leave your inhibitions at the door
After spending a lot of time going up and down the beach area, we were more than ready for something different. We didn’t have a car when we were there, but were pleasantly surprised at the abundance and affordability of Uber drivers. That made it easy to explore other areas of the city where the locals eat.
But where? I’ve learned the hard way that a restaurant being beloved by locals doesn’t guarantee it’ll be any good. Locals in Dallas may flock to an Applebee’s, but there’s no way in Hades I’m gonna go there. The problem is that it’s still dependent on who the local person is.
Fortunately, it’s a problem that’s easily solved – go to where the hipsters are. Think about it – there are way more restaurants in Manhattan. Some excellent, but there’s also plenty of culinary abominations. If you cross the bridge to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, you’re going to encounter a lifetime’s worth of bushy beards but your chances of getting a decent meal goes up significantly.
So I Googled “Hipster hangouts in Miami” and just about every link led me to the Wynwood area. It’s a former warehouse area that’s been pretty seedy for a long time but is now the site for dozens of terrific restaurants, art galleries, and shops. It’s also home to the Wynwood Walls – more on that later.
From there, it was just a matter of finding a place where we could get a table. In this case it was Alter – a small, electic, restaurant featuring local, seasonal ingredients.
What We Ate
Soft egg – sea scallop espuma, chive, truffle pearls, gruyere and oscetra caviar
Bread & beurre – sumac & dill seed crust, umami butter. I normally do not excited about bread, but this was fantastic.
Octopus – with bearnaise, black quinoa, yuzu, celeriac ‘dulce de leche’
Scallops – with cauliflower, sunflower seed, African olive oil, kohlrabi
Mahi “cassoulet” – with rye bread, smoked white bean, banyuls vinegar, Serrano jus
Lucuma – sweet custard, lucuma-honey cake, carrot, and passion fruit sorbet
There wasn’t a misstep up and down the menu. Everything was well-conceived and executed perfectly. Boom Boom and I had a mild argument on who got to lick the soft egg’s bowl clean.
With all of this we drank a bottle of the 2011 Chanin Los Alamos Vineyard Chardonnay (Santa Barbara). It was a fantastic white with plenty of apricot and floral aromas. It was pretty juicy, but perfectly balanced with just the right amount of oak and butter flavor. They only made 4-5 barrels, so good luck finding it.
Surprisingly, everything was relatively inexpensive given the high quality of ingredients and preparations. Appetizers were in the $10-15 range and main courses were $25-ish. Definitely worth checking out.
Even if it was filled with hipsters.