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

Courtesy of Azucar
Abuela Maria, AKA perfection.
You know you're in Miami when "Abuela Maria" (vanilla blended with Maria cookies, guava, and cream cheese) is the most popular flavor in an ice-cream shop. And while there's a sprinkling of shops that have been experimenting with local flavors for a while, none of them has embraced Latino/Caribbean culture as heartily as Azucar! in Little Havana.

See also: Milk Gone Nuts: Try the Chocolate Peanutbutterlicious Shake

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Boteco: Where Brazil Fans Get Turnt Up for the World Cup

All photos by Zachary Fagenson
Brazil fans party at Boteco.
Too bummed to keep watching the World Cup because your team is a pack of chumps save for one bearded messiah? Suck it up, amigo. Practically every match this tournament has been a nail biter, and they're only getting better today with two intraregional matchups sure to bring the ratchet out of every abuelita and grandmére.

However, the undisputed best place to watch Saturday's match between Brazil and Colombia, from Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza, is Boteco on 79th Street. Let's be honest; pan de bono and pão de queijo are essentially the same thing. Argue as you may, but it's clear Brazilians and Colombians both love their cheese bread.

See also: World Cup 2014: Miami's Brazilian-Themed Dishes, Drinks and Deals

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Inaugural Bacon Beach Bash: Bikini Bods and Bacon Grease at Nikki Beach

Courtesy of Nikki Beach
These girls are raving for bacon.
In a city obsessed with appearances as much as pork, it was only a matter of time before someone thought to put the two together. The inaugural Bacon Beach Bash will take place this Saturday, July 5, as part of 'Murica's birthday celebration at Nikki Beach. Because if there's one thing Americans like more than taking a bite out of a burger and washing it down with some beer, it's a slab of bacon on said burger.

A tie-in with the famed IndepenDance pool and beach parties, Bacon Beach comes with a side of uhntz-uhntz. You can dance and burn off the grease while sporting your teeny-weeny bikini or Euro trunks, bro.

See also: Kush: Burgers, Beer, and Bacon Brownies in Wynwood (Photos)

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Miami Lacks a Quality, Affordable Big Salad

Photo by Carina Ost
Taste the rainbow.
As George Castanza once flailed his arms about, "You had to order the big salad?" The answer is simply yes. Jerry Seinfeld may say, for a laugh, that it has to have, "Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs." Although, finding a fantastic, affordable big salad that can be your new best friend for post cheat-day or for lunch/dinner every day is the big feat.

A recent trip home to my hippie, surfer hometown of Santa Cruz, California, brought to light this exact item that Miami is missing. My first dining stop was to Dharma's, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant for the gardener's salad ($9.95) with miso honey dressing. (Side note: I always make a conscious effort to not say "miso horny" and I always fail). It has always been my ultimate perfect salad. And has caused my mother to say, "If only you were as excited about a man, as you are about this salad." There's something about this blend of lettuces, carrots, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, sunflower sprouts and seeds with the creamy and sweet dressing that perks me right up. At the neighboring and eye-roll inducing, small California chain Cafe Gratitude you can get a similar salad by ordering the affirmation, "I am Fulfilled" but it is not the same and leaves a void.

See also: Richard's Fruit Center: Great Juice Without SoBe Prices

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King Crab City: Inside the Fontainebleau's "Water World"

Photos by Carla Torres
King of the ocean.
The Fontainebleau has crabs, and it's exactly the type you're thinking -- king crab. These bad boys are the rulers of all crustaceans and an extreme delicacy not only in the States but also around the world. They make their way from the Nordic and Bering seas down to South Florida and currently reside in the Fontainebleau's underground facilities, dubbed "Water World," where all of the fresh catch from the resort's fishing boat, the BleauFish, lives until dinnertime.

It's more difficult to gain access to Water World than to get into LIV. With good reason -- there's more than $2 million worth of seafood down there. A chef must escort you, and even then another resort staff member has to unlock the gates.

See also: Hess Select South Beach Seafood Festival Returns for Second Year

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Whole Foods Attempts To Break Guinness World Record for Cheese Cracking Tomorrow with More Than 426 Parmigiano Reggiano Wheels

Whole Foods
Feeling cheesy this weekend? You're in luck, because tomorrow is the "Crack Heard Around the World." Last year, Whole Foods set a Guinness World Record title for the most wheels simultaneously cracked (426) and so they've decided to bring it back. At 3 p.m. tomorrow cheesemongers at stores across the nation will face up against 85-pound wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano when each store hosts its own version of "Crack Heard Around the World." Regardless of your location, be prepared for an afternoon filled with wine drinking, cheese tasting, and record breaking. Find out what your closest Whole Food location in Dade County has cooking after the jump.

See also: Miami's Best Eats and Drinks this Weekend: Chocolate, Beer, Wings, and Nuts vs. Wieners at Calle Ocho

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Ten Reasons North Beach Is Miami's Best Dining Neighborhood

Carina Ost
Yoyo because YOLO!

If you want fine dining, try another neighborhood. For reasonably priced Latin American fare with a beach setting, head to North Beach. Between the trendiness and overpriced hotel restaurants of South Beach and ritzy Bal Harbour lies this unassuming neighborhood.

Others might scoff that North Beach is a dining dead zone, I have found wonderful carb-filled grub, secret patio dining, beer gardens, free buffets, and more that make this area tops. What follows are the official top ten reasons.

Note: Although North Bay Village's marvelous Sushi Deli isn't in North Beach, I am including Normandy Isle eateries because they are still part of the city of Miami Beach.

See also: Ten Reasons the Design District Is Miami's Best Dining Neighborhood

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Five Reasons Brunch Is So Overrated

Flickr / atxryn
Eggs Benedict: Overrated.
Express your unpopular opinion. That Twitter hashtag gave me the courage to admit the unthinkable: I really hate brunch.

OK, I know what you're thinking. Whenever I admit this to someone, I'm confronted with looks of disbelief and the follow-up question, "Do you hate puppies?" Though I dressed up as Cruella de Vil for Halloween three years in a row, I promise. I do not hate puppies.

Brunch is just an awful meal -- and its unbelievably overrated. So before the weekend starts, I want to arm you with the facts. There is life outside of those pricey brunch buffets and bottomless pits of watered-down mimosas.

See also: Ten Valentine's Day Dinners in Miami Under $100 per Person

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Five Reasons Miami Sushi Sucks

Categories: Musings

Carina Ost
Miami sushi: usually covered in crap.
On the outside, it seems like Miami has all the necessary ingredients for fantastic sushi: a seaside location, an international culture, and a love of food.

It turns out that's not enough. We're seriously lacking in the sushi department. Here are five reasons Miami sushi isn't up to snuff.

See also: Does Tropical Chinese Serve the Best Dim Sum in Miami?

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Does Tropical Chinese Serve the Best Dim Sum in Miami?

Categories: Musings

Carina Ost
Xiaolongbao at Tropical Chinese Restaurant
For several decades now, Tropical Chinese Restaurant has been serving its a la carte dim sum menu across the street from Tropical Park on Bird Road.

Many Miami foodies swear by the place, insisting that Tropical Chinese serves the "best dim sum" in the county. Whether or not you agree, you can't deny the place has real staying power -- especially in a city that chews up and spits out restaurants as if they were chunks of Skoal dipping tobacco.

We're not fans of the place and actually lament the recent shutdown of Chu's in Coral Gables, which we thought superior to Tropical. Others swear by Chef Ho in Sunny Isles. But Tropical has legions of faithful fans who beg to differ.

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