Photo by Javier Ramirez

Pastry wizard Antonio Bachour is back in a big way. After stepping away from his partnership with Brickell's B Bistro + Bakery, the Puerto Rican-born chef has opened two solo bakery and café spots: a flagship in Coral Gables and a grab-and-go spot at the Citadel in Little Haiti. In Coral Gables, Bachour and his team offer a medley of brightly colored desserts, from croissants and tarts to mousses and bonbons ($3 and up). Besides serving sweets, the café also offers breakfast, brunch, and lunch, featuring Bachour's popular tartines ($15 and up) and guava pastelito pancakes ($14). In the 5,000-square-foot space, Bachour can bake around the clock, ensuring there is always a healthy supply of red velvet croissants and mango lime tarts. Pastries are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and the kitchen is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Readers' choice: Taiyaki at 1-800-Lucky

Alex Markow
Dallas Wynne (right)

Dallas Wynne did not learn how to cook the same way most chefs learn. In fact, as she told New Times last year, her grandmother was "the worst cook in the world." In Palm City, a sleepy town three hours southeast of Tampa, Wynne's parents worked long days. She cooked for herself, and then, in high school, she got a job in the kitchen at a local country club. Nearly a decade later, Wynne is executive pastry chef at Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford's highly acclaimed restaurant, Stubborn Seed. She's as versatile as they come, creating everything from artfully plated corn pavlova that looks more like a work of art than an edible treat, to toothsome snickerdoodle cookies that ooze with a warm hazelnut spread. In the coming months, Wynne will lead the pastry department at Ford's forthcoming Coconut Grove restaurant, Afishonado.

Zachary Fagenson

True Loaf is the bakery that almost wasn't. Owner Tomas Strulovic was in his 30s and working on a lucrative career in finance when he decided to drop the comfort of the high life for overnight baking shifts. Though things were shaky at first, Strulovic quickly hit his stride and today remains the city's leading purveyor of everything from sourdough loaves ($9.60) to croissants ($4.28 to $5.35) to cookies ($3.21 to $4.28) to ciabatta loaves ($3.21). His loaves of challah ($9) sell out in a snap Fridays, so be sure to show up early. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Readers' choice: Zak the Baker

Night Owl Cookies

In 2017, Night Owl churned out more than 750,000 cookies, averaging about 2,000 per day and ringing up more than $1.5 million in sales. Then, in June 2018, owner Andrew Gonzalez expanded into a larger, 2,000-square-foot space on SW Eighth Street, potentially breaking the record for the largest cookie shop in the nation. (Guinness World Records will send Gonzalez a certificate in the next few months, he says.) In Night Owl, Gonzalez has built a multimillion-dollar business by selling doughnut-size cookies in dozens of flavors starting at $2.50 each. Most nights, lines of eager customers hungry for Ave Marias — made with guava dough, white chocolate chips, and cream cheese frosting — swirl around his Calle Ocho storefront. Other popular cookie orders include s'mores, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and the Dirty Diana, in which chocolate dough is stuffed with Nutella. In 2019, denizens of central Miami-Dade should be able to skip the drive out west: Gonzalez plans to open a Night Owl location in Wynwood soon. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Cao Chocolates
Ricardo Trillos

Chocolate sales, which account for $20 billion a year nationwide, have hit a sweet spot in the past few years, according to the National Confectioners Association. In 2017, sales of premium and dark chocolate grew 6 percent and are expected to continue to rise. It's no wonder that bean-to-bar chocolate shops have sprouted in Miami, including Cao Chocolates, a spot near Pinecrest owned by self-taught chocolatier Ricardo Trillos. His small charming store is stocked with dozens of brightly wrapped cacao products. Everything is crafted onsite, from chocolate bars made with cacao from different countries to dark-chocolate-covered almonds, truffles, and bonbons filled with toasted coconut or almond chocolate cream. His chocolate is used at restaurants such as Edge Steak & Bar and at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. It's also sold at Books & Books and Miami International Airport. In addition, Trillos and his wife host chocolate-and-wine-tastings as well as monthly chocolate-inspired dinners. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Courtesy of Garcia Nevett

