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  • Article

    American Pie

    Diners are a hybrid of two distinct American eating concepts, one born in luxury, the other in relative poverty. The former notion was realized in the late 1860s when the Union Pacific Railroad premiered the Delmonico, the first dining car to feature...

    by Lee Klein on December 10, 1998
  • Article

    Forbidden Planeta

    Up ahead we saw the revolving spotlights -- the kind that cast wasted energy into the night sky in honor of a nightclub opening or a movie premiere -- almost immediately after we turned left on Ponce de Leon Boulevard from Miracle Mile in Coral Gable...

    by Jen Karetnick on December 3, 1998
  • Article

    Bread Winner

    The strangest item I ate in the Peruvian Amazon river basin, where I once spent a week, was not the piranha we'd caught in a tributary off the main river and then deep fried. It was not the capybara, a tailless rodent that can grow to four feet in le...

    by Jen Karetnick on November 26, 1998
  • Article

    Borne to the Purple

    The Purple Dolphin. The phrase brings to mind (1) a psychedelic Sixties rock band that once opened for Moby Grape, or (2) a seedy seaside disco lounge, or (3) Dan Marino after a bevy of hard sacks. In fact, the words are reminiscent of almost anyt...

    by Lee Klein on November 19, 1998
  • Article

    Heat Resistant

    The costliest real estate is that which sits vacant, unleased, or unsold, generating no income for its owner. No one knows that fact of life better than the city of Miami, landlords of Firehouse Four restaurant. Government officials took four long ye...

    by Jen Karetnick on November 12, 1998
  • Article

    Mama Superior

    Heard this before? "It's the next South Beach!" How about "It's another SoBe!" At one time or another people have made such declarations to me about downtown Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. Even Savannah. Depending on the per...

    by Victoria Pesce Elliott on November 5, 1998
  • Article

    A Beef About a Steak House

    My recent panning of some of Miami's Hispanic eating establishments seems to have gotten folks wondering if I'm a bigot. After my negative reviews of the new (and dreadful) Malaga and the historic (and dreadful) Botin, the mail poured in. In a letter...

    by Jen Karetnick on October 29, 1998
  • Article

    Square Peg in an Oval Room

    Back in the non-foodie Fifties, when I was a pre-adolescent child in a lower-middle-class, aspiring-to-the-stars family, I ate a great deal of chow at resort hotels -- food that signified my clan's efforts at upward mobility. And I adored the stuff. ...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on October 22, 1998
  • Article

    Cool Jerk

    No doubt the name causes many people to do a double take: Sango Jamaican and Chinese Restaurant. Jamaican and Chinese? Does the place serve General Tso's jerk chicken? Natty Dread egg rolls? What gives? A little history goes a long way toward underst...

    by Lee Klein on October 15, 1998
  • Article

    Mediterranean Muddle

    A few years ago New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl postulated that because Italian restaurants are so common, new ones need an angle in order to attract customers. At the time she was reviewing yet another mediocre Manhattan caffe, this one...

    by Jen Karetnick on October 8, 1998
  • Article

    Eat Your Heart Out

    Just recently I was sipping a martini at the Deco Bar in the National Hotel during happy hour when a woman approached me, crossing over from the other side of the room to do so. "Is that your baby?" she asked. "Yes," I answered with a smile,...

    by Jen Karetnick on October 1, 1998
  • Article

    Thai Breaker

    I grew up in the kitchen. It started with miniature cakes in an Easy-Bake Oven, which cooked by the heat of a standard light bulb. Inspired by a talented mother, I soon moved on to the real stuff. Most days after school I tied an apron over my plaid ...

    by Victoria Pesce Elliott on September 24, 1998
  • Article

    To the Victor's Go the Spoils

    Something terrible has happened to Victor's Cafe. I feel sick to be so blunt about it, but not any more nauseated than I was during a recent dinner at the restaurant. Since it opened on SW 32nd Avenue eight years ago, I had always considered Vict...

    by Jen Karetnick on September 17, 1998
  • Article

    Going Global in the Gables

    I'm a little ticked off at Food & Wine. To celebrate the magazine's twentieth year of publication, writer Jonathan Hayes chose what he considers the world's top twenty food cities, including "culinary capitals" such as Paris, Rome, Bangkok, and Oaxac...

    by Jen Karetnick on September 10, 1998
  • Article

    Fast, Cheap, and Out of This World

    These days it seems as though nearly every woman I know under the age of 40 is pregnant or just had a baby. I've even been asked to be a godmother for the first time. So far, however, I have resisted the urge to have a child of my own. I figure if I ...

    by Victoria Pesce Elliott on September 3, 1998
  • Article

    Restaurant 101

    My husband has a problem with our relatives receiving medical treatment from residents (doctors in training). So when there's an injury in our family -- something that occurs more than you might think, given the fact that we're all avid athletes -- w...

    by Jen Karetnick on August 27, 1998
  • Article

    From Russia Without Guile

    I'm always sucked in by the aura of mystery that surrounds Miami's Russian restaurants, several of which have popped up in recent years. Perhaps the cuisine -- which seems exotic compared to the fare offered by the glut of Italian and Cuban-American ...

    by Jen Karetnick on August 20, 1998
  • Article

    When the Chips Are Down

    When a barbecue restaurant in Muskogee, Oklahoma, was recommended to writer Calvin Trillin, a true barbecue enthusiast, his first instinct was to ask whether it used plates. "Of course they have plates," he was told, at which point Trillin lost inter...

    by Lee Klein on August 20, 1998
  • Article

    Raw Deals

    Miami may be the kind of town where reader restaurant polls regularly cite hokey American-Asian suburban steak chain Benihana as Best Japanese Restaurant, but South Beach, at least, is on the cutting edge of the sushi knife. Between east-west outpost...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on August 13, 1998
  • Article

    High Seas, High Ticket

    The media's relentless monitoring of the fire aboard the Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy had smoke coming out of my ears. For one thing, the live press conferences informing the public that the cause of the fire was still unknown -- not exactly breaking...

    by Jen Karetnick on August 6, 1998
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