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Duck & Waffle's London Restaurant Gives A Taste of What's in Store for Miami

Categories: Travel Hog

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All photos by Laine Doss
Open kitchen at Duck and Waffle: Everyone has a view!
Although Samba Brands Management has yet to "officially" confirm any details, Duck & Waffle, the London restaurant that takes British pub food and "elevates" it with modern, gourmet twists, is coming to Miami.

When Duck & Waffle opens "across the pond", the restaurant will share space with Sushi Samba at Flagler on the River's phase two project, located at 40 SW North River Drive. The project's developer, the Melo Group, expects to break ground on the project by summer 2015.

The London restaurant, located atop a 40-story skyscraper at 110 Bishopsgate, is one of the city's most difficult restaurants to get into, with guests waiting months to secure a peak dining spot, even though the restaurant is open 24 hours a day. Sushi Samba London, located directly under Duck & Waffle, also commands a long wait for reservations.

See also: London's Duck & Waffle Coming to Miami

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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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New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City

Categories: Travel Hog

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Photo by Laine Doss
Whole steer on a giant grill? Check! Fabulous skyline? Check!
The New York City Wine & Food Festival just wrapped up four days of parties, events, and tastings, and while there are major similarities between it and its snowbird sister, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, there are also major differences.

True, both festivals are the brainchild of Lee Brian Schrager, and there are twin events like Burger Bash and the Grand Tasting Village, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. The NYCWFF and SOBEWFF are as different as the cities they represent.

I was invited to Manhattan to attend the festival. Here are some of the highlights of the weekend.

See also: SOBEWFF Going to the Dogs: Rachael Ray to Host Canine Cocktail Party

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In Colombia, Coffee Is King

Categories: Travel Hog

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All photos by Laine Doss
A Colombian coffee farmer transports his product into town by mule.
In Colombia, there is an export grown that is prized the world over for its quality and energizing properties. That crop is, of course, coffee.

Coffee has been thought to have been grown in the mountainous South American country since the early 1700s, when Jesuits brought coffee seeds with them. The first recorded commercial production of the beans was in 1836. Since then, coffee has grown to be a major source of income for the country, with about $900 million worth exported to the United States in 2013, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

See also: Juan Valdez Cafe Opens Wednesday: Private Tastings and Single Origin Coffees

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Ten Best Key Lime Pies in the Florida Keys

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Photo by Carina Ost
A slice of heaven.
The key to happiness might be as simple as a slice of key lime pie. But pairing that sweet treat with a trip to the Keys is the proverbial cherry on top. The topping is actually a bit debated: whipped cream or meringue? As is the crust: graham cracker or pastry? Oh, and the color: yellow for Keys denizens, neon green for nonislanders.

Because key lime pie originated in the Keys -- although key limes no longer grow there (thanks, hurricanes!) -- nearly every eatery, shack, and shop at seemingly every mile marker claims to sell "the best" and "the original." Let's not get tangled in that web of origin. Instead, here's a simple countdown our ten favorite slices. Pucker up!

See also: Ten Best Dining Counters in Miami

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Miami Could Use a Little L.A.: Vegan Ethiopian, Weed Soda, and Poke Stands

Categories: Travel Hog

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Photo by Neil Vazquez
Chicago is to New York what Miami is to...

This standard SAT analogy might baffle your brain if you haven't made the requisite pilgrimage to the West Coast. But if you're a Southern California expat in this humid swamp-paradise we call a city, you'll know the correct answer is Los Angeles.

The suburban metropolis that is L.A. bears a striking resemblance to the sprawling neighborhoods and gated communities of South Florida, what with the palm trees, highways, and waterside living. Also like Miami, L.A.'s rich ethnic patchwork makes for some of the most interesting eats in America. From Korean barbecue and home-cooked Persian delights to poke and Mexican fruit stands, L.A. has a lot to offer the gluttonous travelers among us.

If you're planning a visit, or are dying to, here's an (In-N-Out-free) culinary pastiche of my recent jaunt to the smog-filled desert oasis of Los Angeles.

See also: "A Little Forgotten": On 79th Street, New Restaurants Pave a Better Way Forward

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Key West Lobsterfest: We Chased That Tail (Photos)

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Photos by Carina Ost
Lobstah.
The tagline for the Key West Lobsterfest is "A Celebration of our favorite Crustacean!" and that was reason enough for us to chase that tail. The four-day celebration really hit the streets this past Saturday with a concert and street fair open to the public.

There were lobster tacos, lobster mac & cheese, lobster grilled cheese, lobster ceviche, honey tempura lobster, and endless more preparations (cue Bubba talking about shrimp) but the full-on tail was the real teaser and street pleaser. Mere words won't do the sight of people sitting on the sidewalk devouring $22 lobster justice, so here are some photos.

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

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Madrid: Foodie Heaven and Jamón Mecca

Categories: Travel Hog

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All photos by Dana De Greff
Jamón Ibérico
Madrid is a foodie heaven. You see it in the markets that offer row after row of fresh produce, and the tapas stacked on café countertops, beckoning passersby in with the thrill of bite-sized pleasures. Pages could be written of the tapas in Spain; hell, pages could be written on the jamón ibérico alone. But for now, the focus is the simple pleasures of tapas in Madrid. Nothing fancy, nothing molecular, just good eating that taps into a heritage of soul-satisfying dishes.

See also: León, Nicaragua: Land of Lakes, Volcanoes, and Unforgettable Food

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Magical, Tasty New Food Items at Universal's Diagon Alley

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Courtesy of Universal Orlando
There are so many wonderful aspects of the Harry Potter universe -- duh, there's magic! -- but one of the most satisfying things is the food.

Throughout the novels, author J.K. Rowling fabricates her fair share of magical creatures as well as delectable wizarding food. We can't naturally concoct any fantastic beasts, but with a little imagination and some flour, sparks can fly in the kitchen.

When planning the latest expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando, senior vice president of revenue operations Ric Florell and executive chef Jayson worked together to conjure up dishes that are both authentic to wizards and delicious for muggles.

See also: 21 Things to Look Out for in Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando's New Harry Potter Experience

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Hedy Goldsmith Inspired by Rare Rum: A Cupcake Is Born (Recipe)

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Courtesy of the Genuine Hospitality Group
Inspiration from Seven Fathoms.
If you've ever wondered how a recipe is created, here's a chance to get inside the head of one of Miami's sweetest chefs.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink's executive pastry chef, Hedy Goldsmith, has created a Stormy Seven Fathoms cupcake with coconut lime frosting. The cupcake is an Island holiday in a treat, bringing together rum, spices, the tang of citrus and the sweetness of coconut. Goldsmith says that the cupcakes are "my favorite dark & stormy cocktail...only edible. They're a great vehicle for rum." Seven Fathoms rum, to be exact.

See also: Camana Bay in Grand Cayman: Miami Connections, Local Flavors

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