Dr. Pepper Gets Macho, 1500 Degrees Gets Honored, and Joe's Gets the Crabs

A brief look back at some events that transpired in the food world over the past week:

On Monday, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group rolled out Dr. Pepper Ten, a 10-calorie soft drink aimed at men who "want a lower-calorie option without the diet imagery." In other words: For guys who want to watch their weight but think diet drinks are perceived as being for wimps. "Just ten manly calories," goes the ad, and then: "Think you're man enough for the can?" Plus, to make it really manful, the packaging is gunmetal grey and patterned with silver bullets. "It's not for women," goes another tagline, in case you haven't gotten it by now. I have never heard of a man being made fun of for drinking diet soda, but if that sort of ribbing exists, now that person can be mocked for not only drinking a diet soda but also for not manning up to it.

Tuesday brought news -- broken by Riki Altman on Short Order -- that the Delano will be closing Blue Door Fish following Art Basel this year, and will shutter the Florida Room by the end of December. Farewell to a good restaurant and a great cocktail lounge. And it was a good day for the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel and chef Paula DaSilva, as Esquire magazine named 1500 Degrees one of America's 20 Best New Restaurants. It was Miami's only entry onto the list.

I ignored the food world on Wednesday -- who can concentrate with such muggy weather? -- but it doesn't feel as though I missed much.

On Thursday we found out that chef Ralph Pagano has handed in his notice at STK Miami. He probably figured that since it wasn't his daddy's steakhouse there was no need to work there forever.

On the same day it was announced that Michael Gilligan will be the head chef at Rusty Pelican once it reopens from a $7 million renovation. Gilligan impressed at Atrio at the Conrad and for a short time as executive chef of the W Hotel and the now-shuttered Solea. There's no question he will bring up the food quality from what it used to be at Rusty Pelican -- which, as locals know, was always popular because of setting, not cuisine. And unlike our other waterfront restaurants -- almost all of which are part of upscale hotels -- this place was affordable (non-shellfish/steak entrees between $19 and $30).

We hope Rusty Pelican doesn't totally blow it and become just another expensive waterfront dining establishment -- a replacement, so to speak, for Blue Door Fish. But it looks as though that's exactly what is going to happen. This sort of thinking -- putting greed over feed -- is what prevents Miami from becoming a great food city.

Today, Friday, is opening night of Joe's Stone Crab season: Number 98 if you're counting. Sure you'll be able to get stone crabs at other places, but they always seem to taste better at Joe's. We'll have to wait and see if the restaurant still offers a fried chicken dinner (half a bird) on the menu for $5.95 -- after many years, still Miami's best secret deal.

And that was the week that was.

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Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein