Miami Specialties: Asado Negro, Pastel de Choclo, Cazuelas, Etzel Itzik
DC visitors hit up some special foods in Miami that we can't easily find where we live. We had good, decent meals highlighted by some specialty dishes that were superb. Chowhounding of the highest order.
European Corner is a Venezuelan bakery in Coral Gables we've been to before. In addition to very good arepas (domino is my favorite) we also tried something I've never had before: asado negro. When it first arrived at the table, I wasn't sure what to think. It comes out very dark (almost black) and I poked at it because it looked maybe like liver. It was as soft as tongue. It was indeed a slice of beef cooked in brown sugar and wine until it was very dark and sweet. Not something I'd order to eat alone, but combined with the arepa, tequenos, rice and beans, and a salad, was amazingly delicious. We fought over every last drop.
At Sabores Chilenos, we found a dish worth the drive: pastel de choclo. Again a new dish for me, and it came nicely browned on top, served in its own pot: a kind of corn bread pudding with lots of corn and a few bits of meat. This was spectacular.
We ordered two cazuelas at the original Las Delicias de Espana on Red Rd. just south of Bird Rd. One with baby eels, the other with eggs, chorizo, and a spicy ham. Both were cooked in the shallow clay baking dishes that they were served in, all bubbling over.
Finally, we got to Etzel Itzik in N.Miami for Israeli food. This place is a five-star Chowhound gem.
Very hard to find this kind of food elsewhere, and we ate like kings. Ten different bowls are set out with various vegetables like warm spicy potato, lemony carrots, cabbage, slaw, chopped pickled beets. In addition we had the chicken liver with onions, moroccan fish, and the boureka with hard boiled egg. I wouldn't be tempted by the bourek again, but only because everything else is so special. Special note to the lemonade semi-slushy loaded with fresh mint that you see on every table. A must order.
You got a common substitute made out of fish. They are still good. I've had them quite a few times. You just did not have the real thing and I thought you should know that. I also don't think delicias was trying to rip you off because it is common knowledge (to people who would generally order this stuff) that the real eels are super expensive so they did not bother to mention it and lots of people order the fake eels all the time because they are good. Here is an example of the fake eel product. You might just have had this brand...
Thanks for enlightening me. Unlike that awful fake crab stuff which is obvious, this is quite a devious little product - I had no clue that it was made up of a ground material. Part of it is that I have never seen baby eels on a menu before, but part is that they really seem like a 'whole' product. Also, they were served sizzling hot and arrived at the table covered up with a plate to control the oil from spattering.