Trip Notes: Miami Kosher Food Scene Heats Up, Silvercar, And AMEX Centurion Lounge Report

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Related posts:
Trip Notes: Miami. A Trip Of Firsts (2011)
Trip Notes: Miami 2012.
Trip Notes: Miami 2014.

-Winter Break 2015 Trip Notes Part 1: Miami
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Last month I flew to Miami for the bris of JJ’s firstborn son.

I flew without my wife and kids, so activities weren’t high on the agenda, but I did get to try out a few new eateries that are finally putting Miami’s kosher food scene on the map.

 

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Read more about the trip after the jump:

I nabbed a 7.5K British Airways Avios award ticket the day beforehand and headed to the airport an hour before the flight. Even in rush hour traffic on Monday evening the drive to the airport took just 25 minutes and it’s only a 3 minute walk from Cleveland’s long-term parking to the terminal. Thanks to TSA PreCheck (which is included in Global Entry that comes free with an AMEX Platinum or Business Platinum card) I was through security in just 60 seconds and had time to get a drink from the Airspace lounge, which is also free with an AMEX Platinum or Business Platinum card.

American flies RJ-145s with no wifi from Cleveland to Miami in the summer, which means 2.5 hours with no WiFi. I was able to knock out a post on an ultra-rare award ticket sighting before takeoff though.

American’s RJs pull into the ultra-distant D60 gates at Miami, which means a hike (more like a swim through the humidity) just to get inside the terminal, then a train to get to baggage claim. When renting a car you then need to shlep a while until the next train which takes you to the rental car facility. No wonder MIA is one of the least liked airports in the world.

Flying solo, I decided to try out Silvercar for my first time. It was pretty fantastic. When I landed I got a notification to give them a call when I was ready to get picked up from the rental car facility. I called and asked if they could just pick me up from the terminal and they said no problem!

That’s a huge time-save in Miami considering how long it takes to get to the rental car facility there.

Silvercar only carries Audi A4s, so there’s no upgrades to haggle for.

That’s good and bad. It’s a small car, so it was perfect for this trip where I was flying solo. But it wouldn’t be a practical car when traveling with the whole family along with the strollers and other sundries that entails.

It is a really fun car to drive though and the price was right.

For dinner I went with JJ to Fuego. They moved a few weeks ago into a much larger and glamorous location in Aventura’s Waterways.

I always review restaurants anonymously, but after writing in the aforementioned post that I was posting from onboard a plane to Miami a partner at Fuego somehow put 2 and 2 together and let the staff know to take care of me.

I’ve had Fuego’s Avocado Eggrolls in their previous location and was not a fan. I had been hoping for a copy of Los Angeles’ version in La Gondola, but Fuego’s version has too much sun-dried tomato, no spicing in the avocado, and they don’t have the cilantro dipping sauce. Their empanadas didn’t impress me either.

Instead we opted for a pastrami eggroll which was very good ($13, 7.5/10):

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The Miami Mule drink ($12, 7/10), consists of Vodka, fresh grapefruit, lime, ginger syrup, angostura, and ginger beer.

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The Perfect Date drink ($12, 7/10) is made with Vodka, amaretto, cream of coconut, pineapple, angostura, and cinnamon sugar.

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The highlight of the night for me was the BBQ Pulled Beef Flatbreads ($18, 9.5/10) that is heaven on a delicious dough.

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The center cut filet ($44, 7/10) was a decent steak, but not particularly memorable. It didn’t come with the three corn pepper sauce that we ordered with it as they were out of it. The included fries and sweet potato fries were very nice though.

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I ordered BBQ Back Ribs ($49), but they brought out this ribs pictured below. When the owner came over to chat he said next time I need to order the BBQ Back Ribs. I told him that’s what I ordered, but they brought me short ribs, so he went to see what happened. Turns out they were out of the back ribs so they substituted the short ribs.

And the owner said they would be on the house.

And this is why I guess I’ll have to start making reservations under fake names. I’d rather be able to write about what would happen to a regular customer in that situation than be comped a meal.

Nevertheless the short fibs were not properly smoked like they ought to be, but they still are very good ($39, 8.5/10). I didn’t care for the plantains, but the onion rings were delicious.

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The Creme Brulee was pretty standard, a solid dish, but again, nothing memorable (7/10).

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The Smores dessert is delicious though (8.5/10), with ice cream, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallows.

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I’d definitely go back for another flatbread, smores, and to try the BBQ Back Ribs.

After dinner it was off to the W South Beach where I got a “fantastic studio.”

Last time I was here I got a Mega Suite, though that was denied this time around. The fantastic studio is a large room with a nice sized balcony and the bathroom and the bliss amenities are great.

However on the 2nd night of the stay my bed literally shook from music and bass. I called the front desk and they said they’d look into it. I called back a couple times until we realize that the noise was actually coming from the W club, which is open until 4am!

