What doesn’t kill you makes you fatter and that will most likely happen in Little Havana. Between the cigar shops and chicken statues you’ll find easily some of the best blends of Cuban and American flavors. Taken from abuelita’s recipe book and reshaped and rebranded into something vaguely familiar.
Ball and Chain
Our first stop in Little Havana was Ball and Chain, with it’s lounge seats, center bar, unique rustic/Cuban décor, we felt quite at home and when the band started playing we knew we were on to something good. Our drinks quickly arrived, I had dessert first with a Pastelito Daquiri, light and refreshing with it’s namesake pastry on top. Delicious! Brings me back to PR and enjoying a small pastelito in the San Juan Streets. Megan had a drink called Call me a Cooler, while it was nice it is definitely meant for those with a serious sweet tooth. The menu is very basic but that doesn’t stop it from being easily the best food we had that day, Megan had an order of Cuban Style Quesadillas, covered with cilantro and a light avocado crema, it was given a little pop of spice with it’s Aji Amarillo. I had Chicharrones, for $9, which seemed like a lot for the meal but reasonable for Miami prices, they were well worth it. Each piece was crispy, and full of flavor that popped. Good food, good drinks, combined with the atmosphere Ball and Chain was perfect.
Pop out of Ball and Chain and directly on your right you are greeted with a comically large ice cream cone. This belongs to ¡Azucar! a small ice cream shop with 24 flavors (not including their seasonals) that will make you laugh and have a bit of curiosity as to what the flavors are. Thankfully you can get samples. Megan was already stuffed at this point so the ice cream was all mine. I chose a single scoop of Abuela Maria, their signature. Made with guava, cream cheese, galletas Maria, and their fresh vanilla ice cream. It’s absolutely delicious. It is a must see in Miami. Take the day and search for it, thankfully ¡Azucar! isn’t exactly hiding.
Well the coffee was. For my non-Spanish speakers the name means Exquisite. This is where we had our new favorite beverage, The Colada. It’s a small coffee served in a Styrofoam cup with 6-8 shot glasses, it’s meant to share as it is about 8 shots of Cuban-style espresso. It’s strong, wakes you up in a minute and I’m sure this is what gave Pitbull the energy to go from Mr.305 to Mr.WorldWide. We had a couple different coladas but El Exquisito’s topped them all, strong and sweet. We’d love the recipe if they’d be kind enough.
Little Havana’s cuisine is perfect for anyone who wants a real taste of latin flavor, the culture and vibes there are welcoming and complete the Miami trip. Don’t spend all your time in South Beach when Little Havana is right around the corner.