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Seed Food & Wine Festival Day: Miami's Vegans Come of Age

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All photos by Hannah Sentenac
With Seed Food & Wine Festival's inaugural run all wrapped up, it's clear that Miami's plant-based culinary community was bigger, stronger, and way more dedicated than anyone probably imagined. Myself included.

With five full days of plant-based soirees, celebrity hosts, chef dinners, and vegan vendors, this was no ordinary veg fest. Basically, it was the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on plants -- just as delicious, just as sophisticated and way friendlier for the waistline, the planet, and our animal friends.

Thousands of people turned up for Saturday's festival day alone. Imagine, South Floridians of all ages, interests and eating habits clamoring for meatless sausage, vegan pork rinds and zucchini noodles ... I can honestly say, never thought I'd see the day.

After this weekend, Miami has undoubtedly earned herself a leadership role in the plant-based revolution.

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JWU Zest Award Nominees Announced: Vote for Short Order

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Vote for Short Order.
Nominees have just been announced for the third-annual Johnson & Wales University's Zest Awards, which honor leaders in South Florida's culinary arts scene.

On March 19 from 7 to 9 p.m., the JWU North Miami campus will host the invitation-only event, which showcases our best and brightest in six award categories, including best restaurant, best bar/lounge, culinary innovator, baking/pastry innovator, newcomer of the year, and best food blogger. In addition, Richard Ingraham will receive a special community leader award.

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Why Don't Food Companies Label Their Products as Vegan?

Categories: Blogger's Bout

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Photo by Camille Lamb.
As a relatively new vegan, I'm always on the lookout for convenient foodstuffs that allow me to feel like a semi-normal human. At the buffet of life, no one wants to be relegated to a lonely spot by the salad bar.

The good news is there are lots of easily available products that fit the vegan bill. What amazes me, however, is that companies aren't marketing them as vegan. Hence the label "accidentally vegan," a term applied to products that just-so-happen to be vegan. There are several items that meet this criteria, but almost none are advertised as such.

This is a major marketing blunder by the companies involved. After all, vegans are willing to spend extra cash on what they eat -- why so little love from the big brands?

See also: Vegan Chicharrones Are a Thing at Beehive

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How to Navigate the Holidays as a Vegetarian

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ChristophLacroix Flickr/cc
Most of the year, being a vegetarian (or vegan) is little more than a minor inconvenience. After all, you have complete control over what goes into your shopping cart, refrigerator and, inevitably, digestive system.

But around the holidays, things get a little more complicated. When faced with potlucks, buffets and grandma's kitchen, herbivores can end up feeling like Justine Sacco after her plane landed. Shit out of luck.

What follows is a holiday survival guide for non-meaters.

See also: Trader Joe's: Top Ten Vegetarian Finds

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Why Is Miami So Mean? Pay It Forward at the Starbucks Drive-Thru

Categories: Blogger's Bout

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Photo by Hannah Sentenac
Paying it forward (in addition to being the title of a flick starring the creepy kid who sees dead people and Helen Hunt as a less-than-believable strip club waitress) is a thing people actually do. Basically, it's when one human does a good deed for another, and the recipient then passes the kindness along to someone else, thus spreading the concept as far and wide as possible.

One common way to pay it forward is by buying for the person behind you in the drive-thru. And in towns across the country, people have started pay-it-forward chain reactions that have gone on for hours -- even days. In Detroit recently, a Starbucks made the news when more than 50 people paid it forward. But what about Miami? Do we have the spirit of giving in us?

See also: KIND Snacks Encourages Kind Acts With Community Mural During Art Basel

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Starbucks Secret Menu: Candy Cane, Willy Wonka, and Grasshopper Frappuccinos

Categories: Blogger's Bout

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Hannah Sentenac
Starbucks has a secret menu. If that fact alone doesn't blow your mind, the items on it most certainly will. We're talking Willy Wonka Frappuccinos, chai cookie lattes, and Pixy Stix refreshers. It's the stuff that sugar addicts' dreams are made of.

Though this isn't an entirely new phenomenon (or one officially sanctioned by Starbucks), the chain's flexibility when it comes to customization allows for endless drink options. And these options have culminated in starbuckssecretmenu.net, a site "created for Starbucks fans by Starbucks fans."

See also: Starbucks Sells Harry Potter-Inspired Butterbeer

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Toro Toro: Buffet Lunch vs. Bottomless Brunch (Photos)

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All photos by Carla Torres
At Toro Toro, the year-old, pan-Latin restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel, guests can enjoy a lunch buffet during the week and a bottomless brunch during the weekend.

But which option offers a better deal? To find out, Short Order recently visited Toro Toro for both meals. Pictures of the smack down after the jump.

See also: Diego Oka of La Mar on Peruvian Cuisine, Miami, and the Perfect Ceviche

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Trader Joe's Cookie Butter: Lotus Biscoff Spread Is Better

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Hannah Sentenac
If you're on the Trader Joe's bandwagon, it's likely you've heard rumblings about the store's Speculoos Cookie Butter -- if you're not already addicted to the stuff. This crushed-up-cookie spread has created a sugar-induced hysteria that's caused nationwide shortages and a gangbusters black-market business.

Seriously, this is how stampedes happen.

The Pinecrest outpost is no exception. It's basically been sold out of the sweet treat since Miamians went bananas for it on opening day.

See also: Trader Joe's: Top Ten Vegetarian Finds

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Burger Beast Blogiversary Party: Pig's Head, Rapicavoli, and Mojo Donuts

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Morgan Golumbuk
The Blogiversary scene
Sef Gonzalez isn't just the Burger Beast of food blog fame. He's the sultan of stick-to-your-ribs food, the powerhouse of pastelitos, and Miami's all-seeing, all-eating king of comfort food. Last night, at Sakaya Kitchen Downtown, the king himself mingled with his loyal foodie followers at his five-year Blogiversary party, a tribute to his half-decade of survival and a toast to his continued gastronomic reign.

Dessert was the first course, with key lime pie from Miss Pieami making rounds among the six seated guests. Gonzalez told a vivid story about playing a prank on a friend with none other than Hellboy's Guillermo del Toro.

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Ten Reasons to Avoid Starbucks

Categories: Blogger's Bout

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Choose your favorite synonym for swill
As much as we all love to hate corporate America (hell, we're an alt-weekly, it's kind of our shtick) -- it has one big asset: convenience. After all, with 60-hour work weeks, bicycle bar crawls and that pesky need for sleep, ain't nobody got time for consumer responsibility.

And there's no company more convenient -- or more corporate -- than the almighty Starbucks. You've gotta hand it to them, they essentially created a billion dollar market for non-essential beverages. These days, they fuel the caffeine addiction of a whopping 60 million customers a week.

But for our readers, who are smarter and more socially responsible than the average bear -- there's no excuse for spending $40 a week to feed a Starbucks habit. Miami has plenty of brew, from cafe con leche to Panther, so here are our 10 reasons never to hit up a soul-sucking Starbucks again.

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