In Miami, rather than just having a drink after a long day’s worth of work, 9-to-5ers head to Ball & Chain, where the bar mixes a pastelito-infused daiquiri that so happens to also be garnished with a guava filled treat to match. Rather than having a burger with the archetypal buns, Pincho Factory bakes up a baker’s dozen worth of, wait for it, pastelito burgers every Sunday (guava pastelitos replace buns). We’ve got as many Cuban bakeries as we do palm trees, and they’re all dishing out the blistering pastry that no matter how hard you try, inevitably leaves flaky evidence behind.
Not all pastelitos are created equal though. Some are sweeter than others. Some get crazy with their stuffing (i.e crab). Some have a glaze that would make even Krispy Kreme jealous. And some are the size of a baby kitten. But if there’s one thing that these five places have in common, is that their creations are worth the calories gained and crumbs spilled.
Pastelmania; 2015 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33135; 305-541-3675; no web site.
Got a pastelito addiction? You'll either want to stay far away or head to Pastelmania for some edible rehab immediately. True to name, this family-owned gem in Little Havana is manic about its sweet and savory treats. From the quintessential (and colossal) guava and cheese to coconut, pineapple, pizza (mozzarella and ham), and even crab (go for the crab), Pastelmania’s cornucopia of generous fixings coupled with the perfect flake make it impossible to say no to pastelitos.
There are few better things in life than biting into an oozing cheese pastelito that’s fresh out of the oven. For that and more, head to one of Ricky Bakery’s plethora of locations. The family-owned and operated joint has taken the Cuban pastry world by storm going on two decades strong. They serve a “kaleidoscope of flavors" including guava and cheese, simply guava, or solo queso. You’ll want to secure a dozen of these babies that just so happen top be glazed better than a doughnut (almost) for your office luncheon, family party, or simply a Friday night.
No Miami pastelito list would be complete without mention of Versailles. While it’s the Cubano that might have made the Cuban landmark famous on the big screen (if you haven’t seen Sofia Vergara eat one on the film Chef, stop reading this and go to Netflix immediately), locals and politicians gather at this Calle Ocho ventanita for their daily dose of coladas and guava pastelitos, of which they’ve been baking 1,000 daily for three decades and counting.
Children who had their first pastelito from this 40-year-old bakery are now bringing their grandkids to show them what’s up in the Cuban pastry department. It’s tough to not bite into any of the guava variety the moment you grab it, but be careful because these triangular pieces of heaven are as hot as hell, and like pizza, the bubbling and piping saccharine fruit will burn the roof of your mouth. Hurts so good.
You’ll come here for the impeccably baked Cuban bread that this Cuban/French (yep) pastry shop has been baking for almost half a century, but shame on you if you leave without trying one of their many pastelitos. Guava? Check. Guava and cheese? Check, check. Coconut? You bet. Tuna? Weird but yep. Whatever you do, don’t forego the itty bitty sausages wrapped in pastelito dough. It’s like, actually no, it is a pig in a pastelito.