first Miami food exploration of the new year

I woke yesterday morning to find new flowers blooming all around my Magic Cottage.

these Q-tip flowers are everywhere outside the magic cottage

I’ve decided these flowers indicate the time of year when Miami food comes into its own. Driving into Coral Gables, I picked up my weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from Bee Heaven Farms; the fresh greens that smelled of earth, eggplant, and starfruit spilled out of the box.

csa box January 3rd

(I’ve been noting the contents of each week’s box with a little video, below is yesterday’s.)

Craving local tomatoes to accompany the greens, I set off in search of Miami’s Upper East Side Market in Legion Park–and found it fronted by yoga practitioners stretching under wide tree canopies–

yoga on the way to the upper east side market

more of the yoga people after the market

You’ll know a Miami market by the seafood stand; stone crabs are highly prized here. Securing my tomatoes (Brandywine and Cherokee Purples), I also found cranberry beans, baby zucchini, and burrata.

next time, stone crab claws

Friendly vendors greeted regulars while I considered orchids as I always do (another fixture of Miami markets).

orchids at upper east side market

I thought about next week’s opening of more farmers’ markets here—a moment I’ve been waiting for since I moved in April (Miami market season is January through March) while I made an afternoon salad with the fleeting pei tsai lettuce from the CSA and young radishes.

pei tsai salad (from the CSA box) with local radishes and chevre

Later last night, my lovely friend Jenne and I ordered sangria at Sra. Martinez, a new restaurant in the Design District (4000 NE 2nd Ave, Miami) and tried to decide what combination of tapas might be best. My favorite was the white bean stew (below) with large beans and foie gras/duck sausage in a port reduction.

foie gras sausage and white beans in port reduction at sra. martinez

Chatting with Sra. Martinez’s passionate chef, Michelle Bernstein, renewed my sense of Miami food possibilities in this new year.

As I showed Michelle Brightkite, the location-based social network I use on my phone to update friends on where I am (and often, what I’m eating), I smiled to think how many locations I have yet to pinpoint here.

So many things to try, beginning with a further exploration of Sra. Martinez’s menu. Shall I order a house-infused ham bourbon on the rocks with crispy artichokes? A poached egg draped over kale and jamon? A pork belly cube? An uni sandwich? Let’s start with Shrimp Tiradito with popcorn

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