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On Tap at the Southern Steak & Oyster: The Coarse Hair Southern Mule

On Tap at the Southern Steak & Oyster: The Coarse Hair Southern Mule



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A refreshing take on the moscow mule

The Coarse Hair Southern Mule.

One of the hottest bars on the Nashville scene isn't even a bar: it's at the Southern Steak & Oyster. In case the name didn't tip you off, the steakhouse (recently named the Best New Steakhouse in America bby Esquire) is known for its meat, oysters, brunch and — you guessed it — cocktails. Among its extensive cocktail list, the Course Hair Southern Mule reigns high.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 ounces Corsair Gin

splash of fresh lime juice

ginger beer, to top

DIRECTIONS

Add gin and lime juice to a rocks glass with ice; top with ginger beer and garnish.


American cuisine

American cuisine reflects the history of the United States, blending the culinary contributions of various groups of people from around the world, including indigenous Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic Americans.

Early Native Americans utilized a number of cooking methods in early American cuisine that have been blended with early European cooking methods to form the basis of what is now American cuisine. The European settlement of the Americas introduced a number of ingredients, spices, herbs, and cooking styles to the continent.

The various styles of cuisine continued expanding well into the 19th and 20th centuries, proportional to the influx of immigrants from many different nations this influx nurtured a rich diversity in food preparation throughout the country.

When European colonists arrived in Colonial America, they raised animals for clothing and meat in a similar fashion to what they had done in Europe. Their cuisine was based upon what they had consumed in Europe.

The American colonial diet varied depending on the region settled. Commonly hunted game included deer, bear, bison, and wild turkey. A number of fats and oils made from animals served to cook much of the colonial foods.

Prior to the American Revolution, New Englanders consumed large quantities of rum and beer, as maritime trade provided them relatively easy access to the goods needed to produce these items: rum was the distilled spirit of choice, as the main ingredient, molasses, was readily available from trade with the West Indies.

In comparison to the northern colonies, the southern colonies were quite diverse in their agricultural diet the growing season was longer.


50 States of Cheesy Dishes

Whether it’s California mac 'n' cheese, crumbled Wisconsin brick cheese on pizza or Southern pimento cheese balls, cheese is the creamy, gooey, savory and funky food that draws us all together. From breakfast to dessert and everything in between, these are the cheesy regional favorites that make each state melt with pride.

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Bacon & Cheese Dip Skillet, Arkansas

In Arkansas, cheese dip is a fixture at all types of occasions, so it makes sense that restaurants find creative ways to work the dunkable cheese into their menus. At downtown Little Rock brew pub Lost Forty Brewing, cheese dip gets a serious umami upgrade. Each batch starts with a deeply browned roux, sautéed with a top-secret six-spice blend, poblano peppers, diced sweet onions, jalapenos and fresh tomatoes it's combined with a three-cheese blend until melted and creamy. The creamy dip is baked and served in a skillet topped with local bacon, slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh jalapenos, with tortilla chips for dunking. Pair it with craft suds like the Snake Party Double IPA or the classic Bare Bones Pilsner.

Cheese Enchiladas, Texas

In Houston's Montrose neighborhood, an art deco building with an oversize neon sign spelling out "Tex Mex" can be seen for miles. It's a landmark for many locals the building was formerly home to the Tower Theatre, but since 2011 it's been El Real, the place for classic Tex Mex cuisine. According to El Real co-owner Robb Walsh, who wrote The Tex Mex Cookbook, all Tex-Mex restaurants are rated first and foremost by their cheese enchiladas. Judging by their legions of fans, El Real's Cheese Enchiladas #7 are the gold standard. Three corn tortillas are stuffed with cheddar and Land O Lakes® Extra Melt® cheeses, then topped with a blend of yellow and white cheddars, along with chile con carne and chili gravy. In a throwback to the Tex-Mex tastes of the 1950s, the enchiladas are finished with a roux-based sauce studded with chili powder and spices. Craving more cheese? Order the Enchiladas #10, which features El Real's chili con queso.

Chopped Cheese, New York

One of New York City's most-beloved dining institutions is the bodega, a corner store that&rsquos responsible for Big Apple classics like the chopped cheese: a cross between a Philly cheesesteak and a cheeseburger. For a gourmet take on the beloved chop cheese, as it's known locally, stop by White Gold Butchers. A custom poppy seed bun from Terranova Bakery stands in for the usual Kaiser roll. Both sides of the bun are slicked with mayo, then toasted on the plancha before being stuffed with the cheesy, meaty filling. It all starts with a patty made with beef from upstate farm At Ease Acres. A generous ladleful of beef tallow on the griddle adds extra flavor to the patty, which gets a hard sear on each side before it's chopped along with housemade pickles and jalapenos. Once the trio is combined, American cheese is melted on top and the whole lot is piled onto the bun. An ice-cold beer perfectly balances the sizzling combo of cheese and meat.

Macaroni Au Gratin, North Carolina

Ask any resident within a 20-mile radius of Raleigh about their favorite cheesy dish, and they&rsquore likely to extol the virtues of the Macaroni Au Gratin from Poole&rsquos Diner. As with the rest of Poole&rsquos menu, Chef Ashley Christensen strikes the perfect balance between the familiar and the fresh to deliver a crave-worthy take on a comfort food classic. Each Macaroni Au Gratin is made to order and features slightly al dente elbow macaroni tossed in a silky sauce made from reduced cream, sea salt and a trio of cheeses: nutty-sweet Jarlsberg, Grana Padano and sharp white Vermont cheddar. The gooey mixture is heaped into an au gratin dish and topped with additional cheese, then broiled to create a crisp golden crust. It&rsquos rare that a table doesn&rsquot request it &mdash the kitchen expects to serve 15,000 orders this year.

Clam & Bacon Pizza, Massachusetts

Boston-style pizza &mdash it&rsquos a thing. Get a taste at Area Four, where Chef-Owner Jeff Pond borrows from both New Haven and Neapolitan pizza-making traditions to create his signature A4 pies. Tender dough and crisp crusts serve as the base for a slew of seasonal, locally-inspired toppings. For a taste of New England, opt for the Wellfleet Clam & Bacon. Pond starts with his hand-stretched dough, which he makes with a 16-year-old sourdough starter and ferments for up to 30 hours. Once the dough is ready, he slathers on a clam sauce seasoned with hot peppers and parsley, then heaps on meaty Wellfleet cherry stone clams from Cape Cod and hefty slabs of thick-cut bacon. A final flurry of Pecorino cheese adds a tangy, salty bite that perfectly complements the clams&rsquo brininess. Pond bakes the pizza in a wood-fired oven at 750 degrees to ensure a beautifully charred crust and kiss of smoky flavor.

Lobster Grilled Cheese, Maine

Highroller Lobster Co. started as a food cart with a mission to take Maine&rsquos most famous export and remix it into a roster of unorthodox dishes. The quest continues at their brick-and-mortar location, where they&rsquore breaking culinary rules with creations like a Lobster Cheese Crisp Taco and the best-selling Lobster Grilled Cheese. Purists may dismiss a dish that dares to combine seafood with cheese, but this grilled cheese proves that taking risks can result in delicious rewards. Chunks of local lobster claw and knuckle meat are layered onto locally baked English muffin bread, along with Jarlsberg Baby Swiss and Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, then grilled until the bread is toasty and the cheese melty. Make the sandwich your own by adding bacon or avocado, and don&rsquot sleep on the house sauces &mdash they&rsquore perfect for dipping. Options include a roasted red pepper and a lobster ghee, a vivid red clarified butter made with roasted lobster shells.

Pimento Cheese Nuggets, Georgia

Who doesn&rsquot like fried cheese? Grindhouse Killer Burgers owner Alex Brounstein justified it as near-universally appealing when he added a fried cheese appetizer to the menu at his Atlanta burger joint. The cheese-nugget Cheesy Poofs &mdash Brounstein&rsquos a big South Park fan &mdash are inspired by two Southern staples: pimento cheese and hushpuppies. Everyone&rsquos got their own recipe for pimento cheese, but Brounstein&rsquos version features feathery shredded sharp cheddar mixed with mayo, cream cheese and sour cream to achieve a thick consistency that lends itself to frying (and topping burgers), mixed with chopped roasted red peppers, Worcestershire and Bulliard&rsquos cayenne pepper sauce, along with breadcrumbs and additional hot sauce. The mixture is rolled into golf-ball-sized rounds and fried until gooey inside and crisp outside. The nuggets are served with a sweet-spicy chile sauce &mdash a nod to the classic Southern appetizer of crackers with cream cheese and sweet red pepper jelly.

Breakfast Mac & Cheese, Indiana

With its location in a restored 19th-century barn on Traders Point Creamery&rsquos organic dairy farm, The Loft Restaurant has a steady supply of artisan cheeses close at hand, which Chef Toby Moreno showcases in multiple preparations. Moreno transforms mac and cheese into a hearty breakfast meal by adding farm-raised pork belly, green onions and a sunny-side egg to gemelli pasta drenched in a three-cheese Mornay sauce. All three cheeses &mdash cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey jack &mdash are crafted by a team of Traders Point Creamery&rsquos cheesemakers in the barn&rsquos lower level. This breakfast mac pairs nicely with the Bloody Mary made with organic vodka, tomato juice, freshly ground horseradish and hot sauce, and garnished with a pickle, olive and piece of cheese. Seasonal riffs include combinations like roasted mushrooms, leeks and squash, or corn, roasted cabbage and spinach.

Juicy Lucy, Minnesota

One of the favorite ways for Minnesotans to fortify themselves during the state&rsquos notoriously cold, long winters is with meaty, cheesy comfort food. The Juicy Lucy, arguably one of the North Star State&rsquos proudest culinary exports, features two hamburger patties stuffed and sealed with cheese. Approach that first bite with caution, or you&rsquore likely to scald your mouth (and chin) with the ensuing avalanche of hot, gooey cheese. There&rsquos a Twin Cities-wide debate on who makes the best, but none celebrate it quite like The Blue Door Pub with its dedicated menu of Blucys (named for the spot&rsquos signature take on the celebrated burger). The eponymous flagship burger features a tangy core of blue cheese and garlic, while the Cajun Blucy is filled and topped with a spicy blend of ghost peppers and pepper Jack cheese. For a true taste of the region, opt for the Classic. Two Black Angus beef patties are sealed together with a mound of Land O&rsquoLakes White American Cheese between them, then seared in a cast-iron pan and finished in the oven. Two lightly toasted, buttered local egg buns bookend this meaty, cheesy creation. Save room for a side of tater tots and a pint of local suds.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese, South Carolina

At his Hilton Head Island bistro, Chef-Owner Clayton Rollison offers a Southern-accented menu of seasonal American fare. One of his favorite creations featured at Lucky Rooster is a refined take on a classic Southern combo: pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes. For the cheese-mayo spread, Rollison follows tradition by combining grated sharp cheddar and Duke&rsquos mayonnaise, then veers off course by kicking it up with pickled jalapenos, pickling juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Sliced green tomatoes are breaded with Panko and fried to order, then plated atop generous dollops of the creamy, cheesy spread and served with spicy red pepper jam and chow chow. This knife-and-fork affair tastes best if you get some pimento and crisp-crusted tomato in every bite.

Half-Pound Grilled Cheese, Connecticut

New Haven native Jason Sobocinski put his masters degree in gastronomy to good use when he founded Caseus, an artisan cheese shop and bistro that dishes up some of the state&rsquos cheesiest creations. To wit, the grilled cheese sandwich features a whopping half pound of cheeses, including flavor powerhouses like extra-sharp cheddar, Schnebelhorn, Beemster Gouda, and prime melters like Comte, Gruyere, Provolone and Raclette. The cheese is piled onto slices of thick-cut rye, grilled in brown butter and served with grainy mustard and cornichons to cut the richness. Diners can double down on the decadence with standard add-ons like house-made bacon lardons, or custom requests one daring diner&rsquos addition &mdash a slice of apple pie and guanciale &mdash is the stuff of local legend.

"World’s Best" Mac & Cheese, Washington

Billing your mac and cheese as the best in the world is a bold move, but Seattle-based Beecher&rsquos Handmade Cheese does have Oprah and a legion of fans on its side. Penne serves as the vehicle for the dish&rsquos real star: a bechamel sauce that&rsquos bolstered by a four to one ratio of Beecher&rsquos signature Flagship (a smooth-melting cheese that retains its robust flavor and nutty undertones when melted) and Just Jack for creaminess.

Fried Cheese Balls, Vermont

Vermont has a robust dairy industry and a history of artisan cheesemaking, so restaurants and bars statewide are spoiled for choice when it comes to sourcing top-notch cheese. When in Stowe, swing by local watering hole Doc Ponds for a selection of cheese-centric dishes featured on the stepped-up pub menu. The Bayley Blue Balls are a particularly popular option. These arancini-style fried balls are stuffed with Bayley Hazen Blue (a fudgy blue cheese with nutty-spicy undertones from Jasper Hill Farm), then drizzled with local honey. Double up on cheesy snacks by adding the VT Cheddar Fritters to your order. Made with Cabot sharp cheddar and tangy Cabot clothbound cheddar, these fritters are served with pickled peppers, black beans, cilantro and crema. The cheesy bites pair well with just about any beer on offer.

Reuben, Nebraska

Crescent Moon opened in 1996 as Omaha&rsquos first ale house, and while still known for its 70-plus craft beers on tap, the pub is equally lauded for its Reuben sandwich. Though the history of the Reuben is somewhat murky, one account claims that this classic grilled sandwich featuring sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye was created directly across the street from Crescent Moon at The Blackstone Hotel. While Crescent Moon may not be the first to have offered the sandwich, its Reuben has earned a loyal local following, with around 25,000 served annually. The pub&rsquos take hews closely to tradition, albeit with a few slight tweaks. A mound of too-tender-to-slice corned beef is cut into chunks before being heaped onto slices of marbled rye from Rotella&rsquos Bakery, topped with the requisite Swiss, 'kraut and dressing, then toasted in a pizza oven conveyor belt (instead of getting grilled on the flat-top). So deep runs the love for this Reuben that Crescent Moon hosts an annual week-long celebration known as ReubenFest, which celebrates the Reuben in practically every form imaginable &mdash including egg rolls and poutine.

Pear & Blue Cheese Ice Cream, Oregon

Portland-based Salt and Straw transforms local ingredients into small-batch ice creams that have gained cult status for their gourmet flavor combinations. One perennially popular option is the Pear and Blue Cheese, which features local pears (the official state fruit) and blue cheese from Rogue Creamery, an award-winning Southern Oregon cheesemaker. Head ice cream maker Tyler Malek roasts and blends Oregon pears into a puree to flavor and sweeten the ice cream base. Once the base is ready, he gently folds in housemade candied pears and cave-aged blue cheese crumbles. By not cooking the crumbles into the cream, Malek ensures that the cheese&rsquos distinctive funk and floral notes are not dulled down. Since 2011, Malek estimates that they&rsquove used 3,000 pounds (or more than 600 wheels) of Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese to meet demand. Pick up a pint locally or order online.

Whipped Ricotta, Kentucky

When it comes to hot and cheesy dishes, Kentucky is known for its eponymous Hot Brown sandwich, which was created at The Brown Hotel in the 1920s. But that&rsquos not the only stellar cheese-smothered dish to come out of Kentucky&rsquos hotel dining scene. The Whipped Ricotta at 21C Louisville&rsquos Proof on Main may well be the state&rsquos sleeper hit. Fresh Calabro ricotta is whipped until airy and smooth, then placed in a cast-iron dish and heated in the restaurant&rsquos custom-built hearth. Once warm, the molten cheese is taken over the top with an unexpected yet winning finish of zesty grated horseradish, earthy truffle oil and local fried oregano. Every order comes with slabs of grilled bread from Blue Dog Bakery, and can be customized with an optional bourbon pairing.

Bison Patty Melt, Montana

When locals dine out in Big Sky Country during the winter season, they opt for chill-busting dishes that offer both sustenance and comfort. Bozeman&rsquos Montana Ale Works delivers on both counts, with a menu that&rsquos stuffed with satisfying comfort food classics. Many of the dishes showcase regional ingredients. Take the Bison Patty Melt, for instance. This riff on the American grilled classic features a local bison patty piled with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions sandwiched between rye bread slices, all grilled until melty and toasted. It comes flanked by a side of sweet-smoky ranch beans topped with house-smoked pulled pork, as well as a ramekin of creamy-spicy MT 1000 Island dressing for dipping. Balance all that richness with Big Sky Brewing Company&rsquos Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout. Its dark chocolate and dried fruit notes perfectly offset the creaminess of the melted cheese.

Baked Cheese Grits, Alabama

In the South, grits &mdash or coarsely ground corn meal &mdash serve as the foundation for many down-home dishes, whether boiled and served as breakfast porridge, combined with shrimp for a low-country entrée or folded with cheese for a potluck. At his fine dining restaurant, Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham chef Frank Stitt elevates grits from humble pantry staple to a sophisticated soufflé-like appetizer. A menu mainstay since day one, the Baked Grits feature locally milled organic, coarse yellow grits from Coosa Valley which are boiled and combined with butter, white pepper and finely grated Parmesan for savory depth. Portions are baked in buttered ramekins in a hot water bath to achieve their airy texture, plated with a wild mushroom-sherry-vinegar sauce, smoky Benton&rsquos country ham, thyme and more freshly grated Parmesan.

Crab Cheese Melt, Florida

Wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida has enough seafood to rival any island nation. Though stone crab season is fleeting, fans can get a taste of crabs year-round at gourmet grilled cheese food truck Ms. Cheezious. To pay homage to the Sunshine State&rsquos coastal bounty and his own love of crab, chef and co-owner Brian Mullins dreamed up the Crabby Cheese Melt. A crab salad filling of white crab meat, sweet peppers and spices is pulled together with a touch of house-made mayo, tucked in between slices of sharp cheddar and sourdough bread, and grilled to order to sweet, cheesy effect.

Cheez-Its Mac and Cheese, Alaska

Despite its nickname as Land of the Midnight Sun, Alaska&rsquos long, dark, frigid winters mean that restaurants deliver as much on comfort as they do on flavor. Juneau&rsquos The Rookery Café has an eclectic menu of crave-worthy comfort foods, spanning everything from Korean fried chicken to bacon cheeseburgers, but few can resist the siren call of the mac and cheese. House made cavatelli, whose name translates to "little hollow," provides ample nooks and crannies for the cheesy sauce, made with nutty Beecher&rsquos flagship cheese and creamy, melty American cheese, to cling to. Instead of breadcrumbs, co-owner and Chef Beau Schooler blankets the noodles and cheese with crushed Cheez-Its crackers for an added sharp Cheddar bite, then bakes the lot in a rarebit dish until toasty. If you&rsquore feeling extra cheesy, double down with an order of the Champagne and Brie fondue.

Ahi Tuna Melt, Hawaii

At Leoda&rsquos Kitchen and Pie Shop, the from-scratch menu features a delectable array of scratch-made pies and what General Manager Rosie Robbins calls "glorified comfort food." Take for example the fan- and staff-favorite seared ahi sandwich, which reads like the fancy tuna melt of dreams. Local sashimi-grade ahi tuna is seared, sliced and layered onto house-made rye bread with Jarlsberg cheese, caramelized Maui onions, local watercress, fresh avocado and pesto aioli, then grilled until the cheese is just melted. Order it with a side of earthy taro chips made from their own farm-grown taro and be sure to save room for the Lilikoi Cheese Pie, a no-bake cheese cake with a sweet cream cheese filling and sweet-tart lilikoi (passionfruit) topping.

Grown-Up Mac and Cheese, California

Sue Conley and Peggy Smith are the award-winning cheesemakers behind Bay Area&rsquos Cowgirl Creamery, which has rightfully grown a cult following for its lineup of fresh, bloomy and aged cheeses. In addition to selling their sought-after wedges and wheels, the team crafts seriously cheesy composed creations at their retail outposts. Try the mac and cheese penne is the perfect vessel to capture the cheese sauce made from Wagon Wheel, a table cheese that takes on a velvety texture when melted, and Red Hawk, a washed bloomy rind cheese that imparts a funky-yet-nuanced flavor. The mac and cheese is finished with a hearty helping of breadcrumbs for texture. Go all in and pair with a grilled cheese they rotate daily, but the Classic features shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack bound with fromage blanc, spread onto buttered slices of Acme bread, and cooked low and slow in a skillet until golden and gooey.

Cowgirl Creamery at Ferry Plaza: Cowgirl Creamery at Ferry Plaza

Cheese Crisp, Arizona

The cheese crisp is made with just two ingredients: tortillas and cheese. To make it, a griddled flour tortilla is covered with melted cheese, creating an open-faced quesadilla with a crispier base. A few places in The Grand Canyon State claim to have invented the Sonoran staple, but one of Phoenix&rsquos OG versions can be found at local institution Los Compadres, whose Original Crispy Cheese Crisp is based on founder Josephine Picazo&rsquos recipe. It starts with a lard-free tortilla, which is key for obtaining an extra-crisp, almost flaky base. The tortilla warms on the flat top grill before it&rsquos topped with six ounces of finely shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and baked in a 500-degree oven. You can add guacamole, machaca or chicken, but locals honor the cheese crisp&rsquos minimalist nature by eating it plain or with roasted green chile strips.

Mac 'n' Cheese Cheeseburger, Iowa

At Des Moines gourmet burger joint Zombie Burger + Drink Lab, Chef George Formaro takes Midwestern comfort food to the next level with his monstrously tasty creations. The Walking Ched, for instance, features a mac-and-cheese-topped burger patty nestled in a mac-and-cheese "bun." To start, Formaro combines macaroni with an Alfredo-style sauce featuring Parmesan, cheddar and American cheeses, along with powdered cheddar for added depth of cheesy flavor, then pours the mixture into cooling tubes. Once chilled, the mac and cheese is cut into inch-thick discs, which are then coated with flour, egg and Panko breadcrumbs before being fried. Formaro uses two of these crisp rounds to bookend a beef patty topped with sliced Cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, red onion, mayonnaise and a final flourish of gooey mac and cheese.

