And now for Day 2 of eating vegan around Coral Gables… This was actually the 1st spot I had planned on visiting. My friends had happened on it a few days before and loved it. I looked up the reviews on yelp.com, and decided that anyplace that had seitan empanadas needed a serious visit from me! I got out of work a little early Thursday, and was able to get to Beehive around 4 o’clock. (They close at 7pm.)
Unfortunately, some other empanada eating patrons had also gotten there before me because they were long gone. Carlos (the outgoing chef who mans the counter) told me that if I was ever down that way, to call ahead, and they’ll set some aside in the oven. Apparently they go quick, and people tend to stock up!
But I’m getting ahead of myself… let me start at the beginning. First, you really need to know where you’re going, because even if you do, you may miss it. I had to go twice around the strip mall before finding the vitamin shop store front. Inside it’s a crowded little store of health store merch, vitamins, powders, dry and canned goods, etc. In the very back is the juice bar and cafe area, a little counter space with stools to sit about 7.
Before I could even say a word, Carlos was handing me soup samples in little plastic cups and explaining that one was squash and the other lentil. The lentil was a little bland and completely congealed, but the squash was tasty. (This is when I asked about the empanadas.) The guy to my right immediately made room for me to sit down, and suggested I try the seitan and mushroom pie that he had just finished devouring. Carlos launched into explanations of all that was available, but despite my serious aversion to mushrooms, I decided to follow the local’s suggestion. I also got the potato salad to go with it.
Seitan and Mushroom Pie w/ Potato Salad
It was actually completely delicious, the potato salad especially, and maybe it was the fact that I was starving, but I ate every last little mushroom.
I sort of wish that I had just taken my food to go at this point. Sitting there for an extended period alone gave me way too much time to take in the environment. The condiment bottles at the counter were all filthy and covered in crumbs and crust. ALL the food was just out on the counter in open containers at room temperature. There were flies crawling over all the food and desserts. The bottles and jars on the shelves were dirty and the colander on the wall looked rusty.
I was still hungry and already there, so I ordered a Frozen Banana (&cinnamon) Custard. The longer I waited though, the more I wished I hadn’t. I avoided ordering one of the desserts on the counter purposefully after watching flies crawl all over both. Thankfully I saw that the leftover custard that was still in the machine (and ended up at the bottom of my glass) was at least the same color as the lady’s who was finishing her’s when I arrived, so not too old. This pretty concoction was passed across the counter by a dirty hand.
I wasn’t able to finish it. After hitting a few chewy bites in my custard and seeing some brown bits all I kept thinking was it was some unfortunate bug that wandered into the machine (even thought it was probably just banana), so I abandoned my dessert and paid up in a rush.
It’s really too bad that they are so obviously unaware of their lack of cleanliness, as the food really is good, very reasonably priced and all vegan. The entire meal was about $14 with tip, but I won’t be going back. A lot of the reviews on yelp had said the same thing, but I had hoped for the best. (And empanadas!)
Apparently the regular local crowd doesn’t seem to care or notice, but like I told Thomas, I was pretty sure he would’ve asked me to leave when we arrived, had he been with me. (He’s not as easily distracted as I am and would’ve noticed all of these dirty details a lot quicker!) I will say this, all the food agreed with me, and Carlos is very warm and welcoming. They seem to have a lot of regular business, the food is good home cooking style, and it’s a lot like going to visit your eccentric and not very clean uncle’s house and being fed.
If you aren’t a big fussy baby and want to check it out anyway, they are located at 5750 Bird Rd, Miami, FL 33155. And call ahead if you want to claim your empanadas! (305) 663-1300. Open Monday – Saturday 10am-7pm.