If Miami has an official snack, it's the croqueta. This breaded cylinder filled with meat, cheese, or fish is the embodiment of the Magic City: golden and a little crusty on the outside, warm and savory at the center.
And like every hometown treat, there's debate over who makes the very best croqueta in town. Does a traditional croqueta from Vicky Bakery make you swoon, or would Trust & Co.'s modernized bacon-and-duck version play with your heartstrings?
For $35, you'll sample croquetas from more than a dozen South Florida restaurants, including Atlas, Breadman Miami, Doce Provisions, Dolores but You can Call Me Lolita, Finka Table & Tap, La Fresa Francesca Petit Café, Ms. Cheezious, Palomilla Grill, Party Cake Bakery, Pinecrest Bakery, Trust & Co., Tucker Duke's, and Vicky Bakery. All will try to best Larios on the Beach - Estefan Kitchen, returning to defend its 2015 Croquetapalooza title.
While you're chewing and deciding your favorite, a panel of expert judges (Univision's Eileen Cardet, author Ana Sofía Peláez, and Miami Herald food editor Carlos Frias) will decide which eatery creates the ultimate croqueta.
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You can also take your love of croquetas to the next level by entering the third-annual Islas Canarias croqueta-eating contest, refereed by the "croqueta-hating" Randy Fisher (producer of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Burger Bash and Meatopia).
Plus, in the Frita Showdown, Cuban Guys, El Mago de las Fritas, I Don't Give a Flying Frita, Los Bobos, and Tucker Duke's Lunchbox will try to wrest the Best Frita title from three-time reigning champ El Rey de las Fritas.
There will also be food and drinks by Chifles Mariquitas, Café La Rica, Materva, Jupiña, Fireman Derek, Hatuey Cuban-style beer, Night Owl Cookie Co., Ojala wine, PG Bakery, Tio Colo, and Tito's Vodka.
Advance tickets cost $35 and include unlimited sampling for this 21-and-over event. Visit croquetapalooza.com.