Ocean Deli Market in South Beach: Try the $5 Lunch Box

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Photos by Carina Ost
This box is $5.
South Beach may have copious amounts of overpriced restaurants, but if you want the best deal in town: follow the construction workers.

Ocean Deli is a neighborhood bodega with liquor, snacks and substantial subs made with Boar's Head meat. But something funny happens during the lunch hours. Hoards of workers head to the glass case and point to things to fit in a white box. They then ignore the main line and head to the door, giving a guy who is like a bouncer a five-dollar bill and exiting with their box in a plastic bag. It is a secret society of inexpensive made-to-order lunch boxes.

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Miami Mediterranean Cuisine Is the Best Place for a Gyro in SoBe

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Photos by Carina Ost
Fresh off the spit.
If you're going to Sultan Mediterranean Cuisine in SoBe for your gyro, kebab, and falafel fix, you're doing it wrong. The far lesser-known place Miami Mediterranean Cuisine has tastier food, is open late (2 a.m.), offers free delivery (if the order is over $15), and costs about half the price.

It may have an unoriginal and forgettable restaurant name, but its food is memorable because it's packed with fresh flavors.

See also: Jerusalem Deli & Cafe in North Miami: Try the Hummus and Baklava

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One Empanada to Rule Them All: Where to Find Empanadas de Pabellon

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Courtesy of La Latina
The empanada de pabellon from La Latina in midtown.
Argentines, Cubans, and Colombians, please accept my apologies. Your empanadas pale in comparison to Venezuela's beef-, bean-, and sweet-plantain-filled empanadas de pabellón.

Yes, your empanadas are delicious. Their flaky crusts, either baked or fried, are tantalizing. The savory fillings -- from Cuban picadillo to the cream, chicken, and walnuts in Argentine chicken potpies -- just don't match the addictive, perfect interplay of ingredients inside the pabellón.

See also: National Ice Cream Month: Mantecado, Mamey, and Azucar's Miami Flavors

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Bastille Day: Five French Eateries in Miami for the Non-Elite

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Larry Hoffman | Flickr cc
Célébrons!
"Let them eat cake."

These immortal words supposedly spoken by Marie Antoinette still live on today, but now we can take them literally. On July 14, 1789, inspired by the American revolution, the French people finally rose up against King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, stormed the Bastille, and kicked the aristocracy out on their rich asses. Celebrate this victoire du peuple by eating an inexpensive, delicious French meal at one of these Miami locales on Monday.

See also: Eden in Eden French Cafe: Try the Vegan Croque-Monsieur

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T&W Barbecue: Award-Winning Ribs and Barbecue in Cutler Bay

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All photos by Zachary Fagenson
Tom Wills at the barbecue helm.
After a few years of owning a small chain of local sandwich shops, Tom Wills decided he needed more. So the longtime Redlands man started traveling to Georgia and South Carolina to learn barbecue. He bought a trailer, started smoking baby back ribs, briskets and chicken wings, and winning competitions.

Those awards, mostly for their sweet-smoky ribs, hang on the walls of T&W Barbecue on South Dixie Highway in Cutler Bay. A line stretches from the service counter, where orders are placed and ribs and corn bread are dished, out into the dim, wood-covered dining room. Wills hobnobs with customers, plying construction workers to sit for a tall Styrofoam cup of sweet tea rather than return to the work site. Later, he spends a few minutes talking a family friend, coordinating carpool for the kids later that week.

See also: Renovated Uncle Tom's BBQ in Coral Gables Keeps Original Flavor (Photos)

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Burgers and Shakes: Try the Veggie Burger and Sweet Potato Fries

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All photos by Carina Ost
Goodbye, sad, meatless patty. Hello, portobello!
In honor of Meatless Monday, the ultimate in veggie junk food comes from Burgers and Shakes in North Beach.

If you want a meat-free transition from your grilled burgers over the holiday weekend, go for the veggie alternative. If you're thinking a veggie burger has to be a dry, cardboard-like puck, think again.

See also: Ten Best Restaurants in North Miami

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Albie's Sub Factory Serves Substantial Steak, Breakfast, and Burger Sandwiches

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All photos by Carina Ost
Steak sub.

Albie, also known as Alberto Ruiz, knows subs. For more than a decade, he worked at his family's business Subs on the Run. He has recently broken free and created a sub factory all his own.

On a recent visit to Albie's Sub Factory, the six-week-old deli right where a sign welcomes you to Uleta neighborhood in North Miami Beach, we wrapped our hands around the soft roll of a superior sub.

See also: Ten Best Restaurants in North Miami


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Little Saigon: Get a Good Bowl of Pho for a Bargain

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Photo by Carina Ost
Bowl of pho.
If you're looking for a good bowl of pho to slurp, you don't have to head to North Dade. Miami has a secret weapon for when you don't want to drive all the way to Green Papaya or deal with the quirks of Hy Vong.

Little Saigon offers the little bowl of pho that could. This respectable dish costs $6.50 for a small (still a meal in itself) and $8.50 for a large. The broth has some depth, with notes of star anise and cinnamon. The beef is fatty and sliced thinly. The rice noodles linger at the bottom of the bowl, and the plate of toppings allows you to customize it.

Squirt some hot sauce, squeeze some lemon, tear the cilantro, and add bean sprouts. You have a winning bowl for a rainy day.

See also: Miami's Best Pho

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Richard's Fruit Center: Great Juice Without SoBe Prices

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Photo by Neil Vazquez
Owner Rafael Marin with helpers Celine Calcarel and Junior Arcadio.
There might be no greater guilt-inducing purchase than fresh juice. Though it's endorsed by celebrities as varied as Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Simmons, and Russell Brand, the health-conscious creations don't come cheap. Be honest: How many times have you illegally parked your car on Purdy Avenue to purchase an extremely overpriced (and overdesigned) plastic bottle filled with some exotic elixir of jalapeño juice, cold-pressed kale, ginger, beets, and green algae?

Sure, juicing is deliciously stomach-cinching. But there has to be a better way to get a daily dose of health without the commensurate exposure to a smug clientele, enviously clear-skinned attendants, and a hefty price tag.

There is! And its name is Richard's Fruit Center.

See also: Beehive Juice Bar Open at New Location

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Ten Best Food Items in Miami for One Dollar

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Photo by Carina Ost
The best a dollar can buy.
Miami may be home to a $1,000 ice-cream sundae, a $65 burger, and other extravagant offerings, but this fair city also offers affordable fare.

Looking beyond the golden arches for dollar menu items isn't easy, though. Short Order scoured the city on a George Washington-dollar-bill budget. We admit we went a nickel and dime over on a couple of choices, but none of these delicious food items will break the bank. Dig in and eat your buck's worth of grub.

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