Your mother. Duh. And there's this woman at the hidden snack counter inside Chuck's Laundry on Red Road who will customize the amount of sugar, steamy milk, and "espresso" to launch a Jungian dream of drowning in caffeine (if you ever get to sleep). But blindfold-tested, any proper coffee-with-milk Cuban style tastes about as wonderful as any other. With experience and franchise-level quality control, Carreta never lets drinkers down, and visitors to the outlet on Bird Road just west of the Palmetto Expressway on a weekend can view a herd of fancy motorcycles corralled in the parking lot by modern-day drovers, most of whom are police officers and their pals. A free chopper show doesn't hurt as you sip away at something that resembles coffee mixed with hot chocolate.

Your mother. Duh. And there's this woman at the hidden snack counter inside Chuck's Laundry on Red Road who will customize the amount of sugar, steamy milk, and "espresso" to launch a Jungian dream of drowning in caffeine (if you ever get to sleep). But blindfold-tested, any proper coffee-with-milk Cuban style tastes about as wonderful as any other. With experience and franchise-level quality control, Carreta never lets drinkers down, and visitors to the outlet on Bird Road just west of the Palmetto Expressway on a weekend can view a herd of fancy motorcycles corralled in the parking lot by modern-day drovers, most of whom are police officers and their pals. A free chopper show doesn't hurt as you sip away at something that resembles coffee mixed with hot chocolate.

There used to be only two seatings for the Biltmore's famous Sunday brunch. Now seating in the outdoor fountain court is continuous, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This means your table is not always ready when you arrive. But that's a good thing! While you wait, you'll be ushered to a side bar and served up a taste of the endless bounty to come: mimosas or straight champagne, as much as you can handle. Dedicated drinkers could conceivably quaff enough bubbly to justify the meal's entire $49 tag before even hitting the big table, laden with nova, whitefish, sable, and all manner of other smoked fish (plus capers, cream cheese, bagels, and any other accouterment imaginable). Then you only have eight additional food stations to demolish. Offerings include pastas, salads, sushi, cold seafood selections, a carving station, meats and seafood from a charcoal grill, a dessert table featuring flambé crêpes. Champagne continues throughout the repast, and unlike other champagne brunches, the Biltmore's servers pour constantly and generously.

There used to be only two seatings for the Biltmore's famous Sunday brunch. Now seating in the outdoor fountain court is continuous, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This means your table is not always ready when you arrive. But that's a good thing! While you wait, you'll be ushered to a side bar and served up a taste of the endless bounty to come: mimosas or straight champagne, as much as you can handle. Dedicated drinkers could conceivably quaff enough bubbly to justify the meal's entire $49 tag before even hitting the big table, laden with nova, whitefish, sable, and all manner of other smoked fish (plus capers, cream cheese, bagels, and any other accouterment imaginable). Then you only have eight additional food stations to demolish. Offerings include pastas, salads, sushi, cold seafood selections, a carving station, meats and seafood from a charcoal grill, a dessert table featuring flambé crêpes. Champagne continues throughout the repast, and unlike other champagne brunches, the Biltmore's servers pour constantly and generously.

Every April for the past two decades Miami Springs, our own version of Mayberry, has celebrated the river that runs through it with a street party that fills the famous circle in the northeast corner of town -- where most of the businesses are -- and extends out along the streets and into the large green space in the middle of the circle. Family-oriented to the extreme, the kiosks feature the usual arts and crafts and souvenirs as well as more unusual items (the African statues booth is always fascinating). There's a river cleanup, a fishing contest, canoe races, and plenty of live music. Food seems to dominate, and the highlight is a large chickee-type booth where several of the town's venerable citizens roast corn. For the most part, corn is corn, but to roast it perfectly requires know-how, which is why the same guys, each year a bit more gray, swelter over the open fire and, with gloved hands, find a good cob, rip open the husk, put a stick in it, and provide what just might be the perfect corn. Sweet, plump, smoky, juicy ... the best.

