Saturday Sweets: Sweetness Bakeshop, Neighborhood Favorite

Sweetness Bakeshop Miami MIAbites

The dessert scene in Miami has been steadily growing for years now, but do you remember in 2010 when mini cupcakes were taking over the world?  Sweetness Bakeshop entered our lives at just the right time and was ALL over that craze.  I remember the first day I stepped foot into Sweetness Bakeshop, I was in between classes and had stopped in to visit my grandmother on my lunch break when she showed me a flyer she picked up about a bakery opening that very day.  Naturally I left my next class and immediately made my way there. 

The moment I walked in, I knew I found my new home away from home.  Cupcakes, coffee, and WiFi was all this college kid needed.  Within a few weeks I was on a first name basis with the entire family behind this delicious little bakeshop.  But I wasn’t the only one obsessed with them, they gained a cult-like following fairly quickly.

Sweetness Bakeshop is owned and operated as a total family affair.  Stephanie Diaz graduated with a Business Degree from FIU in December 2009 and with her mom, Yami’s love of baking and the entire family’s support – Sweetness Bakeshop was up and running by March 2010. 

Customers could walk in and expect to see dad sweeping the floor, grandma building boxes, mom running the cash register, and brother, Danny and Stephanie baking and bickering in the kitchen – I’ve heard it compared to Que Pasa USA, the Bakery Edition.  Obviously it wasn’t just the family, but the desserts everyone was coming in for. 

Sweetness Bakeshop Miami Cases

The cupcakes, desserts, mini flans, and G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) cookies are all fan favorites.  A few years into it, Sweetness started a food truck called Sugar Rush and were able to open a second location in Hialeah and began producing wholesale desserts for Baptist Health Systems and Pincho Factory.  Though the quality of their treats never changed, that “loving family bakery” feeling suffered because someone was always hidden in the warehouse or running around between locations.  After a year or so the family quickly came back to their roots, returning to only the Sunset location with a fun edgier rebranding and lots of face time with their customers. 

Sweetness Bakeshop Miami Cupcakes

Now let’s talk the desserts – Sweetness Bakeshop has a plethora of treats and flavors on hand at all times.  Every day cupcakes include Thrilla Vanilla, Guava, Chocolate, and Red Velvet.  As well as the fun flavors that change seasonally and by day of the week – anything S’more or Nutella are my favorite.  There’s Crack Cookies that are crazy addicting – Stephanie’s favorite, so you know they are good! And my favorite, the infamous G.O.A.T Cookies, a chocolate truffle-like brownies INSIDE of a chocolate chip cookie.  Protip: ask them to heat it up for you!  As a family bakeshop, we can also expect plenty of old school recipes to come pouring out of their kitchen with love. 

Sweetness Bakeshop Miami Pecan Rum Cake

Yami has been in the kitchen lately cranking out her grandmother’s Pecan Crusted Rum Cake.  Her grandmother went to college in small town Danville, Virginia for four years and brought a ton recipes home to Cuba that are used in the Sweetness kitchen today, with a twist.  The Banana Pudding is made with Maria Cookies rather than the ‘Nilla Wafers we would normally see.  Strawberry Flan from Spain can also be found on their menu.   

American classics with a Miami Cuban twist is what you can expect coming out of this kitchen.  The Diaz family does their absolute best to not only make amazing desserts but to be a known part of the community, whether it’s asking how a child’s weekly spelling test went and rewarding them with a free cookie or slipping samples of new recipes out of the kitchen to get the opinions of their regulars before putting them on display. 

Sweetness Bakeshop Miami Beer and Per'la coffee

Thirsty customers can also find a selection of local craft beers and Miami roasted coffees – currently they are brewing coffee from our friends over at Per'la, a favorite among the MIAbites team.  For the sweet lover who can devour cupcakes and still want more there’s also a few mouthwatering milkshakes on the menu. 

Sweetness Bakeshop GOAT Milkshake

I always go for the G.O.A.T Cookie milkshake, I know I know I’m obsessed, but at least I’ll admit it!  If you have ever been to Sweetness Bakeshop, then I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say it’s the best family bakeshop in Miami, and if you haven’t been yet – then you are seriously missing out!  While you’re on the way there make sure to download the Perka App, they’ve got a customer reward program where you can earn free cupcakes, dessert shots, and some other great perks!

