Swine Southern Table and Bar

Swine Coral Gables

I was so excited when Swine Southern Table and Bar opened in Miami (Coral Gables) right off of Miracle Mile. I have been feeling like Miracle Mile has been a little blah, really needing some life and pizazz injected into it. Miracle Mile mostly consists of bridal boutiques, jewelry stores, and small mom-and-pop specialty shops selling things from wigs to spy gear. Swine is the sister restaurant of Yardbird. Both restaurants are owned and operated by the 50 Eggs restaurant group. I had high hopes when Swine opened, and generally I really love a few of their menu items.

Sage Cocktail Brisket Sliders Table decor at Swine

The interior of the restaurant is carefully thought out, just like Yardbird. The designer used vintage and found objects to give the place the right amount of Southern and upscale chic charm. The building is extremely narrow, and has little natural lighting or air flow. Their signature smoky scent pervades the air inside and immediately outside the building. I do not naturally adore smoked food. Sure, I enjoy it every now and then, but for everyday smoked food can be intense. The problem with Swine is it isn’t a place I could eat at every day, and I think that is an intrinsic flaw in the restaurant design. When coming up with a concept, you want people to want to come to your place every day and become regulars. This food is just so particular, strongly flavored, and full of fat, that I just cannot imagine eating here on the regular. Also the drinks are VERY expensive. An Old Cuban Martini is $18. I mean EIGHTEEN DOLLARS!? This is the Gables not South Beach for god sake. The price point doesn’t match the neighborhood, in my opinion, and the pours aren’t impressive to boot. I was also disappointed with the BBQ Bone Marrow priced at $18 which seems like such an insanely small portion for the price. Don’t get me wrong- the marrow itself is rich, creamy, and divine- but expect each person in your party to get just tiny nibble.

                        swine old fashioned                        siete leguas tequila reposado at swine

Okay- sorry for being so critical…the food here is actually really good. To start off- when at Yardbird eat the biscuits and when at Swine order some Homemade Jalapeno Cornbread for $9 and slather it with butter. After the cornbread move on to the Crispy Pork Caesar $17, which was truly deliciously sinful- for a salad- I mean the dressing was rich, the cheese sharp, and the pork crispy fried with crunchy chicharrones adding fabulous texture- what more is there to love? The only thing that Swine is truly worth coming to for is their extra tender, smoky, melt-in-your-mouth brisket. The ½ Pound 14-Hour Smoked Brisket served with the sliced white bread and pickled onions and cubed cheese for $28 and the Slow-Smoked Brisket Steak with grits, cheddar, and pickled corn relish for $29 are heavenly. The brisket is exceptional and a must-have each time I visit. We have also ordered the ½ Rack of Ribs for $26 stacked and very smoky with sticky bbq sauce served with more of their amazing homemade pickles.

           southern fried chicken breast sandwich           slow smoked brisket sandwich at swine

For lunch try The Swine Burger $16 which came stacked high looking like you needed the skills of a snake to get a proper bite! The Southern Fried Chicken Breast Sandwich $14 was crispy and juicy. The Slow-Smoked Brisket Sandwich $16 is piled HIGH and oh-so-tender. Just like Yardbird the Mac & Cheese $10 is perfection with big, fat, soft noodles soaked up in all the cheese sauce juxtaposed with its crispy top layer. My biggest criticism is for the Country Fried Bacon and Waffles $26. The ‘country fried bacon’ was extremely fatty thick cut bacon that seemed under-cooked with large white fatty chucks hanging limp and wet with crumbly breading falling off. The waffle was lackluster and cold. This menu item really did not impress. Also from a service standpoint- I think it makes no sense to have a big, clunky, wooden ‘plate’ that a server cannot elegantly clear from the table. Our server fumbled to slide this off because the ‘plate’ didn’t have a natural rim.

That was another critical server rant- but I do enjoy coming here Monday nights for the live jazz music and bourbon specials- I just can’t come here too much because the food is so rich and distinctly flavored. Their cocktails are delicious and thoughtfully made, but perhaps too expensive and short-poured for my preference.