Luckily the club was only open on the 2nd night of the stay…

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Miami in the summer is ridiculously hot and humid. On the plus side the restaurants are empty and rates for everything are much less. The locals have it pretty bad though. They wait through a miserable summer for the weather to become tolerable and as soon as it does, the city fills up with snowbirds who clog up the traffic and make it impossible to get a reservation at a restaurant…

As soon I went outside to take a picture the lens (and my sunglasses) got fogged up:

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In the morning I enjoyed the “secret” pool all to myself:

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It was so hot that it burned my feet just walking barefoot on the sand:

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Spending time in the water is definitely the only way to make it tolerable to be outside in the Miami summer.

Then it was off to Zak the Baker for lunch. Zak’s is located in Miami proper in a cute neighborhood where you wouldn’t expect it. The clientele is the most varied I’ve ever seen in a kosher restaurant, ranging from hasids to hipsters and everyone in between.

The menu is eclectic and varies somewhat from day to day. His breads and sandwiches have a real cult following.

I couldn’t find a menu online, so here are pictures of the offerings of the day:

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Being a die-hard lemon fan I had to try the Lemon Curd and Lavender butter toast ($5, 9.5/10). The lemon curd was deep and rich and the toast was amazing.

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The carrot ginger soup ($4, 6/10) wasn’t to my liking.

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But the fresh mozzarella sandwich is loaded with flavor and is fantastic ($8, 8.5/10)

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Chocolate/caramel croissant is excellent as well (8/10)

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If you do find yourself as Zak’s before 11:30am, beware that AJK won’t forgive you if you don’t get the breakfast sandwich, which he calls one of the best sandwiches in the world (Photo credit: AJK):

 

 

The Tuna Melt also got rave reviews from him (Photo credit: AJK):

 

 

After lunch it was off to the bris, which was in the afternoon so that my parents would be able to make it in.

I didn’t have time to checkout the nearby Wynwood walls, though AJK did and they’re pretty neat!

(Photo credit: AJK)

 

 

Unfortunately for my parents (and the mohel who was flying in from Cleveland with them), their 6am departure from Cleveland to Miami was delayed indefinitely while they were on the plane.

So of course they called me frantically from the plane asking what to do, so I helped find them a few other flight options. Alas the phone agents weren’t able to finalize anything and the line for rebooking once they deboarded was so long that many of those options departed by the time they got to the podium.

One last option for them was a United flight connecting to an American flight is Orlando. They got the agent to agree to put them on it, but by the time the agent was finished it was just 15 minutes prior to United’s departure time. When they got to the gate the door was already closed and the jetbridge was already pulled back.

Shockingly though, they shared their predicament with the gate agent and she opened the gate back up and they reattached the jetbridge and opened the plane doors for them! I don’t think that would happen anywhere in 2015 except in Cleveland 😀

Even more surprising was that their baggage (containing the mohel’s knife) actually made it to Miami with them, despite the bags having to be transferred from American to United in Cleveland at the last minute and them catching an earlier flight once in Orlando to Miami!

Of course just before the Bris, Frontier and American decided to have a price war, so I was typing away on my laptop while others were on their phones trying to book tickets…

After the bris I went out with my mother to nearby Backyard BBQ.

The house chili fries ($11, 3/10) are not good at all. Bland chili on very ordinary fries. Though granted, it’s tough to enjoy chili once you’ve had Milt’s Chili in Chicago.

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They were out of dinosaur ribs ($48), so we got a plate of 3 spare ribs ($39, 7/10). These were moist and tasty, though lacked the deep flavors that come from ribs that are made in a real smoker instead of those made with liquid smoke.

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The small plate of smoked Texas Brisket ($18, 2/10) was bone dry and flavorless.

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The small plate of BBQ pulled brisket ($18, 1/10) was inedible. Awful texture and flavor.
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Late that night I walked from the W to The Frieze, a unique sorbet spot off the Lincoln Road Pedestrian Mall in South Beach.

Even at night Miami doesn’t cool down in the summer. It was a toasty 90 degrees with humidity so thick that everyone was dripping from sweat. Of course that just makes the sorbet that much sweeter.

They were out of Red Wine sorbet, but their champagne and peanut butter sorbets are always incredible:

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On Wednesday morning it was back for another swim in the morning is the W’s secret pool before heading off to Foozo to meetup with some DDF members and talk miles and travel.

Foozo makes artisan thin crust pizzas with a wood burning oven.

DDF member JayWhy went with the Pomodori personal pie ($10, 7/10) with fresh mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes, and roasted garlic.

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You can choose from dozens of toppings, such as fresh mozzarella, roasted corn, roasted garlic, and caramelized onions ($10, 7.5/10)

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The star of the meal though was Caprese Foozoli, loaded with fresh mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes, pesto sauce, basil, balsamic glaze, and with caramelized onions added in for good measure ($10.50, 8.5/10). It’s one of the better calzone type dishes I’ve had in a long time.

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Miami is known for its summertime showers and there were heavy thunderstorms and rain all afternoon and evening. So I found a Groupon for a hot stone massage and took it easy.

Of course no stop to Miami is complete without picking up the best cholov yisroel chocolate in the world.

