I deserve a huge self-inflicted wrist slap for not posting in over a week. Fair enough. In my defense, work required that I travel to Miami for a tradeshow this past weekend. Not just any tradeshow, but a swim tradeshow with booths upon booths filled with skimpy things. It is complemented by Miami Fashion Week, which is not so much about fashion as it is about sexy women, teeny bikinis, and rowdy shows sprinkled with the occasional celeb (Anna Kournikova! Dennis Rodman! Oh my!). I’ve seen more perfect bodies in the last few days than I care to count, which is perhaps why I wasn’t compelled to eat alot, which is perhaps why I didn’t post.
Oh, that’s a complete lie. I am half-Cuban, and when I land in Miami I have a laundry list of things I am suddenly ravenous for: sweet plantains, arroz con pollo, pastelitos de guayaba, cafe con leche, batido de trigo, croquetas. While the cuisine doesn’t quite jive with the glamorous, over-the-top-sexy aura of Miami Fashion Week, or Miami Beach, for that matter, it is rich and it reminds me where I came from: a bunch of curvy Cubans.
So my first morning in Miami I went with my family to Moises Bakery in North Beach, a hybrid cafe of sorts as it features Cuban, Argentinan and Venezuelan specialities. It seemed wrong to buy all sorts of fried, meaty, cheesy, sweet things that make you fat when you’re on the way to the beach. But it was impossible not to and you’re already committing the cardinal sin just by ordering decadent cafe con leche.
Somehow, we were hungry a couple of hours later, and craving something lighter, we headed to a local Peruvian spot called Pappamanchu for ceviche. It was a little spot with about five tables on a nondescript stretch of road in Normandy (by North Beach). Peruvian beers were served with iced mugs, and the ceviche was filled with mussels, octopus, squid and shrimp, then mango, cilantro, red onion and this Peruvian corn (big and white, tasted like a lima bean) that was soooo good. I also had grilled fish with salad. The food was fresh, simple, redolent of cilantro and limes. Unlike Miami Beach, where a basic lunch for two easily runs you $60, we fed five of us for the same price.
For dessert, my sister Sophia got to have a CuaCua bar, which is like a Kit Kat but better. She liked it.
Unfortunately, and this really is unfortunate, I didn’t get off the beach to try some of the great restaurants popping up in Miami’s Design District, or in the neighborhoods of Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Key Biscayne. Miami does have more to offer in the realm of creative, international food. I found myself eating a lot of hotel meals (Tides Hotel, and it was pretty good with excellent service), as well as the quick, wildly-overpriced bite at Nobu (housed in the Shore Club) between fashion shows.