Wednesday, March 30, 2016

El Palacios de Los Jugos - Miami, FL

On our way out of town, we had one last recommended (by Bourdain and several travel publications) food experience to try, namely Sunday lunch at El Palacios de Los Jugos, or the Juice Palace. This cafeteria-style restaurant chain (which is almost akin to an open-air market) has 8 locations in the greater Miami area (we stopped by the flagship site at 5721 W. Flagler Street) and mainly specializes in Cuban-American cuisine.  Mrs. Hackknife and I managed to navigate the sizable post-church crowd and language barrier (my rudimentary Espanol is getting better, mind you) to score a pretty decent selection of goodies to try.

Some of this tasty lechon ended up in mi estomago (belly) before long.

Mrs. H. selected a pair of sandwiches from the menu, a croquetta preparada (containing a ham croquette, sliced ham, pork, cheese, and pickles, sort of a Cuban on steroids) and a simple fish sandwich, both of which were excellent, if not filling.

I was left to somehow tackle this gargantuan combo platter of lechon (roast pork), yellow rice, and caramelized bananas, enough grub to feed the Bay of Pigs invasion forces (a nutso value at $12). I ate until I had to say "no mas" having barely made a dent.

Of course, we had to bring home some sweets for the kinder. I chose a container of bunuelos, which is a term used to refer to any number of fried dough treats in Latin American cooking. The Cuban version is long and thin like a rope, often coiled into the shape of a number 8, and uses yucca flour as a base. These fritters are dipped in a honey syrup before serving and were a bit on the heavy side.

These dulce de leche cremes made from cajeta (goat's milk caramel) had slightly greater appeal in our household. The cremes were sweet with a non-unpleasant tinge of barnyard funk on the palate. You won't find these at the local Publix.

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