Cheesy Taters, Kansas

HHB BBQ &mdash that&rsquos Hog, Herd and a Bird &mdash started as a hobby that blossomed into a food truck and eventually a full-scale Topeka barbecue restaurant. Family recipes still dominate the menu, from the slow-smoked meats to the Heartland-inspired sides &mdash several of which get the smoker treatment, too. The Cheesy Taters start with a mushroom-studded bechamel sauce that&rsquos cooled overnight, then combined with parboiled diced potatoes, cheddar cheese and diced onions. The mixture is heaped into a pan and cooked in the smoker for four hours until the dish is redolent of smoke-tinged barbecue. These taters pair well with Chef Norman Biber&rsquos personal favorite, the Smoked Mac & Cheese, which features macaroni dressed in a creamy three-cheese sauce, topped with Parmesan and smoked for two hours.

Detroit-Style Pizza, Michigan

Detroit-style pizza can be found on restaurant menus beyond the Great Lake State&rsquos borders, but for a taste of the original, head to Buddy&rsquos Pizza. The pie&rsquos defining characteristics &mdash unique layering style, square shape and crisp, cheesy corners &mdash were created by owner Gus Guerra and his employee Concietta "Connie" Piccinato back in the 1940s. The duo baked their Sicilian-style pizzas in blue steel pans repurposed from the city&rsquos automotive industry, topping the twice-stretched dough first with pepperoni, then a layer of crumbled &mdash not shredded &mdash Wisconsin brick cheese and finishing the pies with racing-style stripes of tomato sauce before placing them in the oven. They remix the layering convention with Buddy&rsquos best-selling Detroiter pie. The dough is blanketed in the Motor City cheese blend (composed of Fontinella, Parmesan and Wisconsin brick), which is spread all the way across the surface to ensure crisp, cheesy edges and corner pieces. Next comes tomato basil sauce and a flurry of pepperoni, followed by a final flourish of shaved Parmesan cheese and Buddy&rsquos Sicilian spice blend. Pair it with Buddy Brew, a signature craft beer brewed with coriander and grapefruit peel by Birmingham&rsquos Griffin Claw Brewing Company.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Egg Rolls, Nevada

StripChezze Food Truck owner Suzy Davis is no stranger to cheesy mash-ups. Her business, named for the Las Vegas strip and her love of all things cheese, offers clever comfort food combinations that are perfect for recovering after a night of excess in Sin City. Take Daddy&rsquos on a Roll, for instance. Davis borrowed from both her American and Korean heritages to create this decadent mac-and-cheese egg roll. She coats elbow macaroni in a three-cheese sauce made of mozzarella, sharp cheddar and Provolone, then envelopes the pasta in an egg roll wrapper, fries it until crisp and serves it with tangy kimchi dipping sauce. The tangy-creamy-crunchy combination adds up to a culinary jackpot, as evidenced by the dish&rsquos popularity at local events and among late-night revelers. Davis has been known to make as many as 1,500 in a day to keep up with demand.

Disco Fries, New Jersey

French fries with melted mozzarella and gravy have been a Garden State diner staple since the 1940s, but it wasn&rsquot until the 1970s that the dish gained in popularity and garnered its Disco Fries moniker, thanks to the late-night revelers who made it their go-to order after a night out dancing. At Left Bank Burger Bar, owners and Jersey City natives Nina Colon and Daniel DeAlmeid pay homage to this staple from their home state with a cheesy, gravy-soaked version of their own. To make the dish, they heap hand-cut fries with grated mozzarella cheese and homemade beef gravy, then pile the whole lot into a skillet and bake it until gooey and golden. Add the richness with an optional upgrade of chopped bacon or a runny fried egg.

Crab Pretzel, Delaware

With its prime location at the heart of the Delaware beach scene, Woody&rsquos Dewey Beach is a favorite stop for classic boardwalk eats and Mid-Atlantic-inspired fare among locals and tourists alike. One of their most-popular menu items, and arguably the most quintessentially Delaware, is the crab pretzel. A locally sourced ballpark-style pretzel is topped with a zesty homemade crab dip made with their top-secret crab cake blend, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and grated horseradish, as well as a four-cheese blend, all baked until gooey. The knife-and-fork affair is perfect for kicking off a seafood feast or snacking on all to yourself.

Crabby Fries, Maryland

Maryland is synonymous with crab, and locals believe that Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are the best in the world. Casual Baltimore seafood spot Angie&rsquos Seafood spins the prized crustacean into multiple crowd-pleasing preparations, like Crab Balls, Crabby Mac 'n' Cheese and the fan-favorite Crabby Fries. Fresh-cut French fries are piled with sweet blue crab meat and a secret blend of shredded cheeses and seasoning, then baked until gooey. It&rsquos the perfect opener to a crab-and-carb-fueled feast.

Three-Way Chili, Ohio

There&rsquos no beans about it &mdash the cheese-smothered chili served at this Ohio fixture is a crowd favorite. Blue Ash Chili has been dishing out classic and modern takes on the signature state dish since 1969. Cincinnati-style chili differs from the average bowl in taste and texture, with a thinner sauce made of meat but not beans, and a blizzard of seasoning that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. This Ohio staple dates to the 1920s when Macedonian restaurateurs started offering it as an optional topping for hot dogs, known as Coneys, or on spaghetti. The tradition still exists today, along with the creative system of customization, locally referred to as "ways." Ask for the Three-Way at Blue Ash Chili and you&rsquoll be served an extra-cheesy spin. The chili is made with fresh ground beef, onions, tomato paste and a secret spice blend, then piled onto a plate of al dente thin spaghetti and mounded with shredded cheddar cheese. Another popular pick is the chili lasagna. To make the dish, multiple layers of flour tortillas are smothered with chili, sour cream and a shredded mound of mild cheddar, then blanketed with more cheese and baked into a cheesy, meaty package of perfection.

Poutine, New Hampshire

This Portsmouth-based restaurant gained the attention of locals with its gourmet lineup of burgers and milkshakes, but its poutine is what put BRGR Bar on the culinary map. Considered by many to be the unofficial dish of Canada, poutine typically features French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. This traditional Quebecois dish is near and dear to New Englanders&rsquo hearts, particularly those with French-Canadian roots. BRGR Bar lives up to locals&rsquo expectations by honoring the original recipe components &mdash hand-cut fries are piled with Maine&rsquos Pineland Farms cheese curds and drenched in housemade beef gravy bolstered with short rib braising liquid and demi-glace &mdash but takes tradition to the next level by offering unconventional upgrades like short ribs braised in root beer or a sunny-side up egg. For a boozy regional pairing, opt for the Original Milkshake, a bourbon-vanilla shake sweetened with local maple syrup.

Cornbread Mac ‘n’ Cheese Grilled Cheese, Oklahoma

Situated in Oklahoma City&rsquos Plaza District, The Mule stands out from the other local spots for its dedication to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Combine the cheese with Oklahoma 'cue by opting for the Macaroni Pony. Grilled slices of jalapeno cornbread come crammed with a creamy, meaty filling made from mac and cheese, dill pickles and a heap of slow-roasted pulled pork dressed with diced chipotle peppers and local Head Country barbecue sauce. The barbecue rub recipe is top-secret, but the kitchen divulges that the mac and cheese gets its distinct flavor from the combination of smoked Gouda, sharp cheddar and Gruyere. Double down on the cheesiness factor with a side of fried, beer-battered cheddar cheese curds from Watonga (they&rsquore rumored to rival Wisconsin&rsquos curds). The local craft beers, which include options from microbrewery Anthem Brewing, make for a nice pairing.

Turkey Devonshire, Pennsylvania

Said to have been invented in Pittsburgh, the Turkey Devonshire is Pennsylvania&rsquos answer to the Kentucky Hot Brown. The hot, open-faced turkey sandwich is a menu mainstay at the The Union Grill, a neighborhood fixture that&rsquos been serving old-school comfort food since the early '90s. According to owner Eric Nernberg, the legendary dish was created by American-Sicilian restaurateur Frank Blandi at The Stratford Club, and named after one of his other establishments, Devonshire. At Union Grill, Chef Victor Tome tops toasted French bread with thick slices of brined-then-roasted turkey breast and an even layer of diced tomatoes. Instead of a roux-based bechamel sauce, which he found too heavy, he drenches the open-faced sandwich with a velvety sauce made from heavy cream thickened with Swiss, Provolone and mild cheddar cheeses. He browns the dish under the broiler, then finishes it with applewood-smoked bacon and shaved Parmesan, Pecorino Romano and Asiago cheeses. With upwards of 175 sandwiches served daily, the restaurant&rsquos cooking space has been expanded into a second kitchen to keep up with demand.

Pimento Mac ‘n’ Cheese Grilled Cheese, Tennessee

Pimento cheese is a staple of Southern households, where it&rsquos traditionally served with crackers and celery sticks or spread onto sandwiches. This popular cheese-mayo spread has steadily infiltrated restaurant kitchens, too, where it&rsquos being used to boost the richness of macaroni or grilled cheese. Nashville&rsquos The Grilled Cheeserie has changed the game, though, with its Pimento Mac & Cheese: a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with pimento mac and cheese. To make the dish, smoked cheddar, mayo and spices are folded with elbow macaroni. The mixture is then piled onto slices of buttered country white bread, topped with slices of Tennessee cheddar, bacon bits from cult local purveyor Benton&rsquos Bacon and thick tomato slices before being finished on the grill.

Funeral Potatoes, Utah

Funeral potatoes &mdash a cheesy potato casserole &mdash are a staple at Mormon gatherings, so named because they were traditionally served as a side dish at funeral dinners and luncheons. Go beyond the basic dish at Wasatch Grind and Pulp, a Utah restaurant with a focus on local ingredients and flavors. The spot riffs on the standard recipe with Angels Landing, a funeral-potatoes-meets-loaded-baked-potato hybrid named after a well-known rock formation in Zion National Park. To start, fresh hash browns are cooked with onions, jalapenos and thick-cut bacon. Instead of the standard cream of chicken soup, the mixture is combined with a cheese sauce made with sour cream, butter and cheddar cheese, then layered into a dish and baked until the potatoes are crisp. The dish is finished with shredded cheddar, cornflakes (which are traditionally added for crunch) and half an avocado.

Warm Burrata, Virginia

"Virginia is for lovers" may be the state&rsquos unofficial slogan, but it would also be apt to say that Virginia is for cheese lovers. Many a fanatic makes the pilgrimage to Cheesetique for a taste of owner Jill Erber&rsquos creations that put cheese front and center. To wit, Erber transforms buttery mozzarella into the luxurious Warm Burrata by layering cream cheese, homemade mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano in a small skillet, then topping with a ball of fresh Italian burrata and a ring of oven-roasted tomatoes. The skillet is broiled until the burrata is just warm, then finished with chopped chives and served with toasted crostini. Make it a full-blown cheese affair and pair with the award-winning Mac 'n' Cheese Arancini, a riff on the Italian deep-fried rice balls. Instead of rice, they&rsquore crammed with Cheesetique&rsquos truffle-infused, three-cheese mac.

Fried Cheese Curds, Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, cheese is a source of pride and obsession &mdash cheesemaking has been a tradition here for nearly two centuries. Restaurants across the state offer the prized dairy creation in multiple regional preparations, but the fried cheese curd is arguably the most sought-after delicacy. At The Old Fashioned in Madison, the kitchen starts with fresh white cheddar curds from Vern&rsquos Cheese in Chilton (all curds develop early in the cheesemaking process before the cheese is pressed into blocks and aged). They dredge the fresh nibs in buttermilk and Pabst Blue Ribbon, coat them with a flour mixture, then deep fry them to order. The curds are served warm with a dip of the customer&rsquos choice &mdash Ranch is the local standard. The dish is so popular that the restaurant goes through 600 pounds of cheese curds weekly.

The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant: The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant

Cheesy Corn Bake, Missouri

Kansas City is lauded for its regional style of slow-smoked meats and tomato-based sauces, but no 'cue experience is complete without sampling the supporting cast of sides. In Kansas City, one dish with a devoted local following is the cheesy corn bake at Fiorella&rsquos Jack Stack Barbecue. Founder Jack Fiorella&rsquos wife created this creamy, crowd-pleasing concoction in their home kitchen. Delores makes her dish by combining corn kernels with sharp aged cheddar cheese, cream cheese, milk, garlic and diced hickory-smoked ham burnt ends, then baking the mixture in a covered dish until it&rsquos hot and gooey. Locals can order as much as a gallon from the takeout menu. Follow their lead and pair the dish with the Hickory Pit Beans, combining both sides into one smoky, cheesy spoonful.

Smashed Pepperoni Roll, West Virginia

The original pepperoni roll was created at a Fairmont bakery in the 1920s and quickly became a lunch favorite for West Virginia coal miners since the bread-wrapped pepperoni required no refrigeration. Since then, it has evolved into a statewide snack obsession, so you&rsquoll find imitations and gourmet spins on menus statewide. At Cheese Louise, Chef-Owner Lawton Parnell turns the roll&rsquos main components into gourmet grilled cheese, his shop&rsquos specialty. Slices of bread are slicked with butter and mayo, then layered with pepperoni, pepper Jack and Muenster cheeses. Once on the grill, the sandwich is stuffed with Oliverio&rsquos Italian-style peppers (a local delicacy of sweet bell peppers in marinara sauce), then smashed into a gooey masterpiece.

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese, Colorado

Lobster may not be the first food you think of when it comes to landlocked Colorado, but ask any Denver local about mac and cheese, and Mizuna&rsquos butter-poached Maine lobster mac and cheese is likely to be cited. It&rsquos the only dish that&rsquos a permanent fixture since Chef Frank Bonanno's seasonal fine dining restaurant opened in 2001. The lobster studs elbow macaroni in mascarpone cheese sauce finished with beurre blanc. Though Bonanno estimates that he&rsquos made the dish more than 20,000 times, he insists that he still loves to cook it &mdash and especially loves to see new diners&rsquo first-bite reactions.

Tater Tot Hot Dish, North Dakota

Hot dish is arguably the Upper Midwest&rsquos most nostalgic nosh &mdash a baked casserole made of ground beef, veggies, canned soup and starch (often in the form of tater tots) that&rsquos pretty much a given at church suppers, family reunions, Thanksgiving dinners and basically any regional gathering involving a potluck. At Bismarck restaurant Humpback Sally&rsquos, tater tot hot dish rounds out a menu of satisfying small plates. It starts off in the standard manner, with a base made of ground beef sauteed with onions, green beans and corn. However, canned soup is switched out for a housemade creamy mushroom sauce bolstered with bacon fat. The mixture is spooned into a small cast iron skillet, layered with crisp tater tots and smoked cheddar cheese, then broiled until the cheese is melted and golden. Though it&rsquos the perfect size for sharing, we won&rsquot blame you for wanting to finish every last bite yourself.

Rhodie Oysters Rockefeller, Rhode Island

Providence restaurant Red Fin Crudo + Kitchen offers fresh riffs on classic seafood dishes that evoke the flavors of Spain and Latin America. To wit, the iconic baked oysters dish named for billionaire John D. Rockefeller gets reimagined as a rich tapa. The Rhodie Oyster Rockefeller starts with sweet oysters that have been locally sourced. They&rsquore drenched in a fondue made from creamy Manchego and sharp Cotija, then topped with smoky Serrano ham, spinach and cream before being baked and broiled to create a bubbly cheese crust. A final flourish of zippy piquello pepper coulis, pickled red onions and micro cilantro adds a bright punch of flavor.

Potatoes Au Gratin, Louisiana

Charlie&rsquos Steak House has been a New Orleans fixture since 1932 &mdash it&rsquos one of the city&rsquos oldest restaurants and its oldest steakhouse. There&rsquos no menu to speak of &mdash just tell them your cut of meat and doneness &mdash but be sure to tack on an order of the Potatoes Au Gratin. This decadent side starts with boiled, cubed Idaho potatoes, which are combined in a stockpot with generous chunks of butter, whole milk, a top-secret seasoning blend and a mound of shredded cheddar cheese (both sharp and mild varieties). The mixture is cooked until the cheese is melted, then portioned into au gratin tins, topped with slices of sharp cheddar cheese and browned under the broiler. The portion is perfect for sharing, though General Manager Glenn Bove reveals that some couples claim the secret to a long-lasting relationship is ordering your own potatoes au gratin.

Chile Relleno, New Mexico

The chile pepper may be New Mexico&rsquos state vegetable, but the jewel in their capsicum crown is the Hatch chile. Named for the town of Hatch where it&rsquos grown, this chile has become a favored ingredient throughout the state, thanks to its spicy, smoky and slightly sweet flavor profile. It has been a menu mainstay for more than four decades at family-owned restaurant El Patio de Albuquerque, which brings the beloved chile together with cheese to create the Chile Relleno. Made from a generations-old recipe, the dish starts with whole, roasted hatch green chiles. They&rsquore deseeded, stuffed with Wisconsin cheddar, double-dipped in batter, then deep fried. A side of red or green hatch chile sauce (green is considered more traditional) acts as the perfect foil to the gooey avalanche of cheese that ensues with each bite.

Fry Bread Cheese Burger, South Dakota

When in South Dakota, take a lead from the locals and go beyond a basic cheeseburger. It all begins with fry bread &mdash also known as Indian fry bread &mdash a simple flour-salt-water dough that&rsquos rolled, flattened into discs and fried into South Dakota&rsquos official state bread. At The Gaslight Restaurant and Saloon in Rockerville, fry bread anchors the Loco Burger. A half-pound beef patty sits atop Indian fry bread, puffed up and golden after a quick dip in hot oil, and paired with a side of French fries before the lot is topped with green chili sauce and shredded Jack cheese. Another popular pick is the Gaslight&rsquos classic preparation of the regional dish known as Indian or Navajo tacos. Fry bread is swapped in for the taco shell, then heaped with typical Tex-Mex toppings like seasoned ground beef, refried beans, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.

Waffles Fries with Blue Cheese Fondue, Wyoming

Wyoming may be known as the Cowboy State, but its mountainous terrain also makes it a skier&rsquos paradise. Jackson Hole is home to some of the most famous ski resorts in the country, so it&rsquos no surprise that area restaurants focus on après-ski fare. The Blue Cheese Waffles Fries at Trio bistro are particularly satisfying after a day on the slopes. Crisp-golden fries are heaped onto a plate, then drenched in blue cheese fondue made from a mix of blue cheese and Gorgonzola. A flurry of freshly cracked black pepper and chopped green onions add a burst of color and brightness. The dish makes for a great shared starter, but it&rsquos not uncommon to see solo diners take it on with the same zeal as racing down a black diamond ski run.

Italian Beef Roll, Illinois

At small-town pizzeria Pizzas by Marchelloni &mdash or Marchie&rsquos or Chelloni&rsquos, as it&rsquos known &mdash pizzas may be the name of the game but it&rsquos the locally famous Marchelloni Rolls that elevate this Mendota pizza spot to a destination. The calzone-style dish starts with from-scratch pizza dough layered with a hearty portion of Papa Charlie Italian beef that&rsquos dressed in a seasoned broth &mdash made with beef fat, red pepper, basil, oregano, thyme and onion powder &mdash shaved thin and stacked high, piled with shredded mozzarella cheese, and folded over to create an oversized pizza pocket. The roll is finished with a few shakes of a secret house-spice blend and baked until the exterior is crisp and golden, and the filling warm and gooey. As with the pizzas, the rolls can be customized with a variety of toppings folded in: the fan-favorite includes mushrooms, onions and jalapenos.

Barbecue Nachos, Mississippi

If the walls could talk, Rebel Barn&rsquos former life as a drive-through beer barn would have some colorful stories to tell. These days, it&rsquos home to a from-scratch barbecue joint where the food does all the talking. Everything from the Delta-style tamales to the slow-smoked meats are cooked outside on a rotisserie cooker over hickory and pecan wood. This technique imbues the meats with a distinctly smoky flavor that&rsquos tailor-made for pairing with cheese. Want a taste of this addictive combination? Order the barbecue nachos, which come smothered in a rich cheese sauce made from a tightly guarded recipe. These are not your stadium concession nachos: White corn tortilla chips are fried to order, then heaped onto a plate, drenched with that secret cheese sauce and piled with your choice of pulled pork, smoked chicken or beef brisket. The whole lot is slicked with sweet-smoky barbecue sauce, then topped with shredded cheese and a trio of cherry red peppers, sliced jalapenos and whole Mississippi short peppers. It all adds up to a smoky, cheesy, spicy bite that has set tongues wagging &mdash in a good way.

Loaded Potatoes, Idaho

Potatoes are one of Idaho&rsquos most-famous exports. As good as they are, the prized tubers provide a blank canvas for local comfort food dishes, too, like Big City Coffee & Café&rsquos Loaded Potatoes. The late-night-inspired dish is one that owner Sarah Fendley makes for herself after a long shift, but you can find it on the breakfast and lunch menu at her fast-casual Boise eatery. The dish features Simplot red potatoes tossed and roasted with olive oil and a signature spice blend, topped with grated cheddar and mozzarella, chopped bacon, seasonal vegetables and 87 Chevre, a local goat cheese made by Green Bay Packers player Jordy Nelson. After everything is melted, the dish is finished with fresh tomato, sour cream and a sprinkling of top-secret Greek-inspired seasoning, with a side of homemade salsa.


For gathering with friends

Patrons eat on the patio of the Barking Crab.