Alas they were out of my favorite sea salt caramels, but they had plenty of other awesome stuff:

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And finally for dinner I went out with JJ to 26.

Beautiful decor and by far the best service you’ll find in Miami.

I loved the Passion Rita last time I was in 26, but they’ve taken up the heat several notches on this drink.

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It was a bit too intense for me, but they happily offered to swap it out for a milder Passion Fruit Mojito and it was incredible:

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Tequeños are a delicious fried cheese stick in empanada dough, one of the best versions of a mozzarella stick around ($10, 9/10)

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Sushi Pizza with cooked salmon is phenomenal as well, ($13, 9/10)

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Trio Fritas include truffle fries, sweet potato fries, and salt, pepper, and cilantro fries that are great ($21, 8/10)

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26 has an incredible range of sauces, and they’ll only be too happy to bring them all out for you!

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The Sake Teriyaki roll was a real treat ($15, 9/10)

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As was the Crunchy Mozza roll with cheese inside and delicious tempura on the outside ($16, 9.5/10). The sushi here is some of the best you’ll find in the country.

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Cream of Purple Potato Soup was an amazing dish as well ($4, 8.5/10). Their cream soups here are a real treat:

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The dessert trio platter included 3 desserts for $20. The Blueberry Cheesecake was typical (7/10), but the Cronut was excellent (8.5/10), and the fried ice cream was delicious as well (8/10).

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Although Silvercar charges just $5 to fill up your car, I had plenty of time still before my late night flight back home, so I filled up the tank myself further away from the airport where prices are much cheaper.

Silvercar drove me right to the terminal in my car and is really a seamless process.

Without any checked baggage and with Global Entry/Pre-Check I was through security in no time and had time to checkout the Centurion lounge in Miami. Access is free for the cardholder and their spouse and kids or 2 guests with an AMEX Platinum or Business Platinum card. Additional cardholders get the same privileges and you can add 3 additional cardholders to a personal platinum card for just $58.33/year each. Additional cardholders also get Airspace, Delta, and Priority Pass lounge access on top of free Global Entry/TSA PreCheck membership.

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There are complimentary 15 minute spa treatments, though those end at about 7:30pm.

There’s lots of food in the lounge, but nothing aside from fruit for kosher observers.

And so the dilemma for me was only smokey or extra smokey (Hint: I sampled both 🙂 )

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Lounges are nice for their WiFi and because they take you away from the hustle and bustle of the terminal, though nobody will confuse this lounge for something like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal or a Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney or Melbourne.

But for a US lounge, the bathrooms had very nice amenities, the premium drinks are a big step up from the US airline lounges, and the spa treatments are a nice touch. Originally the Centurion lounges had kosher food options, but the lead time that it took to heat up those meals proved too challenging. That’s too bad, though it won’t stop me from using the lounges when available.

Centurion lounges can currently be found in Dallas, Las Vegas, LaGuardia, Miami, Seattle, and S. Francisco. Houston will be up next and more airports are in the plans as well.

I had the bartender fill up my Hydroflask (was happy to learn that I’m not the only one crazy about this thing) and headed to my gate for an uneventful flight home, despite the warnings of heavy storms throughout Florida.

I’m still unsure about the right season to visit Miami though. The winter with awesome weather but the higher prices, brutal traffic, and horrendous service from restaurants? Or the summer that is horrendously hot, humid, and wet, but is cheaper and comes with light traffic and much better service?

But it’s great to see Miami’s kosher food scene show some signs of life.

Leave a Reply

85 Comments on "Trip Notes: Miami Kosher Food Scene Heats Up, Silvercar, And AMEX Centurion Lounge Report"

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suzy770

As you pointed out, there is no kosher food in the AMEX lounges. why can they not accomodate us by allowing a prebooking in the lounge with 12-24 hours notice and have cold food for us, such as prepackaged sandwiches, salads etc.? I dont understand why they cant offer anything when there are so many kosher passengers using the lounges these days…

Dan

@suzy770:
Be sure to leave feedback and write to them.
They used to offer hot kosher food, but people had to leave before the food got warm from what I hear.

Local yid

Awesome write up. The food scene has definitley picked up down here.
As for MIA, I visited the centurion lounge last week and there no place to move. It was so crowded, i couldnt find a single chair available to sit, standing room only.
Not so pleasant.
I agree with you, 26 is hands down the best restaurant in Miami, check out Soho next time.

Dan

@Local yid:
Thanks.

I’ve reviewed SoHo in the past. I’m not a big fan of the food or service there.

franky z

oh dan…all alone in a suite in south beach!

Eli C

I live in S FL, was at Fuego’s new location a few weeks ago. We ordered different meats, most of which was too rare (ordered medium rare), and fries were overdone. Manager Marcos was very accommodating, gave us extra meat and fries.

Mark

“I had the bartender fill up my Hydroflask (was happy to learn that I’m not the only one crazy about this thing) and headed to my gate for an uneventful flight home”

Sadly, unless you are flying United, this wouldn’t work in SFO because you have to exit the secure area and re-enter. I usually fly Delta and whenever I am in SFO, if I want to go to the Centurion club, I have to exit the secure area, then clear security in the terminal with th club, then exit the secure area, and re-enter the other secure area where the Delta gates are located.

