I had the pleasure of going to WordCamp Miami 2016 this past weekend (Feb 19-21, 2016). At work we build 95% of our websites these days with WordPress and I’m involved with the front-end development. It was my first trip like this (I’ve always had other conflicts) so I was excited about the food, sunshine and all the WordPress learnin’. The event was held on the Florida International University Campus, it’s a beautiful campus with rad turtles hanging out in a pond!
Now, let’s talk about the food because that’s what I like to talk about!
The Night Before The Conference
I flew in on Thursday evening as the conference started on Friday. There were only 4 of us at this point so we went to Lemoni Pizza to chow down. Hot damn did it not dissapoint! We got a Hawaiian, Meatball, and Mexican. The Hawaiian and Mexican were my favorites. They all had some form of cashew cheese or cream and there was no pre-packaged faux anything to be found in this food. It was all homemade and you could definitely taste that. They had a quaint location in some part of town I don’t know, ha. Really, really good pizza. Very worth it.
I had no breakfast. I was starving. The hotel didn’t have fruit, plain bagels or anything like that. Finally about 45 minutes before lunch I decided to get some chips & a fruit cup from the campus Starbucks. For lunch the conference organizers gave us food vouchers to any of the vendors on campus. We had a plethora of options: Greek, Hispanic, Taco Bell, Subway, Moe’s, etc. I ended up going with the cafeteria as a post online suggested they might have the most options. I had a salad I put together myself, some sort of like Szechuan tofu, and a bean & barley soup with hand cut potato chips. The soup & chips were by far the best of the three.
Fortunately we’re a vegan organization so all of our meals are vegan. For dinner we all went to Bombay Darbar in Miami proper. It was honestly some of the most incredible Indian food I’ve had. Every dish had such complex flavors and texture to match. The veggie vindaloo (sort of ordered off menu) was my absolute favorite. We also had a good aloo gobi, chana masala, and saag chana (modified from saag paneer). If you’re in Miami and looking for good Indian food…go, go, go!
I smartly picked up some bananas and cashews the night before but the conference also offered bagels and coffee this morning so it was a bearable start to the day. I get to feeling so crazy in the mornings without food! For lunch the conference had BBQ catered. I swear I’m going to start talking at these tech events just to try and convince people to eat better. At any rate they did fortunately have a bland veggie burger. Wasn’t great by any means but they hooked us up with 2 each and I slathered them both in BBQ sauce. I’ve had better but I’ve most definitely had way worse.
After the conference we piled into our cars and headed to Ft. Lauderdale for Sublime. It was really friggin great. I made sure we got a raw cashew cheese plate so folks who hadn’t had good raw cashew cheese could try it. I also ordered the ravioli (picture at the top of this post) which was out of this world good. We all split appetizers and had pretzel bites plus frito misto cauliflower and mac’n cheese. For dessert I had a strawberry cheesecake that was AMAZING. I’m not sure if it was raw but it sported an almond crust. It was a solid meal and the staff were great.
No bagels at the conference (unless we got there too late) so I had some decaf coffee, bananas and cashews. For lunch things started to look pretty bleak. Fortunately the organizers brought in a veg option from Pollo Tropical: beans, rice, veggies. However, it seemed they only had a very small amount of those options and they disappeared quickly. I saw the girl who got the last one and she was lucky to have found it.
Immediately after closing remarks we headed down to Bayside in Miami where a co-worker of ours has family that run a Cuban restaurant. The co-worker (who wasn’t with us, thank you Yennifer!) called her mom and let her know we’d be coming so everything was pretty much good to go as soon as we rolled in. We got sweet plantains, savory plantains, tostones, yuca frita, black beans, rice, and fajita style veggies. It was really good and a great way to end our food trip in Miami.
Overall the Indian food at Bombay Darbar was the absolute best stuff we had. It was the most carefully crafted food it seemed. The flavors were so deep and complex…I’ll be dreaming about it for days. This was the first time I’ve spent more than a quick lunch in Miami but this is usually a yearly trip for our group so if you’ve got recommendations for the future let me know! I think Matthew Kenney is opening (or already has opened) a Plant Food & Wine location in Miami? that may be a little upscale for a large group but I want to eat his food nonetheless!
And obviously Florida has some dope as hell wildlife & I can’t figure out why every human being doesn’t live somewhere that’s warm year round…enjoy this turtle doing yoga.