Thursday, July 22, 2010

Latin American Bakery Love

Charlotte Bakery
South Beach, Florida
April 6, 2010
9ish am

I hate to say it again, but research pays off.  Part of my vacation planning always involves spending some time researching what the locals eat and jotting down some possibilities in different areas of town to help guide us when we're out sightseeing and begin to get a bit hungry.  I know some of you will say that finding that hidden gem on your own is part of the vacation experience.  However, from my experience, you don't often find that gem; and in more cases than not you find a dirty rock. 

Charlotte Bakery is definitely a case of research helping me to find somewhere I would have never gotten to on my own.  Charlotte Bakery was quite aways away from our hotel and took some dedication to locate.  It happens to be on a more "adult" South Beach street with a few liquor stores and adult clothing stores.  I'm pretty sure my typical travels and sightseeing would not have brought me by it and even if they did I doubt my curiosity  would have been piqued enough to actually enter and try it.  But I'm so glad and (my two go to vacation restaurant advice sites) did not steer me wrong.  So on one beautiful Miami morning Erik and I decided to allow our morning run to end sweetly.  We decided to take advantage of the distance Charlotte Bakery was from our hotel by incorporating the trip into our run, enjoying some breakfast pastries, and then walking back while exploring various South Beach neighborhoods. 
When we finally stumbled up to their doorstep panting, sweaty, and out of breath (I'm sure they wondered if they actually wanted to serve us); we were immediately impressed with the bounty of interesting and new (to us) baked goods that were before us.  Charlotte Bakery focuses on Latin American baked goods and we had heard it was reminiscent of bakeries in Buenos Aires.  We were politely asked if we could be helped, but I told them it would take some time for us to decide which delicacies to try (and to catch our breath).  After many minutes of indecision I decided to go with this light and airy pastry that was filled with a smooth and velvety vanilla cream, fried, and rolled in sugar.  It was similar to a doughnut, but much lighter and fluffier on the inside.  It was heaven. 
Erik went with a palmera or palmier, which is a drier pastry that is almost cookie like.  It is made out of puff pastry, rolled so the ends meet, baked, and then rolled in sugar.  It was flaky, but on the drier side.  However, it was still pretty good.

We had also heard the empanadas and arepas (corn cakes) were to die for, so even though it was barely 8 in the morning we felt we had to try at least one.  We went with a shredded beef arepa and had it bagged up to share later for lunch.  We had a feeling it was going to be good as we noticed grease starting to soak through the paper bag as we walked back to the hotel!  And the grease did not tell a lie.  The arepa was thick, buttery, and heavy.  The filling was a wonderfully spiced beef slow cooked with peppers.  It was so good I could have easily eaten a whole one, but I would have been stuffed.  My bathing suit body was thankful I only brought one back to share. 

On Charlotte Bakery's website they state that they hope that the experience of their bakery is so special that you have to tell a friend, "In South Beach, you have to go to Charlotte Bakery." 

Well there wish has been fulfilled,  I have no qualms about telling you all this.  "If you're in South Beach, Charlotte Bakery is a must!"

Total price:  Ummm, are you beginning to pick up on a trend?  I have no idea what the price was, but it was reasonable for bakery pastries. 

Overall Rating:  4 buckeyes

Charlotte Bakery on Urbanspoon

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