Saturday, December 22, 2012

Apizza Brooklyn Resto + Vino Bar

Finally! A perfect meal from start to finish. I found this place while walking off another meal I had at the same shopping center. This little shopping center is full of awesome little food spots, but let's get to the point. Apizza Brooklyn rocked. Plain and simple. The decor is on point - cozy, dim, but still casual. A massive oven in the corner says "we know what we're doing so get in here and order a pizza!... Now!" We came on a Wednesday night and the place was pretty packed. We had to wait about 15 minutes outside which wasn't terrible. The owner came out to greet us and offer us wine. Sadly I am with child and unable to enjoy. Sadness. Once we sat we received amazing service from start to finish. Our waiter was incredibly attentive and friendly. He explained the menu well, including the difference between Brooklyn style and Neapolitan pizza. The Neapolitan pizza is made from imported ingredients from the motherland, so we were sold. We ordered calamari, minestrone, and a Margherita Neapolitan style pizza.


The minestrone was amazing. Hearty, chunky, full of flavor. Plenty of beans, hearty veggies... amazingness. We fell in love with this soup. It was so good I was pissed with myself for not ordering a bowl. We actually went back the following week hoping for minestrone again but had carrot soup instead which was almost as amazing.


Calamari was also pretty perfect. Thick meaty rings breaded in light but crispy batter with some marinara that had a little kick to it. We also ordered this on our second visit and loved it.

Neapolitan Margherita

Pizza. Oh, the pizza. As soon as I took a bite I was taken back to my first pizza in Rome last year. There really must be something about imported ingredients. The cheese, the tomatoes, the basil, the dough... everything transported me back to Italy. The dough was super thin, crispy and soft in all the right combinations. The cheese melted beautifully and played so well with the tart tomato sauce and punch of the basil. I am about to break into song...

My husband's absolute favorite thing on the plantet (besides me!) is Tiramisu. He's quite the critic (or so he thinks) when it comes to this dessert. As you can see from the pic, the SOB broke my #1 rule for dining out (don't touch til I get a pic!) and dove right in like a PMS'ing 15 year old girl with eating issues. This thing was seriously good. Every layer was perfection. The creaminess, the chocolate - everything was awesome. Truly a perfect ending to a perfect meal.


They offer a good variety of pizzas, pastas, appetizers, the works! They also have a nice wine list which I cannot wait to enjoy post-baby. The owner remembered us from our first visit and swung by to say hi, which was so nice. Places like this make you want to keep coming back and spreading the word about their awesome food and service. We will definitely be back. Maybe tonight. I'm craving some Tiramisu STAT!

Apizza Brooklyn Resto + Vino Bar
9515 S Dixie Hwy
Pinecrest, FL 33156
(305) 669-1761

Prime Italian

Few things in life upset me more than an unsatisfying meal. An unsatisfying meal with a ridiculous price tag downright pisses me off. I came to Prime Italian with the highest of expectations due to some pretty stellar reviews from fellow Yelpers as well as word of mouth. I am always a bit skeptical of these SoBe "hot spots" since my last negative (and damn pricy too!) experience at Barton G. After our dining experience @ Prime we are swearing off the big flashy names for a while. For clarification, I was expecting to drop a pretty penny here (my hubby's 30th) so the price-tag wasn't a surprise or what upset me. The underwhelming food and mediocre service did that all on its own.

The place is gorgeous - decor is impeccable. Big beautiful bar, brick walls, nice outside area. I made a reservation via OpenTable and received a call that morning to confirm. I spoke with the hostess and informed her it was my husband's birthday and I wanted a candle on the dessert but no singing. Hostess greets me with "hi, happy birthday!" Poor thing.

We sat inside. Our server was very short and borderline rude, but whatever, that I expected from all the reviews. We received some garlic bread to start, ordered fried mozzarella and the infamous Kobe meatball with sausage marinara as recommended.

*WARNING: These pics suck! The servers don't give you 4 seconds to look at your food before they start dissecting it to serve it.

Garlic Bread with Marinara (pardon the color, it was actually red.) 

The garlic bread was tasty but super greasy. You can feel the grease drip down your throat as you chew. My husband said "this bread should come with gloves" which says it all. We each had a piece and were kinda grossed out.

Fried Mozzarella
The mozzarella was tasty but average. I expected fresh mozzarella with some sort of magical flavor but this tasted like something you buy at Costco and refry at home. Nothing special. My husband said the tomatoes were good.

