Eat Miami

By Jackie Guttierez Jones

By: Jackie Guttierez Jones, Food Blogger & Editor based in Miami, FL

PrimalintheCity.com

Brunching Around

It's not quite breakfast. And it's not exactly lunch. But the meal between the two can be a transformative experience at the hands of the right restaurant. And this town has no shortage of great brunches. Which works, because after a long night of testing the limits of Miami’s nightlife, sleeping in and rolling up to a spot brimming with warm breakfast tacos and margs sounds like a modern day Shangri-la.

If that sounds pretty spot-on right about now, you’ll want to zip on over to Mercadito in Midtown. This Mexican eatery dishes up bowls of guac studded with queso fresco, butternut squash omelets and tacos al pastor. The clincher: Bottomless cocktails, wine and beer. But take note: You’ve got two hours to get your fill. And yes, that’s plenty of time.

Say your sweet tooth is itchin’ something fierce. Well, Morgan’s is your sugary solution. This quaint two-story cottage has a mascarpone and raspberry stuffed French toast on the menu that pair perfectly with a pitcher of their bellini. Oh, and don’t forget to order a dozen of their delectable chocolate chip cookies to go. Warning: They probably won’t make it back to your hotel.

In Miami, the view can be just as spectacular as the eats. And Mister Collins knows how to do both. Head over to their Bal Harbour digs, order some pulled short rib hash to start, segue into the pineapple upside down pancakes and sip from your flute of bubbly while taking in the spectacular view of the cerulean waves of the Atlantic below.

Steaming hot pots filled with rice and mushrooms. Robata grilled squid. Poached eggs and rows upon rows of thinly cut sushi. The impossibly fresh and meticulously prepared Asian fare at Zuma is a lighter alternative to getting your brunch fill. The limitless stations are available Saturday and Sundays. But make sure you reserve your space ahead of time.

And if your personal mantra's "go big or go home," well, Edge Steak & Bar is your Sunday brunch temple. Tucked away in the Four Seasons Brickell, you’ll find eight all-you-can-stuff-your- face-with stations including a taco shack with braised short rib, a whole suckling pig with mojo mayonnaise, a raw bar with oysters and a decadent display of sweets. Two words: Elastic waistband. Honorable mentions: Biltmore Hotel and Michael's Genuine


Sweet Tooth

Top Ten Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth While You’re in Miami

1. Baked Alaska at Michy’s

Michelle Bernstein revamps the retro confection at Michy’s. A hefty ball of caramelized meringue envelopes a dense pistachio cake and a generous scoop of dulce de leche ice cream. The passion fruit salsa studding the plate is a nod to the Chef’s love of Latin flavors.

2. Chocolate Delight at Icebox Cafe

Once declared Oprah Winfrey’s favorite cake on the planet, the Chocolate Delight (formerly known as the Chocolate Bomb) layers dark chocolate, cheesecake brownie and chocolate mousse before coating the entire pastry in a (what else?) chocolate ganache.

3. Warm Malva Pudding at NeMesis Urban Bistro

Former Top Chef contestant Micah Edelson isn’t afraid to play with exotic ingredients. This South African dessert features a warm, spongey cake topped with an Amarula and piri piri sauce bringing a sweet heat to the dish. To cool off: A scoop of rooibos ice cream.

4. Big Top Cotton Candy at Barton G.

At Barton G.’s, you’ve come to expect a flair for the creative and the Big Top Cotton Candy doesn’t disappoint. A bush-sized wad of the confection floats gently on to your table anchored by baseball-sized popcorn balls oozing with white chocolate truffles and bonbons.

5. The Abuela Maria Ice Cream at Azucar

At this eclectic Little Havana ice cream shop, you’ll find a crazy slew of flavors with a decidedly Latin twist. But their Abuela Maria takes the cake...er, cookie. The base is a deliciously sweet vanilla ice cream mixed with ripe guava, chunks of cream cheese and crushed Maria cookies.

