Special Dispatch: News Café, Miami Beach, Florida
800 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, Florida
++305 538 6397
by Cher E. Jamm
I was looking forward to the big, fat American breakfast more than anything else. A weekend partying in Miami was nothing without the knowledge that after a heavy night on the Mojitos, there would be somewhere to pull myself together and take stock of the damage I’d done the evening before.
Which brings me to the News Café, a 24-hour café/bar/restaurant, bang in the middle of Ocean Drive. The café’s tree lined alfresco dining area, with its dappled sunlight and gentle live soft-rock music (don’t ask - it somehow works) was perfect for people watching. Gym-buffed men walking their chihuahuas, plastic surgery tragedies walking their chihuahuas, there were even several chihuahuas on skateboards. The staff were swift and borderline rude, making a nice change to the pseudo-Americana friendliness we’d endured for the first 24 hours of our stay.
I ordered the Eggs Florentine as several people seemed to be enjoying theirs. What I got was rock hard poached eggs, rested on alarmingly chewy and sour english muffins and then drowned in a bucket of single cream. No spinach. The ‘fries’ were deep-fried cubes of potato – perfectly nice and dusted in Cajun spices, but cold. Indeed, the whole dish was stone cold. My dining companion was happy. She’d asked for a smoothie as she doesn’t ‘do’ solid food before midday. My head hurt too much to kick up a fuss, so I handed the waiter my plate, practically untouched, and decided to start again. “Could I get the French toast please?” I whimpered from behind the mother of all headaches. By then I was weak, so very weak. Twenty minutes later, three A5-sized slices of French toast about an inch thick, a side of fruit salad and practically a litre of maple syrup lay before me. I took a bite. Salty and again, stone cold. Somebody just shoot me.
I looked around forlornly at other diners, and they were all chowing down, smiling and clinking glasses, offering one another bites of their dishes. It was like being in a breakfast-themed nightmare where no one could hear my cries. I decided to go for round three: fortune favours the brave and all that. The waiter ambled over, I handed my near untouched plate back and asked for the yoghurt with granola and fresh fruit. They couldn’t get this wrong. It was slapped in front of me five minutes later. It looked gorgeous and fresh. I could smell the cinnamon and pecans and deliciousness that were coming my way. This was hope in a bowl. A new beginning. And guess what? The yoghurt was hot. Really. I decided I’d take my friend's advice. I didn’t ‘do’ solid food before midday for the next four days.