What Is A Montadito?

What is a “Montadito” you might ask?  Well, In Spanish, montar means “to mount,” so montaditos are tapas-style tiny baguettes that are piled high with meats, cheeses, chocolates…essentially delightful bite-sized finger food.

Various "montaditos"

Various “montaditos”

That is the concept behind 100 Montaditos (you can choose from 100 mini sandwiches, hence the name).  They also serve appetizers, tapas, salads, various types of beer, and of course sangria.

100 Montaditos has become a very popular restaurant chain, which first opened its doors in 2000 in the south of Spain, and has now become the largest Spanish-owned franchise in the world.  The ambiance is very typical of a tapas bar in Spain, where once folks finish their meals, they like to hang around drinking and having fun.

Ham croqueta appetizer

Ham croqueta appetizer

In 2011, the first US restaurant and Americas headquarters was opened in, where else, Miami.  My family and I love to frequent this place because there is such variety, and you can’t beat the prices. The mini sandwiches range in price between $1.00 – $2.50, but on Wednesdays, all sandwiches cost $1.00! Another great feature of these restaurants is their locations.  In the Miami area, you can find one in South Miami, Miracle Mile, Lincoln Road, Brickell Avenue, Midtown, Kendall, Pinecrest…just about anywhere. My favorite montaditos are the Serrrano ham, Manchego cheese, tortilla Española with ali oli, and my husband loves the BBQ pulled pork.

My favorite Guava & Cream Cheese Montadito!

My favorite Montadito!

On our last visit there, they had changed up the menu a bit, and I was surprised that they no longer serve the very popular cream cheese and guava montadito, (not sure why it’s off the menu, it was delicious). But if you’re looking for a sweet ending to your meal, make sure you try one of their delicious chocolate montaditos, especially the Cookies and Cream one! Have you been to 100 Montaditos?  If you have, which is your favorite?

Montaditoscollage

 

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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

Bulla Gastrobar

I’ve been craving tasty tapas since I returned from Barcelona last summer.  I’m always on the lookout for a good tapas place, and on a recent Sunday lunch date with my husband, I finally found one…Bulla Gastrobar in Coral Gables. Bulla (pronounced boo-ya, not bull-ah) is defined as the ability to create a stir; what everyone’s talking about.  And trust me, everyone is certainly talking about this eatery featuring delicious, delicately prepared Spanish and Catalan dishes, in an ambiance that will make you feel as if you’re sitting in one of the many tapas bars on Passeig de Gracia in lively Barcelona.

Photo Courtesy of Bulla Gastrobar

The restaurant is located at 2500 Ponce De Leon, the same spot as the owner’s previous and slightly more upscale restaurant, Por Fin (which I never had the pleasure of trying), but Bulla symbolizes a fun and casual tapas bar.  A great place for a light dinner or a quick happy hour with friends.  The restaurant also features an upstairs dining room for private events and group gatherings.

There are so many dishes to choose from, it took us a while to decide on a few to share for lunch.  A house favorite is the Huevos “Bulla”, their version of the Spanish favorite usually referred to as Huevos Estrellados in Spain (a favorite dish of mine in Barcelona).  Huevos Bulla are prepared with organic eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil (sounds heavenly). Another house specialty is the Sangria de Cerveza, which is prepared with Ommegang Witte, triple sec, lemon juice, and pear purée. We decided on the very traditional Pan con Tomate, and paired it up with an order of Jamon Serrano.  We also had some tiny yummy Croquetas de Jamon, Tortilla Española and Buñuelos de Bacalao (codfish fritters with homemade tartar sauce).

Pan con Tomate &  Jamon Serrano

Pan con Tomate & Jamon Serrano

Buñuelos de Bacalao

Tortilla Española

Croquetas de Jamon

Everything was delicious, and very filling, so unfortunately, we didn’t leave any room for dessert. Next time we will have to try a few more dishes and possibly the Cremoso de Chocolate, their three layer chocolate genoise, vanilla ice cream, olive oil, and Maldon salt concoction, which sounds blissful…What are some of your favorite tapa dishes, I’d love to hear?

Bulla Gastrobar
2500 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
Coral Gables
http://www.bullamiami.com