Type “gluten free dining Miami FL” into your favorite search engine and you’re likely to come up with a whole lotta nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but not a lot of choices. Amazing, since Miami is kind of known for its restaurants. But a general search like the one above leads you to the usual suspects, like Carrabba’s, Outback, PF Chang’s, etc. Which would have been fine last weekend, except none of them were in the area we were.
My beloved and I were in Miami last weekend for the ING Miami Half Marathon. We had to come into town the day before to pick up my race packet, and Miami is just far enough away from home to warrant spending the night rather than driving home, and then back again for the race. Besides, I had to be at the starting line at 5:55 am the next morning. Seriously, who picked that time?! So rather than get up at 2:30 am to drive down, we got a hotel room within walking distance of the starting line, picked up my packet, and then wanted to have dinner before retiring early.
Like I mentioned, I was running a half marathon the next day. That’s 13.1 miles. In other words, it’s a loooong run. And those 13.1 miles would have been a lot longer with gastro-intestinal distress. So I was only willing to eat someplace that had a gluten free menu already. No chances being taken here.
Two days before we went, I dusted off my trusty Google-Fu and went to work. I tried every combination of gluten free, Miami, and dining/restaurants I could think of. I went to some of my favorite restaurant lists, such as the Gluten Free Registry and Urbanspoon. I tried celiac forums and travel forums. All I got were the same old, tired responses. Only one was in our part of town, PF Chang’s, and since I can’t have soy either, the menu there is extremely limited for me. I even tried my trusty Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide, which I found doesn’t even have a city listing for Miami (seriously?).
But I kept at it, and after an hour of intense searching, I found Rosa Mexicana. It wasn’t in any of the directories or dining guides – it had been written up in an Examiner article about gluten-free dining options in Miami. Back to the internet, I pulled up the Rosa Mexicana website, and (cue angel voices) it had a gluten-free menu! A 3 page gluten-free menu, to be exact. A gluten-free menu that contained almost everything on the regular menu. (More angel voices.) And it was located in Mary Brickell Village, about a mile from where we were staying.
So we went, and it was good. We both ended up with the Chicken Tortilla Pie, which was to die for. I’m going to have to try and recreate it, it was so good. It was so good, I was sad when I was finished. I was so stuffed I couldn’t eat another bite, yet I was sad there was no more. I was happy, however, that we had passed on the guacamole, prepared fresh tableside. Because though I love me some fresh guacamole, I would have hated to have turned away any of the Chicken Tortilla Pie.
And the only pain I had in the race the next day was from my aching legs and feet.
Rosa Mexicana is a chain, so check out their website for other locations. Definitely worth a visit!