Kobe Meatball - unable to appreciate it via pic since the server went right it

The meatball was tasty, but not the explosion of flavor I was expecting. Isn't Kobe beef supposed to be amazing? This was an average meatball. In fact, I would call it less than average. If it wasn't for the ricotta and the sausage marinara this would've been pretty depressing. Maybe people built it up too much for me.

BTW - Portions are massive! I would've been fine just eating the appetizers (a growing baby/uterus cramps your stomach space!) but we ordered a 12 oz filet mignon with garlic herb butter, a side of sautéed spinach and the truffled Mac n cheese. The meat was cooked perfectly and the flavor on the char outside was pretty damn delicious. The garlic butter was also very good, flavorful. The Mac n cheese was flavorful but insanely greasy (leftovers left a puddle of grease when reheated, so nasty) and the sautéed spinach was flavorless (mine is better I swear.)

12 oz Filet Mignon
Truffle Mac n' Cheese
Sauteed Spinach

 For dessert the birthday boy requested Nutella bread pudding which was a big ol' brick of dryness topped with a scoop of generic vanilla ice cream. Oh and the candle I requested, non-existent. Awesome.

Nutella Bread Pudding

A swift kick in the balls
We left disappointed, unsatisfied, and pissed about paying for food that did not meet our expectations. I guess the people who rave about this place frequent Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill and maybe even Chili's.

Side note: Throughout the meal our waiter seemed rushed and was short with us. I don't want you to be my BFF but at least be personable. Whatever.

I will not be returning nor will I be recommending this place to anyone. In fact, this will probably be one of those places you tell people not to go to when they ask you for a foodie recommendation on the beach.

Prime Italian
101 Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 695-8484

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blue Collar

This will be brief since the meal wasn't amazing and I'm not in an abusive mood. I wanted some lemon ricotta pancakes and my amazing, loving spouse drove my pregnant behind to the hoods of Biscayne and BFE for just that. I had heard pretty awesome things about the place so I was excited. I love me some brunchy/breakfast goodies so that just added to the joy.  
The place is located in the least glamorous area in the MIA. It's actually a tiny hole in the wall somehow connected to a very shady motel establishment where I can only assume the most illicit entrepeneural transactions take place in the wee hours of the night. Parking sucks. The walkers on the street are creepy. The inside of the place makes you wish you had a hooded poncho to shield yourself (and your 'do) from the greasy mist that percolates. We decided to melt, I mean, eat outside. Umbrellas are limited. Thank goodness my hubs is strong dude and managed to move an umbrella for me so I didn't melt. It's just not a comfortable spot at all. But let's get to the point...

The menu is extensive offering straight up comfort food - do the Deens own this place? Breakfast items a plenty, sandwiches, hearty entrees, and a fantastic variety of vegetarian sides. Since we were there for breakfast, we started with some coffee which presented itself in a very old school thermos type-a thingy with a cute milk-manish bottle on the side. Adorable. The rust on the lip of the thermos, not so much. I don't love tetanus with my caffeine.

My husband ordered BC Breakfast Sandwich - eggs, bacon, latkes. It went back with the quickness due to the inedible amount of grease that leaked on to the plate when he tried to take a bite. The potatoes were also soaked in fat, which was unacceptable.

We ended up sharing my Classic Benedict which was also very greasy and my eggs were dangerously undercooked. Again, the potatoes were inedibly oily and left a puddle wherever they touched the plate. Sadness.

The lemon ricotta pancakes were also quite greasy but since I was craving them I had a few bites and felt satisfied. They were buttery and crispy but not in a yummy way, in a very guiltfilled, repugnant, call my cardiologist kinda way.

I get that the place is all old-school and diner-ish but that is no excuse to make food that makes you feel like shit about eating it and feel disgusted with yourself afterwards. If they were to tone down the lard a bit this would've been a kickass meal. It actually pains me to write a crappy review for a place that has such awesome ratings on Yelp, but I have to be honest. I would give it a second chance but I need a new dining companion because my husband wouldn't ever set foot in here again. Any takers?

