Why Wynwood Is Miami's Best Dining Neighborhood

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Photo by Carla Torres
Wynwood, why you so cool? Even in this scorching summer heat, you keep us refreshed with all of your laid-back bars that don't overcharge for drinks. When I've gone over my limit and need something to sober me up on the weekends, you stay up late like a doting mom and comfort me with shroom buns and pillows of corn bursting with chicken salad and avocado. And on weekday morning, just the aroma of your freshly roasted coffee beans gets my creative juices flowing.

Sure, you're still growing and developing, but I think you've come a pretty long way. You have a vibrant personality, you are prolific in art, you are particular about what you eat, and you are a beer snob. You even make your own bread. One might say you're the ultimate hipster. But you know better than to label yourself anything, which is why you've got all of these great nicknames -- the Arts District, Wynwood, Midtown, Edgewater.

All of which together make up the best dining neighborhood in Miami. Here are more than ten reasons why.

See also: Sunset Harbour Is Miami's Best Dining Neighborhood, and Here's Why

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Lan Pan Asian Cafe: Banana-Coconut Bubble Tea Is the Best Thing Ever

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Photos by Hannah Sentenac
Vegan-friendly and just as creamy as its dairy-infused counterparts.
It's thanks to Lan Pan Asian Cafe that I discovered the joys of boba tea about a year ago (I was totally behind the eight ball, I know). I was utterly enamored with their taro variety -- a creamy, lavender-hued, frozen dream.

When I made the transition to veganism back in January, I was bummed to learn I had to forego this indulgence. Luckily, I've discovered that the Asian eatery offers fruity versions of their bubble tea that are just as magically delicious and dairy-free. The banana-coconut, in particular ($4), is amazing.

See also: Try Vegan Bubble Tea at North Miami's Shing Wang

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How to Stop Holding Your Utensils Like Weapons: We Talk to an Etiquette Expert

Categories: Interview, Musings

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Photo by joeri_van_veen | Flickr CC
Stop treating utensils as weapons.
I never thought that I'd be one to discuss dining etiquette. After all, my first blog was entitled Uncouth Gourmands and my previous utensil usage brag was that I could fish pickles out of the jar with chopsticks.

Although, this past week I have switched from my loud and inefficient way of using a knife and fork -- known as American style -- to the much more elegant and efficient way known as the European/Continental style. I also consulted with Elena Brouwer, CEO (Certifed Etiquette Officer) of the Etiquette Centre in Hollywood to help me as I transition from fork in the right hand to fork in the left.

See also: At AQ in Sunny Isles Beach, Dewey LoSasso Gets Fancy and Fanciful

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Miami Grill: Miami Subs Gets Pitbull-Approved Rebranding

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Courtesy of Miami Subs
In the '90s, no sight was more welcome among angst-ridden suburban teens than the Greek diner disguised in neon and palm fronds known as Miami Subs. For decades, the Magic City has been a Petri dish for successful fast-food franchises to experiment with off-beat concepts to take to mass market. From Burger King to Pollo Tropical, several iconic eateries had their start as local chains. However, Miami Subs' time in the cultural consciousness was cut short long before it hit its prime.

For awhile, like the Metromover and the Seaquarium, Miami Subs seemed to be going the way of other bloated remnants of the town's Reaganite boom years. But ardent fans of all things tzatziki are rejoicing now that the Miami chain is under new management, which plans to inject some life into a franchise chain that used to supply Madonna and friends with wings and Dom Perignon through a drive-thru window conveniently open at 3 a.m.

See also: My Ceviche Opens Today in South Miami

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

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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

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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

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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"

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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

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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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