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The Eat Beat Dining around South Florida
with Mike Mayo
Eating The Eat Beat

Burger battle in Fort Lauderdale, new Bol at Coconut Creek casino, Habit Burger Grill comes to Plantation

Welcome to the Eat Beat Newsletter. Stone crab season is over and summer barbecue (and hurricane) season is about to begin. Clean your grill, get the propane tanks filled and check your gas burners for spider eggs. And with National Burger Day approaching on Sunday, May 28, start dreaming of sizzling meat.

(Quesadilla burger at Pincho Factory.)

Burger mania: With National Burger Month ongoing, my colleague Phillip Valys compiled a collection of South Florida's weirdest burgers. Offerings for the adventurous include a quesadilla burger covered in queso, crema and guacamole at Pincho Factory (yes, please) and a peanut butter and jelly burger with cheddar and candied bacon from BRGR Stop in Coconut Creek (no thanks). There's also a coconut burger for vegans and a gator burger for swamp people. Enjoy!

(Charm City Burger has charming classic burgers.)

More burger mania: Charm City Burger in Deerfield Beach won best burger in our 2016 Best of South Florida reader competition, and my colleague Talia J. Medina recently took a trip for a tasty video ... The Habit Burger Grill will open in Plantation next week, at 1740 N. University Drive, the fast-casual chain's first Broward location. There will be preview days with burger giveaways on May 21, May 23 and May 24, and a grand opening on Friday, May 26 ... For those who want to binge on burgers, two big events loom. The eighth Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale Burger Battle takes place Saturday, May 20, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Huizenga Park, 32 E. Las Olas Blvd. Check on Friday for a preview including the full lineup. And Burger Beast blogger Sef Gonzalez will host a Hamburger House Party on Friday, May 26, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Magic City Casino in Miami. More than 20 burger joints are scheduled to take part. Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the door.

(Bol-ful of goodness coming to Seminole Coconut Creek Casino.)

Asian flavor: The Bol, a popular Asian eatery at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, will open a second outpost at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino next week. The grand opening is scheduled for Friday, May 26. It will be the eighth restaurant at the Coconut Creek casino and will offer Chinese and Vietnamese soups, rice and noodle dishes. ... One Door East, Giovanni Rocchio's global tapas restaurant next to his Valentino Cucina in Fort Lauderdale, has taken a Japanese turn under new executive chef Albert Diaz. Diaz is a veteran of Zuma in Miami and London.

(A hot and cold experience at Hot & Soul in Fort Lauderdale.)

Review roundup: What to do when an unpretentious bistro with a good reputation run by a hard-working couple dishes out some bad shrimp? It's a question I wrestle with in my 2 1/2-star review of Hot & Soul in Fort Lauderdale. I deducted major points for what chef-owner Mike Hampton acknowledged is a mortal kitchen sin, but still urged food lovers to check out the place and form their own opinions ... I had no ambivalence about my disappointment in The Halal Guys in Davie, the first South Florida outpost of a growing chain that started as a New York City food cart. I found the food bland and unworthy of a special trip. A dining partner said she has had better gyros at Miami Subs. I went to a Miami Subs the next day and have to agree. Although it was greasier, at least it had lamb -- and a lot more flavor.

(Ouzo Bay ... from Baltimore to Boca.)

Openings and events: Modern Greek restaurant Ouzo Bay from Baltimore is now open at Mizner Park, and dining correspondent Susan Bryant has the details ... Matchbox American Kitchen has opened at Sawgrass Mills mall... May is Mental Health Awareness month, and a benefit for nonprofit Guardian Behavioral Health will be held Friday, May 19, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, 2400 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door ... The Orange Bowl Food and Wine Celebration will take place Friday, May 19, at the Broward Convention Center. Tickets cost $95 and are available online.

(John Oliver rips New Zealand leader over pizza abomination.)

Quote of the week: "You made that to feed to your family, to your children, Bill? How are you not in prison right now?" HBO's John Oliver in a diatribe against New Zealand prime minister Bill English for a hideous homemade pizza topped with canned spaghetti and pineapple. It is the latest in an escalating feud between the British-born comedian and the governing party in New Zealand.

Got a restaurant tip or dining beef?  Reach me at or 954-356-4508. Don’t troll me, but feel free to roast or flambeé me on Twitter: @heymikemayo, and follow my food adventures on Instagram: @mikemayoeats.

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Stay hungry, my friends.

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