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Sandwiches Get a Makeover at Halves & Wholes on Miami Beach

RandoMiami, RandoReview, RandoFood, RandoContributor, SponsoredKaty CoffieldComment

Written by: Tyler Sminkey

Halves & Wholes is bringing the best subs you love from up north to Alton Rd. in a sandwich-shop style environment complete with subway tiles and hightop tables. These guys use only the best bread, they make amazing homemade chips in front of you and cover everything with the best secret sauces. 

You’ve probably seen a couple of these sandwiches as you’ve scrolled social media lately. We got the chance to try a couple of them for lunch recently and were blown away. We will definitely be back to try more very soon.

At $9 for a generous “half” of a sandwich, the signature Cheese Steak is a work of art on a sesame seed baguette topped with shaved rib eye, jalapeño jack whiz, provolone, sofrito and crispy onions. Meanwhile, the Eggplant Croqueta Preparada made us feel like we were cheating on one of those famous Cuban restaurants because it was just as good, if not better, than a regular croqueta preparada. It came smothered in melted Gruyere and topped with shaved pickle, fried onions and their house dijonaise sauce. TIP: Order extra of the dijonaise…like a lot extra.

The homemade chips are thick and crispy, served with a side of jalapeno cheese, plus every sandwich comes with their house slaw which was tangy and a perfect break in between inhaling the sandwiches. Forget footlongs, one of these halves is more than enough food.

Led by Menin Hospitality’s corporate culinary director, Chef Bernie Matz, Halves & Wholes showcases 12 Best signature sandwiches along with the option to build your own. Customers can create their own sandwich 7 days a week from 11 a.m. until 5 a.m. with roasted meats, artisanal cheeses and secret homemade sauces all layered on custom-baked bread that is shipped daily from the famous Delray Beach bakery, Old School.

Begin drooling by checking out Halves & Wholes on Yelp and Instagram.

So much wine, so little time – Lekoke Wine & Bites

RandoReview, RandoMiami, RandoFood, SponsoredKaty CoffieldComment

Written by: Katrina Vargas Vila

As you drive down Calle Ocho, you’ll notice what seems to be an endless row of coffee counters, cigar shops, and shabby markets. It is the heart of the Little Havana neighborhood and it stays so true to its Cuban roots that you’ll even drive by a park filled with cigar smoking folks playing dominos. But wedged between a joyeria and a cigar shop, you’ll find Lekoke Wine & Bites.

Once I walked in, I totally forgot I was in a wine bar on Calle Ocho. Being the wine lovers that we are, my husband and I felt like we struck gold as we looked at the shelves upon shelves of wine that surrounded us. The lighting is dim and romantic with antique odds and ends filling the space. The restaurant is cozy and intimate so you won’t have to compete with the music in order to have a conversation.

Naturally, our night started off with a lovely glass of wine accompanied by a plate of Marinated Olives to snack on. 

We were presented with their “Lekoke Spice” Menu which can’t be beat. It offers a three-course meal with wine pairings for just $45.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

The Caprese Salad was extremely fresh and simple – as it should be – with ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Empanaditas

Empanaditas

Lekoke’s empanadas are not the basic savory turnovers you’ll pick up on your way home.  They are homemade, flaky, and paired with chimichurri sauce. Stuffed with a mixture of chorizo, ham, and cheese, they’re hearty enough to soak up all that wine you’ll be drinking!

Kokito Toston

Kokito Toston

I love tostones but usually they are fried and greasy – not at Lekoke. The Kokito Toston is baked, but still crispy! It’s topped with savory, shredded pork that has been slow roasted for SIX HOURS and is then topped with diced tomatoes as garnish.

Seafood Pasta

Seafood Pasta

Lekoke’s Seafood Pasta totally hits the spot. They definitely don’t skimp out on the seafood. Loaded with shrimp and scallops, this creamy pasta is addicting. 

Cuban Flan

Cuban Flan

No meal is complete without dessert. Their flan is as good as Abuela’s!

Lekoke is owned by a husband and wife team that is so welcoming and attentive. It’s a place to unwind with a good bottle of wine and great company. Perfect for date nights and a night out with friends, I’m so glad to have found such a unique spot in Miami. Cheers!

