Bird & Bone at the Confidante Miami Beach – South Beach, Florida

It takes a whole bunch to get me to leave the mainland of Miami and hit up South Beach, it’s a totally different world over there. I’ve been a fan of Chef Richard Hales or as I refer to him, Sir Richard since Sakaya Kitchen rocked my world for the first time almost 7 years ago.

His new restaurant, Bird & Bone is located at the Confidante Miami Beach (Hotel). There is valet parking and a few blocks away is a parking garage if that’s more your speed. I gladly chose valet (which can get validated) and waltzed right in.

There is some limited seating inside but I opt to sit outdoors under the canopy type roofing. There’s a nice breeze during lunchtime plus the pictures will look much better if taken with natural light.

Bird & Bone Menu Page 1 (click to enlarge)

Bird & Bone Menu Page 2 (click to enlarge)

I’m by myself which means my wife Marcela will not try to convince me to order in a more civilized manner, full BEAST mode here. This sounds crazy but I order 3 Starters, 3 Tacos, 3 Sandwiches and 3 Desserts.

The starters were the Cheddar & Chive Biscuits, the Country Ham & Cheese Board plus the Egg Salad Jar. Those Cheddar & Chive Biscuits with Wife Hales’ Strawberry Preserves were heaven. The Ham and Cheese Board something I rarely order, made my day with the Jalapeño Jelly. As for the Egg Salad, my Mom makes my favorite Egg Salad BUT this one is pretay pretay good plus those heirloom Corn Chips were out of this world.

Florida Cheddar & Chive Biscuits w/Strawberry Preserves

Country Ham & Cheese Board

Egg Salad Jar with heirloom Corn Chips

Egg Salad Jar

Heirloom Corn Chips

There really isn’t a “Trio of Tacos”. There are 3 Tacos to choose from, it just so happens I ordered all three. The vegetarian option is the Rajas con Queso (Poblano Pepper, Onion, Oaxaca Cheese, Lime Crema), it was very good. The beef option is the Steak Nina (Cumin Spiced Skirt, Scallion, Oaxaca Cheese, Jalapeno Verde) and the Pollo…I mean the Poultry option is the Chef Hales’ Hot Chicken Taco (Hot Fried Chicken, Florida Honey, House Mustard, Pickles). If I had to choose a winner, gun to my head since I liked all 3 Tacos, I’d say the Steak Nina Taco takes it with its seasoning.

Trio of Tacos

Rajas con Queso Taco

Hot Chicken Taco

Steak Nina Taco

On the sandwich side I’ll start with the Cubano Grilled Cheese (Pulled Pork, Benton’s Ham, Pickled Red Onion, Swiss Cheese, House Mustard, Pickles). At the end of the day, he could have called it an empanada and it’d still be great but a Cubano and a Grilled Cheese it’s not. It does come with a side of that killer Alabama White BBQ Sauce, more on that shortly.

Chef Hales’ Hot Chicken Sandwich (Hot Spiced Chicken Tenders, Honey, Pickle, House Mustard, Lettuce, Tomato on Brioche) is next up. After I remove those offensive subjects (Lettuce & Tomato) I dig in for a big bite. The Chicken Tenders were moist, nicely breaded and tossed in a non aggressive Hot Chicken sauce. I asked and you can get the heat level kicked up a little bit more. I can see why folks are raving about this fella. I almost forgot to mention those really addictive Hot Spiced Waffle Fries, damn you Sir Richard!

I left the Bird & Bone Burger (Double Angus Beef Patty, Bacon, Onion, Florida Cheddar Cheese, Pickle, Comeback Sauce on Brioche) for last. Before I go into my thoughts I need to say it’s an excellent Burger as is.

The Onion Slivers & Florida Cheddar Cheese separating the top and bottom was a great idea. There may have been a tad too many pickles but that’s easily fixed or maybe you like a bunch of pickles and you’re ok with it. I personally would have skipped out on the Bacon as I don’t think it needs it. What I found worked beautifully was the Alabama White BBQ Sauce. I slathered some on the bottom bun alongside the Comeback Sauce and you had a one two punch that people won’t see coming. Trust me on this one.

Cubano Grilled Cheese

Cubano Grilled Cheese

Chef Hales’ Hot Chicken Sandwich

Hot Spiced Waffle Fries

Bird & Bone Burger plate

Bird & Bone Burger Closeup

Somehow I manage to order some *Desserts. The Fried Apple Pies are reminiscent of a certain fast food chain that I know Sir Richard loved growing up, it won’t take rocket science to figure out this one. Even the Hot Spiced Waffle Fries seem to be a riff on that same place. No complaints here as I grew up eating at and enjoying that place too.

