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Miami: David’s Cafe Cafecito

Located in the up and coming area of Miami’s Design District (similar to Toronto’s King East which is lined with furniture shops), is a retail space called Chrome Hearts that allows emerging artists and designers a space to sell their goods.  And tucked away past the black gates right beside the open air atrium and patio is David’s Cafe Cafecito.  Normally we would have walked right past this cafe if it weren’t for the folks across the street at Jonathan Adler‘s store.  Taking their advice on getting some good coffee we ventured to David’s.  And what a gem!  Such a funky locale and the perfect weather to sit out on the patio.  Being an iced coffee junky, I ordered the iced cafe con leche.  Made with milk and a giant coffee ice cube – an ingenious way to avoid coffee dilution.  The menu is simple but we didn’t go there to eat.  It’s all about the coffee and the details here, even down to the designs on the sugar cubes.  Great place to sit, have a cup of coffee (iced for me) and catch up with a friend.

Chrome Hearts in Miami's Design District.

Chrome Hearts in Miami’s Design District.

The beautiful outdoor patio to David's Cafe Cafecito.

The beautiful outdoor patio to David’s Cafe Cafecito.

The counter at David's.

The counter at David’s.

Inside the funky space of David's Cafe.

Inside the funky space of David’s Cafe.

David's Iced Cafe Con Leche.

David’s Iced Cafe Con Leche.

A close up view of the coffee ice cube in the iced cafe con leche.

A close up view of the coffee ice cube in the iced cafe con leche.

Mango pastry.

Mango pastry.

Guava and cheese pastry.

Guava and cheese pastry.

Deliciously light guava and cheese pastry.

Deliciously light guava and cheese pastry.

A cup of David's cafe con leche.

A cup of David’s cafe con leche.

Miami: Versailles

The first time I went to Versailles was back in 2008 when I went down to visit my good friend M who was working in Miami at the time.  Seven years later, I’m back in Miami on a girls weekend and after a full day at the outlets shopping we stopped at Versailles for dinner.  Its almost a given that whenever you visit Miami, you have to go to Versailles for cuban food.  I tried the classic cuban sampler platter the first time here so I decided to try something else.  The server recommended the most popular dish, “Chicken Versailles”, grilled half chicken that is marinated in cuban mojo and served with moros rice, sweet plantains and garlic butter.  To this day, I still remember how delicious the fried plantains were and eight years later, nothing has changed – they remain my favourite thing at Versailles.  The server also recommended cuban coffee to finish off the meal and at first I was hesitant, not sure why, but I’m glad I listened to him.  The concentrated and rich coffee was delicious, already sweetened and comes black – you definitely can’t have more than one.

Versailles Cuban Cuisine Restaurant.

Versailles Cuban Cuisine Restaurant.

The dining room side of the restaurant.

The dining room side of the restaurant.

The bakery and cafe side of the restaurant.

The bakery and cafe side of the restaurant.

Pitcher of sangria to start.

Pitcher of sangria to start.

Slices of soft warm baguette brushed with butter.

Slices of soft warm baguette brushed with butter.

The Chicken Versailles - grilled half chicken platter.

The Chicken Versailles – grilled half chicken platter.

The Versailles salad with fresh mango, candied pecans and goat cheese.

The Versailles salad with fresh mango, candied pecans and goat cheese.

Yuca fries.

Yuca fries.

Roast pork cuban style.

Roast pork cuban style.

Cuban coffee.

Cuban coffee.

After a few sips of the cuban coffee you can see the rich, dark colour.

After a few sips of the cuban coffee you can see the rich, dark colour.

Denmark: Holm’s Bager

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I did not visit every single bakery in Denmark but I wish I had!  Don’t get me wrong, France is still my number one love when it comes to pastries and sweets but who knew Denmark would have such a sweet tooth.  They know how to incorporate grains and I love their hearty breads.  One particular bakery located in Illum department store in Copenhagen was probably my favourite, Holm’s Bager, and I think we went there at least once a day during our stay.  I ordered at least three pastries each time and tried something new on each visit but it still wasn’t enough.  I’m just going to have to go back to Copenhagen!

