I owe my discovery of Buenos Aires Bakery and Haulover Beach to my time living a block east of Biscayne Boulevard. One day, while out earning a paycheck, a rather husky individual tried to crawl through my 12 inch by 6 inch bathroom window. My anonymous and very brave upstairs neighbor, Andrea, heard the ample flesh squirming against the flimsy window pane and chased the burglar away.
I returned home to find Andrea sitting on the stairs above my apartment with a small metal thermos, a gourd and a simple question “mateamos?”
Many mate sessions later, I had new friend who loved dulce de leche and the beach with equal passion.
Andrea, like most Argentinas, swore drinking unsweetened yerba mate kept one svelte. For selfish reasons, I never pointed out that devouring a plate of facturas (Argentine pastries) and empanadas with our mate sessions might sabotage our sveltness. Sweet, buttery, flaky — with fillings of dulce de leche, quince or pastry cream, the facturas’ only calorie saving grace was that they ruined all desire for lunch or dinner.
Each type of factura has its own quirky name. My loose translations are: friar’s balls, nun’s sighs, sacraments, little cannons, dirty faces, bombs, vigilantes and night sticks.
According to urban legend, two Italian-born anarchists led the Argentine bakers’ union during a ten day strike in 1888. As part of the strike, the bakers’ union gave their pastries ironic names, showing their contempt for church and state institutions. The strike was successful. The names stuck.
Thirteen years after my first bite of factura, I still enjoy Argentine pastries, and a little bit of home grown anarchy– albeit a little differently. For a perfect Miami Beach day, we pick-up some empanadas and facturas at Buenos Aires Bakery and head up to Haulover Beach.
If you keep-up with a daily yerba mate regimen, you might want to check out the north end of Haulover, where you can fearlessly strut your stuff on the clothing optional section of the beach.
If you’re like me: part prude, part glutton, have another factura.
And join us several life guard stations away from the full frontal action.