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G. Garvin’s Ft. Lauderdale Travel Tips

Me and chefs Christy and Mike at Hot and Soul

Located just north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale has plenty to offer vacationers. As South Florida grows, so does its culinary scene. Dine on tasty seafood and check out the bars and restaurants by the marinas when you visit the beach.

Hot and Soul
Hot and Soul is the creation of husband-and-wife team Mike Hampton and Christy Samoy. They’ve lived in different cities and brought techniques from famous kitchens to Fort Lauderdale to create their own concept: International Soul Food. I had a great time in their kitchen making gnocchi and tasting pate. If you’re in town you just can’t miss this spot.

Southern Swank Kitchen
Southern Swank Kitchen is a new spot in Davie made by young chefs with a hip crowd in mind. I enjoyed their fun take on Southern comfort food, especially the drinks! The locals will keep coming because of its awesome atmosphere and live music.

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G. Garvin’s Miami Travel Tips

G. and the staff at Swine

Miami has a big reputation for being a party city because of South Beach, but there are plenty of wonderful things to see and restaurants to visit. When you’re in town, check out Coconut Grove and Coral Gables for shopping and different cuisines. Brickell is a new neighborhood in downtown Miami with great restaurants and free public transportation.

Crackers Casual Dining
I loved this place’s vibe — it’s a wonderful combination of Florida and the South. This spot can be found in the growing city of Miami Springs. At Crackers you’ll find a great family welcoming you with warm hospitality and awesome Southern dishes. Make sure you save room for dessert!

Swine Southern Table & Bar
Just like Yardbird, Swine takes all of the wonderful things about southern cooking and steps it up. The space, the smells and the whisky all create a fantastic experience that you’re going to have a hard time finding anywhere else in Miami. Swine is located in Coral Gables, right off of Miracle Mile, making it a great spot to visit after doing some shopping.

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Trends Across the Country: Pie

Key Lime Pie

To celebrate this year of the Olympics and a presidential election, Cooking Channel asked fans what dishes represent their states and then worked with our kitchens to create original recipes for each of the 50 states. (Read all about the project here.) Each state has its own unique food scene, but we couldn’t help but notice some trends across the map from coast to coast.

When I first heard Cooking Channel planned to tackle the best state food recipes, I immediately started campaigning for the dish I thought most represented my home state of Florida: key lime pie (pictured above). I distinctly remember thinking, “Florida’s dish better be key lime pie,” (I even threatened as much on my Facebook page.) and not just because I think it’s pretty darn tasty, but because as a Key West native, to me, there was no other option.

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Best Bites from South Beach Wine & Food Fest

Lamb Stew With Lavash

Lamb Stew With Lavash

Sometimes life is hard, but last weekend wasn’t one of those times: Cooking Channel staff ate their way through a sea of local Miami restaurant stalls and sipped on world-class wine during this year’s Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting — all on the white sands of South Beach, Miami.

Now that we’re back to colder weather and cubicles, we’re dreaming up ways to continue the “South Beach Diet” at home. Now you can, too!

See what we liked, what we didn’t like, and how to cook up South Beach-inspired fare in your own kitchen.

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