Shopping = hunger. Felicidades to Sergio’s for recognizing this. Our go-to restaurant for home-style Cuban food in Coral Gables and Westchester has expanded with a big branch near the West Kendall Costco and a fast-food counter in a Wal-Mart in Hialeah Gardens.

My new favorite way to end a field trip to Costco is to duck into the Sergio’s in the same London Square shopping center for my family’s favorites: breaded empanizado steak, pounded so flat and wide that it hangs out of the Styrofoam container, and Chimi-Chicken, a juicy grilled chicken topped with fresh chimichurri sauce. My 11-year-old favors the pan con bistec (steak sandwich) with grilled onions, tomatoes and potato sticks pressed between Cuban bread. My youngest always goes for the cornmeal pancakes, available any time. Although my kids’ appetites have outgrown it, the children’s menu gets points for a child-size palomilla as well as the usual burger, grilled cheese and grilled chicken.

Along with the classic sandwiches (Elena Ruiz, medianoche, el cubano) and entrees like vaca frita and pork chunks, the family-owned Sergio’s turns out respectable oven-baked empanadas (chicken, beef, spinach, ham and cheese, guava and cheese), for under $2 each. If you’re one of those instant-gratification types, be sure to order the mariquitas — crisp-fried plaintain slices doused with garlic sauce — so you can devour them on the way home. (Ask for extra napkins.)


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