Taste del Sur

Joe Rocco

El Cafetal Bakery (7649 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, 954-964-7557), a humble Colombian market situated in the corner of a strip mall, is easy to pass by without notice -- until, that is, you've tasted its cooked-to-order, lip-smacking, Latin American snacks. Manager Lucy Garcia is pleasant in two languages and can help steer you through the short list of takeout food items. You'll recognize most, like the arepa and empanada, the former open-faced on a fresh, soft, white-cornmeal crust, the latter laced with savory beef and potato in tender, yellow-cornmeal casings. Sausage lovers can revel in chorizos and morcillas (blood sausages), those with a sweet tooth can concentrate on Colombian and French-style pastries (like elephant ears), and fruit shakes come in refreshing tropical flavors such as passion fruit and guanabana (soursop). Nothing costs more than $5, and for exactly that much money, you can get one of Cafetal's daily-changing lunch specials -- like grilled steak or breaded pork cutlet, with salad, rice, and plantains.

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