Amstel Light Burger Beast Challenge Starts NOW

Amstel Light - BurgerBeast

Who’s ready for the Amstel Light Burger Beast Challenge? Or #AmstelBurgerBeast for short.

Get real close to the screen, so I can whisper to you how this works. We’ve got a two parter on our hands folks:


1) The 20 Participating Restaurants will receive a visit from a very special someone aka ME. I will be pairing their signature Burger with an Amstel Light Beer. Whichever Burger pairs the best in my humble opinion will win a coveted spot to cook at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Amstel Light Burger Bash.

It’s a big deal to be a part of the Amstel Light Burger Bash and I hope none of them are taking this lightly.

Here are the Restaurants:

  1. American Social, Fort Lauderdale
  2. Burger & Beer Joint, Miami Beach
  3. Batch, Brickell
  4. BurgerFi, Aventura
  5. Keg South, West Kendall
  6. Latin House, Kendall
  7. Le Tub, Hollywood
  8. Lefty’s Tavern, Coral Springs
  9. Mickey Byrnes Irish Pub, Hollywood
  10. Mike’s at Venetia, Miami
  11. Novecento, Midtown
  12. Pincho Factory, Coral Gables & Westchester
  13. Pub Grill, Cutler Bay
  14. Racks Downtown Eatery, Boca Raton
  15. Rebel House, Boca Raton
  16. Rhum Shak, Lake Worth
  17. Rosie’s, Wilton Manors
  18. Shula’s Burger, Kendall
  19. Tarpon Bend, Fort Lauderdale
  20. Vegas Burger Bar, North Miami

The #AmstelBurgerBeast Restaurant Winner will be revealed right here on my blog and everywhere else you can find me (Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram) on Tuesday, February 17, 2014 at Noon.


2) So you’ve been wanting to attend the Amstel Light Burger Bash but it always sells out before you get a chance to get tickets. Here’s your chance to win a pair to THE signature event of South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

All you’ve got to do is hit up one of the participating restaurants I listed above, order an Amstel Light and a Burger (please make sure it looks good) and snap a pic with the #AmstelBurgerBeast hashtag for your chance to win two tickets!

The Amstel Light Burger Beast Challenge Social Media Winner will be announced here, Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram on Wednesday, February 18, 2014 at Noon.


I will be giving you updates on what’s going on with the Amstel Light Burger Beast Challenge so stay tuned to your bud, the Burger Beast.

Food Specials For The 2015 Burgie Awards

Burgies 2015 Poster

We’re getting close to the actual Burger Beast Burgie Awards event and revealing who the winners are. In the meantime to build up some anticipation here are some the special dishes that will be available along with everyone’s regular dishes.

While at the event, every attendee will be able to vote for their favorite dish at the Miami Lakes Auto Mall tent and the winner will receive a People’s Choice Best Dish Burgie Award!!!

REMEMBER: Saturday January 31, 2015 from 5-10PM at Milander Park (4700 Palm Avenue) in Hialeah. Admission is FREE. You’re all invited.

To see the entire line-up of Food, Art & Music for the Burgie Awards: CLICK HERE


2 Jive Turkeys: Turkey-Avocado Sandwich – Carved Deep Fried Turkey Breast, Melted Swiss Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado with our Cranberry-Sangria Dressing on a Butter Toasted Roll.

Turkey-Avocado Sandwich

Turkey-Avocado Sandwich


B.C. Tacos: Frita Taco – FRITA TACO – Homemade Chorizo & Beef Patty, Queso Frito, homemade Papitas & BC Ketchup.

Frita Taco

Frita Taco


Babe Froman Fine Sausages: Brat-O-Saurus Burger – 1/3 Lb. Bratwurst Patty topped with Sauerkraut, melted Jarlsburg Cheese and Grain Mustard on a Pretzel Bun.


Curbside Gourmet: Thai Pork Belly Sliders – The Pork Belly will be braised in a 5-spice Broth, then marinated in Lemongrass-Sata, seared to order & served on a local made Roll with a Chili-Lime Slaw & drizzled with truck made Peanut Red-Curry Sauce.


Dim Ssäm à gogo: THE BEAST – Double Angus Beef “Bulgogi” Burger

"The Beast" Double Angus Beef "Bulgogi" Burger

“The Beast” Double Angus Beef “Bulgogi” Burger


Don Mofongo: “Burgies” Bori Burger – Sirloin Tender Meat, Sweet Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Onions & Mushroom Teriyaki, Mayo-Ketchup Sauce, Tomatoes & Green Leaf Lettuce.

"Burgies" Bori Burger

“Burgies” Bori Burger


FOAR: Breakfast Beast – Griddle-Fried Taylor Ham, 2 Fried Eggs, melted American Cheese, layer of Home-Fries & Onions dressed with Malt Vinegar, sliced Roast Beef with homemade Gravy, melted Muenster Cheese on a Hoagie Roll.

Breakfast Beast

Breakfast Beast


HipPOPs Handcrafted Gelato Bars: Frozen Hot Chocolate Bar – Our secret blend of our Cocoa Belgian Gelato, dipped with our Signature Semi-Sweet Chocolate, dusted with Sea Salt & topped Mini Marshmallows.

Hot Chocolate

Frozen Hot Chocolate Bar


Jefe’s Original Fish Taco & Burgers: SS Fishwich –  Filet of fresh Fish dredged in seasoned Flour fried crispy served on a toasted Bun with house-made Tartar Sauce, Vine Ripened Sliced Tomato, crunchy crisp Lettuce, melted Pepper Jack Cheese & house-made Pickled Red Onion.

SS Fishwich

SS Fishwich


Jersey Dawg: Last day to have a Double Slider.

Double Slider

Double Slider


Liquid N2 Ice Cream: Beastie’s Cookie Flan Ice Cream – Made with No eggs and eggless Cookie Dough, drizzled with Dulce de Leche.

Cookie Flan Ice Cream

Beastie’s Cookie Flan Ice Cream


Ms. Cheezious: Croqueta Monsieur – Ham Croquetas, Tavern Ham, Bechamel & Swiss on Sourdough.

Croqueta Monsieur

Croqueta Monsieur


Paradise Cups: Keri’s Chocolate Berries – Is a light, creamy soft fluffy Snow infused with the elements of Strawberry Shortcake & covered in Chocolate.

Keri's Chocolate Berries

Keri’s Chocolate Berries


The Rolling Stove: *Cemita Poblano-Pork – Milanese-style with Avocado, Oaxaca Cheese, Baby Arugula, Chipotle Mayo served on a Cemita Roll.


Spring In Roll Out: Vietnamese Pinchos – Meatballs on a Stick


Woody’s Burgers: Le Cordon Beast Burger – Woody’s Beef Burger w/grilled thick Slab Bacon, Smoked Ham, Gruyere Cheese, Fried Egg, Crispy Fried Onion with Citrus Parsley Butter & Roasted Garlic Mayo.


Yayi’s Desserts: Blueberry Apricot Goat Cheese Flan – The Blueberry & the Apricot provide an excellent counter to the slightly bitter taste of the Goat Cheese. The Goat Cheese makes it a super creamy delight.

Blueberry Apricot Goat Cheese Flan

Blueberry Apricot Goat Cheese Flan


*winner of Best Dish at the El Main Evento Food Truck Competition

Food Recap from Saturday’s Food Trucks

Every 3rd of the month the Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival happens at Magic City Casino. And every 3rd Saturday you can find my family, my friends and I trying to sample as much food as humanly possible. This past Saturday was no different (Jan 17th).

