Long before Cesar Gonzalez opened Bocas House (10200 NW 25th St., #101, Doral), his culinary creations had a strong following on social media. “I didn’t have a restaurant, but I cooked at home and uploaded images of what I made on Instagram. People gave me great support.” Gonzalez has amassed more than 750,000 followers on Instagram, who clamor for the chef's food porn.
His restaurant offers an eclectic selection of Gonzalez’s Venezuelan-Peruvian fusion creations, such as salmon ceviche in a fragrant passionfruit and mango sauce, as well as tequeños, Venezuela’s quintessential finger food, made with phyllo dough and served with a papelón (unrefined whole cane sugar) reduction.
But it is Bocas House’s milkshakes that have people visiting from all over the world.
“Many people from other countries come for vacation and head straight here. On the weekends, that little hallway there,” Gonzalez says, pointing to a narrow space to the left of the bar, “is full of suitcases. People come from the airport straight here!”
Gonzalez explains he always wanted milkshakes served here but admits there’s no real logic because the frozen treat isn't a Venezuelan or Peruvian specialty. But it is an indulgent dessert, and that seems reason enough. Every component is made in-house. Each shake comes in a large Mason-style jar and is topped with ice cream, piled with a baked good or confection, and drizzled with syrup.
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The original milkshake ($16) was made with Nutella fans in mind: It's a Nutella milkshake topped with a Nutella brownie topped with more ice cream and a generous drizzle of Nutella. It remains a favorite. The tres leches milkshake ($15.99) is a close tie. It's made with Venezuelan chicha (a rice pudding drink) topped with ice cream in a waffle cone crowned with a slice of tres leche cake, all bathed in condensed milk. Each milkshake comes with its own plate and spoons so diners can deconstruct and eat what is actually three desserts in one.
A large table of guests begins clapping along with a group of the staff as one waiter balancing a milkshake crowned with a mammoth three-layer chocolate cake and sparkling candle starts serenading "Happy Birthday" to one lucky patron. By the looks of the dessert and its ecstatic reception, it is easily understood why celebrations would take place here.
“That’s our birthday milkshake,” Gonzalez announces over the cheering. “Everyone celebrating a birthday with us gets one on the house.” He leans back in his chair and watches as the candle is blown out. A wide, Cheshire Cat-like smile spreads across his face. “Look, I am a little bit extravagant when it comes to desserts. I am an enemy of microscopic portions.”