Seeing as we were surrounded by some of the best seafood in Miami for Independence Day it only seemed appropriate to celebrate the saddest day in the American calendar with some amazing morsels plucked straight from the sea. After a day lounging on Miami Beach, Freddie directed us to CVI.CHE105, a modern Peruvian restaurant downtown, with undoubtedly the most impressive pisco cockail menu I’ve ever seen. Ceviche – fish and other seafood ‘cooked’ in the juice of citrus fruit – has always been a favourite dish of mine after having spent six weeks eating it almost daily in Peru a few years ago.
After a round of pisco sours we were presented with ‘Causa Maki’, a Peruvian version of sushi, where crab and avocado were perfectly rolled in mashed yellow potato. Having attempted to make sushi on numerous occasions, how such precision had been achieved was quite mind-boggling. This was followed by excellently prepared grilled octopus; not too chewy and with the perfect amount of smokiness from the grill. Then came pan-roasted fresh corvina and with crabmeat, smothered in smoky red rocoto and pepper sauce, accompanied with potato cake au gratin; I could not eat this due to my intolorence to dairy (weep) but I was assured of its deliciousness by the noises being made next to me. Finally we tucked into a heaping bowl of mixed cevice boasting perfectly ‘cooked’ fish, shrimp and squid, all bathing in delicious Tiger’s milk (the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche), accompanied by the traditional corn and wedge of sweet potato. Although I couldn’t finish my meal with a dulce de leche topped lucuma mousse like the other two (grrr), it had been the perfect meal.
The next day we decided to venture north to Wynwood, the arts district of Miami that, if I didn’t know any better, could have easily passed for Bushwick. Incredibly colourful with street art slathered across old industrial buildings, this definitely felt like THE hipster hangout spot in the city. Wherever there are hipsters there is great food, so we searched around a few blocks until we decided on Annex for our Sunday brunch antics. The space is huge and filled with an eclectic selection of tables, chairs, sofas, Jenga and enormous fans (which were very much needed in the 36°C heat). Everything is cooked in a small retro trailer out front; having worked in a New York kitchen during snowy March I have no idea how these guys cope with this kind of heat. The atmosphere was set off by a live reggae DJ and waiting staff that manage to provide impeccable service whilst remaining painfully cool.
The afternoon was kicked off with a delicious pitcher of sparkling sangria whilst we faced yet another crisis over what to order. Laura and I settled on sharing puy lentils with garlic sautéed greens and sunny side eggs and the tortilla bowl salad with baby kale, black beans, rice, coriander and guacamole. The lentil plate was the perfect simple brunch meal, with the lentils perfectly cooked and the entire dish flawlessly seasoned. However the salad was definitely the show-stopper, presented in its fried tortilla bowl. Freddie went for the bacon, caramelized onion and triple cream “toastie” which, even as a dairy-free vegetarian, looked pretty phenomenal. A second pitcher of sangria and two nose piercings later, it had been almost on par with a New York Sunday.
Written by George.
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