It’s always a good time for burgers

You know how you have to be in a certain mood to eat sushi? Or a hearty plate of meatloaf? Or a tuna wrap from the deli? (Yes, I do sometimes actually want one of those, the kind that are a little goopy and squishy. Don’t judge me.)

Well, burgers, in my opinion, unlike all of those other foods and so many others, are something I could eat any ol’ time, no matter the weather, time of day, season, or physical state I’m in. (Hungover? Yes. Sick with a cold? Yes. Strong like bull? Two please.)

So when I was in Miami looking for a place to eat dinner with my mom, sister and boyfriend, and my best friend (who was also joining us) suggested LoKal, a new Coconut Grove burger joint and craft beer watering hole, I was all about it. Burgers aaaaand beer? DONE.

Now I can add reptile to my list of meats eaten after these tasty fried alligator strips

 To start things off right, and maybe in honor of my being back in the Sunshine State, we ordered a plate of something quintessentially Floridian that I had actually never eaten: alligator. Fat, juicy strips of tender white alligator meat were battered, fried and seasoned with Old Bay, and served with a tangy marinara sauce and spicy mayo. So did they taste like chicken? Yea, kind of. Were they good? Absolutely.

She may not be the prettiest burger, but the Frita makes up for it in pure guava-cheesey-bacon goodness!

The burgers all sounded good, if not completely over the top, with toppings like chili, tons of bacon, blue cheese and one that even came served on a doughnut. I’m a bit of an over-the-top eater myself, so I went with the Frita: a juicy, medium-rare (cause that’s how I roll) patty topped with guava jelly, bacon, crunchy potato sticks, and gruyère. At first I was a little sad because I couldn’t taste the guava, and really that’s what sold me on it, but a couple of bites in I got to it and all was forgiven. The jammy sweetness of the guava, mixed in with the salty crunch of the bacon, the crispy potato bits and the gooey, melted cheese all over that juicy, soft patty made for near perfect deliciousness!  And to make matters even better, LoKal’s patties, ground fresh in-house, are made from free-range, grass fed, hormone free cows, all of which makes me feel much better about the 5 million calories I ingested. Oh and instead of making me choose between regular and sweet potato fries, I was able to do 50/50… at NO ADDITIONAL COST. Can you believe it? All for just $11! In New York, that would’ve been pushing $20.

Key Lime pie, the best dessert to come out of Florida

In keeping with the Florida fat-kid theme, I went with the one thing I absolutelyhaveto have whenever I’m in town, key lime pie. LoKal’s was a huge slice of creamy, cool, zesty lime custard on a crunchy graham cracker crust topped with a fluffy mountain of fresh whipped cream and graham cracker crumbles. It had the all the rights amount of sweet, tart, tangy and creamy that make it one of my favorites. It was the perfect way to end a really affordable, easy and just damn-good burger outing. And really, I’m always in the mood for one of those.

LoKal Burgers & Beer on Urbanspoon


My Miami

People who think they know Miami based solely on their having been to South Beach are the same breed of dummy who form their entire opinion of New York based on Times Square. One is just as loud, expensive, and tourist-clogged as the other, and neither paints an accurate picture of the greater cities they’re in. And while I don’t go as far out of my way to avoid the beach like I do Times Square, I don’t particularly run to it when I’m in town either.

Scotty's Landing, an old favorite

Instead, like on my last visit to Miami for my sister’s graduation, I prefer Coconut Grove, a more mellow, artsy, relaxed part of Miami, and one that I have lots of good memories in from growing up in the city. One of my favorite places in the Grove and Miami in general is Scotty’s Landing, so I decided to take Flaneur there.

Conch fritters

Scotty’s is a super casual, semi-hidden spot located right on the water near the Grove marina (another place I have fond memories of from a Miami adolescence) and the food is nothing fancy but yet always comforting to me. They serve things like fish and chips, burgers, and mozzarella sticks. But every time I’ve ever gone there I’ve ordered the same thing, and this time was no different: conch fritters.

Slightly sweet and doughy, these fried balls of conch, which of course come with a side of tangy marinara sauce, are my favorite. They’re no better than mozz sticks or jalapeño poppers, but I love them. Add a cold beer and a warm breeze blowing off the water, and you have everything I could want out of an afternoon in Miami.