Archive for ‘MIami Lakes Restaurants’

July 22, 2011

Thai Cafe Brings It Home With Their Tofu Curry

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

If you’re looking for a mild curry, and you’re vegetarian, look no further than Thai Cafe.  This little pearl of a place doesn’t get the credit it deserves.  Just at the tip of Main Street in Miami Lakes, on the way out to the Palmetto, lies a discovery of tastes waiting to happen.  Thai Cafe serves up a scrumptious meal including: Thai fried rice and Tofu Curry with Vegetables.  The sauce is the perfect thickness, the curry is so mild you can enjoy spoonful after spoonful without having to pick up a glass of water. Their service is friendly but not overwhelming, the prices are about average for the area; between $8.50 and $15 for lunch and you don’t have to wait in line for a seat.  Make sure you try their Thai Iced tea, it’s a perfect addition to your meal.

Four carrots!

For more information on this restaurant, go to http://www.thaicafemiamilakes.com/

July 22, 2011

A Taste of Thai Café: Miami Lakes, FL

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Today I told Jessica I had a craving for something different, so we thought and thought, finally remembering one of our favorite little places right in the heart of Miami Lakes. Outside the restaurant is a charming street filled with jewelry shops, imported clothing and several boutiques and restaurants. Within the restaurant, warm lighting and décor are accented by Bombay-style ceiling fans. The staff is always extremely friendly, as well as the owners (whom I’ve never met, but have seen on the local South Florida show “Check, please! South Florida” starring chef Michelle Bernstein).

Wanting something a little more satisfying than veggie sushi, I opted for the vegetable fried rice and cup of miso soup. I’d never had the fried rice here, but knowing how much I love Vietnamese style fried rice, I was hoping the Thai version would be just as tasty. My first course of miso soup was wonderful. The miso soup here is freshly made, which is a nice change from several “Americanized” sushi, Thai and Japanese restaurants around, and the flavor profile of the tofu, nori and fresh broth was amazing. My main course, the vegetable fried rice, was not quite as tasty as I expected, but still good. It would have been nice to have more fresh vegetables, fried onions and other seasonings. There was a ton of rice! But for the price and location, this is still one of my favorite restaurants lining Main Street and for a $10 lunch of this quality, we will certainly be back.

June 17, 2011

Miami Lakes’ Own Tex-Mex Haven: Cancun Grill

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

A substantial, healthy meal is hard to come by in Miami Lakes, FL, the mecca of chain restaurants and fast food. However in the middle of this mess is an inconspicuous Tex-Mex restaurant named Cancun Grill that actually offers several vegetarian options. While I haven’t yet tried, I’m sure they would also amend some of these options to be vegan, as well.

Their triple vegetarian combination is my favorite dish here. It comes with a black bean tostada, a veggie enchilada and a spinach quesadilla, with a side of refried beans and yellow rice. It is enough food for at least two people, and at a price of just $7.00, it really is a steal. The veggie enchilada actually comes sans cheese, so it could possibly be vegan (not sure about the butter content). It is really delicious, though. Freshly cut squash and zucchini wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and topped with a tomato salsa. The vegetables seem to be marinated and then steamed fresh; they have a great fresh bite and wonderful flavor. The spinach quesadilla is actually more full of steamed spinach than cheese, with just a little bit of cheese, but I love spinach so I am more than happy with it. It’s also a nice change from the normal cheese-laden, flavorless quesadillas of chain restaurants. A toasted tortilla really makes a difference with flavor, too.

By the time I’ve tackled both the spinach quesadilla and the veggie enchilada, I’m usually too full to continue. The refried beans are good, but not much different from what I’ve tasted in other Tex-Mex establishments. The yellow rice pales in comparison with the other items on the plate. I do like the black bean tostada, but it isn’t my favorite item in the dish. It is basically two crunch-fried corn tortillas topped with a heavy serving of black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese and sour cream. I normally nibble on just the black beans as I’m deciding that I really should stop because my stomach feels like it’s going to explode.

While the noise level is lively, it isn’t anything overwhelming. I’ve not been here during dinner, however during lunch they do have quite a following. And that’s good – that means turnover is good, the food is fresh and they have tons of regulars.

At the moment their website is down, however Menu Pages has a good listing on them that includes their menu:

http://southflorida.menupages.com/restaurants/cancun-grill/menu

June 16, 2011

You Don’t have To Go To Mexico (Cancun Grill is here!)

by jem614

By Jessica Michael


Ashley and I found out that Cancun Grill now has several vegetarian options a few months ago and we’ve been going back ever since.

