Updated
May 30th, 2015
First Posted
May 30th, 2015

Miramar Bakery

Critic's Review

The owner of Colada Coffee House didn't like my review, and he accused me of making baseless accusations about him, his partner and the "concept" behind the business. I outlined my references (mostly based on State Filing Documents and their own LinkedIn profiles) and asked to hear his version of the "facts", but I haven't yet heard back from him. So I decided to do some due diligence and check out the "inspiration" for the idea; The Miramar Bakery aka Colada House.

The first thing I noticed is that the shopping center it's in is a real dump; virtually the entire center is abandoned. There was a Korean Place called Joa I saw on one of the "other" review sites that I was going to check out, but it's gone now and replaced with another creepy looking Korean place that I decided I didn't want to try.

The first thing that struck me about the bakery itself was that there was no sign that it was anything but a bakery. No signs indicating that they sold coffee or sandwiches. Nothing. You can't see it from the street. It was at this point that I was pretty sure I was right about this place; The idea that this was any kind of Cuban Cafe was just a fantasy.

Inside, there were a bunch of people on line, which surprised me considering the lack of activity in the center.

The reason, however, was incredibly slow service. It took more than 10 minutes to take 3 orders. While waiting, I looked around. This is clearly not any sort of Cuban Cafe. There wasn't a chair in the place. There's a table in the back where you can stand and eat. Clearly this is 98% a bakery.

Finally I got to the register and ordered a "Cubano" sandwich and a beef empanada. Very cheap. Just over $7 for both.

I specifically wanted to watch them make the sandwich. The entire operation is a prep table, a deli slicer, a microwave and a grill with a weighted grill press.

I saw a woman put some meat into the microwave and then put it on the sandwich. You can tell when someone makes a sandwich if they are an experienced food person. She wasn't one. Just the way she put the pickles on the sandwich. Then when it was on the grill she kept checking it; like she had no idea how long is should take for the cheese to melt.

Meanwhile I was ogling the desserts.

Nothing here is labeled. Not much retail savvy here. Most people were buying Flan and bread. Nobody spoke English as a first language and I suspect that most didn't speak it at all.

Finally, a woman gives me 2 bags and I'm out the door.

I didn't want to wait to get home because I wanted to see how it tasted hot, so I opened it up in the car. Clearly this is different bread than I got in Fort Lauderdale. And the sandwich was very thin and much wider. I suspected that it had widened with overzealous pressing.

I took the top off one half to see what was going on inside. This visit was more about dissecting the authenticity of the food than in the eating.

The cheese was melted, and it looked like a nice slice of ham. But one thing that the owner had said in his message was that the chunked pork that I encountered in Fort Lauderdale "more authentic". I've had a bunch of sandwiches and knew that wasn't true. So you can imagine my interest when I saw that the pork here was sliced. In fact, this was just deli meat, sliced thin, just like you'd get at Winn-Dixie at the Deli counter. So the actual Cuban place was making a less authentic sandwich than the Boca boy and his pal?

The other half shows another problem with the sandwich. There was only a little pork and the ham only was on a bit more than half of the bread, so there were big areas where a bite would just get me ham, or ham and cheese or just plain bread. You must get all of the flavors in every bite in any good sandwich; in a Cuban in particular.

The pork in this sandwich was a non-factor, which made the sandwich less than satisfactory. The bread was too big and there wasn't enough inside. The point of a Cubano is the pork.

As I was re-wrapping the Cuban to eat the rest at home, I noticed that the empanada bag was leaking grease all over my nice leather seats. Good thing I'd grabbed a bunch of napkins; and also a good thing that I planned to stop at the car wash on the way home rather than on the way out. I put the bags in the trunk and cleaned up the grease. The leaky bag was wholly unexpected.

When I got home, I opened up the bag.

Notice they didn't seal the empanada, and they'd just stuck it in a bag with a piece of wax paper like it was a cookie or something. Another indication that they're not food service people; or that they haven't been selling this stuff for long. Dripping grease on customer's upholstery is a really good way to ensure that they never return, no matter how good the food is.

The empanada had a small pocket of ground beef; the pastry melted in my mouth and the beef was well seasoned. It was so crispy that it fell apart, but it was delicious. Finally something really good from these people!

I don't review bakeries, so the ratings here are for the "restaurant" items.

Conclusion

My suspicion about Colada House was that the story about the Miramar Bakery being an inspiration for this Quick Serve Cuban Cafe was bogus, and I certainly didn't change my opinion after seeing the place. This place seems like a very good, old school bakery, but sandwiches are clearly something out of their realm.

The problem, and it is a big problem, is that there is no food service experience or recipes to "spin-off". This place is a bakery that sells some token sandwiches with deli meat, so it's not like they're taking grandma's recipes and modernizing the process to mass produce them.

Back in 2012, 2 college kids had an idea for a QSR Cuban Cafe, and I guess they thought it was a better idea to pretend there was a real Cuban Cafe behind it. So they added some food items to a Bakery Menu and claimed that their new idea was a "spin-off". The problem is that there is no Cafe here in Hollywood; just a bakery where you can get coffee and pastries or a bad Cuban Sandwich.

I wondered why there were a bunch of good reviews and no pictures of the non-bakery food items. Probably because most of their customers don't speak English, and they're all old friends and long-time regulars. So the ones who can write in English aren't going to write anything negative. It's the reason that we can't trust review sites that feature random, regular people. You don't know that any of them are objective or honest. I can't imagine any real Cuban writing anything positive about the sandwich that I got here. It might also be the reason that they don't market the place generally as a Cuban Cafe; they don't want strangers coming in here and writing bad reviews. And someone might noticed that it's really just a bakery.

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