Blue Collar
6730 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138
(305) 756-0366

El Agave Azul

As I write this post and reminisce on the amazing food we had here I am literally texting my husband and demanding a trip to Davie for some good Mexican grub ASAP. We ended up here while shopping at Ikea. I was Yelping like mad and found this spot via Yelp (as usual.) This place is located in a dingy strip mall next to a questionable bar and other shady most awesome places typically are.
Don't expect anything fancy once you walk into this little spot. It is bare with zero decor or Mexican flair because these people aren't in the business of cute and cozy, they are in the business of making the best damn Mexican food ever. The picture I took sucks so here's a link to their menu

My favorite thing about this place and the one thing that haunted my dreams and made me come back the following week (with a fabricated "I gotta return something @ Ikea" story) was the guacamole. This is really and truly the best guacamole I've ever had. It is fresh, chunky, tangy, and full of flavor. There's plenty of cilantro & lime. Get a big tub. And some to take home. Trust me.

Next up I had tacos - carne asada, avocado, and cheese. I don't like lettuce or tomato (it's a texture thing I can't get past) so it was nice and plain just how I like it. The beef was tender and flavorful. The avocado was chunky and creamy. The tortillas must be made in house because they tasted like there's a 4 ft abuela named Guadalupe in the back making them herself.  
I also had a sope, which is something new I've never even heard of. This chunky, deep fried, mass of deliciousness came topped with carne asada, quese fresco, and refried beans. The "small, thick, corn tortilla" as it is described on their menu was just that - chunky and cripsy and really freaking good. It was warm so it went very nicely with the cool queso fresco.
My husband had chicken tacos which he really enjoyed. I really didn't pay much attention to him since I was busy devouring my sope, tacos, and keeping a watchful eye on him to make sure he didn't eat all the delicious guac. He often says he feels like he's eating in prison with me because I always have my eye on the food (sorry babe!)

Lastly - dessert! These adorable little goodies were stacked on a basket on the counter. They sat there so innocently just begging to be picked up, like a hungry kitty cat on the street. To the left we have tiny little caramel filled, cinnamon sugar dusted empanadas. To the right, powdery, buttery cookies that must have been made by Guadalupe's younger sister, Lupita. They were amazingly fresh and tasted authentic and home made.

It's a shame this place is so far from my 'hood but if you make a day out of it - Ikea, Sawgrass, whatever you fancy - the drive is absolutely worth it. The food is fresh, authentic, flavorful, amazing!

El Agave Azul
13040 W State Rd
Davie, FL 33325
(954) 530-4321

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bonefish Brunch

I can honeslty say I have never had a bad meal at Bonefish Grill. I am an absolute sucker for their deliciously lumpy crab cakes, their tuna tataki (which I would kill for but can't eat now due to my child-bearing condition) and their desserts have always been good to me, especially their creme brulee. Needless to say I was ecstatic to discover a tried and true favorite is now serving my absolute favortie meal ever: brunch! Check out the menu, it is quite enticing.
Hubby and I met with mother-in-law for a quick brunch a couple of weekends ago. They start serving at 11:00am so we arrived right on time to find it was us and 3 other tables. I was so excited about the menu and location that I asked for a manager to inquire on private events (baby shower!) during brunch. More on this later.
We ordered a French press coffee (not pictured, sorry, blame the fetus) which was awesome. Strong, rich, and flavorful it hit the spot.
Mother-in-law ordered the yogurt parfait which came topped with colorful fresh berries and granola. The granola was awesome - cinnamony and spicy, crunchy, sweet, bomb! The berries were fresh and sweet, and the yogurt was perfectly tart.

Greek Yogurt Parfait

The fat girl inside (who's slowly creeping up due to my aforementioned condition) just had to have the chocolate croissant. It was pretty big but so damn delicious it was painful to share this with my husband (thank heavens the MIL isn't into sweets!) The dough was flaky and slightly caramelized, the inside was moist and buttery with rich swirls of chocolate. To die.

Chocolate Croissant

MIL and I ordered the same thing - Skillet Omelet with spinach, gorgonzola (she got Mozzarella) and turkey sausage. This came sizzling hot in a cast iron skillet. The portion is pretty large, we both took 1/2 of it home which was awesome the next day.

Skillet Omelet baked frittata-style in an individual skillet with fresh spinach, gorgonzola and turkey sausage

My health conscious husband got the California Omelet which was my second option so I was happy he likes to share (or doesn't have much of a choice with me as his wife...) It was hearty but tasted healthy and was very filling.
California Applewood bacon, cheddar, caramelized onion, tomatoes, avocado

Lastly I ordered the Creme Brulee French Toast which I enjoyed all. by. my. self. I ate 1/2 and took the rest home to enjoy for breakfast the next day (went awesome with the Skillet Omelet.) The bread was nice and caramelized on the outside but spongy on the inside. The mascarpone whipped cream was insane. The bacon was burnt to an inedible crisp so that sucked. I love bacon, especially dipped in maple syrup, so this was quite the let down.

