I am in Miami Beach for 10 days on a winter rowing trip. This is an annual trip and we usually frequent the local grocery store (Publix) and the restaurants close to the hotel, with an occasional trip to South Beach. This year I decided to try and find some Slow Food friendly places and local markets. I went to two different markets over the weekend, both fairly local. There is another one at Lincoln Avenue that I didn’t make it to and that might be bigger. Overall the markets were a little disappointing in their size and range and the lack of local fruits and vegetables, but I found a couple of gems at each one that made it worth the effort.
On Saturday morning I went to the closest farmers market which is at Normandy Village. There were about 10 stalls selling a mixture of food and craft items. The largest stall was a fruit and vegetable stand but I was disappointed to find that most of the produce had been flown in and there were fruits from California as well as several different Latin American countries. There was a very wide range of produce though and some really good prices. I bought plantains and about 20 pieces of fruit for $7 including oranges, tangerines, star fruit and mangos. They had huge avocados (the photo really doesn’t indicate how huge they were) that were Floridian and also amazing looking papaya. The avocados are really good – very buttery.
There were stalls selling orchids, fresh fruit juices, soap and jewellery, but the most interesting stall was shared between Le Vinois Bakery and the Ceviche Parlor and was manned by a friendly Frenchman named Francis. Le Vinois bakery offerings were baguettes, several flavors of bread and delicious light rugelach. I tried an apricot one.
The Ceviche Parlor had three flavors of ceviche (citrus marinated seafood): shrimp with avocado, mahi mahi with pineapple and grouper with pomegranate. They also had black bean and mango salsa. My favorite ceviche was the shrimp with avocado which was both tender and very fresh tasting. Francis also had some local fresh mozzerella which was definitely a superior product and makes sandwiches.
On Sunday I went to the Surfside Market (95th and Collins Ave) and about 3 miles north of where we are staying. Both of the markets are run by The Market Company who seem to run all of the local markets. I was told that Surfside Market was bigger, but it was pretty similar to the Normandy Village market. Quite a few of the same vendors were there but there were a couple more art stalls. There was also stall selling cupcakes, some people walking around with their pet monkey, a smaller vegetable stall and a barbecue stand. One of the other stalls that was the same was selling local honey and a variety of royal jelly products as well as fruit wines, jams and chutneys and some other gourmet food products.
My find of the day was Seeley’s gourmet garden who had a very interesting range of fresh hummus including such flavors as coconut curry, rosemary artichoke, cilantro jalapeño (their biggest seller), smoky chipotle lime, Morrocan harissa, wasabi ginger and horseradish. The thai inspired coconut curry was surprisingly good. They also had fresh salsas.