Dan

@Mark:
They’re intended to strike at the hubs, so the MIA lounge is really intended for AA flyers and the SFO lounge for UA flyers.

Starwoodfan

Dan, on the subject of Avacado Eggrolls, I’ve had La Gandola’s which were ok. Imho the best Avacado Eggrolls are right here in NY at Elite Cafe on Main Street in Queens. Very good food all around. Standard Cafe fair but everything is done right…Check it out

Suzy

Dan: for health sake, try a veggie or salad once in awhile. 😃
Great write up.

Dan

@Starwoodfan:
I’ve heard from a few people of late who were unimpressed with them, I wonder if their recipe has changed since I last had them a couple years ago?

Problem is that when I’m in NYC I’m hitting up places like Mike’s, RC, Pardes, Izzys, Noi Due…don’t have time to try the other stuff 🙂

@Suzy:
Life’s too short for dat 😉
Plus the whole point of living in low-cost CLE is to have a $700 mortgage that allows you to travel often and dine on the best that other cities have to offer…

Eli

Can’t believe you didn’t get the Texas Steak in Backyard. It’s HUGE and amazing.

Sam Finkelstein

Thanks Dan for the great TR. Whenever I can’t find a menu online, I call MasterCard Concierge which is actually very good at finding them.

Tolch

Dan you in Miami
No Dan seminar ??
Where can we get a bracha from the Dan Rebbe before took Kippur

AJK

Great TR. Crazy story about the gate agent reopening the door, and reattaching the jetbridge for the mohel. And for the cherry on top, the luggage made it? What is this, 1995!?

Note to self: skip Backyard BBQ. Yikes.

Too bad you didn’t enjoy your soup at ZtB; we had a creamed tomato basil soup that was deeeelicious.

Brad miami

Enjoyed the write up. I am cracking up in the car. You are like a 40 year old man acting like my grandparents. Who has so much commentary on food?

Reb Yid

We had the exact opposite experience at Backyard.

Now, if you had been with the kids, would your TSA pre-check have helped?

Yehoshua

I have an idea: just don’t visit Miami. If you must, it would seem the shoulder seasons would be better, no?

DANSMOSTHONESTFAN

HI,
DAN i HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING YOUR SITE FOR A LONG TIME AND I APPRECIATE ALL YOUR HELP IN FINDING GREAT DEALS CREDIT CARDS ETC….I KNOW YOU LIKE TO LEAVE HONEST REVIEWS BUT IF YOUR A PERSON WHO CARES ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE ,I THINK ITS BETTER TO STICK TO YOUR DEAL FINDING RATHER THAN LEAVE A GREAT REVIEW OR A BAD REVIEW FOR A RESTAURANT.MAYBE YOUR A PERSON WHO EXPECTS HIGH EXPECTATIONS AND THATS WHY YOU ARE NEVER ESPECIALLY SATISFIED EVEN IF THE FOOD AND SERVICE IS NOT TO YOUR STANDARDS.AS FAR AS BASHING MIAMI FOR THERE WEATHER ,MAYBE YOU SHOULD INVEST IN A PAIR OF SHORTS,I AM SURE YOU CAN FIND ONE ON AMAZON FOR 99 CENTS SHIPPED FREE. YOU DO HAVE A FOLLOWING AND I KNOW THAT IT STARTED AS A HOBBIE AT FIRST BUT YOU SHOULD LEARN TO USE IT AS A TOOL TO HELP PEOPLE ACHIEVE MORE CUSTOMER EVEN IF YOU THING THERE NOT UP TO PAR BECAUSE OF YOUR ONE TIME DINNING EXPERIENCE. NEXT TIME YOU COME TO MIAMI LOOK ME UP AND I WILL TAKE YOU OUT AND SHOW YOU HOW AMAZING MIAMI REALLY IS,PS DROP THE NORTHERN ATTITUDE AND REALIZE THAT IF YOU HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE WHEN DINNING YOUR EXPERIENCE WILL ALWAYS BE MUCH BETTER

Dan

@Tolch:
I gave a Miami seminar already. Was the least attended seminar.

@AJK:
Really is a crazy story.

Shame they didn’t have creamed tomato basil soup when I was at Zak, sounds amazing.

@Reb Yid:
What did you enjoy there?

Pre-Check works wonders with the kids as well.

@Yehoshua:
Shoulder seasons are always the way to go if you can.
Alas with kids in school that’s not too easy.

@DANSMOSTHONESTFAN:
1. I call it like it is. Good food gets good reviews and bad food gets bad reviews.
If you only want to read how amazing every place is then read the GKRF FB group where negative reviews are banned/subject to deletion.

Personally speaking, I find value in knowing where people have had good and bad experiences, bearing in mind that there’s always the chance a place had an off-day and to take all reviews with a grain of salt. But if you only want to read good things, there’s a place for you as well. Just not my style.

