By Linda Bladholm
Teodora’s is the place to chow down on generous portions of Italian-American food, served with pizazz, on a happening strip of West Avenue.
Brooklyn native Umberto Gallo bought the bakery-cafe a couple of months ago from an Argentine friend and renamed it for his mother-in-law. He kept the main baker, Diego Campos, spiffed up the décor and changed the menu, keeping the popular migas (crustless sandwiches), flaky empanadas and Argentine pastries (made by another bakery) and adding crusty baguettes, pecorino cheese and bottles of Argentine wine.
In the morning there are omelets, croissants and bagel subs, nova lox platters and café con leche. Lunch favorites are panino caldo and fredo (hefty hot or cold sandwiches) on fresh baguettes stacked with quality proscuitto, cold cuts and cheeses (build your own). Pizza comes in 16-inch rectangular or 10-inch round form (a pizzette), and can be customized. Pagnotta is a variation on stromboli, with tube-like rounds of stuffed dough cut into 10-inch lengths. The lasagne is an interesting strata of pasta, melted cheese, Italian sausage slices and meatballs the size of a large pea. It’s layered with a sauce Gallo cooks from a family recipe. The baked ziti is also a crowd pleaser.
For a sweet ending, consider Argentine pasta frola, a buttery shortbread crust topped with quince paste and a sweet grated coconut mixture.
There is an Argentine expression, La vida no es ena pasta frola, which loosely means life is no piece of cake. You couldn’t tell it at Teodora’s.
Teodora’s Bakery & Café, 959 West Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-9200; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; until 11 p.m. on weekends; Breakfast $2.80-$7.80, sandwiches $7.95-$9.95, pagnotta $9.95, pizzette $7.95
FYI: Local delivery available.
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