A Taste of South America in North Beach (Miami, FL)
With at least two more months of cold weather ahead hear in NYC, many of you are probably dreaming of warm weather getaways. Miami has long been a popular destination for it’s beaches and cheap flights, although the pricey (and usually mediocre) food and drinks on South Beach can quickly run up the tab. So you decide to venture out for some cheap ethnic eats, but you’ve already had your fill of ropa viejos and cubano sandwiches. Fortunately, Cubans aren’t the only group to have immigrated to Miami and if you’re willing to ride up Collins Avenue 50 blocks or so to North Beach, you can sample all sorts of South American delights. While there are tons of options from nearly every country, we followed the recommendations of Food For Thought and were very happy we did. Here was our route:
Moises Bakery (7310 Collins Ave) is a tiny Venezuelan bakery that has no shortage of delicious looking sweets, but we came for the empanadas. They offer varieties from three different countries: Argentina, Chile and Venezuela. Being pretty familiar with the first, we went for the latter two. The Chilean was in a pastry crust that reminded me of those little packaged Cherry Pies (without the the sugar) and has a little too much crust for my liking. The Venezuelan , however, came in a crisp, chewy corn based pastry and was definitely one of the best empanadas I’ve had.
El Rey Del Chivito (6987 Collins Ave) represented my first foray into a Uruguayan restaurant. While I haven’t been to this country, I have been to neighboring Argentina and can say that from the artwork, to the soccer jersey’s to the staffs ability to disappear when you’re ready to go, this place feels legit. Here, you’ll want to try one of Uruguay’s signature dishes, the “Chivito Sandwich” . Despite the fact that Chivito translates to “goat”, it’s actually a steak sandwich covered in the “heart-attack-by-40″ superfecta of bacon, fried egg, fried ham and cheese. As you can imagine, it’s absolutely delicious. It can also be safely split amongst two people, especially if you want the tour (and your life) to continue.
Buenos Aires Bakery (7134 Collins Ave) is a great place to end your visit. It’s a fairly large bakery with lots of pastries to choose from and a reasonable amount of seating. I couldn’t tell you what most of what we ate were as the staff doesn’t speak much English and there’s no signs. But just get ready to point at what looks good and feel confident that you won’t be disappointed. I do recommend trying an Alfajor which is a traditional Argentine cookie filled with dulce de leche, as well as the churros.
If you’re still standing after this, below are a few other places that were recommended which we didn’t get to try. If you check them out or have other recommendations, please share your thoughts in the comments.
La Perrada de Edgar (6979 Collins Ave) Columbian Hot Dogs
Mixtura (7118 Collins Ave) Peruvian ceviches
Las Vacas Gordas (933 Normandy Drive) Argentine Steakhouse