Growing up in the Southwest, it was essential for me to have a love of Mexican food.  My mom used to make homemade tortillas and would pair it with a pot of chili or just beans with cheese and that was dinner.  During the summertime she would buy bags of dried chilis, soak them in water and then strip them of their seeds to make chili rellenos (vegetarian) that were to die for but then again my mom’s food was always the best.

Home cooked meals can never compare with store bought but today’s lunch at Cancun was really delicious.  The vegetarian enchiladas were covered in this sweet mole or chipotle sauce and contained corn, carmelized onions and mushrooms.  The side of refried beans covered in cheese is perfect mixed in with the rice.  They don’t get it right all the time but there is something about that sauce that keeps me coming back.

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Freshly Made Chips and Salsa

Mushroom Enchiladas with Chipotle

Watch Out Vegans! That’s alot of Cheese!

The waiters here are very attentive but if you’re looking for a quiet place to hang out, this is not the place for you.  Loud, gaffawing and half-drunken patrons are the norm, especially when they serve margaritas at lunch during the work week (I may be over exaggerating a little here but just a little).

For some reason their website says “this account has been suspended” but if you want to check them, just stop in at lunch time – right off the Palmetto on the west side of 154th in Miami Lakes.

June 6, 2011

My Biggest Weakness- Italy Today

by jem614

by Jessica Michael

If you were to ask me today what my absolute favorite meal would be, I would have to say the Greek Salad Pizza at Italy Today in Miami Lakes.  It’s like Kryptonite to Superman, I seriously get weak in the knees when I think about this pizza.

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I’m sure it’s not the least caloric food in the world but just look at that healthy greek salad on top of the whole wheat crust, sprinkled with olive oil and crumbles of Mozzarella.  Is your mouth watering yet?  How about calamata olives and onions and diced tomatoes thrown in?  On top of that, if you go for the lunch special it’s only $7.50 including a drink (be aware that this is only for sit-in, if you order take out they charge you $10 for just the pizza, not including the drink). This pizza is so simple you could probably make it vegan at home with some sprouted grain tortillas (Ash’s suggestion) and vegan cheeze (especially since I’m TRYING to go dairy free).
The only negative of Italy Today is that the service is not always the friendliest, they don’t always greet you with a smile but the food is still worth it.  Our waitress today was actually really sweet, a couple of months ago it was a gentlemen that could have cared less we were in his section.  He obviously didn’t care about tips and I made sure mine wasn’t memorable (in a good way anyway).
This restaurant is right in the heart of Main Street in Miami Lakes, for a view of their menu go to http://southflorida.menupages.com/restaurants/italy-today/.
Overall, I should say they get 4 carrots because of the touch and go service but the pizza is so amazing, I’m basing it on the pizza alone.  5 Carrots!

May 20, 2011

Elevation Burger Part II

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I had extremely high hopes for this restaurant after the first signs were posted on its windows a few months ago. It’s located dead behind my all-time favorite fast food restaurant, Chic-Fil-A, which is how I found it. Jessica and I have been talking for so long about how we need more vegetarian lunch options in the neighborhood, and sure enough, Elevation offers two: one for vegetarians and one for vegans.

The first vegetarian patty they offer is rice-based and, according to the owner Magali Vannier, contains mozzarella cheese for flavor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste the mozzarella cheese and the rice made the patty a little dry. The second option is vegan, with no cheese in the patty, and is entirely vegetable-based. It is moist, yet thinner, and more abundantly seasoned. I wasn’t so sure about this place after our first visit eating the vegetarian burger, however after our vegan burger, I’m positive we’ll return.

As Jessica mentioned, they offer the choice to put any burger, including the organic grass-fed beef patties, on lettuce instead of their roll. I highly recommend this, especially with the vegan burger, as the flavor was actually much better without a hunk of bread in the way. And just as Ms. Vannier said to us the first time we met her, it certainly leaves more room for the fries.

My suggestion to Elevation Burger? VEGAN CHEESE! I actually ordered a vegan burger with cheddar and felt like it was sacrilege

The french fries here are cooked in heart-healthy olive oil, which is certainly a step up from canola oil. The only problem is that they seem to be hit and miss. With the burning point of olive oil so low, it is really difficult to get a good crisp fry without it absorbing tons of oil. The first time we visited the fries were excellent, perfectly salted and crispy. This time they fell a little short, but they weren’t incredibly greasy, just somewhat limp. Hopefully this was just an off day for them.

The ordering process here is similar to many other fast-food restaurants, you choose the patty and basic sandwich that you want, add your own toppings, and then order fries and/or a drink. You pay and then a food runner will bring the tray to you when you’re ready. There is a drink fountain as well as milkshakes available. The milkshakes were good, but incredibly rich and only one size, something I wouldn’t be able to eat more than once every month or two. It would be great if they sold kid’s sizes for the option of indulging a little more often.

