If Miami has an official snack, it's the croqueta. This breaded cylinder filled with meat, cheese, or fish is the embodiment of the Magic City: golden and a little crusty on the outside, warm and savory at the center.
And like every hometown treat, there's debate over who makes the very best croqueta in town. Does a traditional croqueta from Vicky Bakery make you swoon, or would Trust & Co.'s modernized bacon-and-duck version play with your heartstrings?
For $35, you'll sample croquetas from more than a dozen South Florida restaurants, including Atlas, Breadman Miami, Doce Provisions, Dolores but You can Call Me Lolita, Finka Table & Tap, La Fresa Francesca Petit Café, Ms. Cheezious, Palomilla Grill, Party Cake Bakery, Pinecrest Bakery, Trust & Co., Tucker Duke's, and Vicky Bakery. All will try to best Larios on the Beach - Estefan Kitchen, returning to defend its 2015 Croquetapalooza title.
While you're chewing and deciding your favorite, a panel of expert judges (Univision's Eileen Cardet, author Ana Sofía Peláez, and Miami Herald food editor Carlos Frias) will decide which eatery creates the ultimate croqueta.
You can also take your love of croquetas to the next level by entering the third-annual Islas Canarias croqueta-eating contest, refereed by the "croqueta-hating" Randy Fisher (producer of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Burger Bash and Meatopia).
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Plus, in the Frita Showdown, Cuban Guys, El Mago de las Fritas, I Don't Give a Flying Frita, Los Bobos, and Tucker Duke's Lunchbox will try to wrest the Best Frita title from three-time reigning champ El Rey de las Fritas.
There will also be food and drinks by Chifles Mariquitas, Café La Rica, Materva, Jupiña, Fireman Derek, Hatuey Cuban-style beer, Night Owl Cookie Co., Ojala wine, PG Bakery, Tio Colo, and Tito's Vodka.
Advance tickets cost $35 and include unlimited sampling for this 21-and-over event. Visit croquetapalooza.com.