What's a writer to do when an interest piece has already been written and reviewed by a fellow blogger? Try a different angle. Just from the name Gelato Nostro, one can derive that Italian style ice-cream is the main attraction. Oscar, one of the partners of this establishment, recommended that the focus be on a lesser-known offer since the gelato was already the topic of a past story. Gourmet empanadas were that recommendation. The problem: there's nothing gourmet about them.
They weren't fresh. They had to be reheated from their room-temperature sitting state. When I asked Oscar what made his empanadas qualify for the title of "gourmet," he responded with a sure shrug of his shoulders, "the caramelized onions, of course." Sigh, there were no caramelized onions within my chorizo empanada; nor for my blue cheese one.
I was the lone patron in Gelato Nostro, located on a one-way street along SW First Avenue off Brickell, though a teenage girl came in panting and requesting some free tap water as a relief from the outside city heat. The stale empanadas left me unsatisfied. To revive my tastebuds I eagerly accepted samples of the main attraction -- the gelato, which is made fresh daily by Italian native Marco Marchi. He's the mastermind behind the refreshing various flavors of gelatos. My tounge was doing the "happy dance" once the cool savory bites invaded my mouth.
The "Orange Burst" made with papaya and Florida navel oranges complete
with flakes of the skin's rind was perfect for a sweltering Miami day as
the papaya sweetened up the acidity of the natural orange flavor. Next
up, cinnamon; The creamy flavor was sinfully delicious as it's
reminiscent of holiday eggnog and has the palate-pleasing drunken
effects too. It was the caramelized fig flavor that made me fall in love
again. But the pistachio with its light yellow natural color was my
Since Marco spoke only in his native tongue, Oscar,
who's Argentinian-born but can speak English decently, did most of the
talking about the fresh gelato flavors. Though Oscar swore that he only
bought fruit from Florida farms, the two mangoes he brought out had
small stickers on them that said "Imported from Mexico." He tried
frantically to remove them before I could snap my photos.
When I asked Oscar which flavors were most popular among his customers he named a few includingdulce de leche
and caramelized figs. "Vanilla is the favorite among Native Americans - you knowrednecks
." Umm, what? When I said he spoke decent English I meant it loosely, very loosely.
cappuccinos were another item that didn't capture the gourmet-ness.
Oscar wanted me to admire the tri-layers of milk, coffee and foam but it
all boils down to taste. Their signature ingredient to the cappuccino
is a single scoop of gelato, any flavor of your choosing. My cinnamon
scoop cooled the hot beverage so rapidly that my once steaming cup of
fancy joe instantly turned to an unpleasant luke-warm state.
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the staff is eager to please, they need to bring their non-gelato
material up to par with the gourmet titles they're given. Opened now for
about five months, improvements can still be made.