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Entries in Joe's Stone Crab (1)

Sunday
Jan292012

Miami in January

Hey everyone, this is Michael doing a guest post on Amy's blog.  I had the opportunity to go to Miami for work last week, so I thought I'd write a brief post about my experience...

If you've never been to Miami in January, well, all I can say is that you're missing out.  The weather was 80 degrees and sunny every day I was there.  Now I know why lots of people head south for the winter.  I was in town for a Microstrategy conference, so most of my meals were taken care of at the conference.  However, I had occasion to venture out and try a local restaurant or two while I was there.  I just thought I'd give my impressions of them.

The first restaurant I went to was Joe's Stone Crab in South Beach.  You have to understand something about me...I love seafood.  My all time favorite is crab meat, but I'll eat just about anything.  The reason I went to Joe's Stone Crab is because they are famous for their stone crabs.  Stone crabs are only in season from October to May, so you have a limited time to get your hands on these tasty treats.  I ordered "Joe's Special", which gave me a few crab claws, a sampling of their sides, and a slice of their key lime pie.  Amy had told me that she heard their key lime pie was delicious, so I wanted to try it out for myself.

All I can say is that I had no idea how much of a feast I was in for.  As you can see in the picture below, I had a virtual buffet of food at my finger tips.  Joe's Special consists of 3 crab claws, bread, cole slaw, hash browns, and creamed spinach.  Let's start with the bread since that came out first.  There is no way one person could eat all this bread, but I did try a piece or two of it.  It was simply delicious.  I wanted to eat more, but I also wanted to save room for everything else.  I will skip talking about the hash browns and creamed spinach because they weren't anything special.  However, the cole slaw was honestly one of the best side items I've ever eaten.  They make their cole slaw differently than anywhere else I've ever tried it.  Basically they take cabbage, sauerkraut, and mayo and pile them into different layers.  It is not mixed like at most restaurants.  Then they put a slice of tomato on each side.  It is up to you to decide how exactly you want to attack this yummy concoction.  I wish that more places made coleslaw like this.  

Finally, I made my way to the crab claws.  I've already mentioned how much I like crab meat, so suffice it to say I was ready for this part of the meal.  You eat stone crabs like peeling a hard boiled egg.  Just start peeling off the shell and work your way towards the meat.  The claws I got were the large size (they also had medium or jumbo).  I was delighted to find that this meant there was a lot of crab meat in the claw.  You eat stone crabs a bit differently from other types of crab.  Once you get it peeled down to the meat, you dunk it in a delicious mustard sauce and then put the meat in between your teeth and then run it through your teeth like a sucker.  There is a bit of cartilage in the claw, so running it through your teeth allows you to scrape all the meat off.  The saltiness of the meat combined with the mustard was just phenomenal.  I'm sure you could use butter if you wanted, but the mustard was just what these needed to send them over the top.  It's a shame we don't have stone crab in North Carolina because I would definitely eat them if we did.  I still think I prefer dungeness crab that you can get fresh in California, but these are a very close second.

After making my way through the main portion of my dinner, I was on to the key lime pie.  The waitress said that everything I'd heard was correct about their pie, so I was really looking forward to it.  When she set it down, it looked like an ordinary piece of pie.  Little did I know how wrong I was!  Upon my first bite, I realized that this was one of the best desserts I've ever had the pleasure of trying.  It was unbelievable how good it was.  They served it cold...very cold.  Like almost frozen cold, but not quite.  It was just soft enough to still be able to cut with a fork.  The combination of the crust, limes, and chilliness added up to an explosion in my mouth.  I am now spoiled and will find it very difficult to take seriously key lime pie from any other establishment.  There seriously just is no topping the piece I had at Joe's.  

Click pictures to see full size

I also had a chance to go to STK Miami with some of the guys from Microstategy.  STK is a very ritzy club in South Beach with black lights and funky music playing as you eat.  I don't normally drink a lot, but I thought I'd get one drink since we were waiting for our table to open up.  I sauntered up to the bar and ordered two drinks, one for myself and one for my co-worker.  I nearly fell off my seat as the bar tender told me the total was $32.  I guess I know now why Lebron James needs a $100 million contract to live in Miami.  We finally got seated, and were brought our meal.  There were two things wrong with this meal:  1)  Everything is family style (which I despise) and 2)  the food just wasn't that good.  For a place that looks as swanky as STK, this was very disappointing.  Their steak was decent, but their chimichurri sauce wasn't anything special.  Amy's blows theirs away.  Also, the sides were kind of bland and consisted of mac & cheese, fries, asparagus, jumbo shrimp etc.  I heard one guy raving about the shrimp, but to me they just seemed very chewy and tough. At least it wasn't on my dime.   I disliked their food so much that I didn't even bother to take any pictures.  I don't believe I'd return to STK Miami.

Overall the trip went well, and I am glad to have been able to spend some time in Miami.  If I'm ever back down there, you can be sure I will be making a return trip to Joe's Stone Crab.  STK Miami...not so much.