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Hits & Misses at Angelique Euro Cafe; Jackson Soul Food & Aguacates: Soul Providers

Victoria Pesce Elliott heads to Coral Gables for the Angelique Euro Cafe, a "warm and welcoming spot" that "has a few heavenly offerings." In fact, "the wine and beer program alone make it worth a trip," with "dozens of value-priced reds, whites and roses, as well as 60 international beers." But about the food: it "can be hit or miss." What worked: "competent patatas aioli," "delicious spaghetti carbonara," a "cutesy salad bouquet of romaine," a "juicy, gorgeously charred, medium rare lamb burger," and "satisfying, lightly grainy chocolate creme brulee." What didn't work? A few things, but not too many: "a rather chewy, sour tasting lump of sirloin steak," a "mistaken charge for dessert that was supposed to be included," "young inexperienced wait staff," "overly breaded and seasoned calamari rings so big and thick they could be worn as bracelets," and "cracker dry pizzas with the consistency of Cuban galletas." Bottom line? Two and a half stars. []

This week, Lee Klein hops on the soul train, stopping at two spots: Jackson Soul Food and Aguacates, seemingly different, but similar in that "tacos at Aguacates are soulful too." First up, Jackson, which "lacks certain soul food staples such as chitlins, collards, and the like" because it is a breakfast spot. Note: it's "not a joint." Breakfast fare consists of combos, but whatever you do, "It would be crazy, perhaps criminal, to choose toast over two square, homemade biscuits with a floury crust and moistly crumbed interior." Eggs, ham, bacon, and sausage are joined by "meaty main-course foods" like steak, pork chops, liver and onions and fried catfish which, incidentally, is "historically a Jackson Soul Food specialty." Service is "coffee shop crisp." After pondering the whereabouts of our favorite band Hall & Oates (ed. note: They're around and on Twitter), Klein moves on to his next subject: Aguacates.

Operating like a "fast food venue," Aguacate's meny also reads "like a fast food joint as well," but "the food is tastier, more authentic, and much fresher--prepared from scratch daily--than anything you could ring up at BajaTacoFreshMexBell." Klein says to "skip the fried beef taquitos (too dry), tortas (too bready), and quesadillas (too bland)," and go "straight for the chimichanga or burrito." Enchiladas are "also worthwhile," but "the authentic tastes of Mexico come through clearest in the tacos." [MNT]