Sunday, October 05, 2014

Healthy Eats in South Miami

arugula-beet-salad temple south miami kitchen

Living in a region of Florida with high restaurant turnover rates, I often hesitate to recommend great spots for fear of walking up to the CLOSED sign on the door.

Meals of yore, as if from another lifetime in a far away land, come to mind. Restaurants the names of which I can no longer recall. But I do remember the succulent, sage, ricotta, nutmeg raviolis slathered in a wine butter sauce on Lincoln Road. Sometimes when I sniff a sprig of rosemary, I'm transported to that tender osso bucco, braised in red wine, on Washington Avenue.

Further inland, the former Kafa CafĂ© -- Miami's then only remaining Ethiopian restaurant -- served delicious, home-cooked style fare, but eventually disappeared from its Midtown location. I miss dipping injera bread into those aromatic and spicy sauces.

I hope that such a fate doesn't befall Temple Kitchen, a neighborhood vegan and vegetarian friendly in the heart of South Miami, an area of Miami-Dade that offers many choices -- from Cuban to French to Portuguese and East Indian -- all in a few squares miles. Temple is Sunset Drive's newest addition. Prior to Temple's opening, only Whole Foods offered similar fare.

Even a carnivore would enjoy the flavor combinations at this plant-based eatery, which bears the slogan "joy to the food."

Joy to the tastebuds would be more appropriate.

Yesterday, I tried the Q & A salad and one of Temple's signature house waters (mint, ginger, lemon). The salad was pure heaven: the namesake quinoa and arugula, with roasted beets, mint, cherry tomatoes, almonds, parsley all served with a beet coulis dressing.

It was pretty too; you could almost call it an altarpiece.

Just out of curiosity, I asked for a sample of the Cream of Broccoli soup. In my younger years, when I poured over classic French cookbooks, the idea of creamy and thick -- without a buttery roux -- would have seem impossible, not to mention preposterous.

I'm not sure if any of the other patrons heard me, but I moaned a little when I took one sip of this simple and silky soup: broccoli, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Creamy indeed but supple on the tongue.

I'm not particularly religious, but I do plan on worshipping at this temple regularly. No penance or kneeling required.

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