What's the one dish that Argentines miss the most when living abroad? Well, if you talk to Maximiliano Alvarez of Fiorito, there's too many to choose from:
mollejas (sweetbreads), provoleta cheese with chorizo, milanesas, and empanadas, just to name a few. Fair enough. But when we press harder, he has the most to say about the empanadas, which are derived from his father's recipe:
"He used to make it with hanger steak, cutting the meat himself and he'd put in hardboiled egg and olives, but people here [in Miami] didn't like that so we took it out."
While Fiorito's may not be the biggest restaurant (they seat about 70), nor the one with the most LED screens (two), if you want to have one of the most emblematic foods of Argentina, surrounded by passionate locals rooting for their madre patria, then this is the place to watch the Argentina-Netherlands game at 4 p.m. today.
The empanadas are hand-rolled, baked, and toasted before being served on a wooden board. The outside is as flaky as a croissant, the inside full of tender, flavorful hanger steak spiced with cumin, ají molido, and paprika. The meat comes from Rosario's, a distributor in Argentina, and it's a good deal at $3. Just don't expect any condiments.
"In Argentina we don't put chimichurri on our empanadas," says Alvarez. "We just eat it as is."
Happy hour at Fiorito is from 4 to 7 p.m., plenty of time to enjoy the food and buckets of Quilmes beer (five bottles) for $20.
We're not going to lie -- it was pretty tricky finding traditional dishes from the Netherlands being served in Miami for the World Cup. Dutch food has influences from around the globe, so instead of searching for something emblamatic-ish, we suggest you support the boys of the Netherlands with a chunk of Gouda.
Gouda is a cow's milk cheese that you probably recognize in the form of a small sphere wrapped in red wax paper. But there are so many better versions out there, aged for months or years, packaged in red, yellow, or even black wax. The cheese takes its name from the city of Gouda in the Netherlands, but the name isn't protected (ergo, lots of imposters).
We tried out two versions, both purchased at Whole Foods: The first, Gouda Robusto ($5.27), is aged one year, made with pasteurized cows milk, rennet, salt, and enzymes. Firm, slightly sweet and nutty, with a subtle crunch that comes from naturally occurring salt crystals, this is a nice cheese as is, or on a cracker. If you really want to feel like a local, try the Gouda with mustard and pickles.
The second cheese sampled is Meadowkaas young Gouda, notable for its softness and sweet taste. The cows that produce Meadowkaas feed on the first of spring grass, which gives it a richer, more buttery flavor than Robusto. For those in need of a game day fried food nash, a side order of gouda tater tots ($10) at Meat Market are a melt-in-your-mouth local favorite.
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Either cheese you choose, you can't go wrong. Here's to a delicious semi-finals game.