Dee Dee’s Ami

Every winter as a child and teenager, I would visit my grandparents  in southern Florida. I have gone back many times as an adult and every time I do, I always find that there is so much nostalgia that surrounds it. Certain restaurants, smells and inside jokes with my brothers undoubtedly surface and it brings me right back to my childhood every time.

One story that my mother loves to tell, took place before I was born. Like every Jew in America, a trip to Florida always involved a night in Miami, where we waited for hours to eat at the infamous Joe’s Stone Crab. My grandmother, Dee Dee, had been referencing going to Miami and my brother overheard. Later on, when my mother mentioned Miami, my brother matter-of-factly said, “It’s not your ami, it’s Dee Dee’s ami.” To this day, every time I hear Miami, that story replays in my head.

Miami has taken on a new meaning for me as an adult. One of my best friends from high school has lived there for years and a trip to Miami now means spending time with her and her new baby and of course, trying the amazing restaurants.

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Prosecco for us, pacifier for Emma

On my most recent visit, the two of us went for drinks on the bay with the baby and to dinner later on just the two of us. Having only one night there, it was difficult to choose a restaurant, but Yardbird Southern Kitchen and Bar came highly recommended and it completely lived up to everything I had heard.

Miami has such an eclectic mix of restaurants and Yardbird’s ambiance is hipster meets Southern belle. Fresh herbs adorn the bar for craft cocktails and intimate tables feel community-like. We spoke with both parties on either side of us.

This particular friend is not particularly adventurous (strike one) does not like to share (strike two) and happens to love ordering everything on the side of her dish (strike three). Basically, she orders a clean plate. Luckily, we found a way to meet in the middle and I convinced her to betray Paleo for the evening…well, a little bit anyway.

The Sunday chicken has had a starring role in my dreams for the last two weeks. Imagine the most perfect roasted chicken taken to another level by an herb and breadcrumb crust rubbed underneath the skin to create a juicy stuffing. Yeah. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

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Slow roasted whole chicken, herb butter breadcrumbs, marble potatoes, roasted garlic, rosemary, thyme, chicken jus

Then there were the buttermilk biscuits. So fluffy, so fresh, hot, doughy. I could keep listing adjectives but you would be better off just making a point to go there.

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The fogginess in this picture is actual biscuit steam

The charred okra, grilled mango salad and chicken liver toast were also delicious and fresh. I did not want this meal to end and even though my list of Miami restaurants to try is growing rapidly, I think I need to give Yardbird a repeat performance.

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Butter lettuce, char-grilled mango, smoked pecans, benne seed vinaigrette

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Chicken liver toast on grilled country bread, cucumber and fresno pepper relish

The chicken and homemade biscuits alone made me wonder what was better, being in 80 degree weather or eating this meal? Either way, I surely was not ready to go home.

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