Growing up in Miami, locals hear certain phrases often, like "bro," "bueno," and "ay dios mio." One that stuck in Alec Fernandez's mind came from fellow Cubans placing their orders at neighborhood bakeries and lunch counters: "dos croquetas."
"I would hear it so often everywhere I went, it got me thinking," Fernandez says. "Miami doesn't have anyone making nontraditional croquetas, so I would. My plan was to take the croqueta to the next level."
In October, Fernandez made good on his promise by launching Dos Croquetas, a Miami-based croqueta delivery company he began with his catering-chef aunt, Victoria Carballo. Together, they've developed their own take on handcrafted croquetas.
For the 24-year-old Fernandez, the perfect croqueta is a specific size and has a precise ratio of breadcrumb crust to filling. That means each of his croquetas is handcrafted in small batches during a six- to seven-hour process that includes prepping, cooking, and cooling the filling to rolling and frying the final product. Everything is homemade, including the breadcrumb crust and six dipping sauces.
"These traditional, handheld, fast-food-style croquetas are the perfect vehicle for endless flavor pairings," Fernandez says. "When you go to any traditional Cuban bakery, you'll get only standard chicken, cheese, or beef without any sauce. We thought we could do better."
Sold for $2.25 apiece via an online store, each croqueta is fried fresh, packed in a bakery-style box (designed to preserve the crispness of fried foods, because no one likes a soggy croqueta), and delivered straight to your door day or night.
The Dos Croquetas menu offers several creative riffs on the traditional Latin snack, including Mexican street corn (char-grilled seasoned corn and cotija cheese served with a chili-lime crema) and Angus cheddar burger (ground beef, sharp cheddar, and Yukon Gold potatoes served with a secret tangy burger sauce). A traditional ham is also available.
Limited-edition croquetas will make regular appearances on the online menu as the duo tests new flavor combinations, Fernandez says. The current specialty croquet has been dubbed Buffalo crack chicken: grilled chicken breast and Monterrey Jack cheese tossed in a cream-cheese/Buffalo sauce and served with homemade ranch dressing.
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Dos Croquetas also sells a growing number of two-bite desserts, such as guava and Nutella dulce de leche cheesecake bites with a Maria cookie crust ($2 each).
The delivery area includes Doral, Coral Gables, South Miami, and Kendall, but don't worry if you're located outside that perimeter: The pair is looking to expand to a commercial kitchen in Doral, where customers can choose to place orders for pickup.
The 3-month-old family-run business was also recently invited to attend the 2017 South Beach Wine & Food Festival event Croquetas & Champagne, taking place Saturday, February 25. French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will host the celebration, where an elite group of chefs will present their takes on the croqueta, all paired with Champagne Henriot.
Dos Croquetas delivers Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. There is a minimum order of six croquetas, and a delivery charge of $3 to $5 is added according to location. Visit doscroquetas.com or call 305-912-3672.