2. And if I wore shorts I’d have the frum police writing comments in all caps about how horrible that is. Can’t win.

3. I don’t have any attitude, I’m a straight shooter and the gist of this report was how impressed how was with the maturing kosher scene in MIA.

Cheers.

jack

Dan whats the policy for getting a DO invite?
you didn’t post it on the forums
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=40633.210

jt27mp

” best cholov yisroel chocolate in the world.”

Where is this place???
I’m not a cholov yisroel guy, but it sounds like the chocolate is really good.

Dan

@jack:
There was a public DO:
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=55043

@jt27mp:
It’s on 41st in Miami Beach.

The milk chocolate sea-salt caramels are just ridiculous.

Partypooper

Love the reviews and trip notes, but it occurs to me that negative reviews might be lashon hara, even though I admit they are very helpful to me, I don’t think this meets the requirements of toeles. Ask your own rabbi, I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do, just thought I’d bring it up

lyla

Great TR Dan. Thanks. G’mar Chasima Tova.

Elisa

Entertaining reading but your trip to Miami was seriously lacking in vegetables!

confused

Are you allowed to write the food is inedible? Isn’t it loshon hara and motzi shem ra? My sefer chofetz chaim says it’s assur.

CBS

Nice TR
I went to backyard BBQ couple months back and had the worst experience. The place was jam packed, we waited a half hour thinking it was amazing. Finally we set down, everything went wrong. From the waiter spilling water all over table to the burnt entree he gave me and then replaced it with a disgusting flavorless dish. we left right away and went across the street for some good dessert at Harbor Grill.

Havent heard anyone with a good experience at BBBQ

Dan

@Partypooper:
If it’s helpful for you and you’ll avoid wasting your hard earned money on those dishes, the how is it not l’toeles?

Shimon

@Dan: Food is not something you can judge, “Taam vuriach ina misvakiach” what you think and believe is good or bad that doesn’t justify the food, but you did get to a point that people would just follow what you say blindly which i think is an achriyas not to say things public especially when it comes to someone else business

Dan

@Shimon:
The only reason someone would follow me blindly is if they have read my other food reports from hundreds of restaurants across the globe and agree with my tastebuds.

So respectfully, I disagree.

And for the record, I’ve heard from several restaurants that I critically reviewed a dish and have worked with them on improving that dish. I’m always happy to do that for free and go back and try it again. All it takes is an email.

It’s like someone who always tells his wife how great everything she makes is, and so he’s stuck eating food he doesn’t like for years because he’s too far into the lie. Is it not better to be truthful and work on improvement?

Shimon

@Dan: The reason people would follow you blindly is because they are “DANS FAN” and not because of your buds, And excuse me i don’t think anyone’s wife would want her hub should critic on her food in front of her friends even though he only want to be truthful and is doing it for her good, Get a grip Dan

YYZer

I feel bad for the OWNER or family member who posed themselves as DANSMOSTHONESTFAN. Who knows, maybe he is partypooper and shimon as well. Anyway, Dans from Cleveland. Take it as his taste buds speaking and nothing more. He eats Glorias little Pizza slices from kinneret and he doesn’t honk when someone doesn’t realize its a green light on the way to the pizza shop hehehe

entertainment

Dan,
I come on to your website to read the comments just so I can laugh. Some people are RIDICULOUS! I live in Miami and I appreciate your TR so I can know good places to take my family members when the weather changes and they start migrating south.

G’mar Chasima Tova.

Osborne Greene

Thorough post. Like the new rating format. Glad to see Miami area graduated from shawarma.

Alan

What a shame that you have no idea of what good chocolate is! The best kosher hand made chocolates can be found at Damyel on rue Richer in the 9th Arr. in Paris. under the strict supervision of the well respected Rav Rottenberg. These exquisite confections rival the best belgian chocolates. No preservatives, no artificial flavors, just pure extravagant delight for the chocolate lover. And btw, they are so creamy smooth with a velvety texture you will be convinced that they are milchag, but they are strictly pareve. Nothing on 41st St. comes close. Believe me I have tried both. But then again you’re from Cleveland! Enough said.

Cracking up

It’s amazing how much of this nonsense is coming over from the other Facebook food group. It’s like honesty has taken a back seat to marketing. Keep up the honest reviews, Dan and don’t pay any attention to this industry promoted nonsense. @entertainment:

Shmuly

@Alan: That’s so cool, I didn’t realize Damyel sells cholov yisroel chocolate! According to Dan’s TR they only sell dark chocolate. Guess You must be confused. http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/7517

You’re probably from Miami and upset at some of the reviews in this post.

Dan

@Shimon:
If you don’t see the difference between a commercial business and that scenario, I can’t help you.

Maybe start a crusade to ban yelp, tripadvisor, and amazon reviews too?

@YYZer:
Lol, she’s actually retiring this week!
https://www.gofundme.com/zb38etcg

@entertainment:
@Osborne Greene:
Thanks guys.

