Before Robert Is Here began peddling shakes from the roadside, the Pinecrest Wayside Market was there, since 1948, gaining fame as the "home of the famous strawberry milkshake." Down the street from Parrot Jungle and adjacent to Pinecrest Elementary School, the open-air Wayside is the place where many a kid has ridden his bike and gulped down frosty frappés. As young boys growing up in the neighborhood, Michael Costa and Jay Rodriguez were among the thirsty youngsters. This past year the thirtysomething friends bought the market; renovated it; upped the quality of the produce; added herbs, a line of jams, vinegars, and condiments, fresh bread from the Renaissance Bakery, and a myriad of goodies. Nevertheless the two knew that if you blend them right, they will come. Topnotch milkshakes were and continue to be their main draw. The divinely refreshing concoctions of creamy nonfat yogurt and puréed fresh fruit are still available in strawberry and a slew of other flavors: pineapple, banana, mango, orange, papaya, cantaloupe, pear, peach, raspberry. Chocolate is an option as well, as is mixing and matching. Because nothing this good should be contained in a small cup, the frothy drinks are offered in only two sizes: medium ($2.55) and large ($2.95). The market is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., so you can guzzle milkshakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Best Place To Cheaply Summon The Spirit Of Paul Gauguin

Curry's Restaurant

Is it the large mural depicting tan smiling girls (and a few men) wearing leis and grass skirts, swaying seductively and gathering food? Maybe it's the dozen or so hanging fixtures resembling upside-down baskets lushly strewn with a variety of wax fruit that Carmen Miranda could have used for headgear? Perhaps it's the light-wrapped palm tree twinkling in the middle of the room, or the turquoise walls bearing huge paintings of a happy couple rowing an outrigger and frolicking in the surf? Most likely, though, it's the complete dinners that drive us to take refuge in the ersatz Polynesian atmosphere of Curry's Restaurant (established in 1937) the way Gauguin fled chaotic civilization to the serene island of Tahiti. The bowl of crisp salad brought to your table with a choice of four dressings; the warm round of bread served on a cutting board with butter; the baked potato, French fries, or vegetables presented in a stainless steel dish; the sizzling platters of steak, chicken, and liver; and the desserts (apple cobbler, strawberry shortcake, and chocolate pudding) -- a different one every day. It all starts at $8.95. Paradise indeed.
Café cubano will wake your ass up from anything ... except from eating comida cubana.
Restaurants are where strangers go to eat; diners are where friends and neighbors see each other over a cup of coffee and a turkey sandwich. In that way Larry's All American Restaurant is really misnamed. Larry's is a diner in the proudest tradition of the word. Good food with prices that are easy on the wallet. Run by Larry and Cindy Roth, the best part about this eatery is its sense of community. Last year during Hurricane Georges the diner stayed open all night so that emergency workers would have a place to eat. Eventually it turned into a makeshift shelter, as some residents, who were forced to evacuate from their homes, slept in booths. So the next time you're heading down to the Keys, stop into Larry's for a bite to eat and meet some of your neighbors from South Miami-Dade.

