A lazy moment is never forgotten,
For it can live repeatedly if remembered.
You know the feeling when you slip into nothing and just gaze at the ocean from a beach? I get that feeling very often, and often am actually on the beach. Which is why, when my vicarious appetite plunges into its torrential roaring state, I wonder how to juxtapose a so called healthy lifestyle with a craving for anything that starts with a melting pot of butter.
Thankfully, on my many svelte afternoons and luscious nights spent in South Beach Miami, I have found that the art deco coast offers plenty of satisfying savorings which don’t minimize my self esteem to that of a bunny nibbling on unseasoned carrots.
Oolite Miami, off of the glitzy Lincoln Road, happens to be one of these staples. Since 2014, Chef Wessel has been serving vegan and vegetarian items in luscious tastes, living up to his James Beard nominee name. Off late, its also been awarded Florida’s main gluten free restaurant! With acid from limes, sweetness from guava or mangoes, proteins from local farms, the healthy way of dining ensures that South Beach goers are equipped with a body to hit the beach, and with the energy for whatever the night may bring. I strolled in for a brunch, greeted by an ambiance that was mid century American with wooden hand crafted tables, glass walls and pure Oolite limestone rock. It made for an airy, lazy air, filled with waiters with charming smiles and tables with plenty of street views for Miami’s favorite passtime: people-watching.
I started with an uninventively marked “Healthiest Platter Ever” – a suffix that I despise, for nobody says ever. Never. It was a 3 grain salad portioned into three sections: quinoa, lentils and legumes, with steamed vegetables, broiled tomatoes, pea shoots and sprouts. Looking alarmingly like a bite from the neighboring Books and Books, it was one of the most succulent and fresh tastes ever, whisking me right back into the seashell speckled ocean I had come from. Visually stunning too, it was a palette of sunshine: orange squash and red tomatoes with soil hued kidney beans, bright quinoa dispersed with greens, and the lentil mix of earthy, rusty hues.
I next received coconut corn potatoes, an essential start owing to my adoration for these root vegetable that is close to being a guilty pleasure. The creamy combination with a heap of coconut cooked in coconut oil too, was a rich, salivating bite. Served warm with the skin on, the fibrous bitter was almost a salty, smokey contrast to the sweetness of the coconut. Collectively, it melted in my mouth, and rather quickly disappeared.
With a childish streak in my Peter Pan loving veins, I saw a lollipop on the menu, prefixed by two healthy superfood loves: Brussel sprouts and goat cheese. With a penchant for all things juxtaposed and playful in presentation, I was surprised at the beauty of these green lollipops on a stick. While only three on a plate, it was more playtime and healthy eating than quantities of inhalation. With two brussel sprouts per toothpick sized stick, the bruleed goat cheese, cooked kale and toasted sunflower seeds added a velvety, bitter and crunchy note, respectively. Almost like s’mores, with the graham cracker replaced by brussel sprouts and the marshmallow by caramel. It was a fun plate, one that would encourage kids (or kids within adults) to eat right. If only I could have a cauldron of these, or devise a ‘create your own’ rendition. Imagine that: superfood s’mores.
Without sacrificing my body loving lifestyle for my affair with desserts, I opted for a non dense chocolate one, unlike previous inhalations. The radiant staff recommended the apple brown betty cake, akin to a recent Philadelphia encounter or a former New Jersey one. What arrived whisked me right into the sands of Puerto Rico, with a bright orchid floral swimming in a pond of bitter ‘Rican’ caramel as they called it. The plate was beautiful, a clear staple at Oolite. Thankfully, the salted caramel was saved for the ice cream and not the caramel itself, languishing fad as it was. The caramel had a tres leches taste to it, with a hint of bitterness that made the saltiness of the scoop of ice cream easy to savor. The apple Betty itself was a well cooked cake like consistency, with visible chunks of warm, cooked apples. In one bite, I got a crackle of salt, a burst of hot apple juice, the velvet of boozy caramel, and a pretty petal in my mouth!
With a smile brighter than an orchid, and a belly stuffed enough to waltz me back to the beach, I smiled at the memory of a lovely restaurant with a staff equipped with the finest of smiles and tastes. And needless to say, went straight back to the beach, to do what I did best: gaze into the ocean and people watch on as an interlude.