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1 Showstopping Dish

BY Riki Altman-Yee, Jen Karetnick & Luis R. Rigual with contributions by Lisa Petrillo | June 18, 2018 | Feature Features

The feast is on! From dazzling debuts to dishes we can't get enough of, here are 50 reasons why Miami's dining scene is hotter than ever.

Every dish at ElCielo is an exercise in plating perfection, but none is as whimsical (or literal) as the Tree of Life, the cassava bread that precedes all meals at the Latin American restaurant and also pays tribute to the Colombian Amazon. Here, executive chef Juan Manuel Barrientos dissects its ingredients and sculptural presentation. 31 SE Fifth St., Miami, 305.755.8840

“This top part consists of the actual cassava bread, a blend of cassava starch and grated coastal Colombian cheese that’s then mixed with paprika, basil, a selection of diverse spices, eggs, milk and salt. All that is kneaded into a flat dough and baked.”

“The trunk and roots of the tree are constructed by weaving copper threads that are then wrapped around a stone. These are actually made for us by the indigenous Paucara tribe in the Amazon. Needless to say, this part is not edible.”

“Inside this bamboo bowl is the hogao sauce for diners to dip the bread in. It’s made with tomatoes, onions, garlic and coconut cream. Those greens you see on top are cilantro sprouts that we use as garnish.”

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