The Barking Crab
This year-round waterfront watering hole is a Boston mainstay, with picnic tables, paper napkins, and bibs quite necessary for cracking open a lobster or two. Delightfully casual with a menu that’s mostly New England seafood classics, the Barking Crab offers an atmosphere that is jovial and hoodie-friendly. And you’re bound to make new friends — those long communal tables are often shared between parties. (88 Sleeper St., Seaport)

Empire
With seating for up to 600 imagined by Boston-based restaurant guru Peter Niemitz of Peter Niemitz Design Group, the delights of Southeast Asia come to life in a bar and lounge, salon, two large dining rooms, private dining and meeting rooms, and a large center kitchen. Despite that capacity, a line still snakes out the door on the weekends, as guests wait for large sushi rolls and drinks, like the four-serving Big Kahuna: Grey Goose, watermelon punch, mint, and ginger, all served in a watermelon rind. Don’t miss all-you-can-eat sushi on Wednesdays, a bargain at $29 per person. (1 Marina Park Drive, Seaport)


Beyond the Butterball

One of my more memorable Thanksgiving midday meals was eaten in my parents’ kitchen, standing up. I’d cooked hamburgers for my father, my husband, and me, and we ate them hanging over the counter because the juices from the meat had mingled (in an entirely delicious way) with the homemade mayo I’d spread on the toasted buns (actually English muffins) and were dripping (not unpleasantly) down our chins. It was memorable mainly because it did not involve turkey, or even turkey burgers, but also because the whole enterprise took less than fifteen minutes and did not require a single Pyrex dish. I should admit, here, that we’d been invited to a festive sit-down Thanksgiving dinner at someone else’s house, which freed us up to invent our own lunch, so we didn’t actually boycott the whole turkey-and-dressing-and-sweet-potato extravaganza. But I’ve thought more than once about how great it would be if, at least occasionally, on the fourth Thursday of November I could ditch the turkey altogether and give thanks that the pilgrims came to America so that the whole nation could later savor something as fine as a perfectly cooked burger on a bun (preferably accompanied by a nice red burgundy).

That kitchen lunch was an accident of sorts, but a couple of years ago I purposely veered off the well-trodden Turkey Day path, at least a little, at an outdoor Thanksgiving lunch on my former New Orleans lawn. Inspired by a piece I’d researched about the origins of the Pilgrims’ first feast back in 1621, I decided to stage one based—very loosely, as it turns out—on their menu. This is not easy. The Plymouth settlers had no flour, very little sugar, and no potatoes. We know from a couple of surviving accounts that they did have five deer, given to them by the very nice Wampanoag Indians who also joined them at the table (this was clearly before our native hosts knew what really, really bad guests—Thanksgiving or otherwise—future waves of settlers would turn out to be), the corn the Indians taught them to grow, and “the excellent seafish” that abounded in the nearby waters, including clams, cod, and lobster. The governor had sent a small party out “fowling” for the occasion, so there were ducks to be sure, but there is no evidence a turkey was actually served.

For our feast, we caved and had two turkeys, both wild and domestic, just in case, but we also grilled some oysters along with sausages made of both venison and duck. We put more oysters in the cornbread dressing and had another dressing made of shrimp and mirlitons, but then, you know, various guests insisted on bringing staples like yeast rolls and jellied cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes with the dread marshmallows on top and pies, including pumpkin, which I hate more than pretty much anything in the world. This is always a problem—at one point in the menu planning, no matter how inventive you try to get, Thanksgiving ends up being a forced march down the assorted memory lanes of way too many people. Fortunately, we had some more useful stuff the pilgrims didn’t have, such as my friend Elizabeth’s frozen Red Roosters (our very own Thanksgiving tradition composed of cranberry juice, orange juice, and vodka). Plus, we were dressed, nominally, in costume, which tends to lighten things up. I had on a full-blown Indian headdress, made of the lovely brown and white feathers from the underbelly of a peacock, and my friend Joan Griswold, the talented painter, whipped up an entire black-and-white pilgrim’s getup with her trusty sewing machine. Her husband (and my colleague), Roy Blount, Jr., looked extremely fetching in a headpiece he made by tying a fake cornucopia found at the grocery store to an ancient Saints visor with scruffy artificial white hair on the top.

I love a theme, and I like turkey just fine. But you do have to wonder why the pilgrims’ immediate descendants didn’t pick up on the yummy lobster aspect of the proceedings, say, or at least the duck. (I once served Scott Peacock’s duck stuffed with red rice and oyster dressing, which seems to me a slightly more realistic homage.) I also started wondering what would have happened if the first settlers had landed somewhere else. If they’d somehow made it up the mouth of the Mississippi to the Delta, where I was born, for example, we might well be eating bear on our national holiday. Well into the nineteenth century, the still sparsely inhabited Delta was so chock-full of the furry creatures that the famed African American hunting guide Holt Collier was said to have shot three thousand alone. Collier served as Theodore Roosevelt’s guide when the president came for the hunt of 1902—a now famous trip that resulted in the “teddy bear.” Roosevelt was on a lunch break and unable to take the shot when Collier ran the bear across the clearing. So to protect his dogs the guide was forced to tie the bear to a tree. When the president returned, he refused to shoot the tethered animal, an act that was later captured in a cartoon, which in turn led to the stuffed toy. Determined to get a legitimate bear, Roosevelt came back five years later, a trip that resulted (according to Collier’s biographer, Minor Buchanan) in “three bears, six deer, one wild turkey, twelve squirrels, one duck, one opossum, and one wildcat.” The party ate everything but the wildcat, and I guess we should all be grateful that the pilgrims didn’t manage to run across a possum or some squirrels.

Bears are currently endangered in Mississippi but they still find their way to the Delta. Last spring when the river was in flood stage a rather large specimen was found up a tree in downtown Greenville. I’ve not had the pleasure of dining on one, but apparently they were once a sought-after food source. In a piece he wrote on bear hunting for Delta Magazine, my friend Hank Burdine reported that Collier got twenty-three dollars for a dressed deer, but up to sixty dollars for a bear. His clientele primarily consisted of men in frontier camps who’d turned up to build the levees or railroads or both, but plenty of other folks were on the bears’ trail. After a Confederate colonel named Robert Bobo rebuilt his farm near Clarksdale, he still managed to spend most of his time in the swamps, where during a three-month period in 1887 he reported killing 304 bears, 54 deer, and 9 panthers. Burdine cites a journal written by Bobo’s daughter-in-law in which she recalls the “festive mood in their setting out for the wild country, with the string of four-mule wagons, the dozens of dogs racing here and there, and the hunters themselves, mounted on their fine-spirited horses. The men were gone for weeks and lived on bear steaks and stew.”

The meat itself, she says, was “quite coarse and tough, but good.” I’m not convinced, but either way, that expedition sounds like a hell of a lot more fun than the exploits of the long-suffering pilgrims. But then they were not a people known for their fun-loving ways or for their way around a kitchen either, even when they had a bit more to work with. In David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed, a terrific account of the folkways of four groups that came over from England, he writes: “Among both high-born and humble folk, eating was a more sensual experience in Virginia than in Massachusetts. There was nothing in the Chesapeake colonies to equal the relentless austerity of New England’s ‘canonical dish’ of cold baked beans.” No kidding. By that time (the eighteenth century), we were busy munching on far more lavish renditions of that first Thanksgiving fowl. Recipes from the era include one for a duck fricassee made with pickled oysters, a bottle of claret, copious amounts of butter and egg yolks, and a quarter pound of bacon. I might well make that this year. Or maybe some dark venison chili followed by a big plate of fried catfish and hush puppies. We should be most thankful for the bounty just outside our door, after all, and when Roosevelt made yet another visit to Mississippi, in 1911, the local folks were smart enough to know that. The luncheon in honor of the former president kicked off with mint juleps and included okra gumbo with beaten biscuits, deviled crab, and “Fried Milk Fed Chicken, Southern Style” with grilled sweet potatoes.

Man. Mint juleps and fried chicken. That’s a Thanksgiving menu that might distract even the most devout turkey diehards.


N° 6: Be Inspired by a Historic Garden

For almost a century, horticultural enthusiasts have poured into the public and private homes that open their gates across the commonwealth, from Richmond to Roanoke, for the Garden Club of Virginia’s annual Historic Garden Week in April. But those in the know prioritize the Lynchburg leg, a group of twelve residences and historical sites tucked in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In the morning, see wisteria drape the pergola at the late poet and civil rights activist Anne Spencer’s patch of earth. Then admire English boxwood parterres at Villa Maria, a 1911 mansion with grounds planned by Colonial Revival landscape architect Charles Gillette. Finish the day at Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s summer home, where archaeologists dig to reveal the noted green thumb’s landscaping schemes. vagardenweek.org


On Tap at the Southern Steak & Oyster: The Coarse Hair Southern Mule - Recipes

A WildEats perspective on achieving the maximum potential
for all your wild game harvests

by Chef John McGannon
Having this knowledge and understanding WILL Give you better results from your ALL your Wild Game Dishes
PERIOD



Many things come into play when dealing with your hard earned wild game harvests. including many aspects that have always been someone else's concern. Well, if you want your treasured wild game meat to live to its potential. those aspects NEED to become your concern as well. Here is a collection of potential pitfalls that can have a negative impact on the quality of the meat in your freezer. Understand these details and the results will be quite evident. at your table.

Passion runs very deep in the hearts of us who crave the autumn ritual of heading to the hills in search of nature&rsquos bounty. The sights, smells and feel of an early morning sunrise are hard to equal. I&rsquove been fortunate enough to have an equal passion in what takes place after a successful hunting trip- the culinary result from all that hard work.

These passions have been apart of humane survival from the beginning of time and unfortunately there are many that have never experienced a piece of wild game meat for what it really can be. Understanding what happens to our meat products from the field to the feast is an important step towards building superior links.

LINK I
Marksmanship (shot selection)/ Slaughter House Mentality


In slaughterhouses across the country the ultimate goal is to humanely dispatch the animal of choice without subjecting it to stress. This is done a number of ways including the use of a stun gun. The animal is kept very calm and is basically knocked unconscious without ever knowing what is about to happen. Under these conditions the muscle structure never gets a chance to develop adrenaline or the endorphins associated with undo stress or trauma. Adrenaline and the chemical reaction that occurs when an animal is under these conditions cause the muscle tissue to swell and become almost impossible to tenderize. This same situation often happens during the rut, but that&rsquos a self-induced state of adrenaline.

Not long ago I was given some moose meat that was harvested at the peak of the rut. I was told it was pretty tough and my buddy wanted to see if I could get better results than he was getting. I tried dry aging it for a couple of weeks. After trimming off all the dried outer edges I noticed that I could visibly see the swollen sections of the muscle tissue. Each grain of muscle literally stuck out like someone or something pumped it up. All the dry aging in the world wasn&rsquot going to breakdown that muscle.

An animal that is immediately dispatched will have much better table value than one that endures trauma and stress, even if it&rsquos self-inflicted. So, the first step to a solid beginning &ldquolink&rdquo actually has nothing to do with cooking, it&rsquos all about shot placement. Making a shot selection that will dispatch an animal in the same fashion as in a slaughterhouse environment WILL give you the greatest chance to reach the maximum result.

Accuracy , Shot Selection and Patients are the first steps to getting the most out of your meat

Of course there are other issues that have an effect on the quality of wild game meat and they include-
Age of the Animal - Older animals simply have muscles that are more developed.
Health &ndash A free ranging animal has many obstacles throughout its life that effect it over all health. If you notice an animal that isn&rsquot physically acting right you may want to consider selecting one that is.
Rut &ndash The rut effects the quality of the meat by filling it with adrenaline and the endorphins that come with the physical vigor&rsquos of combating for the right to breed. Not to mention the possible cross contamination potential from all the components of an active wallow!
Weather/Diet &ndash And last but not least the seasonal weather is so important as it controls how much and what groceries these animals have throughout the year. All of which play an important part in their overall health and the quality of their meat.

Once THAT shot has landed there's NO going back. Make it a good one.

LINK II
Environmental Cleanliness


&ldquoCross Contamination&rdquo is a term used by the Department of Public Health describing when a physical/tangible item is spread to another physical or tangible item. This term is general associated with contaminates that have the potential to induce bacterial, viral or microorganism infestation. When dealing with wild game animals we all need to be concerned with the potential of all of these possibilities. Without getting into a biological discussion, simply understanding how to avoid such a circumstances will help you, not only prevent possible health issues but also increase the culinary value of your hard-earned harvests.

This issue seems to be a very simple one and should be considered common sense, but we can all attest to the fact that the moments right after you've scored the biggest bull or buck of your life things can get a little cloudy . I have witnessed first hand just how excited some folks can get after a successful hunt. Simply surviving the trip back to camp can be a challenge for some. So, to add some clarity to this subject lets review proper field hygiene. Recreating a slaughterhouse environment is still our goal.
In this case we are referring to setting up a clean work environment . An item like a space blanket doubles as a good working area. Lay out your blanket and lift or pull the animal on top. Obviously this will help to keep the dirt, leaves, mud or water off your meat.

  • the outside temperature
  • the method in which it is being transported
  • the distance you have to travel before it gets into a cold environment

Hair/Hide &ndash The problem really isn&rsquot the hide or the hair but what&rsquos riding along. As we know the animals that we pursue rely greatly on scent. The manner to which they achieve this scent varies with season but include &ndash urine, feces and glandular secretions, not to mention mud, dirt, sap and whatever is prevalent in their environments. Obviously these are not things we want on our meat. If you are removing the hide keep the meat from touching it. If you touch it with your hands DON&rsquoT handle the meat unless you have a CLEAN pare of gloves or have washed your hands thoroughly.

Internal Fluids &ndash There are many fluids and bi-products located in the internal structure of an animal, most of which aren&rsquot very good for your meat. You should avoid cutting in to, puncturing or dispersing these fluids or bi product on any part of your meat. They will have a lasting effect on the quality of your meat and are a big culprit in causing &ldquogamey&rdquo meat. If you find you have possible contaminants while cleaning your animal you should wipe it off and dry it with a clean cloth or towel. I don&rsquot recommend rinsing it out with water because that only spreads the contaminants throughout the cavity of your animal. The combination of water (moisture) and microorganisms WILL rapidly deteriorate the palatability of your meat. Drying out the meat will give you the greatest chance of recovering a high quality product.

Hand to Meat Contact &ndash Once the hide and the internal organs are removed we need to deal with the meat. This requires handling and touching and if our hands are contaminated with the above mentioned items your meat will be contaminated by what's on your hands.

Added Water/Moisture &ndash Unless you're in a controlled environment, like a walk in refrigerator with a good fan to remove excess humidity and moisture be careful when dealing with water on your meat. The combination of added moisture and warm temperature is a haven for bacterial growth and meat spoilage. Taking your carcass down to the river to wash it out will likely do more damage to the quality of the meat than if you simply wiped it off. First you don't really know what's in the water your cleaning your meat with. (Giardia is present in even the clearest running stream or creek. Feces and urine from domestic cattle and sheep are always a concern even in the deepest forest.) Plus, you'll be spreading whatever impurities your trying to remove over the entire carcass. "Keep it dry and keep it clean".

AIDS
Latex Gloves (multiple) - Change your gloves as often as needed&hellipthey aren't that costly
Baby Wipes - These are great when you don't have water to clean your hands. I recommend the unscented varieties. They are also great when laid over a lantern in the morning when you want to knock the sleep off your face.
Space Blanket - These make a great lightweight tarp to work on
Rope or parachute cord - to hang meat once it is removed from the carcass
Breathable Game Bags - Protects your meat from dirt, insects, while allowing the meat to cool and dry.

LINK III
&ldquoThe BIG Chill&rdquo
Temperature Awareness

In the food industry there&rsquos a term called &ldquothe Danger Zone&rdquo. This refers to a temperature range of 45°F - 140°F. Meat (food products) left in this zone for extended periods of time are subject to rapid bacterial growth, with declining culinary value. Unfortunately, the internal body temperature of all the fur/feather-baring animals we pursue are in the middle of this dangerous area. It is very important to do everything you can to remove the internal temperature of your wild game meat as soon as possible.

  • Always use breathable game bags to store your meat, they allow both the heat and the moisture to escape. The combination of high temperature and moisture is a recipe for disaster.
  • Use the Wind/Shade/Slopes to create drafts to your advantage when selecting a meat pole
  • Preserve Coldness &ndash Once your meat has chilled down during the night you now want to maintain that internal temperature. Just as with the cooler, a sleeping bag doesn&rsquot just keep you warm. It&rsquos an insulator and it doesn&rsquot care if it insulates warm or cold. Wrap your cold carcass with an extra sleeping bag to maintain its cold temperature during the heat of the day.
  • Self-inflicted Hypothermia &ndash Just as wetness against your body will rob it of its warmth, a thin layer of water in combination with wind will help displace temperature of your meat.

LINK IV
&ldquoDry Aging&rdquo Wild Game Meat
"The single most important aspect in maximizing the potential of your wild game meat"


We need to understand that most wild birds and big game animals are the equivalent of Olympic athletes. They fly thousands of miles during migration, or run up and down 10,000-foot mountains for a living. Mature game animals are usually tremendous physical specimens. The only way to break down the structure of their muscles and make the meat tender, without resorting to meat hammers and artificial tenderizing agents is to give nature time to do its work, at temperatures that discourage bacterial activity. This whole process is referred to as &ldquoDry Aging.&rdquo

&ldquoDry aging is nothing more than a dehydration and decaying process that basically breaks down the fiber structure of those highly developed muscle tissues.&rdquo


The objective is to remove as much of the capillary blood as possible. This is the blood found in muscles and is basically the broken down bi-product of what that animal has consumed. The body filters all the nutrients from these food products and is carried in this capillary blood. So when you harvest that big old mule deer buck that has been feeding on sage and bitter brush for the past six years those bi products are very noticeable in the aggressive flavor of that meat. Well many folks want to soak that meat in some ungodly concoction so the good stuff goes in and the bad goes out. Well that simply doesn&rsquot work. Yes, you can add enough culinary band-aides to cover up just about anything. But then you never really experience the fabulous potential of properly handled wild game meat.

I guarantee if you try dry aging you&rsquoll never go back.


Dry Aging is nothing more than the removal of the internal moisture and capillary blood from your meat. Without these liquid properties the tough fiber structure of these highly developed muscles simply break down. You can check to see if your meat has been aged long enough by squeezing the meat with your fingers. A properly aged piece of meat will yield to the pressure of your fingers, One that hasn&rsquot been aged will bounce back like a rubber ball. Also the color of the meat will go from eggplant purple (fully saturated) to the color of veal (blood removed). Dry Aging gives you a two-fold benefit &ndash it tenderizes the meat and removes the aggressive flavors that are present in the capillary blood. This process can be done at any time whether your hanging quarters or racking individual muscles on a stainless steel rack in your frig. And it can be done before or after the meat has been frozen.

DRY AGING TIME LINE
THIS IS Always DONE UNDER REFRIGERATION, At temperatures below 40°F (Frozen meat products are not dry aging)

These birds have been plucked and eviscerated with the internal cavity wiped clean. You can initiate drying from a fresh state as well as after it has defrosted from the freezer. These time lines start when the meat is completely defrosted.

Dry Aging breasted out birds without any skin/bones to slow the drying process DO NOT APPLY to this time line. You can dry age those pieces of meat to a certain degree BUT since the meat will dry out too quickly, you will loose a great deal of meat in the process. This is a slow and gradual process. You get out what you put in. Breasting is a fast and easy way to avoid plucking and cleaning but like most shortcuts comes with a price. If you do have some breasts like the ones below try placing a dry (lint-free) towel over the meat. This will slow the evaporation process down a bit and extend the time you can dry out those tough fibrous tissues.

UPLAND BIRDS Quail 1 day Chukar/Partridge 2 days Grouse 2-3 days Pheasant 2-3 days Wild Turkey 3-4 days
These are recommended times for whole birds with the skin attached. The skin plays a vital role in slowing down the evaporation process. As I stated before Dry Aging needs to be a slow and gradual process. If the meat dries out too fast then you aren&rsquot accomplishing your goal of breaking down the fiber structure. You see, those little tough fibers need time to breakdown as they are drying.

Planted birds require a little less time, as their muscle structure isn&rsquot so developed.

RED MEAT BIRDS Doves 1 day Band-tailed pigeons 1-2 days Teal (sm. ducks) 1-2 days Widgeon (med. ducks) 2-4 days Sprig/Mallards (lg. ducks) 4-7 days Specks/Snow Geese 7-10 days Honkers* 10-14 days

* Aging these very tough birds for this long will give you an incredible tender result. Once aged bone-out the breasts and treat as though they were a tender steak. Cook quickly and rare. Save the legs for chili, stew or sausage. You won&rsquot believe how tender they can be if you have the patients! Always slice across the grain.

LARGE GAME ANIMALS Elk, Moose (quarters) 14 days Elk, Moose (muscle groups, i.e. top sirloin) 7-10 days Deer, Caribou, Sheep, Antelope (quarters) 10 days Deer, Caribou, Sheep, Antelope (muscle groups) 7-10 days Wild Boar (quarters) 8 days Wild Boar (muscle groups) 4-8 days Bear** 4-8 days
If you have your meat already cut into steaks the same approach applies as with the breast situation. The meat will dry out too quickly. If you have no choice at this point you can dry age your steaks for a day or two and it will help. It just won&rsquot have the chance to get to its full potential. You&rsquoll know better next time.

** Dealing with bear meat can be a little tricky. If the bear is consuming garbage as a source of its diet it could be subject to parasites, viruses and microorganisms that can be harmful to human consumption. Please be careful when dealing with bear meat. I would recommend cooking bear meat thoroughly (above 165° F) before eating. This isn&rsquot always the case but its better to be safe than sorry.


Even your ground meat will benefit greatly from being placed in a colander in a bowl, covered and left in the frig. Overnight. The amount of blood that comes out will blow you away. You won&rsquot have to deal with gray hamburgers anymore.
Don't blame the animal if your meat is tough. your meat is just TOO fresh!