@Alan:
OMG, I can’t…

Damyel does make the finest dark chocolate in the world. I’ve said that several times and even had a friend who I helped with a trip bring me a box of it when they went to Paris this summer.

But if you would confuse dark chocolate for milk chocolate, then I’m afraid to say that you are the one that is clueless about chocolate.

@Cracking up:
That sums up my feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of benefit of having an intermediary that’s so tight with the kosher restaurant industry.

But someone would think from that group that ever kosher restaurant is five stars due to the negative review ban.

I get his predicament, he wouldn’t have all those advertisers otherwise. But it’s just not very useful for me, I’d rather read honest reviews and know where to go and what to get.

@Shmuly:
Gotta say it is odd.
I’ve given 100% honest reviews, negative and positive, from places all across the globe. And the only ones that generate this level of anger are the Miami reports.

Oh well.

JT27MP

@shimon: I’m sure you can ta’ana that alot of things are subjective.

However, in this case, its L’toeles so that you don’t spend money in a place you wouldn’t enjoy.
Don’t know about your net worth, but I use hard earned dollars on a vacation, and I don’t want to go somewhere with my wife and kids that they wouldn’t enjoy.
Dan’s reviews are L’toeles on the money issue and for the family “shalom bayis” on a vacation.

skyguy918

Dan you forgot to post how much the Silvercar cost you 😉

mia flyer

Dan , with all due respect – We know you were never fond of miami dining & we can accept that , after all its your personal View . However you can choose to give your online reviews or choose not too in whatever group you wish , but bashing another group like that …..especially eruv yom kippur
We really expect better from you , Im sure you could have chosen a better path to your point

Dan

@skyguy918:
🙂

@mia flyer:
It’s just amazing how defensive you MIA folks are about your eateries (and your weather for that matter). You don’t see LA folks or even Montreal folks being that defensive. I’ve never knocked a single restaurant for any reason other than having subpar food or subpar service, I have no agenda whatsoever other than letting people know my experience and letting them decide where to best spend their hard earned money.

This report was overall praising the continual improvement about the kosher food scene in MIA. There are now several places to eat where I know I’ll have a great meal.

You’re saying I should have lied and have said that the BBQ pulled brisket was edible?

And I’m not “bashing” GKRK. But when the rule is that you can review restaurants all you want, as long as it’s not negative, you’re not going to glean much useful information IMHO.
Doesn’t mean the group isn’t a good resource, it’s just not my style and I fail to see why I need to tailor my reviews to conform to it. I’m not being paid by the restaurants and I’m not going to give up my voice just because other groups are.

Alan

@Shmuly: I never said they sell milchag chocolates, Please read what I said. And while I happen to live in Miami, I am not originally from here. I have had the privilege of traveling all over the world and eating at some of the best restaurants. So please don’t give me that Miami BS. While Dan and his followers may fancy him as a sophisticated food & travel critic he is far from that. And like we all are, he certainly is entitled to his opinion, flawed as it may be!

Dan

@Alan:
You’re definitely entitled to your own opinion. And I’d be the first to tell you that I’m not a professional food critic. Not that I trust any professional kosher food critics for what that’s worth, anyone that’s getting paid by restaurants isn’t going to be bias-free.

But attacking me and saying I don’t know good chocolate because I don’t like Damyel’s is utterly ridiculous. As someone linked for you before, I wrote 5 years ago that they have the best dark chocolate in the world.

If there is better cholov yisroel milk chocolate out there, by all means let me know. But saying Damyel’s dark chocolate would be confused for milk chocolate proves to me that you too, are no professional food critic. They are completely different products and there’s no shame in crowning each one as the best in their specialty.

Alan

@Dan: I have never confused Dark chocolate with milk chocolate, and had you taken the time to read & comprehend what I wrote you would understand! I have had the 41st St locations milk chocolate and while it is not bad, it is by far not great. It does not have the lingering sensory enjoyment nor the mouth feel which one would expect from an exceptional chocolate. Daymel chocolates meet those and the other charectraistics of exceptional chocolates milting or pareve.

Dan

You wrote “you will be convinced that they are milchag”

I enjoy Damyel’s as much as anyone, but I’ve never come close to being convinced of that. It’s good dark chocolate. Full stop.

Have you had MBC’s sea-salt caramel? The oreo bark or chocolate covered oreos? The cheesecake truffle? The turtles?

I would love to know where exactly am I getting better cholov yisroel chocolate?

Alan

I would then suggest that you try Hauser of Belgium, they are in Antwerp under the supervision of the Machzeki Hadas of Antwerp and produce both Milchag & Pareve chocolates. And they are in the same league as Dameyl. And yes it’s Cholov Yisroel.

