Doggi’s Patacon de Pollo

In my mind, Chicago will always be the food mecca of the US… except when it comes to Latin American food.  There are some LatAm options in Chicago, like Cantina Laredo or Xoco, but there are many more tempting options for other types of cuisines.  South Florida is without a doubt, my mecca for good, authentic Latin American cuisine.

Today’s adventure brought me to the heart of Miami, just south of Downtown and Little Havana, to a little Venezuelan eatery called Doggi’s.  Sitting along an unassuming street in a fairly residential area, Doggi’s offers both indoor and outdoor seating — though to be honest, I felt a bit claustrophobic inside because the tables and chairs were packed so closely together.

Since I feasted on an arepa just a couple days ago, I ordered a patacon today.  A patacon de pollo — that’s a chicken patacon.  Think shredded chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, (a pile of) cheese, and a medley of sauces — but substitute the bread for (flattened) twice-fried green plantain.  Yum!

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Taste-wise, the meal was fairly comparable to other patacons I’ve had in the past, like the one at La Coriana in Doral.  Texture-wise, I may have preferred other alternatives… this patacon seemed relatively heavy and left me full well into my normal dinner time.  The sauces were tasty though.  I’m pretty sure one of them was garlic aioli — with emphasis on the garlic!  Overall, I’d give this a fine.

Doggi’s menu is pretty extensive, definitely worth checking out.  (Click on “Pickup” after clicking on the link.)

Oh, and one more thing.  There’s no parking lot nearby, only street parking for $1.50 an hour.  If you’re lucky enough, you just might find a paid spot right in front of the restaurant for super quick entry/exit.

*Location:
1246 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145

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Amazing Arepas at Amaize

There are a ton of sit-down Latin American restaurants in Miami, but I can only think of a handful of fast casual joints.

The flavor of the day was Amaize*, a relatively new fast casual Latin American restaurant that opened in town just a couple months ago.  The restaurant’s known for its arepas, or corn pancakes, and cachapas — think of these as sweet yellow corn pancakes.  Both are prominent in Venezuela and Colombia.

010915_amaize_arepaFor lunch, I ordered the Beauty Queen — avocado chicken salad (with peas) stuffed into an arepa — and made it a combo (for an extra $1) by adding a roasted pepper and gouda soup!  I enjoyed the stuffing, but wouldn’t necessarily say it wowed my taste buds, so I’m going to have to give it an okay.  On the other hand, the arepa itself was soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, so despite it’s inherently bland nature, I must say I enjoyed eating it and if I had to rate that by itself, I’d give it a fine.

Onto the soup!  Roasted pepper and gouda.  Pretty bold flavor I have to say, but at first I was unexcited about it.  After a couple spoonfuls of the roasted pepper soup, I got to the cheese.  OMG, the cheese was melted just the right amount and became all stringy when I tried to separate it from the rest of the soup — just like that hot stringy cheese on the pizza that came right out of the oven!  The amazing part was that the cheese was still melty 20 minutes — or more — into the meal!  Overall, gotta give this soup a fine-good.  Thumbs up, I’d definitely order it again.

The best part of the meal?  The $5 voucher I got after I filled out the customer survey at the bottom of my receipt — and the survey was short enough to fill out as I waited for my meal to arrive at the table!  Guess I’ll be coming back here soon…

Here’s their menu in case you’re in town and interested in checking it out.

*Location:
3887 Northwest 107th Avenue #101
Doral, FL 33178

Venezuelan Patacón, the Twice-Fried Plantain Sandwich

What’s the essential ingredient in any sandwich?  Why the bread, of course!

Now, imagine a sandwich without bread.  In place of bread, think twice-fried green plantains — some of you may know these as tostones — sliced lengthwise.  Sound delicious?  Well, it is!  The Venezuelan patacón is a sandwich made with two slices of twice-fried green plantains and filled with a choice of meat (chicken, pork, beef, etc.), as well as cheese, lettuce, and sauce/salsa.

Tucked away in the Miami neighborhood of Doral is a Venezuelan restaurant called La Coriana* that serves great patacones (and for the record, no, that does not have an accent on the “o”).  For lunch, I ordered a patacón with chicken.

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The fried green plantains didn’t taste over-fried, like those which I’ve experienced at other restaurants, and the filling was flavored just right, not too light and not too strong.  I’m not exactly sure what the white sauce was, but can assure you it was also pretty tasty.  Portion size was just right, too.  I felt full, but not uncomfortably so.

You know what?  I just might have to rate this one a good.

*Location:
3655 NW 107th Ave
Doral, FL 33178