LINK V
The Freezing/Defrosting Dilemma


Over the last two decades I&rsquove been asked to do ALOT of volunteer/donated fund raising events for wildlife habitat organizations (over $120,000.00 raised for wildlife). A figure I am very proud of but that&rsquos another story. In doing these fundraiser dinners and dealing with donated meat products I&rsquove found that many of us don&rsquot take the time to properly care for the treasure&rsquos buried in our freezers. With the hunt and meat pre-care over it&rsquos very easy to fall short when it comes to properly packaging and storing our meat. These little chunks of happiness will tell their story once they are removed.
&ldquoYou get OUT - what you put it IN .&rdquo

In my opinion the most efficient freezers are chest freezers. Their top opening mechanism allows them to retain a great deal of coldness even when the door is open.

Problem Areas-

Frost Free Freezers &ndash Although, very efficient when it comes to not collecting frost, they play a big part in collecting freezer burn. These units go through a very slight heating cycle to remove the moisture and frost that accumulates. Each time this happens a microscopic part of our meat defrosts. This may not seem substantial but if you count the number of cycles a freezer goes through over a year or two it&rsquos enough to purge the moisture out of your frozen meat. Hence freezer-burn. This is more likely to happen in areas that are loosely wrapped. Double Wrapping and vacuum bags will help eliminate air gaps. This is where freezer burn is most likely to occur.

Slow Defrosting Challenge &ndash

Today&rsquos world runs at a very hectic pace. Most of us don&rsquot think about what we are having for dinner until we get hungry. Throwing that frozen block of meat on the counter before you head to work is a perfect way to destroy the natural integrity of your meat. And an easy way to breakdown the chain in your culinary &ldquolinks of success.&rdquo
Here&rsquos what happens to that frozen piece of meat as it sits on your counter top-

The difference between a freezer, 10°F or less and the counter top 70°F is pretty substantial, at least in the world of moisture molecules. Every piece of meat has these little cells that hold in its natural moisture. Upon freezing these cells expand. As they expand the outer cell wall becomes very fragile. Picture a balloon when its blown up. When they go from a 10°F freezer to a 70°F counter top, it defrosts so quickly that the fragile cells can&rsquot hold their own weight and burst. That explains the puddle of mystery liquid on the plate.
To stop this purging we need to take some very simple steps. Mostly, become a little more organized. Take your meat from the freezer and place it into the refrigerator. Going from a 10°F freezer to a 35°F refrigerator is only 25°F difference. Now, those cells are defrosting much slower, and can actually go back to their original shape and hold the weight of their internal moisture. This assures that the piece of meat you end up with is as close to the one that you put into the freezer. It should take approximately two &ndash three days for a given block of meat to defrost under these conditions. Be patient and organized and give that meat a chance to &ldquobe all that it can be.&rdquo


Proper Labeling &ndash
Avoid the mystery blocks of frozen matter in the bottom of your freezer. Label each piece with species, state, date and exact cut - eye round, top sirloin, back-straps etc. Leave the guessing to picking those winning lottery numbers, not selecting your next meal.

LINK VI
&ldquoKnow your Cuts of Meat,&rdquo
as David Letterman would say!

For late-night TV it&rsquos a funny bit - But there&rsquos nothing funny about having your friends or family over and you think you&rsquore serving a nice juicy tender steak only to find out it&rsquos a bottom or eye round. These cuts would be better suited as a slow cooked pot roast, stew or chili. I&rsquom sure this scenario has played out for just about everyone who has a freezer full of wild game meat. The unfortunate result is your guests have just struggled through a tough and dry piece of game meat and will base their opinion on this experience. Because they have so much respect for you and your culinary wisdom they would never hold you accountable and the burden inevitably falls to the poor animal. I can&rsquot tell you how man times I&rsquove heard, &ldquoI love elk but I don&rsquot eat antelope or deer or duck.&rdquo I think mishandled or in this case misidentified meat plays a big roll in creating negative opinions of wild game meat.
Knowing the muscle groups of a game animal will eliminate these pitfalls. Our WildEats Hunters Meat Map identifies all the muscle groups in the anatomy of a big game animal and what are the best cooking techniques for each cut.

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A key cooking rule when dealing with wild game meat - the tender cuts need to be cooked as quickly as possible and the tough cuts benefit from very slow moist cooking techniques such as braising.


The leg of a large game animal is made up of seven muscles-
Tender Cuts
Top Round
Top Sirloin
Sirloin Butt
Tougher Cuts
Eye Round
Bottom Round
Heel
Shank (not shown)

(Insert Skeletal Breakdown)

Knowing your way around the anatomy of a big game animal gives you the confidence to correctly identify all those tasty morsels. This is very similar to studying a Topo map and finding those far off northern slopes that hold seldom seen trophies. Be sure and show off your latest trophy on your dining room table this weekend.


Required Eating: Our 100 Favorite Miami Restaurants of 2021

There are New York delicatessens that don’t go as hard as Josh’s. It’s amazing to see thick cuts of house-cured pastrami gleaming with moisture and capped with ribbons of fat. The Angus brisket is cured for ten days, smoked, and then steamed it evokes a smoky flavor (with a hint of sweetness) that puts it on a peppery par with great barbecue. The corned beef is that same Angus brisket, cured, braised, and sliced thick and juicy — miles apart from the pallid strips of meat that pass for an original cut nowadays. All sandwiches come on thin-sliced, seed-flecked rye spread with dazzling yellow mustard — make, like everything else, on the premises. All meats and fish are cured and/or smoked in-house. Owner Josh Marcus makes the sour pickles too, alongside wild creations such as the “Jewban,” an unholy Jewish-Cuban alliance made with pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickles, and pork. Be sure to also get one of the rotating very un-kosher brunch sandwiches, such as a croissant stuffed with soft-shell crab, fried eggs, bacon, American cheese, and paprika-laced ketchup or an omelet filled with sweet lobster knuckle meat, leeks, mushrooms, and fontina cheese. New Normal: Until further notice, Josh’s is open Friday through Sunday only. Follow @joshsdeli on Instagram for special menus and pop-ups.

Nationally recognized barista Camila Ramos’ downtown coffee shop is a bright, tropical oasis nestled between downtown, Overtown, and the Miami Arts District. The centerpiece of the space is the massive La Marzocco espresso machine, among the largest in the nation, from which Ramos and her skilled team craft perfect cortados, espressos, and macchiatos. Pair one with a thoughtfully sourced lineup of eats, including some of the city’s best egg sandwiches. And don’t even think of missing All Day’s seasonal drink. Ramos the crew spend months creating special coffee-based beverages such as Our Sweetheart No. 4 (cold brew, rosemary syrup, and lime juice), Coffeewein (white oak-aged cold brew, roselle tea, and salted cacao bitters), and the Paloma (grapefruit, nitro coffee, and pink peppercorn syrup topped with tonic water and dried pineapple). New Normal: All Day accepts reservations via Resy.

The building that houses the Anderson has been a bar far longer than most of us have been alive. Restaurateur Ken Lyon has given the space new life with lush outdoor gardens, a tiki bar, and the taco joint El Toro Taco, decorated with wonderful black-and-white photos of people and places in Mexico — all shot by Lyon on his various trips to the country. Between the indoor lounge, the outdoor patios, and the eatery designed to look like a food truck, the Anderson seems more like its own little world than a simple bar and kitchen. New Normal: Lyon has enlarged the Anderson’s outdoor space and installed additional outdoor seating.

Anthony’s Runway 84, from the owner of the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza chain, is airport-themed, but it feels more like what you’d get if Epcot opened a restaurant based on the quaint Brooklyn of yesteryear. There’s a dining room, but if you really want your evening’s entertainment, eat dinner in the lounge. Faux cockpit windows have you coming in for a landing as you peruse the menu, which leans heavily toward red-sauce Italian fare. Women with teased hair wearing leopard-print dresses with fat diamonds on their red-lacquered fingers drink pink martinis while Sinatra croons in the background. Before dinner, a basket of warm, fresh bread arrives with a dish of olive oil spiked with garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re on a date, agree that you’ll both have garlic breath — it’s worth it. Meatballs arrive with a dollop of ricotta, Sicilian peppers are stuffed with more cheese and garlic, and clams oreganata, baked with breadcrumbs in a garlic and lemon sauce, are authentically Sheepshead Bay. The civolata sausage is presented with broccoli rabe and roasted peppers. The sausage is spicy, the peppers are sweet, and the combination is classic. New Normal: Anthony’s takes all the recommended COVID precautions and now offers takeout and delivery for those who prefer to enjoy their sausage and peppers at home.

It’s not necessarily the hot dogs themselves that are better at Arbetter’s. Rather, these all-beef or pork-and-beef franks are ideal blank canvases for the three garnish combinations that solidified Arbetter’s reputation when this family-run institution opened more than a half-century ago. The basic onion/relish dog is nicely tangy, and the sauerkraut/mustard dog, loaded with beautifully buttery, cooked-all-day-tender kraut, is even better. Along with the rich and flavorful but not overly hot all-meat chili topping from an old Arbetter family recipe, a garnish of diced raw onion adds that reassuring subliminal message that you’re consuming a healthful greenish vegetable that certainly counteracts the menu’s cholesterol count — so, hey, have another. For a taste of the 305, try a Miami dog, with mustard, onion, cheese, tomato, and potato sticks. New Normal: Arbetter’s offers outdoor seating. If you can’t make it out to the Bird Road mainstay, order for delivery via Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates.

Chef Michael Beltran’s Ariete adds an air of refinement to Coconut Grove not seen since the days when industrialist James Deering caroused its shores. Ariete serves dishes like foie gras with smoked plantains, but there’s something more than fancy amid the elegance offered by Beltran, who trained under chefs Norman Van Aken and Michael Schwartz. The Little Havana native twists bits of Cuba and France into every dish, just the way his grandparents taught him. A meal ends with tres leches, and you won’t stop thinking about the sweet treat until the next time you visit Ariete. New Normal: Ariete’s lush, outdoor patio is great for those who prefer not to dine indoors.

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In 2017, Katrina Iglesias, Adam Hughes, and chef and Barcelona native Deme Lomas opened Arson two doors down from their first venture, Niu Kitchen. The centerpiece of Arson is the Josper, a charcoal-burning grill/oven hybrid that influences Lomas’ gastronomy. Whiffs of Asia and South America rise off of the one-page menu, which includes about 20 dishes. Mainstays include charbroiled oyster with ponzu and rice vinegar mayo Argentine shrimp with smoked paprika, tequila, and quebracho charcoal and “Duck 2 Ways,” which comes charbroiled and smoked with apple textures and honey-mustard bread. New Normal: Arson and Niu Kitchen have combined in order to accommodate more outdoor seating. It’s a win-win for guests who can now order from both menus.

At Awash, owners Eka and Fouad Wassel want to take you to an authentic Ethiopian-style home kitchen called a gojo bait. Try the doro wot, a rich chicken dish with a depth of flavor similar to the moles of Mexico. The Awash River, from which this restaurant and many other Ethiopian eateries across the nation take their names, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley surrounding it was where researchers in 1974 found 52 fossilized bone fragments of the famed early hominid Lucy. Carbon dating put the partial skeleton’s age at more than 3 million years. It’s a fact almost every Ethiopian knows. But it’s also one that brings home the history of this part of the world and the fact that much of human culture was born here. You might be tempted to visit only at night, but be sure to pop in during the daylight hours for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, the same one that’s repeated up to three times a day in the Horn of Africa. Green coffee beans are pan-roasted, hand-ground, and then slowly brewed over hot coals. The point is to slow you to a stop in order to connect with the coffee and those with whom you’re sharing it. New Normal: Awash doesn’t have outdoor dining, so reservations are strongly recommended. In addition, Awash offers takeout and delivery.

When you’re strolling Calle Ocho beneath the sweltering sun, nothing cools off your afternoon like a frosty treat. Pop into Azucar, where you’ll find flavors that could only be dreamed up in Miami. Making ice cream is a tradition in owner Suzy Battle’s family. Her grandmother made ice cream in Cuba and many of the flavors pay tribute to the island nation — like plátanos maduros (sweet plantains) and “Abuela Maria” (vanilla ice cream laced with with ripe guava, chunks of cream cheese, and crushed Maria cookies). New Normal: Azucar is a scoop shop, so order your cone and carry on with your socially distanced walk down Calle Ocho.

The namesake of Puerto Rican pastry chef Antonio Bachour is an oasis of the Instagram-worthy creations that have made him a national sensation. Glass display cases proffer seductive rows of brightly colored cakes, macarons, croissants, and bonbons to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth. This 5,000-square-foot spot, tucked away in Coral Gables on a serene corner of Salzedo Street, offers not only melt-in-your-mouth pastries and desserts, but also workshops for culinary professionals and a daylong à la carte menu of salads, egg-based dishes, tarts, sandwiches, and hearty entrées such as churrasco and grilled salmon. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Bachour has become a hub for the community. New Normal: Cooking at home more often? Elevate your meal by ordering one of Antonio Bachour’s cakes.

When you spot the decorative cacti out front, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Bakan. This lovely Wynwood restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes far removed from the taco joints that proliferate throughout Miami. Here you’ll find Oaxacan mole dishes and whole grilled fish (and quesadillas and guacamole if that’s your jam). If you’re feeling adventurous, look for the “Los Exoticos” section of the menu. Try the gusanos de maguey, pan-fried agave worms served with blue-corn tortillas and a side of guacamole and the escamoles, a rare ant caviar sautéed with butter, serrano chilies, and epazote and then wrapped in a blue-corn tortilla and topped with a spoonful of guacamole and pickled vegetables. Wash down your incomparable meal with a selection from Bakan’s list of 200-plus tequilas and mezcals. New Normal: Bakan’s gorgeous outdoor terrace, accented with rock gardens and aloe plants, has been expanded onto the sidewalk for additional outdoor seating.

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This tapas and wine bar, located in Miami’s MiMo District, sits alongside a no-tell motel. The location makes BarMeli69 seem all the more like a hidden gem, a personal find, the kind of place you whisper about to your friends, as in, “I just found this great little joint.” Inside, the restaurant feels like one of those wonderful little bistros or tavernas you only see in movies. You really can’t pinpoint the exact country or town you just know it’s charming. Wines are predominantly from the Mediterranean, including off-the-grid selections from Sardinia and Israel. All the tapas are delicious, but the showstopper is the flaming saganaki the Greek cheese dish is doused with brandy and set aflame. A friendly, casual vibe, along with good food and drinks at reasonable prices, makes BarMeli69 a great neighborhood joint. New Normal: BarMeli now has a small outdoor patio behind the restaurant.

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The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel on South Beach comes to us thanks to the genius of James Beard Award-winning restaurateur, cookbook author, and Made in Spain TV star José Andrés. The Bazaar’s menu offers adventurous takes on the flavors of the world: Spain, Singapore, and Japan, as well as Miami’s unique Latin American connection. Thus we get exciting plates like Japanese tacos: perfectly grilled eel, shiso, and wasabi, wrapped in slivered cucumber and topped with flakes of crisp chicharrones. More traditional Spanish tapas, including hams, cheeses, and croquetas, are also available. Can’t decide? Indulge in the $65-per-person “Clasicos” menu and treat yourself to a five-course menu of the chef’s favorites. New Normal: Indoor tables are marked for social distancing with whimsical stuffed monkeys. Alternatively, opt for an outdoor table courtesy of Bar Centro, another Andrés/SLS undertaking.

Danny Serfer’s Blue Collar takes its cues from the classic American diner. The tiny restaurant in the MiMo District offers daily specials and elevated comfort foods. Start with a gutsy New Orleans-style dish of shrimp and grits with bacon and Worcestershire-based barbecue sauce, or Chanukah latkes (served year-round). Don’t miss the veg chalkboard, filled with delightful options from which you can build your own customized plate. Order up a cheeseburger, a thermos of Panther coffee, and a “parm of the day” and make yourself as comfortable as you’d be in your mom’s kitchen. New Normal: Chef/owner Danny Serfer has set up an outdoor beer garden where patrons can dine al fresco and down a few cold ones.

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This hip Little Haiti spot run by chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer offers an ever-changing lineup of pastas designed to comfort and enchant. Look for pappardelle alla lepre, unctuous shreds of braised rabbit tangled with wide ribbons of pasta or green pea garganelli with a pop of smoked trout roe. It’s not all about noodles here, however. Boia De offers plenty of non-pasta delights, including meat and fish dishes and crisp potato skins filled with milky stracciatella cheese, caviar, and a hard-cooked egg. New Normal: For the time being, the tiny dining room has given way to a similarly small outdoor patio. The restaurant sells wine to-go and has installed a ventanita for easy pickup.

What began as a mom-and-pop 30-seater has grown into an Indian-food mainstay with two locations (Coconut Grove and Fort Lauderdale). Diners crunch on crisp papadum wafers while watching Bollywood movies on a large screen and perusing the menu. That list is lengthy, but at its heart are the tikkas, tandooris, and vindaloos that fans of Indian food crave. Bright vegetable samosas are a good start, as are some of the tandoor-baked breads — try the soft, fluffy onion-flecked kulcha naan. Most dishes can be made mild, medium, high medium, hot, or super-hot. (On that last note, the restaurant thoughtfully offers cold Kingfisher beers to cool you down from even the spiciest of culinary adventures.) New Normal: Both locations offer outdoor dining and contactless takeout and delivery options.

The crew at Bon Gout BBQ arrives shortly after dawn to begin preparing brisket, ribs, and chicken for the barbecue, along with a bounty of Caribbean and soul-food sides. Here the secret is the epis: a Hatian seasoning base of onions, scallions, bell peppers, garlic, parsley, and spices, pulverized into a coarse paste that’s applied liberally to nearly everything. After several hours in the smoker, the epis dehydrates into a smoky crust with a sharpness that slyly balances out the meat’s fat. Don’t miss the griot — fat-rippled knobs of pork shoulder that emerge from the deep fryer with a burnished crust and a juicy interior. If you like, the meat can be lovingly tucked into a tortilla and crowned with the spicy fermented cabbage known as pikliz. Scoville Scale zealots can order Bon Gout’s extra-spicy pikliz, which combines the addictive fermented condiment’s funk with the fiery heat of what one would expect in Southeast Asia or the blistering pepper sauces of Trinidad. New Normal: Bon Gout’s barbecue travels well, the better to be enjoyed at home.

Bourbon Steak is a contemporary American steak house — and one of South Florida’s finest. Tucked inside the swank JW Marriott Turnberry Isle Resort & Spa, it offers all-natural, organic, and hormone-free selections of beef, tempered in herb-infused butter and then grilled over wood, including the legendary, exquisitely marbled Japanese A5 Kobe (well worth the market price). The seafood, too, is topnotch, as are farm-fresh sides of truffle mac and cheese, roasted mushrooms, and crisp Brussels sprouts. In the mood for a casual meal? Request the Turnberry burger, an off-menu option made with your choice of beef, turkey, or falafel. To accompany your feast, Bourbon Steak’s wine cellar stocks more than 850 selections. New Normal: Party size limited to four guests who aren’t from the same household, six if they are. Tables are seated in a safe rotation, and restrooms are single occupancy.

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Bulla (pronounced boo-yah) is younger, cooler, and better than ever. Cocktails are delicious and fussy, infused with cardamom and currant syrup, lemongrass, and cucumber purée. Venture into the dining room, where chalkboards listing Spanish dishes adorn the blond-wood walls, to sample the small-plates cuisine. Doused in fried-tomato paste, albóndigas — veal-and-pork meatballs — swim in milky stracciatella. Croquetas de jamón — golden bits of pinguid beauty — gleam beneath a thin fig-jam glaze. On Saturday and Sunday, Bulla offers brunch. Try the decadent huevos Bulla — house-made potato chips topped with a jumbo organic egg, potato foam, thin slices of Serrano ham, and a prodigious drizzle of truffle oil. New Normal: Bulla offers private dining options for families or groups that desire their own safe space.

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Byblos, the Eastern Mediterranean eatery at the Royal Palm South Beach, is, to put it baldly, a good time. The focus here is on interpreting dishes from Levantine culture, found mostly in Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and parts of southern Turkey. The original Byblos is in Toronto, and as is often the case with Miami outposts, this one offers a more extensive seafood selection than its Canadian sibling. It’s also equipped with a wood-burning oven, used to bake pide (Turkish flatbread) and barbari bread (Persian flatbread) each morning. Pillowy and perfectly golden, the barbari bread is dusted with the kitchen’s personal za’atar spice mixture. Order it with a plate of roasted red beets and organic labneh — a thick, tangy, yogurtlike dip that’s cultured in-house. New Normal: Byblos has expanded its outdoor seating and offers QR code menus.

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Between Cuban cantinero Julio Cabrera’s daiquiris and chef Michelle Bernstein’s fare, there’s something uniquely Miami about Cafe La Trova. Bernstein’s comfort food is all-around tempting. She works to meet the foodie fantasies of her guests, whether they’re in search of elaborate dishes or a traditional tres leches dessert. When in doubt, order a round of specialty paella, jamón Serrano, and spinach and feta croquetas, or the chef’s rendition of arroz con pollo — the classic one-pot Cuban-style dish Bernstein puts together with bomba rice and chicken marinated in saffron and beer. But as with all things Magic City, this joint isn’t fueled solely by good food and drink: At any given time of the day, expect guayabera-clad musicians or jazz trumpet players to fill the air with their vibrant tunes, all set against a stage backdropped with the weathered façade of an Old Havana edifice. New Normal: Though Cafe La Trova is offering live music, guests are required to stay in their seats. Chair dancing is encouraged, however.

Steve Martorano is, bar none, Broward County’s most colorful restaurateur. For more than two decades, Cafe Martorano has been turning out Philadelphia-style Italian comfort food with a side of entertainment. Though its old-school menu of Italian classics — such as chicken cacciatore and pappardelle with sausage — are delicious, regulars flock to the restaurant for the people behind the food. No matter the time of day or night, Cafe Martorano attracts a lively mix of locals, snowbirds, and celebrities who come for the cook’s meatball salad and stay for Martorano’s DJ skills. New Normal: Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made via OpenTable.