Dan

@Alan:
If I have any readers in Antwerp, feel free to send me some chocolate from there to review and I’ll reimburse you 🙂

Alan

With all due respect a chocolate covered “oreo” and they don’t use real Oreos, is not the benchmark of fine chocolate. Neither are any of the confections you mention. You want better Cholov Yisroel chocolate try Hauser of Belgium, they are in Antwerp under the supervision of the Machzieki Hadas of Antwerp and produce both Pareve & CY chocolates of superlative quality, not cheap but they are head and should above what you call the “best Cholov Yisroel chocolates”

Dan

@Alan:
Lol, they don’t use real oreos because those aren’t officially parve 🙄

I didn’t call it fine chocolate either, I said it’s the best and most enjoyable that I’ve had. Go order those items and tell me that you didn’t enjoy them.

Don’t know when I’ll make it to Antwerp, but I’ll try it when I do.

Alan

You can contact them directly via their website and order as I do, they will ship them to you and you will get them fresh. But don’t ask for chocolate covered sandwich cookies! They make truffles, ganaches, pralines and other fine delicate confections.

Dan

Looks very similar to what Ardely’s in Paris carries.

I don’t argue that it may be finer chocolate, but personally I prefer MBCs sea salted caramels and cheesecake truffles to that.

Al ta’am v’reiach indeed.

Alan

I don’t have to order I live in Miami and I have tried them both currently & from their former incarnation “Schkolade” and neither time were they good. however that is why they make chocolate & vanilla, and why some tastes are for hamburger & others steak tartare or Foie Gras vs chopped liver. You should make a trip to Antwerp, is a wonderful city replete with history, culture and loads of Yiddishkeit. The shuls are wonderful, hotels in the jewish area and wonderful people. For truly exception Yiddish cuisine try Hoffy’s it is the “best” you’ll find. Not fancy but truly well prepared “heimishe”food like your alter bubble prepared. And if you want to try a hermetically sealed shelf stable meal, similar to MealMart, try Fogel’s they put frozen meals to shame.

Dan

You still haven’t said whether you tried a sea salt caramel truffle from them or not.

Tangentially, glatt kosher Foie Gras is nearly impossible to find, if it’s even possible to find at all (debatable from what I hear).

Alan

That is so true and now you are getting at the heat of where I take exception! “but personally I prefer ” I have no problem with that, however please don’t make statements that this is the “BEST” People who read your website/blog take your word about things as Torah, Moshe, V’Sinai and that is also fine, but as such you must either say that or temper your review. However there are many of us who do have palates which may run to a more (for lack of a better word) sophisticated taste. and do know what the best is. Again some people are in love with flavorless farm raised Chilean salmon which by the way has colored added to make it red, otherwise it would be gray. I, and several other friends have Alaskan Copper River King salmon flown in every year during the season, a truly exception taste experience.

BTW, you are right on target on the Backyard BBQ, I have no idea why the quality has dropped from when they when opened. I only hope that he will make changes.

Another point you are on target is that a paid or known critic’s opinion is worthless.

Dan

I find it very hard to believe that anyone would take my opinion on food as halacha l’moshe m’sinai.

I should write a disclaimer that what I write is in my opinion and personal preference?

How is that not blatantly obvious?

Alan

There is no such thing as “Glatt” kosher Foie Gras, since the liver comes from either a goose or lesser quality duck. Glatt only applies to bhamas, veal, lamb, goat. Not poultry. There is a limited amount of Foie Gras that is available in Paris under reliable supervision. The problem is that most geese raised for Foie are force feed and that is oser, some are makel this as b’deved, most not. The other big problem is the liver must be properly kashered and they purest say that Foie doesn’t have the same taste, hence the problem and you are almost correct, it one know how to hunt it down it is available kosher.

Duvid

moral of the story is,
danned if you do danned if you dont.
Dan, keep it up your doing a great job.

Dan

@Alan:
I’m referring to a glatt/mehadrin hechsher on the restaurant.

@Duvid:
Lol, thanks.

Alan

I did not imply that anyone takes your writings as “Halacha” merely that they believe that when you say this is the “best in the world” or the worst, they do take it as “gospel” again for lack of a better word. And I see no reason why you don’t have a disclaimer in todays litigious society.

Osborne Greene

Glatt kosher Foie Gras is nearly impossible to find likely because there’s no requirement to examine the lungs of ritually slaughtered fowl.

Dan

@Osborne Greene:
See comment 60.

???

@ Alan,
You clearly take yourself very seriously. That’s fine. The more you write and the more you insist on having the last word – the more you water down your persona on this forum. Relax dude. Enjoy your flown in Salmon and fine chocolates but just take a pill……!

Alan

@???: Has nothing to do with having the last word, nor my persona, merely stating fact, which is sometimes distorted.

???

@Alan,
Your opinions are not fact. Neither are Dan’s. He’ll be the first to agree with that, too, by the way.
I believe if you take a step back – there’s alot of pride and need to have last word involved here. Maybe I am misreading your sentiments but that’s how it comes across on “paper”.
Now back to my chocolate and Foie Gras 🙂

joe

hay kids!! its just food!! all of you relax plz

Anonymous

@Dan: I’m a buyer for one of the largest sellers on amazon, I can send you some very bad reviews on some of our products and you can crack up on it, People out their buying stuff without even knowing exactly what they are getting (Like people don’t read your posts properly and asking all kind of stupid questions)but unfortunately ruins the listing So yes i wish we can ban the amazon’s policy of putting up reviews

Ryan E Griver

Dan, I’m not sure why people would click on a review if they were unhappy with the concept of a review? Please don’t waste any more time justifying your work.

