The Bar at Level 25
George Martinez

Last night some reckless gentlemen by the names of Johnny Walker, Jim Beam, and Jack Daniel took a crowbar to your liver and beat the bejesus out of your gastrointestinal tract. Or at least that's how you feel this morning. Like a steaming pile of turd smacked you in the face. Like a small, filthy animal curled up and died in your mouth. Like a freight train ... Okay, okay, we'll stop teasing and tell you what you need to do to get over your stankin' hangover. Get out of bed, take a warm shower, get dressed, and head to the Conrad Miami. It's Sunday brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and you can feast, be pampered, and rejuvenate your weary, alcohol-poisoned internal organs.

Fifty-five dollars brings you everything you need. Waffles? Check. Sushi? Hell yeah. Spectacular salads with all the toppings you could want? Oh yeah. Omelets and a carving station? Double-check. Besides the typical brunch fixings, there's also a hangover corner. Stock up on fresh fruit so delicious you expect it to be dangling from tree branches, fill your plate with a selection of cured meats and cheeses liberally studded with nuts and berries, and expect to make repeat visits to the dessert station. After that, hit up the balcony for a gander at the gorgeous 25-story-high view. End with Cuban coffee and biscotti, or hot tea served with lemon and a jar of honey for your raw throat. Ah, sweet relief.

Delicious Organics

Let's face it: Whole Foods is a hassle. It's always crowded, the aisles are tiny, and the atmosphere is more annoyance than ommmm. Enter Delicious Organics. It's a virtual store — locally owned by Jack and Annie Malka — that delivers produce and healthful groceries right to your home or office. There are 4,000 items available — from a giant, $75 "fruit and veggie lovers' box" to a Brillat Savarin Cheese Mini with Truffles for $14.49. Online purchasing is easy, and the site handily remembers your order history. Products are expensive, but no more so than those at Whole Foods — and in some cases, the produce boxes are a much better value than what you would buy at the grocery store. The difference between this and a co-op is that with Delicious Organics, you decide what to get. Quality is high — the folks at Delicious Organics try to buy locally whenever possible, so there's often dirt on your carrots when they arrive on your doorstep. Delivery is a flat rate of $9.95, which seems like a fair price in exchange for not driving to the store, battling the people in the produce aisles, and waiting forever in the checkout lines. If you really want to save on the delivery fee, you can still order online and pick up your groceries at the warehouse in Miami Lakes.

Green Gables Café

Ana Rabel and Laura Alfonso, proprietors of this health-oriented breakfast and lunch spot in Coral Gables, are a mother and daughter team. That's uncommon in the restaurant world, and so is their dedication to serving organic fruits and vegetables in eco-friendly containers. Green Gables Café is mostly a take-out/delivery joint (open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays only), but there are 15 seats cozily nestled within. "Saving the world, one bite at a time" is the motto, and while it is fair to wonder whether eating a homemade bran muffin here in the morning will bring salvation to the planet, there is no questioning the muffin's quality. Baked organic eggs and vegetables, organic yogurt and berry parfait, and all manner of smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices can also start your day off right. Freshly prepared soups (green gazpacho is great), salads, sandwiches, wraps, and melts (all served with choice of organic chips or carrot sticks) compose the rest of the menu. There are homemade desserts, too, and organic coffee. Everything is under $10 (actually $9, except for a baked crabcake and mandarin orange salad). So while saving the world, you can also save yourself some money.

Football Sandwich Shop

Named for legendary Dolphins running back Larry Csonka, the Zonker transforms the average hoagie into a monumental wrecking ball of salami, ham, Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, oil, and mayo jammed into a sub roll. And for $3.89, it's too good a delicacy to pass up. So go ahead and score one inside Football Sandwich Shops, a storied eatery located between Little Haiti and El Portal. Munch on it amid the posters and pictures of some of Hollywood's golden boys and girls. There's Ronnie Reagan as gunslinger, Jackie Gleason as pool shark, Marilyn Monroe as pneumatic nitwit, the Babe and Joe DiMaggio as baseball icons. But it's the homage to the greatest quarterback to never win a Super Bowl that really grabs your gaze. The painting depicts Dan Marino, his head and bare shoulders rising from the salty blue Atlantic. As lightning sparks in an ominous black sky, dolphins leap over Number 13 and into the water.

Cafe Le Glacier

In the walls are actual holes that are bigger than this tiny, French-ified Biscayne Boulevard café, but Le Glacier makes up for its lack of size and spiffy ambiance with simple, honest, well-prepared food at blessedly modest prices, with a big helping of neighborhoody charm thrown in for good measure. Onion soup, chicken with Dijon mustard sauce, lamb Provençale — they're all good, and nothing costs more than 13 bucks. Of course, you could go to one of those larger and grander restaurants, but when it comes to good food that won't break the bank, does size really matter?

