Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tropical Caribbean Delights Along Miami's Public Transportation Routes


There are several advantages to using Miami's public transportation and one of them has to do with your tummy. I'll be the first to tell you that living in Miami without a car is inconvenient. But if you schlep around in a car, you'll whiz by great little mom-and-pop places with humble storefronts.

B & M Market, now in business for over 3 decades, has nothing but. You can't miss its eye-popping facade on an otherwise drab urban street.

The tiny market and restaurant boasts bright colors on its exterior, bearing resemblance to the red, black, green and yellow colors of the Guyanese flag while hinting at the delicious Caribbean fare cooked and served home-style fresh inside this take-out eatery. The owners, a husband and wife team, hail from the South American nation and prepare traditional dishes from the region that pay homage to East and West Indian culinary influences.

Roti (a flatbread wrap with curry fillings) is my favorite. The vegetarian is quite filling and comes with a side of outrageously spicy hot sauce -- or as my old Trinidadian friend would say, "it's not Mickey Mouse sauce." Hot pepper lovers won't be disappointed. Other Caribbean staples include curry goat as well as jerk preparations.

My tummy is happy I didn't miss this mom-and-pop shop while riding on the L Bus to Hialeah. You'll find this inexpensive and piping-hot goodness on the corner of 2nd Avenue and NE 79th street.

Spots like B & M define the real Miami "trendy" for me. Stuff that's tried and true, not here today and gone tomorrow. With so many long-standing Miami establishments closing in the last year or two -- Jimbo's, Tobacco Road, Van Dyke, Fox's and now Scotty's -- it's refreshing to know that B & M hasn't been squashed by new development.

I enjoyed B & M's vegetarian roti so much, I recreated its flavor in my own kitchen for a curry fried rice: brown and red rice, chia seed and kale, tossed along with a vegetable stew (coconut oil, garlic, ginger, green and yellow bell pepper, red poivrons, chick peas, petite pois and tempeh). On the side: leftover burn-your-tongue hot sauce from B & M.


I've also feasted my eyes and taste buds on tropical delights riding Metrorail. I'm not sure what the schedule is for Miami train station farmer's markets, but they do occasionally pop up when I schlep on the above-ground rail. As seen today in downtown Miami at Government Center: a tent selling mountains of luscious tropical fruit. Rambutan, tamarind, dragon fruit and more, a sight for sore eyes amid the concrete. The smell of freshly chopped mango was a heavenly break from the heat.


Would I trade this experience for schlepping around in a car? Well, it sure beats parking at a crowded Publix. And it's definitely a lot quicker than flying to the Caribbean for these tasty delights.

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