Unfortunately as it gets darker it becomes impossible to get great pictures of everything but below is a good 80% of what we ate.

You can also see the great picture Fatgirl Hedonist snapped when she hung out for a little while with us last night.

Remember it’s every 3rd Saturday and I curate, choose, whatever you prefer to call it the Food Trucks. If there’s a Food Truck you’d like to see please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.

Sausage Balls from Tum Tum's

Sausage Balls from Tum Tum’s

Mr. Miyagi San(wich) from Tum Tum's: Crispy Chicken Sandwich w/Garlic Sriracha Slaw

Mr. Miyagi San(wich) from Tum Tum’s: Crispy Chicken Sandwich w/Garlic Sriracha Slaw

"Burgies" Bori Burger by Don Mofongo

“Burgies” Bori Burger by Don Mofongo

Small Pizza Bianca from Rolling Oven: Olive oil glaze, fresh Garlic, Provolone, fresh Mozzarella, and Parmesan, finished with fresh Basil.

Small Pizza Bianca from Rolling Oven: Olive oil glaze, fresh Garlic, Provolone, fresh Mozzarella, and Parmesan, finished with fresh Basil.

Small Potato and Chorizo from Rolling Oven:  Thinly sliced Potatoes, Olive Oil glaze, Provolone, Chorizo Sausage, fresh Mozzarella, finished with cracked Black Pepper.

Small Potato and Chorizo from Rolling Oven:
Thinly sliced Potatoes, Olive Oil glaze, Provolone, Chorizo Sausage, fresh Mozzarella, finished with cracked Black Pepper.

BLTCE (Thick Cut Slab Bacon, American Cheese, Fried Egg, Ketchup, Mustard & Roasted Garlic Mayo) from Woody's Burgers

BLTCE (Thick Cut Slab Bacon, American Cheese, Fried Egg, Ketchup, Mustard & Roasted Garlic Mayo) from Woody’s Burgers

Nutella, Strawberry & Banana Crepe from Voo La Voo

Nutella, Strawberry & Banana Crepe from Voo La Voo

Beef Cheeseburger Wrap from Ipek's Wykked Kitchen

Beef Cheezburger Wrap from Ipek’s Wykked Kitchen

1/2 Rack of Ribs from Legends BBQ

1/2 Rack of Ribs from Legends BBQ

Buffalo Melt by Killer Melts: Fried Buffalo Chicken, Pepper Jack Cheese, Blue Cheese Dressing, Lettuce and Tomatoes on toasted White Bread.

Buffalo Melt by Killer Melts: Fried Buffalo Chicken, Pepper Jack Cheese, Blue Cheese Dressing, Lettuce and Tomatoes on toasted White Bread.

Soft Serve Swirl from Ice Cream Express, pic by FGH

Soft Serve Swirl from Ice Cream Express, pic by FGH

Details To Remember:

Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival
at Magic City Casino
Facebook: Wheelin’ Dealin’ Event Page
Date: Every 3rd Saturday of the Month
Time: 5PM – 10PM
Location: 450 NW 37th Ave Miami, Florida 33125
Restrictions: ALL AGES & FREE ADMISSION
Parking: Plenty of Free Parking

Chefs On The Run – Homestead, Florida

Chefs on the Run is one of the the restaurants I’ve been telling myself that I need to hit up for over a year. I’m not sure exactly why I hadn’t. When FGH asked if I’d like to accompany her to Knaus Berry Farm I said Yes with the only stipulation being that we hit up Chefs on the Run for lunch.

After having to wait around for FGH to pick her Strawberries we headed out. I was excited, hungry and had only a Cheese Bread Stick in my stomach holding me over. There’s only one parking space available when we arrive and it involves parallel parking, one of my kryptonites.

Chefs on the Run seats about 30 folks and has one wall covered with local art for sale, which is a nice touch. I had already scoped out the menu and was ready to order. FGH was a bit on the sick side and was all about getting a Soup. They were out of Soup so she had to settle for the Habanero Chicken and Pinchos (Skewers) I ordered “Pa Picar”.

There was no settling here as the Habanero Chicken were beyond excellent with a just right buttery Habanero Sauce (not too spicy) and a side of Lime Ranch Sauce. If I had my druthers, I’d be a Bleu Cheese Sauce but you can’t win them all. The Chicken & Churrasco Pinchos were good too but I would have preferred the BBQ Sauce on the side so that I could control how much each one had. I assumed they would be, but we know what happens when you assume.

I really wanted the Habanero Burger but two spicy dishes is not really the way to start your day. I’m glad I chose the Chef La Burger (Grilled Onions, Provolne Cheese, Hot Pastrami & Creole Mustard). It’s beautiful, it really is.

I remove the offensive lettuce & tomato and look at the marvelous crust on the bottom of the Burger, I was sold. One bite and boom, there it was, an explosion. It’s a very well constructed Burger with some equally great ingredients. The Creole Mustard really tied the Pastrami to the Burger. They nailed it.

There’s a Tripleta, a Bahn Mi, & Mofongo which give me multiple reasons to return to Chefs on the Run. Plus, I really need to try that Habanero Burger.

Menu Page 1 (click to enlarge)

Menu Page 2 (click to enlarge)

Menu Page 2 (click to enlarge)

Herb Butter Bread

Herb Butter Bread

Habanero Boneless Chicken w/Lime Ranch

Habanero Boneless Chicken w/Lime Ranch

Pinchos: Chicken & Churrasco Skewers w/BBQ Sauce

Pinchos: Chicken & Churrasco Skewers w/BBQ Sauce

Fries

Fries

Chef J's Burger (Grilled Onions, Provolne Cheese, Hot Pastrami & Creole Mustard) - Side One

Chef J’s Burger (Grilled Onions, Provolne Cheese, Hot Pastrami & Creole Mustard) – Side One

Chef J's Burger (Grilled Onions, Provolne Cheese, Hot Pastrami & Creole Mustard) - Side Two

Chef J’s Burger (Grilled Onions, Provolne Cheese, Hot Pastrami & Creole Mustard) – Side Two

P.S.: FGH had Hummus, one of the few items I have banned from this blog, “thou shalt not be photographed“.

Run To Homestead:

Chefs on the Run
Facebook: Chefs on the Run Assorted Cuisine
10 E Mowry Dr Homestead, Florida
305-245-0085

Chefs on the Run Assorted Cuisine on Urbanspoon

This Saturday Catch The Miami Food Trucks At Magic City Casino

Wheelin Dealin - Magic City Casino

The Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival (which takes place every 3rd Saturday of the month) is this Saturday January 17th from 5-10PM. Magic City Casino (right near the Miami airport) hosts and we have over 20 of South Florida’s BEST Food Trucks attending.

I have been curating this event since the first time it was held back in March of 2011, we’re nearing the four year anniversary. It’s also the longest running Food Truck Event in all of the state of Florida.

Even though the Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival takes place at Magic City Casino, ALL AGES are welcome & admission is FREE. And yes, Beer is sold at this event if you wanna throw down a cold one with your grub.

This month you can catch first timers like Ice Cream Express, Killer Melts, Legends BBQ, Rolling Oven & Voolavoo plus regular favorites like Daddy’s Grill, Don Mofongo and Taco Fresh. Check out the entire line-up below.

There’s also a FREE Concert that night by Orquesta Brava at 8PM.

