In case you've been living under a rock the last few days, we want to spread the good news: Best of Miami 2013 is out.
That means that in newsstands all over Miami-Dade County, you have Miami Bibles to pick up. Think of them as the ultimate guide to eating your way through the city.
No need to share -- there's plenty for everyone.
But if you haven't picked up a copy yet, allow our guide to show you a great time with a Best of Miami edition.
It doesn't get better than this.
Lets face it: There's no party in your mouth unless you've got some chicharron going on in there. And the weekend is all about letting loose and having fun, right? Right. But we're not talking about the kind of fun that leaves you blacked out in some abandoned alley on Washington Avenue. Those questionable people lurking around? Yeah, that's not part of our plan. Back track a bit to the morning's breakfast. Did you head over to Palacio de Los Jugos? Did you [painfully] avoid the hot food counter and wander into the tiendita inside? Did you get a waft of the bacalao? Ay, hopefully they put it out already, and you weren't wafting yourself. Que pena. Anyway, did you take a tour through the juice menu ($2 each)? Pineapple, sapodilla, guarapo... what looked good? Did you sit down on the little banquitos and eat your chicharron ($9.99 per pound) like a 6 year-old happy camper at Disney? If you answered 'no' to any of these questions, you're doing a Miami breakfast wrong.
Oriental Grocery Store & Bakery
Breakfast was heavy -- but who could blame you? Time to lighten things up. On the west side of i95, in the blurred realm between Brickell and Coral Gables lies a spacious-yet-cluttered grocery store and bakery filled with treasures from Syria, Greece, and Armenia. Not the kind of treasures that could be cashed in for money -- we mean the edible kind. Wander through the aisle of pastel-colored Jordan almonds and ground spices and arrive at the hot food case. At Oriental Bakery & Grocery Co., there are a few tables in front of the coolers that hold spanakopita and other goodies. At the counter, you'll find dolma (beef wrapped in grape leaves), baba ghannouj, hummus, and a case of fresh falafel. The falafel sandwich ($4.50), made with tahini, cucumbers, tomato, is wrapped in house-made pita bread. It makes a fine lunch. A fine lunch indeed.
Miami is probably the un-French capital of the world. While other parts of the country boast their renowned French chops, the most we have is the occasional crème brûlée, which you could say is a fancy crema Catalan. Or, at least that would be true were it not for Frenchie's Diner in Coral Gables. You see, the French onion soup ($7) at Frenchie's, alone, makes a visit worth it. The croque-monsieur ($10) arrives with bubbling Gruyère from the kitchen. It takes the ham and cheese sandwich to a whole new level. The duck confit ($26) and filet Bearnaise ($25) are worth the steep price -- but who said anything about the place being cheap, anyway? The moderate prices cower in the face of Frenchie's fare. Bonne chance at walking away from the place dissatisfied.
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To be honest, we weren't quite sure the Heat would do so well last night. Not that we weren't hoping so, it's just we were already bracing for impact. Call us cautionary. Nevertheless, our boys made it and tied the series with the Spurs. There can only be one winner on Sunday, and whether it's the Heat or the Spurs, you can party like you're right in front of them. Haven Gastro-Lounge will have their wrap-around screens and surround sound on full blast come Sunday night. At halftime, watch a banana dance. Brickell's The Hoxton $200 bottles of Johnny Walker, Ketel One, and Moët Ice and that includes premium seating. So, almost court-side. Screen-side, if you will. LoKal Burgers and Beer in the Grove is offering up free Florida draft if you order the spicy Miami Heat burger during the game. Tongue & Cheek will have an extended happy hour during the game with $4 beers and $8 cocktails. Bleau Bar at the Fontainebleau will be serving Heat-themed cocktails for $17 a pop. And if you go to Timo's at the Villa Mayfair during the game, you can enjoy free draft beer for as long as the game lasts.
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.