Cheap Eats

Coronavirus Pandemic Is the Time for Miami Purveyors and Home Cooks to Shine

Stock your kitchen the Miami way.
Stock your kitchen the Miami way. Wikimedia Commons/Seattle Municipal Archives
Here's a quick tip: Chill out and wash your hands. Turn off the TV and put down your phone for a minute. Be sure to disinfect it before you grab it again. In between those two things, do this: Pick up a cookbook, any cookbook. Even if you don't cook that much, you might have an old New York Times Cookbook, a copy of Joy of Cooking, or even that Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook that fills half of every thrift store's book section.

Crack it open and decide what you want to eat. Jot down your shopping list. And while you're at it, try to remember you don't need to go to the grocery store. You don't need to buy frozen dinners or vegetables.

If you decide to spend more time at home — which local, state, and federal governments are all but mandating by shutting down almost every aspect of public life — you can still eat well.

It's easy to fill your pantry with products from the multitude of purveyors who've cropped up around the city in recent years.

For seafood, consider visiting a local fish market such as Casablanca or Coconut Grove's Shore to Door. If you're in the northern part of the county, Blue Runner Seafood is a viable option for grab-and-go stone crab without having to interact with too many people. There's Mimmo's Mozzarella in North Miami, so you can put that long-retired beer bong to use and funnel stracciatella as you wait for the next round of updates from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, who should be your primary source of information.

If you're feeling fancy, stop by Marky's Gourmet on NE 79th Street. A self-imposed quarantine doesn't mean life without jamón ibérico, osetra caviar, and whole lobes of foie gras. While you're over there, pop into Mima Market, which offers a bounty of locally produced goods, ranging from granola and honey to kombucha, chocolates, and even prepared Indian vegetarian meals from Annam Miami.

If you decide to freeze and stash fresh pita, opt for Daily Bread Marketplace. And while on the topic of bread, there's Zak the Baker, True Loaf, La Parisienne Bakery in North Miami Beach, Sullivan Street Bakery, and Bettant Bakery in South Beach. If you're in Doral, get your goods at the newly opened Caracas Bakery. If you decide to head to the beach, be sure to travel a bit north to pick up fresh noodles from Mr. Pasta.

Protein possibilities are also prevalent. There's Babe's Meat & Counter in Palmetto Bay (stock up on Montreal smoked meat if they have it), Gaucho Ranch in Little River for all the offal and grass-fed Argentine beef you could ever hope for, and Meat n' Bone on Coral Way, where there's often enough fat-rippled A5 Wagyu to induce instant cardiac arrest.

Perhaps the greatest challenge, however, will be finding fresh produces. Late last week, the City of Miami canceled farmers' markets by rescinding temporary permits, and it seems as though other municipalities are following suit, leaving farmers nearly in the lurch.

"I'm sitting on thousands of dollars of produce. Farms are still growing, and people still have to work," Urban Oasis Project president Art Friedrich said this past Friday.

Thankfully, Little River Co-Op on Saturday turned its Allapattah nursery into an ad hoc farmers' market by giving producers a way to offload their goods.

In an email this past Sunday, Friedrich said his operation, Urban Oasis, which runs a half-dozen weekend markets across town and was supposed to open a Vizcaya market yesterday, is considering switching to some sort of online ordering and delivery model. The details have yet to be finalized.

As the situation continues to change, seemingly minute-by-minute, we'll update this post with any potential closures, and it would be a good idea to monitor social media to see if any purveyors decide to close or change hours. Oh, and one final thing: The first season of Julia Child's beloved black-and-white cooking show, The French Chef, is free on Amazon Prime.
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Zachary Fagenson became the New Times Broward-Palm Beach restaurant critic in 2012 before taking up the post for Miami in 2014. He also works as a correspondent for Reuters.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson