Local Food Trucks Turn on GFTA

By | January 17th, 2011 | 4 Comments

Many have taken notice of Miami’s booming food truck industry as the city’s culinary fleet seems to grow every week. And from the outside looking in, the movable feast has shown conspicuous harmony, with food trucks regularly convening at different spots around Miami like a herd of grazing heifers. But now something seems to have upset the herd. Over the last few days, one food truck after another has announced on Twitter — the industry’s lifeblood — that it has cut ties with the Gourmet Food Truck Association (GFTA), which until very recently billed itself as “a voice for all food trucks in Miami”. I don’t have the details on the mutiny, but I do have a truckload of tweets that suggests the GFTA somehow pissed off just about every mobile kitchen in Miami. Presumably as a result of the mass defection, the association has decided to give up the keys for good:

GFTA Sign-off

Here is a chronological list of #GFTA tweets consisting mainly of Miami’s food trucks kicking the association to the curb one by one. (Talk about road rage.) The last one is not from a food truck, but it serves up a damn funny line nonetheless.

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Food Truck Frenzy Ride

By | January 8th, 2011 | 4 Comments
Jefe's

Jefe's Original Fish Taco & Burger on Miami Avenue.

At around 10:30 this morning, more than 100 cyclists took off from the Brickell Metro-Rail Station for a three-hour, 12-mile ride from one Miami food truck to another. Sampling delicious food and then immediately burning off the calories therein is, of course, a brilliant idea, the perfect balance of exercise and scarfing. Hats off to Emerge Miami for making it happen.

Here are some photos of the ride.

Bayshore Drive
Riding down South Bayshore Drive into the Grove.

Latin Burger
First stop: Latin Burger, off of SW 27th Avenue.

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NoMi Food truck rally — Is there a better kind of rally?

By | January 5th, 2011 | 13 Comments
Montaco Gal

The Montaco Truck was one of 15 mobile kitchens at the rally.

Last night, for the fifth week in a row, a fleet of food trucks parked off of Biscayne Boulevard and 109th Street to serve their victuals to hundreds of hungry Miamians. From 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., the fifteen trucks — actually, 14 trucks and one motorcycle — served everything from tacos to crepes to bbq to grilled cheeses to … currywurst (naturally, the motorcycle had to rev things up). Organized by the Gourmet Food Truck Association*, the truck rally happens every Tuesday and is well worth a try. The vibe is chill and, barring a few exceptions ($11.50 grilled cheese!), the food is pretty cheap. The only drawback is the exceedingly slow service at some of the trucks. I waited 45 minutes for my pork taquitos from Jefe’s. But here’s the thing: they were so good, I waited another 30 minutes for Jefe’s fish tacos later in the evening (also really good). Similar wait time at the Cheese Me truck, which broke my carnivorous heart by running out of short rib sliders (and every other kind of slider) before I could order. But one bite of a gooey cheddar-cheese-on-Texas-Toast sandwich dipped in tomato soup made me a forgiving man. With 13 other trucks left unsampled — and hopefully more to join (GastroPod? Dim Ssäm à gogo?) — I will be back next week. Until then, here are some pictures from the rally.

Fries

Lil One

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Roots in the City Farmers’ Market Opens for Season

By | December 8th, 2010 | 4 Comments
The Curative Powers of Aloe

Students of Troy Community Academy, a conditional release program for juvenile detainees, talk up the curative powers of aloe.

The Roots in the City farmers’ market, on the corner of NW 2nd Avenue and 10th Street in Overtown, opened for the season today. Operated entirely by local farmers, the market offers cheap and healthy produce to a community stuck in the middle of a food desert without a Publix or Winn-Dixie supermarket nearby. It accepts food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars, and actually matches them dollar for dollar up to $20 per day. While the market’s core mission is to give Overtown affordable access to healthy food, its assortment of hard-to-find produce — from callaloo, or Jamaican spinach, to Asian eggplant — also draws foodies from around the city. The market is every Wednesday and Friday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and definitely worth a visit.

Here are a few pics from the opening.

Chef Michael Schwartz and Gerald
Chef Michael Schwartz, of the Design District’s Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, serves up some rosemary chicken salad to Gerald, a Phillis Wheatley Elementary School student who created the dish for the USDA’s “Recipes for Healthy Kids” challenge. Schwartz and fellow chef Michel Nischan (long hair), founder of the Wholesome Wave Foundation, are both partners of the Roots in the City market.

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Top Ten Miami Beer Events in December

By | December 1st, 2010 | 1 Comment

Cheers to Dave Crisafi of the South Florida Beer Blog for letting us know what’s on tap on Miami’s beer scene in December.

1. Beer Dinner @ Town Kitchen & Bar (Tuesday, Dec. 7; 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.)

Town Kitchen & Bar in South Miami will be hosting one of its now famous beer dinners. For $45 you get a five-course meal, each course paired with a complimentary beer. This could be a great early Christmas gift.

Town Kitchen & Bar
Plaza 57 at 7301 SW 57th Court
South Miami, FL 33143
305.740.8118

2. Ethiopian Beer Night @ The Democratic Republic of Beer (Wednesday, Dec. 8)

The DRB is reaching outside the well-trod German, Beligian, U.K., and U.S. territories with a new series of nights focused on the beer and complementary food of more exotic lands. The first stop is Ethiopia, and it should be an interesting one.

D.R.B.
255 N.E. 14th Street
Miami, Florida 33132
305.372.4161

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New Liberty City Local Farmers’ Market Opens Thursday

By | November 30th, 2010 | 3 Comments
Liberty City Farmers' Market flier

Click to enlarge the Liberty City Farmers' Market promo. (Drawing Michele Obama as a customer is an aspiration, not a certainty.)