Créme Brulee French Toast Grand Marnier and orange zest battered, served with mascarpone whipped cream, fresh mint, strawberries and bacon


Overall, the food was awesome (minus the bacon) but Bonefish really needs to put their big girl panties on for their brunch service. The food took forever, there was a mixup with our sides (I got fresh fruit vs. cheesy potatoes which I forgot to photograph and BTW they were awesome!) and it was hard to get someone's attention to get a coffee refill and some brown sugar. Our server, whom we've had before during dinner, was incredibly attentive and apologetic for the inconvenienceas. He was manning the place with 2 others, and despite the emptiness when we arrived it started to fill quickly as the minutes went on. He was all over the place trying to accomodate everyone. Poor guy.

I had asked the manager earlier on about possibly hosting my baby shower during brunch which he quickly declined with a snappy "we're not ready for that" or something to that effect. I was thinking "damn dude, you can't take the challenge?" but then realized having hosted one of the most important days of my life there would've done nothing but give me contractions and hormone induced rage.

Bonefish Grill
12520 SW 120th Street
Kendall, FL 33186
(786) 293-5713

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shake Shack

If there's one thing this pregnancy has made me crave it is burgers. Big, juicy, cheesy, greasy, sloppy burgers. But not just any ol' burger will do. No, no ma'am! I've tried replacement burgers via places located closer to my casa, but nothing convinces this kid. This little fetus is a foodie like it's momma and it knows what it wants, and that, is, SHAKE SHACK!!!

Branded on a table which is made out of an old bowling lane

I first tried Shake Shack at the sweltering hot mess that was the meat saunainferno hell hole The Grind where they took the big prize home. Since that sweaty encounter I have remembered them fondly. The perfectly soft bun, the juicy meat patty, the beautifully melted cheese draped over the meat... drool.

The fries aren't very special since they are good ol' crinkle fries but they are just so good when dipped in their cheese sauce.

The custard is perfection. Thick, creamy, custardy. This time we had the red velvet which was ridiculous.

On our next visit (which has no pictures since hungry pregnant people don't have time for foolishness) we ordered burgers (duh!) and a hot dog which was also pure perfection - thick juicy meaty perfection. The taste of the meat was pure, no funky additives or animal parts suspected. If they are in there, which they may be, they sure hide it well. Thank you. We also had the caramel apple custard which was also pretty damn divine.

I am SO glad that this place is crappy drive away from home. If not, I would be suspect for carrying quads as I would be stuffing myself retarded on a weekly basis. This place is that good. Luckily when I do give into my cravings I feel a tad bit less guilty since Shake Shack's burgers are made of 100% all-natural Angus beef, vegetarian fed, humanely raised and source verified. No hormones or antibiotics. And God knows a preggo does not need additional hormones.

Shake Shack
1450 S Dixie Hwy
Coral Gables, FL 33146
(786) 470-3701

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Because this entry is ridiculously late and because of my mad photog skills, I will keep this entry short and sweet. Pardon the laziness.
When you're newly pregnant and still "in the closet" as my mom called it, it is pretty hard to celebrate your big 3-0 in your former lushy ways without being questioned by your fellow drinking buddies as to why you're not guzzling beers. My birthday conveniently landed on a Monday (the Monday of the devastating Hurricane Isaac fiasco) so my dear husband and I took a rainy drive to SoBe for a quiet dinner. We made an early bird reservation for 7:00pm and we were the only ones in the place for about 5 minutes. This place filled up quick so make a reservation or suffer the consequences. Ambiance is nice - its exactly what you expect, very southern, beautiful tables, farmhouse feel.
The menu boasts "soul nurturing dishes meant for sharing amongst friends" which is exaclty what you get. (Note: these people change their menu with what's in season and what's available at the farm that day. I usually cheat with my reviews but referring back to the menu when I forget an item's description but failed miserably with this since this review is almost 2 months old.) Lots of variety and lots to share. Their drink menu is also extensive, all bourbon mostly, but a nice variety of mixed bourbon drinks. Due to my current "condition" I had the virginal version of the Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade which was tart and sweet and super duper refreshing. I will be back for a real one post-baby. 
We ordered a ridiculously good soup - crab and corn chowder I think? Which was amazing. Creamy and rich.  I don't recall what the fritter in the middle is but I remember I loved it and want it now.
Mama’s Chicken Biscuits were the bomb, biscuits were fresh and fluffy and very buttermilky. The fried chicken was fried crisp and was juicy and tender inside. The pepper jelly was a nice boom in your mouth. I now want this too. Damnit.
My husband had the Iceberg Wedge, I hate lettuce but I did try the avocados and house made bacon and it was also very good.
We shared the Short Rib Meatloaf which we found dry and disappointing. I think about it now and scrunch my face and feel like flossing, it was so damn dry. Meat fibers were tough and grainy.
We debated on another dish but decided to "behave" and go straight for dessert. We had the peach cobbler with butter pecan ice cream which was fantastic, along with the chocolate and bacon whoppie pie which was super duper rich, overwhelmingly rich actually, but yummy nontheless. The side of milk it came with was the perfect way to wash it down. That thing was serious.
Peach Cobbler

