Last night Yelp Miami took over the Little Haiti Cultural Center for a culinary showdown of epic proportions: Yelp's Big Bite. The premise of the event is simple genius. Yelp convenes Miami's top culinary professionals to showcase their best food and invites Yelp users to sample and vote for the "Best Bite" of the competition. That translated into the #ThankYouMiami team, including our new intern Celeste (welcome, Celeste!) eating our way through over 15 different dishes and desserts in the course of three hours. As we proceed to recount the deliciousness we consumed, remember we just came off of illness-induced starvation and that these are some of the first "normal" (a/k/a non-bland) foods we've eaten in two weeks.
We started with a ceviche and corn salad from Coya Miami, both of which were delicious enough to make us question why we've never stopped by their restaurant in Brickell. We then systematically tackled Whole Foods Market's take on spaghetti marinara—a hollowed kumato stuffed with zoodles and ricotta—and Toro Toro's soy braised pork lettuce wraps, which were sufficiently impressive to garner Celeste's "Best Bite" vote. Four dishes down, we ventured to Repour's table for some refreshments, specifically a colorful gin punch with sage, cucumber, citrus, and fresno chiles. We're obsessed with spicy drinks and cocktails with chiles so their concoction really hit the spot.
Following our short "water" break, our mindful eating habits quickly went down hill. Healthier fare avalanched into heart attack central at a pace reserved only for true food aficionados, particularly ones that haven't had anything yummy to eat in weeks. It started slowly with a sample of Bonding's massaman curry (another dish that got a vote from us) and spiraled into a whirlwind of Colombian hotdogs and quesadillas from Los Verdes, smoked fish ceviche from Sabores by Chef James, a pork bun with chicharrón from Buns and Buns (the third and final #ThankYouMiami vote recipient), a guava rum bundt from Scrumptious Sweets MIA, milk and cookies from Sweetness Bakeshop, and a piece of mission fig chocolate from Romanico's all within the course of 10 minutes. The rest of the event we spent it wistfully eyeing the banana nutella whoopie pies from Jessi Bakes, the triple chocolate chunk cookies and vanilla bean floats from Cheeseburger Baby, and the pumpkin s'more from Exquisito Chocolates because, well, even Kobayashi eventually reaches a point where no more food fits in his stomach no matter how much he wants it.
Other notable accomplishments of the night were unrelated to food. We finally met the team behind Yo! Miami and snagged one of their super awesome Miami art calendars. We also got a chance to witness Nate Dee live painting another one of his incredible portrait creations (you may remember him and his work from our recap of the A&E District's A Blank Canvas event). And, finally, we found a new favorite local band to fan girl over called the Magic City Hippies. Unfortunately we didn't get a good picture of them playing (we blame Mercury being in retrograde). All in all, it was a successful event particularly considering we lived to tell the tale.
Did you attend Yelp's Big Bite? Who did you give your vote to for "Best Bite"? Which of the featured culinary professionals have you tried before? Which of their dishes do you recommend? Have you attended any other Yelp events? Which ones do you recommend? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!