Eating House Miami

The Eating House in Miami (Coral Gables) is one of the best new restaurants to come to my neighborhood, and they’re now open for lunch. I’ve been to this popular spot on the corner of 8th Street and Ponce de Leon Blvd in the heart of North Gables several times since it opened permanently. Eating House was once a pop-up concept operating out of a lifeless Argentinian Bakery at nighttime and for brunch on Sundays. Now this hotspot has evolved to offer lunch, dinner, and brunch service. The interior feels like you’re in the apartment or home of a twenty-something year old from Miami. The back wall is one giant built-in bookshelf with Nikes, Miami Heat memorabilia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurines, wine glass, bottles, and colorfully painted Cuban Cuban Coffee Maker or Cafetera. The walls are adorned with graffiti art that remind me of being in middle school here in Miami. The décor is simple, modern, and hip managing to emanate personality in this ultra-tiny dining spot. I didn’t count the number of tables here, but I’d guesstimate there to be no more than 12-15?

eating house wall

So since this is my most recent dining experience here I’ll talk about going to lunch with my momma. As I went inside to be seated my mom was parking the car, so I sat at the table thinking, “the server will come by shortly, and I can give them my credit card and pay the check sneakily!” Well…this did not happen. I must’ve been sitting for 5-7 minutes waiting for someone to swing by, when I saw my mom coming towards the door (!!!). At this point I had to get up and give my credit card to the guy that sat me. Our server comes some time later, and she seriously just stood by the table waiting for us to start talking. In my opinion, this reveals no established style of service. I think it is a bit strange for your server not to welcome you to the restaurant and tell you any specials or featured items; at the bare minimum she should have prompted us to order. Also I noticed at night all of the servers (men and women alike) wear plaid shirts, but at lunch everyone was wearing a t-shirt instead. **Hint: For gentleman dining here on dates- AVOID wearing a plaid shirt- you’ll end up looking like one of the servers.**

          BLLT   Lettuce Wraps

During this visit we ordered the lettuce wraps with grilled chicken, slaw, peanuts, and nuoc cham $11, the short rib truffle sliders $12, grain salad with quinoa, faro, and sesame $5, and the B.L.L.T- bacon, lechon asado, lettuce, and tomato sandwich $11. Three lettuce wraps came in the order, and the chicken was juicy and well-seasoned; it could have been a light lunch for one. The presentation was lovely although I think tossing everything in burger baskets is haphazard and careless. Eating House might be going for a casual vibe, especially at lunch, but I think the plating of everything in burger baskets discredits the skill of the chef and is incongruent with their status and a ‘foodie spot’. Anyways…as we’re eating our lettuce wraps enjoying a nice lunch together, the food runner brings EVERYTHING else that we ordered to the table at once. Mind you, we are sitting at a two-top with very little table space, especially since tables are adorned with a god-awful-hideous napkin dispenser taking up considerable room. Instead of offering to hold food items, or TIMING the food to come out so each dish can be enjoyed one at a time, he dropped the baskets leaving the table littered in an array of burger baskets.

          Short Rib Slider   Grain Salad

Now for the rest of the food: The B.L.L.T. was disappointing. The bread didn’t seem homemade for sure and was that dry Cuban bread that is in desperate need of some butter and a sandwich press. The lechon asado itself was dry, and I was perplexed by the dark green paste that at first seemed like avocado spread onto the bread. Turns out it is a “house chimichurri” made out of shishito peppers, shallots, and parsley. A nice cilantro mayonnaise or parsley mayo spread could have gone further here than the chimichurri. The bread was all wrong for this sandwich, and it was my least favorite of the day. The quinoa and sesame grain side item was DRENCHED in sesame oil. Maybe drenched isn’t the right word- but it was overwhelmingly scented with soy and sesame. I am not a huge fan of sesame so perhaps I’m being brutal, but hey- I just didn’t like it. The short rib sliders were the best item of the day served up in small potato rolls with a creamy parmesan truffle sauce that really shined through the heavy short rib.

WTF Blondie

For dessert we shared the ‘WTF’ blondie a la Mode $5. The dessert was probably the best thing about our trip here today. The blondie was perfectly salty and had that delicious taste reminiscent of graham cracker crumbs with a salted caramel drizzle served topped with ice cream. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself. So remember earlier when I mentioned that I gave my credit card to the guy that sat us? Well at the end of the meal our server dropped the check! I was thinking “WHAT THE HELL” is the point of going out of my way to give you my credit card to avoid the classic ‘fight for the bill with my mom charade’ if you don’t give it to the server and charge me!? I found this to be crazy annoying. I wish I could say that the service I experienced here other times was different, but I’d say there is opportunity for improvement as in many new businesses. I come here for the food, but today lunch simply didn’t impress. I think I’ll stick to coming here for the dinner menu from now on.


Eating House

804 Ponce De Leon Blvd • Coral Gables, FL • 33134 • (305) 448-6524

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

Latin Burger & Taco: Coral Gables

My boyfriend has been raving about Latin Burger & Taco on Miracle Mile in my neighborhood, and he finally took me to try their burgers. The bright electric pink interior has prints of celebs like Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe eating burgers on the walls. Latin Burger & Taco originally started out as a food truck and in a way the design of their open kitchen resembles a food truck still. I had the machito burger and let me tell you- it was crazy delicious! The bun was steamed super soft à la Shake Shack and the burger patty was a delicious combination of beef and chorizo with faint hints of chili and cumin.

                Latin Burger Dining Room- Miami New Times            Latin Burger Food Truck

I argued that my boyfriend loved it so much because the patty in essence tasted like taco beef- even the subtle smokey seasoning added to that taco-like quality. The patty was topped with what seemed like white American cheese, sweet caramelized onions, and the bun had a light pimiento mayo. It was juicy and irresistible!  I would def come back here. I give this place 4 stars simply because the service was well-  meh, but the burger tasted SO good I won’t nitpick.

best seasoning ever

omggg- wow- I didn’t even mention the fries…the ADOBE (or adobo?) seasoned fries that blew my mind! The fries look like they will be crazy salty, but the seasoning is very subtle and adds ‘oomph’ to the fries. We tried to analyze its contents we decided it contains: dried garlic, parsley, sugar, paprika, chili powder, and who knows what else. They were seriously crispy and seasoned to perfection. The cashier accidentally gave my boyfriend a smaller burger than he ordered so they gave him another burger to go! I was  impressed to say the least. Nom, nom, nom…

Latin Burger & Taco 

232 Miracle Mile • Coral Gables, FL • 33134 • (305) 917-5963