                                                           swine sticky bun

The best, most amazingly awesome thing about Swine (beside their pumpkin old-fashioneds) has to be their Warm Sticky Icky Bun with sweet potato pie ice cream and candied crunchy bacon topped off with maple-bourbon toffee syrup. This dessert caused a legitimate family battle- as in full-on crazy fight! My younger-dessert-fiend-brother nearly brawled with everyone for encroaching on ‘his’ dessert. It is that good people. It is amazingly delicious^10- to be exact and scientific. This is the only dessert I’ve had here although the Swine Shake for $6 with Left-Hand Milk Stout, salted-caramel ice cream, and candied bacon really tickles my imagination.

During the week it is totally worthy to come here for their amazing happy hour deals, Monday-night live music, and the busy weekend rush. Other than Friday and Saturday the business here has really slowed down and getting a table is pretty easy. I think if they made their menu a little more everyday friendly than their business might increase. Also the drink prices must go down, they are exorbitant without reason.

Swine Southern Table & Bar

2415 Ponce De Leon Blvd • Coral Gables, FL • 33134 • (786) 360-6433

Broken Shaker: Miami’s Best Cocktails

delicious-drinkfresh-cocktail tequilaHibiscus Cocktail

If I lived on South Beach I would most likely be at the Broken Shaker sipping on their hand-crafted cocktails every day. This place feels like a little slice of Europe in Miami Beach, and quite homey. The Broken Shaker is a James Beard Award-nominated cocktail hotspot in Miami Beach housed in the Indian Creek Hotel or Freehand Miami Hostel right off of Collins Avenue and 27th- slightly in the cut. The hostel itself reminds me of the multitude of hostels I’ve stayed while traveling throughout Europe.

BS bar Broken Shaker Patio

 The hotel lobby leads you to the entrance of the Broken Shaker where it spills out into a lush tropical garden patio with various seating nooks, a garden bar, and a pool open to hotel and bar guests. Bar coffee tables are topped with board games like Jenga, backgammon, and Life. There is an open pool table and a lobby piano, but outside and by the bar they are playing an eclectic mix of songs from the Beatles, vintage jazz tunes, and classic rock.

bar-at-broken punch-bowl

The small inside of the bar makes you feel like you’re in a Wes Anderson movie, or caught in a perfect moment of time like in Midnight in Paris, one of my favorite movies. The ‘found’ vintage vibe and the warm bar lighting with bartenders debating over perfect concoctions all work to create Miami’s not-so-hidden gem. The old-fashioned cocktails here are truly the best I’ve ever had. Each cocktail is handcrafted with fresh herbs and homemade ingredients. The pours are strong and the bartenders are passionate and knowledgeable. I’ve ordered their beers, the various featured old-fashioneds, the Southern Sling, Smells like Teen Spirit, fresh cucumber-tequila mixes with a Mexican Tajin-spiced rim, and others.

cuba-print old-fashioned jenga-at-broken-shaker

The Broken Shaker cocktail bar provides that same lovely vintage vibe of the hostel. The bar is cluttered with found objects, a myriad of bottles all different shapes and sizes with obscure labels, and glasses blooming with freshly cut herbs for their libations. My friend, Stazi, recommended this place to my boyfriend as a great date spot. It is definitely romantic with the amber lighting and aromatic herbs saturating the air, but on busier nights this place can get packed, with long lines for cocktails at the small bars, and an overflowing patio area. During the daytime it’s nice to come to the bar and enjoy cheap Miller High Lifes while laying out by the pool and reading a random book from their hostel library.  I always recommend this place to tourists and friends. It is perfect for dates or big groups, and lazy sunny South Florida days.

The Broken Shaker

2727 Indian Creek Drive • Miami Beach, FL • 33140 • (305) 531-2727

Yardbird Southern Table and Bar

       Fine-Fried-Chicken

When I get a craving for fried chicken, I head straight to Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, one of Miami’s best restaurants, serving up fine crispy fried chicken and deep south staples on Miami Beach. I have been to Yardbird countless times, and each time is better than the last. The food is amazing and the decor is adorable to boot. Yardbird has all of those popular restaurant decorations that are everywhere right now: mason jar chandelier, chicken coup wiring, re-purposed wood, open kitchen, the country linens at every restaurant known to mankind, beautiful chalkboard lettering, and the list goes on. The whole restaurant embodies trendy southern charm. 

