What We Ate in Miami: pastelitos, cortaditos, oranges and more!
In terms of location variety, this is a pretty scaled down What We Ate. My partner and I went down to Miami pretty much exclusively to work, and with Omicron cases surging we just didn’t go out for food much. But you gotta eat at some point! We still managed to eat a few local options that are absolutely worth mentioning.
The main things we ate were from the closest Cuban bakery: assortments of pastelitos, coffees, breads and juices. That happened to be Bob the Baker (4518 NW 183rd St. Miami Gardens, FL 33055) and unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a link to their website or Facebook. I didn’t actually go inside; my partners father – the much stronger Spanish speaker – was in charge of rescuing everything in the mornings. Because I can’t find the pastelito (Cuban pastry) list among the pictures available online of the menu, I don’t have the exact names. But I have a pretty clear idea of what we got!
The majority of the pastries were sweet, with the exception of the ground beef one above. The filling was picadillo, a sort of Cuban hash, and I am pleased to report that it was extremely similar in flavor to myCuban Picadillorecipe. I’m a savory-over-sweet kind of person so in many ways that little guy was my favorite.
That said, there were some excellent other contenders. The coconut had a rich and sugary paste tucked between the layers – unusual but superior! Guava is the standby classic and if you’re ever at a Cuban bakery don’t skip ’em. This one below was guava and cheese which I just loved. The cheese filling was closer to ricotta than cream cheese like I imagined – extra luxurious. Every pastry had that ultra flavorful, flaky richness that can only come from being made with lard. Look at how she glistens in the sun! On the right is a cross-section of the cheese pastelito. Like ogres and onions, check out the layers on that pastelito.
Besides pastelitos, we also grabbed cortaditos, a type of Cuban coffee. Cuban coffee is one of the greatest coffees and although I’ve had few non-homemade ones, these felt exceptional. For the uninitiated, cortaditos are sweetened Cuban espressos with a touch of milk, served in small pours. We also got fresh squeezed orange juice and the hype is real – if you’ve never done the fresh Florida orange juice game, treat yourself immediately. The ladies behind the counter took an entire case of oranges – and nothing else – to make enough juice for five.
Speaking of Florida produce, it would be crazy to not at least get a little. I often make the joke that Florida keeps all the nuclear-sized produce to themselves and ships everything else to the rest of us peasants. Check out this avocado and banana dichotomy. We were apparently disappointed at the smallness of the avocado – here in Colorado you would be hard pressed to find one so large! That type of banana is called a manzano and it was the first one I’ve ever tried. Like plantains, the black spots on the peel are a good thing and indicate ripeness – in fact, manzano bananas are considered at their peak for eating when the peel is totally black. This one was starchy and sweet, with more of a deep ‘banana’ flavor and less graininess than other bananas.