Levon The Foodie

A gal whose obsessions lie within fat, sugar, carbs, caffeine, and beverages that could strengthen the heart or seal up a womb.

Archive for the tag “NBA Finals”

The Bird Circling the Yard in SoBe – Yardbird, Miami Beach

My first assumption about the popular south beach restaurant Yardbird was – attractive food in a trendy, prohibition’esque bar with a modern twist, that taste wise would be a far cry from the heavily seasoned, cholesterol heightening, soul caressing southern cooking that I once knew before macaroni came in five artisanal cheeses.  I figured this was another South Beach interpretation of Marcus Samuelsonn’s Red Rooster in Harlem, minus the NY accents, along with every other emerging fine dining, southern restaurant I’ve been to in the past year three years.  I had all kinds of assumptions about what the food should taste like but probably wouldn’t, and I expected the price points to resemble that of a drastically inflated soul shack minus the soul, with a slight adjustment to the presentation.

My first interactions were with the friendly, and uber hip bar staff, along with the perky bus boys floating around, and the even keeled hosts.  Everyone had a pleasant and charming demeanor.  The restaurant itself had a ton of energy and zest.  This possibly due to the overflow of patrons from the NBA Finals and the ABFF (American Black Film Festival).  I caught it at that perfect time of the day when they’re in the midst of transitioning over from lunch to dinner, entitling you to that perfect spot at the bar before the dinner crowd starts to trickle in.

I have to admit, Yardbird was pretty refreshing.  It offered the ambience, the décor,


the stereotypical beautiful south beach people, and the unique, damn near artistic, menu.  The menu was a really eclectic twist on traditional southern cuisine.  It offered items such as the chicken meatloaf drenched in parsnip puree, sweat tea brined southern ribs, signature fried chicken n’ watermelon and cheddar cheese waffles.


Photo Courtesy of Yardbird Southern Table and Bar

The side fixings and appetizers included items such as chicken and sweet potato dumplings, fried green tomato BLT, and housemade strawberries and ricotta.  Along with my favorite, the macaroni and cheese with about a million different cheeses.  After having an extensive conversation with the bartender about the 99 different types of bourbons they had on deck, me being the black sheep that I am, went with the handful of vodka selections they had and ordered the Ketel One Lemon Drop vodka martini.


To even further compliment the theme, the bartender went to the back to freshly squeeze some lemonade to top my drink.  Only I would go to Mexico and order rum, so this not so rare occasion of me ordering vodka at an old school, down south, whiskey house themed restaurant in the middle of South Beach, should not be surprising at all.  Need-less-to-say, my martini was perfect, and even provided further inspiration for my entrée.  Having dined at my share of upscale southern style restaurants, I couldn’t wait to see whether this place was going to truly defeat the odds and provide a unique yet true to the tradition southern experience, or if it was going to come off like the rest of the upscale trendy southern cuisine ***clears throat fancy soul food establishments..  I secretly hoped that it wouldn’t live up to the hype, giving me ammunition to write an article on how soul food has become a lost and over-gentrified art, etc etc.  However, after seeing and tasting my fried chicken and macaroni and cheese from Yardbird… I knew it simply wasn’t going to be one of those writes.  My food was absolutely delicious.  It was.  It respectfully gave homage to the traditional art of dipping heavily battered chicken into a pan of piping hot oil and being solely responsible for the ultimate demise of one’s ability to do anything for the next two hours.


It was perfectly seasoned and prepared.  It had the right combination of seasonings perfectly married together, was beautifully presented, colorful, flavorful, rich, and filling.  The fried chicken was tasty, the macaroni was exquisite, and it was just enough.  Portion-wise, it wasn’t fine dining to the point where you have to pick at it for an hour in order to secretly fill yourself up.  It was truly a good meal.  Overall, with the super savvy wait staff and bartenders, it was truly a divine experience.  Thank you Alyssa, and thank you Imani.  I am glad you made the recommendation.  It was an absolute treat, and I would definitely give it a Levon’s Top Obsession recommendation if you’re ever in South Beach for the summer.


Burgers and Beer Joint – Packing the Miami Heat, NBA Finals

I walked into the Brickell Village complex in Miami the other night to meet a dear friend of mine from NY.  New Yorkers have a habit of traveling in packs or randomly running into each other thousands of miles away.  My old friend that I was linking up with directly from Miami International, I haven’t seen since we were at the Coffee Shop in Union Square years ago.  Yeah, that rare but not at all surprising moment in Manhattan when you very easily run into a celebrity, or in our case have one sit at your table at an outdoor cafe.  Let’s just say the last time I saw my dear, former Heart and Soul Magazine staffer / friend – Dave Chapelle walked up to our table and sat down and rapped with us for an entire five minutes.  In fan world that’s equivalent to about an hour and a half…


Photo courtesy of Comedy Central

So that was the first thought that came to mind when I walked in Brickell looking for the Burgers and Beer Joint my dear friend had designated as the meeting spot.

Moments later I entered a not so surprisingly packed bar full of anxious Miami Heat fans watching the NBA finals on all one million and two of the big screens across the bar.  I was pleasantly greeted by my friend and the entire table.  The magical moment was very gracefully interrupted by the waitress who was more interested in obtaining my order than the long time no see formalities of a newcomer to Miami.  I ordered my drink, chatted it up with the table, got them up to speed with my life as they did theirs, and then landed on a couple of ideas for snacks.  To my surprise, not only did the waitress have the disappointing announcement of running out of the popcorn shrimp that I ordered, but five minutes later after coming up with a consolation order of the Wagyu Sliders, she further destroyed the moment with the same announcement.  I thought it was actually pretty humorous.  My FPIC on the other hand didn’t once he was confronted with the same issue with his tuna sandwich.  In my foodie book, ordinarily strike three and you’re out.  I have to say though, the nostalgia of being around an old NY friend, and being in the midst of such great company with the others, laughter was the only option.  It was simply a good vibe, and I didn’t want to destroy it.  We were having a good time, and my foodie instincts told me that this place had really good burgers.

About nine trials of ordering and availability shenanigans later, I was proven correct.  The most massive onion rings soon landed on our table, enough to feed a family in Sudan.  Between that, the incredulous burger, the awesome company, and the energy from the Miami Heat fans absorbing the Finals, it was truly a perfect storm evening in Brickell Village at the Burgers and Beer Joint.

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