WDSFF January 2015

January 17th Line-Up:

Arepas Las Gorditas
Box of Chacos
Daddy’s Grill
Don Mofongo
FOAR
Ice Cream Express
Ipek’s Wykked Kitchen
Killer Melts
Legends BBQ
The Lobsta Guy
The Magic Box
Miami Angels Roasted Corn
Miami Meatballers
Monster Burgers
Rolling Oven
Sugar Yummy Mama
Taco Fresh
Top Fries
Tum Tum’s
Voolavoo
Woody’s Burgers
Xtreme Risotto

The Details:

Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival
at Magic City Casino
Facebook: Wheelin’ Dealin’ Event Page
Date: Saturday January 17th & Every 3rd Saturday of the Month
Time: 5PM – 10PM
Location: 450 NW 37th Ave Miami, Florida 33126
Restrictions: ALL AGES & FREE ADMISSION
Parking: Plenty of Free Parking

109 Burger Joint Opening In Sweetwater, Friday January 16th

109 Burger Joint

A collective sadness came over Sweetwater and the hop, skip and a jump away FIU with the closing of A&G Burger Joint last June. It looks like it might be time to turn that frown upside down (yes I borrowed that line from Lionel Playworld) as the new owners of the space are opening up as 109 Burger Joint in that same location.

The menu is compromised of not only 10 eight ounce (half pound) Artisan Burgers with names like The Blue Moon (Blue Moon Beer Aged Patty w/Blue Cheese Crumbles, Sautéed Onions, Mushroom Orange Mayo, Julienne Romaine Lettuce, Tomato & Pickles), The Panther (50% Angus, 50% Pancetta Patty w/Cheddar Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Homemade BBQ Sauce, Leaf Lettuce, Red Onion, & Tomato) and likely to be popular in this Nicaraguan heavy part of Miami, the Nica Burger (100% Angus Patty w/Nicaraguan-style Fried Cheese, Mild Jalapeño Cream Sauce, Fried Sweet Plantains & Nicaraguan Coleslaw).

There’s also their signature Burger, the 109 Super Burger. This over the top creation includes American Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Guava Sauce, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, French Fries and Mini Mac Balls on a 1/2 pound Burger patty. And of course you can choose to Build Your Own Burger option if you’re not into their pre-made creations.

For you Beer folk there’s an extensive selection of Craft & Local Beers. What I really like is that there’s a Beer Sampler available for us rookies too.

109 Burger Joint opens up on Friday January 16th at 6PM.

The entire Menu is below so you can start figuring out what you’re gonna order.

Menu Page 1 (click to enlarge)

Menu Page 1 (click to enlarge)

Menu Page 2 (click to enlarge)

Menu Page 2 (click to enlarge)

Opening Details:

109 Burger Joint
Facebook: 109 Burger Joint
Instagram: 109BurgerJoint
Date: Friday January 16th
Time: 6PM
Address: 646 SW 109 Avenue Miami (Sweetwater), FL
Phone: 305-228-0109

*Picture & Menus courtesy of 109 Burger Joint

Burger King & The First 10 Miami Locations #ThrowbackThursday

Burger King Logo from 1955 - 1968

Burger King Logo from 1955 – 1968

If you live in Miami and drive with any frequency to the Airport or Miami Beach, I will assume you’ve seen the giant Burger King building located right off of the Dolphin Expressway(SR836) on the NW 57th Street exit. I would also like to assume that you know that Burger King has been headquartered in Miami since 1959 and that it was originally called Insta-Burger King when it was founded in Jacksonville, FL in 1953. But, maybe you don’t.

The first Insta-Burger King location in Miami, FL opened on December 4th, 1954 at 3090 NW 36th Street. It’s no longer there at that same spot, the #1 was moved down the street to 3601 NW 27th Avenue.

Besides Burger King #9 (I have yet to find out where that was located), of the original 10 locations 6 are still operational in the same spots they opened at in the 1950s.


The First 10 Burger Kings in Miami:

  1. 3090 NW 36th Street –  now Cladd Motors
  2. 6091 SW 8th Street – now La Palma Restaurant
  3. 8995 NW 7th Avenue – now a Snapper’s
  4. 30390 S Dixie Hwy (Homestead)
  5. 7975 NW 27th Avenue
  6. 9201 South Federal Highway (Pinecrest)
  7. 3051 Coral Way
  8. 18240 South Dixie Highway (Perrine)
  9. Unknown
  10. 775 E 9 St (Hialeah)

One last fast fact that might interest you, the Whopper was not always on the menu. The Whopper was the creation of James McLamore in 1957. It sold for 37 cents. He was one of the two men who brought Insta-Burger King to Miami and eventually became the co-founder of the Burger King brand a few years later.

When you were a kid, what was your favorite Burger King Burger?

Burger King's Double Cheeseburger
Mine was Burger King’s Double Cheeseburger

Main Source: The Burger King: Jim McLamore and the Building of an Empire – 1997

Frita Showdown Wins The305’s 2014 Best Foodie Event

Frita Showdown 2K14

In 1962 my Grandparents Gollo & Maruca Echevarria decided they were going to uproot & leave behind their lives in Cuba to look for something better for their children Gregorio & Caridad (my Mom) in the United States.

Echevarria Family in New York City, 1962

Echevarria Family in New York City, 1962

A few short years later the Gonzalez family (which included my father Serafin Jr.) would find their way to New York also as my grandfather Serafin Gonzalez Sr., who wrestled professionally under the name Cruz Diablo found himself without a job because of the Castro regime in Cuba.

My parents met in the early 1970s right after the passing of my grandfather Serafin, married in 1972, had me in 1974 and my sister Michelle in 1975. The newly created family unit (Gollo, Maruca, Serafin, Carded, mini-me & Michelle) moved to Miami in 1975 and settled in the Westchester area to be with the rest of our family who had already also left Cuba in the hopes of something better.

I was lucky to have spent over 30 years with my maternal grandparents who told me about their lives in Cuba, what a beautiful country it was and all about the culture.

My grandmother Maruca cooked and I was introduced to Cuban cuisine through her. She is responsible for my addiction to Black Beans & Rice. And much like many of you feel about your grandmother, I believe she made the Best Flan in all of the land with Lila’s a close second.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts my grandfather Gollo was the palate of the family, years before all these crowd sourcing sites existed to find out where to eat. He was the man. He had his ear to the ground and always knew where we should eat or when some restaurant was past its prime. His obsession was Pastelitos and you could find him daily at his favorite bakery La Suiza picking up Pasteles de Carne (Beef Pastries) in the afternoons.

One of my favorite memories was sitting with them and watching the Buena Vista Social Club documentary about the forgotten musicians of Cuba filmed in and around Havana (Capital of Cuba).

In 2001, my Abuela passed away and then a few short years later in 2004 my Abuelo passed on. It was heartbreaking for us.

Abuela & Abuelo - May 1999

This is how I remember them, Abuela & Abuelo – May 1999

When my wife Marcela and I began creating Food events I knew that one had to revolve around everything that I grew up with. I wanted to capture the spirit of being Cuban and really wasn’t sure if it would be possible at all. We knew we had to be meticulous about the decor, the food and of course the music…..so Frita Showdown was born.

Frita Showdown is, was and always will be dedicated to not only the memory of my grandparents Gollo & Maruca but to all of those who sacrificed themselves so that their families could have a future and better life in the United States.

2014 Best Foodie Event

Why would I give you this long introduction to Frita Showdown winning The305’s 2014 Best Foodie Event?

This is more than just an event to us and we are very proud to see it receive this accolade.

