Images (not from) New York, Little Havana edition.

The medianoche sandwich from Sanguich de Miami
The medianoche sandwich from Sanguich de Miami

One thing I had promised myself during my first trip to Miami was that I was going to go beyond Miami Beach proper and explore some of the other parts of the city. I had some noble notions of trying to navigate public transportation while I was there, but in talking to the concierge it really turns out that Uber and Lyft are the most effective ways to get around between neighborhoods.

El cordtado from Sanguich de Miami
El cordtado from Sanguich de Miami

I started my morning there with getting a sandwich at Sanguich de Miami, widely believed to be one of the best places to grab a Cubano in the city. Located on Calle Ocho, the main drag of the neighborhood, it’s in a nondescript little strip mall–to the extent that my Uber driver at first wasn’t sure what my final destination was–with a long bar and a scattering of tables. Since I was the only one there at the time, I got to hear all about the restaurant’s philosophy when it comes to food. Their menu is focused primarily on the six sandwiches they make, along with a few small side/appetizer dishes, and of course excellent Cuban coffee. Everything they make in-house, they do, from the ham and the bread (both savory and sweet) to the mustard and the just pickles. The medianoche I had was exquisite: it has all of the same ingredients as a cubano, but half of the protein, making it perfect if you’re not starving but you want the flavors of a cubano. Paired with a cortado, it was an awesome late-morning breakfast.

Tower Theater in Little Havana
Tower Theater in Little Havana

Feeling fed and buzzing slightly from the coffee, I made my way down Calle Ocho to check out the rest of the neighborhood. While there are definitely some touristy spots, what I liked most about my walk was how lived in the neighborhood feels–the businesses here are geared towards the locals rather than visitors. Stopping for another coffee and some writing time at a Colombian spot further down the road, I made my way back into the heart of the area in time for many of the bars and restaurants coming to life via live music. Not too shabby for noon on a Wednesday, no?

Passion Fountaine cocktail at Ball & Chain in Little Havana
Passion Fountaine cocktail at Ball & Chain in Little Havana

In the mood for a drink, I tried a passionfruit-forward cocktail that was way too easy to drink at the 30s-era Ball & Chain club, and then I grabbed some oysters and a beer at Ella’s Oyster nearby. Happy hour at both places (and all over Miami, seemingly) started at noon, so it was possible to eat and drink pretty reasonably. Michael was bummed that he couldn’t come with me on my first trip, so when we made our return our first order of business was plugging in Sanguich de Miami’s address in Google Maps and getting a sandwich and coffee as quickly as humanly possible.

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