At AA Arena, the Heat Is On The Court and In The Kitchen

carnitas tacos
Do you have tickets for the Heat home opener against the Magic on October 29? Get ready for a sensory overload of sight, sound and taste. And it won't just be the trifecta of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The food at the American Airlines Arena just got a little more interesting.

It may be due to the poor health inspection report this summer. Or more likely it's higher ticket prices and the superstars arrival. But the arena has stepped up its game with the addition of fresher and made-to-order options that cater to the Miami market using local ingredients. A myriad of carts and concession stands offer everything from chicken empanadas and tacos to Asian noodles and wraps.

Bradley Morris, director of operations for Levy Restaurants- food and beverage provider for the arena - tells us that he is providing for 18,000 famished fans, "We have the opportunity to be innovative here in Miami and our selection ranges from the more exotic to traditional comfort food like burgers and hot dogs."

For those more adventurous eaters there's sushi, tacos, wraps, noodles, burritos and empanadas, several of which are available as vegetarian and/or kosher.

Short Order was invited to sample some of the dishes created by Eric Chopin, executive chef for the Arena, and his team. Our favorites were the pork belly Asian wrap ($10) and the carnitas tacos ($10). For vegetarians out there, Chopin's created a mean veggie burger ($8) that even this carnivore enjoyed. Besides the Asian noodles being a bit on the salty side for our taste, we stuffed our faces with a smile and washed it all down with a fountain soda served to us in our commemorative Heat cup.

Tomorrow we'll have an interview with Eric Chopin, but in the meantime check out some of his creations below.

chicken empanadas
pork belly wrap
asian noodles
veggie burger
chiken burritos