Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Barley & Swine

I really wanted to love this place after checking out their menu and reading the reviews on Yelp. Sadly, Barley & Swine fell below my expectations. It pains me to write a not so stellar review for a new spot but hopefully my criticism will be taken constructively and lead them to improve what I feel are amateur mistakes. First, the positives: nice spot, beautifully decorated, open kitchen, nice bar, cute details like the piggy salt & pepper shakers. They were also quite accomodating since we had our baby with us and found us a spot to park our stroller.


Pic stolen from Barley & Swine's website - nice crowd, chill vibe.

The food wasn't all terrible - the fried oysters were amazing. The batter was tasty and the side of pimento aioli was delish. This was our favorite dish and being the first thing we tried we got ahead of ourselves with excitement.

Fried Oysters

The black truffle patatas weren't terrible either. They were bathed in a thick (a little too thick) parmesan cream sauce that went quite well with the truffle. I enjoyed them. My husband wasn't a fan.

Black Truffle Patatas

The serrano ham & manchego cheese croquettes were also quite good. The guava sauce was phenomenal and paired deliciously with the saltiness of the ham & cheese. I found the batter to be a little crusty for croquettes but overall they were pretty tasty.


My entree was the pork rib tips with a fried egg, sriracha, sweet potato bacon hash and bourbon maple sauce. My pork was dry and flavorless. The hash wasn't seasoned (thick chunks of bacon were good though) and seemed like an afterthought. I don't remember tasting the maple since the sriracha (which I normally love) was way too freaking spicy and stole all the thunder in the dish. This dish sounds nice on paper but once you taste it it doesn't make any sense.

Pork Rib Tips
Although I tried to convince him to order their Latin Burger (I had it once at the owners' now defunct old spot, The Joint, and it was ridiculously good), he refused to honor and obey thy sacred wife and ordered their catch of the day -  yellow tail on top of a fried green tomato. We took one bite and summoned our very sweet waitress to send it back. It was inedibly salty. The thought makes me pucker my face in an unttractive fashion that reminds me I should be due for some Botox soon. Serves him right for ordering fish at a pig joint. Since we sent that sucker back we opted out of trying dessert. Damn.

Catch of the Day

We also ordered their daily mac and cheese (pic is missing, nothing to cry about.) Saturday's special is lobster and mascarpone. Apparently they have a mac of the day, which is a pretty cool concept for mac and cheese lovers like myself. This mac and cheese left a lot to be desired. The pasta was a little under cooked, and the lobster was MIA. The cheese sauce was tasty and creamy, it had the actual flavor of lobster but very tiny bits. I guess they spruce up their stuff with lobster stock to boost the flavor. I was expecting the delicious chunks I saw on their Deco Drive segments. When I order lobster mac I expect chunks, you do not toy with my emotions when it comes to mac n cheese. I guess I was spoiled by the best lobster mac I ever had last year in the Keys. By this point I was too aggravated to complain so I just ate a few bites and gave up on life.

Overall our meal was just OK. Service was excellent. Beer selection looks interesting as do other items on the menu. I will probably go back in a few weeks and hope to have a better experience. Kendall really needs a spot like this in the area. We truly do not have a gastropub type of place 'round these parts. The place definitely has potential and I hope they stick around long enough to prove it.

Barley & Swine
9059 Southwest 73rd Court
South Miami, FL 33156
(305) 397-8678

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sweet Times Cupcakes & Coffee

Dear Kendall cupcake shops - there's a new kid in town and this kid is a force to be reckoned with!  Sweet Times Cupcakes & Coffee has landed itself in my #1 slot for cupcakes and coffee. Hands down. I was first introduced to Sweet Times' delicious cupcakes when a friend brought some over for a play date. I fell in love with the frosting, my friend tried to explain what was so special about them but I was too busy stuffing my face to pay any attention. The cupcakes were moist but not greasy, flavorful, and fresh. After sharing Carrot, Campfire, Red Velvet, Vanilla, & a berry cupcake of sorts I knew I had to investigate further.

