A Quick Bite at Yard House

Merrick Park is an area in Coral Gables with plenty of stores to shop from and some really great locations to grab a bite. Yard House is a place that is well known for its hefty beer selection and American style cuisine. They don’t actually sell yards of beer though, trust me I asked. If you like trying new beers and maybe even ordering a sampler this is the ideal location, though I’ll warn you not to go on a Saturday because there’s no happy hour and the beers are overpriced in my opinion. With a dim lit ambiance, classic rock playing in the background and TV screens lining the walls, this place is great for watching a game. Here’s what Jessica and I ordered…

 

Bass and Elden Flower

Bass and Elden Flower

Bass – American Pale Ale. Elden Flower – Champagne, St. Germaine, Hypnotic and Thyme. My beer came to the table just a notch above warm which I didn’t really like. However Jessica’s drink was refreshing and really well prepared.

 

Spinach Cheese Dip

Spinach Cheese Dip

Spinach Cheese Dip – Baked with feta, jack, parmesan and cream cheese served with crispy flatbread. This spinach cheese dip came piping hot to the table with a unique crispy flatbread as the dipping chip. We definitely enjoyed this spinach dip because of the four-cheese blend and fresh spinach mixture. The only thing that I wasn’t too fond of was the crispy flatbread chips because some of them were more chewy than crispy.

 

New York Steak Sandwich

New York Steak Sandwich

New York Steak Sandwich – Steak prepared to your specification, roasted Roma tomatoes, Swiss cheese, fried onions, garlic aioli with thin sliced fries. This steak sandwich was out of this world. Cooked to perfection, the thick steak had great flavor and the fried onions really worked well with the dish. This I would certainly order again if I return.

Mini Chocolate Souffle

Mini Chocolate Souffle

Mini Chocolate Soufflé – Served warm with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream. As far as chocolate soufflé is concerned, this desert was on point. I wouldn’t say that I loved the desert but it was good and I did enjoy the vanilla ice cream on top.

 

Though this restaurant doesn’t really make the cut of my top ten, I still think it’s worth giving it a shot. I will try going back to Yard House during the week when they have happy hour and specials to give it another shot. Thanks for stopping by and happy Monday everyone!

 

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Healthy Brunch at Town Kitchen & Bar

Town - Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea and Menu

Town – Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea and Menu

Located in the heart of South Miami, Town Kitchen & Bar is a great spot to grab a drink and enjoy some really unique food. Jessica and I have come here a few times already and I felt it was time for a post. This restaurant has a nice outdoor patio area which is great during winter. However, the heat in September is still too much to enjoy the outdoors so we settled for a nice booth inside. The restaurant has a modern industrial style with a raised ceiling giving the place a very spacious feel. Here’s what we ordered…

Town - Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea

Town – Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea

Bellini Proper – Ciroc Peach Vodka, Peach Schnapps, orange, pineapple juice and a splash of champagne. Bourbon Tea – Makers Mark Bourbon, Villa Massa Limoncello and fresh brewed iced tea. In my opinion, sometimes the best way to start your day is with a well-made cocktail. That’s what Jessica and I did when we arrived because the cocktails here are phenomenal. My Bourbon tea was delicious and surprisingly smooth while Jessica’s Bellini Proper was refreshing and sweet.

Town - Turkey Club with Skinny Fries

Town – Turkey Club with Skinny Fries

Turkey Club – Sliced oven roasted turkey breast, bacon, tomato, lettuce, cranberry relish, multi-grain bread and a side of skinny fries. What a delicious and healthy sandwich this was. The turkey breast and bacon were salty while the cranberry relish was sweet with a hint of spice. The lettuce and tomato were both fresh and crispy. I would definitely order this sandwich again. The skinny fries were soft and crispy. I enjoyed those as well.

Town - Pesto Steak Panini with Skinny Fries

Town – Pesto Steak Panini with Skinny Fries

Pesto Steak Panini – Toasted ciabatta, tender steak, pesto mayo, grilled onions, melted mozzarella cheese and skinny fries. Jessica order this unique sandwich and I had to have a bite. I’ve ordered this sandwich in the past and for good reason too. The steak is cooked to a juicy perfection and the pesto sauce works perfectly with the onions and melted cheese. This mouthwatering sandwich just might be my favorite thing at Town.

I recommend Town Kitchen & Bar to all of my food lovers. Whenever you’re in the mood for a nice cocktail and a healthy delicious meal, make sure to give this place a shot. Thanks for stopping by!

