Buttercream…Takes the Cake

The cupcake craze in the past few years has exploded, and in my family we have a bit of OCD (Obsessive Cupcake Disorder). It doesn’t help that almost everywhere you look, there’s a new cupcake shop opening up.  Here in Miami, we have quite a few, but to me there is nothing as delicious as the cupcakes found at Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee. I’ve mentioned them before in some of my other blog posts, but today I am dedicating an entire post just to them. The tiny shop, owned by wife and husband team Kristine Graulich and Jose Cuellar, situated on the residential side of Sunset Drive, is small but cozy. There’s a little table inside if you’d like to escape the heat and humidity, and also a few tables set up outside.  We love the aroma of warm cupcakes, the moment you open the front door.  And then it hits you…which one should I choose?

So hard to choose...

Such a variety to choose from…

Be warned, you will not find any crazy, exotic flavors or fillings in these cupcakes.  If that’s what you’re looking for, then this is not the place for you.  Here the cake is basically always chocolate or vanilla, topped with various flavors of buttercream frosting, such as guava, pistachio (hubby’s favorite), vanilla (my original favorite), strawberry (my current favorite), red velvet or chocolate.  The Oreo, featuring giant chunks of Oreo cookies in the frosting, is by far my daughter’s favorite.  But these cupcakes don’t need any frills, they are perfect the way they are. Buttercream cupcakes are store-baked each day using the finest dairy, flour and sugar ingredients which is why they are so moist. They also offer additional flavors on a rotating schedule, such as orange and lime, to keep things interesting. Here are all of our favorite flavors:

My favorite flavors!

Favorite flavors!

But if you can’t decide, they offer a sampler box of mini cupcakes comprised of their most popular flavors.

Mini cupcakes...Photo courtesy of Buttercream Cupackes

Mini cupcakes…Photo courtesy of Buttercream Cupcakes

They also make cakes for special occasions, which are just as delicious as their cupcakes.  Take a look at the beautiful cake they made for my friend’s baby shower:

Beautiful baby shower cake...

Beautiful baby shower cake…

So the next time you find yourself in Coral Gables, make sure you stop in and try one of these heavenly cupcakes, you won’t regret it!

 Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee
1411 Sunset Drive
Coral Gables
(305) 669-8181

http://www.buttercreamcupcakes.com

Have you tried Buttercream cupcakes?  If you have, I’d love to hear which one is your favorite?

My Signature

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Threefold Cafe

Breakfast all day long? This is what you’ll encounter at Coral Gables’ newest all-day breakfast place, Threefold Café. Opened this past summer by two Melbourne transplants, Teresa and Nick Sharp, Threefold offers diners a taste of their native Australian dishes all with a Floridian twist. And let me just say, if you are not big on breakfast, this place will likely change your mind!

Threefold Cafe

Threefold Cafe

Cute yellow teapots

Cute yellow teapots…

The menu features Australian-inspired dishes, my favorite being their “Smashed Avo”, butter & thyme roasted mushrooms with feta, lime, basil all served on Zak’s bread, topped with a perfectly soft poached egg for an extra $2. I had never tasted anything like this, but I can assure you it was delicious!  Both my husband and daughter, being waffle lovers, ordered the “Big Kid Waffles”, vanilla waffles dusted with powdered sugar, served with fresh strawberries and organic maple syrup.  We also ordered a side of Mornin’ Monkey, a banana and walnut bread served with espresso butter and maple syrup on the side.  Next time (oh yes, I think there will have to be a next time soon) I want to try the “Not So French Toast,” egg-soaked bread filled with prosciutto, basil, and ricotta, sounds heavenly! Oh and did I mention the portions are very generous.

Smashed Avo

Smashed Avo topped with a soft poached egg…

Waffles with strawberries and powdered sugar...

Waffles with strawberries and powdered sugar…

Mornin' Monkey... banana and walnut bread served with espresso butter and maple syrup...

Mornin’ Monkey… banana and walnut bread served with espresso butter and maple syrup…

Not So French Toast...

Not So French Toast…

Hot chocolate with mini marshmellows...

Hot chocolate with mini marshmallows…

And if you have little ones, this is the only place in the Gables that I have seen with a children’s nook, full of Ikea stools and toys, doesn’t get much better than that.  They also offer kid-friendly menu options such as vanilla waffles and buttermilk pancakes with butterscotch sauce and vanilla-bean ice cream, served in colorful plastic dishes. Oh and they offer “babyccinos” for $1 for the kids (frothed milk with marshmallows)…can you say cute? They want to make sure they are pleasing everyone in the family.

Children's play area...

Children’s play area…

Once you’re done with your meal, make sure you order the Tim Tam cookies, directly from Australia.  They are crunchy, malty and chocolaty, very similar in taste to a Twix bar…absolutely delicious!  My daughter loved them so much, they gave her a few extra ones!