This Thursday the first ever Liberty City Farmers’ Market will convene at TACOLCY Park (6161 NW 9th Avenue) (see comment section for new location!) from noon to 6 p.m. A partnership between several local organizations, the market aims to be a much-needed source of healthy, mostly local food in the middle of the Liberty City food desert. Today I spoke to Melissa Contreras, market manager and founder of the Urban Oasis Project, about the mission of the market and the bounty of exquisite local produce that will be on sale there.

Where does all the produce that will be at the market come from?

Melissa Contreras: It’s all local except yesterday morning we made a decision to accept produce that is coming from small African-American-owned farms in Georgia. It’s things we don’t have here anyway, like peanuts and pecans. We’re doing it to support those farmers because that’s consistent with our mission. Other than that, it is entirely local. It’s all South Florida, nothing from wholesalers, nothing that you could buy at the [supermarket], nothing from big growers. It’s all from small local farms with the one exception of the two folks in Georgia. [Ed. note: The farms include Bee Heaven Farm, Worden Farm, Three Sisters Farm — which are all certified organic — and Teena’s Pride.]

What is the core mission of the Liberty City Farmers’ Market?

Melissa Contreras: The core mission is to actually bring more healthy food options to a food desert, which is Liberty City and the Little Haiti area, where there just aren’t that many healthy food options or many grocery stores. Most people get their food at corner stores, which is generally processed food. There’s just not enough access to fresh food.

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Sam Friend and Animal Tropical at the Electric Pickle

By | October 15th, 2010 | 4 Comments
Sam Friend Singing

Sam Friend and co. made up for the cover at the Electric Pickle.

Miami bands Animal Tropical and Sam Friend played short sets at the Electric Pickle, in Wynwood, Thursday night. After coughing up $5 Wednesday for Churchill’s Acoustic Night — an unwarranted tax considering there was neither the crowd nor the lineup to justify labeling the event a “night” — I was none too happy to get pinched for another five spot at Electric Pickle’s door. Listen, I understand the bands need to get paid. But if two glasses of Jameson cost the same as a bottle of Jameson at your bar, then pay them out of my tab. Or live up to your strobe-light/website, which btw advertises no cover on Thursday nights, and throw a damn party. Otherwise, exacting $5 at the door — the door that leads to the bar with the $9 Jameson and the $7 Stella Artois — feels kinda effed up.

As for the music, Animal Tropical has an Of Montreal By Way Of Miami thing happening that I can get into via Jarrett Hann’s ping-pongy bass and Jorge Rubiera’s impetuous drumming. But Jose Castello’s tongue-in-cheek, pipe-in-mouth vocal style and mid-brow name dropping (Picasso, Henry James) don’t work for me.

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Top Ten Miami Meals for Under $10

By | October 10th, 2010 | 8 Comments

In no particular order, here are ten places in (and around) Miami where you can eat well for a Hamilton or less.

1. Steve’s Pizza
12101 Biscayne Blvd
North Miami, FL 33181

It’s that sweet sauce and their generosity with toppings. Open until 4 am, so perfect for late night munchies.

2. Bali Cafe
109 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33132

Authentic Indonesian food catering to the Indonesian employees that work on the cruise ships. Gado Gado is the delicious signature dish, $9.99 for a large plate.

3. Dogma
7030 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138

Love these dogs, which average about $4 a piece. Vegetarians can substitute a veggie dog in any of the signature styles for a dollar more. My recommendation: the Chicago.

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October 2010 Art Walk: Meatloaf, liquor, and owl monkeys

By | October 8th, 2010 | 4 Comments

For those of you planning to head over to Wynwood and the Design District Saturday night for Art Walk, here’s an itinerary that will satisfy your cravings for food, art, and drinks. Make sure to check out the map at the bottom of the post.

Art Walk Miami in Wynwood and Design District.

Food

Joey’s is the place to dine in Wynwood. With solid Italian eats in an indoor-outdoor setting, it’s great for top-notch Art Walk people watching.

Joey’s, 2506 N.W. 2nd Avenue
www.joeyswynwood.com
305.438.0487

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Mofreakingfungo at Jimmy’z

By | October 1st, 2010 | 2 Comments

Jimmy'z Kitchen Menu Board

Mofongo. Besides having the best name in all of cookery (and the best aka, fufu de plátano), this mutt of a dish most closely associated with Puerto Rico is just damned delicious. And on the weekends, Jimmy’z Kitchen, a tiny eatery at 1542 Alton Road in South Beach, serves it right.

Jimmy is an Irish-Cuban-American who grew up in Puerto Rico eating mofongo, a mashed mound of fried plantains, garlic, spices, and pork cracklins. He opened his restaurant in May 2007 and soon his Puerto Rican friends demanded he give them a taste of home. Being a nice guy, he obliged. Now Puerto Ricans across Miami know where they can get their fix every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. (Jimmy says the dish is too labor intensive to serve daily). With fellow Boricuas manning the mortar and pestle in Jimmy’s Kitchen’s kitchen, they know they are in good hands.

Now, I’m far from being a Mofongo Aficionado (is there a more coveted title?), but my mother and aunt, Puerto Ricans through and through, both give Jimmy’z shrimp mofongo the seal of approval. My favorite version so far is the mojo pork, which is a plate of tender, tangy paradise. Jimmy’z also serves mofongo with fried pork (the classic), chicken, Mahi Mahi, and tofu. Score one for the vegetarians.

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