 

Grim Predictions in the Ebola Virus Outbreak

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the Ebola virus could infect well over 1 million people by January 2015. Officially the report claims that the number of infected could be between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January. So far, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) numbers, over 5,800 people have been infected by the virus in West Africa. In their statement the CDC claims that these numbers could be severely underreported and the actual number of infected could be close to 2.5 times more than the 5,800 people reported.

Recently President Obama sent over 3,000 troops and severely needed medical equipment to help stop the spread of the virus in West Africa. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently donated 50 million dollars in aid to the affected African nations. This much needed response along with that of “Doctors Without Borders” could help turn the tide of Ebola infection. However despite these efforts, experts on the ground say that it is going to take a massive international effort to get this outbreak under control.

Sweat, blood and saliva can transmit the deadly virus from one individual to another, making the process of containment extremely difficult. While listening to NPR about a week ago, I heard a report from a correspondent in Liberia saying that taxi cab drivers were transporting sick patients from their homes to the nearest hospital, sometimes more than three hours away, only to be rejected care. A lack of medical staff and equipment has compounded the effects of the virus, as sick patients are not able to get proper medical attention. Moreover, a lack of medical transport vehicles has led to the rampant infection of taxi drivers and passengers, due to poor sanitation procedures.

Experimental treatments have been underway in the U.S. and around the globe to stop the spread of this virus but no single vaccine has been verified. However, according to a report by the WHO, using the blood of Ebola virus victims who survived the disease could be a viable treatment for new patients. Once a person develops the proper antibodies to fight off the virus, they can donate those antibodies to people fighting the virus. Doctors who treated the two American’s that survived the virus said that the most crucial treatment right now is making sure that the patients are hydrated and replenishing vital electrolytes.

As you may or may not already know, one of the most pressing issues in stopping the spread of this virus has been the protection of medical staff who are treating the patients. After doing research on several organizations that are mobilizing to help put an end to this outbreak, I found directrelief.org. If you are looking to help and do your part in the fight against Ebola, donating to this organization may be a good start. I will continue praying for the people of West Africa and hope that awareness of this issue helps to end this outbreak. I’ll leave you with a sobering video below by the New York Times on the current situation in Liberia. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day.

Ps: For those of you interested in learning more about Liberia (the worst hit African nation by the Ebola outbreak) feel free to watch the video by Vice News shown on my post from a few months ago titled “Cannibal Warlord General Butt Naked”. It won’t take long before you realize that the country has virtually no sanitation, public service or rule of law. It’s something to think about when considering that this country is the hardest hit by the Ebola virus.

sources

cdc.gov

who.int

 

Cuban Fusion Dinner at Finka Table and Tap

Finka Entrance

Finka Entrance

In a city where Cuban restaurants and bakeries are plentiful, it’s really quite difficult to find one that is truly unique. Finka Table and Tap however is the exception to this rule. This one of a kind Gastro Pub boasts a bold menu with Cuban, Korean and Peruvian dishes. I first heard about this place about a month ago from a friend who said it was a great place to eat. Soon enough I began seeing the restaurant all over Instagram and Twitter and I decided it was time to go. Jessica and I were excited to try this new little spot and here’s what we had.

Green Acres and Cuban Old Fashioned

Green Acres and Cuban Old Fashioned

Green Acres – Leblon Cachaça, Fresh Cucumber, Pink Peppercorn Syrup, Lime Juice and Kimchi Flakes. Cuban Old Fashioned – Old Forester86 Bourbon, Bustelo Café Syrup, Angostura and Angostura Orange Bitters. These drinks were a true work of art. Green Acres is an incredibly refreshing drink with the perfect combination of sweet, sour, bitter and smooth. The Cuban Old Fashioned was a very interesting twist on a drink that I love and I would definitely order it again.

Mariquitas  (Fried Plantains)

Mariquitas (Fried Plantains)

Mariquitas – Fried Plantains. It is typical for Cuban restaurants to serve bread while deciding what to order but not at Finka. These Mariquitas were crunchy and flavorful with a really interesting presentation. We definitely enjoyed these.

 

 

 

 

Croquetas

Croquetas

 

Croquetas – Fried Ham Pastry and Fried Chicken Pastry. Croquetas are a staple of Cuban cuisine which typically consist of fried ham, chicken or fish. However Jessica and I decided that we would try the ham and chicken Croquetas this time around. These little pastries were cooked to perfection with a crunchy outside and a soft inside served on a bed of alfalfa sprouts.