Thank you to Schweid & Sons, Goya Foods and Magic City Casino for sponsoring the 2015 Frita Showdown.

Thank you to all the restaurants & food vendors, everyone in Team BB who worked on the event and of course to those of you who attended.

See you in August for the 2015 Frita Showdown.

A Little Patty Melt History

Patty Melt from The Bar

Patty Melt from The Bar

 

I discuss Burgers a bunch and one topic that comes up rather often is whether or not a Patty Melt should be classified as a Burger. I’ve always felt that a Patty Melt was a Burger. I also feel that it’s almost impossible to mess one up.

The “official” ingredients are rather simple:

  • Burger Patty
  • Rye Bread
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Grilled Onions.

I can’t say that I ever remember eating a bad one anywhere and I’ve had them in many cities and states. I do encounter variations on the Cheeses (American Cheese, Cheddar Cheese) and occasionally on the Bread (Sourdough), rarely on the protein (Turkey Patty Melt). Another thing, most Patty Melt Purists say that the Rye Bread is never to be toasted only griddled on the flat top.

The Patty Melt should taste like the child of a great Burger & Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

"Turkey Patty Melt" by Ms. Cheezious

“Turkey Patty Melt” by Ms. Cheezious

Where did the Patty Melt come from?

Unlike the Burger or Cheeseburger where you’ve got a bunch of folks claiming to be the creators, the Patty Melt was birthed in California. Tiny Naylor owned a chain of Biff’s and Tiny Naylor restaurants in the late 1940s and 1950s. It was there that the Patty Melt made its debut.

Tiny passed in 1959 but his son Biff (yes the restaurants were named after him) now owns the Du-Par’s chain (with a pretty mean Patty Melt on the menu) and his granddaughter Jennifer now a caterer was a former executive Chef for Wolfgang Puck.

While I haven’t come across the recipe for Tiny Naylor’s original Patty Melt, I did find one for the Patty Melt Jennifer served at Wolfgang Puck’s. Remember, beggars can’t be choosers.


Jennifer Naylor’s Patty Melt Recipe:

Patty Melt Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Butter, softened
  • 4 slices Rye Bread
  • Salt and freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 pound fresh Ground Round (divided and shaped into 2 Oval Burgers)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 small Red Onion, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 2 to 3 slices of Swiss Cheese

Patty Melt Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over flat top griddle/large cast-iron skillet to toast Rye Bread slices.
  2. Season Burgers w/Salt & Pepper, then grill on flat top.
  3. Cook to Medium-Rare or desired doneness.
  4. Put Olive Oil on griddle and grill Onions until caramelized.
  5. Melt Swiss Cheese slices over each Burger.
  6. Assemble Patty Melt by placing Cheeseburgers over one slice each Rye toast, top with caramelized Onions and then remaining slices of Rye toast.

Sources: ChowhoundHamburgers & Fries, Jennifer Naylor & my brain

Top 10 Food Truck Dishes of 2014

Top Lists

Every few weeks I like to unleash a new List or Best Of on the Burger Beast site and with 2014 coming to an end I thought a Top 10 Food Truck Dishes would be the ideal one.

You can find these Food Trucks at events I curate in Miami every 3rd Saturday (Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival) and in Hollywood every Monday (Food Trucks at Arts Park).

The Top 10 is in alphabetical order.


  • Arepas Las GorditasPocahontas Arepa: What do you get when take a freshly made Venezuelan Arepa and stuff it with some Thanksgiving love? An unbelievable Arepa that is unfortunately only available during season or maybe not, fingers crossed.
Arepas Las Gorditas' Pocahontas Arepa: Turkey + Stuffing marinated with Gravy/Cranberry & Homemade White Cheese (Guayanes)

Arepas Las Gorditas’ Pocahontas Arepa: Turkey + Stuffing marinated with Gravy/Cranberry & Homemade White Cheese (Guayanes)


  • Box of ChacosBang Mai Buns: Chaco‘s Bao Buns are always changing and evolving. I’ve seen BBQ Short Rib, Duck, SPAM and even Vietnamese Crab Salad Bang Mai Buns. These are some buns I love banging (get your thoughts out of the gutter).
Box of Chacos' Bang Mai Buns

Box of Chacos’ Bang Mai Buns


  • FOAR‘s N.Y. Egg Sandwich: An excellent breakfast sandwich is hard to come by in these parts so imagine my surprise when I ordered the N.Y. Egg Sandwich from FOAR and it was a specimen. And it’s pretty too!
FOAR's N.Y. Egg Sandwich  w/Eggs, Cheese & Bacon on a Kaiser Roll

FOAR’s N.Y. Egg Sandwich w/Eggs, Cheese & Bacon on a Kaiser Roll


  • HipPOPs Handcrafted Gelato BarsSalted Caramel Brûlée: It was midsummer, hot as hell and I want something not only refreshing but flavorful, enter the Salted Caramel Brûlée POP. When HipPOPs debuts a new flavor people listen as they know a lot of care has gone into creating it. This one was a Grand Slam in the bottom of the ninth at the World Series.
HipPOPs' Salted Caramel Brûlée (in the front) & Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Crunch (in the back) POPs

HipPOPs’ Salted Caramel Brûlée (in the front) & Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Crunch (in the back) POPs


  • The Lobsta Guy‘s Original Lobster Roll: I’m no expert in the realm of seafood but I can’t imagine a Lobster Roll that could be better than this one. If the lines at this food truck are any indication I’m not alone in those thoughts.
The Lobsta Guy's Original Lobsta Roll on a Toasted Buttered Bun

The Lobsta Guy’s Original Lobsta Roll on a Toasted Buttered Bun


  • Marlie’s Delights‘ Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie: I love Cinnamon Rolls and I’m also an Apple Pie-o-holic. When Chef Leslie of Marlie’s Delights mentioned that she was creating a Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie I thought it might mean the coming of the Dessert Apocalypse. Zombies watch out, these are my brains.
Marlie's Delights' Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

Marlie’s Delights’ Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie


  • Ms. Cheezious‘ Croqueta Monsieur: I’ve been making Grilled Cheese Croqueta Sandwiches for years. When Catalina Foods came aboard as a sponsor for my event Croquetapalooza I suggested they supply some of their Croquetas to a few folks, one of which was Ms. Cheezious. I knew they would create something really special with them and so the Croqueta Monsieur was born. It will be King of the sandwiches one day, trust me.
Croqueta Monsieur: Ham Croqueta, Tavern Ham, Bechamel & Swiss on Sourdough Bread

Croqueta Monsieur: Ham Croqueta, Tavern Ham, Bechamel & Swiss on Sourdough Bread


  • The Rolling Stove‘s Cuban Sandwich: I’d to think it was all my talk about Cuban Sandwiches & Medianoches that pushed the Rolling Stove‘s Troy Thomas to create their take on the classic dish. It was only available at a couple of events in July 2014 but here’s to hoping that we’ll see it make a few appearances in the new year.
The Rolling Stove's Cuban Sandwich

The Rolling Stove’s Cuban Sandwich


  • Tum Tum’s Thai Fried Chicken: TFC = Chicken Chunks marinated in Thai seasonings, fried and tossed in a Sweet Chili Sauce. You ever agree to share something and then realize you made a bad mistake? Don’t share these ever.
Tum Tum's Thai Fried Chicken

Tum Tum’s Thai Fried Chicken


  • Woodys Burgers‘ Alpine Burger: As a kid I loved Char-broiled or Char-grilled Burgers but as I became older I fell in love with Burgers cooked on the flat-top or griddle. Well, like old things that become new again I again returning to my roots. If you’re Char-grilling then I’m listening. Woodys Burgers is char-grilled and they’ve managed to layer the flavors in such a way that I’m breaking all the Burger rules I place on the meat patties I love (no condiments & veggies of any type). One thing is for sure, nothing in my book beats a well crafted and thought out Burger, nothing.
Woody's Burgers' Alpine Burger

Woody’s Burgers’ Alpine Burger: Char-grilled w/Smoked Gouda, Caramelized Bacon & Onion, Portobello Mushroom, Dijon Mustard &, Garlic Mayo


Read more Top Lists and Best Ofs

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Coming To Miami

MOOYAH Burger

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes is opening their first Florida location in Miami early next year. There are plans to open at least 10 more MOOYAHs over the next ten years.

