Because it is tucked away off the Fontainebleau Hotel lobby, most locals don't start their day at Solo pastry shop and café. Still, a line forms at the display counter each morning as hotel guests choose from homemade muffins, croissants, bear claws, cinnamon buns, doughnuts, and other breakfast treats.
I was most curious about the doughnuts, a few flavors of which are available each day. Key lime, chocolate, and cinnamon crumb were up for grabs this particular morning; all were fresh and less sugary than the Krispy/Dunkin' type. They don't measure up to, say, Dynamo Donuts in San Francisco, but I haven't had a better one in Miami.
A blueberry-almond muffin was also superior to most, and for the same reason: The flavors are not cloaked in cloying sweetness. The bear claw is a dandy as well.
Exotic teas, espressos, and delicious coffees are served too -- including single-estate coffees for $6 per cup. I wanted to try the latter but envisioned a New Times accountant with steam coming out of his ears.
Solo's treats don't come cheap. Pastries, croissants, and muffins are $3.50; doughnuts are $2.45. Coffees and espressos go for $3.65 ($4.65 large). But the daily breakfast special brings a cup of coffee and pastry of choice for $5.95.
As the day progresses, so does the menu: Salads and sandwiches are served at lunchtime, when the display cases switch from croissants to the astonishingly bright and glittery creations of pastry chef Jean-Marie Auboine -- meringues, macaroons, marzipan, fruit tartlets, candy apples, petits fours, éclairs, classic cakes, and the like. And I like Solo -- especially in the morning.
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Solo opens at 6 a.m. and keeps serving until 9 p.m. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-4740.