Just a few steps from the sands of South Pointe is a quaint, charming bakery named Lee & Marie's Cakery. The café sells fresh almond croissants ($3.75), red velvet cake by the slice ($6), and pecan-caramel sticky buns ($3.95). There are sandwiches, desserts, and salads — all designed by award-winning pastry chef Yannis Janssens. But what sets this cakery apart is its humanitarian ethos. Owned by Andy Travaglia, it supports and employs adults with autism spectrum disorders. Since its debut in 2012, Lee & Marie's has expanded with an additional location in New York City. It also has a production facility in Wynwood. Not only is this South Beach bakery churning out delectable baked goods across Miami and beyond, it's also succeeding in a higher cause. Now that's sweet.

Zak Stern raises Alpine goats in Little Haiti. He wears suspenders, is fond of tweed trousers, and enjoys listening to Taylor Swift. He once apprenticed for five years under bread- and cheese-makers across Europe. Now he runs a closed-door operation that supplies organic sourdoughs to some of the city's top restaurants, including Michy's and Oak Tavern. The loaves ($6), offered in varieties such as olive and za'atar or plum, fennel, and rye, have thick, chewy crusts and complex, slightly bitter interiors. So when Zak shows up at a farmers' market to sell his bread, lines form immediately. Loaves sell out within minutes. Maybe it's the goat's milk. Or perhaps it's all the T-Swift. Whatever the reason, Zak Stern is the best — and perhaps most interesting — baker in town.

Panther Coffee
billwisserphoto.com

It is said that some things improve with age. When it comes to Panther Coffee's cold brew (12-ounce, $3.50; 16-ounce, $4.50 ), time is certainly a good thing. The coffeehouse's espresso blend is steeped overnight at room temperature and made with filtered water. After the grounds are removed, the result is a caffeinated drink that is free of fatty acids or bitter oils — you know, those unpleasant flavors released in hot-extraction methods. Since these acids and oils are soluble at high heat, most hot-brewed coffee needs mellowing out with milk or cream. Cold-water brewing, on the other hand, results in a peerless, balanced cup. Panther Coffee's cold brew is nice and smooth. You won't even miss the milk.

At the Shell station on South Dixie Highway at SW 27th Avenue, Miamians stream in and out, jockeying for pumps, scoring cigs and lotto tickets, and amping up on Red Bull. But head to the back of the otherwise standard gas station's store and you'll find smiling ladies serving breakfast fare, pastelitos, made-to-order sammies, and, most important, Cuban coffee. They'll make any of the usual suspects, but it's their painstakingly prepared coladas you'll really remember. Order your café with a polite por favor and they'll serve it with a smile. Stack cups for sharing atop your Styrofoam treasure and head out to the parking lot. Drink up. It's jet black. Piping hot. Heavy con sucre. Blindingly potent. Screw Starbucks — this is how Miami does coffee.

La Sandwicherie
Photo courtesy of La Sandwicherie

There are four ingredients that go into a great café con leche. First, of course, is the coffee. Second is the water that streams through the grounds. Third is the milk that cuts the bitterness with creamy goodness. The fourth ingredient is harder to define. Call it location, ambiance, or scenery. Whatever the name, a great café con leche requires a place to sit, sip your liquid crack, and gawk at the mélange of humanity around you. By these criteria, the top café con leche in town is served at the counter of La Sandwicherie. There is nothing finer than stumbling over to the sliver of a restaurant at 3 a.m. and ordering the steaming mixture of Medaglia d'Oro espresso and milk you need to drive home. Of course, there are also super rico sandwiches to sop up the booze in your system. While you're sobering up, feast your other senses on the strange, sexy beasts pouring out of Mac's Club Deuce next door and prowling 14th Street. This, dear Florida flâneur, is what life — and café con leche — is all about.

