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TOP DISHES IN FLORIDA

Since Netmover hasn't done one for a while, I thought I'd throw one out there: top dishes, not any particular food, you've had locally. What got me thinking about this was a recent post by someone about one of my favorite, now departed, dishes - the rib-meat hoagie at the former Johnny V diner spot on Alton Road in Miami Beach (long-gone and missed). So I'm dividing my list into 5 current favorites and 5 dearly departed faves (not in any particular order):

CURRENT:

Piquillo Peppers stuffed w/ bacalao w/ squid ink sauce (El Carajo, 17th & US1 Miami) - one of the greatest tapas I have had anywhere - and I say this after having been recently to Madrid, Bilbao & Barcelona!

Duck Salad (Timo, Sunny Isles) - thin slices of pink duck breast, slightly wilted spinach with a mustardy dressing, slivers of red onion. But the real kicker is the crostini spread with duck liver!

White Gazpacho (Michys, 60s & Biscayne) - cold almond/garlic creamy soup, poured over marcona almonds, white grapes, and dill. Simple but delicious.

Callos (Copas & Tapas, Miracle Mile) - gotta like "parts" for this one - a tripe and garbanzo stew, rich and stick-to-your-ribs good.

Okonomiyaki (Yakko San, Dixie Hwy nr 163rd St) - like nothing I've ever had before - described as a "Japanese pizza", a weird combination of a grilled pancake-y batter, cabbage, fish, okonomiayki sauce (sort of like the bbq sauce on eel sushi), mayo, fish flakes, and pickled ginger.

DEARLY DEPARTED:

Rib Meat Hoagie (Johnny V Diner Alton Rd MB) - oh, this was good - meat from bbq ribs taken off and shredded, stuffed into a hoagie roll along with some cole slaw, with a side of smoked shrimp mashed potatoes. A legendary sandwich.

Duck Tacos (Las Puertas, Giralda Ave. CG) - this one goes way back, possibly about 10 years ago, when there was a great gourmet Mexican restaurant in the space which I think is now Miss Saigon. They did these duck tacos that were just fantastic. They also once did as a special the "Chiles en Nogado" dish from the movie "Like Water for Chocolate" that were wonderful (but I digress).

Lavender Crusted Venison (Talula, MB) - not really gone, just taken off the menu. Delicious grilled venison loin rolled in lavender, sliced, served with this dense savory bread pudding. Bring it back!

Escovitch Fish (Shabeen, MB) - there used to be this great little Jamaican restaurant in the back of the Marlin Hotel on Collins Ave. They did a fantastic escovitch fish (usually a yellowtail, fried and topped with fiery, vinegary peppers. They had a great side of stuffed cho-chos (chayote squash with a sort of cheesy filling) and also did great jerk chicken. (On a side note, I'd love tips for good Jamaican/Creole in Miami - other than Tap Tap).

Foie Gras Salad (Petrossian, Bal Harbour) - now this was my kind of salad: leaves and blanched green beans, with generous strips of poached foie gras, and truffle oil!

What are your favorite Florida dishes?

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  1. In no particular order:

    Joe's Stone Crab, SOBE- King crab claws (hot) with butter, key lime pie

    Osteria Del Teatro, SOBE- Lobster Pasta Dish

    Prime 112, SOBE - Mac & Cheese, Onion Soup, Shrimp Cocktail (Nemo has the same one too)

    Le Tub, Hollywood - Hamburger

    Casa D'Angelo, FT Lauderdale - Lasagna

    Nobu SOBE - Black Cod Miso, Rock Shrimp Tempura

    Tuscan Steak, SOBE - Gnocci Gorgonzola

    Epicure, SOBE - Albacore Tuna Salad sandwich

    Francesco, Gables - Seafood Risotto Nero, Three Sauce Ceviche

    Michy's, Miami - Baked Alaska

    River Oyster Bar, Miami - Pulled Pork Sandwich

    Ice Box, SOBE - Bananna bread pudding

    Ortanique, Miami - Snapper

    Balans, SOBE- Eggs benedict (ham with sausage side).

    Macaluso's, SOBE - Meatball Heros, Ricotta Cheese Cake and best of all dishes here, but unfortunately very rarely served, Carrot Cake.

    Awesome thread btw. Kudos.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon

      KING CRAB at Joe's??????????????????????? Stone crabs, stone crabs.

      1. re: tpigeon

        I'm pulling my casa lasagna rec. Inconsistent.

        Add french toast to ice box.

        Pulling pulled pork sandwich @ river oyster RIP

        Adding babyback ribs to river oyster

        Adding aji amarillo squid ink risotto shrimp and scallops, francesco's lobster and tres leches cake to francesco

      2. Good list TP! If I hadn't limited myself to 5 I definitely would have had a few of these too, in particular the Nobu black cod and creamy spicy shrimp tempura, and Joe's key lime pie. Also the calamari salad at China Grill. Maybe the guava-BBQ ribs at Yuca (but I haven't had these for ages). And what is it that makes Epicure tuna so good?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Frodnesor

          Perfect combo of fish and mayo. This is a must try for a 6.95 sandwich. One of the best sandwiches anywhere. BTW lots of people on the NYC board think the tuna salad sandwich at bouchon bakery is awesome but they would not if they tried epicure. It is one of those singularly great items...

        2. For on the go in Melbourne/Brevard County...Grimaldi's Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

          1. Great thread for a cold January day and some great choices listed.

            The Pad Thai omelette at Wattana Thai in West Palm Beach. Also the deep-fried snapper in chili sauce.

            The tacos con lengue at Tacos al Carbone in Lake Worth.

            The sopa de platano con maraquitas at Casa Romeu in Miami Lakes.

            The curried goat w/stew peas and rice at Caribbean Choice Bakery in West Palm.

            Rabo encendido con yuca y ensalada aguacate at Rey's Cafeteria in Hialeah.

            Bonus: Rib Dinner w/collards and mac 'n cheese at Tom Jenkin's in Ft. Lauderdale; not real original, but I sure miss it!

            Is it possible to be homesick and hungry at the same time? How would you term such a condition?

            The Greek-style whole snapper at Helos in Tarpon Springs.

            1. I agree with TP...awesome thread! I am honored and wish more of you FLA-idians would take the baton!!! I have only a few moments and just wanted to chime in...More to come and hopefully there'll be more TOP FLA posts in my future too!

              I tried your Piquillo Pimientos today at Carajo(in MIA), not being a big cod fan, I was almost tempted to choose one of their specials which looked great, but out of respect to one of my favorite chowhounds, I went ahead and got your "Top Dish"...WOW was it ever good! Very exotic dish and very tasty. They did a nice job with that place and it has to be the best Gas Station Grub going, and their wine selection blows away many a liquor store's. I will definately be skipping the Cassola slices out back for more Spanish cuisine at El Carajo...love that name BTW. Thanks for the rec and the new thread, I am newly inspired.

              1 Reply
              1. re: netmover

                NM - Glad you liked the stuffed piquillos. I've gotten both non-codfish lovers and people who swear only by their grandmother's codfish croquetas to try them, and everyone's loved 'em.