Before hopping on a plane back to NYC, J and I decided to grab a light breakfast. We wanted to squeeze in a visit to Little Havana so we decided to drop by Los Pinarenos Fruteria and kill two birds with one cab ride. Los Pinarenos Fruteria is an open-air fruit stand, one that has proudly preserved its authenticity for decades. Even if you're strangely averse to fruits, a visit is worth it for the cast of characters buzzing around the spot. Upon pulling up to the entrance, a smiling toothless stranger immediately motioned for us to come to shop's back courtyard. We were to meet the store's mascot: an adorable black-and-white hunker of a pig (whose name evades me right now and we will thus call Chubby). Our stranger motioned commanded Chubby to lie down and motioned for us to stroke Chubby's engorged flank. Who knew pigs could serve as alternatives to the common household puppy?
After wrapping up our visit with Chubby, we made our way back into the store to peruse the wares and decide on what fruits we wanted in our fruit platter. We decided on a medley of tropical fruits: starfruit, banana, mango, pineapple, and mamey, the national fruit of Cuba. Prior to this visit, I'd never tried mamey before. Its exterior kind of looks like a wooden mango and its interior looks and tastes like a sweet potato. Extremely delicious but also extremely filling! As we munched our way through our fruit platter, the owner spun yarns about the store's history- how he inherited it from his parents and how they'd never spent more than a 1 cent on marketing, relying wholly instead on word-of-mouth advertising. Which is amazing. Really. Mom-and-pop stores are slowly fading into the past, but this little underdog is resiliently withstanding the tide.
Having scrapped our fruit platter clean, we grabbed our sugarcane juices and hailed a cab back to the airport. Miami round 1: a complete and utter success. Enjoy the pictures after the jump!