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Endless Honeymoon at Essensia; Channeling Neruda at Pamela's Delicatessen

Victoria Pesce Elliott celebrated her 14th wedding anniversary at Essensia at The Palms Hotel & Spa and fell in love all over again, especially when "a cadre of nattily dressed waiters checked on us as often as a first time mom checks on the sleeping baby." That said, "While the international staffers are exceedingly nice, they are also about as green as the lush garden that surrounds the property." That's ok, though. The bread basket was "exceptional," the signature yellowtail snapper is "near perfect," and halibut is "equally sensational." VPE liked the meat dishes, too, but "I can't recall ever eating a vegetarian pasta dish that thrilled me as much as this dense, salty, slightly spicy orechiette with threads of earthy oyster mushrooms, tidbits of zucchini and eggplant and strips of sundried tomatoes." She was also wowed by the cheesecake. In fact, she was wowed by the entire place, saying, "This is one bright spot I will keep my eye on. Here's hoping this honeymoon will last a long time."[Miami Herald]

Lee Klein was wowed by a visit to Pamela's Delicatessen, a Chilean restaurant that's been on Bird Road since 1991 but has redebuted as a combo market, bakery, cafe and full service restaurant,. "A Chilean acquaintance thinks Pablo Neruda might be the best poet in the world and that Roberto Bolaño is second to none as a novelist. The same fellow fervently believes Pamela's Delicatessen is the best Chilean restaurant in Miami-Dade County. So after enjoying Bolaño's The Savage Detectives, I traveled to Westchester to check out Pamela's. Now I owe him twice." Thanks to "homespun" food and empanadas "twice as large as [flaunting] a sturdier, paler crust than the flaky, croissant-like Argentine pastry many Miamians are accustomed to," Klein was sold on his pal's recommendation although he wasn't loving the cream of asparagus soup, which "had an off-putting smoky flavor apparently caused by the charred bottom of a pot." Among his favorites, pastel de choclo, pork pobre, baked brisket and the prices which "incidentally, are preciously accessible; almost every main course clocks in under $11." Unfortunately, however, there was "No caldillo de congrio on hand to inspire a Nerudaesque ode ("the tender eel glistens, perpared to serve our apeptites."). In every other way, however, Pamela's Delicatessen is a paean to Chilean cuisine." [Miami New Times]

Essensia Restaurant at The Palms Hotel and Spa

3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140 305 908 5458

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