Heading to Miami soon? Trying to figure out the best places to eat? Whether you’re looking for duck confit wrapped in a tortilla or a Frito Pie Melt, we’ve got you covered right here with a list of the tastiest destinations to hit while you’re in town.
2300 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127
These reviews of Coyo Taco and Miss Cheezious originally appeared April 20, 2015.
Enjoying all the road has to offer makes for fine column fodder, but it also makes for a swollen gut. So, for the five days leading up to this review, calories were counted. Salads were ordered. Carbohydrates were limited to the complex. I figured I could keep things light for a long stretch and drop a few pounds.
Then I found myself in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood on Friday night at a de facto bachelor party for my friend Steve. Steve was one of the last dominos to fall from our group of friends at the college newspaper, and the occasion had to be feted. But I was only going to offer moral support. I had eaten my allowance for the day. And those drinks? All empty carbs.
But Carlos Frias, a brilliant scribe who has somehow convinced the Palm Beach Post to pay him to write a lot about beer, had planned the night well. He had steered us toward places where none of us had to be The Old Guy In The Club. And he had included one stop on the itinerary he knew would knock me off the wagon.
So that’s how I wound up staring at the menu at Coyo Taco a few minutes shy of midnight. We had arrived about a half-hour earlier to find a line for tacos snaking around the building. We walked past that line and through a door marked “Employees Only.” This led to a hallway, which led to a tight, dark, wood-paneled bar that played reggae and served carefully crafted tequila concoctions. Non-Bob Marley reggae blasted as a bartender who looked as if she’d just walked off the set of a Pitbull video muddled jalapenos for a drink called a Fuego. She rimmed the glass with habanero powder and then poured the makings of a premium margarita over the jalapenos. The heat of the peppers amplified the chill of the triple sec, lime juice and tequila. By the time my glass was empty, the crowd from the taco area had begun to pack the secret bar that wasn’t much of a secret.
Still, I planned to behave from a culinary standpoint. One tequila drink would not impair my judgment. One glance at that menu would. The first item on Coyo’s menu is the Carnitas de Pato. That’s right, meat of the duck. The very first item the place presents to the world is duck confit dabbed with Serrano salsa and wrapped in a just-made corn tortilla. I didn’t stand a chance. Before I knew it, I had ordered two duck tacos, two Alambres (steak and bacon tacos), two Camarons (shrimp and mango slaw tacos) and an ear of Mexican street corn.
The duck taco belongs in the lead-off spot, because it grabs the taste buds in the same way that it grabs the eyes in its position on the menu. The salsa cuts the richness of the duck, and the entire package blends perfectly with each bite. I liked the steak-and-bacon and the shrimp tacos, but I should have ordered six duck tacos. Or maybe I should have ordered 10.
7418 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
After finishing at Coyo Taco, we found something parked in front of a bar which was much more interesting than what was going on inside of said bar: the Ms. Cheezious food truck. For less than the price of a mixed drink at most of the surrounding bars, Ms. Cheezious offered custom grilled cheese sandwiches and melts. As we’ve discussed before, the only people who don’t like grilled cheese are the lactose intolerant and the insane.
Ms. Cheezious offers diners several of its own creations, including the Frito Pie melt (chili, American cheese, jalapenos, onions and Fritos on sourdough) or the Goat Cheese and Prosciutto (those two items with tomato and arugula on marble rye), but diners are encouraged to build their own sandwich. I didn’t want to overdo it, so I ordered a melt with cheddar, bacon and spiced apples on sourdough. This may sound odd, but my reasoning was sound. If cheddar can enhance an apple pie – and does it ever – then apples can enhance the venerable grilled cheese. Bacon, meanwhile, enhances everything.
The sandwich confirmed my hunch. The tart apples provided an ideal foil for the savory melted cheese and bacon. The sourdough kept the festivities from getting too sweet. There would be sweetness aplenty the next night at the wedding—congratulations, Steve and Pattie—but that post-midnight snack needed an edge. I’m back on salad duty now, and I regret nothing.