Restaurants & Bars

Florida

reviews-vero to keys(LONG)

Share:

Restaurants & Bars 2

reviews-vero to keys(LONG)

petradish | Jan 7, 2003 06:11 PM

Thanks to all for your suggestions. Here's the report.

Tropical Palate, S. Miami/Perrine?. Jamaican lunch: Order at the counter. They were out of jerked pork, so husband and I shared the large plate of jerked chicken. It was excellent-not grilled, but braised until falling off the bone. Coated in a thick, complex sauce of warm spice w/ a nice kick of heat. The plate came w/fluffy coconut milk-accented rice & peas(kidney beans), carmelized plantains, and an undressed salad of lettuce & tomato. Liptingling good and well-balanced flavors. Also ordered 2 nice patties(chicken & beef) sourced from Patty King. Soft yellow-tinted crust w/fluffy, ground meat fillings & a hint of curry spice. a few bottled drinks: a zippy pineapple ginger juice & mellow coconut water.

Versailles, Little Havana. Cuban dinner: Started off w/a mojito garnished w/fresh mint & a slice of sugar cane stalk. We both had the classic sampler: delicate chunks of roasted pork in a restrained mojo, sweet plantains, a bland corn tamale, ham croquette, good picadillo(like a tangy,pea-studded sloppy joe filling), black beans, and excellent white rice w/a slightly oily and tender bite. This was a mountain of good food w/ nice textures. the flan for dessert was average, tasting mostly of condensed milk(I prefer a more custard-like version). good cafe cubano. Service was swift & efficient.

Sedano's Cafeteria,(on Flagler )Little Havana. Cuban snack: deep & sweet thimble-sized cafe cubano. Best guarapo(fresh squeezed sugarcane juice) I've had-deliciously grassy & sweet. I could drink a gallon of this stuff. Good unpressed sandwich filled w/salame(hints of garlic & paprika) & white cheese on a baguette. Fumbled our way through ordering in broken Spanish, but we got what we needed.

Miami Bakery Cafeteria,(on Flagler) Little Havana. Cuban snack:fresh squeezed orange juice, cafe cubano. Nice tart & creamy guava & cheese pastry. Really nice coconut pastry w/meaty shreds of coco meat in the filling.

Frosted Lemonade Guy in truck at the Kennedy Park parking lot,Coconut Grove.
$2.50 for a deliciously fresh tasting drink. Reminded me of Italian ices from Chicago.

Joe's Stone Crab, Miami Beach. Sobe dinner:Got there right at 5pm, as warned. Nice table in the back until a screaming toddler forced us to change rooms. The captain was rather unpleasant about moving us, even though the place was nearly empty at 5:15. oh well. The food was great. We had the large stone crab claws. They were divine-sweet, carefully chilled, utterly fresh. We went w/the sides recommended by the waiter. Tasty broiled tomato stuffed w/ spinach and blanketed w/cheese & a giant plate of okay hash browns. A crisp sancerre to drink. The key lime pie was good, w/ a graham cracker crust, rich & concentrated citrus filling, topped w/ whipped cream.

Manny & Isa's, Islamorada. lunch: started w/conch fritters. They had tough nibs of conch & a weird chemical aftertaste. I ordered the Cuban sandwich filled w/pork, cheese, pickle and garlic sauce & pressed, very nice. Husband had the slightly boring steak sandwich smothered in onions. It could have used some garlic sauce to pep it up. Their key lime pie was the best of all we'd tried-pastry crust, nicely balanced lime filling, meringue topped. Delicious.

Monte's, Summerland Key. dinner: friendly, informal, screened-in patio dining. Started w/ the conch chowder. Wow. Complex & peppery w/ tomatoes, potatoes, & little pieces of tender conch. Like the best homeade soup, total care went into this stuff. Nicely steamed shrimp(in Old Bay)-sweet & briny. Fried soft shelled crab were crunchy outside, creamy within, but a little too salty. Terrific boiled parsley potatoes w/ butter, so flavorful that we wondered if they cooked them in the shrimp pot. good coleslaw & fries. A great place to stop for seafood.

Herbie's, Marathon. lunch: started w/the conch chowder. Good, but not hitting the greatness of Monte's. Had more oregano,less character. Terrific fried dolphin sandwich, sweet & fresh fish, expertly prepared. Even better w/ a dash of hot sauce. Husband had a good hamburger. Key lime pie was a disaster. Artificial whipped topping and a filling that tasted mostly of condensed milk w/ a few drops of lime juice.

Castaway, Marathon. Hard to find location. dinner: set on a marina, casual dining w/a helpful staff. Instead of bread or rolls to start, they bring you something called honeybuns. These are little deep-fried donuts you dip in honey. they are darn good. When she brought us another basket, I was in heaven. Reminded me of what they call scones in Utah or a donuty sopapilla. For entrees, I had the grilled grouper(think snapper meets halibut) in a light garlic butter sauce that came w/parslied potatoes. Pretty good. Husband had grilled spiny lobster stuffed w/crab, breadcrumbs,& red pepper. Although a little stringier than Pacific or Maine, it was fresh & sweet. Skip the tired salad bar & the overbrined steamed shrimp (saltbruising visible on shells).

Tom Jenkins, Ft. Lauderdale. Florida BBQ lunch: We smelled the smoke before we saw it. I tried the chopped pork sandwich, which consisted of hammy chunks of pig w/ a visible layer of fat at the edges, served on a bun. Not to be confused w/pulled pork. Overall a good & porky sandwich... with the sauce on the side(we found it very sweet & somewhat overpowering-think corn syrup w/ some herbs & warm spice, the tomato/vinegar acids in the background). Also had the pork ribs which were tender & fairly smoky tasting. Sliced beef was good, tender & juicy. Nice egg & mustard based potato salad.

Ocean Grill, Vero Beach. dinner: Comfy, oceanside dining. I had the deliciously sweet pompano w/a butter & paprika sauce. It was the perfect preparation for the mild & creamy flesh. The sides were good creamed spinach and a nutty southern rice dish. Husband had average prime rib, stick w/ the fish. Decent creme brulee.

Waffle House(yes, the chain), Ft. Pierce. breakfast: Don't laugh, we're from Los Angeles & we don't have these. I heard they use Lilywhite flour in the waffles and I'm a big fan, so we had to go. Very friendly staff in what looks like a donut shop setting. Our waffles were prepared at the iron station by our waitress. It was a great waffle,tender & golden. Also had scrambled eggs, grits (which could have been creamier), Farmer John's sausage patties and iced tea. A fun place.

Also picked up a few southern goodies at the markets: Duke's mayo, Dale's steak seasoning, tropical jam from Fruit & Spice Park, a country ham, key limes. Hopefully we'll be able to visit again soon & enjoy more great food.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound