South Florida Culinary Battle Series: Article 1
Make sure you follow us on social @thehungryblackman and subscribe to this blog by inputting your email for Black owned deliciousness around the country! Contact us at [email protected].
Miramar, FL – In the heart of the vibrant South Florida (Miami, Broward, Palm Beach) culinary scene, an exhilarating clash of flavors and traditions is about to unfold. A captivating culinary battle between two Caribbean culinary powerhouses, Jamaica, and Haiti, is set to take place, this December, igniting taste buds and sparking friendly rivalries. This showdown of gastronomic brilliance is not just a showcase of culinary prowess; it’s a celebration of culture, heritage, and the rich tapestry of the Caribbean diaspora that has woven itself into the fabric of South Florida. The Hungry Black Man (Follow us on social @thehungryblackman) has traveled to both islands and loved each cuisine, and now will be searching to find the best of the best in South Florida through this exciting series leading up to the festival. This article is the first installment to what will be an exciting series chronicling the region’s Best of the Best Jamaican and Haitian eateries.
Miramar welcomes a newly opened Haitian concept coined La Gourmandize Island Restaurant located at 7108 Pembroke Rd, Miramar, FL 33023. This spot is located inside a small shopping plaza, but packs BIG flavor. Inside is clean and modernly designed with white tables and chairs to dine in after placing your order at the window. Our selections included tantalizing offerings of griot, legume, and fried snapper with some of the area’s BEST PIKLIZ (pikliz is a spicy cabbage that also creates a broth like liquid that is lathered on just about any and everything).
Before I get into the food, I just want everyone to understand that my ethnicity may be Black American, but I absolutely love everything about Haitian cuisine, people, and its culture. Haitian cuisine is a tapestry woven with influences mainly from Africa, along with French, Middle Eastern, and indigenous Taino cultures. South Florida’s thriving Haitian community has brought this rich culinary heritage to the region, infusing it with warmth, vibrancy, and a touch of Caribbean spice. La Gourmandize serves as a testament to the Haitian diaspora’s enduring contribution to the local food scene, offering what I enjoyed as some of the BEST LEGUME I’ve had in a long while since my visit to the beautiful island of Haiti, eating from one end to the other back in 2016.
Starting things off, the griot at La Gourmandize was a true masterpiece, embodying the essence of Haitian comfort food. The succulent cubes of marinated pork are soaked in a flavorful blend of citrus, garlic, and spices, then lovingly fried to achieve a perfect balance of crispy edges and tender interior. Each bite releases an explosion of flavors – the tangy notes of citrus, the warmth of spices, and the satisfying richness of perfectly cooked pork. It is comparable to your grandma or moms, given that is exactly who is in that kitchen THROWING DOWN! I give the griot a solid 4 out of 5. Make sure you lather it in the pikliz for a truly memorable experience.
Next up was the legume, or vegetable stew that offers a vegetarian forward delight served with chunks of marinated and tenderly cooked beef (and in some cases can be made vegan or with seafood). I enjoyed this version, which was with beef, because of its ability to marry the deep and beef flavors with a medley of vegetables inclusive of eggplant, cabbage, carrots, and spinach, that is slow cooked with aromatic herbs and spices. The result here was a symphony of textures and flavors that came together in perfect harmony. The vegetables maintain their integrity, offering a satisfying bite with every forkful. Legume speaks to the versatlitlty of of Haitian cuisine, using simple ingredients to create a dish that’s both nutritious, yet bursting with taste. This entrée received an ultra-rating of 9 out of 5! Make sure you order their white rice with it, because that is probably the meal you’ll receive at the gate with St. Peter.
Following the legume, we had their fried snapper with veggies and pikliz. This entrée was perfect. It reminded me of my time in Haiti, at the coast of the island where abundant seafood is served right on the banks embracing bold and assertive flavors. The snapper here was fried to crispy perfection, with the delicate fish offering a canvas to literally drown it in their homemade vibrant pikliz. Listen, to be quite honest, the pikliz here (a spicy cabbage slaw) is a whole revelation in and of itself. It provides a never-ending burst of heat and acidity, perfectly complementing the crispy and well-seasoned fish with citrusy undertones. For me, the glory of pikliz is a true reflection of the Haitian culinarian’s penchant for balancing flavors and adding depth to their dishes – a culinary practice that spans generations and across oceans right here in Miramar, FL.
Oh, and please do not forget to get one of their natural juices. I had the passion fruit juice, and it was not just another concoction of random island flavors or stirred up frozen pulp, but rather a skillfully crafted beverage that carried an authentic fruity taste of the Caribbean with a vibrant aroma and scent of ripe passion fruit that had a wonderful balance of tangy sweetness along with a somewhat thick velvety smoothness, which hinted at the care taken in its preparation, and not just another stirred up pre made rushed beverage.
In a town where many Haitian spots cook in large quantities and at times having my food to be rushed, this place offered a refreshing visit that brought me back to the low and slow cooking dynamic found on the island itself. To the cooks here, thank you. Thank you for giving me the reminder that true expression of culture, heritage, and unwavering dedication to culinary excellence is alive and well in Miramar. I give this space a solid 5 out of 5! Give them a call at (954) 793-1309.