I am very sorry to say that I have to disagree. I remember a few years ago thoroughly enjoying Gilbert's pastries and croquetas. So this past holiday season I was invited to spend a White Christmas in the Midwest and I wanted to bring with me what I was hoping to be the best examples of Cuban pastries and my absolute favorite, the ham croqueta. The morning before my flight I entered Gilbert's bakery (the one on Coral Way) and loaded up boxes of various pastries and asked for 15 ham croquetas. To my utter delight there were not enough so they had to fry up some fresh ones. I patiently waited, paid for my things and went on my way. The 5 minute drive home was too long but I made it and gobbled down one of the fresh croquetas. They were terrible. Barely any ham, mostly bland filler. They were mushy imposters. I hate to waste food so I brought them with me anyway along with many disclaimers.
Best Croquetas - 2008
Only the French could think of deep-frying meat and béchamel and giving it a cute little name like croquette. Only the Cubans, however, could make it a mainstay of every gas station and coffee shop in a town of two million people.
Sadly the Miami croqueta is generally paltry: stale, artery-clogging torpedoes comprising boiled ham or dry chicken.
Thankfully Gilbert's Bakery, which has been in business in Miami for more than 30 years, has mastered the art. In addition to the old standbys, the place offers asparagus, cheese, and codfish selections. There's also chorizo, as well as the delectable Romesco — styled after the spicy Spanish sauce made with nuts and chilies. Wait a few seconds for these bad boys to take hold. They expand in your gut. By the way, they're 50 cents a pop.