Ten Reasons South Miami Is the Best Dining Neighborhood

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Fine and fashionable restaurants have been opening in South Beach, downtown, midtown, and the Design District for years. These areas seem to attract all the major chefs. So why venture to South Miami and nearby Pinecrest? Well, down here, you won't find many major openings, but you will find reasonably priced local favorites, including a wide selection of Asian and Cuban joints. Read on to find out why you should make the trip.

See also: Ten Reasons North Beach Is Miami's Best Dining Neighborhood

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Denny's Reopens in Kendall: Free Grand Slams For The First 100 People

Categories: Food

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Courtesy of Denny's
Free Grand Slams!
Denny's in Kendall has gotten a facelift.

The Denny's, located at 12000 N. Kendall Drive, has been given a makeover to look more like a classic diner. To celebrate the new look and new menu, the restaurant is giving away free Grand Slams to the first 100 customers who line up today, Thursday, December 5 at 9 a.m.

Don't be judgmental about Denny's, peeps. We've seen all of you "foodies" there at 2 a.m. scarfing down eggs and coffee. Plus, if Hobbits can eat there, you know it's good.

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Tap Tap Serves the Best Vegetarian Meal Under Ten Bucks

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All photos by Laine Doss
Tap Tap, the Haitian restaurant that sits at crossroads of the new and old Miami Beach, is nearing its 20th year on earth.

The colorful restaurant is a South Beach anomaly. Neither expensive nor trendy and older than most of its brethren ten times over, it manages to stay busy with a healthy mix of locals and tourists who come for the colorful decor, live music on weekends, and goat, which is served in fried chunks, stewed, or grilled. There's also conch which, on a recent night, was described as "like squid" to a European couple perusing the menu.

But where there's Caribbean food, there are also good vegetarian dishes. Cooks in the small nations that make up this island chain are masters of utilizing both sea and soil in their culinary explorations.

See also: The Ten Best South Beach Restaurants

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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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Top Ten Ingredients and Where to Find Them

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Lyssa Goldberg
The ingredients on Oak Tavern's menu make our brains run wild.
You're scanning a menu, and a word jumps out at you. One specific food item in one specific dish that you now can't help but order. It's like a trigger. The thought of that ingredient has turned on a switch in your brain. The phrase "Pick me" plays over and over in your head for no apparent reason.

Sometimes it's seasonal. You say pumpkin during fall and there's no stopping us. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin loaf, and then that one time at band camp when we tried pumpkin Pop Tarts. Other times it's more irrational -- just some food trend that we have no control over. Take truffle oil, for instance. No, we can't taste it on our pizza over the heavy marinara sauce, and we're not even going to pretend we understand what it really is, but it sounds fancy and expensive, so why not? Or gold flakes, 'cause like, they're not actually food but they're pretty.

Miami is full of restaurants that play mind games with us, so Short Order has come up with a list of the top ten ingredients that make us tick and the eateries that use them best.

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Giraffas Plans Florida Expansion of Its Fast-Casual Brazilian Empire

Categories: Food

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Giraffas' fast-casual dining experience might just ruin other casual eateries for you. The quality of the menu seems too good to be described as "fast," yet diners are in and out of the restaurant in less than an hour, even when ordering steak, fish, and pasta dishes.

Founded by Carlos Guerra, the Giraffas chain boasts more than 450 locations in Brazil. With such widespread success, it's no wonder that a North American expansion was conceived. After the first Giraffas opened in North Miami in 2011, three more South Florida locations sprouted up in less than two years, including one in Pinecrest and one in midtown.

We recently sat down with Giraffas' marketing director, Carlos Vanegas, who shared some details about the restaurant's menu, origins, and plans for further expansion, as well as the importance of social media.

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Where To Snag Free Doughnuts in Miami Today for National Doughnut Day

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Dunkin' Donuts
Get a dozen free doughnuts if you bring 11 friends
Cupcakes, macarons, and cake pops have each had their moment in the spotlight. We've all run to the most expensive of bakeries to snatch up these desserts when our sweet tooth was tingling for a trendy treat, but sometimes all we really want is to comfort ourselves with some sweet carb-heavy goodness. And when that time comes, an old-fashioned doughnut will do the trick.

If you haven't had doughnuts recently (I mean, really, when was the last time you went out for doughnuts?), you may be overdue for a reminder of how satisfying they really are. And what better time to treat yourself than National Doughnut Day? That's today, and to celebrate, our favorite doughnut chains -- plus one local spot -- are offering you a free doughnut.

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Miamians Share Their Soda Pairings: JupiƱa With Fritas, Materva and Cubanos

Categories: Food

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via Flickr leelada
Red with beef, white with chicken, root beer with bacon cheeseburgers ... wait, what?

You're familiar with wine pairings, and you may even be familiar with beer pairings, but we're willing to bet that soda pairings is a foreign concept.

Burger King introduced soda pairings as a concept a while back, but it is now apparently becoming a "thing." We were at a BK recently and witnessed a group fawning over the soda fountain. We overheard a debate as to what soda went with chicken fries and twenty seconds later, one member of the group triumphantly waved her smartphone in the air. "See? I told you!" she said elatedly. "Sprite goes with chicken fries!"

Do Miamians really take soda this seriously? We decided to find out with a quick survey on the street.

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Om Nom Nom Cookies Holds Jingle Contest

Categories: Food
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Om Nom Nom via Facebook
Cookies and music -- better than milk.
If you, like the Cookie Monster, tend to break out in song every time you bite into a tasty baked treat, then you've got to enter Om Nom Nom's jingle contest.

The Miami-based vegan cookie company is looking for a 30-second long jingle that can be edited down to 5-15 seconds for use on different forms of media.

In return for your jingle, you'll get musical credit, a link to your web site, and (best of all) a free swag kit including cookies and other goodies for you and your friends.

Plus, the good people at Om Nom Nom will write a blog post about the winner, complete with plugs about their band or blog or music.

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Veritage Miami Starts Tonight In Wynwood, Continues United Way Wine and Food Fest Tradition

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Lyn Farmer is director of the United Way Wine & Food Festival, now in its 18th year. But doesn't the title "imperial imbiber" of the freshly rebranded Veritage Miami sound much better?

"Our new chairman, Richard Fain, wanted to shake things up a little," said Farmer, who is also the food and wine editor for Tropic Magazine. "The rebranding is expected to have an impact on marketing but also give festival attendees and staff alike a sense of renewal."

After 18 years of blazing a trail for other food festivals to scorch the South Florida food scene, UWWF will likely benefit from that renewal. Before we get into what the good folks at United Way have in store, we bet you're wondering what an imbiber is. Is it (A) a Russian spacecraft that makes onlyright turns, (B) the thing doctors use to get the wax out of your ears, or (C) a person who drinks? If you guessed C, get to drinking. Why the unique approach?

"Every festival seems to have 'food and wine' attached to its moniker," continued Farmer, probably clutching a cigar with his feet up on his desk. "Most, however, are put on by a single winery or entity. We are the only ones who open our doors to all, so it was important for us to distinguish ourselves."

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