Yup, the MOOYAH website confirms it

Yup, the MOOYAH website confirms it

The MOOYAH Menu is made up of Burgers (a variety of proteins & a Hot Dog), Fries, Salads & Shakes. You can see the current menu below.

MOOYAH Menu as of August 2014

MOOYAH Menu as of August 2014

As soon as I find out more details so will you.

Source: 1851project

Ask The Beast Column #6 December 24, 2014

You can catch the Ask The Beast Column here on Burger Beast every Wednesday (I skipped last Wednesday, Sorrreeee).

These are all real questions, none of them were created or sent in by me. It would be kinda ridiculous for me to send in questions.

Don’t forget to send in your questions using the form below or using the hashtag #askthebeast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google + or there is no #AskTheBeast column.


Question from Lauren through the BB Blog Form: One day in Orlando with nothing to do… where do I eat? I probably can’t through every spot on your “2 Days in Orlando” post, but they all look awesome. Thanks

BB: I’m gonna have to agree that the 2 Days in Orlando post might be a little excessive. It would really depend on what you’re looking to do but if the plan is just to fill up at one spot I’d definitely suggest the Hash House a Gogo. If you want a great Burger with a hard rock ambience check out the Oblivion Taproom. Pig Floyd’s opened up recently and is definitely worth the drive.

Andy's Sage Fried Chicken Benedict from Hash House a Gogo

Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken Benedict from Hash House a Gogo

Half a Rack Ribs from Pig Floyd's

Half a Rack Ribs from Pig Floyd’s


Question from Felipe Alvarez through the BB Blog Form: Have you had a cronught? Can one be had locally without going to Epcot?

BB: Were you a part of the local education system?…And to answer your question, Sure. Cronuts can be found at Mojo Donuts in Pembrokes Pines and Rhino Doughnuts in Ft. Lauderdale. I suggest you call ahead to make they have them available.

Rhino Horn, theRhino Doughnuts version of the Cronut

Rhino Horn, theRhino Doughnuts version of the Cronut


Question from Mario Bava through the BB Blog Form: Why do you hate Asians?

BB: Mr. Bava I’m a big fan of your films. My first thought is why would an Italian Director who created such atmospheric Horror Movie classics like Black Sunday and Kill Baby Kill care about whether I hate Asians. I don’t hate Asians but I do dislike Asians who are taller than 6 feet, they are an anomaly and we need to put a stop to it.

I’m not even sure why I answered that question since it had nothing to do with food but you might as well watch the trailer for Kill Baby Kill:


Question from J. Wellington through the BB Blog Form: Marry Fuck Kill
Michel Sanchez
Jim Heins
David Garcia

BB: J. Wellington……I see someone is trying to make a funny. J Wellington = Wimpy of Popeye’s fame. I understand the question and see that you mention Michell Sanchez of Latin House and David Garcia of La Camaronera but I don’t know who that third person is. It wouldn’t be fair to answer cause all that would happen is he ends up getting fuck’d. P.S.: This is a thinly veiled plot to make you look up the name to someone I don’t particularly care about.

Did you know? There is a Burger chain called Wimpy in the United Kingdom. It was founded in the United States at Wimpy Grill in 1934.

Here is a Wimpy's Coffee Jar from the 1940s that I own.

Here is a Wimpy’s Coffee Jar from the 1940s that I own.


Question from Fernando l pineda through the BB Blog Form: Where is the best salmon burger in Miami

BB: There is no such thing. Please stop blaspheming.

Don't You Blaspheme In Here! - Aretha Franklin in the Blues Brothers

Don’t You Blaspheme In Here! – Aretha Franklin in the Blues Brothers movie


Read previous Ask The Beast Columns.

Send in your Question:

Karla Bakery’s 25th Anniversary Party Is Today

Karla Bakery's 25th Anniversary

Guess who’s 25 years young? That’s right, Karla Bakery. The Pastelito powerhouse is celebrating its 25th Anniversary today (Saturday December 20th) from 3-6:30PM at its original location. There’ll be music, gifts, surprises and best of all Pastelitos for 25¢ (10 per person so that you’re not an abuser).

I’m going to go ahead and leave you the address but I’m really of the opinion that you should already know it: 6474 West Flagler Street.

Karla Bakery - West Miami

Karla in Pastelito-mode

 

iCoffee Opus Single Serve Coffee Machine Product Review

iCoffee Machine

*I must have been behaving pretty good this year cause I received an iCoffee Opus Single Serve Coffee Machine from Remington Designs. Just kidding, obviously it was so I could try it out.

I own pretty much everything I can think of to make coffee, here in no particular order: Cuban Cafetera, French Press, Drip Coffee Maker, Keurig, Tassimo, and 2 Nespresso Machines (including the one that does regular coffee). When I was asked if I’d like to have an iCoffee I was like sure, why not. My wife Marcela on the other hand wants me to get rid of machines not add to the collection.

The iCoffee runs very similar to the Keurig and can in fact use Keurig Coffee pods. It also includes a reusable cup to fill with your favorite ground coffee. You must be thinking why not just buy a Keurig and be done with it? The newer Keurig machines only allow their K-Cups to be used via a reader which hurts those folks who want to use their own grind.

The iCoffee had a few sample cups in the box including a really nice One Love Medium Roast by Marley, yah man.

I used some ground coffee I bought at Dunkin Donuts and it was good. I have no doubt I could make a pretty perfect cup of joe playing around with which coffee I’m using, how much coffee I’m adding to the reusable cup and how many ounces I’m choosing from the iCoffee to brew (4 to 12 ounces). It’s gonna take some work but it’s possible.

The only real issue I encountered was the little platform the mug sits on, it would not fit properly where it goes which was annoying.

It’s a nice machine and if you’re trying to decide which single serve Coffee machine to buy, you should definitely consider this one.

iCoffee Press Release:

The single serve brewer from Remington Designs is called the iCoffee Opus Single Serve and it is the world’s first single serve brewer to use SpinBrew technology that produces a dramatically smoother and better-tasting beverage from any K-cup compatible coffee pod. The SpinBrewis a technology that uses a patent-pending spinning needle with jets that steam and stir the grounds inside the K-cup creating a French Press effect that cannot be achieved by other brewers. This revolutionary brewing technology virtually eliminates the bitter and acidic aftertaste often associated with single serve coffee makers.

Another crucial feature of the iCoffee Opus Single Serve is that it doesn’t limit you to one type of K-Cup; instead it accepts all brands including all K-Cups, RealCup capsules, OneCup and ALL Treehouse private label cups and it even works with an owner’s favorite bean using the included reusable cup. Since you’re a coffee lover, you may be familiar with the fact that the new Keurig uses a form of digital rights management so make sure that you can ONLY use their K-cups in their system. With our system, you have the freedom to trust your favorite brew AND you can even use the system to make hot chocolate for the kids on Xmas morning (of course, that’s after you’ve had your cup of coffee due to the god awful time it is when the kids wake you up to open presents.)

