Verde, the Pérez Art Museum's eatery, is a Miami favorite thanks to its sweeping views and vibrant foods, which ofttimes are inspired by current museum exhibits. But executive chef Kaytlin Brakefield wants the waterfront café to be a go-to for one more thing: dessert and mocktail pairings.
"I wanted to start from scratch and redo the whole dessert program," she says. "I want to keep things fresh here and add another element to our menu."
Brakefield has launched an all-new dessert menu with four dishes, ranging from light treats to sweet-and-savory confections.
"It's been a process," she says. "I've created it little by little. I don't have a pastry chef, so it's been something I've worked on. It's the perfect time too, because we're moving into a new season."
The quartet of desserts boasts spring-like tastes, featuring light and airy ingredients fused with rich flavors like lime, strawberry, mango, and brown butter.
For something on the lighter side, Brakefield crafted a Greek yogurt panna cotta, which combines heavy cream and fresh mango sauce. "I'm a classically trained Italian chef," she says. "So I've always wanted to do a panna cotta. I love the mix of lightness and complex flavors. There's a tanginess from the Greek yogurt and a sweetness from the mango."
Chocolate bread pudding with orange anglaise, and key lime pie in a jar are on the menu too. "I just love bread pudding," she says. "We needed something on the menu for chocolate lovers too. And with the key lime pie, people just love it. It's perfect to share between two people."
Brakefield says the café's bestselling new dessert is her brown butter sugar doughnuts, served with sides of guava sauce and dulce de leche for dipping. Each doughnut is fried to order and delivered sizzling to diners.
"Seriously, by leaps and bounds, the doughnuts are people's favorite," she says. "They love the brown butter coat. I would put brown butter on everything if I could, and dulce de leche and guava are just so Miami. Doughnuts are really all the rage right now."
To pair with the four desserts, Brakefield created three mocktails, nonalcoholic versions of favored cocktail.
"Not a lot of people get a Manhattan first thing in the morning," she laughs. "Maybe if you’re having a rough day, in which case no judgment. But really, the point was to elevate certain drinks so you feel like you’re getting a little more during breakfast or lunch. It's an alternative to ordering just water or tea."
Brakefield's zesty drink additions are a coconut water Arnold Palmer, a ginger cooler, and her favorite: a sugar-free lavender-and-lime fizz.
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"I think that's the coolest one on there," she says. "It's completely sugar-free, and it's light and has a nice floral and sweet taste."
She suggests pairing the lavender fizz with the panna cotta because the combination has a "tasty tartness to it."
Her updated menu is available during breakfast and lunch. Admission to the museum is not required to dine at Verde. For more information, call 786-345-5697.