Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome to Miami

Eleventh Street Diner
South Beach, Florida
April 4, 2010
8ish pm

For spring break this year my husband and I debated a number of places, but ended up picking the one with great food, a great beach, and the cheapest airfare from Columbus!  Miami, South Beach, in particular was the winner.  I had been reading for years about the wonderful food scene in South Beach, but really Miami's Cuban vibe (in addition to a great beach, of course) was what really sold me on the spot. 

We landed late in the afternoon and after checking into our hotel we immediately ran out to the beach to allow our pasty white, Ohio winter ridden and chapped skin to feel the early evening sun.  After we were sure we had exposed ourselves to the last ray of the day we headed back to our hotel to enjoy a happy hour drink and debate where we should head for dinner.  I ordered a mojito from the Mariott South Beach's outside bar, Deco Blue, and while it was expensive at $11 a drink, it was the best mojito I have ever had!  The mint was freshly muddled and there was lots of it.  It had just the right mix of rum to simple syrup.  But the best part was the raw sugar cane swizzle stick garnish (like this).  After I had finished my drink I loved chewing on this and getting an extra bite of sweetness. 

I wish I would have thought to take a good picture of this drink, but my description will just have to do.  If it's any indication of how much I enjoyed this drink, despite it's price, I made this drink a daily addition to my vacation menu.

After a brief happy hour we decided to head to the Eleventh Street Diner for dinner.  At first I was going to try and make this trip exclusively Cuban since we don't have many opportunities in Columbus to have authentic Cuban food and our stay in Miami was relatively short.  But then I read so much about how good this place was, it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Erik and I had always wanted to eat in an authentic old-school dining car.  So how could we pass it up?
We arrived in South Beach on Easter and were missing our home style family Easter dinner.  Because of this we opted for diner fair for our dinner this evening instead of running straight to a Cuban joint. 

Now this diner is definitely hip and happening with some history.  As was mentioned on the restaurant's web site, the dining car was originally built in 1948 in New Jersey in the typical art deco style of its time.  After the construction in New Jersey it then served diners for 44 years in Pennsylvania before being dismantled and brought to South Beach in the early 1990's.  Its this art deco style allows it to now blend seamlessly into the current South Beach architecture.   It then opened for business in South Beach in 1992 and has been serving South beach late night partiers and early risers alike since.  Their menu is extensive, features your typical American fare, and has a full bar to boot (my guess is that the bar set up was not a part of the original design)! 

Inside, the car has retained its classic look with chrome and red vinyl seats.  You can sit at the counter, but the place also opens up to the sides with booths. 
Since I was missing my family's traditional Honeybaked Ham I opted for the ham with a sweet cherry-pineapple glaze served with a vegetable medley of yellow squash and green beans and mashed potatoes.  This was a very good and filling dish (and definitely did not help me fit into my bathing suit the next day).  The ham was sweet and flavorful, the veggies were well cooked, and the mashed potatoes had homemade lumps and flavor.  I ate every single bite!
Erik went with the French Dip Sub and French fries.  The roast beef was shaved thin, just like Erik likes it.  There was also lots of gooey Swiss cheese and the au jus was flavorful.  Erik was also happy he could enjoy his sub with a Yuengling, his favorite beer that is unable to be had in Ohio. 
The serving of fries was generous and they were cooked perfectly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. 
Overall, we were pleased with the diner and its food! 

Bill Total:  Not sure.  We paid cash and I can't find the receipt.  However, most sandwiches are in the $8-9 range and home style dinners are in the $13-15 range. 

Overall Rating:  3 buckeyes

11th Street Diner on Urbanspoon

No comments: