stand out however, is Shake Shack's cheese sauce. This isn't your momma's can of cheez whiz, their sauce is made in-house and will have you licking the cardboard when you're done. It has a thick and creamy consistency that really sky rockets what would've been mediocre french fries.

You'd think by now I'd be ready for a hospital admission with a severe case of food coma, but no I haven't had dessert yet! I usually don't go for dessert because it truly is a lot of food, but since this time I went prepared to up the ante, I had to pony up and deal. I decided to build my own Concrete (think Dairy Queen Blizzard) and I went with vanilla frozen custard, chocolate truffle cookie dough and hot fudge. All I could say bite after bite was, "Wow!" The fudge was thick, rich and warm; the custard was thick and the chunks of cookie dough were chewy and distributed evenly throughout the whole concrete.

The restaurant itself has a loungy yet fast food appeal. You walk up to the register, order your food and are then handed a buzzer (similar to Elevation burger, BRG Burger Joint or DGB burger). Once your food is ready you simply just pick it up at the counter. This is definitely not a sit down restaurant with waiter service but it works well with the Lincoln Road crowd and feel. This place is not only kid friendly but dog friendly with their very own doggy menu items. If you haven't checked this restaurant out, you're missing out. If you haven't checked it out yet, stop by the next time you're shopping and people watching on Lincoln Road!

Restaurant Details:
Shake Shack
1111 Lincoln Rd.
Miami Beach, Fl.
(305) 434-7787

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Sushi with a Cuban Twist

June 23, 2011

I had been craving some good sushi for the better part of a month when one of my best friends recently recommended Sushi Joe. My girlfriends and I decided to all head over to Doral and try the place out. Sushi Joe is a small family run restaurant located in a shopping plaza off of Doral Blvd, the place itself is unassuming and quaint. Inside, amidst dim lighting and Asian decor is a welcoming staff. As me and my glutton girlfriends usually do, we decide to load up on a cornucopia of appetizers before our entrees.

First off, we dig into their Tuna Tataki which was beautifully done, lightly seared and practically melted in our mouths. We had nearly destroyed that plate before I had realized I hadn't snapped a picture of it, but was able to take a picture before it disappeared. It was served over a ginger soy sauce and sprinkled with very thinly sliced scallions that gave it a nice depth of flavor. Definitely a dish to try out.

Then we decided to inhale their Pork Gyoza. Gyoza as a whole, is a dish that is hard to do wrong; the dumplings themselves were alright and overall unimpressive. Unfortunately, the ponzu dipping sauce that accompanied them tasted just like regular soy sauce. This dish left us with a little to be desired, but we kept our gluttonous rampage going.

Onto our next dish, Sushi Joe's Age Tofu. This dish boiled down to two large blocks of deep fried Tofu over a ginger/soy sauce. It was very tasty, but almost impossible to eat with chopsticks. The tofu was placed inside a small soup bowl and it was difficult to manage with my poor chopstick skills. When I was able to score a piece into my mouth, it was great. The Tofu wasn't hard (think the consistency of a cheese such as mozzarella) and had a tiny panko crunch around the edges that soaked up the ginger/soy sauce. The flavor of the dish was great and the fact that it was difficult to eat just made us want to eat it more.

Once we waved our white flag on the Age Tofu, we moved along towards Sushi Joe's guava creamcheese tempura roll. My friends and I were all expecting a sweet cuban pastry in a roll, perhaps a dessert sushi roll and that's definitely not what we got. To our surprise, the roll was actually a savory and filling dish. The rice and the fact that the roll was fried actually took away from any over-powering guava sweetness we were expecting. This dish is a good and different vegetarian sushi option.