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La Camaronera’s David Garcia now owns this iconic North Miami seafood joint, which originally opened in the 1990s. This heir to Miami seafood royalty kept the menu mostly unchanged, allowing the restaurant to do what it does best: Serve the freshest fish possible. Favorites include stone crab claws and a beautiful take on conch salad with meaty hunks of the mollusk tossed in a spicy tomato marinade and cubed red and green peppers. Fresh yellowtail snapper and hogfish can be ordered grilled, blackened, or fried. Regulars go for the Captain’s Combo: the catch of the day served with one side. New Normal: Captain Jim’s has expanded its outdoor seating.

Angelo and Denise Elia have run Casa D’Angelo for more than two decades. It’s often the first restaurant locals think of for birthdays or anniversaries, entertaining out-of-town guests, and Friday-night dates — and for good reason. The classic Tuscan menu includes gamberoni, giant prawns with cannellini beans, sage, and cherry tomatoes zucchini and squid dusted with semolina and lightly fried wood-roasted free-range chicken bistecca alla fiorentina and rigatoni topped with homemade sausage and winter mushrooms. A long list of specials changes nightly, and a wonderful list of more than 1,500 Italian wines makes dining here rival a trip to Tuscany. There are two locations: the original in Fort Lauderdale and a second restaurant in Aventura. New Normal: Casa D’Angelo does its own delivery.

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A mural depicting a desert beneath a floating pair of eyes is the only sign that beckons passersby into this Uzbek-style hideaway, accessible only from one side of NE 163rd Street. Chayhana Oasis offers fare not only from Uzbekistan but also the entire central Eurasian region. Translation: You can eat your way around several nations. To keep the proceedings simple and entertaining, the menu contains quirky descriptions of lesser-known dishes. Begin with the doma, tender stuffed Turkish-style grape leaves continue with cheburek, described as a deep-fried crèpe that’s folded and stuffed with moist and flavorful minced lamb and onion and finish with a kovurma lagman, a dish of fried house-made egg noodles flecked with chewy bits of beef and topped with an impossibly thin egg crèpe. For dessert, try gnezdo, fresh meringue topped with diced walnuts. And in standard European fashion, wash it all down with a shot of top-shelf vodka. Go ahead — there’s no shortage of fresh, chewy Uzbek-style bread to soak it up. New Normal: Diners can choose to eat on the open-air patio.

Cheeseburger Baby’s current owner, Stephanie Vitori, started as a delivery driver at the restaurant, before taking over almost two decades ago. The little burger joint, located on Washington Avenue in South Beach, gained worldwide fame after Jay-Z and Beyoncé were spotted enjoying a few sandwiches after hours. The restaurant’s motto is simple: Serve great burgers to people into the wee hours of the morning, at reasonable prices. There’s a curfew in effect, but the burgers are still fresh off the griddle, the beer is still cold, and the service is still friendly. New Normal: The dining room with its retro-diner seating is closed but outdoor seats are available. Better yet, take your burger to-go and enjoy it while gazing out to sea.

The mixed-use complex, which also offers shopping, entertainment, and office space, houses a food hall with concepts from a handful of Miami’s most popular chefs and restaurants, including Richard Hales’ Society BBQ and the owners of Stanzione 87, who are behind wood-fired Neapolitan pizza spot Ash! Pizza Parlor. Find one of Miami’s best burgers at USBS Craft burgers and great coffee at Vice City Bean. This means you can get the best of Miami’s local food without hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood. The Citadel also boasts a 5,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge that’s open Wednesday through Saturday. New Normal: Get some fresh air and a cocktail on the Citadel’s rooftop.

Clive’s makes its mark with great Jamaican favorites such as curry goat, oxtail, and jerk chicken. The original Wynwood location, which had been around for nearly four decades, closed, but Clive’s new home in Little Haiti is a colorful haven in which to eat some of the best Jamaican fare in Miami. The chicken is cooked to diner perfection and the curry is a smooth and subtle blend. The mood is laid-back, right down to the small radio pumping out reggae sounds. You just may catch Clive’s fan Lenny Kravitz taking in the scene. The place is great for takeout but just as nice for a midafternoon pit stop. New Normal: Space is limited for dine-in seating but takeout is always an option.

The minute you step into this North Miami Beach hideaway, your senses fall prey to the overwhelming perfume of rendered beef fat and chili oil. This Sichuan-style restaurant is the first U.S. project of chef Yang Xian Guang. Beef fat is the central ingredient of Yang’s hot pot — the rich, savory aroma is the yardstick by which most Chinese folks judge hot pot. The Chongqing native’s recipes include three or more kinds of chilies, a mountain of Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, garlic, ginger, star anise, fermented black beans, and a litany of secrets Yang refuses to share. A simple chicken broth, made by simmering carcasses with ginger and garlic for three hours, is poured on top just before the dish is sent out to the dining room. Bring a big group so you can order as many of the accouterments as possible. Also be sure to pace yourself: Among the most joyous moments of hot pot is the very end, when the broth and spices have reduced, along with everything that’s been cooked in them, into a rich, flavorful brew that makes the last few bites truly special. New Normal: Takeout and delivery are available.

If you think Americans have cornered the market on extreme food, you haven’t tried poutine. The French-Canadian dish, which became popular in Quebec in the 1950s consists of French fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds. The result: a salty, cheesy, addictive food that bathes the soul and clogs the arteries. Fortunately for South Floridians, Canadians flock to the region each winter. In 1998, Gilles and Ritane Grenier decided to open an ice-cream and fast-food stand. They put poutine on the menu and before they knew it, they were overrun by homesick Canadians and locals who got hooked on the dish. Dairy Belle recently moved to a strip mall, but the poutine remains the same. New Normal: Dairy Belle is only a mile from Dania Beach, so take your poutine to-go and head for the sand and surf.

Wynwood’s Dasher & Crank has changed Miami’s ice-cream scene. The light-pink shop, marked by a glowing neon sign in the shape of an ice-cream cone, offers a core lineup of ice creams, including raspberry wasabi sorbet and mint with activated charcoal ($5 for one scoop, $7.50 for a double, and $10 for a triple or a pint). The real fun, however, lies D&C’s collaborations with some of Miami’s best restaurants, breweries, and purveyors. Owner Daniel Levine joins forces with locals such as Zak the Baker, El Bagel, and Per’La coffee to create innovative flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Past favorites have included “Avocado Toast,” made with lightly toasted Zak the Baker sourdough and an avocado swirl, and “Maple Bacon,” made with cured meat from Miami Smokers. Always-available classics include Tahitian vanilla bean, “Chocolate Crank” (chocolate ice cream with a house-made fudge ripple and English toffee), and “Kush Chicken n Waffles,” which mixes buttermilk ice cream with crisp chicken skin and maple-soaked waffles from nearby restaurant Kush. The shop gets super-creative for special occasions — team-inspired flavors for Super Bowl Sunday, for example, and a CBD-infused ice cream to commemorate National CBD Day. New Normal: Order a scoop to-go and take it on your self-guided Wynwood mural tour.

Eating House opened as one of Miami-Dade’s first true pop-ups. Created by Chopped champ Giorgio Rapicavoli, the popular Coral Gables restaurant offers a whimsical menu that, in other hands, would read as novelty items. Cap’n Crunch pancakes, for instance. Or Hotlanta fried chicken, or Tater Tots with Coca-Cola ketchup, or, for dessert, a dirt cup. But Rapicavoli manages to turn kitsch into a culinary art form. His menu, which rotates frequently, is always inventive, always fun, and always top notch. Be sure to check out the chef’s pop-up menus and his annual 420 dinner series on April 20. The unofficial “holiday” menu has garnered a cult following through unique dishes that anyone with a major case of the munchies would crave. New Normal: Tables are equipped with social distancing “curtains” and diners are encouraged to make reservations via OpenTable. Seatings are limited to two hours during dinner and 90 minutes during brunch. The restaurant has expanded its outdoor seating.

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Matteson Koche’s hand-rolled bagels, free of the additives and preservatives found in many renditions, are the heart and soul of this Biscayne Boulevard “bageleria.” Sandwich options include a bacon, egg, and cheese version and the “Lox Supreme,” as well as funkier creations such as the “Avo Spesh” ($8.50), made with smashed avocado, English cucumber, cream cheese, olive oil, and sea salt. The “EB Original” ($8.50), with its salty-spicy-rich combination of cream cheese, charred jalapeños, and thick-cut bacon, is not to be missed. Purists can purchase an unadorned bagel for $2.50 half-dozens and dozens run $12 and $22, respectively. New Normal: If waiting in line makes you anxious, make a weekday bagel run instead and buy enough to freeze for Sunday breakfast in bed.

Family-owned Exquisito has a rich history in Little Havana. What began as a small, 16-seat cafeteria next to the Tower Theater is now a 75-seater serving lovingly prepared Cuban cuisine. Owner Heliodoro Coro bought the space in 1974 and runs it with his nephew Juan, who can sometimes be found in the restaurant’s kitchen. Menu items are reasonably priced and include a variety of meat, pork, poultry, and seafood dishes, along with a long list of sandwiches, sides (try the tamal), and daily specials that range from hearty soups to oxtail stew. With more than 30 years at the same location, two expansions, and a loyal fan base, Exquisito is doing a lot of things right. New Normal: Takeout and delivery available.

Sure, El Mago de las Fritas dispenses dinerlike fare from its old-school cafeteria-esque dining room (complete with vinyl booths and Formica countertops). But you’re not here for just any dish. You’re here for the Cuban hamburgers, AKA fritas. From the orange-hued beef chorizo patties to the almost-too-soft Cuban rolls and the topping of handmade potato sticks, El Mago’s frita is one of the best iterations in the Magic City. You can order a basic frita, but seriously consider a double with cheese. Whatever you do, don’t forget to add a fried egg on top. Most of the staff members don’t speak English, but if you’re uncomfortable ordering in Spanish, just point at what you want on the menu. New Normal: Outdoor seating is available.

The name translates to Juice Palace, and that’s exactly what this chain is: a topnotch spot for fresh, natural juices. That, and so much more. The open-air restaurant is composed of three main areas: a juice bar, a sandwich counter, and a large hot-food section that offers great Cuban food as individual meals or by the pound. Prices tend to be low, even for seafood. By far the most popular dish here is lechón asado, served with congri and yuca or maduros, but pescado de aguja with yellow rice has its own fanbase, as does pollo asado with yellow rice and boniato (fried sweet potato). El Palacio can get crowded, attracting as it does a mix of young couples to families with screaming toddlers in tow. Bear in mind that they’re there for the same reasons you are: because the food is fantastic and the prices can’t be beat. New Normal: The chain has implemented expanded disinfection and sanitation protocols.

This simple sandwich shop at the confluence where Wynwood, Midtown Miami, and Edgewater meet remains a holdout in the race to turn Miami into a sea of condominiums and Lululemons. The restaurant is also one of the most democratic in the city, its clientele a steady stream of construction workers, galleristas, tourists, and dwellers of the aforementioned condos, all dropping by for their cafecito fixes and Cuban sandwiches — here with a bonus in the form of croquetas pressed into the bread along with the meat and cheese. New Normal: Place your order in advance to pick up at Enriqueta’s ventanita.

Siblings Eileen and Jonathan Andrade come from Miami dining royalty. Their grandparents founded Islas Canarias, the shrine of Cuban comfort food revered for its croquetas. Their parents carried on that tradition. It was on the sage advice of Mom and Dad that Eileen and Jonathan opened Finka — a funky spelling of finca, the Spanish word for “farm” — out in the far-western reaches of Miami-Dade. Gastropubs are a dime a dozen on the east side of the county, but Finka has a monopoly out west, and crowds line up nightly for Andrades’ Peruvian-Korean-Cuban fare: cast-iron cazuelas of pulled lamb and soft-cooked corn masa, Cuban bibimbap, and the famed croquetas from the old family recipe, available in ham, chicken, or fish. New Normal: Outdoor dining available.

Years ago, Derek Kaplan was a real-life Miami fireman who made pies with his dad on the weekends. The pies, baked in an industrial kitchen in Wynwood and sold from a food truck and a pizzeria in Coconut Grove, were a sensation. Now Kaplan is one of Miami’s most sought-after bakers, making pies for some of Miami’s best restaurants. Kaplan also sells his pies, freshly baked cookies, cakes, and ice cream sandwiches at shops in Wynwood and Coconut Grove. Kaplan’s fruit pies are massive affairs, with each one requiring several pounds of fruit. His pièce de résistance is the “Crack Pie,” which features a thick, sticky layer of salted caramel dusted with a generous blast of powdered sugar. The magic lies in the space where the crust and filling come together in a gooey, savory, otherworldly concoction that melts in your mouth and sticks to your teeth. New Normal: Order your pies whole or by the slice for takeout or delivery the latter is now available anywhere in the U.S. via Goldbelly.

A Fort Lauderdale mainstay for nearly a decade, restaurateur Eliott Wolf’s Foxy Brown serves up well-executed comfort food in an inviting setting. The patty melt is perfect, the beef-a-roni and mac-and-cheese expertly calibrated, the French onion soup exhibiting an ideally Instagrammable cheese pull. The Foxy shines during weekend brunch, when you can indulge your inner child with s’mores waffles, doughnut holes, and a banana-bread grilled cheese sandwich filled with ricotta and Nutella. (Yep, you read that right.) All that plus cocktails, bloody marys, mimosas, and, if you’ve got the stamina, milkshakes — including boozy varieties. New Normal: Until further notice, the Foxy Brown is open Thursday through Sunday only.

This indoor/outdoor restaurant overlooking the Miami River serves fresh fish dishes and family hospitality courtesy of father-son team Luis Garcia and Esteban Garcia Jr. Garcia’s has been an institution for more than 50 years in-the-know Miamians flock here for the freshest catch reeled in daily and available for purchase on the menu or by the pound at the fish market next door. If you choose to stay, you can dine amid dark-wood surroundings or enjoy the laid-back vibe and river view outdoors. Choose blackboard specials or house favorites such as fried grouper fingers or blackened or breaded preparations of your favorite fish. The famous fish dip or a fried shrimp sandwich make tasty starters. You can order your meal with a side of fries, coleslaw, grilled veggies, mashed potatoes, yellow rice, white rice, or salad. New Normal: Garcia’s has implemented all required protocols indoors and out, but we’ll take a seat on the upstairs deck any day. And before you leave, pick up some fresh seafood at the market to cook at home tomorrow!

In, of all places, Dadeland, chef Niven Patel and his crew have opened Miami’s eyes to the cuisine of western India, a palette that consists of infinitely more than tandoori chicken and lamb rogan josh. Here you’ll find the simple street snack of puffed rice called bhel, juiced up with sweet Florida avocado and meaty hunks of raw tuna. Though the restaurant offers chicken tikka masala for the unadventurous, do not miss the sizable vegetable section on the menu, many of the ingredients for which are culled from Patel’s own backyard garden. Instead of an à la carte lunch menu, Ghee serves a meal of daily offerings that change according to the harvest from the chef’s farm, Rancho Patel ($18). New Normal: The restaurant has expanded its outdoor dining area and established an outdoor waiting area staffed by a greeter who assists guests.

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Fort Lauderdale Beach isn’t Corfu by any stretch of the imagination, but this beach-adjacent Greek restaurant does a good job of making hungry patrons feel as if they’ve crossed a temporary bridge to all things Mediterranean. The ownership team of brothers Sam and George Kantzavelos offer the kinds of dishes any tourist, local, or Greek native can appreciate in a casual setting that channels New Jersey diner fare at its finest. As a result, Greek Islands Taverna remains a longtime favorite among the beachgoing crowd thanks to its wide-ranging menu of classic Greek dishes, reasonably priced. Go for classics such as roast leg of lamb, flaming saganaki, chicken shish kebab, and a killer avgolemono (lemon chicken soup). New Normal: The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but tables are spaced at least six feet apart.

Head to this beloved Cuban joint out west the next time you’re hungover or hungry and in need of caffeine. There are few better cures for either than Cuban coffee and hot croquetas. Opened in 1977 by Raul and Amelia Garcia, Islas Canarias has earned its spot as one of the best cafecitas — those adorable Cuban coffee shop/bakeries — in Miami-Dade County. That’s mostly thanks to the restaurant’s reputation for affordable croquetas and perfect, piping-hot cafecito. People crave the kitchen’s made-to-order beef or chicken empanadas, medianoche sandwiches, pan con bistec, and those famous ham croquetas. New Normal: Islas Canarias has a drive-thru if you’d rather pick up your cafecito-and-croquetas fix to enjoy elsewhere.

In 1946, Jessie and Demas Jackson opened Mama’s Cafe in Overtown. The restaurant saw Miami’s historic Black community rise, fall, and rise again. Generations later, the family business had become legendary for its traditional soul food. In addition to Overtown, there’s a Jackson Soul Food outpost in Opa-locka both locations offer traditional favorites, including fried catfish, smothered wings, oxtail, meatloaf, and ribs. A proper soul-food restaurant is known for its sides, and Jacksons delivers — from candied yams to fried okra, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese. New Normal: Jackson’s sells all its meats individually, so it’s easy to customize a family meal to take home.

The landmark Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant in Dania Beach, opened by Monroe Udell in 1956, still makes each of its 60-plus flavors of ice cream by hand. Today the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor boasts not only one of the largest — and best — ice-cream selections in the area, but also one of the nation’s largest collections of American memorabilia. Expect super-sized scoops, waffles and ice cream, frosted floats, giant shakes, parfaits, and banana splits. Be aware, that Jaxson’s is perhaps most famous for its “Kitchen Sink” sundae, available for parties of four or more: The restaurant’s professional soda jerks will unleash their imagination for a concoction that offers a bit of everything but, well, you know. If you’re hungry for more than ice cream, Jaxson’s menu offers dozens of dishes from its “country kitchen.” From wings to clam rolls, they’re all homemade and authentic despite drawing from all regions of the culinary map. Vegans can order an Impossible burger, but meat eaters will need all hands on deck for the “Titanic Burger,” which boasts three half-pound beef patties, each topped with a different kind of cheese. New Normal: Drive up, order your ice cream at the window, and tote your frozen treat to the beach, just a mile or so down the road.

Jimmy’s Eastside Diner has the casual, been-there-forever feel of a neighborhood hangout. The green-and-brown color scheme is oddly appealing, and the place looks bright and friendly — diner ambiance minus any dinginess. If Jimmy’s looks familiar, it’s probably because the diner was used as one of the filming locations in Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning 2016 film Moonlight. Ready your camera, because you’ll want to take a photo for the ’gram. Seating is all booths, and breakfast is served all day, including monster omelets and refreshing honesty from the waitstaff, as in: “Have the hash browns. The home fries have been sitting all morning.” Philly cheesesteak for Saturday lunch, tuna melts — the fare has all the authentic markings of a classic diner. New Normal: Look for hand sanitizer at the tables. The diner also now offers all condiments — from ketchup to maple syrup for your pancakes — in individual packaging.

You know Joe’s. The history, the gloriously sweet stone crabs, the notoriously long wait for a table. Often overlooked are the consistently good food, the truly professional service, the free parking, the surprising affordability (except the crabs), and the stately ambiance. Tuxedoed waiters whirl through the dining rooms with oval trays held high above their heads while the buzz of diners subtly occupies the air like the intangible gathering of ions before a thunderstorm, yet it’s difficult to imagine so large a space being any cozier. Stone crabs are, of course, the mainstay of Joe’s menu, and somehow they seem to taste a little fresher and sweeter here. The rest of the offerings, though, don’t disappoint. And nearly everybody orders Joe’s key-lime pie, renowned as the best in town, for dessert. If you show up on a Saturday evening, be prepared to cool your heels for hours. If you want to sit quickly, visit on a weekday, when the restaurant opens at 6 p.m. sharp (except Monday, when Joe’s is closed), and you might be eating those sweet claws before you know it. Or keep it simple and grab your claws at Joe’s Take Away, the casual baby brother of the iconic South Beach fixture. New Normal: Joe’s has converted a parking pot into a patio area for additional outdoor seating. And for the first time in its century-long history, the restaurant is accepting reservations.

Knaus Berry Farm’s cinnamon rolls and strawberry milkshakes are the stuff of Dade County legend. Everyone under the South Florida sun has trekked down to Homestead and waited in a seemingly endless line for the pleasure of U-pick strawberries, homemade breads, and fresh-picked produce. Not much here has changed since 1956, when Ray and Russell Knaus started selling berries at a roadside stand. The brothers expanded their inventory to include pies, breads, and other baked goods after a fruit broker told Ray’s wife Barbara that her cookies were good enough to sell. The farm is still run by Ray and Barbara’s children and their families. Though the bakery now serves other items, including fruit shakes and local vegetables, Knaus Berry Farm still accepts only cash and is always closed Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Knaus is open from late October to mid-April annually. But the cinnamon rolls freeze remarkably well, so pick up a few dozen extra. Pop them in the oven on a Sunday morning, and they’ll instantly fill your home with the scent of cinnamon and vanilla. New Normal: Knaus’ head of operations Thomas Blocher suggests bringing an umbrella to protect you from the elements and double as an automatic social-distancing yardstick during the wait outside the bakery.

Matthew Kuscher (Lokal, Kush, the Spillover) purchased the last of Hialeah’s Jewish delis in 2017 with a mission to keep the tradition alive. He reopened Stephens with a restoration so admirable it makes you feel like you’re stepping back to 1954, when the restaurant was one of four delis on the block. Henderson "Junior" Biggers still slices the pastrami and corned beef to order. A pastrami and corned beef combo sandwich comes on rye, slathered with spicy deli mustard, accompanied by coleslaw and a whole sour pickle. Wash it down with an egg cream, served with a pretzel rod. To make sure the restaurant wasn’t stuck in a time warp, Kuscher revamped the menu, offering his now-famous burgers, alongside a whimsical cocktail menu. At Stephen's, Kuscher pays tribute to the Hialeah of yesteryear while firmly facing the future. Don’t forget to pay your respects to the late Walter Mercado in the ladies’ room, decorated with a giant mural of the beloved astrologer. New Normal: Old-fashioned booths lend themselves equally well to social distancing and date-night canoodling.

