By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Flanked by open air tables in a botanical garden, Cerveceria La Tropical in Wynwood is a tropical paradise.

Executive Chef Cindy Hutson, who closed her Coral Gables landmark restaurant, Ortanique last summer after 21 years, is happy to be back in action in a place that is a breath of fresh air.

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“What goes on in your head about where you were and where you are now?”, asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“To come to this kind of laid-back atmosphere where the food comes out as it’s cooked, no formal china and tablecloths is really nice. It’s a load off my back. It’s fun, it’s how people want to eat in a brewery,” said Hutson.

A brewery that dates back to Cuba in 1888, Manny Portuondo, the great-great-grandson of the original owners, had a lifelong passion to resurrect the brewery with a new permanent home in Miami; a city infused with Latin and Caribbean tastes.

(CBS4)

“It was an amazing place. We have a lot of memorabilia from there. We have the original beer bottles with beer still in them are in a display case over there. It just gives me chills when I think that he’s been able to reproduce it in such a space in the center of Miami,” she said.

The full on brewery offers over 20 handcrafted beers infused with local ingredients and the brand’s flagship “La Original” amber lager.

Cerveceria La Tropical’s “La Original” amber lager. (CBS4)

Hutson describes La Original as “not too heavy and delicious.”

Hutson uses that beer in her Caribbean fresh fish Escabeche dish made with Corvina, sweet onion and bits of scotch bonnet peppers.

“The beer gives it texture to the outside now and then I can taste the tenderness in a little bit of a kiss of the peppers,” said Petrillo after tasting.

“Lisa, you’ll taste a big kiss if you bite into one of those scotch bonnets though,” she said laughing.

Next on the table, Hutson’s special skin roasted maduros, or plantains, with pulled pork and mojo onions.

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Special skin roasted maduros with pulled pork and mojo onions from Cerveceria La Tropical (CBS4)

“It’s desert-ish because it’s sweet and then the pork has a little bit of savory and it’s super moist,” said Petrillo.

Finally, a taste ‘to die for’ is the Cuban sandwich empanadas with roasted pork, onions, shaved ham, melted Swiss cheese and pickles.

Cuban sandwich empanadas with roasted pork, onions, shaved ham, melted Swiss cheese and pickles from Cerveceria La Tropical (CBS4)

“This and this together and you can’t go wrong,” said Petrillo pointing to the beer and the empanadas.

It’s a vibe that’s working.

“It is definitely a vibe and it has become pretty much the talk of the town these days,” said Hutson. “I think people should experience what Miami is about. It’s tropical, it’s Caribbean, it’s Cuban, it’s nature, it’s organic and it’s beautiful.”

Cerveceria La Tropical is open Wednesday through Friday, dinner only, and Saturday and Sunday lunch and dinner.

For more info:  http://cervecerialatropical.com

Now, do you want to try that Escabeche Fish dish at home? Here is the recipe for 6.

Caribbean Fish Escabeche with La Original Ambar Lager, sweet onions, red and yellow peppers from Cerveceria La Tropica (CBS4)

INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE:

  • ¼ Cup Olive/Canola Blend
  • 2 Cups Yellow Onions, Sliced
  • 1½ Cups Carrots, Julienne
  • 1½ Cups Chayote, Julienne (optional)
  • 1½ Cups Red Pepper, Seeded & Julienne
  • 1½ Cups Yellow Pepper, Seeded & Julienne
  • 1 Large Scotch Bonnet or Spicy Pepper, Seeded & Chopped
  • 10 Each Allspice Berries
  • ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Cups La Original Ambar Lager
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Picked Thyme

PROCEDURE FOR SAUCE:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet. When hot, add finely sliced onions and allspice berries. Sauté on high heat, when onions are half way cooked add carrots, peppers and chayote turning the heat to medium heat.
  • Then stirring quickly add the vinegar and La Original Ambar Lager. Add thyme, continue mixing on low heat and add salt and chayote (optional).
  • Simmer for two to three minutes then remove from heat (taste should be a spicy pickled taste. Pour over cooked fish fillets.

INGREDIENTS FOR COOKING FISH:

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  • 6 X 8 Ounce Fresh Skin On Snapper, Other White Fish Filets or Shrimp
  • 2 Oz Clarified Butter or Cooking Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 4 Tbsp Flour

PROCEDURE FOR COOKING FISH

  • Salt and Pepper both sides of the fillets. Dust with the flour and heat the oil in a deep large skillet.
  • When the oil is hot place skin side down. Cook the fish on high for about 4 minutes or until golden brown & crispy.
  • Flip over an cook until golden brown and filet is opaque throughout (do not overcook)
  • Place on a plate with rice and peas and spoon over Escovitch Sauce.

Lisa Petrillo