       Mason Jar Chandelier  Run-Chicken-Run

During this visit my boyfriend and I arrived with a game plan in mind. Of course we are serious restaurant junkies so while en route we were already reading their menu online. I must admit we were stoked to see the actual menu was different than the link to Yardbird menu through Yelp. The options were more diverse with additions like Warm Farmer’s Cheese $5 and Pork Croquettes with fried egg $14. 

Cocktail Menu Yardbird Bar (2) Honeydew This

I figured since we were arriving around 9:00 PM on a Monday night there would be no wait at Yardbird. We actually ended up waiting around 15 minutes at the bar. Just enough time to order, receive, and sip a bit on our cocktails. I ordered the “Honeydew This” $12 a blend of Knob Creek, fresh pressed honeydew juices, lemon, and tarragon. The drink was refreshing, herbal, and perfectly earthy. My boyfriend had the “Strong as an Oak” $18- I would describe this as a reposado Tequila Old-fashioned. (Yes- the price tag of the drinks are insane- that’s Miami for you). The combination of Avion reposado tequila with the orange bitters made the drink taste reminiscent of Grand Marnier, a strong and sweet orange cognac liqueur.

Once at the table, we were greeted by an enthusiastic server- who read our vibe well and was unobtrusive and polite. Whenever a server is enthusiastic about the food- you should be excited. It is hard as a server to feign interest and passion for the product you dish up all day every day, so his genuine service was much appreciated.

   Bourbon Bacon Sundae          yardbird bar

To start we enjoyed the Iceberg Wedge with fresh cut corn, tomatoes, plentiful blue cheese, avocado, and thick cut bacon bits with avocado dressing. The dressing was mildly sweet, tangy, with hints of dill, which made you keep on wanting more. This was also the best presented wedge I’ve ever had, in that the wedge itself was divided into thirds making it easier to eat. After the salad we had the Beef Sirloin Tartar $14- served with a crunchy-fried-savory corn bread with icy bbq sorbet on top. The meat was fresh, chopped finely, and the bbq sorbet really brought the dish together.

Next came Yardbird’s tour de force- the Llewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken $26. The recipe apparently takes 27 hours and it shows- with crunchy skin that is finger-licking-good. I usually douse mine in their signature spicy tobacco-honey sauce. If you want a full experience, I’d recommend getting the blue plate special or the friend chicken dinner that comes with the chilled-spiced watermelon and cheddar waffle. I’m not crazy for the waffle myself- so I ordered their French fries with bacon salt $8. These fries are insanely delicious. The dipping sauce has that nice sweet buttermilk tang along with some fresh citrus. I don’t necessarily taste the bacon salt, but the fries have a good seasoning.         

            coffee

For dessert- with me there is always dessert- I had the Bourbon Bacon Sundae $10! I wouldn’t say the ice cream really tasted like bourbon but that salty caramel tho!! It was superb! I really didn’t need the bacon, which came in a long strip- but it was a nice salty addition to the rich, thick, custard-like ice cream. Chopped bacon might have been a nicer touch. My boyfriend ordered a double espresso which was itsy bitsy teeny tiny! But the server did bring us one more shot because it was truly minuscule.

        Yardbird-Peach-Ice-Cream

Well, these are just some of the things we had this visit to one of 50 Egg’s locations, but I have enjoyed their Scarlet O’Hara cocktail (aperol, bourbon, lemon, tobacco, honey- and more shaken deliciousness), the Fried Green Tomato “BLT” $14, Mama’s Chicken Biscuits $14 (ask for more pickles and pickled onions- they are fabulous!), the Chicken Under a Brick, the St. Louis Style Pork Ribs $32, the Mac and Cheese (to die for) $10, their biscuits with honey-butter and homemade preserves $9, the Grasshopper Sundae (served with a giant homemade peppermint patty!), and a blueberry cobbler with marshmallows and a peach ice cream.

I am already excited to come back to Yardbird for our next visit. They always have a crowd generating that Miami ‘vibe’, quality food, and excellent service. It is a place to see and be seen. I am sure Yardbird will be a South Florida staple for years (I also heard they are opening one in Las Vegas)!

 Yardbird: Southern Table and Bar

 1600 Lenox Ave • Miami Beach, FL • 33139 • (305) 538-5220