New York, Listen Up: Top Five "Healthy" Sodas, From Cola to Lychee

Categories: Making The Call
In light of the New York ban and ensuing bruhaha, we must admit: there is no such thing as a completely healthy soda. But there are much healthier alternatives than those BPA-laden cans full of phosphate fizzies pumped full of high fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring.

The ingredients in regular sodas such as Coke and Pepsi cause diabetes and have even been linked to kidney disease, heart attacks, strokes, and, gulp, accelerated aging. Who wants that?

Here's a list of sodas made from natural ingredients, some even certified organic, that you can enjoy the next time you feel a craving for some pungent pop.

See also:
- If Drinks Could Kill: Minimum Age Requirement To Purchase Energy Drinks
- So-Called "Nutritional" Drinks Are Deceptively High In Sugar

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Perfecting the Pubbelly Crawl With Help From Andreas Schreiner

Categories: Making The Call
Don't fill your belly up with pork too early...
On a recent random night, as we were making complete pigs out of ourselves at Pubbelly from start to finish, Andreas Schreiner, the resto's managing partner, came over and tipped us off that all the cool kids are doing what has been known on the street as the "Pubbelly crawl." What? We weren't "in the know?" Tragic. Inquiring minds had to immediately unearth what this trend was all about.

In a nutshell, it's a great way to justify the surprisingly high cost for the valet covering all three of the neighboring venues in South Beach's Sunset Harbor, while partaking in a little sampling of the greatest hits at Barceloneta, Pubbelly, and Pubbelly Sushi, all in a row.

Here's how Schreiner says the tuned-in cats prowl:

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Time to Take "Best In Miami by New Times" Off Your Menu: 11th Street Diner

Categories: Making The Call
11th st diner.jpg
John Zur
11th Street Diner
Last week, in my analysis of the sad state of Miami's diner scene, I touched on the unpalatable fried chicken being served at 11th Street Diner. If they want to continue serving sub par Southern fried chicken, that's their prerogative, however it's about time they took the "Best in Miami by New Times" label off their menu just beneath the Southern fried chicken.

First off, fried chicken begins with the breading, which must be crispy and seasoned. Well, 11th Street's breading has a pliable consistency and is bland.

Next comes the meat, which was dry and also tasteless. Not only was the chicken bone dry, but each piece, including the breast, had too little flesh. Why not note where their chicken is sourced from and what steroids or other chemicals you might use.

11th Street Diner, I don't mean to be picking on you. Perhaps it's just time to update your menu.

11th Street Diner
1065 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

Uncle Tom's Is, Indeed, a Sellout

Photo by Riki Altman
We Southern girls take to the scent of barbecue like pigs to mud on a sunny day, so when I spotted the neon Uncle Tom's sign flickering in the distance last week, I steered in. A barbecue place on Calle Ocho? Near the Gables? What a delightful surprise!

It looked like a barbecue spot should, with a red-and-white striped canopy, rustic wood railings, and neon beer signs in the window. The name alone stopped me in my tracks. I grew up with the decadence that was Tom's Place in Delray and then Boca Raton, followed by Tom Jenkins' in Fort Lauderdale. Uncle Tom's? They must be related, I surmised. 

Smoky scents poured out the front door, filling the air and taunting my nostrils. And I saw people outside dining and chirping all the while. Oh, glorious day! I'd found a barbecue spot close to my home! My heart sang as I called my boyfriend, instructing him to stop defrosting those Thanksgiving leftovers tout de suite. We're having true, blue barbecue tonight, I announced gleefully. Looking back at that moment, I never would've imagined this love story was going to have such a tragic ending.
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Blogger's Bout: STK's Decor

Photo by Riki Altman
The much-hyped STK took forever to open its doors; about a year longer than expected, actually. Despite the numerous delays, everyone has been buzzing about the upscale steakhouse-cum-lounge. With sister locations in New York and Vegas, STK developed quite a reputation in Miami. Adding to the excitement is the fact that of-the-moment design firm ICRAVE designed the space. So, now that STK has finally debuted, is it worth the buildup? Is the design as cutting-edge as the owners would have you believe? Below, two of Short Order's bloggers weigh in on both sides. Seems Jacquelynn D. Power's a fan. Riki Altman? Not so much.

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"Shame on Them" Says La Sandwicherie Owner Regarding Case of Deja Chew At La Baguette

Jackie Sayet
Seeing Double: Can you tell the difference? We did when we tasted both. La Sandwicherie had the decency to shmear a bit of mayo on the bread, which actually made a huge difference. And they didn't forget the olives.
La Baguette, the sandwich counter that recently opened up shop at 427 SW Eighth Street on the outskirts of Brickell, may be new, but its concept isn't. So says Olivier Farrat, owner of South Beach's La Sandwicherie, a favorite of New Times restaurant critic Lee Klein. Farrat says the new restaurant is a ripoff of his business model, down to the vinaigrette.

