This Thanksgiving, Shed Your Shame of Canned Cranberry Sauce

Categories: Holidays, Musings

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Photo by Rick Kimpel/WikimediaCommons
Back up off my cranberry sauce.
Sweet-sour cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple. But unlike most dishes that adorn holiday tables, it is highly unpredictable, second only to your aunt's turkey, which for decades has been a coin toss between bone dry and poultry sashimi.

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Miami's Tacos Lead a National Revolution

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Photo by Zachary Fagenson
Huitlacoche taco at Taquiza.
At this very moment, we are in the throes of a taco revolution. It's not a boom, as the New York Times so wrongly declared about chicken wings earlier this month. Neither tacos nor wings have experienced a decline in popularity.

But while the advances in wing cookery have remained mostly limited to sauces and accoutrements, the taco is seeing a renaissance. No longer does it remain at grab-and-go status. It has become something chefs treat with the same seriousness they would pâté en croûte.

See also: Tiny Taqueria Serves Miami's Most Authentic Carnitas

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Miami's Best Pan con Lechon: It's All About the Skin

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Photo by Zachary Fagenson
The pan con lechón from La Esquina del Lechón in Doral.
Pan con lechón has a natural progression. What else is one to do with heaps of juicy, fatty pork leftover from a Sunday roast other than tuck it between two pieces of bread with shards of sticky skin and sweet onions?

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Skydiver Jumps Off Plane With First Batch of Stone Crabs Wearing GoPro (Video)

Categories: Musings, News

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Courtesy of Coconut Grove Seafood Festival
Yesterday marked the beginning of stone crab season and the start of the business year for Joe's Stone Crab, which opened its doors at 5 p.m ., serving the first batch of claws to Miamians eager to get their hands on them (or with reservations we presume).

If you happened to be by Peacock Park yesterday morning, you may have seen something in the sky. It wasn't a bird, or a plane (although there was a plane involved). It was a skydiver with a cooler keeping the first batch of the crustaceans straight from the morning boats fresh and ready for landing. Don't believe us? Watch the video for yourself.

See also: Coconut Grove Seafood Festival Back for Second Year; Skydiver to Drop Stone Crab Tomorrow Morning

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Miami Gastropubs Risk Steering the Trend the Wrong Way

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Photo by billwisserphoto.com
Inside southwestern Miami's Finka Table & Tap.
Miami today is replete with truffle oil fries, Brussels sprouts studded with pork bits, and fried-egg-crowned burgers. From the beach to the suburbs, from north to south, scores of restaurants all serve the same predictably heavy fare under the gastropub banner.

The concept was borne of England's pub culture. Chefs with haute cuisine pedigrees made food as much a priority as drink, and started serving upmarket fare in unpretentious settings. A slow collection of gastropubs began shaping up in America starting in the 1990s and the trend seemed to mushroom when April Bloomfield opened the Spotted Pig in New York City in 2004. It rooted in Miami, one could argue, in 2010 when three guys opened a pork-heavy place called Pubbelly in Miami Beach's then-forgettable Sunset Harbour neighborhood.

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Cavatelli Craze Hits Countless Miami Restaurants

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Photo by Riki Altman
Fancy cavatelli.
Like all food trends, pasta preferences come and go, and right now cavatelli is everywhere. The pasta shape with the visible open seam -- like a long, thin hot-dog bun -- that's almost grub-like is popping up all over Miami in various sauces, cheeses, and colors.

Three years ago, we taught you how to make ricotta cavatelli from Cecconi's Chef Sigala. Back then it was rare and unusual; now it's commonplace and on virtually every menu. Look out, pappardelle, ravioli, tortellini, gnocchi, and that oh-so-innocent angel hair -- there's a new pasta in town.

We don't know if there was a sale on cavatelli-makers, but we do know where you can score some of the best versions of this pasta.

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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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