The Chocolate Bourbon Cake is more my wife’s speed but it’s served with Azucar Ice Cream,THAT I’m a giant fan of.

I saved the best for last, Wife Hales’ Blueberry Cookie. I took one bite and thought, my wife is going to kill me if I don’t bring back the rest of this cookie so I did.

Fried Apple Pies

Chocolate Bourbon Cake w/ Azucar Ice Cream

Wife Hales’ Blueberry Cookie

I went all the way to Miami Beach and had an excellent meal with great service. There’s also a Breakfast Menu and a Dinner Menu left for me to tackle so the adventure isn’t over yet. The only thing left to be said is I’ll be back.

Bird & Bone
4041 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

*All three of the desserts were on the house. I did pay for everything else if you’re keeping tabs at home.

Vicki’s Lunch Van – Montgomery, Alabama

I remember reading some blurb about Vicki’s Lunch Van a few years back, about how it was Alabama’s Best Burger. When someone affixes a title like that on a restaurant it sets a level of expectation that sometimes can not be met. I was interested to see if it was legit.

Vicki’s was originally a permanent mobile unit til they moved to their current old school fast food type digs a few years back. I bet it was quite the experience back then.

pic courtesy of Vicki’s Lunch Van

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we walked in but there were a couple of folks in line (don’t worry it moves fast) ahead of us. It did give me some time to review the menu and decide what exactly I was going to eat.

And there it was on the menu……the Gunter Pile. What is a Gunter Pile you say? Well, the Gunter Pile is a 4 oz. Burger Patty topped with Cheese, Gravy, crispy Onions & grilled Onions served on a bed of Fries). This madness was good but I needed to stop as I had a 4 oz. Burger on deck also.

Gunter Pile

My wife Marcela ordered her 4 oz. all the way with Lettuce, Tomato, Cheese, Pickle, Onions, Mayo, Ketchup & Mustard. She was quietly enjoying her Burger when I set my sights on mine.

Marcela’s Burger with all the Fixins

The first thing I noticed about the Burger Patty was its shape (super deformed), which is a sign of good things to come. I need to compare this moment to a first kiss cause the minute my lips made contact with my Burger, I was in full infatuation mode. I put the Burger down and just stared at it, what a beauty.

Before I knew it, I was looking at a platter of Fries. No disrespect meant to the Fries but I wanted to relive that moment all over again à la Groundhog Day. My biggest regret though, was not taking an extra one to go that day.

Burger w/Cheese, Pickle, Onions, Mayo, Ketchup & Mustard

Even now, I’m still daydreaming about driving through Montgomery, Alabama and stopping in at Vicki’s Lunch Van for a Burger. Wow, what a Burger.

Yum Yum Come Get Ya Some:

Vicki’s Lunch Van
2520 Fairground Rd
Montgomery, AL 36107

Burger Beast Road Trip – April 2017

This year’s road trip is going to take me to Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee & Georgia. Below is a Google Map with all the spots I plan to hit up so feel free to leave any suggestions I’m missing out on in the comments section.

Follow me on Social Media (Instagram, Facebook & Twitter) to keep tabs on where I’m at with this hashtag #burgerbeastontheroad Continue reading

Slice Of New York – St. Pete Beach, Florida

Sometimes in life you’re so busy running around that you don’t take the time to slow down and just enjoy a great meal with friends.

You normally don’t ever see me go into detail about who I’m eating with but I felt on this one excursion it would be cool if you got a peek into who I share my meals with.

How we all ended up in St. Pete Beach at the same time was pure coincidence though:

Fred (my cousin who you may recognize from my Social Media feed as Chunktronics or from his gigs as a line cook at Pincho Factory, Jersey Dawg, El Rey de las Fritas & now Palomilla Grill)


John (my former boss at MetroPCS & also one of my closest friends) planned to drive up to the Tampa to eat at the Columbia Restaurant. It was an incredible meal that I have yet to document on the blog but I really need to.

Alex (owner of Palomilla Grill) was planning to take the weekend off to relax and made plans, you guessed it…to visit the Tampa Bay area.

Nedal (owner of Pincho Factory) was on business in Orlando. just about an hour and a half from us.

Barry (owner of The Magic Box Food Truck & son in law of El Mago de las Fritas) was also in town that weekend selling Fritas at one of the Breweries but he didn’t arrive til the following morning after this late night affair. He did however make it to the lunch at the Columbia.