"Shame on them. It's not really fair to copy like this. They have no decency," explained Farrat in a phone conversation this morning." They did not come to me, but I found out a couple months ago... They did it behind my back so they could get away with it."

It doesn't take a sandwich expert to notice the obvious overlaps.  On the surface, both sandwich offerings consist of identical:
  • bread
  • topping selections
  • vinaigrette
  • sandwich-making stations (down to sandwich-filling technique using tongs!)
  • sandwich wrappers
  • late night service (La Baguette is 24 hours; La Sandwicherie, 22)
  • open-air counters
  • similar French names
  • logos (La Baguette employs the Arc d'Triomphe; La Sandwicherie, the Eiffel Tower)

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Why Are They Messin' With My Oreos?

Photo by Riki Altman
Where my Oreos at?
Last night, the monster magnet lodged at the end of my shopping cart dragged me, yet again, directly to the cookie aisle. I gazed in awe at the vast selection that lined the shelves, wondering where my favorite cookie jar filler could be found. Panic overrode the incessant drooling when I realized the ugly truth: Oreos have morphed into so many incarnations that I could hardly recognize the original.

Isn't it fair to say a brand can only stray so far away from its roots if it wants to keep its audience loyal?

It was then I started to question what exactly an Oreo is. One envisions a small, round, triple-tiered treat: two crisp, dark-colored chocolate cookies with a layer of cream inside. This center layer should be visible from the side and should match the cookie's circumference.

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The Ice in Your Salsa at Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in Midtown Miami: What Gives?

Few things are more depressing to us than diluted condiments. So imagine the head-scratching when on a recent visit to Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in midtown Miami, rogue ice chunks are found inside the containers in its chilled salsa bar.

Why on Earth water down these zingy batches of house-made condiment fun?  And with the same cubes on the ice bed in which they rest?  Convinced it is a mistake, the misfires of a well-intentioned refilling trip, we immediately approach the manager on-site for some answers.

"We place them inside on purpose to keep the product to temperature, required by law to be 40 degrees," he responds. "They're the same cubes on the bed, but fresh from the machine in the back."

Incredulous, we later call the only local corporate-owned store, on South Beach, and speak to Director of Operations Roy Parker for some clarification.

"Thanks for letting me know," says Parker. "We ice down the outside of the salsa containers to maintain the appropriate temperature. It's not a brand policy to place ice inside salsa containers, as yes, that would water them down. I'll be making a phone call to the midtown store immediately after this one."

You're welcome Mr. Parker.  And thank YOU for putting a stop to the insanity.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill

Midtown Miami
The Shops at Midtown Miami
3201 N. Miami Ave., Suite 100
Miami, FL 33127
305-576-5463  Fax:305-576-5499
Mon-Sun 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

South Miami Beach
1439 Alton Rd.
Miami Beach, FL, 33139
305-532-LIME (5463)  Fax: 305-532-5676
Mon-Sun: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

North Miami Beach
14831 Biscayne Blvd.
North Miami Beach, FL 33181
305-949-8800  Fax: 305-949-8804
Mon-Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is franchising locations. For more information, please e-mail:

National Mustard Day Miami Restaurant Survey

Categories: Making The Call
image via scottfeldstein's flickr
Yellow bellied bastard
Break out your plastic containers, glass jars, and individual size serving packets of that funky yellow condiment America loves. Today is National mustard day.

Soon Biscayne Boulevard will be engulfed in a roaring flood of that French's. Dijon fights will erupt spontaneously in parking lots across Hialeah. Kids all over Cocoplum will load their Supersoakers with Grey Poupon and blast each other into oblivion. Old folks in Sunny Isles will load their pastramis on rye with extra spicy brown and then pass mustard gas.

We called some local restaurants out of our extensive database to see what they had lined up for the holiday. Here's what they had to say...

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The Oceanaire Seafood Room Miami One of Surviving Branches in Corporate Bankruptcy Proceedings, Offering New Bar Menu and $20.10 Deal

Categories: Making The Call
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
Bar chum?
The Oceanaire Seafood Room is trying to stay afloat in dangerous waters.  Despite its parent company filing Chapter 11, the sole Miami location of the Minneapolis-based upscale seafood chain will remain open, says senior vice president of operations Tim Whitlock. The announcement came last Monday, forcing the closings of four of its 16 locations in an attempt to restructure. 

"It's actually performing very well, considering how rough it is out there," Whitlock explains of the Miami location.  "Mary Brickell is the fourth best-performing company-wide, and was the fastest-growing in the network when it opened two years ago.  Miami's a really good market for us.  Chef Sean [Bernal] is from Miami...  He's one of our best chefs."

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