Bienvenido a Miami – Art Deco, Foaming Dragon Fruit, & Other Inspiration

Dear Friends,
I have quickly fast forwarded from Spring to Summer as I had the chance to travel with Jeff to Miami for his work in the middle of March. I wanted to share some of my inspirational highlights from the trip (the Cubano, a pineapple rooftop, foaming ceviche in a dragon fruit, and Art Deco design and colors) that I look forward to incorporating in the types of treats we bake and in the decoration and packaging we use in the months to come.

Virginia Key - Miami

Inspirational Idea Nº 1
Being the food minded person that I am, when I knew we were going to Miami all I could think about was trying the Cubano, a Cuban sandwich consisting of ham, roasted pork (this is essential), Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and Cuban bread. Here’s how to make a traditional Cuban sandwich:

http://latinfood.about.com/od/cuba/r/cuban_sanwich.htm

Peachie makes this incredible Cuban bread that I absolutely adore paired with a hot bowl of soup. The reason why we haven’t included this in our lineup is because it really only tastes awesome for about a day. However, after trying the sandwich while away, I decided to file the recipe idea for future use when we launch our brick-and-mortar shop and serve lunch.

Puerto Sagua - Cubano

Everyone I talked to and nearly every review I came across said to try the sandwich at the Zagat-rated Puerto Sagua restaurant at Collins and 7th.

Puerto Sagua - Mural

The combination of ham and pork with pickles was just the ticket – and has moved up the ladder in my sandwich hierarchy to being my new favorite. However, there was a problem. Yes, a pretty major problem in my book. The bread was passable at best. What!!! While it had a nice flakey crust, the crumb rather disintegrated in my mouth. Peachie’s Cuban bread is far and away better than the authentic one I had in Miami. She is able to achieve both the crusty exterior and an intensely chewy crumb that the authentic one simply cannot touch. Despite the disappointing bread (it was a good sandwich), I’m inspired by the fact that it is actually possible to achieve a result better than the original.

Inspirational Idea Nº 2
This is definitely one of those times when a picture is worth a thousand words. This pineapple rooftop is perched on Gloria Estefan’s restaurant, Bongo’s Cuban Café, in downtown Miami. Pineapples epitomize the tropics – blue skies, warm breezes, and relaxation. I definitely want to convey these feelings during one of the summer dessert celebrations. Ultimately, though, it makes me smile to know that there is another human being in the world that would do this to a building.

Bongos Cuban Cafe - Pineapple Roof

Inspirational Idea Nº 3
Thanks to Jeff’s generous client, I was invited to join the group for dinner at The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel. Of all the tapas we tasted, the Dragon Fruit Ceviche (tuna, pecans, lime, and hibiscus) was the most impressive.

Dragon Fruit Ceviche

The dinner menu offers the following summary of the Art Deco movement and how it inspires Chef Andres’ food:

In the 1930s, both Miami and Singapore embraced the architectural revolution that became known as art deco. Both cities equally adopted the style as it represented decadence, extravagance, elegance, functionality and modernity.

I have to say I’m all for adding decadence and elegance to our desserts. But, what I took away from the experience was how the final dish compared (visual perception and taste perception) with the expectation I had formed after reading the menu details. The dishes, especially the ceviche, were at once unexpected and mysterious (I couldn’t remember what we had ordered) but always exceeded my imagined concept. Using an exotic dragon fruit to contain the ceviche was interesting and fun, mainly because it’s not your usual conveyor of savory delights. This has really changed the way I think about presentation – I will never look at a piece of fruit the same way again!

Inspirational Idea Nº 4
You don’t need a degree in Architecture or Design to appreciate the Art Deco style on South Beach with its nautical-inspired details and colors. I fell in love with this style that is simultaneously old and new. Originating in France in the 1920’s, it became international in the 1930’s, with developers in Miami using it to market the area as a tropical place to vacation. They used circles (to emulate portholes), eyebrows (the overhang just above the windows), sets of three or visually dividing the building into three separate sections, bas-relief work, and racing stripes to convey an ocean liner experience. I am indebted to Kent, a volunteer with the Miami Design Preservation League, for this information from our Art Deco Walking Tour.

Essex House Hotel

This picture is of the Essex House, where we stayed, which unbeknownst to me was a part of the tour because it had so many preserved Art Deco details including an impressive mural of the Everglades.

Essex House - Mural

The Hotel Victor, pictured below, had a number of interesting Art Deco details including jellyfish light fixtures!

Hotel Victor

Hotel Victor - Jellyfish Light Fixture

I’m inspired to learn how to convey feelings through shapes, lines, colors, textures, and symbols especially in our packaging!

Thanks for journeying with me through my experiences,
corrie@ Peachie’s Treats

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About Peachie's Treats

Homebaked Breads & Desserts
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