Little Haiti is home to a treasure trove of gems, sprinkled around the vibrant neighborhood. From marketplaces and book stores to tropical cafes and coffee shops, there are wonders galore waiting to be discovered. Over the years of commuting to work, there’s one place that never fails to catch my eye. A geometrical mural of weaving red and black designs by local artist Evo Love contrasts distinctly with the string of pastel-colored bodegas that it neighbors. Then, the name makes you double take: House of Food Porn. A smile, a laugh, a spark of curiosity and then a “…wait, what?”

With such a cheeky name, it’s no surprise that Chef Franco Antonio Blanco has found a home for his out-of-this-world culinary creations, no matter how sinful they turn out to be. House of Food Porn is his playground for serving his original “ShuShi” inventions, inspired by his story–one even sweeter than the entire experience at the intimate eatery. A Cuban native raised in Miami, Chef Blanco moved to New York City at a young age where he was exposed to Japanese cuisine for the first time. A sushi kit in hand and a fresh muse of flavors, he dedicated his time to learning the techniques as best he could. But the barrier to entry laid with his family’s unfamiliarity with the cuisine: they couldn’t love the food the way he did. So he took ingredients and flavors that they did know, things like classic hispanic dishes and sauces, and made his own version of what his mother could only pronounceas “ShuShi.”

Over the years of working in the food and beverage scene, traveling the world and expanding his skills, he started catering for friends and perfected his craft–a lone wolf in love with the science of food. Eventually, he found his way back to Miami and after working with some local favorite spots like Cafeina, he yearned for the warmth of his own kitchen and the joy that a social food experience brings to all those involved. After discovering the space lying vacant in Little Haiti and using it as a production kitchen, he decided to open his doors for seatings and tastings where the food and its creator connect instantly with each and every guest.

House of Food Porn isn’t your average restaurant, and Chef Blanco never wants it to be. The eclectic decor and the accompanied dishes are all a collection of his and his counterpart, Nikki’s eclectic tastes and personalities. On a dimly-lit night, you enter the 12-person dining room and are welcomed by a vivaciously warm Nikki who sits you down and purrs while explaining the rules: there are no rules. Guests can do everything from take off their shoes to elbow check a date if they dare to steal each other’s food. Everything from the handmade bondage wall to the fiery twinkle lights hints that these two minds are proud to be a little bit wild. And in fact, you can’t help but feel the same. It’s clear that both Franco and Nikki are passionate about what they create together, loving their personal approach for each individual experience watching the looks of surprise on their faces with no idea what to expect.

They offer two private dining experiences every night, ranging from 4-8 course tasting menus. But here’s the thing: just as there are no rules, there are no menus. It’s a “take it or leave it” kind of place, but believe us, you’ll want to take it all. The hype is so real about this place that they’re #1 on TripAdvisor. After Nikki walks you the story of the space as if preparing you for a rollercoaster, the surrounding neighborhood acting as the main character, you’re greeted with a detox water of fresh citrus and mint, a sweet blend of house wine, and an Asian bar snack medley of wasabi peas, peanuts, seaweed, plantain chips for his Cuban blood and a pretzel for her German heritage. No matter how full the dining room might get, or how theatrical they might go with fun surprises like DJs, masquerades, and even models posing as sushi tables, intimacy and connection to the guests’s experience still reign supreme.

Then, the culinary adventure takes off. “You are in our house, our living room,” Nikki says, “and you’re experiencing our version of high end food.” Our hands as utensils, we settled down for the first course: panko crusted shrimp wrapped in turkey bacon, stuffed with melted smoked Gouda, asparagus, a lentil burger patty, and drizzled with chipotle sauce. Most of the dishes can never be recreated because Chef Blanco makes them up on the spot. As sensual as it comes. Then came the ‘Noche Buena’ roll with pork, black beans and rice, plantains and avocado–the plates seemed to be competing with each other for absolute deliciousness, one-upping themselves bite after juicy bite. The third course was a roll featuring ahi tuna done two ways and topped with golf leaf. A quick break for a 7-layer digestif called “Jamaican Me Crazy” and then came the dessert, a molten chocolate cake with mantequado ice cream and guava marmalade from local Liberty City guava trees.

We left there in a daze of adventure and entirely unexpected flavor pairings. Chef Blanco sticks to his guns when it comes to favoring great quality and experience over expansion and profit–and it shows. Whether you come there for an alternative date night experience or for the wildly popular Wednesday cooking classes, we guarantee you’ll leave with a brand new collection of memories that’ll make you smile for days to follow. It’s immediately apparent that hospitality takes the cake here, where every guest is an equal and both the chef and his hostess are your friend. It might be their creation, but it’s just as much your house too.

Photos by FujiFilmGirl.