A sizable portion of the menu at Kyu in Wynwood is prepared on the restaurant’s wood-fired grill using a combination of Asian and American barbecue techniques. The meat is simply prepared with Japanese sea salt and black shichimi pepper and then smoked for 12 to 14 hours. It arrives divided into thick slices on a flat wood stump with a bevy of accouterments, such as fresh lettuce for wrapping, pickled cucumbers, red onions, and shiso. There are also three miniature beakers containing sweet/sour, spicy/smoky, and light/spicy barbecue sauces. At the entrance, take a look at the massive abstract mural of a woman’s face. It was created by 2Alas, a local street artist whose work can been throughout Wynwood and even around the world. Kyu worked with 2Alas to create a piece reflecting the neighborhood. You can also find the “Kyu lady” wrapped around the cans that hold the restaurant’s signature drink, the Wynwood Mule. New Normal: Kyu has converted to QR code menus and digital payment no cash accepted. Bathrooms have been upgraded to touchless. Diners must make reservations and wait in their car for their table to open. No waitlist, no bar seating.

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Everyone knows La Camaronera Fish Market as the iconic Little Havana seafood spot founded by a family of Cuban fishermen. For more than 40 years, the restaurant’s owners, the Garcia brothers, have been cooking up their famous favorites — including grouper soup, shrimp empanadas, conch fritters, and a fresh fish sandwich — along with dozens of other Cuban-inspired dishes. Most people flock to the dive for the house speciality: camarones fritos, a dish that has been featured on Michelle Bernstein’s PBS show Check, Please! and Guy Fieri’s popular Food Network series Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. New Normal: In times like these, a seafood-joint-and-fish-market combo is a bonus.

Beyond its croquetas and fritas, Hialeah isn’t lauded for culinary excellence. So you could almost hear the collective gasp when La Fresa Francesa opened near a canal that slices diagonally along the city’s southern edge. Inside, washed-out farm chairs seem to dance around doily-lined bistro tables to the intoxicating French crooning often reserved for tourists at Montmartre. The aptly named “Un Cubano in Paris” is a good place to start. A pork shoulder is soaked in milk and rubbed with garlic and paprika before a four-hour braise in white wine. Silky shreds of the meat are piled onto fluffy Sullivan Street Bakery rolls. Pickled red onions strike the eye with their brilliant magenta before hitting the palate paired with Dijon mustard’s piquant snap. It’s risky in this part of town to serve shredded pork with anything other than chopped onion, crisp skin, and mojo, but the couple behind La Fresa Francesa — Sandy Sanchez and Benoit Rablat — say the opportunity to set up shop in Hialeah was too good to pass up. Saturdays and Sundays, they offer brunch a brunch menu that features creations like bananas flambé French toast on medianoche bread, and soft-baked eggs with truffle butter and cheese. New Normal: Open Friday through Sunday only.

Peruvian culinary ambassador Gastón Acurio’s Miami outpost at the chic Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key merges the humble cevicherías of Lima with the elegance of fine dining and the bold flavors of Nikkei cuisine. Orchestrated by Acurio protégé Diego Oka, who has honed his career at restaurants around the globe, the menu elevates Peruvian classics — such as the cold casseroles known as causas and the grilled, skewered meats (anticuchos) — to heights of refinement that make even the most squeamish first-timers swoon. New Normal: The best tables are on the stunning waterfront patio. It’s open for breakfast and dinner, so you can feast under the sun, moon, and stars.

Since this French-owned eatery began selling sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and shakes in 1988, a crowd has lingered along the lengthy counter at the flagship location that extends up an alley off 14th Street between Washington and Collins Avenues in South Beach. The food is fine, but the funky alfresco charm accounts for a large part of the appeal. La Sandwicherie’s counter workers begin with fresh, crusty French bread, then ply it with the patron’s preference of meat, cheese, or a combination thereof, such as ham, turkey, roast beef, salami, and Swiss cheese, as well as more distinctive, Euro-friendly choices such as Camembert, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, saucisson sec, and pork/duck liver pâté. Next come crisp toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, hot pickled red peppers, black olives, red onion, cucumber, and cornichons. Garnishes are followed by a finishing splash of tart Dijon-based French vinaigrette. Voilà! A damn good sandwich. La Sandwicherie has expanded from its original Miami Beach counter to additional locations in North Beach, Brickell, Wynwood, and Coral Gables. New Normal: The North Beach location is closed for dine in, but take a sandwich to go and walk one block to the beach for a makeshift picnic.

Located in the Design District, Le Jardinier is the southern outpost of Alain Verzeroli’s first solo restaurant (also called Le Jardinier), which opened in 2019 in a luxury building in midtown Manhattan and has already earned a Michelin star. For two decades, Verzeroli worked alongside the great Joël Robuchon, helping the French chef assemble menus and a small galaxy of Michelin stars. Now on his own after Robuchon’s 2018 passing, Verzeroli runs his restaurant in partnership with the same company that operates L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, located upstairs from Le Jardinier and accessed via a spiral staircase. As its name suggests, Le Jardinier adheres to the increasingly fashionable “eat your vegetables” ethos. Dishes like farro risotto with a parsnip and mushroom ragout are soulful and satisfying enough that meat becomes an option rather than a necessity. That doesn’t mean the menu is stocked with only rabbit food. A bavette steak, resting in its own juices and served with roasted artichokes and royal trumpet mushrooms will grab any carnivore’s attention. Le Jardinier’s $40 prix-fixe lunch is the best deal in the Design District — perfect for when you and your Amex need a break from shopping at Dior and Vuitton. New Normal: The restaurant has instituted a six-step program to ensure guest and employee safety that includes increased sanitation, staff temperature checks, and training.

Karim Bryant and Nicole Gates own this charming little spot in Overtown that offers modern takes on classic soul-food dishes. Bryant, who oversees the kitchen, has a solid foundation built of stints at Capital Grille, Prime 112, and BLT Prime in Doral. With a background in radio, Gates has the task of spreading the word and making sure customers — from the neighbor on the corner to mega-celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King — stay happy. But who wouldn’t be happy when served a plate of barbecue smoked wings or a plate of chicken and waffles? Chase it with a selection from Lil Greenhouse’s wine and beer menu — and be sure to save room for banana pudding. New Normal: Lil Greenhouse’s wings and ribs travel well. Stock up.

Lokal is a brand with a mission: burgers and beer with a sustainable, healthful bent. This neighborhood haunt sources locally and prides itself on freshness, quality, and staying environmentally responsible — not the mantra of your average burger joint. And in the end, Lokal’s burgers are all the better for it, from the “Miami Heat” (spicy jack, jalapeños, and sriracha) to the doughnut-as-bun “Childhood Dream,” complete with candied bacon. Wash it down with a Florida-made Funky Buddha Floridian. New Normal: Lokal has a small outdoor area that’s perfect for dining with your dog. Fido, by the way, gets his own canine-friendly menu that includes homemade meatloaf and a nonalcoholic beer brewed in Tampa especially for man’s best friend.

At first sight, Lucali, the Miami outpost of Mark Iacono’s famed Brooklyn flagship, looks like a regular pizza joint. Furnishings are unassuming — mismatched tables and chairs, an open kitchen, a working bench manned by T-shirted pizzaiolos — but by candlelight, everything glows. Men in white shine with sweat as they use empty wine bottles to roll dough. Pizza-makers take their time prepping pies for the wood-burning oven. Crusts eventually emerge thin and blistered, their surfaces puffed by blackened bubbles of golden dough. Melted buffalo mozzarella and shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cocoon smooth tomato sauce (a secret recipe that can be ordered as a side dish). You can add toppings such as beef pepperoni, artichokes, onions, red peppers, shallots, porcini mushrooms, and hot peppers for an additional buck or more. Regardless of how you choose to mix it up, it’ll be a flawless pie — the best in town. New Normal: Lucali has set up an outdoor area on the sidewalk, complete with fairy lights and potted plants.

If you’re not used to the searing heat of Thai spice, ask for Yung Yai Thai Tapas’ larb — a chilled ground-pork salad spiked with hefty doses of cumin, chilies, and star anise. It’s one of a number of recipes chef/owner Bas Trisransi is reviving after learning at his grandfather’s side decades ago. Bas knows that the development of deep, complex flavors can’t be rushed, which is why dishes such as the palo moo and tom yum soup take hours to reach perfection. It’s quality Thai food that’s both affordable and casual, and the tapas style will rightly tempt diners to sample everything on the menu. A meal at Lung Yai Thai is a crash course for the palate come with a sense of culinary adventure and depart with a newfound appreciation for authentic Thai flavors (and a full belly). New Normal: Lung Yai Thai has a small outdoor patio and now offers takeout and delivery.

Chef Michael Pirolo spent years traveling and cooking at Michelin-starred temples in Piedmont, Lombardy, Bologna, and Campagne. When he returned to the United States, he linked up with Scott Conant and eventually led the opening of Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach before debuting his own Italian restaurant, Macchialina. Pirolo’s skills are many and precise, his menu focused and deceptively simple: a handful apiece of starters, pastas, and entrées. The flavors, though, are forward, thanks to expert deployment of fresh and fine ingredients, whether it be a salumi plate, a salad of heirloom tomatoes and locally made burrata cheese, a tagliatelle al funghi, or a whole braised fish. The wine list is similarly concise (and Italian). Consider ordering the five-course chef’s tasting menu rest assured you’re in good hands with Pirolo. New Normal: Diners are seated on Macchialina’s lovely covered patio, il giardino (the garden). One party per night can rent out the indoor dining room for a specially prepared menu served family-style.

It’s difficult to say which part of bakery life burrowed deepest into Naomi Harris’ soul. Harris was born in Miami and into the restaurant business: Her father Larry and his brother Stuart founded Miami’s beloved chicken chain Pollo Tropical in 1988. But Harris didn’t plan for a life in restaurants, never mind one of overnight baking shifts. Then one summer during college, she interned with the pastry chef at Coral Gables’ now-shuttered Cacao, and her career trajectory changed. At her Coral Gables bakery, Madruga, she turns out a variety of whole-grain country loaves, along with baguettes, scones, babkas, croissants, and muffins. Her work earned her a semifinalist nomination for the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. New Normal: Madruga is open for pickup and takeout only, with hours limited to Wednesday through Sunday. Same-day orders can be placed via the bakery’s website.

Niven Patel, named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 2020 Best New Chefs, has already earned the respect of Miami with his first restaurant, Ghee (also on this year’s list). With Mamey, he showcases the flavors of the tropics. Bahamian conch fritters, Trinidadian roti, and Puerto Rican tostones all find a place on the menu, which is highlighted by produce grown at Patel’s own Rancho Patel, a farm he started in 2014 that supplies his restaurants with freshly harvested produce, from eggplants to beets, avocados, mangos, and herbs. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, how about a drink? The folks at Miami’s Bar Lab created the cocktail menu to complement Patel’s dishes. New Normal: Reservations are required. ($)

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Teeny tiny Mandolin Aegean Bistro is located in a former 1940s bungalow in the Design District, adorned in blue and white. The quaintness that fills the air is as tangible as the extra-virgin Greek olive oil that fills the vials placed on each table. Mandolin’s straightforward cooking is evidenced by a sweet, tender curlicue of grilled octopus misted with the aforementioned Mediterranean lubricant. Even chicken kebab — usually relegated to fodder for timid eaters — is unexpectedly rousing: five huge, juicy hunks of grilled white meat kicked up with a quick dip in the dish of tzatziki served alongside. Don’t miss the Greek salad: large ripe wedges of tomato, cucumber, and green peppers mingled with smaller shots of red onion, capers, and Kalamata olives, the radiant medley sneakgin shade beneath a wide white plank of feta cheese. New Normal: You’d be hard pressed to find a dining venue more charming than Mandonlin’s garden patio, which seats about 40.


Maryland

Annapolis

Annapolis Ice Cream: Fresh-made creative scoops, like Cookie Monster and Fruity Pebbles Thursday-Sunday curbside pickup and delivery via DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats annapolisicecream.com

Boatyard Bar and Grill: Seafood, sandwiches, and daily specials curbside pickup, plus nationwide shipping for crab cakes, crab soups and crab dip boatyardbarandgrill.com

Cantler’s Riverside: Local favorite seafood dive with soft shell crab curbside pickup facebook.com

 Chick & Ruth’s Delly: Longstanding establishment with diner and deli favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner pickup and delivery via DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, and UberEats chickandruths.com

Iron Rooster: Breakfast all day, plus mimosa kits curbside pickup and delivery via DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats ironroosterallday.com

 Preserve: “Preserve in Place” heat-and-eat meals that will serve 2 people for 2 nights limited local delivery and curbside pickup orders help fund furloughed staff’s health insurance preserve-eats.com

 The Red Bean: Specialty coffee and ice cream (Old Bay is a popular mix-in here, no lie) takeout theredbeanannapolis.com

Baltimore

 Alma: Arepas and cocktail kits curbside pickup almacocinalatina.com

 Ananda Restaurant: Sophisticated Indian fare curbside pickup anandarestaurant.com

 Chez Hugo Bistro: Farm-to-table French dishes, changing weekly menu (visit Instagram for updates) curbside pickup chezhugobistro.com

 Faidley’s Seafood: Jumbo lump crab cakes, fresh seafood, and chowder curbside pickup faidleyscrabcakes.com

Foreman Wolf Restaurants (Bar Vasquez, Bin 201, Bin 604, Charleston Restaurant, Cinghiale, Johnny’s, and Petit Louis Bistro): temporarily closed donate or buy gift certificates to support employees charlestonrestaurant.com

 Miss Shirley’s Café: Feel-good brunch food, with a kids’ menu to boot delivery via DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, and UberEats missshirleys.com

Woodberry Kitchen: Market favorites, ready-to-eat and pantry staples bottled cocktails and beer sold to benefit staff woodberrykitchen.com

Rockville

 Il Pizzico Ristorante: Pasta, Italian favorites, and desserts limited local delivery and curbside pickup ilpizzico.com

Silver Diner: Old-school diner classics (breakfast too!) and hand-spun shakes curbside pickup and delivery serving 300 meals daily to families in need silverdiner.com

Urban Bar-B-Que: Redneck fondue, chili bowls, and wings curbside pickup and delivery via UberEats iloveubq.com


Required Eating: Our 100 Favorite Miami Restaurants of 2021

A sizable portion of the menu at Kyu in Wynwood is prepared on the restaurant’s wood-fired grill using a combination of Asian and American barbecue techniques. The meat is simply prepared with Japanese sea salt and black shichimi pepper and then smoked for 12 to 14 hours. It arrives divided into thick slices on a flat wood stump with a bevy of accouterments, such as fresh lettuce for wrapping, pickled cucumbers, red onions, and shiso. There are also three miniature beakers containing sweet/sour, spicy/smoky, and light/spicy barbecue sauces. At the entrance, take a look at the massive abstract mural of a woman’s face. It was created by 2Alas, a local street artist whose work can been throughout Wynwood and even around the world. Kyu worked with 2Alas to create a piece reflecting the neighborhood. You can also find the “Kyu lady” wrapped around the cans that hold the restaurant’s signature drink, the Wynwood Mule. New Normal: Kyu has converted to QR code menus and digital payment no cash accepted. Bathrooms have been upgraded to touchless. Diners must make reservations and wait in their car for their table to open. No waitlist, no bar seating.

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Nationally recognized barista Camila Ramos’ downtown coffee shop is a bright, tropical oasis nestled between downtown, Overtown, and the Miami Arts District. The centerpiece of the space is the massive La Marzocco espresso machine, among the largest in the nation, from which Ramos and her skilled team craft perfect cortados, espressos, and macchiatos. Pair one with a thoughtfully sourced lineup of eats, including some of the city’s best egg sandwiches. And don’t even think of missing All Day’s seasonal drink. Ramos the crew spend months creating special coffee-based beverages such as Our Sweetheart No. 4 (cold brew, rosemary syrup, and lime juice), Coffeewein (white oak-aged cold brew, roselle tea, and salted cacao bitters), and the Paloma (grapefruit, nitro coffee, and pink peppercorn syrup topped with tonic water and dried pineapple). New Normal: All Day accepts reservations via Resy.

The building that houses the Anderson has been a bar far longer than most of us have been alive. Restaurateur Ken Lyon has given the space new life with lush outdoor gardens, a tiki bar, and the taco joint El Toro Taco, decorated with wonderful black-and-white photos of people and places in Mexico — all shot by Lyon on his various trips to the country. Between the indoor lounge, the outdoor patios, and the eatery designed to look like a food truck, the Anderson seems more like its own little world than a simple bar and kitchen. New Normal: Lyon has enlarged the Anderson’s outdoor space and installed additional outdoor seating.

Anthony’s Runway 84, from the owner of the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza chain, is airport-themed, but it feels more like what you’d get if Epcot opened a restaurant based on the quaint Brooklyn of yesteryear. There’s a dining room, but if you really want your evening’s entertainment, eat dinner in the lounge. Faux cockpit windows have you coming in for a landing as you peruse the menu, which leans heavily toward red-sauce Italian fare. Women with teased hair wearing leopard-print dresses with fat diamonds on their red-lacquered fingers drink pink martinis while Sinatra croons in the background. Before dinner, a basket of warm, fresh bread arrives with a dish of olive oil spiked with garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re on a date, agree that you’ll both have garlic breath — it’s worth it. Meatballs arrive with a dollop of ricotta, Sicilian peppers are stuffed with more cheese and garlic, and clams oreganata, baked with breadcrumbs in a garlic and lemon sauce, are authentically Sheepshead Bay. The civolata sausage is presented with broccoli rabe and roasted peppers. The sausage is spicy, the peppers are sweet, and the combination is classic. New Normal: Anthony’s takes all the recommended COVID precautions and now offers takeout and delivery for those who prefer to enjoy their sausage and peppers at home.

It’s not necessarily the hot dogs themselves that are better at Arbetter’s. Rather, these all-beef or pork-and-beef franks are ideal blank canvases for the three garnish combinations that solidified Arbetter’s reputation when this family-run institution opened more than a half-century ago. The basic onion/relish dog is nicely tangy, and the sauerkraut/mustard dog, loaded with beautifully buttery, cooked-all-day-tender kraut, is even better. Along with the rich and flavorful but not overly hot all-meat chili topping from an old Arbetter family recipe, a garnish of diced raw onion adds that reassuring subliminal message that you’re consuming a healthful greenish vegetable that certainly counteracts the menu’s cholesterol count — so, hey, have another. For a taste of the 305, try a Miami dog, with mustard, onion, cheese, tomato, and potato sticks. New Normal: Arbetter’s offers outdoor seating. If you can’t make it out to the Bird Road mainstay, order for delivery via Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates.

Chef Michael Beltran’s Ariete adds an air of refinement to Coconut Grove not seen since the days when industrialist James Deering caroused its shores. Ariete serves dishes like foie gras with smoked plantains, but there’s something more than fancy amid the elegance offered by Beltran, who trained under chefs Norman Van Aken and Michael Schwartz. The Little Havana native twists bits of Cuba and France into every dish, just the way his grandparents taught him. A meal ends with tres leches, and you won’t stop thinking about the sweet treat until the next time you visit Ariete. New Normal: Ariete’s lush, outdoor patio is great for those who prefer not to dine indoors.

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In 2017, Katrina Iglesias, Adam Hughes, and chef and Barcelona native Deme Lomas opened Arson two doors down from their first venture, Niu Kitchen. The centerpiece of Arson is the Josper, a charcoal-burning grill/oven hybrid that influences Lomas’ gastronomy. Whiffs of Asia and South America rise off of the one-page menu, which includes about 20 dishes. Mainstays include charbroiled oyster with ponzu and rice vinegar mayo Argentine shrimp with smoked paprika, tequila, and quebracho charcoal and “Duck 2 Ways,” which comes charbroiled and smoked with apple textures and honey-mustard bread. New Normal: Arson and Niu Kitchen have combined in order to accommodate more outdoor seating. It’s a win-win for guests who can now order from both menus.

At Awash, owners Eka and Fouad Wassel want to take you to an authentic Ethiopian-style home kitchen called a gojo bait. Try the doro wot, a rich chicken dish with a depth of flavor similar to the moles of Mexico. The Awash River, from which this restaurant and many other Ethiopian eateries across the nation take their names, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley surrounding it was where researchers in 1974 found 52 fossilized bone fragments of the famed early hominid Lucy. Carbon dating put the partial skeleton’s age at more than 3 million years. It’s a fact almost every Ethiopian knows. But it’s also one that brings home the history of this part of the world and the fact that much of human culture was born here. You might be tempted to visit only at night, but be sure to pop in during the daylight hours for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, the same one that’s repeated up to three times a day in the Horn of Africa. Green coffee beans are pan-roasted, hand-ground, and then slowly brewed over hot coals. The point is to slow you to a stop in order to connect with the coffee and those with whom you’re sharing it. New Normal: Awash doesn’t have outdoor dining, so reservations are strongly recommended. In addition, Awash offers takeout and delivery.

When you’re strolling Calle Ocho beneath the sweltering sun, nothing cools off your afternoon like a frosty treat. Pop into Azucar, where you’ll find flavors that could only be dreamed up in Miami. Making ice cream is a tradition in owner Suzy Battle’s family. Her grandmother made ice cream in Cuba and many of the flavors pay tribute to the island nation — like plátanos maduros (sweet plantains) and “Abuela Maria” (vanilla ice cream laced with with ripe guava, chunks of cream cheese, and crushed Maria cookies). New Normal: Azucar is a scoop shop, so order your cone and carry on with your socially distanced walk down Calle Ocho.

