I have always loved food. Since I was a child I have been obsessed with the combination of flavors and how eating is so much more than just providing us sustenance. Food is chemistry. Food is culture. Food is art. Food is amazing.
I’ve been reading Chef Edward Lee’s new memior/autobiography/cookbook, Buttermilk Graffiti, in which he chronicles his travels throughout the States to discover the cultural melting pot of food this great country affords. In the book he has a chapter about Miami. Miami of course is a place full of cultural diversity which is often lived out in its food. I ate up that chapter and the rest of his book like a fine dining meal – slow and with appreciation. And, I was left with the thought: I want to discover food just like Chef Lee, slow and with overindulgence, taking it all in to the point of being beyond full.
So, when my wife booked a business trip to Miami, I decided to join. Two-and-a-half days to explore, learn, and eat. And, that’s what I am doing. Today is the first full day. Upon recommendation, I am starting my day out in Wynwood. A mixture of the hipster and the artist smushed in-between low income housing and adorned with wall murals. I find myself making my first stop at The Salty Donut. A self-acclaimed artisanal donut and coffee shop, it is hidden away in an old industrial complex turned boutique haven. It is small in all natures but flavor. When you enter you are greeted with smells of fresh baked dough and smiles. The staff is friendly and ready to provide recommendations. The counter provides a display of delicious-looking donuts. The walls are adorned with bags of coffee. It’s a constant buzz of activity even at 11am.
I could ask for recommendations but I know what I want. The salt and the sweet is calling. I order two donuts: one brown butter and salt and one peaches. To wash it down I get a 16oz cold brew which has steeped for over 18 hours. Within minutes I have a large brown box and a plastic cup full of rich, dark brew. The worker asks, “Are you from here?” I politely say, “No, I’m actually from Indiana. It’s my first time in.” She responds, “You look so familiar like someone who comes in all the time.” I wonder exactly what that means. Is it my hipster-esque manbun? Is it my towering stature? Is it a good or a bad thing? “Either way, it’s nice to have you here,” she politely continues and goes back to serving other patrons.
I take my treasure-containing box and cup of coffee and take a seat on a bar stool. I open the box and stair at my two tasty treats. I start with the brown butter and salt donut. It crumbles in my hand. I take a bite to discover the perfect combination of soft and crunch, salt and sweet. It’s a good start. I take a sip of my cold brew and the caffeine quickly rushes through my veins. It’s dark and rich. Perfection. I’m finished with half my first donut when I decide to switch to the peaches donut.
I lift it. It’s a heavy sucker. Now, you must know. I am not a big fan of filled donuts. Most places fill it with fake fruity garbage. I hesitantly take a bite. “Oh, that’s good.” It’s peach cobbler meets a donut. I’m in heaven.
I take my time. One bite. One sip. Surrounded with Hispanic music and the buzz of customers constantly entering and exiting with brown boxes. This has been a worthy stop. But, I have more to see and more to eat. Filled with sugar and caffeine I exit into the hot Florida heat, full and happy.