Yom Kippur is in many ways similar to ripping off a bandage. Unlike some of our Christian brethren who apologize for their wrongdoings throughout the year and flagellate themselves accordingly, we the Jewish people condense all of that into one depressing day of fasting, prayer, and spending time with extended family.
The best part of this holiday comes tomorrow evening, on the day of Yom Kippur, when at sunset we break the fast. This is often done with a spread of food that is common among Jewish people, like yarmulkes, and degrees from Brandeis University. However, here in South Florida, many of us are separated from our families and might not have the bagels, the cream cheeses, and the assortment of smoked fish available at a relatives' home.
While Jewish and Kosher restaurants will be closed to observe the holiday, here are a few places that will fill your grumbling stomach as the sun disappears over the ocean.
If you grew up with traditional break fasts, a strong urge for some kind of fish, any kind, sets in during September. OK, there's no lox or smoked sable or pickled herring in cream sauce to be had here. But the fish is fresh and fairly priced, and Matsuri is one of Miami's finest sushi establishments, whatever that means. Chirashi ($15) is a good sampling of what's fresh. Hankering for something a little fishier? Go for the yellowtail collar.
The food you'll find at a break fast, no matter whose bubby is hosting it, is at its core comfort food. It smells a little weird and leaves your hands a little greasy, but at the end of the day, it's food that brings a smile to your face. A variety of sides, including pigeon peas, collard greens, and macaroni 'n' cheese are all made on site at Sparky's. If you don't eat pork, don't worry. The smoked grilled chicken thigh will fill you up and give you the energy you need to take on a whole new year of sinning.
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Perhaps you'll apologize to yourself this Yom Kippur for your past gluttony and for putting more money into your Lipitor prescription than your children's college savings fun. Head to South Miami's Whisk Gourmet and, if you can find parking, break your fast with one of chef/owner Brendan O'Connor's salads or entrées. Or you can just start the year off right with some fried green tomatoes or some slow-roasted barbecue pork atop a cornbread square.
Chef Philip Ho
When Christian holidays shut down almost every eatery in town, you can often find Jewish people flocking to the nearest Chinese restaurant to grab a bite. Instead of ordering some General Tso's chicken that's shinier than a rented Ferrari on South Beach, head to Chef Philip Ho's in Sunny Isles Beach and grab a few items off the dim sum menu. Ho was the dim sum chef at the Setai for a number of years and is turning out what is arguably Miami's favorite dim sum at the moment.
Blue Marlin Fish House
What do you do if you just want some smoked fish to break your 25-hour-long fast? Everything in Aventura is shut down. The only bagel to be had is one of Einstein's too-chewy rolls with a hole. Shoot up to the historic Blue Marlin Fish House, grab a smoked fish sampler, and relax while overlooking Oleta River State Park while you eat away those hunger pangs.