The same friend and I treated ourselves to a visit to the shop after our weekly "workout" with our babies at Gymboree in the same shopping center. Sweet Times is located in a hidden two story shopping center next to the hotel behind the Barnes & Noble on Kendall. The place is clean, sleek, and inviting. There's a couple of comfy couches and an L shaped bar/counter with plenty of seating.

Words to live by

The young lady behind the counter was friendly and welcoming. She answered all of my questions and seemed to know her stuff well. She explained that everything is baked in small batches through the day, their ingredients are top notch (Madagascar vanilla, Italian buttercreams, Belgian chocolate, the works) and the owners are in daily to bake themselves. Nice. She also sold us on coffee frappes which I'm not a huge fan of (I can't deal with brain freeze and I'm too gluttonous to sip my drinks) but I am now addicted to after having them at Sweet Times. Their frappes are a perfect creamy & frothy consistency that makes even a fatty like me sip it slow and savor every drop. But I digress... Cupcakes.

Wednesday's assortment

On this visit my friend ordered the Aunt Babette (described on their website as marble cake, chocolate & vanilla buttercream) and a Vanilla Vanilla (vanilla cake, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean buttercream) cupcake. She reports to have enjoyed them both.

Coffee frappe, Vanilla Vanilla & Aunt Babette

I ordered a Nutella (chocolate cake filled with Hazelnut ganache, Nutella buttercream, hazelnuts), 4 Leches (tres leches cake, dulce de leche buttercream) and a White Chocolate Raspberry (vanilla raspberry cake, raspberry buttercream dipped in white chocolate) which we shared. I also ordered a 4 Leches, Vanilla Vanilla, Red Velvet (red velvet cake, white chocolate buttercream, red rock sugar) and Lights Out (chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, chocolate ganache, chocolate sprinkles) to go (for hubby... to share with me. I am never going to lose these last 8 lbs of baby weight.) I can honestly say that I loved every single flavor. Seriously. My favorite being the 4 leches with the White Chocolate Raspberry coming in a close second. The Lights Out is a dream for a chocoholic, their ganache is pure silky chocolate perfection, and the chocolate buttercream is so subtle and perfectly delicious.)

Coffee frappe, 4 leches, White Chocolate Raspberry & Nutella.
In the box, 4 Leches, Vanilla Vanilla, Red Velvet and Lights Out

This little place has a lot of potential and is definitely giving the rest of the Kendall cupcakeries a run for their money. With their uber moist cake, dreamy buttercreams, innovative flavors (menu changes daily) and refreshing coffee drinks they are making their presence known in the cupcake scene. Check them out!

Sweet Times Cupcakes & Coffee
8530 Sw 124 Ave
Ste 101

Miami, FL 33183
(305) 270-0300

Monday, August 12, 2013

Eating House (Brunch)

I've had dinner at Eating House a couple of times and loved it. Read about it here. A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have experienced their shamelessly delicious and overly indulgent Wakin' & Bacon Brunch and don't regret a single caloric morsel. The meal was perfect from start to finish, definitely another win for the Eating House peeps in my book. We also had some of their yummy Tang Mimosas but were too distracted to take a pic. My bad. These pictures are absolutely hideous (almost too ugly to post) and do not do their amazing food any justice. You are just going to have to go see (eat!) for yourself. And take me with you.

Candied Applewood Smoked Bacon:
Plain and simple. Thick delicious bacon dolled up in a sweet candy crust of diabetic deliciousness.

Cuban Bread Torrejas:
Thick, soft, lardy slices of cuban bread drenched in guava sauce and whipped cream cheese with the thick and gooey consistency of leche condensada. In your face.

Cap'n Crunch Pancakes:
Bathed in condensed milk syrup and garnished with none other than Cap'n Crunch bits. A little too rich and definitely too sweet. Amazing.

Maiz Asado:
Corn of the cob, a bit charred (yum!), covered in crema and Fritos. FRITOS. Flavor central.

Chicken and Waffles:
I can't say enough about their perfectly fried fried chicken. Add maple syrup and some spicy ranch and let the heavens sing.

Carbonara Eggs Benedict:
Perfectly cooked eggs on toast with bacon and truffle. So delicious. Almost as good as their pasta carbonara.