Friday, March 26, 2010

Eat It - Tony Chan's Water Club, 1717 N. Bayshore Drive, Miami, FL 305-374-8888

You know how there are like no Asians in Miami? Sounds like the start of a joke.

-Why aren't there any Asians in Miami?
-Cause they can't pronounce Florida!

That's not terrible, for something I just came up with right on the spot. It's certainly offensive enough to be a joke. How about "they can't say Atlanta, Louisiana or Carolina, so they avoid the South all together."

Sorry, got a little carried away. Anyway, if you spend your time in the Northeast or fly over the plains to the other civilized part of our great nation, the Left Coast, then you are used to seeing lots of Asians. There are Koreans and Chinese and Vietnamese and Thais all over the place. The Japanese used to come over here but after 20 years of deflation, they don't seem to travel as much. Remember when Michael Crighton wrote "Rising Sun" and we thought the Japanese were going to buy the entire state of California? Good times. Anyway, I've said it before, but it's strange for those of us accustomed to having many Asian friends to only see them sporadically here in Miami.

Restaurant review time. You know the opening scene in "Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom" in the restaurant with the Chinese version of "Anything Goes?" That's what Tony Chan's looks like. The walls are red and there's gold and black all over the place. I don't remember seeing any, but I have to assume there are some dragons in there somewhere. The larger tables even have giant lazy susans that you could wheel diamonds and poison and antidote around on. Sorry to end a sentence with not one, but two prepositions. That is something up with which I normally do not put.

And "Tony Chan" could really be the name of a movie villain, couldn't it? Especially one that came out in the 80s. He would have a big, fake smile, and a thin mustache. He laughs maniacally, of course. You know, like the bad guy in the opening scene of The Temple of Doom.

This is the best I could do for a video clip.

This whole Indiana Jones thing got me thinking about the following topic. Is Indiana Jones as cool as James Bond? Of course not, but it made me then think that maybe Batman is a comparable American character that actors really want to play. American actors don't get to be James Bond. Oh no. Not once has an American gotten to play James Bond. (I think an American actually did play James Bond in a TV show a long time ago, but that doesn't count. That was even before that dude from Around the World in 80 Days played James Bond in the original Casino Royale, a comedy.) But at least we have Batman. But now Batman AND the Joker, and wait a minute, Commissioner Gordon, all played by non-Americans. WTF! (that stands for "what the fudge," this is a food blog, after all)

I hate to admit it, but that has very little to do with reviewing a Chinese restaurant. Oh, one more thing.
You know who did the awesome Indian Jones theme song? John Williams, of course. He's only the most awesome movie composer of all time. Star Wars, Superman, Jurassic Park, all John Williams. Basically any time you've seen a movie that has really awesome music, John Williams composed it. You know the really great theme song from Meet the Press? You guessed it. John Williams. I like to say that Michael Jordan was the John Williams of basketball.

So, I'll segue smoothly to the food at Tony Chan's. You might say that Tony Chan is the John Williams of Chinese restaurants in Miami. It really is quite good. Their specialty is Peking Duck. I feel like that's a good thing to be good at if you're a Chinese restaurant. When you order it, they remove the crispy skin right at the table and make you little duck skin pancake thingies. I'm not describing it well. You know the pancakes they give you when you order mushu pork? Those. They give you those with duck skin inside and you put plum sauce on it and it's delicious.

Once you've stuffed yourself with those, then your main course comes to finish you off. Delicious. Succulent, moist. Are those the same word? Man, if you read this you must think I'm totally insane. But this is seriously how my brain races around. I think I'm going to hit golf balls after work today, btw. Need to work on my short game like Tiger Woods needs to work on the sincerity of his apologies. Any proof you need that celebrity totally screws people up and drains them of their ability to relate to normal people is right there in that dude's blank stare.

