Ask the Food Critic: Design District Dining

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Hi Lee,

Hope you have been doing well. Memory jog – About a year ago, I read your “foie gras” story which changed my life. My husband Tony and I decided togo vegetarian. I wanted to update you on our progress:

I have become quite the creative vegetarian cook, not even using chicken broth. I love trying new recipes. Though we have come a long way, I still use dairy and eggs, albeit organic. Occasionally, we eat fish. It makes life simpler at times when we eat out or at someone’s home. But fish also suffer, even though not on factory farms, so I will continue to improve this year. We have sent the Alec Baldwin-narrated 9 minute video clip to people who ask. Understandably, few “can” bring themselves to watch it. We’re careful not to be obnoxious about our life choices, everyone has to live their own life. I share my thoughts or recipes if someone asks.

Your article was the beginning for us. Amazingly, Tony’s blood pressure is consistently normal now. He has always been slim, exercises, happy personality, never has smoked and doesn’t drink. But in the past, his BP ran higher than normal. Especially disconcerting to me, considering my medical background. The only change in his life has been this diet. Our energy is great – we work out, swim an hour a day at a good clip – and we feel better overall, haven’t gotten sick, not even a cold. Pretty dramatic changes in just one year. The addition of all these veggies and herbs and whole foods has changed our constitution for the better.

We did go to Sheba (finally) a month ago for lunch and it was superb as you had said. It was a wonderful experience overall. We recommended it to friends from Ft. Lauderdale who also loved it. I am interested to get the names of a few good restaurants specifically in the Art and Design districts. We like the idea of some city life again without having to schlep three hours by car to get there. With so many new restaurants springing up around there, have you found any new favorite neat places in that area for us to both try and go to with friends? I have already discovered that the Latin Café on our corner has the best café con leche on planet Earth.


Julie Hernandez

Dear Julie --

Sheba is a great start. For a fast foodier take on healthy food, go to Pasha’s on North Miami Avenue, which offers many meatless dishes from the Mediterranean, all freshly prepared and fairly priced. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink should be another must-try place in the neighborhood. There isn’t a whole lot of vegetarian options here, but you’ll enjoy those you do find. Grass is the prettiest outdoor spot to dine in, and while their menu still needs to be fine-tuned, they have two or three fairly creative vegetarian entrees. I haven’t tried these yet, so you’ll have to let me know how they are. At the Italian budget restaurant Luna Cafe, which sits about ten blocks north of the District on Biscayne Boulevard, you’ll be privy to all sorts of lip-smacking Italian dishes made without meat. Walk a block or so up Biscayne and you’ll come to The Honey Tree, which won’t be the best vegetarian restaurant you’ll ever eat in, but the fare is tasty, and prepared by those who share your healthy diet sensibilities. I get the feeling that in most restaurants, the chefs rarely dine on their own vegetarian dishes, which would explain the poor quality of such.

Finally:When you make it to South Beach, go to Guru Restaurant & Wine Bar, where you will encounter more delicious meatless dishes than just about anywhere else.

Good luck to you and Tony, and let me know how your search goes.

Email Lee Klein with your questions.

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