Fact: Our planet is home to more chickens than people. And just as all men are not created equal, neither are all fowls. Don't believe us? Strut over to Sports Grill and order a platter of wings (10 pieces for $7.50; 16 for $10.80; 25 for $16.25) and then say we lie. One look at these monstrous, plump limbs and you would be forgiven for thinking the owners of this eighteen-year-old Kendall eatery had a full-time clucker-squad scouring the globe in search of the fattest birds alive. Okay, size isn't everything (yeah, right!), but these beasts also taste as succulent as they look. Wings are plain grilled -- so not dripping with grease -- and served unadorned. Simple yet, ah, so delicious! Sink your gnashes into the Grill's ever-popular "special grilled," or get saucy with the likes of Buffalo, barbecue, or garlic flavor. To those who rarely leave the Beach, Kendall might seem like a world away, but then Sport's Grill's wings are a world away from ordinary.
Walking into the Gables Juice Bar feels like stepping back in time. Most stores nowadays go for a cool, modern look, or attempt some kind of cohesive theme. Not this one. The walls are eclectically decorated with brightly colored paintings created by owner Fernando Lopez, accented with framed posters from gangster flicks like Scarface and Goodfellas. A row of colorful, twirling mobiles hangs from the ceiling, and hand-painted glass bottles line the front window. From the kitschy, cozily cluttered vibe, it's evident the place has been open for a while -- twelve years, to be precise. "When we first opened here, there was nothing," says co-owner Belkys Lopez. A steady stream of white-collar customers stops at her counter for low-carb, protein-rich "power pizza"; delicious wraps made with good-for-you ingredients such as brown rice, hummus, and falafel; salads (FYI, the Exotic Honey Ginger Salad is to die for, and a real deal at $5.25); and low-fat soups. But at the end of the day, this is a juice bar. And no fancy-pants chain establishment can hold a candle to the delicious smoothies and healthy beverages concocted here. When the lovely Lopez admits she's about to become a grandmother, it comes as a real shock. Perhaps all that sipping freshly squeezed vegetable/fruit elixirs has preserved her sexiness. A glass of fresh-squeezed OJ will set you back $3.50. Concoct a jumbo twenty-ounce combination of carrot, spinach, ginger, and apple juice for $3.75. The smoothies are made with your choice of sweetener -- sugar, honey, Equal, or Splenda -- and come with amusing car-theme names. The Co-Co-Vette is a mix of pineapple, coconut, and banana. The Beemer blends apple juice, peanut butter, and strawberries. No, the PMS smoothie isn't meant to alleviate the syndrome. It's made of pineapple, mango, and strawberries. But it's sweet enough to sate even most monthly cravings.
Sung to the tune of "Penny Lane":

At the tables are some diners on their way to work,
And in the kitchen is a cook without a toque.
Still he manages to cause some smoke
With his frying pan. What a man!

Over-easy, hash browns, bacon, and a side of toast,
With fluffy pancakes that won our flip-off years ago.
And the waitresses come and go
With a pot o' Joe. Hello, Flo!

Chorus: Deli Lane, we love you so, at breakfast time,
Waffles, French toast, omelets are all prime.
And dining outdoors is sublime....

Deli Lane's Power-Up breakfast brings two eggs any style; potatoes; choice of bacon, ham, or sausage; and two pancakes for just $3.95. That will get you singing in the morning.