Every April for the past two decades Miami Springs, our own version of Mayberry, has celebrated the river that runs through it with a street party that fills the famous circle in the northeast corner of town -- where most of the businesses are -- and extends out along the streets and into the large green space in the middle of the circle. Family-oriented to the extreme, the kiosks feature the usual arts and crafts and souvenirs as well as more unusual items (the African statues booth is always fascinating). There's a river cleanup, a fishing contest, canoe races, and plenty of live music. Food seems to dominate, and the highlight is a large chickee-type booth where several of the town's venerable citizens roast corn. For the most part, corn is corn, but to roast it perfectly requires know-how, which is why the same guys, each year a bit more gray, swelter over the open fire and, with gloved hands, find a good cob, rip open the husk, put a stick in it, and provide what just might be the perfect corn. Sweet, plump, smoky, juicy ... the best.

There is one very good reason why Tuscan Steak recovered more quickly than most other Beach restaurants following the economically disastrous 2002 season. And the reason isn't the authenticity of its Florentine T-bone. (Good as it is, true traditional bistecca alla fiorentina would never be served sliced and reassembled.) Nor are the eatery's other cheese-sauced steaks typically Tuscan. No, there's more to a dining experience than food. Great service can make dining out seem worth the expense, especially when money is tight. Here the service makes diners feel special. It's neither too correctly stiff nor too amateur-night friendly. Most important, there's not a hint of that infamous South Beach attitude (Waiter: "I'm just here till my agent calls...."). Credit goes to manager Steve Haas, who has been tackling Miami Beach's service problems in a bigger way as a founder of the annual educational dining and drinking event called Hospitality Employees Awareness Day.

Tuscan Steak
There is one very good reason why Tuscan Steak recovered more quickly than most other Beach restaurants following the economically disastrous 2002 season. And the reason isn't the authenticity of its Florentine T-bone. (Good as it is, true traditional bistecca alla fiorentina would never be served sliced and reassembled.) Nor are the eatery's other cheese-sauced steaks typically Tuscan. No, there's more to a dining experience than food. Great service can make dining out seem worth the expense, especially when money is tight. Here the service makes diners feel special. It's neither too correctly stiff nor too amateur-night friendly. Most important, there's not a hint of that infamous South Beach attitude (Waiter: "I'm just here till my agent calls...."). Credit goes to manager Steve Haas, who has been tackling Miami Beach's service problems in a bigger way as a founder of the annual educational dining and drinking event called Hospitality Employees Awareness Day.

Everyone pretends to visit Everglades National Park to commune with nature. But every local knows we really go for the food -- and not the alligator sushi, either. Not far from the park's main entrance down south, the temptations for detours come from Knaus Berry Farm's sticky buns and the strawberry or key-lime milkshakes from Robert Is Here. But on the road trip out Tamiami Trail to the park's northern entrance at Shark Valley, the smoky barbecue aromas emanating from the Pit's wood cabin stop drivers more effectively than a police roadblock. Ribs are juicy, flavorful, fabulous. The double pork sandwich -- featuring mounds of what might be the best pit-cooked, pulled pork to be had south of the Carolinas, topped with crunchy sweet slaw -- is even better. Sides are also superior to most BBQ joints: tangy baked beans, lightly floured real onion rings, and to wash it down, imported Beck's beer. The eclectic redneck-to-reggae jukebox is big fun, too.

The Pit Bar-B-Q
Everyone pretends to visit Everglades National Park to commune with nature. But every local knows we really go for the food -- and not the alligator sushi, either. Not far from the park's main entrance down south, the temptations for detours come from Knaus Berry Farm's sticky buns and the strawberry or key-lime milkshakes from Robert Is Here. But on the road trip out Tamiami Trail to the park's northern entrance at Shark Valley, the smoky barbecue aromas emanating from the Pit's wood cabin stop drivers more effectively than a police roadblock. Ribs are juicy, flavorful, fabulous. The double pork sandwich -- featuring mounds of what might be the best pit-cooked, pulled pork to be had south of the Carolinas, topped with crunchy sweet slaw -- is even better. Sides are also superior to most BBQ joints: tangy baked beans, lightly floured real onion rings, and to wash it down, imported Beck's beer. The eclectic redneck-to-reggae jukebox is big fun, too.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®