Inside Holm's Bager located at street level on the corner of the main square.

Inside Holm’s Bager located at street level on the corner of the main square.

Taking some big bites of spandauer.

Taking some big bites of spandauer.

A delicious sweet sugar puff pastry.

A delicious sweet sugar puff pastry.

The slice of kringlestang.

The slice of kringlestang.

Trays of musli bar.

Trays of musli bar.

Looks like a Danish version of strudel.

Looks like a Danish version of strudel.

Lots of danishes.

Lots of danishes.

Some more delicious pastries.

Some more delicious pastries.

Fresh buns, scones and bread.

Fresh buns, scones and bread.

A danish version of hindbaersnitter.

A danish version of hindbaersnitter.

A chocolate chip scone.

A chocolate chip scone.

Denmark: Mc Donald’s

So I can’t remember why but one morning we decided to go searching for a McDonald’s and lucky for us, we found one in the main square in downtown Aarhus.  The breakfast menu wasn’t as extensive as they are in the North American McDonald’s but the staples were there.  The egg, sausage and bacon mcmuffins, pancakes, coffee and hashbrowns (which taste exactly the same as those sold here) were all available but the Morgenbrod is what caught my eye.  Literally translated, the “morning bread” is ham and cheese (tasted sharp like swiss cheese) on a handcrafted poppyseed roll.  To be honest, there was nothing special about the ham or the cheese but the bread roll was absolutely delicious, almost artisan like with a crusty exterior and not the usual “wonder bread” texture that is typical of their sandwich buns.  They need to bring this to Canada!

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We finally found a Mc Donald’s.

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Breakfast at Mc Donald’s in Denmark.

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The Morgenbrod available for approximately $3.

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The Morgenbrod combo with a hashbrown and a coffee.

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A close up of my morning sandwich.

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How cute are these? They are single packets of milk.

 

Denmark: Joe & The Juice

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As we were walking around Aarhus and eventually around the country of Denmark, we notice the large pink round signs with a distinct image of a man and resting on his elbow in front of a cup of joe.  Joe & The Juice offers a very healthy menu of fresh juices, sandwiches and a very simple coffee menu in a pretty stylish and relaxed setting, we had to try it out.  As soon as you get to the counter I noticed the piles of fruit sitting in baskets waiting to be used so you get the sense that everything here is made right in front of you.  I ordered the spicy tuna sandwich and of course, the Joe’s famous “ginger latte” that caught my eye.  The sandwich was really tasty and satisfying made with chunks of jalapeno and served on the very “Danish” grainy flatbread.  However, the ginger latte, to use Guy Fieri’s famous words, was the kicker.  Made without any espresso, it was lots of minced ginger topped with steamed milk – really unique and definitely wakes up your taste buds!

The counter at Joe & The Juice.

The counter at Joe & The Juice.

Inside Joe & The Juice.

Inside Joe & The Juice.

Evidence of fresh ingredients being used.  Definitely a lot of ginger.

Evidence of fresh ingredients being used. Definitely a lot of ginger.

My dinner - spicy tuna sandwich.

My dinner – spicy tuna sandwich.

"Go Away Doc" juice - carrot, apple and ginger.

“Go Away Doc” juice – carrot, apple and ginger.

Spicy tuna sandwich with jalapeno and splashes of tabasco.

Spicy tuna sandwich with jalapeno and splashes of tabasco.

Joe's famous ginger latte.

Joe’s famous ginger latte.

Joe's famous ginger shot.

Joe’s famous ginger shot.

Look what we saw hanging on the wall!

Look what we saw hanging on the wall!

