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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s a Monday afternoon and the weekly farmers’ market just outside the brand new Café at Books and Books at the Adrienne Arsht Center is in full swing. There are plenty of fresh veggies and fruits for picking—the perfect ingredients for one of Miami’s top chefs, Allen Susser, to buy his farm fresh produce for the restaurant which is just steps away.

“We do farm fresh sustainable seafood, that’s always great, always fresh, always local . It’s easy approachable food, that’s what Books and Books is all about.” Susser said.

The outside of the building is the original façade of the 1920’s landmark Sears Tower. The inside is the ultimate spot for food, and for thought. Yes, diners can eat, drink and be merry inside and out among literary works of all kinds.

“We do it right here in the Sears Tower. We get people from each of the shows, Broadway shows, ballets, musicals, it’s fabulous. They come in here to drink cocktails before, after coffee, and also all day. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Chef explained.

Books and Books at the Adrienne Arsht. (Source: CBS4)

Books and Books at the Adrienne Arsht. (Source: CBS4)

On the day CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo visited, the Chef prepared a few of his specialties. First, a seared locally-caught mahi mahi sandwich topped with mango and jicama slaw and fresh tarragon.

The magic, Petrillo said, is in the first bite.

“The sweet of the mango and with fresh soft fish–I’m in a tropical island somewhere in a bikini! But wait, no…I’m in a bookstore,” Petrillo said.

Next, the chef serves up his urban pickles. There are seven brines to choose from, Petrillo’s is called the “hot and sassy” brine.

“They are super crunchy the brine is hot and sassy, with a little kick. I can pop these in my mouth  like fun potato chips…delicious,” Petrillo said.

Then, Petrillo enjoyed the chef’s open-faced grilled shrimp and avocado terrine sandwich served on grilled sourdough.

“I taste the saffron on top. The shrimp is grilled perfectly ad then there’s the smoothness of the avocado, with a little crunch of grilled bread. It’s a light lovely sandwich,” Petrillo said.

The meal ends with a bizarre-sounding, but delicious, bacon brownie and cappuccino.

For more information, click here.

Lisa Petrillo


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