we're in the market (not the stock market)

 

a while back there was a rumor that Mario Batali's jawdropping Manhattan-based wonderland of proscuitto, gelato, pasta and everything delicious in the world, Eataly, would be opening in Brickell CityCentre. As far as I know, that's just a rumor, but it got my heart racing to a quick pitter-patter and I could just about the taste the fresh burrata already. But then I got to thinking, it's not really an Eataly that Miami needs, although, if the rumor proves to be true, I'll happily take it; what we need is our own Eataly, our own style palace to the food that we love, the way New Yorkers love Italian food. 

Over the past few months, I've visited two other Eataly style food markets - albeit with a bit more history than the toddler aged Batali spot. The Mercado San Anton in Madrid and the Grand Central Market are both indoor, multi-vendor food hubs that feel like perfect little microcosms of their respective cities. 

Mercado San Anton was bustling on a Saturday afternoon. The crowd appeared to be a balanced blend of tourists and locals and the lines were longest for the fresh mozzarella served by slim and beautiful hipster girls with toppings like a balsamic glaze and arugula or a honey and chocolate mixture, and the classic Spanish installation, a bar serving everything from piquillos de padron to chorizo tortillas and fried pulpo. There was sushi, sangria, Spanish beers, croquettas, empanadas, candy,oysters and a perfectly cosmopolitan representation of Spain's tradition and trends. 

Grand Central Market wins for the most ecclectic selection of vendors and a truly bizarre and overwhelmingly nice blend of super hip and long time staples - think, an egg sandwich spot called Eggslut next to a stand with traditional Mexican spices. Right next to that is a kombucha stand. It's neighbor? Cheap Chinese. There's a butcher shop manned by young bros. A wood fired pizza joint. A "hand crafted," "barista-made" "uber-cool" coffee shop. In conclusion. It's so LA. 

What would a Miami market look like in the vein of Mercado San Anton and Grand Central Market? Good question. I'd love to hear what you think. I'm thinking frituras alongside an spiked, fresh pressed juice stand. A Homestead produce stand next to a spot selling ceviche of all varieties. Oh, and it would be in Little Havana. Duh. What do you think would be nice? @miaminicemag

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grand central market via tripadvisor. eataly via eataly.com