Well, lots to report in the Miami Dining scene.
First of all, of course, it’s Miami Spice of course and will be until the end of September. I haven’t be able to make it to one, but finally ate at Zitz Sum with friends a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it. It’s a small restaurant, located inside a Coral Gables office building, with an open kitchen, bamboo chairs and tropical wallpaper. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Miami Spice. My favorite menu item we ordered (most items are meant to be shared) was the Bings Sourdough Pancake with a plate-licking, Sesame Seed, Miso Honey Butter. Zitz Sum is open for Happy Hour Tuesday -Friday from 5-7 and for dinner Tuesday- Saturday. They’re closed Sunday and Monday.
In other Miami food news, Fox’s Lounge, the 70-year-old, world’s darkest bar that closed in 2015, has re-opened, although in a slightly different configuration. I was never a frequent visitor of Fox’s (although we did sometimes use the walk-up liquor window), but my Uncle Jack loved this old-school restaurant and especially it’s Prime Rib. The Prime Rib is back, as are other classic dishes Fox’s loyal customers expect, but some are served with a twist on the original. My Miami Dining spy recently ate there and said that while the cocktails are good (she had a Martini), the kitchen seemed to be having issues. Let’s hope they get these resolved because we’re rooting for this South Miami Institution to continue and thrive.
The other restaurant that recently opened (July 25th), where an institution used to stand, is the Bayshore Club. It’s located in Coconut Grove, where Scotty’s Landing used to be. I did go to Scotty’s Landing fairly frequently, mostly with my Dad on the boat. While I appreciated the “old Miami” feel of the place, I never thought the food was that great. The Bayshore Club is part of the Grove Bay Hospitality Group and the kitchen is run by Top Chef alumni Jeff McInnis, who also helms Root and Bone and Mi’talia with his wife Janine Booth.
My Miami Dining Spy attended a “soft opening” for the Bayshore Club and sampled the Grilled Local Fish Tacos $18, a “yummy” cocktail and Guava BBQ Spareribs, which she termed “delicious”. The ribs are pricey ($48), but enough to share and come with Miami Slaw and fries. She loved the atmosphere, describing it like “being on vacation” and said there was a mix of people- Middle-Aged, Young Adults and Families with Children. In her words, “it all seemed to work.”
A peek at their website, reveals a space that looks light, bright and green, while paying homage to the location’s past with a mural with the word “Miami” and a seaplane. This historic spot, on Dinner Key, used to be the base for Pan Am’s flying boats. The menu looks good and not too pricey, with Florida favorites like Fish Dip, Ceviche and Conch Fritters, as well as Salads, Burgers and Main Dishes, liked Seared Snapper Filet. I can’t wait to try the Bayshore Club. Unfortunately, they aren’t doing Miami Spice.
In international news, there is a Dijon mustard shortage in France. Mon Dieu! This has resulted from climate change, the Russian war in Ukraine, Covid Supply Chains and rising costs. The brown seeds used to make Dijon mostly come from Canada and a heat wave last summer reduced production by 50%. In France, most stores have been wiped out of their Dijon and in those that haven’t, there’s a limit of one pot per person. I haven’t noticed a shortage here in Miami, but then again, I haven’t really been looking.
In national news, Taco Bell pulled their Mexican Pizza from their menu, apparently a big deal to many Taco Bell diners, but not to this Foodie in Miami, who rarely eats at Taco Bell. This item was a cult favorite order in 2020, but was pulled from the menu as it was difficult to keep up with the supply. After fan outcry, Taco Bell put it back on the menu at the end of May, but the supply couldn’t keep up with the demand, so it was taken back off the menu. One customer in California ordered 180 Mexican pizzas! This item, which is two tostadas filled with seasoned ground beef and topped with cheese and tomatoes, is supposed to re-appear on the menu in Mid-September. A win for Mexican Pizza lovers.