Lekoke Wine & Bites |1225 SW 8th Street Miami, FL 33135

 

Peruvian Fusion Fare at O’Lima Signature Cuisine

Katy CoffieldComment
Conchitas a la Gorgonzola

Conchitas a la Gorgonzola

Written by: Katrina Vargas Vila

Chef German Gonzalez has mastered his culinary skills all over the world. He has cultivated his unique fusion style in over ten countries and has been creating amazing dishes for over 30 years. He's lived in Hong Kong, Barcelona, Costa Rica, and even Cuba, but the fact that he has opened his very own Peruvian Japanese Fusion restaurant in the quiet neighborhood of Bay Harbor means us locals are VERY lucky that he's so close to home! O'Lima Signature Cuisine is a true testament to his work and the amazing flavors you taste when dining there is his experience, his passion, and his travels. This Chef owned restaurant is his canvas where he brings his masterpieces to your table. When I asked him about his following and his consistency, he humbly introduced us to his Sous Chef, Miguel, who also happens to be his brother. They have been cooking together for over 25 years. They worked together in Costa Rica and at the famous Adrianna's in Surf Side where they earned a loyal following. Gonzalez decided to open in the Bay Harbor location because his client base really wanted him back.

To be honest, I’ve never had a Pisco Sour before. I had the Passion Fruit Pisco and I think I’ve found a new go-to drink to put into my rotation! It was sweet – which is just the way I like my cocktails.

Passion Fruit Pisco Sour

Passion Fruit Pisco Sour

Conchitas a la Gorgonzola

Conchitas a la Gorgonzola

Sautéed scallops topped with gorgonzola cheese in a Chicha Morada reduction. This appetizer was LIFE-ALTERING-OUT-OF-CONTROL-AMAZING!  I love seafood, so trust me when I say I've had my share of scallops. This, by far, is top two I've had in my entire life. The other being at a Michelin Star restaurant in Quebec City, Canada. The combination of baked cheese with the Chicha Morada created the perfect balance between sweet and salty. Admittedly, I'm not an expert on Peruvian cuisine. Chef Gonzalez explained to me that Chicha Morada is actually a purple variety of corn and I was shocked. The sweetness of the reduction resembled one you'd think was derived from berries. Perfectly presented on the shell, these scallops were hearty. They were so amazing that my husband (who is always a gentleman and saves the last bite for me) insisted that we play a round of Rock-Paper-Scissors in order to decide who would get the last bite. Yes, that happened and I still got the last bite! This was my favorite dish of the night.

Tiradito Nikkei

Tiradito Nikkei

Thin slices of fresh tuna served in a delicious Mexican-Nikkei fusion sauce. Nikkei is best described as the love child of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines. Chef Gonzalez takes it to the next level and throws some Mexican influence into this dish. It has a creamy, delicate sesame flavor that pairs nicely with the fresh tuna. Topped with ripe avocado slices and sesame seeds, this item from the ceviche bar is a must-have.

Ceviche a la Brasa

Ceviche a la Brasa

Okay... so the story behind this menu item hit my soft spot. Chef Gonzalez created it because his wife does not like the texture of raw fish. In a true labor of love, he created Ceviche a la Brasa. It is a grilled ceviche that has a subtle smokey flavor profile. Don't worry, it is paired with a sauce that gives you the same citrus flavor we all come to expect from ceviche. It is paired with char grilled sweet potatoes and roasted red onion that really take this dish to the next level.

Pulpo

Pulpo

Pulpo a la Parilla is grilled octopus. Cooking octopus is tricky since it has a tendency to reach a stiff, rubbery texture if not done properly. Testament to Chef Gonzalez's skills, this pulpo happens to be the BEST octopus I have ever had. Aside from being cooked to perfection, Gonzalez serves it with potatoes and it is gorgeously presented on a platter with dollops of olive and rocotto sauce. The olive sauce adds depth and the rocotto sauce adds a light kick of spice. Mix the two together and you have just created magic.

Saltado

Saltado

You definitely have your choice of saltados at O'Lima. We were presented with juicy Angus beef tenderloin sautéed with red onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Typically, traditional saltados are served in a pisco soy sauce, but Chef Gonzalez makes his with cream (which is obviously an instant winner in my book). It was served with fried mashed yucitas that are stuffed with Gouda cheese - SO GOUD!

There are so many components that make a restaurant stand out: service, ambiance, décor, and quality. O'Lima does each of those things very well. Even when I was my not-so-graceful self, one of the servers discreetly switched out my napkin. I saw Gonzalez checking in at every table, connecting with his customers, and genuinely happy to do so.

Towards the end of our dinner, the Chef checked back in with us. I'm not sure how it came up, but I started telling him how much I love arroz con leche. Lucky for me, it's on the menu except it's not anything like I expected. This arroz con leche is FRIED, topped with roasted quinoa and sits in pisco cream with toasted caramel. Pisco soaked raisins add a touch of extra sweetness in the fritter and so does the chicha morada garnish that I shamelessly licked off the plate.

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche

How I hadn't been to O'Lima before this is beyond me. It is one of THE BEST restaurants I have ever been to. Go and check them out for yourselves.