The Tides Restaurant

Bigoli is a pasta from the Veneto region. Shaped like thick spaghetti and coarsely textured, it is made by pushing dough through an instrument called a bigolaro. The Sicilian paccheri looks like a thick snippet of garden hose and in the early 1600s was used to smuggle banned garlic cloves from Italy into Austria. At the elegant La Marea in the newly refurbished The Tides South Beach, paccheri is served with pork cheeks and porcinis, and the bigoli is bolstered by a hot arrabiata sauce. Milanese chef Pietro Rota also shows flair with less artisanal cuts such as fettuccine, which comes finessed with chunks of lobster in a minty cream sauce, as well as an open ravioli plumped with puréed potato and Taleggio cheese, crowned with black truffle slices and the unctuous yolk of a softly poached organic egg. Prices range from $20 to $30 for the pastas, although you will surely be tempted to try other items on Marea's menu, especially the grilled seafoods freshly flown in from the Mediterranean coast.

Scene: A distraught man is sitting in a psychiatrist's office.

Doctor: Sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog.

Patient: No, you don't understand. It isn't just that this hot dog is Colombian-style, which means fatter and juicier than those little wieners they hand out at those cruddy chains. And it isn't that La Perrada's dogs are addictive, nestled in those fresh, plush buns. It's the toppings, doc. The toppings are driving me mad!

Doctor: Please, lower your voice. If people in the waiting room hear you screaming about frankfurters, they'll think you're crazy.

Patient: Crazy? I'll give you crazy. How about Edgar Gomez, a former fashion designer, turning into the hot dog's top dog in Bogotá before letting his dogs out on the Little Colombia stretch of Collins Avenue and 70th Street? And if you want frickin' crazy, how about putting sausage, mozzarella, pineapple, potato sticks, and cheese sauce on a hot dog? Or the same mix but with shrimp and crab instead of pineapple? Or — heavens to Betsy — pineapple, peaches, plums, and whipped cream. On a frankfurter! And they all cost less than five dollars!

Doctor: Sometimes chopped onions and pickle relish are just chopped onions and — wait, did you say pineapple, peaches, plums, and whipped cream?

Patient: Yes, thank goodness you're finally catching on.

Doctor: I'm afraid our time is up. Well, maybe it's a little early, but we'll add it to next week's session. I've just been consumed by the strangest craving ...

The Frieze Ice Cream Factory

The homemade flavors speak for themselves: Sassy Strawberry, Perfect Pistachio, Jack Daniel's Maple Walnut, Cappuccino Chip, Get Down Boogie-Oogie Cookie. The tropical sorbets hold their own too: Tamarindo, Indian Mango, Pear, Guanabana, Pink Grapefruit. Even though the factory has a window that lets spectators watch the ice cream being made, no one has figured out how they get so much flavor into each scoop.

Mint Leaf Indian Brasserie

So Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Shilpa Shetty, and Ravi Shankar Jr. are marooned on a desert island. No wait, sorry — they are in Coral Gables, and the three of them walk into the new Mint Leaf restaurant. After being seated and starting off with freshly squeezed fruit juices and a basket of traditional tandoor-baked breads, the prime minister taps Shilpa on the shoulder and asks whether she agrees that Mint Leaf's gosht biryani tastes just like it does back home. "Don't touch me," she replies, before adding that although she liked the gosht, her preference was for the South Indian specialty of dosa, a crêpe made from lentils and fermented rice that gets wrapped around various savory fillings. Shankar offers that the original London Mint Leaf has been known for its dosas since opening in 1938. "Besides, who else around here makes shrikand?" he adds, this being a thick yogurt cheese infused with saffron and topped with fruit and chopped nuts. "And where else can you get main courses this good, with so many vegetarian choices, for under $20?" Shilpa and Shetty laugh, finding the notion of monetary concerns rather funny. Shankar wonders how he got roped into dinner with these two, and decides to return to Mint Leaf for lunch the next day without them.

Côté Gourmet
Aran S Graham

When the Chinese chain P.F. Chang's, a frozen meal delivery service, and a complex computer program all use the word bistro to describe themselves, you know just how far the word has strayed from its origins, on virtually every urban street corner in France. Bistros are supposed to be everyday eateries affordable enough that neighborhood regulars can go every day for a glass of wine and simple but impeccably executed food that is basically — forgive the pickiness — French. At little Côte Gourmet, which opened as a breakfast/lunch spot but now also serves dinner Thursday through Saturday, all the classic bistro basics are there, along with some delightful extras. Breads and pastries are all housemade (and excellent); the bistro's flavorful savory and sweet crêpes ($3.75 to $8.75) taste like a trip to the French countryside for a reason: They're made with nutty buckwheat batter, as they have been in Brittany since the 12th Century. Lunchtime's popular blackboard special (which is different every day but has included crisp phyllo triangles stuffed with tuna, capers, onion, tomato, and buttery potatoes, for $10) is a filling meal thanks to a bonus side salad of mesclun that's dressed as perfectly as a Parisian couturier. At night, entrées such as traditional beef bourguignon ($20.50) or shrimp-topped pan-seared Scottish salmon in delicate lemon sauce, accompanied by three veggies ($17.50), are more pricey, but $25-and-under dinners are doable.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®