Fact: People in Miami can make a party out of any experience.
On Friday, the experience involved fighting unsuccessfully for a parking space (and occasionally backing up straight onto Bird Road), then standing in a long line and sweating in crushing humidity. The goal: Attain magical fried food that can literally be found in any corner of the county.
And still, the people waited for croquetas.
These weren’t just basic croquetas (though there is absolutely nothing wrong with basic croquetas). These were fresh from the kitchen of Dos Croquetas, the new croqueta bar in Westchester.
Croquetas are not in short supply in Miami. Dos Croquetas, which used to operate as a delivery service out of a warehouse in Doral, has entered a crowded market. But they’ve entered it in the western Miami suburbs, which are clearly an under-served community, judging from the number of people cheerfully suffering in line.
Some, like Melissa Feijoo, lived close by (“My sisters are in love with croquetas,” she explained). Others came from further away. Kenzie Marrero, who lives in Miami Gardens, and her friend Nayla Menendez of Miami Lakes, came to try what they called “fine dining” croquetas.
“They’re extreme croquetas,” they joked.
Marrero and Menendez got in line around 7 p.m., when the shop opened. Like everyone else, they got drinks and strategized about the menu. At 9, they were closing in on the door but nowhere near the counter. Too late to order via Postmates from the line (this was legit discussed as an option).
By the time they got inside to order, it was 9:15. Do you know what a small, hot space sounds like when it’s full of hungry Miami people? Loud. Really loud.
At 9:45 they were still waiting for dinner. But at least they had a table (and beer).
When asked if he expected the onslaught of customers, owner Alec Fernandez shook his head ruefully and said no - and praised his croqueta makers.
“They’re back there in the kitchen working hard,” he said.
Staff members passed out samples of cold drinks and shots of Cuban coffee to those in line. A ventanita was open at the front of the restaurant, and those in line could grab a smoothie, cafecito or craft beer. Dos Croquetas teamed up with MIA Beer Company to create Dame Dos Ale ($6 draft), designed to pair perfectly with any croqueta. (A taste test confirms this to be a fact.)
As for the croquetas, here are your choices in order of our how much we liked them. (Note: we liked every single one.)
Mexican Street Corn ($2.25): Ingenious and surprising.
Ham ($2): For the traditionalist.
The 305 ($2.25): Picadillo, sweet plantains, queso. So Miami.
Mac and cheese and bacon ($2.25): We ate this one first, at a speed similar to that of a starving wolf.
Buffalo Crack Chicken ($2.25): Odd, spicy and weirdly addicting (this one will go especially well with Dame Dos Ale)
Cheddar Burger ($2.25): A fried burger? Yes please.
If your stomach hasn’t expanded to the size of a globo, you can order dessert croquetas: Oreo with cheesecake, guava cinnamon toast crunch and Fruity Pebbles. There are also plenty of other menu items involving tostones and arepas and yucca fries, but let’s be honest. Here, it’s all about the croquetas.
Where: 10505 SW 40th St.
- Park in a nearby lot and walk over; the parking lot is small and crowded and backing up out of there onto Bird Road is nobody’s idea of fun.
- Go later rather than early. There was still a line at 10 p.m., but it wasn’t as long.
- Bring patience and an appetite.