Friday, October 17, 2008

La Sandwicherie- My Miami Mon Cherie

La Sandwicherie- 229 14th Street - Miami Beach, FL

It's been a while since I've blogged here on 5thStar, mainly because - 1) I'm broke, and 2) some things are just not worth writing home about...As my pops always says.
Well that's not completely true as I try to write about all places I visit and make sure you get the truth, and nothing but the truth, be it good, bad and/or ugly.

So let's shift to my second home (one day)- Miami, FL. I frequent MIA once or twice a year if I'm lucky, and I never want to come back. Even during hurricane season, we never hesitate to book a cheap flight and take advantage of the weather, that's guaranteed to be better than it is here.

So the best thing about having family living in a place you're visiting is finding out the local spots to get the best cheap eats.

One of the few spots we make it a point to visit when at the South Beach is La Sandwicherie. This is a French deli that pretty much hits all the spots. As you can see in the picture above, it's an outdoor bar, located on a small street almost in an alley way. However shady it may sound, this is actually a great concept as it's simplicity exudes elegance. You cannot usually find a seat as LS is always packed, and there's only really 6-7 seats as is. But that's no problem, as we always opt to have our sandwiches right on the beach, as it's only a short walk to be waterside.
(Note- don't sit between the Rainbow flags, unless you want to get Cuthied by the you-know-whos- not pleasant).

LS' concept is real simple: fresh bread, fresh ingredients, and always open. Open from 10am-5am, there's only a small window of time that you can't get a sandwich. And let's face it, not many are awake during those hours that they are closed, unless you're just leaving the club after 5am. So why not just go to Subway (Ughh) you ask? Well for one, LS' French bread is to die for. Everything you want in a French baguette- crispy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside. It's harmony in every bite! You have the option for a croissant also, however I've never tried it, as the regular baguette is what I always crave especially in a sandwich. Toppings include the usual veggies, and of course standard deli meats and an array of cheeses. Honourable mention goes to the Smoked Salmon, and my personal fav the Chicken Salad.

Don't forget to top your sandwich off with the 'kicker'- the French Dressing. I always make sure I get a couple more to go as I find I'm always topping it up half way thru the sandwich...It's just that good. And of course can't forget the cornichons- or pickles to those who don't know. Cornichons are another French delicacy (?), which are mini pickles that are infused in garlic brine and just Divine. Make sure you get some of those to go to because they'll be gone before you know it.

LS also offers BIG salads, which I have yet to try but have heard are huge (Elaine would be proud). Wash down your sandwich or salad with something from LS' Juice Bar, which boasts fresh, seasonal fruit or veggies for under $5. You can even add some health-conscious extras such as Echinacea, Ginseng or Bee Pollen (?), if you're feeling for that extra kick.

All in all, a trip to South Beach is never complete without visiting either La Sandwicherie or Pizza Rustica (blog to follow).

I'm not sure what exactly it is about LS that keeps us coming back, but I'm positive it's a combination of the scent of fresh bread, the outdoor atmosphere, and the little nuggets (dressing, cornichons) that just top off the whole experience in more ways than one.

The service is decent, as the French always do- keep their words to a minimum and let their product sell itself. Can't really complain about that. Although it may be a bit difficult to get someones attention as the bar can be crowded at times, service is quick and always willing to meet any requests we had.

And for pricing, under $7 gets you a full deli sub of your choice, combo sub (2 meats or cheese) under $9, salads ranging from $7-9, and fresh mixed drinks for under $5. By Miami standards, this is by no means expensive.

In a culinary-saturated market like Miami, let alone South Beach itself, there are many places from 1st Ave to 19th Ave, along Collins Ave, Ocean Dr and Washington Ave. Most of these places are all name and no substance, and come and go before you've even had a chance to go in. Rent must be uber-high in this area, as it is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the US, so it's understandable if a place charges high prices. I don't mind paying more for something if it's worth it, but for the most part these places are not worth it.

La Sandwicherie, on the other hand, is in a prime spot, gives great value and superb quality, at a reasonable price.

In the end, I rate La Sandwicherie at 4.5 stars out of 5, and recommend them to any and everyone who is in the South Beach area.

Sorry La Sandwicherie if I steal your idea up here in Canada...