—Yelp/Thames Street Oyster House
Ravens at Dolphins, Sunday Dec. 7, 1:00 p.m., Sun Life Stadium, CBS
For the second straight week, the Ravens face a conference opponent with the same record as them in a game that’s critical to both teams’ playoff hopes. This time they head to Miami, a much more pleasant December destination than, say, Buffalo. The Dolphins are as hot as the South Florida forecast, which calls for temperatures in the upper 70s. Miami has won five of its last seven games, and it’s a 3-point favorite over Baltimore. But Sun Life Stadium, located in a middle-of-nowhere suburban outpost insipidly called Miami Gardens, could be quite purple on Sunday. This is always a popular road trip for Ravens fans, and Dolphins fans—all Miami sports fans, really—are notoriously nonexistent.
What to Eat: Having been to Miami several times, I can tell you it has little to nothing in common with Baltimore. Down there you don’t encounter many Miamians curious about which high school you attended. Up here, decidedly fewer European women sunbathe topless, in public at least. However, these two different cultures do share a love for crabmeat. In South Florida, the stone crab reigns supreme, so I’ll be using this Epicurious recipe to make a pot of stone crab chowder. (Stone crab claws are available at the Columbia Wegmans.)
- 6 small to medium stone crab claws
- 16 medium shrimp, shells on
- 16 medium scallops
- 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 sticks celery, sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, wedged
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 lime
- Cilantro, chopped
- 1 8 ounce bottle of clam juice
- 1 tin coconut milk
- Olive Oil
Take a large pot and over medium heat sweat the onions, carrots, and celery for approximately five minutes, until the onion is transparent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes, clam juice, and water to cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer until potatoes are cooked.
Raise the temperature to medium to start the stew boiling. Add the scallops, and cook until just done. Turn off the heat. Add the shrimp and crab claws, cover and let steam for three or four minutes. The shrimp should cook without becoming tough. Stir in the coconut milk over a low heat. Just before serving, stir in the diced jalapeño and the juice of the lime. Garnish bowls with cilantro. Serve with slices of French bread.
If you’re looking to go out, Thames Street Oyster House in Fells Point sometimes has stone crab claws.
What to Drink: Like its Long Island cousin, Miami iced tea uses a boatload of liquors. Fair warning: It’s a fruiter version than New York’s, but it packs the same punch.
- 1/2 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce light rum
- 1/2 ounce gin
- 1/2 ounce peach schnapps
- 1/2 ounce triple sec
- 1 ounce sour mix
- 1 ounce cranberry juice
- Splash of lemon-lime soda
Just combine the ingredients, pour over ice and stir.
If You Go: Many people automatically equate Miami with Miami Beach. While one is known for swanky clubs, hip restaurants, posh hotels and a general 24/7 party vibe, the other is an actual, real-life city. If you go, be sure to visit both. On the mainland, Little Havana is America’s cultural center of Cuban life. Versailles (3555 Southwest 8th St.) is the legendary restaurant, and a fine choice for a roast pork-based Cuban sandwich. Enriqueta’s (186 NE 29th St.) and La Camaronera (1952 W Flagler St.) also serve great sandwiches and seafood.
Coral Gables is south of the city, and it reminds me quite a bit of Towson. Home to the University of Miami and the requisite chains and college bars, it’s also home to Titanic Restaurant and Brewery (5813 Ponce De Leon Blvd.).
If you have an extra few hours and a car, take a ride down to Alabama Jack’s in Homestead (58000 Card Sound Rd.). Located at the top of the Keys (about a 45-minute drive from Miami, depending on traffic), it’s a quintessential Florida outdoor bar, jammed with regulars and tourists eating conch fritters, sipping sweaty bottles of beer, and exchanging fishing stories.