Avi D

@Alan:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/farmed-vs-wild-salmon-can-you-taste-the-difference/2013/09/23/3a2650a2-1fcb-11e3-8459-657e0c72fec8_story.html

Enjoy your flown in wild salmon that per your “sophisticated” taste is far superior to farm raised salmon.

confused is now disappointed

Do you really not see the difference between a review on Amazon, yelp, whatever and you? You are a frum yid and reflect klal yisroel. This website is read by thousands. It is not the same thing at all. This is totally lashon hara and motzi shem ra b’rabim. And yes, there are lots of people who won’t go to a restaurant because YOU didn’t like it. So you are causing a yid to lose parnassa. Please please please ask ANY rav you want if this is OK and I’ll stand down. I do not want to see you get an aveira when you are trying to help the klal and I can see you believe you are. There is no way this is considered toeles, and if you mean it to be, you should call the owners and tell them privately, not post it for all to see.

It’s erev Yom Kippur today. Is this what Hashem wants? Really wants from us? Just got a call from the chofetz chaim5 heritage foundation saying to ask mechilla from each other and guard our tongue.

troubled

@ Joe

It’s not just food, it’s someone’s parnassa. Someone’s blood, sweat and tears in setting up a business and spending hours running it. To be brought down by yidden. Us! In what, our quest to fress? Be cool? And before you ask, I live in Brooklyn and have zero connection to anyone in the food industry.

Dan

I have asked a Rov, it is l’toeles, thanks for checking.
G’mar chasima tova.

Joe4007

This post doesn’t appear under trip notes.

srulky

@Dan:
I left feedback months ago.
Should I try again?

When I go to MIA I always Uber to MB and pick up a car from there.
Way more convenient and saves loads of time.
On the cheap? I take the bus for under 4bucks. From Airport bus station to 41 ST in 25 min.

Depending where I stay, I dont rent a car. Either walk or uber.

Would like to understand

@ Dan,
my neshama, and gut, tends to understand “troubled” viewpoint. Can you please clarify how, and why, this is Toeles? I am not accusing. I am simply asking for some clarity. I am NOT in the food industry but i do know many that are and the blood, sweat and tears in remarkable. I would reckon they most def don’t agree that this is toeles. Can you please clarify? Thanks.

would like to understand

@ Dan,
Respectfully, that’s a flimsy toeles. There are those that follow your reviews and that causes significant loss of business to a fellow Jew simply because you didn’t like a restaurant. I personally know of a wonderful out of town restaurant that was the most popular in the city. You gave them a medium review and it resulted in significant gossip and loss of business. I know you meant nothing personal but i would venture to say that maybe an ehrliche jew such as yourself should maybe allow amazon, yelp etc conduct the reviews. Again – i am NOT in the food industry but i do know a little about the blood, sweat and tears involved and your reviews def don’t help them out. Possibly something to think about in greater depth?……

Dan

@would like to understand:
And I beg to differ. Nor will I be dishonest or lie even if you ask me to a dozen more times.

I do highly recommend that you have them reach out to me. Other restaurants have, I’ve critiqued their dishes, they have markedly improved, and I’ve reviewed them again much more favorably.

Or they can keep their head in the sand.

would like to understand

@ Dan,
Who asked you to be dishonest or lie?! I’ve never mentioned that once nor did I ever accuse you of that.
No one is keeping their head in the sand. We can discuss Toeles from today until next year. Many frum people will disagree with you – a small sampling have already on this forum. I’m sure many others will agree. Bottom line: Your comments/critique have a direct correlation to significant financial losses for Kosher establishments. Don’t get me wrong: you provide alot of good as well on your site. Unfortunately, it doesnt stop with just good and many have suffered financial losses due to your reviews. I am sure you have your heter as you seem like a good person. Please keep in mind that others trying to pay the bills pay the price in a big way sometimes.
(Again – i am not in the food industry whatsoever. I simply have seen/heard what hurt some of your reviews have caused.)

Belg

@Alan:
Wow, I am originally from antwerp thanks for all the nostalgia… Hauser.. Hoffy’s

hUNCH

Hey Dan, great TR!

I plan on being down in miami some time soon, and would like to try some good cholov yisroel chocolate. (I’m a chocolate fanatic)

From reading your TR’s, you rave about schokolad, and miami beach chocolates. From my research, they seem to be at the same address.

Did they change names?

Thanx

sygdet

@Dan I just sent your regards to the Miami Beach Chocolates. Thanks for all the reviews.

schmendrik

As something of a chocolate aficionado, I can tell you that in my experience, the best CY chocolate in the world is from Toronto’s The Chocolate Mousse.
IMHO
🙂

Dan

@schmendrik:
I haven’t had anything there as good as the salted caramel from Miami Beach Chocolates.

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