Keep it simple, stupid. Words to live by when it comes to food, especially the classic lunch combo of a soup and sandwich. This pair of places answers the question "What should I have for lunch?", serving up bread with fix-ins and blends in bowls in their finest forms. Try one, or if you're hungry, scarf both.
Pommes & Pane (3348 Virginia street, Coconut Grove; (305) 774-6696): Word of mouth propels this neighborhood dive bar owned by Dutchman Olav Smit. A staff of two turn out droves of lunch-worthy grub that won't weigh you down, including daily hot plate and soup specials (blended pea, carrot, and chili con carne are standouts for $4.25.) But his sandwiches are the anchor. Try the "Turkey & Cheese" ($5.45) with everything i.e. Boar's Head honey turkey, Gouda cheese from Holland, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato and red onion, mayonnaise, and yellow mustard panini-pressed between white or wheat hoagie bread. From Cusano's Bakery in Davie, this is, quite possibly, the perfected sandwich roll: size, texture, and taste off the charts. In case you were wondering, the secret and essential ingredient in "Boiled Egg & Tomato" ($4.50) is a soy-style sauce from Maggi. "Warm Beef (Philly style)" comes with the traditional peppers and onions ($6.75) and the "Palomilla Steak Sandwich" ($7.25) brings the addictive, airway-clearing burn of horseradish. The place locals call "Olav's", a fixture since March 2002, is also open for breakfast where eggs in all their forms rule on toast -- any time of the day, too. Stop in for happy hour Monday through Friday, 7- 9 p.m.
Café Demetrio (300 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables; (305) 448-4949) For those who work in downtown Gables, Café Demetrio, est. 1997, is a caffeinated staple for the 3:00 p.m. slump. But this 18th century European-style coffee house -- built on the old stomping grounds of the area's oldest newspaper -- is way more café than its cinnamon-dusted cappuccinos and castle-like architecture. Daily specials of velvety soups ($3.95) like carrot, spinach, and asparagus are plated up to order with not a touch of grease, luxurious without being heavy nor needing dairy for body. Delicate sandwiches are held together by great bread; you won't encounter a French baguette here, but something less dense, with still enough crusty outside and chewy inside. Although expensive, the "Three Cheese" ($7.50) is worth the splurge with its surprisingly light marriage of melted mozzarella, muenster, and Swiss cheese, with a side of sliced tomato, romaine, and yellow mustard -- perfect for jamming inside the toasty, gooey seal. Check in for Demetrio's live music schedule or challenge your strategy skills in the chess room.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.