Halfway between Independence Day and Christmas is the most-Miami holiday worth celebrating: Croqueta Day.
A year ago, the city of Miami and the Miami-Dade County mayors showed unusual solidarity in recognizing the spirit animal of Miami food, the croqueta, by passing honorary proclamations naming Oct. 1, 2018 Croqueta Day. That salute was in honor of Sergio’s Cuban restaurant serving its 20 millionth croqueta.
And why not? Miami has the market cornered on croquetas, that ubiquitous finger food found at so many birthday parties and get togethers. These deep-fried nuggets of breaded bechamel cream sauce and minced ham (and oh so many other possibilities) are Miami’s protein bar.
Several local restaurants are celebrating the day with deals and giveaways (listed below). But Miami has proven we don’t need a holiday to celebrate croquetas. Here’s how you can celebrate today or any day.
Take a croqueta tour
The kinds of croquetas you find in Miami range from traditional (ham) to absolutely novel (Korean with ginger soy dipping sauce). You can easily map out a tour of Miami that will take you through a wide variety of neighborhoods and lead you to a host of different croquetas.
You can follow our route or design your own.
Order a croqueta cake
What has vanilla, Nutella — and 100 croquetas?
Breadman Bakery’s Croqueta Cake, of course. This Hialeah bakery with a western Miami-Dade outpost makes a three-layer butter cake with your choice of filling (they like Nutella). And they pin croquetas all around it.
Here’s how you eat it: Pick off the croquetas during the party as you mingle. Then, when it’s time to cut the cake, you enjoy the cake beneath. It has become a hit for birthday parties worth sharing on social media.
Go to a croqueta bar
Croquetas are often the warm up act to a bigger meal, but one Miami restaurant decided to make them the main course.
Dos Croquetas opened a croqueta bar to serve only “craft” croquetas, paired with craft beer. It started in 2016 as an on-demand delivery service and was so popular it led to a standalone restaurant in Westchester. The unique croqueta fillings range from the traditional ham to an entire Cuban meal in a single bite (picadillo, sweet plantains, queso blanco), Mexican street corn (chargrilled corn, cotija cheese with a chili-lime crema) and mac and cheese with bacon, just to name a few.
Attend a party called Croquetapalooza
Humble croquetas get the star treatment at this annual dining event where local restaurants compete to make Miami’s most interesting croqueta.
The event, this year on Dec. 6, is where one of Miami’s comfort food tastemakers, Sef Gonzalez, invites some of his favorite croqueta makers and pairs them with an open bar. The 21-and-older event includes a croqueta-eating contest and a category for dessert competitors.
And they get crafty. Last year’s winner was a croqueta eggroll.
More info at this link.
Abuse them and you might need a waiver
Miami invited professional eaters to a croqueta-eating contest on Calle Ocho, where the winner ate 158 in eight minutes.
Amatuers got to try their luck, too — but had to sign this terrifying waiver. Even the eventual winner Joey Chestnut agreed croquetas are not to be trifled with: “Choking is always a little bit of a risk. And then there’s always the ‘reversal of fortune.’”
We’ll let you figure out what that means.
Love croquetas? Enjoy these deals
Several restaurants have embraced Croqueta Day and are offering deals. We have listed some below.
Happy Croqueta Day!
Café La Trova: Chef Michelle Bernstein’s creamy croquetas will be free with the purchase of a cocktail during happy hour, 4-7 p.m.
Sergio’s Cuban restaurant: Sergio’s Doral location (1640 NW 87th Ave.) will be giving away croquetas between noon and 1 p.m. Oct. 1. All locations will be offering free croquetas with the purchase of an entree or sandwich while dining in. For locations visit this link.
Vicky Bakery: All 15 stores will give out a free croquetas throughout the day, including at their new Doral location, 10740 NW 74th St. Click this link for other locations.