Words by Jesse Serwer
The Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Fla. is an upscale shopping district just outside of Miami known for its bridal shops. You don’t often find Caribbean food in environments like this but for the last decade Ortanique on the Mile has been hipping brides to be, jetsetters and retirees to the treasures of island cooking, with unique fusion dishes like jerk rubbed foie gras, Blue Mountain Coffee-encrusted salmon, and mussels steamed in Red Stripe beer. The restaurant, which gets its name from an orange-like citrus fruit indigenous to Jamaica, is the baby of New Jersey-born chef Cindy Huston and Delius Shirley, the son of the late “Julia Child of the Caribbean,” Norma Shirley. The pair, who opened Ortanique in Coral Gables in 1999 after an earlier incarnation on South Beach, last year expanded into the Caribbean itself, with Ortanique Grand Cayman. LargeUp spoke with Shirley about the influence of his late mother (who died last year at 72), the logistics of cooking with Blue Mountain coffee, and which wines match up with well with jerk.