To be perfectly honest, by the time we were done eating all of these appetizers we were all completely stuffed. Did that stop any of us from ordering entrees? Absolutely NOT! We're fatasses from Miami, we don't know how to say 'No' to food. I'll go into detail about my entree only, since I didn't try the other girls' dishes. I went with their 'Blue Monster' roll which consists of salmon, crab, avocado, cream cheese rolled with eel and masago on top. The salmon and avocado were so fresh in this roll that they basically just melted in my mouth. This was also my first time trying eel in a roll (or anywhere else for that matter) and it was also really tasty and flavorful.

Although my body and stomach were completely full, I couldn't stop myself from eating the entire roll. It was delicious and I definitely plan to go back and try their Dorazuela roll (tempura sweet plantain and cream cheese) and their Cuban Roll (tempura shrimp, turkey ham, cream cheese with guava jelly). I love the fact that this restaurant is taking a stab at trying Cuban dishes and reinventing them into sushi. I think it's so creative and neat for them to try something like this in a community that isn't usually open to that kind of change with their food staples. Now if only this wonderful little hole in the wall could figure out a more eater-friendly way to serve the Age Tofu.

Restaurant Details:
Sushi Joe Japanese Restaurant
9557 NW 41 Street Doral FL 33178

Sushi Joe on Urbanspoon

Getting good and stuffed with Mr. Good Stuff!

June 18, 2011

Tuesday had once again rolled around and with that I made my way over to Johnson & Wales for BTTR. This week, I went determined and on a mission; I had to try Mr. Good Stuff's 'Green With Envy.' The Green with Envy dish is actually fried green plantains (AKA Tostones) stuffed with the filling of your choice. I decided to try Mr.Good Stuff's tostones with three different fillings, their Sweet Caroline (Carolina BBQ pulled pork with cheddar cheese and coleslaw), their Good as Pluck (Chicken Salad with bacon & avocado)and finally their Coconut Curry Pineapple Express (Coconut Curry Chicken with pineapple chunks).
I dug into the Good as Pluck toston first and wow. The salty plaintain taste went really well with the bacon bits, avocado and cilantro flavored chicken salad. It was a whole lot of savory flavor that just made me excited for the next one.
Next up, I decided to try the Sweet Caroline. This was actually the first time I had ever tried their pulled pork, so I was a bit nervous but I stuffed it into my face anyway. Their pulled pork was great, tender and just really tasty, the coleslaw was fresh and crisp and the cheddar cheese at the bottom of the toston was just an added treat on this awesome little concoction. The flavor of the plantain blended really well with the pork and cheese making me sad when I realized I had eaten the whole thing in three bites. 
Last but definitely not least is the Coconut Curry Pineapple Express. I actually love their Coconut Curry Pineapple Express in their luna's but was curious to see how the flavors played out in a salty toston. Unfortuantely, it didn't work as well as I hoped in my opinion. The flavor of the plantain took away from the subtle coconut and curry flavors in the chicken and sauce. None the less, I still inhaled it and told myself, "Next time I'll go with their 'Son of a Brisket.'"
I had actually been to Mr. Good Stuffs several times and had always stuck with their Lunas (Venezuelan arepas that are a lot like the ones my mom makes). This was my first time venturing away from their globally stuffed arepas and trying something new from their eclectic menu. Overall, I was not only pleased but impressed. Alfredo and his team are not only friendly and accommodating (ex: stuffing my arepas with just cheese, like my mom makes them) but they know exactly what they're doing. Next time, I plan on hitting up their Cheezy-My-Neezy dish (Deep fried cheese bites stuffed with Cheddar, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella & Provolone cheese & served with a spicy guava dipping sauce).!/mrgoodstuffs

