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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Things to Do in South Florida: Mini-Review of Larios On The Beach


Larios On the Beach on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

The longest stop on the food tour was Larios On The Beach, a pop-up restaurant in The Cardozo Hotel which is owned by Gloria Estefan. This is a great place to seek traditional Cuban food with flair. Our sampling through the tour consisted of ropa vieja, rice and beans, sweet plantains, and Cuban bread.

I loved the ropa vieja, which is a dish consisting of shredded meat cooked in sauce, because it was so tender and juicy. The sauce was delicious, and I dipped my crunchy Cuban bread into it to be sure I didn't leave any behind. (Classy, I know, but it was too good to let go to waste.) The rice and beans weren't anything out of the ordinary, but were the traditional black beans of Cuba. An interesting thing about many Latin American countries is that many of them have a traditional bean that is used. Cuba uses black beans, for example, while just a couple of islands away, natives of Puerto Rico prefer to use the red bean in their traditional dishes. I get pretty good rice & beans at home from my Puerto Rican mother-in-law, so I'll just say that I prefer hers over the ones at Larios and leave it at that.

The plantains were delectable, each bite was crunchy on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside. The Cuban bread was excellent, but I would say that one should be a fan of Tostada Cubana prior to comparing it to regular dinner bread. Tostada Cubana, or "Cuban Toast" is made with traditional cuban bread, usually sliced lengthwise, and is crunchier and thicker than what Americans call toast. Cuban Toast is a big favorite in this area, and when I moved here, it was practically a requirement for me to try it. I didn't like it at first - but that's because I was comparing it against my idea of "toast". It was a lot drier, chewier, and thicker - not just in the cut, but in the very makeup of the bread. Somehow it is addicting though, and I've been eating it ever since. Go in expecting Cuban Bread, not dinner bread, and you'll be amazed.

If I got to go back? I'd try a Sándwich Cubano, one of my favorites to order whenever I pop into a Cuban restaurant, but I'd try to hit it around the lunch hour when prices are traditionally cheaper.

I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours. You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Flickr. Happy dining!

Larios on the Beach on Urbanspoon

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