O'Lima Signature Cuisine | 1052 Kane Concourse Bay Harbor Island, FL 33154

Sophisticated Italian Food at Miami Spice Prices in the Heart of SoBe, Quattro Gastronomia Italiana

RandoMiami, RandoReview, RandoFood, RandoContributor, SponsoredKaty CoffieldComment
Meatballs

Meatballs

Written by: Tyler Sminkey

Quattro Gastronomia Italiana has been a Lincoln Rd. staple for 10 years now, providing Italian feasts for both tourists and locals. Recently, Quattro renewed its lease on Miami Beach’s premiere pedestrian mall and is featuring an array of new dishes from new Executive Chef, Dario Bellofiore.

Quattro features both indoor and outdoor seating – outdoor is a great spot to sip wine with friends and enjoy the sights of people strolling Lincoln Rd. or a romantic dinner under the Miami night sky. We opted for a seat inside (since it’s August in South Beach) and were delighted by the chic ambiance, high ceilings and cozy tables. There is a beautifully mirrored bar facing the front door, inviting guests to walk deep into the restaurant space and showcasing a fraction of their extensive wine collection.

We sampled the Miami Spice menu (check it out here) and were delighted to see the Polpette in Umido (beef meatballs in tomatoes sauce with fresh buffalo mozzarella) appetizer option for dinner! A generous serving of meatballs come to you smothered in fresh red sauce and topped with mozzarella and fresh basil. (In case you didn’t already know: Meatballs are my favorite app.)

Veal

Veal

Our entrée selection was the Scaloppine Alla Pizzaiola, which is veal scaloppini again smothered in a creamy and tangy red sauce and accompanied by crispy potatoes tossed in fresh oregano and rosemary, but it was honestly was a tough call between that and the Ravioli Al Pesto! There’s also a Dentice Al Limone e Spinaci (grilled snapper in a lemon sauce with sautéed spinach) option which looked amazing.

The Spice menu dessert is Quattro’s famous tiramisu which is house made and paired with a smooth coffee ice cream – the perfect palette cleanser after a rich Italian meal. 

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Stay tuned for details on Quattro’s 10-year anniversary events and celebrations, scheduled to take place later this year! Quattro is located at 1014 Lincoln Road and is open for lunch and dinner daily.

Villa Azur Launches Le Petit Bar in the Garden

RandoMiami, RandoReview, RandoFood, RandoContributor, SponsoredKaty CoffieldComment
Le Petit Bar

Le Petit Bar

Written by: Alexandria Ugarte

We’re lucky to live in a city that offers something for every taste, style, and budget. If you want get dressed up and dine in style, you head to the chic and upscale Villa Azur in Miami Beach. If you want to unwind after a long day at work with good friends and even better cocktails, then you head straight to Villa Azur’s newest addition: Le Petit Bar in the Garden. 

Before you even get to the menu, Le Petit Bar is first a feast for your eyes. Nestled in Villa Azur’s garden, the outdoor area is elegant and trendy, yet perfectly cozy. I instantly fell in love with its sophisticated aesthetics and I hadn’t even looked at the menu yet! We chose a large white couch near the bar with a big rustic coffee table to hold our cocktails and plates. It’s definitely a place that beckons you to get comfy and stay a while.

The menu is comprised of shareable plates, hand-crafted summer cocktails, and good brews. I immediately knew I was going to have the Guava Mojito because, well, those are two of my favorite things! It did not disappoint, and I had to wrangle it out of my friend’s hands a couple of times who insisted on “taking a sip to try it” over and over again. The Apple Spritz was recommended to us by our waiter and was also a fantastic choice, especially if you’re into something a little bubblier.

Apple Spritz and Guava Mojito Cocktails

Apple Spritz and Guava Mojito Cocktails

To pair with our summer cocktails, we ordered the sesame-crusted tuna, the short rib & polenta croquettes, and the cheese & meat plate. 

The cheese and meat plate consisted of fresh brie cheese, lomo, and chorizo Iberico. The portion size was perfect for sharing, and the salty selection paired so well with our sweet drinks.

Cheese & Meat Plate

Cheese & Meat Plate

The tuna was also a great match for our drinks. It was tasty and seared to perfection.

Sesame Crusted Tuna

Sesame Crusted Tuna

We left the best for last. The short rib croquettes were so out of this world, it was a bit difficult to share. I could have shamelessly finished those all by myself! I recommend ordering a couple of those if you’re in a group. Everyone’s going to want to have seconds.

Le Petit Bar is open Sunday through Wednesday from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Its atmosphere and perfectly priced menu make it a great choice for mid-week drinks after work or the ideal stopover for some appetizers and cocktails after a Sunday afternoon at the beach!