A Regional Thai Brunch at Khong River House

If you live in a cosmopolitan city and you love to eat, chances are that you’ve sampled Thai cuisine at one point in your life. Anyone who considers themselves a foodie is most likely very familiar with the coconut milk-enriched curries, the flavors of lemongrass and galangal, the fiery nam prik chilis, and the sweet undertones from the addition of creamy palm sugar. Miami isn’t generally known for having a large Thai constituency, but that doesn’t deter from the fact that we have a generous selection of good Thai restaurants, and with good reason: the complex flavors of Thai cuisine tend to fare well in a tropical climate like that of South Florida. Nevertheless, what many of us think we know about Thai cuisine is just the tip of the iceberg...or in the case of Thailand, the tip of the peninsula. Thailand, while a lot smaller than the US, is a large, very old, and quite diverse country, and the majority of the Thai cuisine that is available in Miami and much of the rest of the country is the fiery, aggressively flavored cuisine of the south. While southern Thai cuisine is arguably delicious, discovering the cuisines of northern Thailand is a true epiphany that will turn any newbie into an instant convert leading them to thumb through the pages of Thai menus looking for sticky rice and Chiang Rai sausages. We used to have an authentic northern Thai restaurant in Kendall many years ago, but it appeared as if Miami just wasn’t quite ready to embrace a Thai cuisine that was dissimilar to the coconut milk curries, pad thai, and heaps of jasmine rice most people were familiar with. It wasn’t until the foodie revolution hit Miami hard that the 305 was ready to embrace regional ethnic cuisines, and that’s when John Kunkel decided to open Khong River House on Lincoln Road in the old Miss Yip’s space.

Where to Eat This Christmas

For some reason, it seems as if time really flew between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, which means that most of us have been scrambling to get our greeting cards and presents in order, as well as trying to keep track of the various holiday functions we feel obliged to attend. When your main preoccupation is trying to find just one good gift for your mom and realizing that you haven’t sent anything to your in-laws while they sent you a box of presents, the last thing on your mind is planning a Christmas (or Noche Buena) feast. Sure, you can do what I do and round up a selection of charcuterie and cheeses from Graziano’s and Epicure to nibble at throughout the holiday - or visit a Blue Sky for your lechón - but with so many fabulous restaurants offering such wonderful Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners, it’s hard not to take the easy way out and leave the preparations to the gourmet chefs. If you’re finding yourself in Miami without dinner plans this Christmas, let Joonbug outline a few suggestions for you:

Best Restaurants for Celebrating Thanksgiving

It might not be the same for everyone, but in my experience, Thanksgiving is that very special holiday when some of the worst cooks consider themselves to be award-winning chefs. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been a victim of such atrocities as a coleslaw-ambrosia salad combination, an unnaturally colored cool whip and graham cracker crumb dessert, or a casserole so replete with cream, butter, cheese, and bacon that it constitutes one’s allowable fat intake for the entire year. Trying to dissuade these mad scientists turned amateur cooks from contributing to your Thanksgiving feast can quickly become an ugly scene with all the crying, fighting, and emotion of a 90’s talk show. Trying to trick yourself into making your relative’s multicolored congealed salad into a suitable side dish for your chestnut and morel stuffed bird has proven futile...and quite ridiculous. The only solution to make everyone happy is to leave the cooking to the professionals this Thanksgiving and going to a restaurant. If your ideal Turkey Day is one in which there are no dishes to wash and you’re not stuck with a week’s worth of leftovers, then you should definitely check out Joonbug’s recommendations for restaurants offering some of the best Thanksgiving dinners in South Florida this year.

Have a Delicious Halloween

Upon thinking about the many holidays we celebrate throughout the year, most of them revolve around least to a foodie. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and even Chanukah and Passover center around some sort of banquet. Even patriotic holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day involve some sort of special meal comprising delicacies that are reserved for little else than those specific holidays. Halloween, while definitely a swell time to partake in ghastly amounts of candy, is not what one would consider an “eating holiday”. Nevertheless, a true gourmand would never pass up the opportunity to enjoy terrific food, regardless of the occasion, and Miami’s top eateries promise to offer us foodies some delicious Halloween treats.

Juvia Brings a Higher Level of Dining

Sometimes, all you really need is a change of scenery and some good food. Luckily for South Floridians, you won’t need to tread far for this one.

Recently opened at 1111 Lincoln Road, Juvia is raising the bar (or the elevator) for sophisticated eaters in Miami. The restaurant is located on the penthouse level of the visually stunning building which can be accessed on the corner of Lincoln Road and Lennox Avenue. There, private elevators transport guests to the top where you’ll encounter an alluring oasis made to entice your every sense from the Amazon Rainforest-inspired vertical garden to the unobstructed views of the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay.

Halloween Restaurant Events

And finally, a scrumptious four-course prix fixe menu awaits you at Quattro Gastronomia Italiana just a short walk away. After an amuse-bouche of mini arancini with ham and porcini served with marinara, fresh wild mushrooms and truffle Robiola cheese crostini, sample antipasti like carpaccio di manzo with mustard dressing, lemon dressed mache, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan flakes. Do not fear, little monsters, for Quattro would never forget dessert! Guests can enjoy an assortment of seasonal inspired treats like pumpkin and pecan pies or their famous homemade classic tiramisu to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Nightmare Above Lincoln Road Halloween Party

For just one night, the penthouse at 1111 Lincoln will turn into an exclusive Halloween Party Scene. The annual Nightmare Above Lincoln Road charity Halloween event benefits The Little Lighthouse Foundation, assisting children and their families in South Florida who struggle with medical, educational, emotional and financial challenges. The party starts Saturday, October 29th at 9PM and winds down at 2AM.

This year’s theme is fire, complete with décor to stimulate all your senses including red lighting, video-projected flames on the walls and 34 foot ceilings, fog, comfy sofas and a custom sound system. Cato K will be in the DJ booth and local restaurants will provide some munchies in between your trips to the Fire Bar, also sponsored by Grey Goose. If you need to put some finishing touches on your face, M.A.C. and Macy’s will have a make-up station set up. There will also be a photo booth to capture you and your friends in your best costumes.

Retail Therapy For Your Tax Day Blues

April 15th usually means one thing--it's time to pay up. Maybe you're an early bird and already filed your taxes weeks ago; maybe you're scrambling to meet the ominous deadline. Hell, maybe you just don't feel like dealing with it right now and filed for an extension (why do today what you can put off until October, right?), but no matter what your situation, hardly anyone is enthuasiatic about emptying their pockets for the IRS. Tax Day is just gloomy, and even though it was pushed back to the 18th this year, that doesn't make us any more optimisitic about parting with our hard earned dollars

Rosa Mexicano Now In Miami Beach

Originally opened in 1984 in Midtown Manhattan, Rosa Mexicano was hailed as elevating Mexican cuisine to an upscale fare. Now with the opening of its second South Florida location on Lincoln’s Road’s stunning Herzog & de Mueron plaza at 1111 Lincoln Road, Rosa Mexicano brings its chic vibe and authentic Mexican cuisine to Miami Beach. As I stare out my office window at their al fresco diners, I wish I was eating their signature table-side prepared guacamole right now! Not only is Rosa Mexicano known for their made-to-order guacamole, their signature tacos de panza de puerco (pork belly tacos) served on house-made tortillas, with spicy piloncillo pickles and fiery molcajete salsa, is also a must-try! If you have not tried their Frozen Pomegranate Margarita, what are you waiting for? We included it in our list of must-have Spring Break drinks!