Garbanzos Fritos

Garbanzos Fritos

Garbanzos Fritos – Chic Peas, Chorizo, Cilantro and Fried Carrots. What a treat! This little dish is served in a cast iron skillet with the fried carrots on top. Each bite of this exquisite dish was more mouthwatering than the last. I think this was our favorite dish. The flavor from the chorizo and the texture from the Garbanzos made this an unforgettable plate.

Flat Bread Pizza with Vaca Frita

Flat Bread Pizza with Vaca Frita

Vaca Frita Flatbread Pizza – Marinated Flank Steak, Cilantro, Caramelized Onions, Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce. This interesting mix was a unique spin on flatbread pizza that I have never experienced before. The Vaca Frita was cooked to a savory perfection while the flatbread kept a hint of its wood oven flavor giving it the perfect taste. A special dish indeed.

Finka Table and Tap was a great Gastro Pub experience for Jessica and I. This is a place that I will definitely return to in the future. For anyone who likes Cuban food, this place is a must. I hope you all enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

Calle Ocho Style Lunch in Miami

Mr. Yum - Crab Rangoon

Mr. Yum – Crab Rangoon

Calle Ocho (meaning “8th street” in Spanish) is a famous street in Miami that is best known for its Cuban influence. Leading straight into the heart of Downtown Miami, this street is always buzzing with life and energy. With a Latin vibe that could be found no place else, Calle Ocho is truly unique. However, despite the heavy Latin influence on this street, there is also a vibrant restaurant scene with cuisine from around the world. Instead of going with traditional Cuban food, I wanted to try something a little different. So Jessica and I decided to give Mr. Yum a shot. Best known for its Thai and Japanese cuisine, this restaurant is anything but typical. Here’s what we had.

Mr. Yum - Hangover Soup

Mr. Yum – Hangover Soup

Hangover Soup – Unknown ingredients. So I will confess that when I don’t know all of the ingredients in a dish, I usually look them up on the online Menu after I leave the restaurant. However, this soup is not featured on their online Menu and I have no idea what was in it. All that I could tell about this soup was that it was absolutely delicious and refreshing with a salty vegetable flavor. Hangover soup is served to you while you’re deciding on your meal.

Mr. Yum - Crab Rangoon

Mr. Yum – Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon – Deep fried dumplings with a curry cream cheese and crab meat center drizzled with an avocado lime sauce. I must say that this was a first time for me. While I’ve had Crab Rangoon in the past, I’ve never had it with a curry cream cheese or avocado lime sauce. What a delicious little treat this was. The curry cream cheese gives it a spicy kick while the avocado lime sauce counter-acts that spice perfectly. This is a great choice for anyone who likes spicy food.

Mr. Yum - Masaman Curry

Mr. Yum – Masaman Curry

Masaman Curry – Yellow curry with coconut milk, cashews, chicken, potatoes, onions, avocados and a side of white rice. This is the real deal when it comes to curry. Each bite of this amazing dish was both sweet and spicy while also creamy and crunchy. For me, texture can sometimes be as important as flavor and that’s why I loved this dish so much. Fresh avocado slices and just the right amount of kick from the curry made this mouthwatering plate a personal favorite. I would definitely order this one again.

Mr. Yum - Pad Thai

Mr. Yum – Pad Thai

Pad Thai – Sautéed rice noodles, eggs, scallions, bean sprouts and ground peanuts. Jessica ordered this one and I must say that I loved it too. Again, this restaurant knows how to deliver on both flavor and texture. The noodles were cooked to a soft perfection and sautéed in a sweet Asian sauce. While skeptical at first about eggs and peanuts in this dish, they gave it a salty twist that kept the sweet sauce from overpowering the meal. These chefs definitely know what they are doing.

Overall a great lunch on Calle Ocho. I would recommend to anyone who likes Japanese and Thai cuisine to come to this place and give it a try. It is guaranteed that whatever you order in this restaurant will be both original and delicious. I hoped you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

To all of my followers, thank you for your support. It means the world to me when I see you guys liking my posts and keeping up with my writing. If you ever have an opinion on what restaurant I should try next then please leave a comment and let me know. Happy Monday everyone.

