Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish Market

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Apparently, Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish Market in Downtown Miami has been a part of my family for decades. I was only just introduced to it. When my mom was about my age, my grandpa used to take her there during their lunch breaks. They worked together when my parents first moved to the US. It’s nice to think that Garcia’s creaky wooden deck over looking the Miami River was the setting of many coming of age conversations for my mom.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for one of those lunches. Both my mom and grandpa are very opinionated, strong people who always have to have the last word. Best part about that is, somehow, they are almost always right.

I lived with my parents in Florida for over 10 years and not once was Garcia’s mentioned to me. It’s like parents don’t like to tell you their secrets until after you’ve left the nest, and then they’re all like “ahhaaa! I know something you don’t know.” I think I know why though; Had I known about Garcia’s I would have begged and pleaded my parents for frequent visits and it’s definitely on the pricier side of the track.

Garcia’s has become a Downtown Miami institution. You pay for what you get. The best quality, freshest seafood coming to your plate from their own fleet of boats. I imagine having a fleet of boats and crew to supply fresh food for both a fish market and a restaurant does not come cheap.

I don’t mind paying when it comes to whole grilled fish though. A good one is hard to come by and Garcia’s cooks it to perfection. Personally, I would choose it over the very impressive stone crab my dad was going on about, but to each his own, right?

One thing I think we can all agree on though is that Garcia’s complimentary fish dip and unlimited supply of saltines is the greatest welcoming gesture a seafood restaurant has ever presented.

Just because I live a 24 hour plane ride away from my parents and Miami, does not mean I wont be asking for frequent visits. Get ready, mama!

Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish Market
398 NW North River Drive Miami, FL 33128

Yardbird Southern Table and Bar

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It won the much sought after title of Best Place to Embrace Fried Food in South Florida. Yardbird has obviously chosen a specialty and worked hard to be the absolute best at it. Everything is fried, delicious, and good for the soul. As our waitress told us, “This isn’t the place people should come if they’re watching what they eat.” She said this to my mom while she was contemplating which dish would make her feel less like a fatty: Mama’s Chicken Biscuit or the Chicken, Watermelon and Waffles.

We went with the Chicken Biscuits and the Fried Green Tomato BLT, which I cannot recommend enough. I would pay for you to have this meal with the proviso that I get to watch you enjoy it! I know. Creepy. So what? I cannot think of anything better. Of course, I would also order you a sweet tea and a watermelon cocktail to help you wash it down. I’m not a monster.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t your typical southern food establishment. It’s as fancy as they come. Business meetings were being held there, first dates were going well there, questions arose of whether or not we had reservations even though it was a Tuesday at 1pm.

What I love about Yardbird is that you could pick it up, place it (almost) anywhere in the world and it would work. I attribute that to it’s niche understanding of what they want to present to the world: farm fresh ingredients, classic southern cuisine, culture and hospitality. It’s success has nothing to do with the fact it’s only a block from Lincoln Rd, but it is how it got on my radar.

I love that you leave the restaurant knowing exactly what you’ll order next time around and who you’ll be coming back with. Must. Order. Chicken. And. Waffles. Must. Text. Michele. Now.

And! for the love of the Eater Bunny did you see the dessert menu? Bittersweet Chocolate Cherry Cake? Lemon Chess Pie? Mississippi Mud Pie! Bourbon Bacon Caramel Sundae? Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sundae! Is their anything on that list you wouldn’t at least try? I typed it out for you so you understand how hard it was for us to WALK AWAY WITHOUT ANY DESSERT, and I’ve capitalized WALK AWAY to emphasize how much I’m regretting that decision.

Yardbird Southern Table and Bar
 1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.

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Living in Melbourne and being 16 hours ahead of Miami time means I can’t call my mom whenever I want to. Like, say, when I lived in New York and called her on my walk to and from work, on my lunch break, or any time I had a story. I use to call my mom for everything, that was our thing. “Should I wash my hair tonight or can I make it one more day?”, “What should I cook for dinner?”, “Should I take both advil and midol?”, but most of the time the conversation went something like “When you come visit we have to go to INSERT RESTAURANT NAME because it was INSERT EXPERIENCE. You are going to flip.” Not wanting to wake my mom up at 4am after having a scrumptious, fun, and excruciatingly delicious meal here in Australia I started writing my experiences down and saving them so maybe, one day, she could read them. A few weeks later this blog was born.

So thank you for being the kind of mom I want to and can share everything with.

I love you so very much, mama.

O-B House Saves Mornings in Fort Lauderdale

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I’ve been hearing a lot of bad things said about food in the US lately. Things like, “I couldn’t find one good thing to eat” or “The plates are way too big”, and “THE COFFEE? HAVE YOU TRIED THE COFFEE! YUCK!”

I wanted to list off some places I know and love immediately to prove them wrong, but what would have been the point. They couldn’t really jump on a 24 hour flight just to check them out. So, instead, I figured I can share them on here and when you’re in the US you can take advantage.

Take one: O-B House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The majority of the population in Fort Lauderdale and I love the O-B House. I didn’t take a poll to find that out (so it may broad and not accurate), but when you have people waiting in line 30 minutes+ in Fort Lauderdale there’s gotta be some magic behind the curtain. Thats especially true of a cafe in downtown riverfront, with the beach ten minutes East and the IMAX Theatre two minutes west.

Let me start by saying the orange juice is incredible, and you know that’s not a quality of many cafes. Look at that bang for your buck! Yes, the large cup out of the four in the picture above was mine. 🙂

Let me continue by adding: I always order the “Build Your Own Omelet”. It’s basically a buffet without the food sitting out getting cold and collecting bacteria part. The O-B House uses three free range eggs to make these omelets and you can choose up to 4 toppings to go in. Heaven! I change up my toppings, but my constant is the Pepper Jack cheese.  I’m also a huge fan of the O-B House toast that comes with it. It’s thick, lightly toasted and comes out warm and is, surprisingly, not so filling.

One of my favorite things about the O-B House (second to the food) is the amount of pride they take in the making of every plate. On the menu they kindly ask you to be patient with them about the price (not bad!) and the wait (not so bad either!) as they are using the best and freshest ingredients they can get their hands on and take the time to cook every plate close to perfection. Those are my words, taken from theirs.

I have a few more words to THOSE people saying THOSE things about THOSE 50 states: SEE, GUYS! And this is just the start.