The namesake of Puerto Rican pastry chef Antonio Bachour is an oasis of the Instagram-worthy creations that have made him a national sensation. Glass display cases proffer seductive rows of brightly colored cakes, macarons, croissants, and bonbons to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth. This 5,000-square-foot spot, tucked away in Coral Gables on a serene corner of Salzedo Street, offers not only melt-in-your-mouth pastries and desserts, but also workshops for culinary professionals and a daylong à la carte menu of salads, egg-based dishes, tarts, sandwiches, and hearty entrées such as churrasco and grilled salmon. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Bachour has become a hub for the community. New Normal: Cooking at home more often? Elevate your meal by ordering one of Antonio Bachour’s cakes.

When you spot the decorative cacti out front, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Bakan. This lovely Wynwood restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes far removed from the taco joints that proliferate throughout Miami. Here you’ll find Oaxacan mole dishes and whole grilled fish (and quesadillas and guacamole if that’s your jam). If you’re feeling adventurous, look for the “Los Exoticos” section of the menu. Try the gusanos de maguey, pan-fried agave worms served with blue-corn tortillas and a side of guacamole and the escamoles, a rare ant caviar sautéed with butter, serrano chilies, and epazote and then wrapped in a blue-corn tortilla and topped with a spoonful of guacamole and pickled vegetables. Wash down your incomparable meal with a selection from Bakan’s list of 200-plus tequilas and mezcals. New Normal: Bakan’s gorgeous outdoor terrace, accented with rock gardens and aloe plants, has been expanded onto the sidewalk for additional outdoor seating.

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This tapas and wine bar, located in Miami’s MiMo District, sits alongside a no-tell motel. The location makes BarMeli69 seem all the more like a hidden gem, a personal find, the kind of place you whisper about to your friends, as in, “I just found this great little joint.” Inside, the restaurant feels like one of those wonderful little bistros or tavernas you only see in movies. You really can’t pinpoint the exact country or town you just know it’s charming. Wines are predominantly from the Mediterranean, including off-the-grid selections from Sardinia and Israel. All the tapas are delicious, but the showstopper is the flaming saganaki the Greek cheese dish is doused with brandy and set aflame. A friendly, casual vibe, along with good food and drinks at reasonable prices, makes BarMeli69 a great neighborhood joint. New Normal: BarMeli now has a small outdoor patio behind the restaurant.

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The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel on South Beach comes to us thanks to the genius of James Beard Award-winning restaurateur, cookbook author, and Made in Spain TV star José Andrés. The Bazaar’s menu offers adventurous takes on the flavors of the world: Spain, Singapore, and Japan, as well as Miami’s unique Latin American connection. Thus we get exciting plates like Japanese tacos: perfectly grilled eel, shiso, and wasabi, wrapped in slivered cucumber and topped with flakes of crisp chicharrones. More traditional Spanish tapas, including hams, cheeses, and croquetas, are also available. Can’t decide? Indulge in the $65-per-person “Clasicos” menu and treat yourself to a five-course menu of the chef’s favorites. New Normal: Indoor tables are marked for social distancing with whimsical stuffed monkeys. Alternatively, opt for an outdoor table courtesy of Bar Centro, another Andrés/SLS undertaking.

Danny Serfer’s Blue Collar takes its cues from the classic American diner. The tiny restaurant in the MiMo District offers daily specials and elevated comfort foods. Start with a gutsy New Orleans-style dish of shrimp and grits with bacon and Worcestershire-based barbecue sauce, or Chanukah latkes (served year-round). Don’t miss the veg chalkboard, filled with delightful options from which you can build your own customized plate. Order up a cheeseburger, a thermos of Panther coffee, and a “parm of the day” and make yourself as comfortable as you’d be in your mom’s kitchen. New Normal: Chef/owner Danny Serfer has set up an outdoor beer garden where patrons can dine al fresco and down a few cold ones.

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This hip Little Haiti spot run by chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer offers an ever-changing lineup of pastas designed to comfort and enchant. Look for pappardelle alla lepre, unctuous shreds of braised rabbit tangled with wide ribbons of pasta or green pea garganelli with a pop of smoked trout roe. It’s not all about noodles here, however. Boia De offers plenty of non-pasta delights, including meat and fish dishes and crisp potato skins filled with milky stracciatella cheese, caviar, and a hard-cooked egg. New Normal: For the time being, the tiny dining room has given way to a similarly small outdoor patio. The restaurant sells wine to-go and has installed a ventanita for easy pickup.

What began as a mom-and-pop 30-seater has grown into an Indian-food mainstay with two locations (Coconut Grove and Fort Lauderdale). Diners crunch on crisp papadum wafers while watching Bollywood movies on a large screen and perusing the menu. That list is lengthy, but at its heart are the tikkas, tandooris, and vindaloos that fans of Indian food crave. Bright vegetable samosas are a good start, as are some of the tandoor-baked breads — try the soft, fluffy onion-flecked kulcha naan. Most dishes can be made mild, medium, high medium, hot, or super-hot. (On that last note, the restaurant thoughtfully offers cold Kingfisher beers to cool you down from even the spiciest of culinary adventures.) New Normal: Both locations offer outdoor dining and contactless takeout and delivery options.

The crew at Bon Gout BBQ arrives shortly after dawn to begin preparing brisket, ribs, and chicken for the barbecue, along with a bounty of Caribbean and soul-food sides. Here the secret is the epis: a Hatian seasoning base of onions, scallions, bell peppers, garlic, parsley, and spices, pulverized into a coarse paste that’s applied liberally to nearly everything. After several hours in the smoker, the epis dehydrates into a smoky crust with a sharpness that slyly balances out the meat’s fat. Don’t miss the griot — fat-rippled knobs of pork shoulder that emerge from the deep fryer with a burnished crust and a juicy interior. If you like, the meat can be lovingly tucked into a tortilla and crowned with the spicy fermented cabbage known as pikliz. Scoville Scale zealots can order Bon Gout’s extra-spicy pikliz, which combines the addictive fermented condiment’s funk with the fiery heat of what one would expect in Southeast Asia or the blistering pepper sauces of Trinidad. New Normal: Bon Gout’s barbecue travels well, the better to be enjoyed at home.

Bourbon Steak is a contemporary American steak house — and one of South Florida’s finest. Tucked inside the swank JW Marriott Turnberry Isle Resort & Spa, it offers all-natural, organic, and hormone-free selections of beef, tempered in herb-infused butter and then grilled over wood, including the legendary, exquisitely marbled Japanese A5 Kobe (well worth the market price). The seafood, too, is topnotch, as are farm-fresh sides of truffle mac and cheese, roasted mushrooms, and crisp Brussels sprouts. In the mood for a casual meal? Request the Turnberry burger, an off-menu option made with your choice of beef, turkey, or falafel. To accompany your feast, Bourbon Steak’s wine cellar stocks more than 850 selections. New Normal: Party size limited to four guests who aren’t from the same household, six if they are. Tables are seated in a safe rotation, and restrooms are single occupancy.

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Bulla (pronounced boo-yah) is younger, cooler, and better than ever. Cocktails are delicious and fussy, infused with cardamom and currant syrup, lemongrass, and cucumber purée. Venture into the dining room, where chalkboards listing Spanish dishes adorn the blond-wood walls, to sample the small-plates cuisine. Doused in fried-tomato paste, albóndigas — veal-and-pork meatballs — swim in milky stracciatella. Croquetas de jamón — golden bits of pinguid beauty — gleam beneath a thin fig-jam glaze. On Saturday and Sunday, Bulla offers brunch. Try the decadent huevos Bulla — house-made potato chips topped with a jumbo organic egg, potato foam, thin slices of Serrano ham, and a prodigious drizzle of truffle oil. New Normal: Bulla offers private dining options for families or groups that desire their own safe space.

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Byblos, the Eastern Mediterranean eatery at the Royal Palm South Beach, is, to put it baldly, a good time. The focus here is on interpreting dishes from Levantine culture, found mostly in Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and parts of southern Turkey. The original Byblos is in Toronto, and as is often the case with Miami outposts, this one offers a more extensive seafood selection than its Canadian sibling. It’s also equipped with a wood-burning oven, used to bake pide (Turkish flatbread) and barbari bread (Persian flatbread) each morning. Pillowy and perfectly golden, the barbari bread is dusted with the kitchen’s personal za’atar spice mixture. Order it with a plate of roasted red beets and organic labneh — a thick, tangy, yogurtlike dip that’s cultured in-house. New Normal: Byblos has expanded its outdoor seating and offers QR code menus.

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Between Cuban cantinero Julio Cabrera’s daiquiris and chef Michelle Bernstein’s fare, there’s something uniquely Miami about Cafe La Trova. Bernstein’s comfort food is all-around tempting. She works to meet the foodie fantasies of her guests, whether they’re in search of elaborate dishes or a traditional tres leches dessert. When in doubt, order a round of specialty paella, jamón Serrano, and spinach and feta croquetas, or the chef’s rendition of arroz con pollo — the classic one-pot Cuban-style dish Bernstein puts together with bomba rice and chicken marinated in saffron and beer. But as with all things Magic City, this joint isn’t fueled solely by good food and drink: At any given time of the day, expect guayabera-clad musicians or jazz trumpet players to fill the air with their vibrant tunes, all set against a stage backdropped with the weathered façade of an Old Havana edifice. New Normal: Though Cafe La Trova is offering live music, guests are required to stay in their seats. Chair dancing is encouraged, however.

Steve Martorano is, bar none, Broward County’s most colorful restaurateur. For more than two decades, Cafe Martorano has been turning out Philadelphia-style Italian comfort food with a side of entertainment. Though its old-school menu of Italian classics — such as chicken cacciatore and pappardelle with sausage — are delicious, regulars flock to the restaurant for the people behind the food. No matter the time of day or night, Cafe Martorano attracts a lively mix of locals, snowbirds, and celebrities who come for the cook’s meatball salad and stay for Martorano’s DJ skills. New Normal: Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made via OpenTable.

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La Camaronera’s David Garcia now owns this iconic North Miami seafood joint, which originally opened in the 1990s. This heir to Miami seafood royalty kept the menu mostly unchanged, allowing the restaurant to do what it does best: Serve the freshest fish possible. Favorites include stone crab claws and a beautiful take on conch salad with meaty hunks of the mollusk tossed in a spicy tomato marinade and cubed red and green peppers. Fresh yellowtail snapper and hogfish can be ordered grilled, blackened, or fried. Regulars go for the Captain’s Combo: the catch of the day served with one side. New Normal: Captain Jim’s has expanded its outdoor seating.

Angelo and Denise Elia have run Casa D’Angelo for more than two decades. It’s often the first restaurant locals think of for birthdays or anniversaries, entertaining out-of-town guests, and Friday-night dates — and for good reason. The classic Tuscan menu includes gamberoni, giant prawns with cannellini beans, sage, and cherry tomatoes zucchini and squid dusted with semolina and lightly fried wood-roasted free-range chicken bistecca alla fiorentina and rigatoni topped with homemade sausage and winter mushrooms. A long list of specials changes nightly, and a wonderful list of more than 1,500 Italian wines makes dining here rival a trip to Tuscany. There are two locations: the original in Fort Lauderdale and a second restaurant in Aventura. New Normal: Casa D’Angelo does its own delivery.

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A mural depicting a desert beneath a floating pair of eyes is the only sign that beckons passersby into this Uzbek-style hideaway, accessible only from one side of NE 163rd Street. Chayhana Oasis offers fare not only from Uzbekistan but also the entire central Eurasian region. Translation: You can eat your way around several nations. To keep the proceedings simple and entertaining, the menu contains quirky descriptions of lesser-known dishes. Begin with the doma, tender stuffed Turkish-style grape leaves continue with cheburek, described as a deep-fried crèpe that’s folded and stuffed with moist and flavorful minced lamb and onion and finish with a kovurma lagman, a dish of fried house-made egg noodles flecked with chewy bits of beef and topped with an impossibly thin egg crèpe. For dessert, try gnezdo, fresh meringue topped with diced walnuts. And in standard European fashion, wash it all down with a shot of top-shelf vodka. Go ahead — there’s no shortage of fresh, chewy Uzbek-style bread to soak it up. New Normal: Diners can choose to eat on the open-air patio.

Cheeseburger Baby’s current owner, Stephanie Vitori, started as a delivery driver at the restaurant, before taking over almost two decades ago. The little burger joint, located on Washington Avenue in South Beach, gained worldwide fame after Jay-Z and Beyoncé were spotted enjoying a few sandwiches after hours. The restaurant’s motto is simple: Serve great burgers to people into the wee hours of the morning, at reasonable prices. There’s a curfew in effect, but the burgers are still fresh off the griddle, the beer is still cold, and the service is still friendly. New Normal: The dining room with its retro-diner seating is closed but outdoor seats are available. Better yet, take your burger to-go and enjoy it while gazing out to sea.

The mixed-use complex, which also offers shopping, entertainment, and office space, houses a food hall with concepts from a handful of Miami’s most popular chefs and restaurants, including Richard Hales’ Society BBQ and the owners of Stanzione 87, who are behind wood-fired Neapolitan pizza spot Ash! Pizza Parlor. Find one of Miami’s best burgers at USBS Craft burgers and great coffee at Vice City Bean. This means you can get the best of Miami’s local food without hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood. The Citadel also boasts a 5,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge that’s open Wednesday through Saturday. New Normal: Get some fresh air and a cocktail on the Citadel’s rooftop.

Clive’s makes its mark with great Jamaican favorites such as curry goat, oxtail, and jerk chicken. The original Wynwood location, which had been around for nearly four decades, closed, but Clive’s new home in Little Haiti is a colorful haven in which to eat some of the best Jamaican fare in Miami. The chicken is cooked to diner perfection and the curry is a smooth and subtle blend. The mood is laid-back, right down to the small radio pumping out reggae sounds. You just may catch Clive’s fan Lenny Kravitz taking in the scene. The place is great for takeout but just as nice for a midafternoon pit stop. New Normal: Space is limited for dine-in seating but takeout is always an option.

The minute you step into this North Miami Beach hideaway, your senses fall prey to the overwhelming perfume of rendered beef fat and chili oil. This Sichuan-style restaurant is the first U.S. project of chef Yang Xian Guang. Beef fat is the central ingredient of Yang’s hot pot — the rich, savory aroma is the yardstick by which most Chinese folks judge hot pot. The Chongqing native’s recipes include three or more kinds of chilies, a mountain of Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, garlic, ginger, star anise, fermented black beans, and a litany of secrets Yang refuses to share. A simple chicken broth, made by simmering carcasses with ginger and garlic for three hours, is poured on top just before the dish is sent out to the dining room. Bring a big group so you can order as many of the accouterments as possible. Also be sure to pace yourself: Among the most joyous moments of hot pot is the very end, when the broth and spices have reduced, along with everything that’s been cooked in them, into a rich, flavorful brew that makes the last few bites truly special. New Normal: Takeout and delivery are available.

If you think Americans have cornered the market on extreme food, you haven’t tried poutine. The French-Canadian dish, which became popular in Quebec in the 1950s consists of French fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds. The result: a salty, cheesy, addictive food that bathes the soul and clogs the arteries. Fortunately for South Floridians, Canadians flock to the region each winter. In 1998, Gilles and Ritane Grenier decided to open an ice-cream and fast-food stand. They put poutine on the menu and before they knew it, they were overrun by homesick Canadians and locals who got hooked on the dish. Dairy Belle recently moved to a strip mall, but the poutine remains the same. New Normal: Dairy Belle is only a mile from Dania Beach, so take your poutine to-go and head for the sand and surf.

Wynwood’s Dasher & Crank has changed Miami’s ice-cream scene. The light-pink shop, marked by a glowing neon sign in the shape of an ice-cream cone, offers a core lineup of ice creams, including raspberry wasabi sorbet and mint with activated charcoal ($5 for one scoop, $7.50 for a double, and $10 for a triple or a pint). The real fun, however, lies D&C’s collaborations with some of Miami’s best restaurants, breweries, and purveyors. Owner Daniel Levine joins forces with locals such as Zak the Baker, El Bagel, and Per’La coffee to create innovative flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Past favorites have included “Avocado Toast,” made with lightly toasted Zak the Baker sourdough and an avocado swirl, and “Maple Bacon,” made with cured meat from Miami Smokers. Always-available classics include Tahitian vanilla bean, “Chocolate Crank” (chocolate ice cream with a house-made fudge ripple and English toffee), and “Kush Chicken n Waffles,” which mixes buttermilk ice cream with crisp chicken skin and maple-soaked waffles from nearby restaurant Kush. The shop gets super-creative for special occasions — team-inspired flavors for Super Bowl Sunday, for example, and a CBD-infused ice cream to commemorate National CBD Day. New Normal: Order a scoop to-go and take it on your self-guided Wynwood mural tour.

Eating House opened as one of Miami-Dade’s first true pop-ups. Created by Chopped champ Giorgio Rapicavoli, the popular Coral Gables restaurant offers a whimsical menu that, in other hands, would read as novelty items. Cap’n Crunch pancakes, for instance. Or Hotlanta fried chicken, or Tater Tots with Coca-Cola ketchup, or, for dessert, a dirt cup. But Rapicavoli manages to turn kitsch into a culinary art form. His menu, which rotates frequently, is always inventive, always fun, and always top notch. Be sure to check out the chef’s pop-up menus and his annual 420 dinner series on April 20. The unofficial “holiday” menu has garnered a cult following through unique dishes that anyone with a major case of the munchies would crave. New Normal: Tables are equipped with social distancing “curtains” and diners are encouraged to make reservations via OpenTable. Seatings are limited to two hours during dinner and 90 minutes during brunch. The restaurant has expanded its outdoor seating.

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Matteson Koche’s hand-rolled bagels, free of the additives and preservatives found in many renditions, are the heart and soul of this Biscayne Boulevard “bageleria.” Sandwich options include a bacon, egg, and cheese version and the “Lox Supreme,” as well as funkier creations such as the “Avo Spesh” ($8.50), made with smashed avocado, English cucumber, cream cheese, olive oil, and sea salt. The “EB Original” ($8.50), with its salty-spicy-rich combination of cream cheese, charred jalapeños, and thick-cut bacon, is not to be missed. Purists can purchase an unadorned bagel for $2.50 half-dozens and dozens run $12 and $22, respectively. New Normal: If waiting in line makes you anxious, make a weekday bagel run instead and buy enough to freeze for Sunday breakfast in bed.

Family-owned Exquisito has a rich history in Little Havana. What began as a small, 16-seat cafeteria next to the Tower Theater is now a 75-seater serving lovingly prepared Cuban cuisine. Owner Heliodoro Coro bought the space in 1974 and runs it with his nephew Juan, who can sometimes be found in the restaurant’s kitchen. Menu items are reasonably priced and include a variety of meat, pork, poultry, and seafood dishes, along with a long list of sandwiches, sides (try the tamal), and daily specials that range from hearty soups to oxtail stew. With more than 30 years at the same location, two expansions, and a loyal fan base, Exquisito is doing a lot of things right. New Normal: Takeout and delivery available.

Sure, El Mago de las Fritas dispenses dinerlike fare from its old-school cafeteria-esque dining room (complete with vinyl booths and Formica countertops). But you’re not here for just any dish. You’re here for the Cuban hamburgers, AKA fritas. From the orange-hued beef chorizo patties to the almost-too-soft Cuban rolls and the topping of handmade potato sticks, El Mago’s frita is one of the best iterations in the Magic City. You can order a basic frita, but seriously consider a double with cheese. Whatever you do, don’t forget to add a fried egg on top. Most of the staff members don’t speak English, but if you’re uncomfortable ordering in Spanish, just point at what you want on the menu. New Normal: Outdoor seating is available.

The name translates to Juice Palace, and that’s exactly what this chain is: a topnotch spot for fresh, natural juices. That, and so much more. The open-air restaurant is composed of three main areas: a juice bar, a sandwich counter, and a large hot-food section that offers great Cuban food as individual meals or by the pound. Prices tend to be low, even for seafood. By far the most popular dish here is lechón asado, served with congri and yuca or maduros, but pescado de aguja with yellow rice has its own fanbase, as does pollo asado with yellow rice and boniato (fried sweet potato). El Palacio can get crowded, attracting as it does a mix of young couples to families with screaming toddlers in tow. Bear in mind that they’re there for the same reasons you are: because the food is fantastic and the prices can’t be beat. New Normal: The chain has implemented expanded disinfection and sanitation protocols.

This simple sandwich shop at the confluence where Wynwood, Midtown Miami, and Edgewater meet remains a holdout in the race to turn Miami into a sea of condominiums and Lululemons. The restaurant is also one of the most democratic in the city, its clientele a steady stream of construction workers, galleristas, tourists, and dwellers of the aforementioned condos, all dropping by for their cafecito fixes and Cuban sandwiches — here with a bonus in the form of croquetas pressed into the bread along with the meat and cheese. New Normal: Place your order in advance to pick up at Enriqueta’s ventanita.

Siblings Eileen and Jonathan Andrade come from Miami dining royalty. Their grandparents founded Islas Canarias, the shrine of Cuban comfort food revered for its croquetas. Their parents carried on that tradition. It was on the sage advice of Mom and Dad that Eileen and Jonathan opened Finka — a funky spelling of finca, the Spanish word for “farm” — out in the far-western reaches of Miami-Dade. Gastropubs are a dime a dozen on the east side of the county, but Finka has a monopoly out west, and crowds line up nightly for Andrades’ Peruvian-Korean-Cuban fare: cast-iron cazuelas of pulled lamb and soft-cooked corn masa, Cuban bibimbap, and the famed croquetas from the old family recipe, available in ham, chicken, or fish. New Normal: Outdoor dining available.