And, in other Pizza News, Pickle Pizza is now a thing. The article I read compared it to Hawaiian Pizza, in referencing it’s “love it or hate it” status. Supposedly, it was invented at Rhino’s Pizzaria in Upstate New York and is revered by fans for its sweet, salty, puckery flavor. This pizza is normally made with a white or ranch sauce (as opposed to red) and appeared at State Fairs in Minnesota, Indiana and Florida. It took off in popularity via Local and Social Media; each pizzeria makes their Pickle Pizza a little differently. I’m not sure how I feel about Pickle Pizza, but will definitely give it the old college try. Pickle flavors, such as the pickle seasoning at Trader Joe’s, are trending hard these days.
And in the last Pizza News, Dominos is leaving Italy. Apparently, the Mom and Pop stores started doing delivery and pick-up during Covid, reducing the need for Dominos. Whoever thought opening a Dominos in the birthplace of pizza was a good idea in the first place? I’m sure those Mom and Pop Italian Pizzerias would not approve of Mexican or Pickle Pizza either!
And, in my own Food News, here was my week of meals from last week. Sunday, tired after coming from the Keys, I made Rigatoni with pre-jarred red sauce and store-bought meatballs and ricotta. A little garlic bread finished off my carb-filled feast. There’s no shame in jarred sauce if it’s a good one; I like Rao’s and Del Grosso’s Sunday Marinara.
Monday I tried True Food Kitchen in the Falls for an End-of-the-Year Tennis Lunch and it was really good. They offered Miami Spice with some interesting selections, which some of the ladies tried, but I wanted the Seasonal Corn Soup as an appetizer and they were out. The Charred Cauliflower appetizer and Hummus, that the table shared were really tasty, as was my Turkey Burger. The concept for the restaurant was developed by wellness guru Andrew Weil and revolves around his anti-inflammatory diet and using fresh, seasonal foods. It’s an “eco-chic chain serving health conscious food”, according to its website. I’d heard about it a while ago from friends, so was glad to try this restaurant located in the former Friday’s location. RIP Fridays! Another one bites the dust.
That night for dinner, I made a healthy Pork Tenderloin, crusted with crushed fennel seed, garlic, salt and olive oil and roasted over a bed of onions, apples and grapes. Since I was being so virtuous for the main course, I made stuffing as a side. Pork tenderloin is a lean meat that is an easy-to-make option for a quick dinner. Making it on the sheet pan with the ingredients underneath makes it even easier and clean-up is a breeze if you use foil on the pan. Leftovers are great for sandwiches, on pizza, in fajitas or quesadillas.
Wednesday, I whipped up a Real Simple recipe for Mango Chicken Curry, since I had mangoes from my tree and the rest of the ingredients on hand. I served it over Jasmine Rice and put toppings out- jalapeno, toasted coconut, scallions and sliced avocado- to go on top. A.J. and Phoenix, who’s becoming very good at feeding himself, dined with us. It was a light, summery dish.
Thursday night I made Bibimbap from a Hello Fresh box Emma had given us. She’s been a little swamped lately with starting her new job at U Health, so wasn’t able to use it and we reaped the benefit. Bibimbap is a Korean dish usually served with a fried egg on top, but this one had Jasmine rice, sauteed carrots and zucchini and ground pork with a sauce. We both really enjoyed it and Korean Food, like bibimbap, is trending.
Friday night we dined out in the Keys at the Italian Pizza Company. We didn’t have Mexican Pizza or Pickle Pizza, but a wood-fired Diavolo Pizza that was delicious, although a little burnt on the crust. We asked for it “extra crispy” and they complied. This is Neopolitan Pizza, flash baked in a wood-fire oven at a high temperature, so it sometimes comes out a little soft on the bottom. The Diavolo Pizza has red sauce, mozzarella, spicy Calabrian salami, Parmigiano and basil. We also got meatballs and I was so hungry, forgot to take a photo.
Well, that’s not all the Miami Dining news that’s fit to print, but it’s all I’m reporting on today. Wishing you a delightful last five weeks of Summer! Make them last- swim, splash, play, eat a tropical fruit, listen to a summer playlist, drink a fruity drink, eat a cold soup, try a Miami Spice. In other words- enjoy. It will be Fall before we know it.
Up Next: The Ultimate Turkey Burger