The iCoffee Opus Single Serve also features the world’s first Dial-a-Brew control for single serve a brewer which allows consumers to customize the strength and taste by simply dialing any brew size between 4 and 12 ounces in 0.5-ounce increments. This feature also lets consumers select the precise amount of beverage when brewing over ice.

Before the iCoffee Opus Single Serve became available this year, Remington launched the iCoffee SteamBrew multi-cup brewer with SteamBrew technology in 2013. It was the first coffee brewer to utilize steam and jets inside the brew basket to open the grounds which unlocks rich coffee flavors while virtually eliminating any bitter or acidic aftertaste.

The iCoffee Opus Single Serve delivers “impossibly smooth” taste and unlimited freedom of choice and is available exclusively at Bed, Bath and Beyond at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $139.99. For more information about the company, please visit www.icoffee.com.

P.S.: I forgot to mention how much I love the blue light when it’s brewing, very Close Encounters of the Third Kind of them to do that. Here’s a short video I shot this morning on my iPhone.

*I did receive this machine free of charge but I was not required to write about it, I chose to do that.

Bennett’s Fresh Roast – Sanibel, Florida

Bennett's Fresh Roast - Sanibel, Florida

Bennett’s Fresh Roast was our third stop in our 4 hour Sanibel/Captiva foodscapade, Schnapper’s Hots & the Bubble Room were stops 1 & 2). We’re here exclusively for the freshly made Doughnuts. We ask the only logical question, what’s the most popular Doughnut at Bennett’s? I’m pretty sure I could have guess the Maple Bacon because it was a thing of beauty with real Bacon made daily, not that freeze dried and then nuked Bacon going around.

A couple of the sandwiches on the Bennett’s lunch menu look interesting like the Bennett’s Donut Dog (A “long john” donut split down the middle and loaded with an amazing Nueske’s® Applewood Smoked Hot Dog, Bennett’s homemade chili, BBQ sauce, honey mustard and cheddar cheese) and the Chicken & Donut (A fresh made Bennett’s Donut (no icing or glaze), halved and smothered in fresh homemade chicken gravy made with fresh house-roasted and brined premium chopped chicken breast meat, cream, seasonings and vegetables including diced carrots, green beans and corn).

My friend Joakinn asks for a Glazed & a Boston Creme Doughnut while I order up a Glazed, Maple Bacon and a Maple Toffee Crunch for my wife. We have them packed up together and I take a Glazed Doughnut test bite in the car on the way to our next stop.

It was a great sneak peak but did not prepare me for the Maple Bacon which was off the charts. The Maple Toffee Crunch (Heath Bar) Doughnut was received well by my wife but the Boston Creme’s fate was less glamorous. Some ants that were hiding out in my kitchen found it and had their way with it, those heathens.

Maple Bacon Doughnut

Maple Bacon Doughnut

5 Doughnuts To Go

5 Doughnuts To Go

Do It:

Bennett’s Fresh Roast
1020 Periwinkle Way Sanibel, FL 33957
239-312-4651

Bennett's Fresh Roast on Urbanspoon

Bubble Room – Captiva, Florida

The Bubble Room - Captiva, Florida

The Bubble Room is a very interesting & kooky place with lots to look at. I didn’t end up eating here as I was too busy walking around and taking in all of the decor. My bud Joakinn did convince me to take home some of the Orange Crunch Cake which was the right call. It’s not what I would normally order but after trying it I can see why it’s got so many fans. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a slab of a piece too.

The Bubble Room - Captiva, Florida

Decor above the Sweets area

Decor above the Sweets area

Decor in the Hallway

Decor in the Hallway

Orange Crunch Cake To Go

Orange Crunch Cake To Go

The Bubble Room
15001 Captiva Drive SW Captiva, FL 33924
239-472-5558

The Bubble Room on Urbanspoon

Schnapper’s Hots – Sanibel, Florida

Schnapper's Hots - Sanibel, Florida

My old school buddy & pal Joakinn has wanted for me to hit up the Sanibel area for years. He got tired of suggesting it and took matters in his hands, we drove up for a four hour mini food tour (10 if you include travel time). We started at Schnapper’s Hots, then worked our way to the Bubble Room in Captiva and then back to Sanibel for Bennett’s Fresh Roast and Rosie’s Cafe & Grill. This was just a small portion of what’s worth hitting up in the Sanibel/Captiva area and I’m pretty sure I’ll find myself back to continue the exploration soon enough.

Schnapper's Hots - Sanibel, Florida

Comment Posting Area

Schnapper's Hots - Sanibel, Florida

Rocky on the Wall

Schnapper's Hots - Sanibel, Florida

Elvis on the Wall

I see Fresh Cut Fries and my eyes automatically look for a larger than normal portion to order which in this case was a bad idea since we were trying to pace ourselves. The Fries were nice & crispy but we barely made a dent in to them. The Cheeseburger was chargrilled and chargrilled when done right is full of smokey goodness. We must have inhaled this Burger cause I remember enjoying the first bite and then much like Keyser Söze, it was gone. Joakinn wasn’t too keen on the Chili Cheese Dog but he was oddly fascinated with the tipping bell. Me? I loved it so much I was imagining long walks on the beach with it.

Large Fresh Cut Fries

Large Fresh Cut Fries

Chargrilled CheeseBurger

Chargrilled CheeseBurger

Chili Cheese Chargrilled Hot Dog

Chili Cheese Chargrilled Hot Dog

That dream of course wouldn’t last too long if I was hungry.

Schnapper’s Hots
1528 Periwinkle Way Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-8686

Schnapper's Hots on Urbanspoon

-Schnapper’s Hots picture courtesy of Jim Hall

Food Trucks At Magic City Casino Is This Saturday

Wheelin Dealin - Magic City Casino

The Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival (which takes place every 3rd Saturday of the month) is this Saturday December 20th. Magic City Casino (right near the Miami airport) hosts and we have over 20 of South Florida’s BEST Food Trucks attending. Even though it is at a casino, all ages are welcome. And yes, Beer is sold at this event if you wanna throw down a cold one with your grub.

Wheelin' Dealin' Street Food Festival Poster

December 20th Line-Up:

2 Jive Turkeys
90 Miles To Go
Boba Station
Churrasco Grill
Da Burger Shack
Daddy’s Grill
Don Mofongo
El Rey de las Fritas
HipPOPs Handcrafted Gelato Bars
Jersey Dawg
King of Racks BBQ
Liquid N2 Ice Cream
Los Chamos
Main Stop Grill
Marlie’s Delights
Miami Roasted Corn
Mr. PB&J
Ms. Cheezious
Peru Sabroso
Sugar Yummy Mama
Taco Fresh
Top Fries

The Details:

Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival
at Magic City Casino
Facebook: Wheelin’ Dealin’ Event Page
Date: Saturday December 20th & Every 3rd Saturday of the Month
Time: 5PM – 10PM
Location: 450 NW 37th Ave Miami, Florida 33126
Restrictions: ALL AGES
Parking: Plenty of Free Parking

You Know What’s Really Good? The Esponnrú at Pastelmania in Little Havana

Pastelmania - Little Havana, Florida

You know what’s really good? The Esponnrú at Pastelmania.

