I arrived into Fort Lauderdale around 1p and after getting my bags and a car I headed off to my first stop at a place that was open separate hours for lunch and dinner. "Blue Collar" is a small eatery on Biacayne Boulevard. I was greeted at the door by the manager and given a table in the middle of the dining room, they also have several tables outside, but as it was upper 80s and humid, I stuck with inside. Everything on the menu looked really good but the any veggie choices really interested me and I chose the veggie plate. I chose 4 veggies, there were about 15 veggie choices on the menu.
|Blue Collar in Miami|
|Blue Collar's open kitchen and seating area|
I chose Sautéed Brussel Sprouts, Beets topped with Goat Cheese, Spaghetti Squash, and Cheese Grits as my meal. The plate came and the portions were larger than I thought. I had never had beets cooked like this and they weren't as sweet as I have had in the past and that was good as these were delicious and the goat cheese really gave the beets a great taste. The Sprouts were pretty good. The Spaghetti Squash was really good, I have not had this dish in years and I have really missed out. The Cheese Grits were awesome! Creamy and thick, some of the best I have ever eaten.
|My Blue Collar Veggie Meal|
I told my server why I was there and asked if I could get my book signed and he took it back t the kitchen to get the Chef to sign it. The server also told me that the chef had just been interviewed t be a part of Guy's other show, "Guy's Grocery Games". After paying the bill, I was about to take off, when the server said to me, "What's the rush, the Chef want's you to try the Key Lime Pie". As some of you may know, Key Lime is my favorite, so I think of myself as an amateur Key Lime expert. This pie was the best I have ever had! Tart, with really good Lime flavor and a not too sweet whipped cream topping that cut some of the tartness. The graham cracker crust was excellent, too!
|Key Lime Pie compliments of the chef at Blue Collar|
After a couple of hours rest I headed back into Miami to get to the last few places. I left at the tail end of the evening rush hour so the traffic heading south into Miami was not as bad as the traffic heading north. The next two places were really close to each other so I was able to park once and get to both of them. The area has a lot of stores and restaurants with a huge parking garage, so parking wasn't the challenge, finding the places was! After walking around the block a few times I finally found "Sakaya Kitchen" an Asian storefront place with the huge menu written on the chalkboard walls as you enter the restaurant and it was pretty overwhelming, but the staff at the order desk were very helpful. They have both large, sharable plates and small plates so I decided to try one of their Bao Buns.
|Sakaya Kitchen in Miami|
|Inside Sakaya Kitchen, the order area|
I had ordered the Soft Shell Crab bun topped with a thin cucumber slice along with a spicy mayonnaise aioli. The plate came with two slider size buns and it was unreal! I could have eaten about 6 of these! The bus were steamed and soft and the spicy aioli was not to spicy.
|My Sakaya Soft Shell Crab Bao Buns|
|Black Brick in Miami, Triple D's newest place|
|Black Bick's open kitchen|
I chose the Shrimp and Scallop Dim Sum pockets and the Lamb Dumplings. I was attended by numerous servers, they really work great together and even before I received my food they came by several times to make sure I was doing well. The pockets came first and the three were served in a small steam pot. They came with soy sauce and a spicy oil. Shortly after the 4 dumplings arrived served in a say sauce and topped with sesame seeds.
|Shrimp and Scallop Dim Sum|
The Dim Sum was really good, the shrimp scallop were mixed and were really tasty, the soy sauce and spicy oil were both really good and added to the flavor. The dumplings were really good, a lamb meatball inside the dumpling ad the flavor was great, no extra sauce was needed! The lamb was really spicy, I was surprised about that! Before heading out toe of my servers and the chef who I had seen on Triple D just a few days prior signed my book. He really didn't understand what I was doing but smiled when he saw Guy's picture on the book!
I headed north out of Miami through Miami Beach to North Miami to my last stop. "Ivan's Cookhouse" is in a strip mall with a large grocery store and numerous restaurants, you could almost miss it and that would be a shame. I walked in and was warmly greeted by my server and given a small table. The place is a bit dark and I needed my flashlight to read the menu, it sucks getting old! Ivan's has a huge menu that focuses on Latin and Caribbean cuisine.
|Ivan's Cookhouse in North Miami|
|Ivan's Dining Room and Bar area|
While looking over the menu I was presented with a small plate of freshly made plantain chips with a small hummus based dip, which was really good. The chips were slightly salted and are preferable to potato chips, in my opinion. I chose from the small plates side of the menu and decided on the Fish Fritters and the small beef kabobs.
|Plantain Chips and hummus dip complimentary appetizer|
|Ivan's Fish Fritters|
|Ivan's Beef Kabobs|
I made some good choices, the 3 fritters were large with some good fish flavor, crunchy deep fried shell and sift breading on the inside. The three beef kabobs were delicious, marinated perfectly. Both came with a small mixed green salad and a side of Siracha based sauce, which was a bit too spicy for my taste. The sauce was really unneeded as both were perfectly spiced. After finishing I was able to get the Chef to sign my book and he told me that he was getting ready to head out to Santa Rosa in the near future to be a contestant on "Guy's Grocery Games" and he was a winner on another Food Network show, "Chopped". They have several pictures of Chef and Guy together as well as his Chopped appearance. I left after a day of great food and meeting great people and as I headed for San Juan and the cruise my Triple D count was at 604!