Miami's Six Best Blood-and-Guts Dishes: From Veal Kidney to Pig Stomach

Courtesy of Flickr
Conventional forms of meat consumption are so passe in our post-Andrew Zimmern world. Ever since Bizarre Foods hit the airwaves, budding foodies have been trying to outdo one another in the consumption of exotic and stomach-churning meals. Along with insect larvae and durian, offal (a euphemism for organs, glands, and innards usually discarded during butchery) has returned to the culinary scene.

While they might not be the most attractive proteins, these overlooked delicacies are often staples of cultures around the world. Here are some of Miami's best blood-and-guts dishes, lovingly prepared and served for your gluttonous consumption.

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Asian Thai Kitchen: From Bangkok to a Grove Convenience Store

Photo by Zachary Fagenson
Panang curry ($11) at Asian Thai Kitchen.
Homeless men mutter to themselves outside the Kwik Stop on Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove.

Yet tucked inside the convenience store, KT Mongkolthalang and her mother, Toya, stand behind a glass case stacked high with cans of Mae Ploy coconut milk and amber bottles of fish sauce while they toss pearly white strands of rice noodles in a sizzling woks.

While central Grove real estate and restaurants seem to founder, the mother-and-daughter team at Asian Thai Kitchen turns out fragrant bowls of noodles and rich coconut milk curries without even a place for patrons to sit.

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Great American Bacon Race: Running for the Bacon Obsessed

Wikicommons/Renee Comet
Meet your new running buddy.
Running is one of the most popular sports in the United States, with road races being one of the fastest-growing sports-related weekend pastimes.

According to Running USA's State of the Sport report, the number of running events in the United States in 2012 totaled an astounding 26,370, with 15,534,000 finishers.

Road races, once considered the domain of the professional athlete or the deranged, are more popular than ever, thanks to race directors hosting events catered to just about every preference and interest. There are races that allow you to run in technicolor, play in mud, avoid zombies, and mingle with Disney characters. And now, ladies and gentlemen, you can run with bacon.

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Certified Cheese Professionals: 4,000 Hours In the Trade Is Just the Start

Lyssa Goldberg
Whole Foods specialty team leader Crystal Poon cheesin' for the camera
We all know that a sommelier is a trained wine professional. And we've each encountered beer snobs - perhaps less refined, but they have an equally enviable level of specialty knowledge.

While wine and spirits experts are fine and dandy, in the world of gastronomers, it's certified cheese professionals (CCPs) that rise above the rest.

Each CCP has sat for a 3-hour, 150-question multiple choice exam at an annual conference of the prestigious American Cheese Society -- covering topics like the cheese-making process, ripening, storage, categorizing, and more -- and has passed a test.

See also: Top Five Vegan Cheeses

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Turn Sweat Into Drinking Water: New Swedish Invention
You will never go thirsty again.

Oh those crazy Scandinavians, they've done it again. First the Danish invent an iPhone-controlled coffee maker that pours coffee out of a faucet, now the Swedish come up with a machine that turns your sweat into potable drinking water. Anyone thirsty?

Inspired by astronauts who pretty much recycle everything, this contraption was built by Swedish engineer Andreas Hammar from off-the-shelf-parts, including a clothes dryer and coffee filters. The main component is a filter developed by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

See also: Brew Coffee From A Faucet With Your iPhone: Yes, There Is An App For That

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The Flora-Bama Bar: Mullet-Tossing, Bushwhackers and Bikini Contests

florabama girl in bikini.jpg
Hannah Sentenac
Flora-Bama, y'all!
Unlike the rest of America, in Florida, you have go north to go south. More redneck than refined, the rest of the Sunshine State is full of pick-up trucks, Southern twangs and country music. Head north just a few hundred miles, and it's hard to imagine there's a place called Miami.

And despite any lingering South Florida snobbery, there are lots of spots worth visiting elsewhere in the state -- many of which happen to be unforgettable drinking dens. Arguably, the best of the bunch is the iconic Flora-Bama, a mainstay on Perdido Key since the mid-'60s. The bar, half of which sits in Alabama, half in Florida, is also known as the Flo-Bam -- and it's home to mullet-tossing, epic bushwhackers and bikini contests.

What's a mullet toss, you ask? It's where dudes take turns throwing a fish from the Florida side to the 'Bama side. Seriously.

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Stephen's Restaurant: Hand-Carved Pastrami in Hialeah

All photos by Zachary Fagenson
Inside Stephen's, a corned-beef-fueled time machine in Hialeah.
Circling around Hialeah side streets near LeJeune Avenue we found Stephen's Restaurant only after dodging a 10-foot-by-10-foot slab of marble being offloaded into a warehouse.

A New York-style deli with house-made, hand-sliced pastrami and corned beef loaded onto thick slices of griddled rye bread is the last thing we thought we'd find here. Yet Stephen's is a holdover from a bygone era, when Formica countertops were still in style and the area was home to a garment district and a large Jewish population.

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Celebrate Halloween with Fetus-o-Lantern Pumpkin Carvings

Categories: Obscurity
American Life League via Facebook
Fetus-o-Lantern. Because vampires are so last year.
Halloween is right around the corner and you've got to figure out a way to one-up last year's Jack-o-Lantern. A quick look around the internet shows the usual vampires, black cats, ghosts, goblins and bad-guy  celebs and characters like Darth Vader and Justin Bieber (who is truly evil personified).

We've found a great way to truly terrorize the children in the neighborhood -- while at the same time making a statement that life begins at conception......

A Fetus-o-Lantern!

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Ben & Jerry's Sues Porn Company Over Dirty Ben & Cherry's Videos

Categories: Obscurity
Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's, the ice-cream company that likes to push the limits with its own unique sense of edgy humor, has finally reached a limit.

The frozen-treat manufacturer, known for its pop-culture-inspired ice-cream names, is suing the producers of Ben & Cherry's adult DVDs, saying the "hardcore pornographic" videos and related goods are tarnishing the Ben & Jerry's name.

The trademark lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's U.S. District Court, names Rodax Distributors and Caballero Video as defendants. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the complaint claims "the hardcore and exploitive pornographic infringing Ben & Cherry's DVDs" are likely to confuse consumers by "creating an association of the Ben & Jerry's family of marks and the Ben & Jerry's trade dress with pornography."

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Big-Butted Black Ants and Cow Foot Jell-O, Yum!


When my co-worker brought in edible "presents" to the office from his Colombian mother-in-law, it wasn't your typical box o' chocolates or salt water taffy; instead these souvenirs were hormigas culonas, or big-butted Colombian ants and gelatina de pata de res -- cow foot gelatin.

Most of the reactions from my metrosexual co-workers were less than brave. Sour scared faces quickly filled the office as the Tupperware of nearly a dozen 2 inch-long dead ants were passed to the sound of shrilling shrieks.

For the daring cultured few, including myself, it was a delectable feast. Crunchy, moist, salty and delicious are a few words that came to mind. "It tasted like really roasted popcorn, you know, when the kernel is half-way popped so the crunchy shell is surrounding the buttery nub?" said a voice from behind the cubicle.

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