What is an Esponnrú, you may be asking yourself. It’s a Sponge Cake Rusk unlike most of the ones you will find out there, this one is moist. Pastelmania sells them 5 to a pack and they go down perfectly with a Cafe con Leche (Warm Milk with Espresso).

WARNING: Do not set the bag of Esponnrú on the couch when watching TV or on your desk when you are surfing the web, you will eat them all. I know this from experience.

Pastelmania - Little Havana, Florida

Go Forth:

Pastelmania
1989 W Flagler St
305-631-1177

Locale Market in St. Petersburg Opens This Wednesday Featuring The St. Petersburger

Locale Market Logo

For you lucky ducks in the St. Petersburg area of Florida, this Wednesday December 17th at 3PM Locale Market opens up. What is Locale Market you say?

Imagine two Chefs (James Beard Award-winning Michael Mina & Cookbook Author Don Pintabona) whose friendship has created a culinary marketplace where you can enjoy fresh pasta and gourmet cheese samplings from the handmade pasta station, cold-pressed juices featuring locally sourced produce, hot-pressed Panini sandwiches fresh off the grill, delectable hand-made chocolates and more.

Chef Michael Mina & Chef Don Pintabona

Chef Michael Mina & Chef Don Pintabona

Locale Market will also feature seasonal, organic and local ingredients as well as artisanal foods. Best of all, there will be made-to-order prepared and semi-prepared foods which leads into what I was really trying to tell you about, the St. Petersburger:

“It fires on all cylinders!! Flavor wise. It’s rich, smokey, earthy, salty, sweet and subtly spicy. Texturally, it’s soft, chewy, and crispy. It keeps the palate engaged to the point that when it’s gone, you wish you had just one more bite.” – Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Hileman, creator of the St. Petersburger

Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Hileman w/the St. Petersburger

Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Hileman w/the St. Petersburger

What’s in this bad boy? A house-ground dry aged beef patty from Locale’s dry age program. It sits on top of a bed of crisp shredded Romaine from Faithful Farms, 20 Miles south in Palmetto. The lettuce is tossed in “secret sauce.” The patty is topped with melted smoked Gouda, double-smoked crisp bacon from Miami Smokers Urban Smokehouse, caramelized onions and mushrooms and melted ‘Merican Cheese. It’s all housed on a brioche bun baked at Locale’s Bread Box bakery.

I am normally inclined to remove any type of shredded green from my Burger but I don’t think that’s gonna happen this time since it’s tossed in secret sauce. Just looking at that Burger makes me feel like jumping in my car and driving over for one right now.

Behold.....The St. Petersburger

Behold…..The St. Petersburger

The St. Petersburger is the signature sandwich of a five burger program at The Grill inside Locale Market created by Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Hillman.

The Burgers at Locale Market:

  1. St. PetersburgLocale Market dry-aged beef, double smoked bacon, gouda $13.49
  2. Peanut Butter Crunch – Bacon jam, pimento cheese, potato chips $11.49
  3. Turkey Burger – Florida avocado guacamole, pepper jack cheese, sambal aioli $10.49
  4. BBQ Salmon Burger – Ginger aioli, Gamble Creek Farms cucumber, gochujang $11.49
  5. Fava Bean Falafel BurgerGamble Creek Farms cucumber yogurt, tomato confit, tahini $9.99

Go Locale & Eat A St. Petersburger:

Locale Market
in the Sundial Lifestyle Center
179 2nd Ave. N. St. Petersburg, FL 33701
727-523-6300
Facebook: Locale Market
Instagram: Locale Market
Twitter: @LocaleMarket_FL

-All pictures courtesy of Locale Market

People Of Hialeah & Kendall, Sweetness Bake Shop Has Panther Coffee

Sweetness & Panther Coffee

Here’s some news for you Panther Coffee fanatics who live in Hialeah & Kendall, Sweetness has Panther Coffee. You can now cease those long and lonely trips to Wynwood, Coral Gables or wherever else you make you long & lonely trips to get Panther Coffee from.

Please remember who told you this information first aka you owe me one.

Get Your Panther Coffee at:

Sweetness Bake Shop & Cafe – Hialeah
839 W 49th St | Hialeah, FL 33012
786-615-4244

or

Sweetness Bake Shop & Cafe – Kendall
9549 SW 72nd Street, Miami, FL 33173
305-271-7791

Sandy’s Cuban Cafe – Naples, Florida

Sandy's Cuban Cafe - Naples, Florida Sandy's Cuban Cafe - Naples, Florida Sandy's Cuban Cafe - Naples, Florida

Every summer my family rents a home in Marco Island for a week. At some point, normally early on I get impatient and go for a drive through Naples. A year ago I drove by Sandy’s Cuban Cafe with plans to hit it up but it was closed for the day by the time I went back. So I waited…….almost an entire year for another attempt. This time I made it.

I walked in and was greeted by the Cuban soft drink trio of Ironbeer, Jupiña and Materva. I took this as a good omen of things to come.

We started with some Croquetas of the boxed non-homemade variety. I’m ok with that cause hell, they’re good. I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were out of Ropa Vieja for the Sandy’s Nachos since it was late in the day. They were closing up shop in 30 minutes so I settled for some Shredded Pork as a replacement, not a bad trade off. Sandy’s Nachos are made of Mariquitas (Fried Plantain Chips) instead of the usual Tortilla Chips. The Mariquitas are topped with Picadillo (Seasoned Ground Beef), Pico de Gallo, Cheese and in my version, Shredded Pork. I say Yes, order them if you get a chance.

The Medianoche came with a side of Mariquitas. It was right on point with its toasted sweet bread and melted Swiss Cheese. No complaints here. The Frita came on a Burger Bun with those canned potato sticks that I dread. If we were to ignore those factors, mostly the sticks, the patty itself was very good. This Frita, with a little dressing up could be a contender.

I finished off the late lunch with a Cafecito or Espresso as the Starbucks acolytes call them. No dessert for me as the floor was getting wiped down around me. We were now 10 minutes past closing time so I took that as a sign it was time to go even if that wasn’t meant as one. I’m hoping next year to try out their Cuban Sandwich and Flan but I’ll arrive earlier, I promise.

Croquetas

Croquetas

Sandy's Nachos

Sandy’s Nachos

Medianoches

Medianoches

Frita Cubana

Frita Cubana

Cafecito aka Espresso aka Cuban Coffee

Cafecito aka Espresso aka Cuban Coffee

Lunchtime at:

Sandy’s Cuban Cafe
1383 Airport Pulling Rd N Naples Fl Naples, FL 34104
239-331-8204

Sandy's Cuban Cafe on Urbanspoon

Royal Castle’s Royal Carousel #tbt #throwbackthursday

There is only one Royal Castle Restaurant left from the Miami chain. It’s located at 2700 NW 79th Street and still open 24 hours a day. Royal Castle was founded by William Singer in 1938 way before Burger King opened up its first Miami outpost in 1954. It was the original Miami Chain.

In April of 1967 Royal Castle announced during its quarterly report to Stockholders:

“The opening of a new type of quick service restaurant that will be more fully automated then the present kind, with more self-service by the customer.”

The Miami News - April 24th, 1967

The Miami News – April 24th, 1967

A few months later in July of 1967 an ad appeared in the Miami News looking for “Restaurant Personal” and Managers for future locations. The address was listed as 167th Street and N.E. 6th Avenue in North Miami Beach.

