Posh Nosh

Side Dish
I've been drinking my morning coffee at Aurora (1205 Seventeenth St., Miami Beach), our first Seattle-style beans bar. Polished wood counters and art exhibitions are attractive, but the sun rises for me on 1) the shakers of cinnamon and cocoa at the milk-and-sugar stations, 2) the homemade mini bundt cakes, and 3) the spillproof sip tops on the disposable paper cups. The coffee drinks are as sleek and stylish as the place itself A the requisite lattes, espressos, and mochas A but don't be intimidated if the proper way to order these beverages is a mystery. Table tents, pamphlets, and a shockingly pleasant staff (they must have come from Seattle, too) explain the short and tall and long and skinny and single and double of it all.

As coffee becomes something of a cliche, however, I find myself turning to tea A and so, apparently, do many others. High-tech "tea bars" specializing in exotic imported blends as well as fruit and herbal varieties, are purportedly the newest trend destined to come our way. If you can't wait, you might want to check out Nancy Lones's Little Bistro, a trailer-size restaurant parked at 8075 SW 67th Ave. in South Miami. Afternoon tea is served every weekday from 3:00 to 5:00. Pastries are made on the premises. Or if you prefer sherry with your scones, try the Grand Bay Hotel's brand-new "Sherry A Done to a Tea" service. Monday through Saturday from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Grand Cafe chef Pascal Oudin pairs Gonzalez Byass sherries with tropically twisted scones and tea cakes such as sweet potato cupcakes with blood orange marmalade and spicy gingerbread with guava cream cheese.

Still another hot beverage trend awaits us in the evenings. It seems restaurants are finally tuning in to the fact that those of us who stuff ourselves during the meal can't tolerate a filling coffee-and-pastry course. The solution is a combination of drink and dessert A i.e., hot chocolate made the way it should be with melted candy or cocoa and heavy cream. Hardly a new concept to Parisians, who like their spoons to stand up straight in their chocolate cups, but folks in the States are suddenly embracing the rich gourmet treat as if one sip were an instant return to childhood. South Florida restaurateurs may want to hang onto their pastry chefs, though. A laughable two days of 40-degree weather certainly won't ensure the success of the hot chocolate trend in subtropica.

Suggestions? Write me at New Times, P.O. Box 011591, Miami

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