Yummy Tim Tams

Yummy Tim Tams

Open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Threefold also has special lunch offerings, including sandwiches, soups, and salads.  If you’re in the Miami area, make sure to eat at this wonderful new spot.

Threefold Café
141 Giralda Avenue
Coral Gables
(305) 704-8007
www.threefoldcafe.com

Have you been to Threefold Cafe, if you have I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

A Visit to Venetian Pool…

Coral Gables, Florida, The City Beautiful, as it is nicknamed, is a gorgeous community of esplanades, fountains, plazas and Mediterranean styled homes, designed by Dade County commissioner and land developer George Merrick starting in 1921.  And within this beautiful city, is the hidden gem of Venetian Pool, one of this country’s most beautiful public swimming pools and the only one listed on The National Register of Historic Places.

The beautiful Venetian Pool

The beautiful Venetian Pool

The Venetian pool was opened in 1924 as the “Venetian Casino,” which was part of the Grand Plan George Merrick had for the City of Coral Gables.  The pool was created in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, where much of the original coral rock was used to border and further accentuate the pool. It also features two large historic lookout towers, with a view to Coral Gables.

The towers

The towers

The clear, cool water (76-78 degrees) is fed by underground artesian wells, providing 820,000 gallons of water. Until 1988, the pool was drained and refilled every day during the summer; now a conservation method is utilized that recycles the water through natural ground filtration and returns it to the subterranean aquifer.

The pool is a lot of fun, as kids jump off the rocks and love to go swimming and hiding through the caves.  There’s also a sandy area resembling a beach, and there’s an on site cafe with tables and chairs on the patio.  Everything you need for a full day of family fun in the summer. But even if you don’t go swimming, take a peek through their gates, it’s truly something worth seeing.

Venetian Pool is located in a residential neighborhood of Coral Gables, at 2701 DeSoto Boulevard, and opens seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day (and closed on Mondays during the winter). For vintage photos and more information, check out the Venetian Pool website at www.coralgablesvenetianpool.com/History.html.

Here are a few more photos of this amazing place, have you been to Venetian Pool?

Entrance to the pool…

One of the towers

The tower ceiling

The tower ceiling

Venetian style mooring poles

Lifeguard Stand

Lifeguard Stand

The waterfalls

Beach area at the pool

Beach area at the pool

Cafe

Patio for cafe area

Having fun!

Having fun!

Pan Con Mantequilla

So it seems that now I’m finding tapas restaurants everywhere…you know what they say, when it rains it pours.  Recently, we came across Bread+Butter Counter… a “Cuban Gastropub”, in Coral Gables. In Miami, good Cuban food isn’t very hard to find, with historic restaurants such as La Carreta, Versailles and Sergio’s, as well as, hundreds of smaller mom and pop places, all featured in travel books. (This by the way, was one of the main things hubby and I missed when we lived in Raleigh, no Cuban restaurants around, and most locals would refer us to the nearest Taco Bell, yes you heard it folks, Taco Bell!)

Media Noche Croquetas & Pan Con Tomate

Media Noche Croquetas & Pan Con Tomate

At B+B, owner and chef Alberto Cabrera offers a creative menu using Cuban staples with a twist, to serve up innovative dishes. In addition to a complete list of tapas style remakes of Cuban traditional plates to share, there’s also medium-sized rice dishes and a few larger plates, including the Pollo Asado, which is my husband’s favorite!  I went for the Media Noche Croquetas served with aioli and soda crackers, and Pan Con Tomate, both very good.

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Platano en Tentacion

However, the dish we most enjoyed was the Platano en Tentacion…bacon-wrapped plantains, served with five-spice almibar and topped with sour cream, and chives…in one word, divine!

I also really liked the decor of this place, resembling an old-time diner or counter restaurant. The first thing I noticed when we sat down, were the tin can water cups on the table, very similar to the ones my sisters tell me we used in Cuba when we were little.  There are also many beautiful, vintage black-and-white images of the old Cuba my parents are always reminiscing about.  I must warn you though, as with many places in the Gables, parking for this place is tough, so if you’re trying to make your reservation, give yourself enough time to find a spot.

Tin water cups

Tin water cups

Once again, we didn’t make room for dessert. However, there were a few that caught our eye for our next visit, such as the Flan de Queso de Cabra (a goat cheese flan) and the Torrejas, a traditional dish similar to Cuban “French Toast”, served with guava maple syrup and cream cheese ice-cream.  I’m not sure they’ll be as incredible as my Abuela’s torrejas were, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

Bread + Butter Counter
2330 Salzedo Street
Coral Gables
http://www.breadandbuttercounter.com