Mr Good Stuff (Mobile Truck) on Urbanspoon

Hunk of Burnin' Woah! Bulldog's Burgers Round 2

June 15, 2011

So I've made it my own personal agenda to try every burger that Bulldog's Burgers has to offer. Since my Hot Mess burger left me wondering if the other burgers on the menu were just as good, I didn't waste any time in rushing back to try another. This time I decided to tackle the Hunk of Burnin Love burger. This certified black angus beef burger comes with crisp bacon, pepperjack cheese, caramelized banana jam (yea, I just typed BANANA jam and burger in the same sentence!) and spicy peanut butter on a toasted bun. That's a whole lot of flavor and I haven't even bit into the damn thing. When I finally got the burger it looked like this:
The beef itself was good, juicy but not overly greasy. The caramelized banana jam gave it a very funky and almost sweet flavor that went well with the spiciness of the peanut butter. The peanut butter itself was very thick and spicy, but in a way that wasn't overpowering or painful. The flavor of the peanut butter reminded me a lot of a spicy thai peanut dressing/sauce. The bacon unfortunately, was extremely dry and brittle, almost as if it had been sitting out for a while. I'm a huge fan of crispy bacon (or any kind of bacon, for that matter) but this bacon definitely didn't taste fresh. Which is a total shame, as it did the burger an injustice. Over all, the burger was very good, I really did enjoy the creative and adult pb and banana twist on a burger.

None the less, I plan on going back and trying my hand at the rest of the menu, perhaps their Morning Glory burger or their Heat burger.

Bulldog Burger on Urbanspoon

Not just sweets at Sweetness

June 14, 2011

By now, a lot of people know about Sweetness Bakeshop or their spin off food truck Sugar Rush. Within their first year of existence, Sweetness has gotten rave reviews for their cupcakes that come in dozens of creative flavors, cakes, ice creams and desserts. Sweetness has even become so popular that they even have developed their own 'perks' program, where you can earn free food and prizes with every dollar spent. Oddly enough, you never hear much about Sweetness' Savories Menu. Sweetness Bakeshop actually offers creative sandwiches, wraps, salads and daily lunch specials ranging from burgers to quiche depending on what day of the week it happens to be. They also have their own 'Build Your Own Sandwich' option.

I've been a fan of their Raspberry Brie sandwich for quite some time. This sandwich comes with black forest ham or oven roasted turkey (I prefer turkey), brie, raspberry compote, field greens on french bread. I've always been a big fan of sweet and savory mixed together and this particular sandwich does that nicely in a way that isn't too overpowering. The fact that I have ooey gooey brie cheese in my sandwich is also a big plus in my book!

This past weekend I went to Sweetness Bakeshop and decided to steer away from my usual Raspberry brie sandwich and try something new. I opted to try their Mangocado Chicken sandwich. This sandwich also plays on the sweet and savory side with seared chicken, avocado, tomato, field greens, cilantro, lime, & red onions topped with their own homemade mango spread. I also noticed that over their avocado they drizzled black pepper and olive oil, reminiscent of my mom's cuban avocado salad. I decided to add Havarti cheese to my sandwich, because lets face it... EVERYTHING is better with cheese. The sandwich was actually very tasty, the only downfall is I wish they would have used a tiny bit less olive oil drizzle, as it took away from the flavor of the mango spread. None the less, it was a really good sandwich and what felt like a healthy lunch. 
After my sandwich, I went ahead and helped my self to two mini cupcakes. It would've been damn near blasphemous to go to Sweetness and not have a cupcake. I ended having their Maple Bacon cupcake, yet another sweet and savory play. Which as the name sums up, it's a maple cupcake with bacon pieces, maple butter cream and sea salt. It's almost like breakfast in a cupcake. 
My second cupcake was their PASSIONately In Love, which consists of chocolate cake, filled with passion fruit curd and topped passion fruit buttercream. And as the girl behind the counter best put it, "Anything this place does with passion fruit, is just awesome." And the truth is, she's absolutely right. 

So the lesson learned is, there's a lot more to Sweetness Bakeshop than what meets the eye.The next time you pop in for a dozen of their awesome guayabera cupcakes, be sure to check out their Savories Menu for some tasty lunch!