Alright, okay, so it's not entirely a Greek restaurant. Purists might even argue that Pasta Fiore is Italian. And we'll concede that two-thirds of the menu offer edible baubles from the boot. But we're always enticed back here by the smattering of Greek specialties offered by owners Luccia and George Stilianudakis and chef Walter Rivas's delicate way with flaming saganaki, spanakopita, moussaka, and braised lamb shank. Our only regret is the limited menu. Sappho might have gone into raptures here, but in the end she would only have been able to compose a poem or two about the fare before running out of things to say.
Although it doesn't sport neon lights or a drive-through window, Amos's Juice Bar in North Miami Beach serves healthy and good food fast. You can sit in a booth surrounded by brightly painted palm trees and giant cartoon fruit. Or grab a seat at the counter next to the Birkenstock-clad regulars who don't flinch at the traffic whizzing by on busy Dixie Highway. The place is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Weekdays at lunch hour you may have to hustle for a seat or call in your order for take-away. Specialties include hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, tuna, blackened fish or chicken, plus many salads and fresh-made juices and smoothies. Sandwiches and salads range from four to seven dollars. Smoothies go for around $2.50. A favorite is José's Special, an ambrosial concoction of carrot juice, coconut milk, banana, pineapple, and honey. For hard-core partiers, the root tonic is the ticket. Says chef Craig Lewis: "It's a blood purifier and it's good for sinuses and hangovers. It'll give you a great sex life, too." The potent remedy, which sells for just one dollar per shot, is made from roots and barks of plants like sarsaparilla, mauby, eucalyptus, strong back, Irish moss, and ginger. It looks like a cloudy tea but tastes like Listerine mixed with mud. Amos swears by it. Hey, if it don't kill ya, it'll cure ya.
Contrary to popular belief, you can host a cocktail party without serving that platter of artfully arranged orange cheese cubes. It is possible to offer your guests fromage that hasn't been skewered with toothpicks. And, get this, it doesn't have to be baked Brie! At Scotty's Grocery you can choose from more than 80 specialty cheeses from around the globe, most with wine-pairing and serving suggestions. You don't have to worry what to serve with the Drunken Goat (veal saltimbocca would be divine with this semisoft goat cheese from Spain that's been immersed in red wine). There are cheeses from Switzerland (sweet, nutty Gruyère; chestnutlike Madrigal baby Swiss); Denmark (three kinds of mild yet tangy Havarti); and Germany (triple-cream Cambozola). Peek behind the four varieties of mozzarella (Italian) and you'll unearth a lovely, layered mascarpone torte with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. Like things a little closer to home? Real Wisconsin cheddar (note its delicate pumpkin-color hue) is unbelievably fresh. Aficionados of the foil-wrapped brick variety will marvel at the difference in taste. How to decide? Stop by the shop Friday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. for a complementary wine and cheese tasting.
Carry-out is generally the order of the day at many of Miami-Dade's Jamaican restaurants. So smile at the folks tending to the long take-out line and let them know you'll be in the no-frills dining room. Stick to the tried and true basics of authentic Jamaican cuisine: jerk chicken, curried chicken, curried goat, oxtail, and cow foot. Have it with rice and peas (which are beans in the Queen's English) and a bottle of beer, and you'll be out of there for less than six bucks. Come morning, if you're in the mood for an island breakfast, wander back in and have your coffee with a dish of mackerel and bananas, seasoned callaloo, or ackee and saltfish.

From bok choy to wheat grass, this weekly market features hundreds of fresh organic fruits and vegetables and a large stash of homemade sauces and salads. The selection varies, of course, according to the season, but on a recent Saturday I found eight types of organic lettuce and as many squashes. The goods are brought in from around the world by Stan Glaser, who augments the produce with goods from his own organic Redlands farm and goodies prepared by his girlfriend Tracy Fleming. Among the most popular items are pestos, salad dressings, and fresh fruit pies with fillings of mango, strawberry, raspberry-apple, and apple-almond. It's open yearround every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Best Natural Food/Vegetarian Restaurant

Lexie's

The x in Lexie's is a carrot crossed with a celery stick. The i is dotted with a strawberry. The possessive s is attached by a mushroom. Any fool can see that this is not the place to order a burger; any gourmet diner with an appetite bigger than a rabbit's knows to steer clear. Or do they? So Lexie's doesn't use dairy in the cooking, and all vegetables and meats are organic, all-natural, or free-range. Otherwise Lexie's offers delicious, full-bodied, fusion appetizers and entrées, including black-bean cakes with mango-miso-wasabi sauce, chargrilled spicy beef salad over watercress and shredded basil, and organic artichoke penne pasta with a roasted garlic sauce. The fast-food junkie can even make do with an all-natural beef burger (for those of us educated at McDonald's, that means no filler is used in the patty) on a whole-wheat kaiser with homemade ketchup. Looks good, tastes good, feels good.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®