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$7 at La Esquina Tropical in Little Havana

A City of Miami worker poses for a shot at La Esquina Tropical.
A City of Miami worker poses for a shot at La Esquina Tropical.
Jacob Katel
La Esquina Tropical (1060 SW Eighth St., Miami), or the Tropical Corner if you don't speak Miami, is a Little Havana minimart with a lunch counter and coffee window. Peep game on that bungeed-up water cooler -- it's an MIA trademark. Short Order stopped by yesterday around 3:30 p.m. for a bite to eat and bought a ham croqueta, beef empanada, pan con bistec (steak sandwich), and a colada (Cuban jet fuel). The bill came to $6.85. We wouldn't say it's the best place of its kind, and there are many like it in Dade County, but just so you know, this one is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Sunday, when its closes at 9, and unlike other Little Havana spots of its kind, it accepts debit cards.

Following are some pictures of and thoughts about the food.
Beef empanada, ham croqueta. Not the best-looking empanada, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Let's have a closer look.
Beef empanada, ham croqueta. Not the best-looking empanada, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Let's have a closer look.
I feel like there should be either more or less fry bubbles on that sucker. I wonder how long that was sitting in the hot box. Whatever, croqueta looks decent.
I feel like there should be either more or less fry bubbles on that sucker. I wonder how long that was sitting in the hot box. Whatever, croqueta looks decent.
All right, all right, pretty good. Doesn't taste exactly fresh, some might say stale, but nothin' really wrong with it per se.
All right, all right, pretty good. Doesn't taste exactly fresh, some might say stale, but nothin' really wrong with it per se.
Just dunk that sucker in some hot sauce and enjoy.
Just dunk that sucker in some hot sauce and enjoy.

 

Not the greatest. Beef dry, shell chewy, tastes old. Must douse in hot sauce and eat fast.
Not the greatest. Beef dry, shell chewy, tastes old. Must douse in hot sauce and eat fast.
Pan con bistec, freshly prepared. Good-looking bread, nice fry spillover ratio, meat poking out the side, check. Time for a closeup.
Pan con bistec, freshly prepared. Good-looking bread, nice fry spillover ratio, meat poking out the side, check. Time for a closeup.
Bistec shot. Wagyu it ain't; kosher, don't think so; organic, unlikely. It is what it is: cheapskate sandwich... um, cheap steak sandwich.
Bistec shot. Wagyu it ain't; kosher, don't think so; organic, unlikely. It is what it is: cheapskate sandwich... um, cheap steak sandwich.
Flipped the sandwich over and checked under the bread. Lettuce, mayo, tomato. All in all, a pretty good sandwich. Better than the empanada and croqueta combined.
Flipped the sandwich over and checked under the bread. Lettuce, mayo, tomato. All in all, a pretty good sandwich. Better than the empanada and croqueta combined.
Finish off with a colada to fight the siesta effect. Nice froth on the first pour.
Finish off with a colada to fight the siesta effect. Nice froth on the first pour.
Coffee good. Strong. See the caffeine bubbling up? It's saying, "Drink me."
Coffee good. Strong. See the caffeine bubbling up? It's saying, "Drink me."
Don't count on any $5 Marlboros.
Don't count on any $5 Marlboros.
Also on the menu.
Also on the menu.
Phone number: 305-858-2845
Phone number: 305-858-2845

Verdict: A cheap, convenient place with a friendly staff.


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