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What: Cuban pasteles, also called pastelitos, are flaky pastries filled with fruit, cheese, or meat—popular items at Latin bakeries around Miami. (Don’t confuse these with the more tamal-like pasteles produced by other Latin American countries, such as Puerto Rico, which you can also likely find in Miami.) Guayaba, or guava, is perhaps the most common filling, but you’re bound to want to try several varieties once you glimpse these babies behind a glass counter, where they’re typically kept warm. There’s no happier start to a day in Miami than with a box of pasteles and a café Cubano.
Where: Our box of goodies comes from Pinocho Bakery (5236 West Flagler St., Miami), a family-owned pastel hot spot since 1981 that makes its pasteles in-house.
When: Mon-Sat, 6am-9pm; Sun, 7am-3pm. Mornings are best for pasteles.
Order: Pictured are the pasteles de guayaba (guava; square shape), queso (cream cheese; log shape), and carne (meat; round), 75 cents apiece. During our visit the bakery was out of the one we really wanted, a mix of guava and cheese, but these were all delicious in their own rights. (And it is a good idea to try all three, because they’re very different—you know, for the sake of cultural research.) The guava was flaky and sweet with fruit; the creamy queso a bit crunchier, sprinkled with sugar; and the carne a toothsome mix of light, flaky outside and savory-spiced beef inside.
Pinocho is also a great spot to try other Cuban sweets like coquitos, capuchinos, flan, and flan’s cousin, tocinillo del cielo, as well as savory snacks including croquetas and empanadas. There’s coffee, beautiful Cuban bread, batidos (smoothies), and Cuban sandwiches, too.
Alternatively: Miami is reasonably dense with Cuban bakeries, so you have several options. We’ve heard good things about Portofino Bakery (305-637-0010; 1539 NW 27th Ave., map), particularly regarding its pastel de coco (coconut). Local site Three Guys from Miami likes San Lago Bakery (305-552-0464; 9825 Southwest 40th St., map) and La Ward (305-383-8833; 14766 Southwest 56th St., map) for pasteles, among others.
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