Ms. Cheezious Food Truck

Typically, not much can be said of two slices of bread sealed together with a wedge, sliver, or hunk of cheddar. The grilled cheese is the simplest of sandwiches: for college students, a quick fix in a makeshift kitchen; for parents and children, an easy bite on the go. But for Ms. Cheezious founders Brian and Fatima Mullins, it's a culinary canvas. Their 2-and-a-half-year-old food truck, decked out with a larger-than-life sexy caricature of Ms. Cheezious herself, winds through the streets of South Florida whipping up creative takes on the croque-monsieur. Monday through Saturday, the food truck can be found stationed at different special events and food truck rallies in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. The truck features a special cheesy creation each week, but several bestsellers are constants on the menu. They range from the Crabby Cheese Melt ($8), a creamy crab spread on cheddar-lathered sourdough, to the Grilled Harvest ($7), a sweet-and-sour pairing of Havarti cheese and sliced apple. Patrons can also build their own sandwiches, and once you've decided on a cheese style and extra toppings (such as shaved ham, prosciutto, or bacon), the truck's zesty tomato soup is the perfect accompaniment.

"Bro, are you seriously telling me to get a croque-monsieur at an Italian restaurant? It's a French dish."

"First of all, this place is owned by a French couple, and now it's full-fledged français, but even when Le Gusto Bistro was slinging spaghetti, the croque-monsieur was delish — great for brunch, the perfect blend of gooey cheese with crisp bread."

"But what about the croque-madame?"

"Oh, it's actually horrible here."

"Really?"

"No, it's the same damn thing with an egg on top. Of course it's just as delicious."

Mr. Moe's Restaurant and Bar

Most people go to Mr. Moe's to drink. "Most people," of course, refers to UM students looking to chug their weight in rosy-hued Moose Juice or near-gallon jugs of Bud Light. But tucked away on an otherwise standard bar-fare menu is a little $4.95 side of mac and cheese. No description, no fanfare, last on the list, and easy to miss. Served in a five-bite white ramekin, it's a lovely little heap of tender elbow macaroni topped with a nicely browned, oven-baked crust of cheddar and Swiss. Poke your spoon through the thick outer layer and dig into the creamy, cheesy pasta below. It's rich, flavorful, and everything you've ever wanted in mac and cheese. Plus, the diminutive portion is just enough to soak up the booze you're about to imbibe — without causing unflattering stomach bloat. Palatable and pragmatic to boot. And at Mr. Moe's, you get the bonus of stuffed dining companions such as a grizzly bear, a glassy-eyed deer's head, and various other critters. Beats eating alone any day.

Toro Toro
Laine Doss

At Toro Toro, the restaurant located off the lobby of the InterContinental Hotel, arepas are served without stuffing. This doesn't mean the crisp corn cakes are served without fixings. Toro Toro's arepas, rather, come whole — with rich, shredded short rib right on top. The three mini arepas ($8 lunch, $10 dinner) are dotted with fresh guacamole and finished with a hint of crema. Think of them as the open-faced sandwiches of Venezuela or Colombia — except these come from a restaurant owned by chef Richard Sandoval, a prominent restaurateur and pioneer of pan-Latin cuisine. That might explain why these fancy corn cakes require a knife and fork. Cutlery-required dining is a good thing.

At this Brickell-area surprise, you can get freekeh, rose water, pomegranate molasses, and colossal tubs of strained yogurt like labneh. Past the store's corridors, which are stacked high with dried herbs and grains, you will also find a petite lunch counter. In the nooks beyond its display case, there are beef-stuffed grape leaves known as dolma, hummus and baba ghannouj, and stewed chickpeas with tomatoes. And there is falafel — mashed chickpea fritters, speckled with sesame seeds and spiced intensely with fresh herbs and cumin. At this mecca for Syrian, Greek, and Armenian foods, the falafel sandwich ($4.50) pairs these fried balls with tahini, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The pita bread is baked fresh daily. And there's more good news: While you wait for your delectable falafel, there are always complimentary pita chips on the counter for snacking.

Lucali
Photo by billwisserphoto.com

In the eerie room

wood-oven burns, candles glow

pizza chefs wear white

green basil bouquetscrown sauce of red tomato

"plain pie" ($24), no menu

blistered Brooklyn crusts

gooey cheese, craft beer, good eats

Lucali South Beach.

Viva Mexico

Some folks visit Con Sabor a México Carnitas Estilo Michoacán for a chicken or steak taco. Others stop by the tiny Little Havana taquería for tacos de buche, slender corn tortillas stuffed with tender, rich pork stomach ($1.75), or tacos de oreja — with a filling of thinly sliced pig ears — and tacos de lengua, pork tongue. The specialty at this taco joint is carnitas, which are prepared with a process that's popular in the central Mexican state of Michoacán and resembles the French technique of confit. Pork offal — ham, tongue, stomach, ears, ribs, and rind — is first browned in lard and then layered in a pot according to cooking time. The meats are covered with pork fat and slow-cooked for two hours. Pig part flavors mingle and marry. The result is a delectable taco con mucho sabor.

Pasadita
Ily Goyanes

Pasadita, my dear,

How thou woo me with thy drive-thru

And your inexpensive eats

But I fear

Not one of your qualities, not two

Can in any way beat

Your fresh, tasty, succulent, bean, cheese, tomato, cilantro, and onion-stuffed $5.99 burritos

(with choice of meat and rice)

The end.

Benny's Seafood
Natalia Molina

Benny's Mofongo (BEHN-eez moh-FOHN-goh) (n.): A delicious Puerto Rican dish made of deep-fried plantains mashed together with garlic and pork rinds in a mortar with a pestle. (Also see: ¡Ay, m'ija, qué rico!)

The rest of Benny's menu is a Puerto Rican nostalgia trip, just like our tía abuela from Loiza used to make it, but the mofongo is porkily sublime, earning the place a visit from Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives a few years ago. Served in a small mortar (or a large one for sharing with the rest of the table) with a side of chicken consommé (or caldo), mofongo comes plain or topped with fried pork, shrimp, chicken, steak, or lobster, for the truly indulgent. The mortars are cast with some sort of spell that leaves them incapable of emptying, no matter how much you fanatically shovel into your empanada-hole, but you won't mind taking your abundant leftovers with you while singing "La Borinqueña" the entire ride home. Get your mofongo on for lunch or dinner till 9 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on weekends. The original location is open Tuesday through Sunday, but the newest location, on NW 82nd Ave., is open seven days a week.

1909 Cafe

A good sandwich is filling and tasty. A great sandwich takes risks, overwhelms with flavor, and is worth every last cent. This is the case at 1909 Café, a quaint but bold shop tucked into a strip mall on Bird Road. It offers patrons a selection of truly inventive combinations, including vegetarian and Paleo (the CrossFit diet) options, all served on white or wheat French baguette, crisped to perfection. A colorful chalkboard menu hangs on one wall of the small dining room and is updated periodically with specials and new creations. But customer favorites such as the French vegetarian ($6.50) are listed on permanent menus that decorate the café's countertops. For courageous eaters, 1909 specializes in ambitious sandwich-making — that is, you will be posed with the challenge of fitting a bite into your mouth, especially if you opt for a 12-inch "Monster Portion." The Godfather sandwich, for example, overflows with mozzarella, ham, capicola, salami, tomatoes, onions, pickles, banana peppers, and lettuce — and for $7.25, that's an offer a hungry customer can't refuse. The café also serves salads, smoothies, and a good cup o' joe — all reasonably priced and always served with a smile.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®