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What food is indigenous to Miami?

  • k

I need some help from Miami 'hounds. Each week I am recreating dishes indigenous to areas around the US and Miami is up next. I need help deciding what dish to cook (and potentially what drink to serve with it).

I don't necessarily want the first thing that pops into mind, but rather something that locals treasure. For example, without your help, I'll probably fall back on a Cuban sandwich, but we can do better than that.

To help give you an idea, Buffalo NY and Cleveland OH were recent takes. I avoided Buffalo Wings and went with Beef on Weck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_on_...). For Cleveland, I made the Cleveland Polish Boy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Boy). What dish do local Miamians treasure enough that there is a wikipedia page for!

Hopefully that gives you an idea of the type of thing I am looking for.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Snapper almondine was a requirement every time the family was in town. Starting in the early 50's.

      1. re: emu48

        Slivered or shaved toasted almonds.

      2. Stone Crab and a dry Gin Martini

        1. Coontie, or Florida Arrowroot, used as a thickening agent, is indigenous. Swamp Cabbage, or hearts of palm, is indigenous (check out the Swamp Cabbage Festival each year in LaBelle. It's in February in 2014.) Fish, shellfish, and turtles are indigenous. Liquor, made from fermented Florida prickley pear, is certainly indigenous.

          How 'indigenous' do you want to get? These items are authentic, but not so 'treasured.'

          3 Replies
          1. re: southocean

            Maybe indigenous isn't the right word. Just something you would miss if you moved away. Like crabcakes to a Baltimorean or Italian Beef to a Chicagoan.

            1. re: KAZ

              Second 2top on stone crabs

              Also the Frita Cubana.

              1. re: tpigeon

                Well....my family moved to Homestead in 1906....from Medley.....where they originally settled in 1904....(pineapple growers).......Indigenous?.....Certainly a Cuban sandwich wouldn't be indigenous in these parts!.....Certainly seafood is indigenous and something I cherish.....Stone crabs....grouper....snapper....mullet (smoked).......Sorry to report that way, way back in the day Manatees were on the menu as well.....Given that Homestead is the "Winter Veggie Capitol" for the U.S......veggies are / were a main staple of the South Floridian diet......

                So...since we're moving away from 'indigenous'.......If I moved away from South Florida.....I would definitely NOT miss Cuban cuisine....I like it well enough....but as a native... I wasn't born and raised with it....so...no biggie at all......Definitely would miss the stone crabs, fish and shrimp......Of course the ultra-fresh veggies during the winter months.........Strawberries from Burr's Berry Farm......Tropicals from Robert is Here......

                Ft. Pierce...via Homestead

          2. I know what you mean about beef on weck being the second-dish of buffalo. The stone crab claw has to be our "chicken wing", but there's not such an obvious candidate for second place.

            I'll suggest hogfish (more of a Florida keys thing than Miami though). Delicious and spear-caught, meaning its not mass-market. Maybe if lionfish catches on (caught the same way), we can add that one day.

            About 2 hours north in Vero Beach there is a lot of places to get a grouper Reuben sandwich, and I'm surprised that trend hasn't extended this far south given the NY roots in SoFla.

            1. Where would you eat a "Grouper Ruben" in Vero? I would like to try that and I'm up that way on weekends....

              Ft. Pierce...via Homestead

              4 Replies
              1. re: LargeLife

                I stayed in a hotel in Vero, and the guest directory had lots of reviews of local restaurants, and several of them mentioned the grouper reuben as the focal point of the review (obviously a favorite of the reviewer).

                I didn't go to each restaurant reviewed in that guest directory, but I did have the opportunity to enjoy, many times, the one offered by Red Onion Eatery. They used to have a location right on the beach near the boardwalk, but they recently lost the lease and now operate only out of a second location near the hospital: 3727 10th Court, Vero Beach FL Phone: 772-564-0804

                Another place, that I haven't tried, is Riverside Cafe:
                3341 Bridge Plaza Dr, Vero Beach (772) 234-5550

                There must be many others, but those are the only 2 I can recall.

                1. re: non sequitur

                  I don't know who first thought of making a grouper reuben, but I would like to buy them a drink. A delicious sandwich.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    I've only had them in Vero Beach - have you found other locations that serve it?

                    1. re: non sequitur

                      Captain Brian's in Sarasota and Woody's River Roo in Ellenton do a great grouper reuben. I'm on the Gulf side. I'm sure there are others.
                      Another local specialty is smoked fish dip, made with marlin, wahoo, amberjack, or mullet.

              2. Also pompano, grouper, and key lime pie. Stone crab season begins Oct. 15. Honey bell season begins around the third week in January.

                1. As others have recommended, seafood with fresh snapper, grouper, and stone crabs topping the list in no particular order. With the seafood make a ceviche using tropical fruits, mango, papaya, pineapple plus lime juice or other Florida citrus juice. Fo desert serve key lime pie. Yes key limes are indigenous to the area of south Florida and the Keys.
                  As for the grouper reuben that has been mentioned by others, I would recommend the one served at Key Fisheries in Marathon, a similar one is served at the takeaway next to Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in South Beach, Miami Beach.

                  1. While I am certain that they come from other places originally, those huge-ass green avocados, the mangoes and the limes all speak Miami to me. When I lived there in the 70's, I worked at the Metrozoo as it was being built in the middle of a grove. At 10:00 break time, all the Cuban guys would go out and grab an avocado and a lime, and with nothing else but a little salt, enjoy a wonderful, free snack. To this day, it is hard for me to find something better!

                    1. Chicken Kitchen and all its knockoffs. Moros. Batidos. Vaca Frita, fritas, Ropa Vieja, straight up rice and beans.