Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Miami: Eat

My perception of the Miami dining scene was that it would be saturated with Cuban fare and fast seafood. Absurd! Of course, some of the best Cuban meals can be had in Miami, if thats what you're looking for. To my surprise Miami is influenced by ALL of Latin America, particularly those cultures that are semi-resident in the city due to the financial industry; yes, Miami is the financial representative in the US for much of Central and South America.

My favorites were:

55 SW Eighth St
Miami, FL 33135

I have to believe that this is the quintessential Cuban restaurant. Located deep in the heart of Little Havana on Calle Ocho, comfortable, loud and constantly packed with people from all cultures. The menu, while it is heavily dominated by pork and seafood has just about everything imaginable. I let our sevrer decide my meal and it was a beautiful Garlic Soup and a Calle Ocho Special pressed sandwich.

The Garlic Soup was prepared by placing a large, thick slice of buttered garlic bread in a bowl, topping that with a over easy egg, then ladeling a super roasted garlic broth over the top. Easily a meal but why stop there? The Calle Ocho Special press, which I now refer to as the Triple Pigging, was a weighty combination of ham, roasted pork shoulder and bacon, combined with some other less important ingredients that might have been vegetables but really, who cares! This was probably the best sandwich I've ever had. As with everything, it came with enough plantain chips to feed a small country. I highly doubt these were fried in 'good' oil, they tasted way too good!

Dont miss their bakery next door for a Cuban pastry and Cortadito, Cuban coffee.

Versailles: Niecelette Approved Dining

947 Brickell Ave
Miami, FL 33131

Peruvian food is terrific but almost impossible to find in Houston. Its a shame, the combinations of flavors are surprisingly good. Inka had just opened the week prior but judging by the crowds infiltrating the rather swank dining area, they will be very successful.

We had a trilogy of ceviches, each of which were prepared very differently, the most outstanding was Yellowtail mixed with key lime, papaya and just a smattering of hot pepper. The staple Peruvian potatoes in 'cheese sauce', Papas a la Huancaina, were also surprisingly good; thick firmly cooked sliced potatoes served cold, topped with the cheese sauce, which is actually not cheese based, its made from hot yellow Peruvian pepper and cream, giving it the appearance of cheese.

I had a fantastic fish special, but for the life of me I cant remember what it was. It was certainly artfully prepared. And I have proof. Those Pisco Sours were really, really good. All 4 of them.

My Mysterious Dish

As you can infer, the Pisco Sours were phenomenal; its amazing the difference when you have a good Pisco Sour; crisp, refreshing with right balance of lime and very little foamy egg whites. I discovered that Pisco is distilled from a Peruvian white grape.

Inka: Sis and BroInLaw Approved Dining

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