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Nov 16, 2008 07:53 PM

Vagabond Market Dinner - Miami

OK, not actually dinner AT the Vagabond Market, rather, dinner FROM the market. We stopped by today and got to spend a little more time. Confirmed that all the produce is Florida grown. The lady set up at the front of the indoor area had a nice selection - 3 different kinds of eggplant, green beans, a few different kinds of hot peppers, several herbs (rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, cilantro, lemongrass), some lettuce mix, sorrel ... There was also another guy set up selling local-grown tomatoes, w/ a few different varieties - grapes (sweet enough to just eat out of hand), romas, and smallish round ones (resembled a Holland tomato). The mozzarella guy was set up there, as was the Uruguayan steak guy, and it all started looking like a meal to me.

We bought a couple beautiful eggplant (a purple & white striped variety) and bunches of a few different herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage) for $5, 4 tomatoes for $1 (!!!), a mozzarella for $10 (that seemed pricy), and a couple of the grass-fed strip steaks (12 oz steak for $12) and brought our loot home for dinner. Eggplants sliced thin and sauteed, layered w/ some sliced tomatoes and mozzarella and baked; steaks sprinkled w/ some smoked salt and quickly pan-seared and sliced tagliata-style; herbs chopped and blended into some butter to top the steaks. All really good stuff.

The steaks - Uruguayan grass-fed beef from "Gaucho Ranch" - were really full of flavor. They do taste more meaty and minerally, maybe even "tangy," than your average corn-fed beef. You do need to be careful about overcooking them, I found about a minute less per side than I usually do worked fine. I didn't find them tough at all which is an occasional complaint about grass-fed beef. I guess I can understand why some people are put off by grass-fed beef but if you don't mind your beef actually tasting like something, you'll probably enjoy them.

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  1. Thanks for the report, been contemplating checking it out. How does it compare to the other market at the park? Does it compliment or compete with it?

    2 Replies
    1. re: jmdhsmiami

      Went to Vabagond Sunday, didn't get to UES (which is only open Saturday) this weekend so I can't really compare head-to-head. From past experience, UES right now has more options. Usually UES has at least one vendor, sometimes more, who brings in a lot of fruit and veg (which is not all local-grown) which significantly expands the selections, and also probably has a greater variety of folks w/ prepared foods - Vagabond only has Raja's, UES has had an empanada stand, another guy w/ arepas, empanadas and papas rellenas, a ceviche stand, someone that does a bunch of different flavored hummus, rib guy, baked goods from Casa Toscana, etc. But as noted above, I was able to put together a very nice dinner from what was available at Vagabond. I did not note above that Le Cafe (formerly Cafe Glacier) also had a table set up and was selling baked goods at Vagabond.

      What might well make sense is for UES to do Saturday and Vagabond to do Sunday, but I think the Vagabond owner is hoping to eventually make the space a full-time market. Which would be awesome if it happened but seems like it will require a significant buildup of "critical mass" both of vendors and customers.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        Will try to do that this weekend. Great idea doing a meal based on the offerings of one market... May try it as well.