Royal Carousel Job Ad - The Miami News July 18th, 1967

The Miami News – July 18th, 1967

The Miami Times and The Miami News both ran stories about the opening of Royal Carousel in August of 1967. It was touted as the first Electronic Restaurant in the Southeast. The idea was that you come in, place your order at a Master Console (as the Miami Times called it) and then it would be cooked and packaged by the Royal Carousel machinery.

The food deviated from the Royal Castle menu with items like French Fried Shrimp, Specially Breaded Chicken, & Hush Puppies. I found it most interesting that they served a “Charbroied Super Double Hamburger with Special Sauce” since Royal Castle cooked their Sliders on a flat top.

I also noticed the mention of the air conditioned dining room which was not the norm for fast food in that era.

The Miami Times - August 18th, 1967

The Miami Times – August 18th, 1967

The Miami News - August 24th, 1967

The Miami News – August 24th, 1967

I can not find any evidence to support how long Royal Carousel lasted or if it even expanded past the original location in North Miami. It seemed like a great idea that didn’t pan out.

Hope you enjoyed this Throwback Thursday post about Miami’s Burger past.

If you’ve got anything you may remember about Royal Carousel please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it.

Ask The Beast Column #5 December 10, 2014

You can catch the Ask The Beast Column here on Burger Beast every Wednesday.

These are all real questions, none of them were created or sent in by me. It would be kinda ridiculous for me to send in questions.

Don’t forget to send in your questions using the form below or using the hashtag #askthebeast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google +.


Question from Cristina through the BB Blog Form: Hi! So my question is about mac & cheese. My husband still dreams about the jalapeño mac from the former Smoke’t on US1, and claims that no one else’s has ever come close. Should he get over it? Should we try and get the recipe out of the chef? Or do you have a favorite mac & cheese that might make him forget about Smoke’t altogether?

BB: Let’s answer this multi-parter together.

  1. It’s good to dream.
  2. He should not get over it but keep that in a special place in his gut.
  3. If you know the Chef I’d ask him for it. I’m pretty sure he’d be happy to hand it over. If not f’ him.
  4. I’ve got two Mac & Cheeses that you should try, one in North Miami from Vega’s Burger Bar and another from That One Spot in Ocoee (near Orlando).
Vega's Burger Bar's Mac N Cheese in the front, Chili in the back, Mix for an unbelievable experience

Vega’s Burger Bar’s Mac N Cheese in the front, Chili in the back, Mix for an unbelievable experience

Grandmas Mac & Cheese w/Bacon & Jalapeño from That One Spot

Grandmas Mac & Cheese w/Bacon & Jalapeño from That One Spot


Question from ciento treinta ocho through the BB Blog Form: Royal castle or Krystal? Which is better?

BB: If you know me I’m all about the Locally owned Food scene and Royal Castle is part of that history. It’s not a tough choice, just take a look at both Sliders below. Which would you rather have?

Krystal Slider

Krystal Slider

Royal Castle Slider

Royal Castle Slider – BB’s Choice


Question from Kali Bensaadon through the BB Blog Form: Why does Randy Fisher hate croquetas?

BB: Randy Fisher produces amazing events throughout the United States with his company CREaM (Culinary Related Entertainment and Marketing) including the legendary Burger Bash at the South Beach & NYC Wine & Food Festivals. Now that I’m done giving his company a plug I can answer the question.

One day I noticed Randy didn’t share my enthusiasm for the Miami Icon, the Croqueta. He does not hate Croquetas but I don’t think he understands the fascination people in Miami have with them. This of course led to a “Randy Fisher Hates Croquetas” rant at my birthday party in front of my friends and family.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t attend Croquetapalooza for fear of what may have happened that day in front of all of those Croquetaholics when I was on stage. He claims that he couldn’t make it because it happened to coincide with the NYC Wine & Food Festival, a likely story. To think he scheduled those events the same week as Croquetapalooza so he could get out of it is unbelievable.

Thanks to Kali, Senior Partner at CREaM for sending this in. Oh and yes, Randy Fisher Hates Croquetas. Spread the word. Use the Hashtag #randyhatescroquetas

Randy Fisher Hates Croquetas


Question from Alex Blanco through the BB Blog Form: Have you ever eaten at Alabama Jack’s? You have to try the chilicheese fries.

BB: Wait a second, isn’t that a Seafood place? Chili Cheese Fries huh? Next time I’m down in Key Largo I’ll go there just for that.


Question from Brenda through the BB Blog Form: Have you tried Category 3 burgers? Excellent!!

BB: I can’t say that I have.


Question from Jean through the BB Blog Form: Yo Beast! I work in Downtown and I’ve been hankering for a solid bowl of chili. Is there such a place in existence around here that would do me right?

BB: Do you right? Are we really talking about Chili here? If The Filling Station had not closed down I would have sent you to have a Bowl of theirs and we would have been rejoicing right now. Another great option would have been Tobacco Road but then again, they’re gone too. So I’m gonna have to cheat & send you to Brickell to have the Home-style Texas Chili from Burger & Beer Joint.


Question from Jason Schoendorfer through Facebook: Do you know anything about the 109 Burger Joint opening up in the old A&G spot? Specifically if anyone from A&G is involved? I sure am craving a croqueta burger but I’m afraid this might be some knock off crap.

BB: The 109 Burger Joint is owned by family of Alex Parra, the Chef & creator of A&G Burger Joint and their Burger creations. The relationship breakdown between them caused the closing of A&G Burger Joint. I don’t want to get into specifics since they went to court over the situation but A&G Burger Joint will rise again and could be making its first re-appearance at Burger Beast Event in the nearish future. You can bet on that.


Question from Wil Wheaton through the BB Blog Form: Dear Sire Beast, If the Miami Food scene were a comic book what would be the super powers and cryptonite of the following characters? Fat Girl Hedonist Michael Schwartz Lee Schrager Nedal Ahmed Mercy (El Ray) Richard Hales Jim Heins Gretchen Schmidt Steve Simon Mrs. Beast That creepy guy with the pencil thin eyebrows

BB: Great question but bad spelling of Kryptonite. It’s obvious whoever wrote this knows me well since the folks were all great choices.

Let’s do this.

  • FatGirl Hedonist (Blogger) – The power of Chonga-ness, weakened by Fine Dining Food Bloggers
  • Michael Schwartz (Chef) – The power to turn everything into gold, weakened when restaurants not named after him
  • Lee Schrager (Founder of SoBe & NYC Wine & Food Festivals) – The power of dynamic event ideas, weakened by the thought of too few people in SoBe White Tented events
  • Nedal Ahmad (Owner of Pincho Factory) – The power of connecting with people, weakened by the thought of A&G Burger Joint’s Nica Burger
  • Mercy Gonzalez (Owner of El Rey de las Fritas) – The power of positivity, weakened by El Rey de las Frita copycats
  • Richard Hales (Owner of BlackBrick & Sakaya Kitchen) – The power of flavor, weakened by twitter battles with other Asians
  • Jim Heins (Owner of Latin Burger & Taco Food Truck) – No lo conozco
  • Gretchen Schmidt (edible South Florida) – The power of spreading the local love, weakened by the thought of a comb
  • Steve Simon (Food Truck Invasion) – the power of spreading food trucks events throughout all the land, weakened by dealing with the food truck owners throughout the land
  • Mrs. Beast (aka my wife Marcela) – Hell no, I’m not answering this one.
  • That creepy guy with the pencil thin eyebrows (That creepy guy with the pencil thin eyebrows) – The power of thinking the Mana lot in Wynwood is made of gold, weakened whenever he hears the truth

Read previous Ask The Beast Columns.

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