Tag Archives: carbonara

Kitchen – Miami Beach, FL


When we arrived in Miami to spend the day before our cruise departure, we couldn’t check in to our hotel – The Pelican –  right away, so we dropped off our bags and wondered off along Ocean Drive in search of some lunch. The beach was just across the street! It was an absolutely gorgeous day and we knew we’d be sitting outside sipping cocktails watching the world go by…

There were restaurants lined all along the street. Employees tried to lure passersby in to their restaurants by offering special lunch deals. We wanted to walk a bit. We wanted to get a feel for what our options were and just enjoy the afternoon sun. And just like in any touristy area, the nagging got old really fast. It seemed most of the restaurants were offering the same things – a rather large and varied menu including Cuban sandwiches, ceviche and some Italian food.

As we were walking by Kitchen, a server tried to stop me, just as they all had and at this point. At this point, we had  decided that we needed to just pick a place. So I said, “So, tell me, what have you got?”

He brought us over to the outside display menu and started going through the items. The one thing I knew that I really wanted to try while I was in Miami, was a Cuban Sandwich. I also considered the ceviche, but wanted something a little more filling at the time. As we listened, the server told us that if we dined there for lunch, he’d give us a free “small” drink as he made a gesture with his thumb and forefinger about the size of a shot glass. He said that every drink thereafter would be buy-one-get-one-free. I looked over at Rob to make sure he found something on the menu that he’d like, because that was the most important part – the food. And with pasta on it, Rob knew he’d find something. So we decided to sit and relax on their patio on this fine afternoon, while we thought about all of our friends up in cold Minnesota. 😉

For our small drink, we each ordered something fruity. Mine was a Miami Vice {half pina colada – half daiquiri}. Hey, we were in Miami. And the last time I had one of those was on my very first {and only} cruise. Rob’s was some specialty drink that I can’t even remember.

Our small drinks

Our “small” drinks

That was one of the best frozen drinks I’ve had in my life! The Pina Colada part was so creamy and just perfect. I don’t drink frozen cocktails very often, so after a bit my stomach started getting queasy. It wasn’t agreeing with me at all. So when our lunches came out, I had a really hard time eating it.

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

While the bread from this sandwich was very good, the pork was just sliced from a deli and the overall flavor was pretty bland. But maybe part of the reason I felt that way was that my tummy wasn’t feeling so hot. On the other hand, Rob’s food was delectable:


Spaghetti Carbonara

Rob said it was the best Carbonara he’s ever had! And quite frankly, I’d have to agree. Maybe it wasn’t traditional, but the bacon pieces were perfect in terms of size, shape, texture and crispiness, the sauce was creamy and the pasta perfectly al dente. I stole a few bites of his when my Cuban got old.

But before we received our food, our second drinks arrived:

Champagne Mojito & Caipirinha

Champagne Mojito & Caipirinha

As mentioned in a previous post, these were just incredibly HUGE! Since we didn’t have any real plans for the day, we thought we’d sip them while sitting on the restaurant patio in the afternoon sun. Besides, Rob had a plate of Carbonara to finish. He wasn’t about to let any of that go to waste!

Rob drink

And let me tell you, these drinks were strong. It’s not like they served you huge watered down drinks as a novelty. Even with all of those limes in there, they tasted mostly of booze. Still, my husband says that Kitchen is where limes go to die!


How many limes do you think are in this glass bowl?

While we were eating, I saw someone else perusing a menu and read on the back, “Two-for-one drinks. Second round is free.” OH NO! How were Rob and I supposed to finish these and each have a second?! We chalked it up to just being stupid and not paying attention. There was no way we could drink anymore if we didn’t want to pass out within the next half hour.

Instead, to make light of it, we started trying to guess how much these drinks were. Because, like most cocktail menus, prices weren’t listed. Here is the equation I used to make my guess.

  1. First off, these beverage were each equivalent to about four drinks a piece.
  2. They were uber-strong.
  3. We were on expensive Miami Beach, probably the most expensive place I’ve ever been. One night at a “cheap” hotel will set you back about $300.
  4. If these drinks were even $7 a piece, that would be cheap.

My guess was around $25 – $30 per drink.

Yes, with this calculation we expected to pay about $50 – $60 in drinks…

for lunch.

It turns out, I wasn’t even close! One drink was $45. Yes, that’s right – $45. Although, luckily, he didn’t charge us for two nor did he offer us a second round. Maybe he knew that since we already had enough alcohol with our first drink, he’d give us these as true buy-one-get-ones. Whew! I’m guessing that servers can probably can make their own rules to lure people into the restaurant.


While we passed away the afternoon, we looked up some reviews online about Kitchen and were astonished that they were horrible – mostly rated only one and two stars. But as we read further, we learned that these ratings and disappointments were due to the expense of these ridiculously large drinks.

I totally get that.

Diners felt suckered in and scammed. Despite this, I can’t imagine it was any different anywhere else along that stretch on Ocean Drive. All of the other restaurants were offering the same huge drinks and trying to lure us in to their restaurant in the same way. I’m sure that they weren’t any cheaper.

But I’d also like to argue that you get what you pay for, too. {Even if you don’t know what you are getting or paying for in the first place.} Although we supposedly paid $45 for one drink and got the other free, $22.50 was still less than what I expected to pay per drink! And these were some of the strongest drinks we’ve ever had. Plus, with the first two drinks “free”, the cost really wasn’t all that bad. If I would have finished my Champagne Mojito {I just couldn’t although it’s funny that I found the mint to calm my tummy issues from earlier!}, we technically would have enjoyed about 10 cocktails that afternoon. And at about $7 to 8 a pop, that’d be $70 – $80.

I think most people reviewing Kitchen felt tricked and that was more the problem here than anything. But with this being the best Carbonara Rob had ever had in his life and both of us having quite the buzz when we went back to the hotel to check in, we really didn’t have anything bad to say about it!

Come back Monday to learn about our experience after our lunch as well as our hotel and ROUND 2 at Kitchen!

Did you ever pay more for something and then realized later that although it was expensive, it probably was still a good value?

If so, tell us about it!