Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Miami: La Carreta

When asking about Cuban food in Miami, one name always seems to be in the mix: La Carreta. Luckily, there's an outlet in Miami airport right by American Airlines check-in. I decided to investigate.

Even though I'm in the coffee business, the one drink that has always eluded me is the Cafe Cubano or Cuban Coffee. When you're so far removed from Havana (or Miami), you hear all sorts of conflicting things about how it's made. That they put sugar in the portafilter, in the cup or whatever. Point is: you can't be sure because no one seems to have investigated it for themselves.

Today, I watched them in action and it's merely putting lots of sugar in the bottom of a cup and then pulling a double shot of espresso over it. Simple. Easy. Done.

Cafe Cubano

Sadly, they're using some commercial coffee like Cafe Bustelo but perhaps that's the true flavor of a Cafe Cubano. Either way, the crema is kinda thick and the coffee is decent enough but densely sweet.

Next up, a ham empanada. The crust is flaky but the ham and cheese filling is extraordinarily salty. Man, it's like a blizzard of salt. I need water just to cut the salt on my palate.

Cortadito with Evaporated Milk.

Of course, one coffee drink isn't enough so I order a Cortadito with Evaporated Milk. It's a small drink of espresso, evaporated milk for sweetness and steamed milk. It's not as sweet as the Cubano and the bitterness of the espresso has been toned down by the milk. It's actually kinda tasty. I make a mental note to try it when I get home.

I grab a couple more empanadas with the intent of eating them on the way home. I don't actually eat them until much later at home. Both the chicken and beef empanadas are decent but still way too salty for my tastes.

Sadly, I've had better.

Ham Empanada

Chicken Empanada

Beef Empanada

La Carreta
Terminal D - 2nd Level
Miami International Airport
Miami, Fl

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