Swooning Over Swine

Miami is a great place to try new restaurants, it seems like there’s a new one opening up almost every day, whether in Coral Gables, Midtown or in Miami Beach. Recently, Gastro pubs have taken over in Miami, sometimes making you feel as if you’re dining in NYC or Chicago, instead of South Florida.  Swine Southern Table & Bar, is the latest addition to the 50 Eggs, Inc. family, which consists of Khong River House and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (both of which I still have to try).  Swine describes itself as ”A house of worship to the porcine pursuits”.

Swine Southern Table & Bar Interior  Photo Courtesy of MiamiEater.com

My husband first tried this place with some co-workers, and he liked it so much, he suggested we go for a family brunch. At first sight, the place looks very small and cozy, but then you take a look around, and realize there’s a loft-style dining space up on the second floor, which almost doubles the restaurant space.  A relaxed ambiance with dim lighting and creative decor make this restaurant everything that a Gastro pub should be.  Also worth a mention, some of the friendliest waiters I have ever encountered in Miami!

The menu resembles one of a typical BBQ joint, with items such as pulled pork and brisket. Everything is smoked in-house for around 12 hours, leaving the area with an intoxicating smell of wood, meat, sweetness, and bourbon. In addition to the creative cocktail menu, there’s also an extensive bourbon collection featuring rare, limited editions and house infusions, as well as various beers and wines to choose from.

Jalapeño, Cheddar & Bacon Homemade Cornbread

Jalapeño, Cheddar & Bacon Homemade Cornbread

The first time we ate at Swine, we ordered a muffin basket, with cherry scones, cornbread and banana muffins. Since we’ve been back they no longer offer it, but you can still order the items separately. Remembering how yummy these treats were, we of course ordered the  Jalapeño, Cheddar & Bacon Homemade Cornbread, and the Granola Crusted, Cream Cheese Stuffed Warm Banana Muffin, both served with homemade berry jam and maple butter. Delicious!

Granola Crusted, Cream Cheese Stuffed Warm Banana Muffin

Granola Crusted, Cream Cheese Stuffed Warm Banana Muffin

Next we had the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with green apple and bacon vinaigrette, one of hubby’s favorite dishes there! And he also ordered a side of the BBQ spiced French Fries, served with spicy ketchup and crumbled bacon.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with green apples and bacon vinaigrette

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with green apples and bacon vinaigrette

BBQ spiced French Fries

BBQ spiced French Fries

To top this all off, we all shared the Warm Sticky Icky Bun, with maple-bourbon toffee syrup, pecan cream cheese, candied smoked bacon, and sweet potato “pie” ice cream.  As you can imagine, we were stuffed and really couldn’t finish all of this food, it was very filling, but also very delicious!

Warm Sticky Icky Bun, with maple-bourbon toffee syrup, pecan cream cheese, candied smoked bacon, and sweet potato “pie” ice cream.

Warm Sticky Icky Bun, with maple-bourbon toffee syrup, pecan cream cheese, candied smoked bacon, and sweet potato “pie” ice cream.

If you’re in Miami, or visiting soon, make sure you stop in the place that proclaims “the only part of a hog you can’t use is his squeal”, you won’t be disappointed!

Swine Southern Table & Bar
2415 Ponce De Leon Blvd
Coral Gables
http://www.runpigrun.com

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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