Alaska Coffee Roasting Co.
Patrick Hieger

Connoisseurs know that a coffeehouse is not a coffeehouse is not a coffeehouse. Alaska Coffee Roasting Company proves this in oh so many ways. Local hangout, gourmet pizza and sandwich spot, bakery, pastry shop — ACRC delivers the goods. Oh, and of course there's coffee, arriving from around the globe and roasted in-house using a top-of-the-line 15-kilogram-capacity, fluidized-bed Sivitz roaster. ACRC's Facebook page announces when employees will demonstrate the roaster to the public — a cheap thrill you don't want to miss. The menu offers vegan options as well; pizzas and sandwiches are made fresh to order, and desserts are divine. Owner Karen Tuvia takes pride in her work and can't help but grin if you engage her in a conversation about the homemade soups, pastries, and coffees such as Mexican Pluma, Panama Boquete, Nicaragua Manotal, Brazil Cerrado, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Tanzania AA, Rwanda, Tmor Lest, and Sumatra Mandheling. There aren't many places in Miami where you can grab a gourmet lunch and fresh-roasted coffee for ten bucks, so thank your lucky, coffee-loving stars that Alaska is right around the corner.

JugoFresh

Dear Miami Beach visitor,

We regret to inform you that your champagne-popping, illicit-substance-chugging, casual-coitus-craving days are over. SoBe now belongs to the vegans, the raw-foodists, the yoga studios, and the many workout gear boutiques. Kindly set down your tequila and proceed to the nearest JugoFresh for additional information.

At the shop for organic, raw, vegan, and cold-pressed juices, you will find nourishing shots made with organic Bulgarian rosewater, cucumber, and deer antler extract. You will find yogis wearing Lululemon. They will be sipping on bottles of healthful things you've probably never heard of, such as blue-green algae, dandelion parsley, maca extract, and that green cabbage named kale ($7.50 to $11).

Please note these prices do not include swigs of vodka. Although these salubrious juices might cost as much as a cocktail, remember this: JugoFresh not only tastes delicious but also is good for you.

Sincerely,

Juicing Addicts, Miami Chapter

La Gloutonnerie

Beurre d'Isigny is no ordinary butter. And the brunch at La Gloutonnerie, the French restaurant in South Beach, is no ordinary brunch. The churned cream is among the best Franco-butters out there, and this Sunday meal is also unsurpassed. For $45 a pop, patrons get more than good butter slathered on fresh baguette. This brunch is a feast. Diners sip on two sparkling wine drinks. There's a cold appetizer section with oysters, charcuterie, marinated cheeses, and salads; a meat carving station; and an opulent dessert division with macarons, chocolate-covered strawberries, fruit tarts, layer cakes, and treats of all shapes, forms, and sizes. If the quality of a restaurant can be measured by its butter, well, we'll just say this: La Gloutonnerie serves the tastiest French butter around.

Tropical Chinese Restaurant
Photo by Andrew Meade

826, son,

Close to Santa's Enchanted.

Eat your destiny

Seven days a week.

Dim sum until 3:30.

Cure your hangover.

Little leek dumplings

Start your brunch off the right way.

Dip them in soy sauce.

Barbecue pork buns,

Steamed or baked; best grab them soon!

Elbow past your friends.

Hey! Flag down that cart!

That roast duck is baller, bro.

Might as well get two.

Get there early, lest

You miss out on custard buns.

Lunch seasoned with tears.

Shokudo

You can buy many things with $10.75. You could purchase one-and-a-quarter packages of Marlboro cigarettes or two bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola and a box of cool honey-flavored Altoids. You could get loads of chewing gum, a sandwich, perhaps a Cuban frita or two. But none of these treats would ever outdo the sushi-packed bento box lunch special at Shokudo, the Buena Vista restaurant famous for tasty Asian cuisine. Yes, buckaroos, you can get a steaming bowl of miso soup, half a California roll, salad, slaw, and a choice of two of the following: chicken or steak teriyaki, shrimp or vegetable tempura, gyoza, sushi, sashimi, and momo dumplings. Isn't that totally worth more than some Mexican Coke?

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®