Is Home-Cooked Food Better For Dogs? Dishes For Dogs Thinks So!

Did you know there is a kitchen tucked inside Miami's Wynwood neighborhood that is solely dedicated to making food for your furry friends? It’s called Dishes For Dogs, or DFD, for short. But don’t get it twisted! This is not a dog restaurant.

“We’re a kitchen that, you know, cooks and manufactures...dog food using USDA certified human-grade ingredients,” says Mason Fox, co-owner of DFD. “We are just making food so that people can come in and buy it and increase the quality of their dog’s food.”

The idea for DFD was inspired by a toy-sized, playful Pomeranian named Ripley, who had a few health issues. After some research by Michael O’Rourke, founder of Dishes For Dogs and Ripley’s owner, he knew that home-cooked meals would be the best option for his canine friend. O'Rourke turned out to be right and Ripley is currently healthy and happy as DFD's mascot.

Consequently, after identifying this specific need in the dog food market for home-cooked meals, he decided to build a business around this concept and partnered up with Dr. Shmalberg, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to perfect the recipes.

“Regarding the creation of the menu, ...the nutrition guided everything,” Fox adds. “We gave Dr. Shmalberg full freedom to create just the most appropriate and balanced meal that he could make, using different proteins.”

Dishes For Dogs currently offers six balanced meal varieties made with only USDA certified ingredients, avoiding all preservatives and fillers. The recipes include different vegetables mixed with one of the following proteins: beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, salmon, and wild venison. The recipes are formulated to provide specific benefits, such as: supporting a healthy immune system, digestion, and maintaining current health, which includes brain function, skin/coat health. There are gluten-free and grain-free options available, as well. Finally, they also provide two meals formulated for dogs with skin problems made with braised buffalo and coconut cod.

The food is sold in individual frozen packages that can be thawed at home and portioned according to your dog’s size.

DFD is also the first dog food company in the country to partner up with UberEATS to provide fresh home-cooked, ready-to-eat meals for dogs. And if a customer wants to stock up on meals for the week or month, they can order the frozen packages and have them delivered through the app.

"We're hoping to convince people that we are capable of helping, because we really do believe that," Fox affirms.

Miamians Line Up for Artisanal Desserts at The Salty Donut in Wynwood

The Salty Donut began as a mission to bring handcrafted, artisanal doughnuts to Miami. Owners Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizarro traveled across the country for these desserts and wondered why Miami didn’t have them.

“We realized that Miami is usually at the tail end of a lot of gastronomic trends and we just really wanted to do something that was for our city. Bring a little bit of culture that we didn’t have from other places around the country to our city...because I feel like Wynwood is part of the town, part of Miami that’s most accepting to kind of different things,” Rodriguez said.

Prior to having their storefront, “Salty,” as it is affectionately known, was trying to keep up with their customers' insatiable demands from a pop-up truck. Even now that they have been able to move into their storefront, The Salty Donut regularly has lines stretching down the street and often sells out of doughnuts before the business day is done — not surprising, due to its widely varied consumer base.

“I think we’ve got kids [who] are super trendy and kinda fashion-forward. I think we’ve got, you know, grandmas and grandpas that are 80 years old that come in and get our doughnuts,” Rodriguez added.

With quirky items like the pancetta, cheddar, and cornbread cake doughnuts and classics like the traditional glazed buttermilk, Salty offers a treat for every flavor profile. The menu is thanks in part to veteran pastry chef and The Salty Donut Executive Pastry Chef Max Santiago. With his 20 years of experience, Chef Santiago can change his menu regularly.

“Whenever anyone asks me, ‘You do just doughnuts?’ I don’t do just doughnuts, I do desserts,” he said.

And those desserts are just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the stomach. As customers walk in to satisfy their doughnut craving, many can’t help but stop to snap a shot for Instagram or Facebook.

Watch this episode of REACH Miami to see what all the fuss is about at The Salty Donut.

Coyo Taco Doesn't Cut Corners When It Comes to High-Quality, Modern Mexican Food

Coyo Taco resides inside Miami’s revitalized neighborhood of Wynwood, a district that was transformed through graffiti art by visionaries Tony Goldman and Jeffrey Deitch.

Coyo, as locals call it, is one of the most popular fast-casual modern-Mexican cuisine concepts in the area. It features outdoor seating with four royal blue, communal-style picnic tables that sit eight people comfortably, along with large umbrellas for a sun-and-rainproof experience. The simple industrial style that reigns the interior of Coyo allows its open kitchen to take center stage, where guests can watch the hard-working staff prepare their food from the comfort of their high-top table or booth seating.

Executive Chef Scott Linquist, a Los Angeles native who spent most of his professional career cooking Mexican food, has based the Coyo Taco menu on authentic Mexican flavors and cooking techniques, but has modernized it to fit everyone — from the casual foodie to the health-conscious or vegetarian guest. 

Their corn grain tortillas are hand-pressed and cooked on-site every hour throughout the day. It’s no surprise Coyo’s philosophy, which is "todo fresco," means “everything fresh.” They incorporate this philosophy to everything they do inside the restaurant/bar and out in their commissary kitchen by using fresh and local ingredients.

“We are not cutting corners in the processes… our duck carnitas [Carnitas De Pato], is a process of doing a confit with a duck leg for hours at a really low temperature. Whenever we do our Cochinita Pibil, Yucatan-style pork, it’s for 12-hours, we cook it overnight wrapped in banana leaves. We do barbacoa with short rib with a similar process. So, we’re not cutting any corners,” Linquist said, who just opened his own restaurant in partnership with entrepreneur Aaron McKown, called Olla.

Coyo is also home to a “secret” bar past a light blue door located at the far end of the restaurant. It serves specialty, crafted drinks with fresh ingredients — specializing in margaritas— and is open every day of the week except on Sundays.

Linquest assures that the margs and the tacos are not the only items that make an impression on Coyo’s guests, but also the sound quality to their not-so-secret back room.

“In this small 12,000 square-foot space, we have some really powerhouse equipment to really put out great sound, so that attracts a lot of DJs that can come back and play in the bar for an intimate audience,” Linquist added.

To learn more about Coyo Taco, check out our first REACH Miami video episode above!