David Baglin is on a roll. Earlier this year he won Most Edible Hot Chili at Homestead/Florida City's annual Super Chili-Bowl Cook-Off. Last year he took first place at the Springs River Festival in Miami Springs after securing second in 2003. The 45-year-old Baglin credits his grandmother's secret family recipe for his good fortune. "No one made better chili than my grandma," Baglin brags. "I compete in all the cookouts." Baglin, a part-time airline mechanic, has been competing in chili cook-offs for more than seven years, but he didn't parlay his spicy skills into a culinary enterprise until 2003. "I've been to Chicago, Philly, New York," he reveals. "You can find a great chili dog in those cities. So I decided to start selling my own chili dog." He began with Cheyenne Lee's Food Wagon, working as a vendor at the Dade County Youth Fair, the Air and Sea Show in Fort Lauderdale, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, and other family-oriented special events in South Florida. Today you can sample Baglin's chili at the Cheyenne Lee lunch counter in the food court of the Prime Outlets mall in Florida City. The mall is on East Palm Drive just east of South Dixie Highway where the Florida Turnpike ends. For $4, you can buy a bowl of chili or a chili pie, a deliciously wicked serving of chili piled atop Fritos corn chips. Cough up $6 and you can get a one-pound mound of chili and cheese atop a monster hot dog. Mmmm, good!
X: So what does this big-shot brunch you're always talking about have to offer?
Y: Lush courtyard dining replete with gurgling waterfall. Ten culinary stations. Free-flowing champagne and mimosas. A dessert room.
X: Did you say dessert room?
Y: It's the bar/lounge area at other times, but on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the length of the bar and every nook and cranny in the space are taken up by luscious tarts, fruits, mousses, parfaits, cookies, cakes, custards, napoleons, éclairs, and chocolates, chocolates, chocolates.
X: How can they afford to let people eat all they want of such meticulously crafted pastries?
Y: Well, for one thing the brunch costs $65 ($35 for children under twelve). But more pertinently, most people are fairly well sated by the time they have indulged in oysters on the half-shell, smoked salmon, fresh shrimp, gazpacho shooters, bacalao salad, antipasti, Serrano ham, imported cheeses, omelets made to order, French toast, bacon, roast ham, home fries, housemade sausages, grilled lamb chops, beef tenderloin, baked grouper, risotto prepared in a giant round of Parmigiano-Reggiano, cannelloni of duck confit....
X: Okay, okay, you've convinced me. Let's go. Except if you don't mind, I'm going to begin in the dessert room and work my way from there.
A new McDonald's opens somewhere in the world every six hours, which means there are lots of bad burgers being eaten around the globe. And that makes the big, juicy, nine-ounce Black Angus hamburger at Clarke's Miami Beach all the more special. Just looking at it, coddled in a puffy poppy seed bun with crisp bacon, sautéed mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, crunchy green lettuce, a bright red tomato slice, and ribbons of red onion, brings a tear of joy to a burger lover's eye. In the age of fast food, sights like this are becoming downright anachronistic. Thin, crisp fries and crunchy homemade coleslaw on the side hit the spot too. Clarke's provides a great backdrop for your burger, the neighborhood pub boasting a big mahogany bar and a cozy array of brick, wood, and mirrors. Can't ask for better beverages, either: Beers include Harp, Bass, Guinness, and Yuengling, a Pennsylvania lager from the oldest brewery in America. Grape lovers can snub the suds and choose from 100 reasonably priced bottles of wine, 17 of which are poured by the glass. Those who think $9.95 is too much for a great hamburger, take heart: If McDonald's current pace of growth continues, there should be a franchise in your living room real soon.
Café Demetrio
George Martinez
Miami is not really the sort of town where disgruntled bohemians in berets linger over cappuccinos, discussing French postmodern philosophy. Usually coffee-drinkers have two choices: a cup of hot-and-sweet purchased hurriedly at a counter (where somehow a thimbleful packs a caffeine punch akin to pharmaceutical-grade amphetamines); or The Franchise, with its uniform couches, preservative-heavy baked goods, and smooth jazz. So Café Demetrio is a unique institution in these parts, with its tarts, strudels, empanadas, sandwiches, and excellent coffee served in cups made from porcelain, not paper. There is live music on the weekends, always a chess game in progress, and never the worry of spending more than $4 on a latte (even a big one). Best of all, you can bring a laptop and use the free wi-fi access.
You have your turkey burger, chicken burger, tofu burger, tempeh burger, Boca burger, Garden burger, soy burger, veggie burger, but it took a creative mind over at Sara's Vegetarian Café to think of substituting falafel for chopped beef. The "burgerito" here features a soft challah bun bursting with a delicately fried, parsley-happy chickpea patty; lettuce; tomato; onion; pickle; sauerkraut; tahini sauce; and a dash of devilish hot sauce if requested. It is kosher, vegetarian, and absolutely one of the tastiest sandwiches you will ever have. And a steal at $4.50. Plus it sounds really neat to say, "I'll have a couple of burgeritos, please."
Icebox Cafe
The Ice Box is a nice box, a big, airy square with colorful prints, hanging lights, and a bright stainless-steel kitchen. The first sight to grab your attention will likely be the glass display cases arrayed with outrageously delectable desserts. Take a mile-high wedge of legendary German chocolate cake, cuppa steamy espresso, and presto, your brunch is set. Actually the options are wider than that at weekend brunch (served from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). The most basic choices would be creamy steel-cut Irish oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts, and cream; crunchy homemade granola with fresh berries; and "the egg box" of scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage, roast potatoes, and a biscuit. Menu specials change often, so you may be offered chive pancakes with smoked salmon, Boursin and lime cream; or tres leches pancakes with crisp bacon and dulce de leche sauce on the side. Either way, they will be fluffy. (À la carte prices range from $10 to $15.) Other noteworthy attractions include the laid-back vibe of a local crowd, creative menu of refreshing nonalcoholic beverages, obligatory mimosas and bloody marys, and free Internet access -- in case you are dining alone. When it comes to brunch, it is clearly preferable to think inside the box.
Bistro Bisou
The perfect French fry is a thing of true beauty. It should be skinny, but not so skinny as to upset its delicate balance of textures. It must be golden, not too pale, not too brown. Of course it must be crisp, typically the result of frying at least twice (once to seal the exterior and mostly cook the inside, the second time to add crispness and color). It must also be creamy on the inside; equally important, it absolutely must not be greasy. It must be fried in clean oil and be properly salted, which is to say aggressively but not so much it obscures the mild potato flavor. The fries, or to be more precise, frites, at this budget-chic Kendall bistro meet all of these requirements. These classic frites accompany, quite appropriately, a slab of grilled rib eye (less than $20), though you could be forgiven for casting aside the meat and concentrating on these deliciously addictive sticks of crisp potato.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®