In Part 3 of this installation, we are going to be covering two tourist traps that fall on opposite ends of the spectrum.
You guessed it.. today we’re going to LITTLE HAVANA and THE VERSACE MANSION.
Little Havana is a neighbourhood in Miami that is presented to visitors as a little slice of Cuba right here in the US of A.
Many of the residents are Cuban, there are Cuban-style bars and restaurants, and a whole load of cigars for sale.
Obviously, I was most excited about sampling the food that the area had to offer – and I started the day off right:
THAT, my friends, is a frozen BANANA dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. Call me simple, but I had never seen one of those before and I was really excited at this new, healthy alternative to ice cream. Plus, ya know.. it looks pretty.
My mom and I continued our day by walking up and down the streets of Little Havana and soaking up everything the area had to offer – which was, to be honest, just a lot of gift shops and cigars. I was interested in neither.
I did, however, go to a bar where I drank a really good Mojito and stole a few beer mats. I can’t remember the name of it but I can confirm that most of the bars looked the same so take your pick.
Now this is the part of the post where a little violin plays and the mood turns sombre.
You know when you’re on holiday (this always seems to happen on holiday) and you see a cafe or restaurant of some kind that seems kind of dingy on the surface, but is always just a front for a place that serves amazing, authentic, cheap food that the locals love?
You know what I mean?
Ok, so we found one of those type of places. We chose not to be apprehensive about the laminated menus written in Comic-Sans and the potentially dirty floors.
It was pretty empty, but it was way past lunch time. Ok, so there are grease-stained paper tablecloths – but that just means its authentic. It’s all part of the experience, trust me!
We sat down at this humble joint (I truly don’t remember the name, this happened literally 3 months ago) and ordered what I thought would be a variety of authentic Cuban food.
Fried plantain with beef and friend plantain with shrimp. (The menu wasn’t particularly extensive.)
This was.. bad. The plantain cup tasted like nothing and so did the fillings.
I was so sad because I’m sure that if done well this would have tasted amazing.
This was my one chance to try fried plantain cups and I FUCKED UP. I hate myself.
The beef tasted like nothing, the shrimp was dry and tasted like nothing.
On a brighter note, this chorizo was delicious and maybe some of the best i’ve eaten. It was super soft and had none of those annoying chewy bits that you get in normal supermarket chorizo. The pickles were ok.
Fried calamari. Is this Cuban? I don’t know but I ordered it anyway because I felt like it. This was also very average. The calamari tasted ok if you dipped the entire ring into that little pot of tomato salsa but does that signify good food? It does not.
So thats what you get for not utilising Trip Advisor boys and girls – vague misery and some dried up shrimp. Not an experience I wish to repeat.
AND NOW….from the average to the SUBLIME..
THE VERSACE MANSION.
I went to the Versace mansion in Miami. Does that make me a shitty person? I don’t care. It made me feel like a Real Housewife and I loved every single second of it because:
a) the cocktails at the Versace Mansion are insanely strong and I was DRUNK
and b) the food was.. the food was so good I get a lil tear in my eye when I think about it. Here’s what happened:
Ok. I googled the menu to be as accurate as possible because this meal deserves it. Here is my Versace starter:
So, behold: Lobster with olives, green pea foam and spring onion gel. and caviar.
I can’t believe I got to the ripe old age of 21 to know that I liked my vegetables foamed. And gelled. But you live and learn.
Pea foam sounds pretentious and don’t get me wrong, it absolutely is.
It was also delicate and flavourful and complimented the equally-as-pretentious spring onion gel perfectly. I never thought I’d eat a lobster dish where my main focus wasn’t on the lobster but hey, here I am.
and here is my Versace main:
This is a Wagyu Filet Mignon with truffle mash, asparagus and Bordelaise jus. And a giant prawn. Like, the biggest prawn ever.
This was basically the fanciest drunk food I, or anyone in the world, has ever eaten.
I distinctly remember the mash having a kind of overpowering truffle taste (which if fine if you love truffle like I love truffle) and I remember being able to cut the steak as if it were butter.
10/10, thank you very much. I’m sure if Gianni Versace were alive today he would get over the whole farce his previous home has become the second he sat down to a big bowl of vegetable foam.