Sweetness Bakeshop   

9549 SW 72nd St, Miami, FL 33173

(305) 271-7791

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lekoke Wine & Bites: Wine bar in Little Havana

As much as I love the new, hip, “see and be seen” spots all over our gorgeous city, it’s always nice to have the unknown, hidden, quiet spots under your belt as well.  That’s where Lekoke Wine & Bites on Calle Ocho comes into play.  A quiet unassuming wine bar with fresh homemade tapas is the perfect way to celebrate #WineWednesday or really any day for that matter.

The walls are lined with unique décor and rows and rows of wine.  All price points and varieties can be found here, there’s something to make every wine lover happy as well as making a wine novice a pro. Owners Laura and Ronald were aware that many local Little Havana Miamians are more drawn to beers and hard liquors and wanted to find a way to make them aware of the wonderful wine options that are available in our community.  Lekoke was inspired by Ronald’s nickname, Koko – the ‘Le’ was added to give it a French feel because they wanted to create the allusion that you aren’t on just Calle 8 but somewhere diverse and upscale.  They wanted to be part of the modernization and expansion of the well-known Little Havana area. 

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Weekly Nibble: Key Lime Day, Bar Wars, Coffee Day, Wine at Alter, Gastronomy Congress, and more

September seems to be packed with “special” food holidays.  The entire month is Bourbon Heritage Month, September 25th is National Lobster Day, September 26th is Key Lime Pie Day and September 29th is National Coffee Day.  This week’s Weekly Nibble will try to cover all of those holidays with local options, in addition to regular food and drink events.

Sunday September 25th- National Lobster Day- FUN FACT: National Lobster Day was moved to September 25th in 2015 by an act of the U.S. Senate. The resolution was introduced by Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, after no one could find any official approval of the National Lobster Day celebrated on June 15th. However the old National Lobster Day, June 15th, is still being widely celebrated today. Keep the old and the new, we say.

The Dutch Miami Beach features a refreshing Lobster Salad served in Vadouvan curry with mango and cashews in a coconut shell and is the perfect starter for any meal. The Dutch W South Beach, 2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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Counting Down Miami Spice: Izzy's Fish & Oyster

The days of Miami Spice are officially counting down, but before we say farewell to the off-season fixe prix special extravaganza that has most of us swearing off our bikini bodies till Spring, we have some musts that should be checked off the bucket list.

We are talking about South Beach’s seafood resto of choice, Izzy’s Fish & Oyster Bar, who recently upgraded some items of its Miami Spice dinner menu ($39) for the month of September.

Chef/Owner Jamie Derosa and Chef de Cuisine, William Crandall are staying true to New England roots with their authentic dishes and drinks. It’s a slice of Cape Cod just off the corner of 5th and Washington.

The menu offers the option of substituting your dessert for a beverage, which is the way to go unless you are one of the few dedicated souls who actually saves room. These options include house red or white wine, Narragansett on draft, Sam Adams Oktoberfest Ale or one of their signature Miami Spice Cocktails.

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Saturday Sweets: Chef Maria, Pubbelly Pastry Chef Extraordinaire

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about the Pubbelly Boys and their amazing savory creations, but not everyone knows about their sweet secret weapon – Chef Maria Orantes.  Chef Maria is the Executive Pastry Chef for all of the Pubbelly restaurants, including their newest adventures downtown at PB Station and out to sea at Food Republic on Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship, The Escape.  

While she’s busy creating amazing recipes for the new spots, her heart still very happily belongs to her Sunday Brunch Dough Bar 305 found at the original Pubbelly Sushi location in Sunset Harbour.  Each week Chef Maria features around six different delicious donuts available just for brunch. 

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Weekly Nibble: Bourbon Month, Burgers, Babes & Booze, Gin & Jazz, Key Lime Pies, Lobster Day and more

September seems to be packed with “special” food holidays.  The entire month is Bourbon Heritage Month, September 18th is National Cheeseburger Day, September 25th is National Lobster Day, September 26th is Key Lime Pie Day and September 29th is National Coffee Day. 

This week’s Weekly Nibble will try to cover all of those holidays with local options, in addition to regular food and drink events.

