Saturday, January 23, 2010

Florida Food Fun

Florida, Florida, how do I love thy food and drink? We ate and drank our way through the Keys and Miami. I thought to capture a few of our memorable meals, but didn't get them all. There's something to be said about tasting any food sitting at an outdoor cafe in the sun when in Minnesota it is freezing. in my cold state of mind, I probably would have loved a bowl of lutefisk topped with liver sauce. The sun radiated its heat on us and warmed us up, even though the temperature probably never hit 75.
This lovely little meal was served at a roadside diner called Mile 7 Grill. The blackened grouper was huge, spicy and juicier than I thought fish could be. It came with a petite bowl of slaw (my new favorite food) and a few toppings for the fish. Where can I get this sandwich locally? It was the first in many amazing fish sandwiches on the trip. My bowl of conch (pronounced conk) soup was nothing more than a bowl of steamed frozen veggies, a squirt of ketchup and rubbery chunks of conch. Not good. At all. We kept reading about the conch chowder, but never were successful in finding to our liking. Maybe other Floridians like chewing on chopped super balls, but we were a disappointed. The Bimini bread that accompanied it was warm, soft and slightly sweet and would have been perfect with a better bowl of soup. I focused instead on stealing bites of Ron's sandwich and drinking sweet tea.

We stumbled upon this humble diner in Miami Beach called Puerto Sagua Restaurant and it was exactly what we needed. It was our last day of the trip and we were trying to see and taste as much of Miami as we could in a day, having spent an extra night in Marathon. After visiting several sights on the tourist ring, we headed for the beach for some people watching. We strolled into Puerto Sagua, parched and hungry, and were welcomed at their counter stools by a very Cuban waiter who was happy to let me practice my Spanish with him. The ice cold beer slid down nicely as we pondered our choices. Ron was more than happy with his cuban sandwich, crunchy on the outside, tender and hot inside, cheese oozing out between the ham and pork and other fillings.
I settled on the daily special of roasted chicken with rice and beans. I had already started to devour it when I realized that a photo opportunity was definitely in order. Without exaggerating, this was the best chicken I had ever eaten. Slightly greasy, but so tender and perfectly seasoned. It fell off the bone with the slightest poke of my fork. The rice comes in a lovely little mound waiting to be topped with the side bowl of black beans swimming in a pool of bean juice and mild spices. And the plantains? How do they make them so good? Perhaps the oil, but wow, I'm hooked.

Until we meet again Miami, I'll be dreaming about your food.
Anyone have a great recipe for Cuban rice and beans? I'm game!


Sarah Jane said...

I'm salivating. Let me know when you find that restaurant.

itzi said...

Parece que os lo habéis pasado muy bien! Esas "escapadas" hay que hacerlas solos al menos una vez al año):