Restaurant Details:
Sweetness Bakeshop
9549 SW 72nd Street
Miami, FL 33173
(305) 271-7791

Sweetness Bakeshop & Cafe' on Urbanspoon

Starbucks Who!?

June 13, 2011

With the rise and shine of of every Monday morning, I always require a big pick me up to get me going. Adderall would be nice, but I usually settle for a cup of coffee. For years, I've made my way to the Starbucks drive through where the baristas all know me by name. Today was different and I was left wanting so much more than my generic over commercialized mocha latte. 

Over the weekend, I was exploring Coral Gables and Miracle Mile and I stumbled upon Pasión Del Cielo. I had been there once before and had somehow forgotten how wonderful their coffee is. For every coffee drink offered in their establishment you can pick your own coffee beans from 11 different countries (all varying in flavor, body and aroma). I opted to try something cold, since the weather was so hot and humid, and picked a caramel frappe. The staff was friendly and the price for my frappe was actually cheaper than the comparable Starbucks caramel frappaccino. 
The flavor in this caramel frappe was out of this world and that's not a compliment I hand out easily or often. It's no surprise that Pasión Del Cielo was Miami New Times' Best Coffeehouse for 2010. The flavor in their frappe was robust and completely, refreshingly different to any frappaccino I have ever had in Starbucks. Even their whipped cream was thick, creamy and tasted home made. I drank every last sip of that frappe and was left wondering why in God's name this place hasn't expanded and opened up other locations. 

They also offer a handful of pastries and empanadas. I had their banana, rum and nutella empanada and I apologize for not having a picture to offer you. I devoured that bad boy too fast to realize I hadnt snapped a picture of it. The empanada was different from the savory empanadas we're all used to in south Florida and it had a wonderful flavor. In all honesty, you can NEVER go wrong when you mix bananas and nutella, throw in some rum and you've got heaven in an empanada. 
The coffee shop has a great and inviting feel. It's cozy atmosphere and helpful baristas made my experience that much better. The baristas were all very knowledgeable in the different coffee beans offered and were able to help me decide based on what I was looking for. If you're ever in the Gables, you have to be sure to stop by and check out their coffee or empanadas. So you can see for yourself what you've been missing out on by squandering your money at Starbucks every morning. 

Restaurant Details:

Pasión del Cielo

(305) 448-0007
100 Giralda Ave
Coral GablesFL 33134 

Pasion Del Cielo on Urbanspoon

One more burger joint... - CLOSED

June 12, 2011

BGR The Burger Joint is the newest burger restaurant to join the rapidly growing burger scene in Miami Dade. Opening up on June 4, 2011 to eager foodies, I was able to finally make my way over to the restaurant this weekend. It's nestled conveniently on Miracle Mile, which always gets great foot traffic at any time of day. I had actually heard of BGR on my recent trip to Washington DC, so I was actually pleasantly surprised to see they have stretched out their growing franchise into south Florida. This growing franchise has also garnered some attention from media heavy weights, being featured on Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay and their 9lb behemoth burger has been seen on Travel Channel's Man vs. Food. The chain has also gotten rave reviews from magazines such as GQ, ABCNEWS and BurgerBling. So there is definitely a lot of hype going into this restaurant and anxiety if it'll live up to all the hubbub.

The layout and set up of the restaurant is a simple fast food restaurant with 80's and 90's rock blasting through their stereo and record covers of Phil Collins and the like adorning the walls. You walk up to the counter and place your order and the food is then brought to your table. I decided to go with the Greek burger, which is actually the burger that beat Bobby Flay in the show 'T'hrowdown with Bobby Flay.'

I was skeptical but enthusiastic to try it. In all honestly, I'm not a big connoisseur of lamb and have only had it a handful of times (typically while eating a gyro). Which brings me to the Greek Burger, think gyro in a bun. It is ground lamb beautifully seasoned with cumin, mint and garlic. Topped with tzatziki sauce, a mountain of feta cheese, very thinly sliced fresh cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and red onions. I asked for my burger medium done and no lettuce, tomatoes and red onions. The bun was a freshly baked, soft brioche topped sesame seeds. The seasoning on the burger was amazing and the meat was tender and insanely flavorful. The tzatziki sauce was also fresh and and very creamy and played perfectly with the feta cheese and super fine cucumbers.  