Food porn at it's finest!
Besides the meat loaf everything was yummy. I will definitely be back. Perhaps for brunch, their menu looks really good.

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
1600 Lenox Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 538-5220

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ROK:BRGR South Miami

As I mentioned before, pregnancy has made me fantasize about burgers day in and day out. As much as I try to control my urges in my efforts to stay fit and fab even while requiring a higher daily caloric intake because I am creating human life within me, I sometimes throw in the towel and indulge. My work BFF's, or my Circle, or the "hungry chicks" as I have affectionately referred to them in many of my reviews, have a tradition in which we all take the birthday girl out on their birthday for a dinner after work. Preggo wants burgers? Preggo gets burgers!
ROK:BRGR is a new (was new on my bday, this review is way old) burger spot located in the now defunct Segafredo's spot in SoMi. They offer an extensive craft beer menu (not fun for preggo people who love their beer!) with good happy hour specials which my friends got to enjoy. We went early on a Friday and the crowd was nice, mostly young people getting off work in the area and heading for a drink and a bite.
Since our crew is serious about our eating, we were not shy in ordering. Like always, the waiter made a comment about "a lot of food" which we quickly dismissed. Must people assume that because you don't weight 600lbs you can't do some damage? Damn!
Here's a quick recap of our indulgences:

PRIMO’S MEATBALLS: san marzano marinara, whipped ricotta, fresh basil.
Not our favorite. Meat was bland, gray, and mushy. We joked it was old burger meat... which could've been.

MINI KOBE HOT DOGS: house-made chili, aged vermont cheddar, cilantro sour cream.
Delicious! Nice toasty buns, good weiners, melted cheese and nice meaty chily. Sour cream was a great add in.

LOBSTER CORN DOGS: hand battered, spicy honey mustard.
These were awesome. They were fresh, lobster flavor was on the money, and the sauce was very good.

MAC N’ CHEESE: gruyère & fontina cheese, truffle oil.
Delicious! Very truffly, rich, creamy.

TUNA TACOS: ahi tuna, avocado, seaweed, jalapeno vinaigrette.
These went back to the kitchen - they weren't fresh. The tuna was gray and they tasted very fishy (according to my peeps, I can't eat raw fish for now.)

THREESOME:combination of hand cut, sweet potato & truffle fries.
We all loved these. Especially the truffle fries. Each ketchup is a different flavor which was fun to mix things up. One was chipotle, one was pineapple, and the other escapes my mind right now.

ROK CALAMARI: lightly fried, sweet chili sauce, cherry peppers.
Small portion but good sized pieces with nice sauce. We ordered 2.

BACON JAM: american "kobe", maple bourbon bacon jam, brie cheese.
x3. YUM! Perfect combo of sweet and salty. Meat was seasoned well and cooked perfectly.

Lastly, my birthday cake. This massively ooey-gooey brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, fudge, blueberries and serious fireworks came to the table accompanied by some serious birthday tunes. The brownie was out of control.... crispy edges and decadently moist inside. The ice cream was rich and so good with the warm brownie. 

I heart them all.

Overall the food was really good, the vibe was nice, service was excellent. I had actually forgotten about how much I loved the place until now (that's what I get for being 6 weeks late on a review) so I am planning a return visit very soon.

5800 SW 73rd St
Miami, FL 33143
(305) 663-6099