Eating action at Miami Beach

When talking about Miami food, one inevitably thinks about Cuban food, but I tend to try all kinds of food, so there will be an international flare in this post. During our stay in Miami, we primarily stayed in Miami Beach about one block away from the beach and here is what we think of the food scene in Miami Beach, the good, the bad and all else.

Non-Cuban food:

1. Mexican: Alma Mexciana, relatively cheap and good tacos, really enjoyed their pineapple horchata!

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2. Spanish: Tapas y Tintos, relatively low to medium price range, overall mediocre food

We had their stuffed calamari “Calamares rellenos” and “Plato del Marinero” as happy hour snacks. Both dishes were just ok, nothing great.

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3. French: A La Folie Cafe, relatively cheap, very good coffee, right off the busiest part of Espanola Way with great background music choice

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I had a really good crepe. But I have to admit that I am biased, because there was confit duck leg on top of the crepe that is wrapping inside a lot of sautéed mushrooms melted in cheese. Everything tastes better with duck leg and mushrooms. Lol.

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4. Breakfast: Aroma Espresso Bar, the lattes we had there were pretty good, seems like a nice place to chill for a lazy morning.

Cuban:
Havana 1957, the one on Espanola Way, medium price range, overall good food, great ambience

Husband had their “Havana 1957 Specialty”: A Family Traditional Roasted Chicken in Our Delicious Cuban Gravy
Served With White Rice, Black Beans, Salad and Sweet Plantains, which was very good. The chicken was tender, moist, well seasoned, quite flavorful. The dish came with a big salad as well.

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I had a pulled pork sandwich. The portion was very generous, which I could not finish even with some help from Husband. but the meat was a little dry and under seasoned. And under the giant sandwich, there buried a half-inch deep small fries, which I barely touched.

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Nights in Miami were warm and humid. So drinks were mandatory. We enjoyed our sangrias as well as cans of pineapple-flavored Jupina soda.

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Places we didn’t really like:
Usually, I tend not to talk about places I don’t like. But for places that receive overall positive or raving reviews on rating sites to be rather disappointing, I feel the need to point out the possibility that they might not be as good as they claim.

1. Doraku Sushi, medium to expensive price range, bad quality of food considering we are right by the beach (I would say ok if we were somewhere inland). There was too much mayo, chili sauce or jalapeño pieces being abusively put on sushi rolls that we could not quite taste the fish at all. Since the cold dish was disappointing, we ordered some yakisoba and fried rice and both were just OK at the best. The yakisoba was slathered with soy sauce and a bit too salty. And you know you sort of made a wrong restaurant choice when you see odd items such as fried rice on a Japanese menu and the fluffy intro to the chef/owner’s “zen/art” of food at the back of the menu. People all dressed up fancy trying to put out high class vibe and seemingly enjoying shitty food is something I really cannot tolerate and we got out as soon as we could. Heck, we were there during their happy hour to take advantage of the price break even.

2. Serendipity III, ok, I went in knowing it would be a tourist trap because of the movie and all that. I also went in knowing that other than their trademarked Frozen Hot Chocolate, there would be absolutely nothing else worth ordering. And thinking how hard it is to screw up with a drip coffee, we ordered a coffee along with the Froze Hot Chocolate. The coffee was absolute the worst either Husband or I have ever had in our lifetime, instant coffee would be 100x better, at least given enough sugar and stirring patience, you can eliminate the bitterness and the sandiness. And there comes the Frozen Hot Chocolate, basically cold hot chocolate with cream and chocolate shavings on top – I miss my $14 already. And yes, it was OUTRAGEOUSLY priced given by the terrible quality and the ultra-low difficulty to prepare the food!

3. Hiro’s Sushi Express, to be fair, the food was ok given the low price, especially if you order hot dishes. But the way they prepare the raw fish that goes into sushi dishes were unforgiveable – every freaking chunk of raw fish was pre sliced and sitting out with no wrappers over them to ensure the freshness intact or the more basic, HYGIENE (and I weep for the fish that died just to receive such mistreatments) – we didn’t look further for bad clues.

Alright, enough of the negativity.

Even though it already drove me insane just staying in this beach town for about 3 days doing nothing but to lay by the big body of water, it was relaxing to not worry about anything every once a while. We did enjoy staring at all the big b**bs (maybe fake, but who cares) and any other skin exposure that is considered sexy around the beach area, lol. Thanks for reading!

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One day Los Angeles food report

Due to a last minute glitch regarding the upcoming trip, I found myself booking the round-trip flights to Los Angeles to solve the travel issue and of course, I went through all the trouble to fly out here and I was desperately in need of some great food to comfort myself.

Here I am, eating some very-much-missed mum’s dishes in the LA suburbs with my Shanghainese friends from LA. Lol. The taste of home is called “Shanghailander Palace”. The decor is very old school, bringing back 30’s, 40’s feel of old Shanghai bund diner style. We got some seasonal vegetables, a Grandma drunken crab, dumpling soups made with grounded pork and Shepherd’s purse (a vegetable delicacy that peaks in taste for about a couple weeks in the spring every year) and and a big bowl of tantalizing red braised pork belly.

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Everything was beyond fabulous, especially the pork belly. The dark red silky color, the tenderness of the meat, and the perfectly cooked the fat layer juicing over the lean layer, the savory rich and slightly sweet flavor — that bowl of pork alone almost brought tears to my eyes — that IS what home tastes like to me! And on top of that, almost all the waiters and waitresses spoke Shanghainese with us which was such a great bonus.

The next morning before getting business done, we decided to drive to check out a Korean place located in Korean Town nearby. It is a mom’s style restaurant again, “Seongbukdong” — the name itself refers to a neighborhood in Seoul. I had vegetables and beef slices boiled in beef broth. It was a little too heavy for the morning, I had to admit, but it was really good. Got a lot of pickle dishes on the side as usual Korean style, lol.

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After getting the problem solved, I had a few hours to myself wandering around town, and the Farmer’s Market was conveniently located within walking distance — so, I had to check that out.

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There were a lot of quick bite places mixed with vegetables/fruit vendors and some meat/poultry butchers. There was a spice shop called “Dragunara Spice Bazaar” that caught my attention. It had quite the stock of spices/herbs, and I sampled some lava salt and some wood-smoked salt, both were great.

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Walking to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), I noticed an array of food trucks outside the museum. I was not hungry at the time so I did not get to sample the food, but nonetheless, it would be worth another trip to the food truck scene next time I land myself in LA. 🙂

I will post some food adventure in Miami that I recently got to experience soon as well as the Patagonia trip. Thanks for checking in!

A teaser on recent Patagonia trip/food

Hola!

So husband and I recently travelled to Patagonia to go on a hiking trip, mainly hiked in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, got quite some walking mileages in, and hung around in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales for an extra few days.  Of course, while traveling, it is a wonderful opportunity to explore local restaurants and establishments, which I obviously would not miss, lol.

Below is the view from Hotel Lago Grey looking at Paine Grande while sipping a very Chilean Pisco Sour.  😛

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Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on Southern Chilean food adventure!  Gracious!