Conventional forms of meat consumption are so passe in our post-Andrew Zimmern world. Ever since Bizarre Foods hit the airwaves, budding foodies have been trying to outdo one another in the consumption of exotic and stomach-churning meals. Along with insect larvae and durian, offal (a euphemism for organs, glands, and innards usually discarded during butchery) has returned to the culinary scene.
While they might not be the most attractive proteins, these overlooked delicacies are often staples of cultures around the world. Here are some of Miami's best blood-and-guts dishes, lovingly prepared and served for your gluttonous consumption.
6. Veal Kidneys at Le Provençal
Provençal is a Coral Gables institution centrally located on Miracle Mile. Walking into this landmark, you'll be greeted by an artfully designed dining room with a homey feel. Sautéed in your choice of either a red wine or mustard sauce, these little delectable morsels of internal organ perfection skirt the line between soft and chewy.
5. Pig Stomach Soup at Panya Thai
Simmered in a broth thickened with oyster sauce and blood, this traditional Thai guay jab is not for the faint of heart. The hearty soup is South Asia's answer to the traditional Mexican menudo, but with star anise, cilantro, and cinnamon overtones.
4. Menudo (Tripe) at Chapultepec
Authentic and affordable Mexican fare is difficult to find in South Florida. Diners have few options -- they can settle for either whitewashed upscale eateries or national casual dining chains. For those willing to make the schlep to Hallandale Beach, Chapultepec aromatic tripe stew is a handsome reward.
Located in a small strip mall, the quaint establishment is sparsely decorated, but what it lacks in ambiance it makes up in flavor. The traditional menudo stew is prepared daily by a small staff of cooks and is packed with a depth of flavor many local bouillabaisse dishes lack. Top it with fresh cilantro and onions and you won't eat for days.
3. Veal Brains at L'echon
L'echon Brasserie is the newest pork-inspired creation from the Pubbelly Boys. Their menu features suckling pig, an extensive selection of charcuterie, and this dish of battered and fried veal brains. Any offal newbie can surely give this deep-fried concoction a try without the requisite gagging.
2. Blood Sausage at Rincón Escondido
Rincón Escondido is probably the closest Miami will ever get to authentic Spanish tapas, and blood sausage is probably the most accessible dish on this list. Similar to traditional sausage, morcilla features a mix of discarded innards, but just before being shoved in its casing, a healthy serving of blood is added. The resulting phallic food is then grilled or boiled and can be spread on bread or eaten plain. Though it could make you squirm, think of this: in Sub-Saharan Africa, some tribes drink a mixture of raw blood and calf's milk.
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1. Sweetbreads at Lo de Lea
Don't confuse these with the stale masses of white flour and sugar you find at Central American restaurants. Sweetbreads is the euphemism of the thymus gland of a calf or lamb. Lo de Lea prepares this in the typical Argentine fashion, grilled in butter and herbs.