Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back to the blog... and in a new city

I can't believe it's been nearly almost nine months since my last blog. No, no, I'm not pregnant, but it has been a whirlwind. Blogging for Serendipity moved even further back on the burner when I had the chance to do some bona fide professional blogging for Their blogs are great (if I do say so myself) and their service- providing menus for a wide range of restaurants in NYC, Miami, DC, and other major cities- is quite convenient. Add wedding planning, getting married, going on a fabulous honeymoon to Costa Rica, and moving to Washington, D.C. to the mix, and you have a negligent blogger to say the least. Luckily, today I was awakened from my blogging slumber by the devilish deliciousness of Ray's Hell-Burger (1725 Wilson Boulevard, no sign yet). Another restaurant by the same owner of Ray's the Steaks, Michael Landrum, this no-frills establishment serves quite possibly the best burger you have ever had. The ground beef and toppings (blue cheese, foie gras, and truffle oil, just to name a few) pay homage to the burgers steak-house older sibling, but the kitchy B-movie posters and the laid-back attitude of the staff make it a true burger joint. While you can make your own burger from Ray's extensive list of toppings, my husband and I opted for one of their signature combinations, the "Let's Get It On" (we are newlyweds afterall!). Burgers are made to order and worth the wait. Our sexy sandwiches arrived dripping in sauteed mushrooms, peppers, onions, and roasted garlic. Crisp lettuce, tomato, and a generous helping of applewood smoked bacon and swiss cheese finished it off. The panoply of flavors came together just like the harmony in a Marvin Gaye song. However, as my husband noticed, the juicy goodness of the toppings and the meat led to a one note flavor and a mushy bun by the end of the meal. (The DCfoodies also noticed this phenomenon.) We've decided that for our next visit, we'll try something a bit simpler, perhaps the basic burger au poivre with blue cheese and a slice of tomato. Or maybe, we'll really take it over the top and try the "Burger of Seville" (foie gras, mushrooms, bordelaise sauce and truffle oil).

Friday, March 14, 2008

A little bit of the Jersey Shore in the heart of the Grove

Ah the Jersey Shore, a sea-side escapade that offers more than just sand and sun, bringing together piers of entertainment and a boardwalk lined with tasty treats and tantalizing games of chance. In the past, Miamians needed a plane ticket and a beach pass to savor these delight, but with the opening of the Boardwalk Tavern in Coconut Grove, an authentic slice of Jersey pizza is just a short drive away. The pizzeria/bar recently opened up across the street from Le Bouchon, the former home of Cozzoli's. While the ovens are still the same, the pizza is a huge upgrade. Owner Paul imports the dough daily from NYC, for that true up-state flavor. The Boardwalk Tavern offers traditional bar snacks, like chicken wings and nachos, as well as salads and pasta. The decor is true to the Shore with pictures of Seaside and Belmar lining the walls and arcade games for entertainment and atmosphere.

My advice: Come hungry and bring friends, you will want to order a fresh pie rather than having just one slice that's been sitting out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

2008 Lunch Round up

2008's been a whirlwind. I can't believe it is nearly the ides of March. So Here are a few tasty treats for your lunch time rendezvous

Franktitude: This is a funky hot dog joint that boasts a full menu of alternative dogs as well as the traditional favorites, chili dogs, mustard and sauerkraut, etc. They also serve tasty wraps and salads for the health conscious. The service is fast and friendly, but stay away from the salmon dog. It sounds bad and tastes worse. (Downtown Miami a few blocks off the Government Center Metro stop)

Trattoria Luna: For a more upscale yet affordable lunch, this Italian eatery offers unbeatable value. Any lunch special comes complete with the soup of the day and a fresh mesclun salad. The entrees are sure to please with feathery light gnocchi in pesto, salmon and penne with a pink vodka sauce, and chicken piccata, just to name a few. Luna also provides a moderately priced wine list and classic range of desserts. (U.S. between Kendall and 104st.)

El Chalan: For those of you unfamiliar with Peruvian cuisine, El Chalan offers the perfect introduction. Unpretentious in setting and plentiful in its offerings, this restaurant brings the costal flavors of Peru to Miami. Seafood is fresh and moderately priced and prepared in a variety of ways: fried, steamed, grilled, you name it. The mixed cebiche is excellent, incredibly flavorful and tender, while the large fried seafood plate is enough to feed four people comfortably for under $10.00. Don't forget to try the unique Peruvian bevarages: Inca Kola and various pilsners and lagers (Bird Rd. across from Tropical Park, just past the Palmetto)