The staff was also very attentive and friendly. They took the time to explain that their lamb is actually ground and seasoned right at the restaurant every morning and the buns are baked fresh everyday.

I opted to not get any fries because while I was paying for my burger at the register, there was a basket of monstrous sized chocolate chip cookies and brownies that were screaming my name. So instead of french fries, I went with a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie had enormous chunks of chocolate in every bite, which is just how I like them. It wasn't by any means the best cookie I've ever had, but a very good one none the less.

I definitely plan on going back to this restaurant to try a few menu items I missed on my first trip, such as their wellington burger and their variety of different fries. Their fries include yukon gold potatoes, sweet potato fries, onion rings and the most intriguing, asparagus fries. All of which can be topped with parmesan cheese, rosemary and roasted garlic for an additional price.

It's been over 24 hours and I'm still thinking about how good my greek burger was, that's a very good sign!

Restaurant Details:
BGR The Burger Joint 
232 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL  33134
Phone:             305-461-9989

BGR The Burger Joint on Urbanspoon

A tweet a tweet a sound so sweet!

June 11, 2011

Bulldogs, Burgers and Barbecue! Oh My!

Bulldog's barbecue, located in North Miami, has decided to expand its restaurant and open up a "bulldog's burgers" right next door. I had been to Howie Kleinberg's brain child restaurant a couple of times since it's inception in 2009 and was pleased with the restaurant. The new expansion is adorned with some of Howie's chef coats from prestigious events such as his Top Chef contestant coat, SOBE Food and Wine festival coat and all of his books garnish the top of the bar. Originally, the restaurant had a small home like feel, which was very nice and inviting. Upon arrival, waiters would welcome you with a warm hello and an even warmer basket of complimentary cornbread. However, since the onset of Bulldog's Burgers the restaurant has changed a bit and turned into an "A la Carte" affair and our warm cornbread can now be ordered as a side dish. Another thing that is no longer available to patrons on the table is salt, pepper, and their special barbeque seasoning blend. All three things must be requested for specifically from the waiter, which I personally thought was almost a bit ridiculous.

Onto the food, their burger menu is relatively short, but extensive none the less. It goes as follows: 

I ended up going with the Hot Mess, only because of two things: bacon candy and blue cheese. I asked for the horseradish mayo on the side and no mushrooms and dug in. This thing truly is a a beautiful mess. The meat alone was very flavorful and juicy and the caramelized onions were soft, buttery and slightly sweet. Contrarily, the crispy onions were perfectly crisp and had a certain spiciness to them which went perfectly with the blue cheese. I used the horseraddish mayo very sparingly, that stuff comes with an insane punch and should be used at consumers own risk! The piece de resistance in this burger is of course the bacon candy. Applewood bacon cured with brown sugar and then has brown sugar caramelized on top of the bacon. Just orgasmic all on its own.
I also ended up going for a side of their macaroni and cheese. Historically, their mac and cheese has always been great, thankfully, this time it was no different. Their cheese sauce was thick and creamy and did not disappoint. The macaroni was slightly overcooked, but not enough to take away from the flavor or integrity of the dish. I sprinkled over the mac and cheese some of Howie's special seasoning blend, to give it a tiny kick.
Even though the restaurant itself has gone through some tactical and practice differences, the food remains just as good. I plan to make another trip to this place to try their 'hunk of burnin love' burger. A burger with caramelized banana jam and peanut butter just sounds too interesting not to try. Hopefully it will be as tasty and interesting as the Hot Mess.