Dinner with a Twist at Barley and Swine

Barley&Swine - Mac-n-Cheese

Barley&Swine – Mac-n-Cheese

Located in Downtown Dadeland, this Gastro pub has earned the title of best croquetta’s in town! Recommended to us by our good friend Kelci, Barley and Swine is a new spot that serves up its own brand of American Comfort food. With Latin and Asian flavors fused into every dish, this spot is great for trying things with a twist. Jessica and I had a great time at this restaurant and this is what we ordered.

Barley&Swine - Croquetas

Barley&Swine – Croquetas

Croquetta’s – serrano ham, manchego cheese, guava sauce and parmesan cheese. Hands down, best Croquetta’s I’ve ever had. Each bite was both pure joy and pure sadness. Pure joy because of its perfect combination of flavors and pure sadness because of its ability to disappear so quickly. I highly recommend these to anyone who’s willing to step outside of their comfort zone. You won’t regret it.
Barley&Swine - Wine and Beer

Beer – American Bourbon Ale and Wine – House white wine. Being a gastro pub, a large selection of beers could always be expected. This one in particular was delicious. Jessica got the house white wine which came chilled and was great too.

Barley&Swine - Fried Green Tomatoes

Barley&Swine – Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes – pimiento cheese, crispy bacon and pimiento aioli. The presentation of these fried green tomatoes was unfortunately better than their actual taste. While the pimiento aioli was a great addition to the fried green tomatoes, the breading was too thick. This resulted in a mushy tomato with a crunchy exterior which was not terrible, but I wouldn’t order it again.

Barley&Swine - Mac-n-Cheese

Barley&Swine – Mac-n-Cheese

House Mac & Cheese – large shell pasta – house blended cheese. Wow. I mean Wow. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy Mac & Cheese from anywhere else ever again. This dish of Mac & Cheese is served in the same cast iron skillet that it is cooked in. While in the picture you may think that the tops of the shells were charred and burnt, you would be incorrect. Those seemingly burnt shells were just as good as the ones on the bottom making this dish an absolute winner in my book. I highly recommend this one to all food lovers as well.

Barley and Swine is definitely a great place to try both new and classic dishes. I will be coming back for an order of those Croquetta’s and I may stay for another Mac & Cheese when I do. Thanks for stopping by!

Casual Miami Dinner at the Pincho Factory

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries

Pincho Factory is a small casual restaurant with a big reputation in the Miami area. Known for their pincho’s and burgers, Jessica and I decided to give the burgers a shot. (I’m becoming slightly concerned at how often I order burgers. Leave it to blogging to realize you’re a burger addict!) After placing our order and taking a seat, we could not help but realize the diversity of the crowd around us. People from all walks of life gathered under a small roof to enjoy some really great food. It doesn’t get much better than that. So here’s what we ordered…

Mimosa and Heineken

Mimosa and Heineken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First order of business is always ordering a drink. I went with an ice cold Heineken (Right) and Jessica went with a fresh Mimosa (Left). Who says Mimosas are only for brunch. We enjoyed both drinks.

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries (Left) Toston Burger (Right)

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries (Left) Toston Burger (Right)

Next comes the Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar French Fries (Left). Obviously this isn’t a meal that I would recommend anyone eat often, but when you feel like taking a break from the healthy stuff this sure does hit the spot. The Pincho Burger was cooked to juicy perfection with lettuce, tomato, potato sticks and their special sauce. The Bacon Cheddar fries came with a ranch dressing on top. Each bite was both delicious and depressing. Delicious in taste but depressing in that I could tell it was a calorie bomb. Another and perhaps more renowned dish is the Toston Burger (Right) which Jessica ordered. Sandwiched between two tostones (fried plantains) comes a well-cooked burger with jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and a homemade cilantro sauce. If I return to the Pincho Factory I might consider ordering that burger instead. With the innovative toston buns and that amazing cilantro sauce, this burger is in a category of its own. Keep in mind though that the burger is super filling and likely to be too much for one person. Jessica could attest to that.

2nd Round

2nd Round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert ended up being a second round for us. After such a filling meal, it was all that we could bare.

My favorite part of our dinner was honestly the bill. Great prices and really unique food are always a great combination. For anyone thinking of going to the Pincho Factory I would strongly recommend doing so on a day that you’re starving. The burgers are very heavy and a side of bacon cheddar fries might put you in a food coma. Aside from that, I really enjoyed our dinner and plan on trying their Pincho’s next time. Thanks for stopping by!