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Discovering Miami’s Sweeter Side

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Taiyaki NYC Miami, Nanndi and Night Owl are all dessert Meccas.

Taiyaki NYC Miami, Nanndi and Night Owl are all dessert Meccas.

Natalia Rodriguez

Natalia Rodriguez

Taiyaki NYC Miami, Nanndi and Night Owl are all dessert Meccas.

Natalia Rodriguez, Reviews Editor

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A vanilla taiyaki cone topped with strawberry sauce, rainbow sprinkles and a rainbow mochi stick.

While many contend that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I care to disagree. It is an undeniable fact that dessert is the most important meal of the day and, while breakfast is usually amazing, the best breakfasts are simply desserts that happen to be socially acceptable to eat in the morning. Having a strong, unwavering love for dessert is not a feeling that is exclusive to me; it is actually a universal feeling that is found on all seven continents. That being said, it is unsurprising that there are restaurants that specialize in catering to the masses’ sugar cravings and, as time goes on, these restaurants have only become more and more popular. Miami easily lends itself to being a center for an emerging dessert scene. Living up to its reputation for being a cultural melting pot, Miami attracts chefs from various different countries who all bring their own flavors and experiences to the foods that they make. Taiyaki NYC Miami, Night Owl and Nanndi are restaurants that embody the diversity and innovation that are making their way onto the Miami dessert scene.

Taiyaki NYC Miami

Our Rating: A++

Located in Wynwood in the patio of another restaurant (1-800-Lucky), Taiyaki NYC Miami is truly a hidden gem. Taiyaki NYC is most well known for their taiyaki waffle cones; these cones are inspired by Japanese taiyaki cakes, which are shaped as a tai fish and filled with azuki bean paste. Taiyaki NYC’s cones are always freshly baked onsite. This ensures that the cones are warm and fluffy on the inside, yet toasted crunchy on the outside. The mouth of the taiyaki cone (which is the open mouth of the fish) is then filled with a generous swirl of their specialty soft serve. There are four flavors of ice cream to choose from: two of the flavors are the classics, vanilla and chocolate, but the other two are matcha and black sesame. The latter flavors are a lot less common in the United States and definitely more popular in Japan, but if anything it is just a shame that they are not as widespread here in the States because the flavors are absolutely delicious. The soft creaminess of the ice cream perfectly complements the crunch of the cone, and neither the ice cream nor the cone are overwhelmingly sugary, allowing their delicate sweetness to shine through in every bite. The taiyaki cones can also be topped with your choice of syrup and toppings, some of which include other iconic Japanese sweets such as rainbow mochi or Pocky sticks. For those of us who do not eat ice cream because of the dairy, Taiyaki NYC also offers an incredible taro slush that is served in a tiny unicorn pool floatie. Taiyaki NYC is probably the best soft serve I have ever had, especially because it was served in a waffle cone shaped as a fish. The only drawback is the fact that the soft serve is limited to only four flavors. Hopefully, the small stand is able to expand so they are able to add more soft serve flavors, such as taro.

“I had never had taiyaki before, and honestly it has become my new favorite dessert,” junior Karina Wu said.

Night Owl

Our Rating: A

Cookies are one of life’s simplest pleasures, and Night Owl’s founder knows that well. Night Owl started out as a late night cookie service, and was especially helpful to hungry students who were enduring late night study sessions and wanted a sweet and satisfying sugar fix. Through hard work and perseverance, the concept transformed into a small bakery that raised the bar for the standards that cookies should meet on the Miami dessert scene. The cookies are always served right after they come out of the oven, and the intoxicating smell of freshly baked cookies wafts outside of the bakery for blocks on end. Night Owl’s cookies are about the size of a small plate—one cookie is more than enough for one person. They are topped with a variety of extravagant and delicious toppings, such as graham crackers and a torched marshmallow for the S’mores cookie or guava and Maria cookies for the Abuela Maria cookie. The cookies are dense and crumbly and the toppings definitely add a different texture and flavor to each one. However, sometimes the sheer size of the cookie may be overwhelming, especially considering the amount of sugar it contains. Nevertheless, the unique flavors of the cookies that are offered are enough to keep one coming back for more.

Nanndi

Our Rating: A+

Nanndi is a small bakery in Downtown Dadeland that not only makes delicious pastries, but specializes in “frozen cream.” Their “frozen cream” is artfully crafted with their unique recipe, and the frozen cream itself is similar to ice cream: although it is much softer and the texture is definitely smoother and silkier. Nanndi offers a plethora of frozen cream flavors, some of which are seasonal. Take Pumpkin Pie for instance, which is only made when the main ingredient, pumpkin, is in season. There is a frozen cream flavor for any occasion; from Salted Pistachio to Key Lime Pie, Nanndi never stops creating new and delicious flavor combinations. Nanndi also looks out for the dairy-free, offering frozen cream sorbets such as Coconut, which is every bit as creamy as the other flavors and still has a strong, but not overpowering, coconut taste. With so many frozen cream options, it is easy to forget that Nanndi is also a pastry shop. Nanndi offers a tempting variety of cakes, cookies and other assorted baked goods, but the best one is by far the brownie. Absolutely decadent, Nanndi’s chocolate brownie has a rich chocolate flavor and a moist, melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes it by far the most satisfying brownie one can indulge in. The next time you are in the mood for ice cream, Nanndi’s frozen cream is worth trying and it is sure to please.

“I love ice cream and brownies, and Nanndi has the best of both of these things. The best is getting a scoop of ice cream on the brownie,” senior Catherine Healy said.

All in all, Miami has been cultivating a growing dessert scene that may some day reach a level of prominence comparable to other major food capitals, such as New York City or Paris. Taiyaki NYC Miami, Night Owl and Nanndi all demonstrate that no matter what a dessert’s origins are or how much new desserts may stray away from a perceived traditional style, any dessert that is made with enough passion is sure to resonate with the Miami crowd.

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Discovering Miami’s Sweeter Side