Pig out with a Spanish specialty at Jamon Iberico Pata Negra

Cured Spanish ham is edible alchemy developed over the centuries. Whole hams in sacks are found dangling in the front window of Jamon Iberico Pata Negra. The small restaurant in a condo is named after the purebred Iberian pigs with black hooves used to make jamon. Wood racks hold bottles of wine and there is a small counter where one can enjoy a few tapas with a glass of vino. Sit at a table to share a big pan of paella, roast suckling pig with garlic aioli or sea bass in lemon caper sauce.

Spanish chef-owner Felipe Perez is from Avila in Castile-Leon province. He trained as a chef in Madrid and cooked in restaurants and hotels in the Spanish capital before working on cruise ships, where he met his Caribbean-born wife. They landed in Miami in 1975 and Felipe worked at the helm of several Spanish restaurants. A few years ago he opened Jamon, Jamon, Jamon. He recently reopened in the same spot with a new name and menu.

In their habitat, Iberian pigs roam free and gorge on acorns in the dehesa (oak pastures) of several regions, all denomination-controlled. Their salted hindquarters and shoulders are matured in cool caves for several years. The resulting Jamon Iberia bellota is considered the best in the world. The burgundy-colored meat streaked with white fat has a silky texture and slightly sweet, nutty, mineral taste. Try the 5J brand produced in Andalusia, thinly sliced and fanned out on a plate here or with “broken eggs” (soft scrambled with chunks of fried potato). Shrimp and scallop paella is made with Valencia pearl rice and topped with a thin layer of omelet. Game includes rabbit with chocolate sauce and gin, pheasant with sherry and deer chops with whiskey and figs.

Torta de Orujo brings a slice of airy cake infused with the anise- and herb-flavored digestive liqueur, needed after a feast here.