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While flashier Colombian eateries abound -- especially the fast-food style joints keeping drunks happily munching on hot dogs -- the truly authentic, homey spots are hard to find. That's why Colombians and fans of Latin cuisine in general make the trek south to Macita's, on the southern end of South Dixie Highway in Cutler Bay. The days start early here: 7:30 a.m. every day except Sunday, when the place opens at 8 a.m. For the first few hours, it functions mostly as a take-out bakery and a spot for a quick, dirt-cheap breakfast. A $3.59 special served until 11:30 a.m., for example, gives you two eggs fried or scrambled, with bacon, sausage, coffee, and Cuban toast with jam (okay, that's the one inauthentic nod to its non-Colombian clientele). Still, for those missing their home country's eye-openers, there are more homestyle dishes here as well, like calentado with blood sausage ($5.25) or a Colombian-style pork tamal ($5). Dinner fare is heartier, but no less casual -- silverware is plastic and set down in a baggie, and waitresses are sweet, but sometimes unhurried. Never mind that, though, because you can likely afford to savor multiple courses. Standout starters include Colombian-style fried potatoes ($3) and arepas, stacks of sweet corn tortillas sandwiched with house-made white cheese ($1.75). For mains, choose from mountainous portions of protein, including a Colombian sampler platter ($9.45), a mixed grill ($17.99), or a whole fried snapper ($15.99). Those all come with white rice, your choice of fried or sweet plantains, and a choice of beans or salad. Pick the beans, though, which are pink and simmered with potatoes, peppers, and mystery spices that draw fans back to Macita's over and over.
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