In 2012, sisters Susana and Isabel Garcia Nevett, who worked as chocolatiers in Venezuela, launched Garcia Nevett (formerly Cacao Art) inside their home shortly after immigrating to Miami. Unlike other chocolate shops, which brand themselves as bean-to-bar, the sisters use chocolate made from Venezuelan cacao as a base for dozens of treats, such as cookies, cakes, bonbons, and fudge jars ($3 and up). They also serve coffee and hot chocolate, and they make marshmallows and homemade caramel using honey from Key West. The Nevetts have won three silver medals in the Americas competition at the International Chocolate Awards, which recognize excellence in fine chocolate products around the world. The winning items, which can be found in their store, include a Florida Keys sea salt ganache, an orange honey caramel bonbon, and the Patanemo ganache — a bonbon made with single-origin cacao from a small town in Venezuela ($6 and up). Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Dasher & Crank

Wynwood ice-cream shop Dasher & Crank has created more than 200 flavors in a little over a year. Last April, the light-pink storefront, marked by a glowing neon sign in the shape of an ice-cream cone, debuted with a whimsical lineup of ice creams, including raspberry wasabi sorbet and mint with activated charcoal ($5 for one scoop, $7.50 for a double, and $10 for a triple or a pint). Owner Daniel Levine continues to introduce new creations and often joins forces with local spots such as Miami Smokers, Zak the Baker, El Bagel, and Per'La for local collaboration flavors. Past favorites have included Avocado Toast, featuring lightly toasted Zak the Baker sourdough and an avocado swirl, and Maple Bacon, made with cured meat from Miami Smokers. Guests can also swing by for a few of the shop's classics, such as vanilla, the Chocolate Crank, and Chicken and Waffles, which mixes chunks of chicken and waffles from the nearby restaurant Kush. Prices start at $5. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday

Fireman Derek's Bake Shop

Firefighter-turned-pie-maker Derek Kaplan runs one of Miami's most popular dessert shops, Fireman Derek's. At his Wynwood flagship, he serves a signature lineup of sweets ($3 and up), which includes his best-selling crack pie (named for its addictive quality) as well as cakes and coffee. But Kaplan is best known for offering the Magic City's tastiest key lime pie ($7.55 per slice and $35 for a whole pie). It was one of the first flavors when the shop opened in 2014, and after all these years, the key lime pie remains wildly popular. Each slice strikes a harmonious balance between sweet and tangy and is served with a generous scoop of real whipped cream. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Also check out Kaplan's new shop in Coconut Grove.

Pink Pie

There's a new place to dig into freshly made pies in Wynwood. This past January, Miami's Pink Pie opened its first brick-and-mortar mere steps from Wynwood Walls. The concept, which launched in September 2016 at Hollywood's Yellow Green Farmers Market, specializes in three-inch sweet and savory pies ($3 each). Guests can sample a dozen permanent and rotating flavors, some filled with Oreo and Nutella, guava and cheese, key lime, or salted caramel, and others come topped with onion and duck confit. Limited-edition favorites include tiramisu, caramel pretzel, and hot cocoa. The s'mores pie, which is smoked using hickory wood and filled with burnt marshmallow cream to re-create a campfire experience, is among Pink Pie's best sellers. Vegan and gluten-free varieties — such as matcha and passionfruit chocolate — are also available. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Nico Norena, known online as the Succulent Bite, is not just any Instagrammer but a member of an elite club of food photographers who can earn thousands of dollars for posting a single picture of a piece of cake or an ice-cream sundae. With more than 400,000 followers, Norena posts elaborate photos and videos of overindulgent foods, ranging from a graham cracker dunked into a piping-hot skillet of s'mores, to the step-by-step process of making wood-fired pizza. Though Norena won't disclose how much money he makes from his posts, large followings can equate to hefty sums of cash for so-called influencers. Because of the attention elite Instagrammers command, the value of sponsored posts can range from $700 to more than $50,000. According to some estimates, an influencer can expect about $100 per 10,000 followers.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®