Miami Saturdays

Hitting a mid-life point I’ve realized my need to eat more cleanly and trim down. So eight weeks ago I developed a pattern. During the week my meals are comprised of kale and fruit smoothies, whey protein and lots of greens topped with lean proteins, and my evenings are spent following the instructions of a trainer, whose exercises — when compared against the Geneva Convention — likely qualify as torture.

The benefit is having lost 20 pounds in eight weeks and looking forward to weekends, when I can indulge in the fat-rich Latin foods which surround me daily.

Here’s what this Saturday looked like:

Breakfast — Arepas with Shredded Cheddar

Arepas start with P.A.N. pre-cooked corn meal. There are a kajillion recipes out there but the package bears the one for purists: P.A.N. mixed with cheese, a little oil, salt, pepper, and water.

Arepas for breakfast are a tradition in the Colombian side of my family. While some will stuff them with egg, ham or other goodies, I go for plain and simple: shredded cheese folded into the masa. They’re 1-2-3 easy:

First, mix the cornmeal per package instructions with shredded cheese, oil, salt, pepper, and water.
Combine ingredients using your hands or a spoon until achieving the desired consistency.
Take an amount the size of a golf ball, flatten and add to a hot skillet with oil. Cook until browned.

The result is a piping hot salty treat that’s crispy on the outside and the inside is melt-in-your-mouth good.

Lunch: Cordero Estofado (Lamb Shank Braised in Creole Sauce)

There’s this neighborhood chain down here that’s become a stand out in almost every way with their food: price point, flavor, consistency, quality: El Rinconcito Latino. Their daily special on Saturday is a thing to look forward to: a fall-off-the-bone lamb shank that’s been braised in an intense creole sauce that will have you dipping garlic bread after you’ve finished your meal.

Empanada de Carne from Rinconcito Latino.

You gotta have an empanada before your meal because theirs is pretty incredible.


Served with Moros (white rice cooked with black beans, seasonings and chunks of pork) and platanos maduros, Cordero Estofado makes Saturday an awesome day.

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