by Rick Munarriz - 406 Reviews - 155 List
One of the benefits of living in a cultural melting pot is that diving into any country's native cuisine is just a short drive away. It's not all pasta, pudding and paellas, though. From a young calf's thymus to barbecued frog legs, the culinary challenges await those with the bravest of stomachs. (Photo of Pan Con Minuta sandwich--bones and all--by Rick Munarriz)
Updated: October 19, 2009
LENGUA GUISADA: If the cat doesn't have your tongue, maybe your waitress does. "Lengua guisada" is Spanish for stewed tongue. This popular Cuban delicacy does start with a cow's tongue. The scent, taste and texture are then played down after simmering in a tomato-based stew with olive oil and bell peppers.
EVERGLADES FROG LEGS: Ribs, chicken, or brisket? That's for open-fire wimps! This barbecue joint the straddles civilization and the Florida Everglades has no problem tossing some frog legs on the barbie. It also offers local gator in burger, sausage, and gator bite modes.
PAN CON MINUTA: The "juice palace" may be a popular spot for its open-air produce market and namesake fruit shakes, but folks also line up for its prepared Latin American meals. One of its shining stars is a boneless whitefish sandwich. The catch is that it gets battered and deep-fried fried, tail and all. It just makes it all the crunchier that way.
SWEETBREADS: Local celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein has a thing for sweetbreads at her namesake eatery and at her more accessible tapas outlet. This version goes through a metamorphosis after being beer battered and glazed with red-wine vinegar and caramel. It may sound good, but keep in mind that sweetbreads are actually the thymus gland and occasionally pancreas of a young calf.
FRITURAS DE SESO: The menu at this popular Cuban eatery in Hialeah is fairly nondescript until you get to the "frituras de seso" appetizer. Seso is cow brain. These are bite-sized chunks of fried cow brain. The fritters at least go down easy, as long as you don't use your brain for too long and start thinking about the origin.