Monday, August 28, 2017

Review of American Social, Brickell

If you look up places around Brickell, American Social seems to pop up constantly. They’ve a cool insta-page and it kind of feels like an A&F type place. Myself and guest star Carl were in search of weekend sustenance before a day hitting the shops in Sawgrass Mills. We strolled down to the venue which overlooks one of Miami’s many waterways, which is nice.

After being redirected to a nearby coffee shop for 30 minutes until the system came up and they could seat us..we went back around to the still empty American Social and were told to see the hostess for seating, who then told us to pick a seat in the center.. Several minutes later we were told we had to move as someone had booked this table, (It’s worth noting, at this point, Matt got a little snappy with the waiter and later apologized). What was killing poor Matt was that there was seating for maybe 150 people, but we were the only people there AND still needed to be moved!

 - Rant Over -

The food….

American Social offers punters access to unlimited omelets for $21.50… I mean how many omelets could someone really want? We decided to go with the default brunch option the world over – Eggs Benedict. I like when places try to add a twist to a classic dish to improve or make it stand out. BUT – if you are going to do this, you need to get the basics right first. It’s like the Walk-Off in Zoolander, you must first duplicate, the elaborate!

The problem with their Benny was primarily a lack of care. The muffin/crumpet was too tough, so that when you tried to cut through it with a standard knife, you make a mess trying to separate the piece you want to eat – from the rest. It’s just laziness from the Chef and staff. If the bread is tough, consider a serrated blade.

Apart from the bread, the other issue was CD-sized disc of tomato they had wedged in there too. Tomato doesn’t belong in an Eggs Benedict. It’s too watery and doesn’t add anything to the dish. (BLT – completely different story).

The highlight of the dish was the home fries, which vary in interpretation from place to place in the states - much like the Eggs Benedict. They were hot, sweet and cooked very well. There was either cinnamon or caramelizing of the potatoes and onions which gave them a soft/sweetness which lends itself well to a brunch dish.

The other major highlight of the dining experience was our waiter, also named Matt – who was a great sport, put up with Hangry Matt and joked with us throughout the morning. Really decent guy.

All in all, the place is a bit too big to care about an individual. You get the sense that it’s quite corporate, again the use of terms like ‘The System’ never bodes well for me when it comes to service. If you are with a bigger group who just want a big open outdoor space with good views to hang out and eat some food, this place is for you. It’s not a little hidden gem that will surprise you. 

It’s a safe bet.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Threefold Cafe, Coral Gables, Miami

Review of Threefold Café, 141 Giralda Avenue, Coral Gables, Miami

Okay, so it’s been about 4 years since we posted…… so apologies, we’ve been living and eating!

A lot has changed but a lot stays the same like finding a gem of a place or a super deal. One thing The Early Birds are probably doing a lot more of though is eating healthier or being more aware of the good, the bad and the ugly food wise.

After a few years living in the Caribbean, Matt has recently moved to Miami. Mostly for Instagram posts followed closely by work.. Getting the lay of the land of Miami eateries is tricky, there are many distinct genres that are distinctly of Miami. Cuban food seems to have evolved in Miami (along with very their good and sweet coffee).

Brunch is an event in Miami, and many of you who have been to 'Western' Hotels in Dubai or Vegas will know about bottomless Mimosa Brunches that can rage on for hours. It also happens here.
My new current favourite is the @Threefold Café in Coral Gables. It offers what I would consider a ‘Traditional Brunch’ – basically creative names for bastardised Eggs Benedict and adding ‘Smashed Avocado’ to most things on the menu.

Threefold Café does really, really good coffee. Probably the best I’ve had in the Miami /US to date. Which isn’t that hard, given the reheated sludge that’s regularly passed around in vats. This coffee is ground fresh for every cup by a very cool Barista guy, which is noisy due to the polished concrete floors – but definitely worth it, even if you have a hangover. Which you almost certainly do.
I’ve been here 3 times and ordered the same thing each time, which as a food blogger, is a bit limiting.

The Smashed Avo (obviously) includes; ‘Smashed Avocado, feta, lime and basil, butter & thyme roasted mushroom on ZTB bread [Add 1 (or more…) soft poached eggs* for $2.0 each] and is really well done. I think what makes this dish stand out from many other similar attempts is the mushroom and the lime. There is a freshness that comes through the feta & lime that lifts the dish from being a bit of a chew with the sourdough bread and avo, to something a lot lighter. I asked for the Siraccha hot sauce which (for me at least*) sets off the dish. I added a soft poached egg to it, because you can’t have brunch without eggs.

Price $13 + $2 for the Egg + $3 for an excellent Americano coffee + a tip round it to about $22.00. I know it sounds a lot, but again, this is Miami..

To sum up; great coffee, great service, straight forward menu, hip place. Go.

*After 2+ years in the Caribbean, I have become somewhat addicted to Hot Sauce / Hot Peppa / Scotch Bonnet.

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Stay Classy
The Early Birds