Overall, this place is a great step towards healthier, vegetarian and vegan cuisine in Miami Lakes. It is certainly wonderful to have options other than salads and Asian food. While they do have a few little kinks to work out, it is a great establishment and one that I will most certainly frequent. For being open only two weeks, they have much more time ahead of them to learn and grow.

May 20, 2011

Elevation Burger Takes it to New Heights Part 1

by jem614

A new burger joint opened up in Miami Lakes and we went to investigate last week.  After a less than stellar first impression with their #1 Vegetarian burger (it was a bit dry), we decided to give them another try today.  After all, the owner Magali Vannier, was extremely nice and suggested that we try their Vegan Burger wrapped in lettuce so “we can eat the fries without the guilt”.  Her friendly demeanor and helpfulness is also reflected in her staff.  In fact, when you get to Elevation Burger, you stand in a short line to order then you go sit down and wait for someone to bring you your meal, I love it already.  One of the worst parts about fast food places is the standing in line!

Elevation Burger prides itself on its grass fed beef and healthier burger options.  They use olive oil for their fries, which Ashley in her infinite wisdom has suggested may be an issue because Olive Oil does not cook as well at higher temps.  Regardless, they were delicious and abundant and I only finished half of them.  You also have to try the amazingly scrumptious shakes that we had last week but because I’m kicking the dairy habit, I did not go for a second round today.  The shakes are thick and creamy and you can choose two additions (oreos, cherries etc) to add into your shake (note to all of you who watched Jamie Oliver on Letterman, we still had the Vanilla Ice Cream in this one and it tasted nothing like beaver).

On to the burger- today’s #2 VEGAN burger was really quite good.  It’s a mostly vegetable patty that is really moist and wrapped in the lettuce, I actually had ZERO guilt eating it.  On the plus side it looked kind of snazzy wrapped in a large leaf of lettuce.  The only negative to this burger would be that I would have preferred it being wrapped in a more nutritious lettuce like romaine or for the more healthy people, Kale (granted, Kale is not the greatest tasting lettuce on its own) but it’s really not worth the complaint when you can add our own toppings of which I had added tomato and pickles and onions.

To top it all off, I left with a refill of their Orange Cinnamon Tea that reminded me of a summer version of apple cider.

I will be going back.

Update: 6/8/2011
We did go back! Discovered a new treasure at Elevation Burger- the most amazing chocolate oatmeal cookies.  You must stop by and try!
The cookies seriously deserves a Five Carrot Crunch!

May 18, 2011

Heaven and Earth – Part II

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Pho lovers rejoice – there is a heavenly veggie version just a short drive from Miami. A traditional pho with a twist, Green Papaya’s version is loaded with freshly cut broccoli, onions, carrots, cucumbers and perfectly boiled tofu. Hints of cilantro and mint finish this delightful concoction of veggie Vietnamese goodness.

For those who haven’t yet tried Pho, it is a soup that originated in the Nam Dinh province of Vietnam. It is traditionally served with either chicken or uber-rare beef, the meat cooking in the steaming broth, and garnished with bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, hot sauce, jalapenos, lime wedges and various other regional pastes, sauces and herbs.

Green Papaya does make the more traditional chicken and beef Pho, being the omnivore that I am I’ve tried both thinking they might be better than the veg version, but nothing can top the amazing Heaven and Earth Soup. Delicate noodles dance around the bowl, marrying with vegetables and tofu into a truly amazing dish that could inspire even the most stubborn omnivore that not all vegetables are evil.

Green Papaya itself is a super cute mom-and-pop sort of a place, and while they have a bit of turnover with their employees, the staff has always been friendly. As Jessica mentioned before me, the wait time for food can be a little long (hopefully meaning that they are preparing each dish fresh, as they sometimes have quite a wait even when they’re empty), but the food is more than worth it.

Another must-try for my omnivorous friends is the special fried rice, which has to be the most delicious and different fried rice I’ve ever tasted in my life. For all, the boba tea they serve there is also quite tasty, but I cannot attest to its authenticity as I have never tried another boba tea. Their version of Taro Boba Tea is a purplish-blue color with a slightly fruity flavor. The most fun part about the boba tea are the tapioca balls that swim along the bottom of the glass. They provide you with a large-mouth straw to pull up the pinball-sized morsels, who knew you could chew tea?

Green Papaya is a must-try for any Pho fanatic, especially those who are looking for a healthier, vegetarian alternative. Prices are a little steep for the area, at around $15.00 per person including soup, boba tea, tax and tip.

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