Years ago, Derek Kaplan was a real-life Miami fireman who made pies with his dad on the weekends. The pies, baked in an industrial kitchen in Wynwood and sold from a food truck and a pizzeria in Coconut Grove, were a sensation. Now Kaplan is one of Miami’s most sought-after bakers, making pies for some of Miami’s best restaurants. Kaplan also sells his pies, freshly baked cookies, cakes, and ice cream sandwiches at shops in Wynwood and Coconut Grove. Kaplan’s fruit pies are massive affairs, with each one requiring several pounds of fruit. His pièce de résistance is the “Crack Pie,” which features a thick, sticky layer of salted caramel dusted with a generous blast of powdered sugar. The magic lies in the space where the crust and filling come together in a gooey, savory, otherworldly concoction that melts in your mouth and sticks to your teeth. New Normal: Order your pies whole or by the slice for takeout or delivery the latter is now available anywhere in the U.S. via Goldbelly.

A Fort Lauderdale mainstay for nearly a decade, restaurateur Eliott Wolf’s Foxy Brown serves up well-executed comfort food in an inviting setting. The patty melt is perfect, the beef-a-roni and mac-and-cheese expertly calibrated, the French onion soup exhibiting an ideally Instagrammable cheese pull. The Foxy shines during weekend brunch, when you can indulge your inner child with s’mores waffles, doughnut holes, and a banana-bread grilled cheese sandwich filled with ricotta and Nutella. (Yep, you read that right.) All that plus cocktails, bloody marys, mimosas, and, if you’ve got the stamina, milkshakes — including boozy varieties. New Normal: Until further notice, the Foxy Brown is open Thursday through Sunday only.

This indoor/outdoor restaurant overlooking the Miami River serves fresh fish dishes and family hospitality courtesy of father-son team Luis Garcia and Esteban Garcia Jr. Garcia’s has been an institution for more than 50 years in-the-know Miamians flock here for the freshest catch reeled in daily and available for purchase on the menu or by the pound at the fish market next door. If you choose to stay, you can dine amid dark-wood surroundings or enjoy the laid-back vibe and river view outdoors. Choose blackboard specials or house favorites such as fried grouper fingers or blackened or breaded preparations of your favorite fish. The famous fish dip or a fried shrimp sandwich make tasty starters. You can order your meal with a side of fries, coleslaw, grilled veggies, mashed potatoes, yellow rice, white rice, or salad. New Normal: Garcia’s has implemented all required protocols indoors and out, but we’ll take a seat on the upstairs deck any day. And before you leave, pick up some fresh seafood at the market to cook at home tomorrow!

In, of all places, Dadeland, chef Niven Patel and his crew have opened Miami’s eyes to the cuisine of western India, a palette that consists of infinitely more than tandoori chicken and lamb rogan josh. Here you’ll find the simple street snack of puffed rice called bhel, juiced up with sweet Florida avocado and meaty hunks of raw tuna. Though the restaurant offers chicken tikka masala for the unadventurous, do not miss the sizable vegetable section on the menu, many of the ingredients for which are culled from Patel’s own backyard garden. Instead of an à la carte lunch menu, Ghee serves a meal of daily offerings that change according to the harvest from the chef’s farm, Rancho Patel ($18). New Normal: The restaurant has expanded its outdoor dining area and established an outdoor waiting area staffed by a greeter who assists guests.

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Fort Lauderdale Beach isn’t Corfu by any stretch of the imagination, but this beach-adjacent Greek restaurant does a good job of making hungry patrons feel as if they’ve crossed a temporary bridge to all things Mediterranean. The ownership team of brothers Sam and George Kantzavelos offer the kinds of dishes any tourist, local, or Greek native can appreciate in a casual setting that channels New Jersey diner fare at its finest. As a result, Greek Islands Taverna remains a longtime favorite among the beachgoing crowd thanks to its wide-ranging menu of classic Greek dishes, reasonably priced. Go for classics such as roast leg of lamb, flaming saganaki, chicken shish kebab, and a killer avgolemono (lemon chicken soup). New Normal: The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but tables are spaced at least six feet apart.

Head to this beloved Cuban joint out west the next time you’re hungover or hungry and in need of caffeine. There are few better cures for either than Cuban coffee and hot croquetas. Opened in 1977 by Raul and Amelia Garcia, Islas Canarias has earned its spot as one of the best cafecitas — those adorable Cuban coffee shop/bakeries — in Miami-Dade County. That’s mostly thanks to the restaurant’s reputation for affordable croquetas and perfect, piping-hot cafecito. People crave the kitchen’s made-to-order beef or chicken empanadas, medianoche sandwiches, pan con bistec, and those famous ham croquetas. New Normal: Islas Canarias has a drive-thru if you’d rather pick up your cafecito-and-croquetas fix to enjoy elsewhere.

In 1946, Jessie and Demas Jackson opened Mama’s Cafe in Overtown. The restaurant saw Miami’s historic Black community rise, fall, and rise again. Generations later, the family business had become legendary for its traditional soul food. In addition to Overtown, there’s a Jackson Soul Food outpost in Opa-locka both locations offer traditional favorites, including fried catfish, smothered wings, oxtail, meatloaf, and ribs. A proper soul-food restaurant is known for its sides, and Jacksons delivers — from candied yams to fried okra, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese. New Normal: Jackson’s sells all its meats individually, so it’s easy to customize a family meal to take home.

The landmark Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant in Dania Beach, opened by Monroe Udell in 1956, still makes each of its 60-plus flavors of ice cream by hand. Today the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor boasts not only one of the largest — and best — ice-cream selections in the area, but also one of the nation’s largest collections of American memorabilia. Expect super-sized scoops, waffles and ice cream, frosted floats, giant shakes, parfaits, and banana splits. Be aware, that Jaxson’s is perhaps most famous for its “Kitchen Sink” sundae, available for parties of four or more: The restaurant’s professional soda jerks will unleash their imagination for a concoction that offers a bit of everything but, well, you know. If you’re hungry for more than ice cream, Jaxson’s menu offers dozens of dishes from its “country kitchen.” From wings to clam rolls, they’re all homemade and authentic despite drawing from all regions of the culinary map. Vegans can order an Impossible burger, but meat eaters will need all hands on deck for the “Titanic Burger,” which boasts three half-pound beef patties, each topped with a different kind of cheese. New Normal: Drive up, order your ice cream at the window, and tote your frozen treat to the beach, just a mile or so down the road.

Jimmy’s Eastside Diner has the casual, been-there-forever feel of a neighborhood hangout. The green-and-brown color scheme is oddly appealing, and the place looks bright and friendly — diner ambiance minus any dinginess. If Jimmy’s looks familiar, it’s probably because the diner was used as one of the filming locations in Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning 2016 film Moonlight. Ready your camera, because you’ll want to take a photo for the ’gram. Seating is all booths, and breakfast is served all day, including monster omelets and refreshing honesty from the waitstaff, as in: “Have the hash browns. The home fries have been sitting all morning.” Philly cheesesteak for Saturday lunch, tuna melts — the fare has all the authentic markings of a classic diner. New Normal: Look for hand sanitizer at the tables. The diner also now offers all condiments — from ketchup to maple syrup for your pancakes — in individual packaging.

You know Joe’s. The history, the gloriously sweet stone crabs, the notoriously long wait for a table. Often overlooked are the consistently good food, the truly professional service, the free parking, the surprising affordability (except the crabs), and the stately ambiance. Tuxedoed waiters whirl through the dining rooms with oval trays held high above their heads while the buzz of diners subtly occupies the air like the intangible gathering of ions before a thunderstorm, yet it’s difficult to imagine so large a space being any cozier. Stone crabs are, of course, the mainstay of Joe’s menu, and somehow they seem to taste a little fresher and sweeter here. The rest of the offerings, though, don’t disappoint. And nearly everybody orders Joe’s key-lime pie, renowned as the best in town, for dessert. If you show up on a Saturday evening, be prepared to cool your heels for hours. If you want to sit quickly, visit on a weekday, when the restaurant opens at 6 p.m. sharp (except Monday, when Joe’s is closed), and you might be eating those sweet claws before you know it. Or keep it simple and grab your claws at Joe’s Take Away, the casual baby brother of the iconic South Beach fixture. New Normal: Joe’s has converted a parking pot into a patio area for additional outdoor seating. And for the first time in its century-long history, the restaurant is accepting reservations.

There are New York delicatessens that don’t go as hard as Josh’s. It’s amazing to see thick cuts of house-cured pastrami gleaming with moisture and capped with ribbons of fat. The Angus brisket is cured for ten days, smoked, and then steamed it evokes a smoky flavor (with a hint of sweetness) that puts it on a peppery par with great barbecue. The corned beef is that same Angus brisket, cured, braised, and sliced thick and juicy — miles apart from the pallid strips of meat that pass for an original cut nowadays. All sandwiches come on thin-sliced, seed-flecked rye spread with dazzling yellow mustard — make, like everything else, on the premises. All meats and fish are cured and/or smoked in-house. Owner Josh Marcus makes the sour pickles too, alongside wild creations such as the “Jewban,” an unholy Jewish-Cuban alliance made with pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickles, and pork. Be sure to also get one of the rotating very un-kosher brunch sandwiches, such as a croissant stuffed with soft-shell crab, fried eggs, bacon, American cheese, and paprika-laced ketchup or an omelet filled with sweet lobster knuckle meat, leeks, mushrooms, and fontina cheese. New Normal: Until further notice, Josh’s is open Friday through Sunday only. Follow @joshsdeli on Instagram for special menus and pop-ups.

Knaus Berry Farm’s cinnamon rolls and strawberry milkshakes are the stuff of Dade County legend. Everyone under the South Florida sun has trekked down to Homestead and waited in a seemingly endless line for the pleasure of U-pick strawberries, homemade breads, and fresh-picked produce. Not much here has changed since 1956, when Ray and Russell Knaus started selling berries at a roadside stand. The brothers expanded their inventory to include pies, breads, and other baked goods after a fruit broker told Ray’s wife Barbara that her cookies were good enough to sell. The farm is still run by Ray and Barbara’s children and their families. Though the bakery now serves other items, including fruit shakes and local vegetables, Knaus Berry Farm still accepts only cash and is always closed Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Knaus is open from late October to mid-April annually. But the cinnamon rolls freeze remarkably well, so pick up a few dozen extra. Pop them in the oven on a Sunday morning, and they’ll instantly fill your home with the scent of cinnamon and vanilla. New Normal: Knaus’ head of operations Thomas Blocher suggests bringing an umbrella to protect you from the elements and double as an automatic social-distancing yardstick during the wait outside the bakery.

Matthew Kuscher (Lokal, Kush, the Spillover) purchased the last of Hialeah’s Jewish delis in 2017 with a mission to keep the tradition alive. He reopened Stephens with a restoration so admirable it makes you feel like you’re stepping back to 1954, when the restaurant was one of four delis on the block. Henderson "Junior" Biggers still slices the pastrami and corned beef to order. A pastrami and corned beef combo sandwich comes on rye, slathered with spicy deli mustard, accompanied by coleslaw and a whole sour pickle. Wash it down with an egg cream, served with a pretzel rod. To make sure the restaurant wasn’t stuck in a time warp, Kuscher revamped the menu, offering his now-famous burgers, alongside a whimsical cocktail menu. At Stephen's, Kuscher pays tribute to the Hialeah of yesteryear while firmly facing the future. Don’t forget to pay your respects to the late Walter Mercado in the ladies’ room, decorated with a giant mural of the beloved astrologer. New Normal: Old-fashioned booths lend themselves equally well to social distancing and date-night canoodling.

Everyone knows La Camaronera Fish Market as the iconic Little Havana seafood spot founded by a family of Cuban fishermen. For more than 40 years, the restaurant’s owners, the Garcia brothers, have been cooking up their famous favorites — including grouper soup, shrimp empanadas, conch fritters, and a fresh fish sandwich — along with dozens of other Cuban-inspired dishes. Most people flock to the dive for the house speciality: camarones fritos, a dish that has been featured on Michelle Bernstein’s PBS show Check, Please! and Guy Fieri’s popular Food Network series Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. New Normal: In times like these, a seafood-joint-and-fish-market combo is a bonus.

Beyond its croquetas and fritas, Hialeah isn’t lauded for culinary excellence. So you could almost hear the collective gasp when La Fresa Francesa opened near a canal that slices diagonally along the city’s southern edge. Inside, washed-out farm chairs seem to dance around doily-lined bistro tables to the intoxicating French crooning often reserved for tourists at Montmartre. The aptly named “Un Cubano in Paris” is a good place to start. A pork shoulder is soaked in milk and rubbed with garlic and paprika before a four-hour braise in white wine. Silky shreds of the meat are piled onto fluffy Sullivan Street Bakery rolls. Pickled red onions strike the eye with their brilliant magenta before hitting the palate paired with Dijon mustard’s piquant snap. It’s risky in this part of town to serve shredded pork with anything other than chopped onion, crisp skin, and mojo, but the couple behind La Fresa Francesa — Sandy Sanchez and Benoit Rablat — say the opportunity to set up shop in Hialeah was too good to pass up. Saturdays and Sundays, they offer brunch a brunch menu that features creations like bananas flambé French toast on medianoche bread, and soft-baked eggs with truffle butter and cheese. New Normal: Open Friday through Sunday only.

Peruvian culinary ambassador Gastón Acurio’s Miami outpost at the chic Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key merges the humble cevicherías of Lima with the elegance of fine dining and the bold flavors of Nikkei cuisine. Orchestrated by Acurio protégé Diego Oka, who has honed his career at restaurants around the globe, the menu elevates Peruvian classics — such as the cold casseroles known as causas and the grilled, skewered meats (anticuchos) — to heights of refinement that make even the most squeamish first-timers swoon. New Normal: The best tables are on the stunning waterfront patio. It’s open for breakfast and dinner, so you can feast under the sun, moon, and stars.

Since this French-owned eatery began selling sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and shakes in 1988, a crowd has lingered along the lengthy counter at the flagship location that extends up an alley off 14th Street between Washington and Collins Avenues in South Beach. The food is fine, but the funky alfresco charm accounts for a large part of the appeal. La Sandwicherie’s counter workers begin with fresh, crusty French bread, then ply it with the patron’s preference of meat, cheese, or a combination thereof, such as ham, turkey, roast beef, salami, and Swiss cheese, as well as more distinctive, Euro-friendly choices such as Camembert, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, saucisson sec, and pork/duck liver pâté. Next come crisp toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, hot pickled red peppers, black olives, red onion, cucumber, and cornichons. Garnishes are followed by a finishing splash of tart Dijon-based French vinaigrette. Voilà! A damn good sandwich. La Sandwicherie has expanded from its original Miami Beach counter to additional locations in North Beach, Brickell, Wynwood, and Coral Gables. New Normal: The North Beach location is closed for dine in, but take a sandwich to go and walk one block to the beach for a makeshift picnic.

Located in the Design District, Le Jardinier is the southern outpost of Alain Verzeroli’s first solo restaurant (also called Le Jardinier), which opened in 2019 in a luxury building in midtown Manhattan and has already earned a Michelin star. For two decades, Verzeroli worked alongside the great Joël Robuchon, helping the French chef assemble menus and a small galaxy of Michelin stars. Now on his own after Robuchon’s 2018 passing, Verzeroli runs his restaurant in partnership with the same company that operates L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, located upstairs from Le Jardinier and accessed via a spiral staircase. As its name suggests, Le Jardinier adheres to the increasingly fashionable “eat your vegetables” ethos. Dishes like farro risotto with a parsnip and mushroom ragout are soulful and satisfying enough that meat becomes an option rather than a necessity. That doesn’t mean the menu is stocked with only rabbit food. A bavette steak, resting in its own juices and served with roasted artichokes and royal trumpet mushrooms will grab any carnivore’s attention. Le Jardinier’s $40 prix-fixe lunch is the best deal in the Design District — perfect for when you and your Amex need a break from shopping at Dior and Vuitton. New Normal: The restaurant has instituted a six-step program to ensure guest and employee safety that includes increased sanitation, staff temperature checks, and training.

Karim Bryant and Nicole Gates own this charming little spot in Overtown that offers modern takes on classic soul-food dishes. Bryant, who oversees the kitchen, has a solid foundation built of stints at Capital Grille, Prime 112, and BLT Prime in Doral. With a background in radio, Gates has the task of spreading the word and making sure customers — from the neighbor on the corner to mega-celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King — stay happy. But who wouldn’t be happy when served a plate of barbecue smoked wings or a plate of chicken and waffles? Chase it with a selection from Lil Greenhouse’s wine and beer menu — and be sure to save room for banana pudding. New Normal: Lil Greenhouse’s wings and ribs travel well. Stock up.

Lokal is a brand with a mission: burgers and beer with a sustainable, healthful bent. This neighborhood haunt sources locally and prides itself on freshness, quality, and staying environmentally responsible — not the mantra of your average burger joint. And in the end, Lokal’s burgers are all the better for it, from the “Miami Heat” (spicy jack, jalapeños, and sriracha) to the doughnut-as-bun “Childhood Dream,” complete with candied bacon. Wash it down with a Florida-made Funky Buddha Floridian. New Normal: Lokal has a small outdoor area that’s perfect for dining with your dog. Fido, by the way, gets his own canine-friendly menu that includes homemade meatloaf and a nonalcoholic beer brewed in Tampa especially for man’s best friend.

At first sight, Lucali, the Miami outpost of Mark Iacono’s famed Brooklyn flagship, looks like a regular pizza joint. Furnishings are unassuming — mismatched tables and chairs, an open kitchen, a working bench manned by T-shirted pizzaiolos — but by candlelight, everything glows. Men in white shine with sweat as they use empty wine bottles to roll dough. Pizza-makers take their time prepping pies for the wood-burning oven. Crusts eventually emerge thin and blistered, their surfaces puffed by blackened bubbles of golden dough. Melted buffalo mozzarella and shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cocoon smooth tomato sauce (a secret recipe that can be ordered as a side dish). You can add toppings such as beef pepperoni, artichokes, onions, red peppers, shallots, porcini mushrooms, and hot peppers for an additional buck or more. Regardless of how you choose to mix it up, it’ll be a flawless pie — the best in town. New Normal: Lucali has set up an outdoor area on the sidewalk, complete with fairy lights and potted plants.

If you’re not used to the searing heat of Thai spice, ask for Yung Yai Thai Tapas’ larb — a chilled ground-pork salad spiked with hefty doses of cumin, chilies, and star anise. It’s one of a number of recipes chef/owner Bas Trisransi is reviving after learning at his grandfather’s side decades ago. Bas knows that the development of deep, complex flavors can’t be rushed, which is why dishes such as the palo moo and tom yum soup take hours to reach perfection. It’s quality Thai food that’s both affordable and casual, and the tapas style will rightly tempt diners to sample everything on the menu. A meal at Lung Yai Thai is a crash course for the palate come with a sense of culinary adventure and depart with a newfound appreciation for authentic Thai flavors (and a full belly). New Normal: Lung Yai Thai has a small outdoor patio and now offers takeout and delivery.

Chef Michael Pirolo spent years traveling and cooking at Michelin-starred temples in Piedmont, Lombardy, Bologna, and Campagne. When he returned to the United States, he linked up with Scott Conant and eventually led the opening of Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach before debuting his own Italian restaurant, Macchialina. Pirolo’s skills are many and precise, his menu focused and deceptively simple: a handful apiece of starters, pastas, and entrées. The flavors, though, are forward, thanks to expert deployment of fresh and fine ingredients, whether it be a salumi plate, a salad of heirloom tomatoes and locally made burrata cheese, a tagliatelle al funghi, or a whole braised fish. The wine list is similarly concise (and Italian). Consider ordering the five-course chef’s tasting menu rest assured you’re in good hands with Pirolo. New Normal: Diners are seated on Macchialina’s lovely covered patio, il giardino (the garden). One party per night can rent out the indoor dining room for a specially prepared menu served family-style.

It’s difficult to say which part of bakery life burrowed deepest into Naomi Harris’ soul. Harris was born in Miami and into the restaurant business: Her father Larry and his brother Stuart founded Miami’s beloved chicken chain Pollo Tropical in 1988. But Harris didn’t plan for a life in restaurants, never mind one of overnight baking shifts. Then one summer during college, she interned with the pastry chef at Coral Gables’ now-shuttered Cacao, and her career trajectory changed. At her Coral Gables bakery, Madruga, she turns out a variety of whole-grain country loaves, along with baguettes, scones, babkas, croissants, and muffins. Her work earned her a semifinalist nomination for the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. New Normal: Madruga is open for pickup and takeout only, with hours limited to Wednesday through Sunday. Same-day orders can be placed via the bakery’s website.

Niven Patel, named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 2020 Best New Chefs, has already earned the respect of Miami with his first restaurant, Ghee (also on this year’s list). With Mamey, he showcases the flavors of the tropics. Bahamian conch fritters, Trinidadian roti, and Puerto Rican tostones all find a place on the menu, which is highlighted by produce grown at Patel’s own Rancho Patel, a farm he started in 2014 that supplies his restaurants with freshly harvested produce, from eggplants to beets, avocados, mangos, and herbs. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, how about a drink? The folks at Miami’s Bar Lab created the cocktail menu to complement Patel’s dishes. New Normal: Reservations are required. ($)

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Teeny tiny Mandolin Aegean Bistro is located in a former 1940s bungalow in the Design District, adorned in blue and white. The quaintness that fills the air is as tangible as the extra-virgin Greek olive oil that fills the vials placed on each table. Mandolin’s straightforward cooking is evidenced by a sweet, tender curlicue of grilled octopus misted with the aforementioned Mediterranean lubricant. Even chicken kebab — usually relegated to fodder for timid eaters — is unexpectedly rousing: five huge, juicy hunks of grilled white meat kicked up with a quick dip in the dish of tzatziki served alongside. Don’t miss the Greek salad: large ripe wedges of tomato, cucumber, and green peppers mingled with smaller shots of red onion, capers, and Kalamata olives, the radiant medley sneakgin shade beneath a wide white plank of feta cheese. New Normal: You’d be hard pressed to find a dining venue more charming than Mandonlin’s garden patio, which seats about 40.