“Getting away from it all” in Miami usually means heading to South Beach. Crowded, expensive, dangerous South Beach. It’s the dream. Or nightmare when you find yourself on the sand, claiming your pity inch of land, only to endure your new neighbor’s cheap battery stereo blasting Pitbull for the next three hours. All while you turn and turn some more like a human waffle maker waiting for your timer to go off. The beach has its appeal on some days, but, it’s nice to go a little South sometimes to spend a Saturday afternoon.
On a mission for some fresh fruit we stumbled upon the Fruit and Spice Park at 24801 SW 187 Avenue. Unexpectedly, we walked into the Mango Cafe. It was so quaint I felt like I had stepped into someone’s house. Dazed by the idea of lunch just becoming an option, I took a seat with my mom as we surveyed the smoothie selection. Mango, passion fruit and cappuccino sounded like obvious choices, but the heat made the first two winners.
The waitress warned the passion fruit would be tangy, but that’s what makes it so distinct. And at Mango Cafe, you can rest assured that Mango is very much put to work. The sweeter smoothie almost made me want to trade up. Both smoothies were just right to cool down.
Price should not be an issue here. Everything on the menu is $9.95 or less. When available, a fruit sampler is made for $5.95 that includes fresh fruit picked right from the park. Specialties beckon to every taste with BBQ pulled pork on the menu, a chicken and bacon quesadilla and a Florida lobster roll with Old Bay dressing.
I decided for a light white albacore tuna salad wrap with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and Colby & Jack cheeses. The cheeses added a little oomph to the wrap. A great choice to refuel a bit before or after your journey through the park.
My mom had the Cuban sandwich panini style, with pork, ham, Swiss cheese on top of some kettle cooked chips. You wouldn’t expect to find bold Cuban flavors outside of Miami, not even in Cuba these days. But this sandwich was on point, just slightly missing the citrus expected from a douse in mojo. But it was nice to have the medianoche flavors in a panini for a change. This made sure the inside of the sandwich was as warm as the outside. Also, pickle wasn’t missing to add some crunch.
It only felt right to keep the mango and passion fruit going with some cheesecake of the same flavors. A cheesy bottom layer with a mango mousse on top and passion fruit glaze. It was good, but with a freezer edge that only a couple days of sitting, waiting to be devoured can do. This made sense after I learned the dessert was not made in the restaurant, but ordered from somewhere.
It was time for a walk, but I’m glad I had found a new little Southern lunch spot. And what’s better is that it’s open everyday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, all gratuity goes toward enhancements for the Park. You can check out an album of photos from The Fruit and Spice Park on Facebook here.