The Fellas: Nedal, Fred, Alex & John, Barry (not pictured)

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Grillin N Chillin BBQ Festival – Sunday April 2nd

Grillin N Chillin, Wynwood’s 3rd annual BBQ Festival returns on Sunday April 2nd from 11AM til 7PM at the old RC Cola plant. The cool thing about this event are all the other activities to keep you busy while you stuff your face with BBQ from places like Fat Boyz Barbecue, King Of Racks BBQ, Meat Heads BBQ, Pirate Brothers BBQ and Sparky’s Roadside Barbecue. Make sure to eat from Miami Roasted Corn and grab one of their fresh squeezed Lemonades (no mint for me though, I’m OG all the way). Continue reading

Food Trucks at Magic City Casino Turns 6 Years Old Saturday

Who would’ve known that years ago when Magic City Casino (450 NW 37th Avenue) contacted me about a collaboration with them we’d still be here today.

This Saturday March 18th (5-10PM) marks 6 years that the Wheelin’ Dealin’ Food Truck Festival has been doing its thing and feeding hungry South Floridians.

Some facts over the last 6 years: Continue reading

Last Man Standing – Restaurant Chains Left with 1 Location

Once upon these restaurants were parts of larger chains that were either regional or spread across the United States. Unfortunately, like most good things in life….mismanagement, bad decisions, declining sales & a slew of other reasons were the cause for them to dwindle down to just one location, a last man standing if you will.

This is just Part 1 in a new series on the Burger Beast Blog where we will feature Restaurants from back in the day.

Just as a FYI , some historical items from these restaurants can be found on display at my Burger Museum in Miami, FL.

Biff Burger

Read about them on Wikipedia: Biff Burger

Visit the last location: Continue reading

Heineken Light Burger Beast Challenge Winners Are….

Deciding the winner of the 2017 Heineken Light Burger Beast Challenge was very difficult. They were some real contenders but after careful deliberation one retaurant stood out in my mind and taste buds.

Fado Irish Pub in Brickell had my favorite Burger, the “Fado Pub Burger“. It’s a grilled Angus 8oz. Burger Patty topped with smoked Cheddar Cheese, Whiskey Bacon Marmalade & a Fried Egg on a Pretzel Roll. It was/is very pretty and very delicious. You need to go out and try it.

Congratulations from Heineken Light and Burger Beast, you will receive a pair of tickets to the Heineken Light Burger Bash!!!

The Fado Pub Burger

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2017 Burger Beast Burgie Award Winners

Voting for the 8th annual Burger Beast Burgie Awards ran from October 21st, 2016 til January 4, 2017 and here we are a month later to reveal the winners.

Thank you to the almost 3000 folks who took the time to place their vote for their favorites in comfort food so without further ado, here are the 2017 Burger Beast Burgie Awards Winners, Congratulations to them:

Best BurgerLatin House

Best CheesesteakA Little Bit of Philly

Best Chicken TendersCaporal Chicken

Best Cuban PizzaPolo Norte

Best DessertHipPOPs handcrafted gelato pops

Best Food TruckChinaman’s World Famous EggRoll Truck

Best Garlic RollsMagic City Pizza

Best Hot DogPincho Factory

Best Local BreweryFunky Buddha Brewery

Best RestaurantBlue Collar

Best SandwichesCuban Guys

Trump’s Favorite Taco Food TruckTaco Fresh

PRØØF – Miami, Florida by ThankfulMonster

I often get asked – “Where do you eat when you are not traveling?” Though it’s a pretty simple question, the answer is a little more complicated. I have places that I like to go to on special occasions or when I have a specific craving. But most often I find myself at a couple local spots that have won me over. Not with the flashy lights or gimmicky hooks that seem to surround many restaurants in Miami these days. But rather, with a constant quality and care for what they do. There’s one particular favorite I gravitate toward for their consistently well executed food and always rotating menu.

Proof Menu January 2017

I’m talking about PRØØF in Midtown Miami where Chef/Owner Justin Flit never disappoints. Over the course of the last two years I have seen it evolve from mainly “pizza and pasta” to a well executed play on New American cuisine. The dishes range widely from handmade pastas to inventive small plates, seasonal salads, and desserts – all inspired by the freshest local products.

And of course, the pièce de résistance, and the reason you are here: their Grassfed cheeseburger with white cheddar aioli, caramelized onions on a homemade potato bun.

Grass-fed Cheeseburger, Homemade Potato Bun, White Cheddar

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