Denmark: Nelle’s & Bager

Lucky me, right after my trip to California I took off to Denmark for 10 days.  By now, most of you know how I like to travel and over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting all the great places I ate around Denmark.  Starting with Nelle’s in the town of Odense.  Loved this cute coffee bar in the old part of Odense.  With Denmark’s stylish sensibility, the bar is simplistic with clean lines with white and wood everywhere.  Only the Danes can make plywood look good but best of all, this was where I first tried hindbaersnitter.  Nelle’s had a variation of the hindbaersnitter, normally made with some sort of shortbread (at least that’s what I saw in most bakeries), this one had more a ginger snap texture with a raspberry jam filling and topped with royal icing and colourful sprinkles – completely sweet tooth worthy.  At Bager, a bakery in the city of Aarhus, there was an abundance of pastries to be had.  My favourite one here was the ringed twisted pastry decorated with a strip of white royal icing.  You couldn’t tell by looking at it but the texture was a cross between pie pastry and butter cookie – it was so good, I went back the next morning for another :)  What a great introduction to Denmark.

Nelle's Coffee & Wine Bar.

Nelle’s Coffee & Wine Bar.

Nelle's beautiful interior.

Nelle’s beautiful interior.

Stylish interior and counter space in Nelle's.

Stylish interior and counter space in Nelle’s.

My breakfast snack.

My breakfast snack.

Some of the delicious pastries available at Nelle's.

Some of the delicious pastries available at Nelle’s.

A danish pastry called hindbaersnitter.

A danish pastry called hindbaersnitter.

Bager - Baker/Bakery in Danish language.

Bager – Baker/Bakery in Danish language.

So many pastries to choose from - my favourite, the ringed pastry with white icing.

So many pastries to choose from – my favourite, the ringed pastry with white icing.

Some more deliciousness!

Some more deliciousness!

Chokorug - a Danish chocolate bread.

Chokorug – a Danish chocolate bread.

California: Brentwood Country Mart

One of the gems of Santa Monica is the Brentwood Country Mart.  Its a collection of shops, most are specialty and local in nature, with an upscale farmer’s market vibe.  We first visited the Farm Shop, a restaurant slash artisan market with a fabulous bakery making a plethora of delicious pastries and baked goods.  I tried a number of yummy items but the bacon cheddar scone was especially memorable, moist with chunks of bacon and chives.  On another day we went to Caffe Luxxe for a pick me up.  Something new for me, I ordered the Shakerato – like a shakened sweetened latte lined with a chocolate sauce, so good.  Finally on my last day in California, we made a final stop before saying our byes to friends at Sweet Rose Creamery.  An organic ice cream shop making unique flavours from scratch and in small batches.  I had two scoops, one scoop each of earl grey and Rasputin stout.  Both were subtle flavours but completely identifiable.  My friend MA got fresh mint with homemade chocolate chips and to be honest, it was the most refreshing mint ice cream I have ever eaten!  It really was bursting with fresh mint – I’d definitely go back again.

The Farm Shop in Santa Monica.

The Farm Shop in Santa Monica.

The Farm Shop.

The Brentwood Country Mart collection of shops including the Farm Shop.

My breakfast before the drive to Joshua Tree National Park - Iced drip coffee and Bacon Cheddar scone.

My breakfast before the drive to Joshua Tree National Park – Iced drip coffee and Bacon Cheddar scone.

Homemade granola bar.

Homemade granola bar.

Strawberry streusel croissant.

Strawberry streusel croissant.

The bakery in the Farm Shop.

The bakery in the Farm Shop.

Delicious cinnamon bun from the Farm Shop bakery.

Delicious cinnamon bun from the Farm Shop bakery.

A slice of coffee cake.

A slice of coffee cake.

Caffe Luxxe at the Brentwood Country Mart.

Caffe Luxxe at the Farm Shop.

The Shakerato from Caffe Luxe.

The Shakerato from Caffe Luxxe.

Inside Caffe Luxe.

Inside Caffe Luxxe.

Sweet Rose Creamery at the Farm Shop.

Sweet Rose Creamery at the Brentwood Country Mart.

Inside Sweet Rose Creamery.

Inside Sweet Rose Creamery.

My double scoop of organic ice cream - one scoop of Old Rasputin Stout and one scoop of Earl Grey tea ice cream.

My double scoop of organic ice cream – one scoop of Old Rasputin Stout and one scoop of Earl Grey tea ice cream.

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