We also ordered some chicken thing and it was great. Can't remember and I've used up my allotment of time on the Temple of Doom and Batman and James Bond and John Williams stuff. You know what, that's one theme Williams didn't come up with. James Bond theme. Not John Williams. That kind of bums me out dude.

So, wrapping things up. If you want Chinese food, go to Tony Chan's, because John Williams is an awesome composer.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eat It - Pizza!

Everybody likes pizza. EVERYBODY. To not like pizza is basically the same as saying that you don't like sunsets or laughing or hot chicks wearing leggings out in public. I seriously cannot stress how awesome it is to live in an age in which this is considered socially acceptable. For the record, it is totally awesome.

Back to pizza. I love pizza. All kinds of pizza. I like really fancy pizza that comes out of a brick oven and has pine nuts and arugula on it. I love crappy plain old cheese pizza with canned sauce that you get at a bowling alley. I even love fake pizzas like the ones at California Pizza Kitchen with toppings that are meant to go in a sandwich, like mayonnaise.

You have to wonder about a pizza that cannot be saved and put in the fridge. That's why you should eat the whole thing. And I never leave the crust. I consider that a sin. If you leave the crust, you clearly were never given the "children starving in Africa" speech when you were a kid. Do parents still do that? I know that a lot has changed over the years. When I was a kid, we made a lot of Ethiopian jokes. I don't think they're considered as poor as they used to be.

But back then, when Reagan was president, it was de rigueur for rock band members to perm their hair, station wagons had wood paneling on the sides, sneakers had velcro straps, and kids made jokes about people starving in Africa. That seems wrong now that I look back on it. But we were so young then. We didn't know any better. And history seems doomed to repeat itself as the colors become more neon with each passing day. Thanks a lot, Kanye.

I believe we were talking about pizza(!). I recently dined with my good friend Andreas at Sosta on Lincoln Road. We have known each other for a long time, so we are comfortable enough to share food. We shared the oddly named Batman salad, which is what-I-thought-to-be-arugula-but-is-actually-baby-spinach with walnuts, deliciously soft goat cheese, tomatoes and a light dressing. Holy stupid name for a delicious salad!

We then split a Sosta pizza which has "sundried tomato spreads" (which is I think a tomato sauce made of sundried tomatoes), mozzarella, burrata, and prosciutto. It's really good. They wouldn't put the restaurant's name on this pizza if they didn't have full confidence in it.

So, pretty good meal for a good price on Lincoln Road (25 bucks each with tip and one drink). Can't complain about that. Plus, we always need more pizza places! Attention restaurateurs of the world: Miami also needs more burger places, more expensive steak houses and more tourist-trap Italian restaurants.

Other pizza places I love are basically everywhere you look, but I'll point out that I really like Piola, Spris, Carpaccio (Bal Harbour) and Casola's in the Grove. Or maybe it's technically in the Gables. It's off of US-1 and you can eat free pizza there while you're waiting for your pizza. Is that as American as apple pie or what?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I know that Matt Drudge gets 5,000 visits every nanosecond, but I'm mildly excited to announce that whoever was looking for a review of Tokyo Bowl on Washington Ave is my 5,000th visitor. Apparently they've opened on South Beach somehow. The Yakuza is presumably providing the start-up yen.

Congratulations, so-and-so. You win a lifetime free membership to Eat It, Miami, which is free.*

Please stay tuned for an actual restaurant review. I'm eating at a new place tonight and I'm hoping the experience is noteworthy. Sometimes there just isn't much interesting to write, so I don't bother. I guess I really should review every place that I eat, but hey, I'm kind of lazy.

*Please note that I am just being my usual hilarious self and that there is no actual prize. 94% of my college-educated friends have law degrees and several of them also have MBAs, so don't test my ability to obtain free counsel, which I would prefer not to obtain. I'm already expecting to be sued by a couple of places of which I tend to be quite critical. I'll give you a hint. One rhymes with Fart 'n Pee and the other with Gassy O'...whatever. You know about whom I speak.