Bryan In The Kitchen: Cafe Charm Downtown

Along a lonely strip of downtown that still bears signs of economic duress, comes Bryan In The Kitchen. Owner Bryan Underwood is a former model who has traded in protein shakes for real food. He preaches diet moderation, while turning out a seriously addictive cupcake.

He's tall, he's thin, and making things called "plum streusel kuchen," (a German coffee cake with plums baked until bubbly), and key lime pie (with homemade lime curd) as well as a macadamia and coconut crust. The cupcakes ($2.25 each, $25 for a dozen) are serious business. They come in adult-friendly flavors that incorporate everything from French lavender and essence of rose to a tangy-sweet avocado version. The most highly recommended is "strawberry fields," made with fresh berries and French buttercream, it tastes more like a dense muffin filled with vanilla bean goodness. Topped with a fresh strawberry frosting that's not too sweet; it's a nice cupcake change of pace.

There are savory snacks too. Recent buzz touted his ostrich jerky, but it's no longer on the menu. Apparently, all the ostrich meat was swiped from his local distributor. The beef jerky is still available, however, as is his edited collection of dips made from scratch. Roasted eggplant, butternut squash, black bean hummus, red pepper and basil hummus - all are for sale in 8 ounce sizes ($3.50). The mix of goods on offer may seem unusual, but Bryan considers himself a healthy food maverick, "I make my own homemade Greek yogurt, granola bars, chocolate bark, cookies...I love to create food. I am always thinking of some new concoction."

A wall of granola ($4 per bag), organic olives, flatbreads and dried fruit "medleys"

communicate healthy lifestyle, as does the restaurant's green mission.

All of the packaging and utensils are recycled from corn and sugarcane by-products, no plastic to-go containers here. He has also instituted paperless billing as well as receipts sent via email or text. "I try to minimize waste as much as possible, 90% of people don't want a receipt and they end up blowing around town!"

Now, it's

important to note that this place is great for downtowners looking for

coffee or grabbing a quick bite, but it's tiny, not many seats to go

around. But Bryan has "faith that downtown will be the next great part of Miami." So eat your cupcake, grab your granola, and get back to work


Bryan In The Kitchen
104 NE Second Ave., Miami

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