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S. Fla Report - CG, Tamarac, Hollywood, Boca

Steve | Jun 14, 200804:02 PM

Immediately getting off the plane in Miami I did what any self-respecting Chowhound should do: get to a bakery and order some pasteles. I'm not sure it matters which one, there are so many, but I happened upon Portofino Bakery on 27th Ave just north of 836. The pasteles de coco were kept warm, flaky, buttery, and so melt-in-your-mouth delicious, nothing like them are availabe where I'm from (DC area).

A tip I received on Chowhound also sent me to a Venezuelan bakery in search of tequenos. I found them at the almost completely hidden European Corrner in Coral Gables, in the building next to Casa Lario. It turns out they are so simple: cheese sticks wrapped in pastry. Why aren't these on every street corner? They are that good. An arepa stuffed with black beans, pork and cheese made for a quick, cheap meal.

Another Chowhound tip led me to El Nuevo Siglo on Calle Ocho for the Quimbombo on Thursdays. My Cuban sister-in-law hadn't heard of that dish since she was a child. At first I didn't know what to think when I saw that El Nuevo Siglo is a supermarket, but when I went in I saw a very old but handsome lunch counter complete with brick facade and a wine rack! The quimbombo is an okra stew. Nice vinagery sauce, served with addictive black beans, white rice, and boiled yucca. The nearby park with memorials to the Cuban 'martyrs' made for a nice place to walk off the meal.

I also tried the fried cheese and tortilla sandwich (plucheta?) at La Esquina Nica, but the combination of breaded fried cheese and hard fried tortilla was too much fried food for one lifetime.

Garcia's in Miami is a nice waterfront place on the Miami River with decent, unexceptional food. Highlight is the dolphin fingers and low is the oysters which had no flavor.

A return trip to Tamarac for breakfast at El Buen Gusto (Colombian) for excellent golden arepas - these are best when they are very warm/hot.

In Hollywood, finally got to le Tub for their truly sensational hamburger. Another place I wouldn't have found if not for Chowhound. Satisfying margherita pizza at the Broadwalk (yes, that's how it's spelled) Restaurant if you find yourself strolling along the beach.

Lil Red near the Ft Lauderdale airport is a diner featuring bbq. They use oak, not my fave for bbq. The ribs come out big, lean, perfectly cooked, but unseasoned. Well executed but boring for my taste. Sauce is a touch sweet.

In Boca, Nestor's Deli (also called Bageland) has some good food, but if you're lucky enough to get anywhere near the carving station at the Boca Pointe Country Club, you're in for the best pastrami - and other goodies - that you will have in a lifetime of eating. Sliced 1/2 inch thick, supremely tender,with a thick peppery coat, this is better than anything I could have dreamed up.

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