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Synchronicity at The Setai

When the new owners of The Setai Miami Beach took control of the luxury hotel in early 2015, they charted a course towards the vision of what the storied property could be. Included in this plan was a desire to integrate their vision with the best Miami has to offer. They wanted to be a location that could showcase local products that lived up to the very high standards of the Forbes five-star hotel and the expectations of the ownership group.

At roughly the same time, two buddies whose friendship began years prior at the University of Miami ( see photo below of then and now ), were discussing a possible partnership in Specialty Coffee. Paul Massard had put in years of work, rising through the ranks to become one of the approximately 350 Q-Graders in the US - the coffee industry equivalent of a sommelier. Originally from Colombia, not only was coffee in Paul’s blood, but he worked in all facets of the coffee industry after college. It was time to put his signature on a roasting operation of his own. His good friend from college, Chris Nolte, had honed his business skills in both corporate logistics and sales - in perfect preparation for an endeavor such as their newly minted Per’La Specialty Roasters.

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Press Release: Miami Beach Life Magazine Announces Inaugural Issue

MIAbites and Miami Beach Life Magazine

MIAbites is excited to announce the inaugural issue release date of Miami Beach Life Magazine for the end of October 2016.  Miami Beach Life will focus on the Miami Beach lifestyle, including restaurants, real estate, fashion, nightlife, water and beach activities, events, local issues and politics

Miami Beach Life Magazine will be produced bi-monthly as the only "locals" publication focusing content and distribution on Miami Beach.  Distribution plans include 80% to hotels, businesses and realtors on Miami Beach with the remaining 20% to Surfside, Bal Harbour, Midtown, Wynwood and Brickell.

We are excited that MIAbites will be the exclusive food/restaurant content and provide original articles on restaurant and food related news and reviews.  We are proud of our talented community of local food lovers and photographers who cover the food scene both in Miami and on Miami Beach and offer a variety of editorial voices and points of view. 

Geo Hernandez, Miami Beach Life's  Health/Fitness expert will handle Health/Fitness section of the magazine. 

Miami Beach Life Magazine will also produce over 6-10 events per year in Miami Beach and surrounding areas.

The first issue will include stories on TrainRail in Miami Beach, Miami Beach Convention Center updates, Yogi's in the Water, Art Basel tips, local and National elections, North Beach real estate and a special feature on “People Who Make The Beach”. 

For more information please contact: 

Marlon Cuestra- Miami Beach Life Magazine

(786)483-7714

MIAbites and Miami Beach Life Magazine partner

Saturday Sweets: White Star Cafe and Bakery

A great deal has been written in the news about food allergies and the life-threatening dangers they pose to a large population. As we have become more aware of food allergies and more conscious of what we are eating, we are still in need of delicious dessert options that fit those needs and can still satisfy the sweetest of sweet tooth’s. 

Enter White Star Café and Bakery, found off of Sunset Drive and 87th Avenue.  This Kendall café is taking the area by storm.  A husband and wife team that set out determined to build a safe environment for their son who suffered from severe food allergies. 

The name White Star Café came from their desire to make a safe haven for those with dietary restrictions – a safe place for them to call home, “follow the white star and that’s where you’ll be”.  They believe that great food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and everyone no matter what restrictions should be able to enjoy it, while knowing no shortcuts were taken, no preservatives were used, and only the best ingredients can be found in their treats.  It took 5 years for the family to develop their recipes keeping in mind to specifically exclude: Milk (Casein), Eggs, Soy, Wheat (Gluten), Peanuts, Tree Nuts (except coconut), Fish, Crustaceans (a type of shellfish) Corn and furthermore, Artificial Colors, Preservatives or Flavors.

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Bar Primi Pop Up Entices Guests with Classic Italian Flavors

Ripe with Authenticity, Bar Primi Pop Up Entices Guests with Classic Italian Flavors

It may seem like every other week that The Dutch, located inside the W Hotel South Beach, puts on an event. From the summer BBQ series, to the Bar Primi pop up, Chefs Adonay Tarfur and Josh Gripper keep busy.

To close out the summer with a bang, the team at The Dutch have invited their sister restaurant Bar Primi from New York to enjoy that #MiamiLife and take advantage of our favorite time of year: Miami Spice Season. I was invited to join a few other food writers to experience this newest Spice twist. 

Spearheaded by Chef Andrew Carmellini and Chef/Partner Sal Lamboglia, Bar Primi has become a New York Italian staple serving up classic, straight forward food straight from the motherland.

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