6. Key Lime Pie at Joe’s Stone Crab

Ordered in the restaurant or shipped cross country, Joe’s graham cracker crust confection layers condensed milk and lime juice with a thick tuft of homemade whipped cream. It’s cool, creamy, tart and a hands-down Miami classic.

7. Pie at The Dutch

Pastry chef Josh Gripper whips up The Dutch’s fresh, homemade pies daily. And really, you can’t go wrong with any of the flaky delicacies. From the salted lime to the apple crumb, each bite is as decadent as it is comforting.

8. The Flan Cupcake at Sweetness Bake Shop

While some would argue that the GOAT cookie is the way to go here, this local bake shop with locations in Kendall and Hialeah have married the classic cupcake with a Latin favorite: flan. Yup, they’ve stuffed a piece of flan into a vanilla cupcake and topped it with burnt caramel. It’s everything you think it is.

9. Pie in a Jar at Michael’s Genuine

When Chef Hedy Goldsmith’s name gets bandied about, you can trust that you’re in good hands. Using seasonally available fruit, a rotating roster of pies are deconstructed and artfully layered in rustic mason jars.

10. Can’t Say No Sundae at Serendipity 3

This New York transplant may be known for its Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, but their Can’t Say No Sundae quietly steals the show with scoops of ice cream combined with bananas, hot fudge, whipped cream and chunks of their signature peanut butter-filled humble pie.

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Only in Miami

So, you’ve just landed in the city “where the heat is on”...

Well, with all due respect to Mr. Will Smith, there’s a lot more happening in this town than sunshine and mojitos. Sure, we’ve got that in spades, but there’s also a bevy of Latin and Caribbean eats in Miami that you’d be hard-pressed to find in other U.S cities.

Like, chicharrones. Perfectly rendered pieces of pork rind that pack the perfect mix of crunch, salt and fat. For a textbook execution of the stuff, you’ll want to swing by El Palacio de los Jugos and order up a warm, grease-laden paper bag of them. Licking your fingers: perfectly acceptable.

Chef Creole is a bit off of the beaten path, but you’ll be greatly rewarded for the adventure with a heaping styrofoam container of stewed conch or oxtail for your efforts. Or hey, go for both. Pro- tip: Bring cash.

Pupusas. A funny name for a seriously tasty bite. They’re handmade corn tortillas stuffed with a mix of cheese, cooked pork (see: chicharrones) and refried beans. If you’re thinking this might be the answer to a morning after a long night out on South Beach, you’d be 100% correct.

La Pupusa Factory and Paseo Catracho are great spots to load up on a plate full of ‘em.

And while you can find a burger just about anywhere in the country, Pincho Factory in West Miami has one with a very unique Miami twist: Tostones. Yup, their Toston Burger is a juicy patty that’s been topped with jack cheese, a homemade cilantro sauce and nestled in between two fried and flattened plantains instead of buns.

Now, no meal is complete without dessert. Go with some torrejas––they’re a classic Latin dessert (Think: French toast). Sugarcane in Midtown serves up a stellar example of the dish with one delicious twist: A maple caramel apple topping. And hey, this is by no means a definitive list of the unique bites you’ll find around the 305. Use these suggestions as a springboard to try something new. Bringing it full circle...Welcome to Miami!

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Jackie Guttierez Jones

Top 10 Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

  1. Baked Alaska at Michy’s
  2. Chocolate Delight at Icebox Cafe
  3. Warm Malva Pudding at NeMesis Urban Bistro
  4. Big Top Cotton Candy at Barton G.
  5. The Abuela Maria Ice Cream at Azucar
  6. Key Lime Pie at Joe’s Stone Crab
  7. Pie at The Dutch
  8. The Flan Cupcake at Sweetness Bake Shop
  9. Pie in a Jar at Michael’s Genuine
  10. Can’t Say No Sundae at Serendipity 3

Insider Tip

No visit to Miami is complete with stopping at one of the many “ventanitas” around town. A “ventanita” is a walk-up window (usually at a Latin eatery) where locals grab a quick shot of Cuban coffee and a sweet or savory pastry and talk shop. Famous ventanitas: Versailles, La Carreta and Mary’s Coin Laundry.