Restaurant Details: 
Bulldog Barbecue/Burgers
15400 Biscayne Blvd
North Miami, FL 33160

Bulldog Burger on Urbanspoon

:CLOSED: Tuesdays are always BTTR

June 7, 2011

So as part of my Tuesday ritual, I went over to Johnson and Wales University for their weekly food truck round up. This particular round up has been the most consistent and stable of all the round ups throughout the county since the food truck scene exploded within the last 7 months.Today I felt a bit peckish, but wasn't necessarily craving a big fat burger from Jefe's original or a marvelous grilled cheese from Ms. Cheezious. Instead I went for small bites from a few different trucks.

First off, I had a pork carnitas taco from Jefe's original, it was too good to take a picture of and I inhaled it seconds after getting it. But trust me when I tell you, it's great. The pork is braised juicy and tender, the salsa verde is refreshing and the tortilla is authentic and fresh. Definitely a must try.

Next up, I walked over to the CheeseMe Mobile for some Macaroni and Cheese Pancakes. This particular truck is on average very overpriced and the quality of their sandwiches is terrible when compared to Ms. Cheezious. Yea I said it. There are only two things they have that Ms Cheezious doesn't, the best tomato bisque soup I've ever had and truffled mac and cheese pancakes. If there is one thing I love more than mac and cheese, it's burnt cheese and this small but amazing dish offers both. Here's a picture of their mac and cheese pancakes before I inhaled them.

After that, I decided it was time for something sweet. So I paid a visit to Giselle over at Sugar Yummy Mama and I tried her new "Sticky Lips." They are oatmeal and caramel bars with the consistency of a lemon bar and dusted with powdered sugar. It wasn't too overly sugary or sweet and it wasn't over powering, which was great. It was different from the regular sweets you see at the food trucks. More importantly, it wasn’t a messy sloppy dessert; which is something you learn to appreciate when eating while walking at these food truck rallies.

When I was done with my Sticky Lips, I decided to try something off the new truck in town, Dog Eat Dog. I wasn't sure if I had enough in me to tackle a whole hot dog after so many small plates, so I decided to go with their sweet potato chips with marshmallow sauce. Their chips are made on the truck, but unfortunately they tasted and looked extremely overdone. The chips that didn't taste burnt had the texture of old tires, which was quite the disappointment. Their marshmallow sauce was very tasty, but alas with nothing to dip into it, it was worthless.

My last dish of my BTTR adventure was a second chance for the GastroPod. My first experience with them was the greasiest and what felt like the unhealthiest burger I've ever had. They had something on their menu that caught my attention, Colombian style arepas. According to the menu the arepa is topped with Cotija cheese (which has nothing to do with Colombia, it's Mexican cheese) and cole slaw (this and Colombia have nothing to do with each other, period). I decided to try it anyway and ordered it without any cole slaw. They didnt have any arepas ready so I had to wait for them to make the masa and make the arepa. It was nice to know they were making the arepas from scratch and not some ready-made arepa from the frozen food section. What I got was a thick arepa that had a tiny sprinkling of cotija cheese and a swirl of spicy mayo (yet another non Colombian addition). In my 27 years of eating arepas from my Colombian mother, I've never had a greasy arepa... until now. This thing was so greasy, that I couldn't eat it with my hands and had to break out the plastic fork and knife. Once you got past the initial shock of, "How the hell can these people make an arepa greasy!?" It actually wasn't bad. The spicy mayo and cotija cheese worked well with each other and gave it a funky, spicy kick. Although it made me disappointed and puzzled to know that not only are GastroPod's burgers greasy but so is everything else, even the things I didn't know could be greasy.

Til the next time!
Food Truck Details:
BTTR- 127th street and Biscayne Blvd every Tuesday from 5pm-10pm

CheeseMe Mobile-!/CheeseMeMobile
Sugar Yummy Mama-!/SugarYummyMama
Dog Eat Dog-!/dogeatdogtruck
GastroPod -!/gastroPodMiami