Archive for November, 2008

Off to Seattle

I’m leaving today for a 10-day trip to Seattle, WA. Far from this time being a hiatus from Miami blogging, I’ll be exploring a couple of Miami-Seattle connections and sharing those with you. Not to mention the Miami vs. Seattle Metblogs-off bound to stir up between myself and my friend, Seattle Metblogger Patricia Eddy!

In the meantime, I leave you with this short and funny comparison between our two cities.

Madonna @ Dolphin Stadium

Tonight is the Madonna “Sticky & Sweet Tour” concert at Dolphin Stadium, in Miami. If you’re going, be sure to arrive early so you can get parking and get to your seat without rushing. If you are not going, stay the hell away from the stadium and neighboring areas until tomorrow!

I won’t be going but my wife is, so I’ll see if I can rope her into giving me a report of the concert to share with you here.

Locally-Grown Irony

I went to Norman Brothers Produce today to see if I could get some local produce to take on my trip to Seattle as a gift for my friend Patricia Eddy, who aside from being a fellow Metblogger is also the creator of Cook Local, a website dedicated to championing local foods in the Seattle area. Normally she wouldn’t order anything from South Florida, but since we’re traveling there anyway, and it is local to us, we can share our bounty without her breaking the 250-miles-radius rule she’s established as her guideline. I used to shop a lot at Norman Brothers when I lived in Kendall, so I knew they were a great place to get local produce without short of taking a trip to Homestead. Boy, how have times changed.

That sign was placed hovering above a selection of beans from (somewhere in) Florida and produce from California, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru and just a few bins down even some eggplants from Holland. I’ll let you savor the irony for a moment.

I understand some thing are not in season, but it just seemed that more than 70% of their produce stock was not local at all (unless you also count “USA” as local, but I’m not at this moment), with a fairly disconcerting sub-percentage being from Latin America. I mean, plantains from Colombia? Mangoes from Brazil? Seriously?

For the record, I did at least get two giant avocados from “Dade County,” a pound of Cubanelle peppers and a dragonfruit, these last two from Homestead. I wish I could have gotten a couple pounds of stone crabs to take to my friends, but I needed those packaged for a plane trip and this was not something they could do at the seafood counter, nor I at home since I cannot bring stone crabs into my kosher kitchen. Oh well.

Norman Brothers, if you’re gonna have this phrase as your official slogan (as featured on the front page of the website), you gotta do better than this. I’ll have to return to the store later on to see if this was a one-time fluke, so expect a follow-up post sometime down the road.

A Visit to Grass

A couple of nights ago I had a chance to visit Grass Restaurant & Lounge in the Design District of Midtown Miami for my wife’s best friend’s birthday. Back in January when I (briefly) worked at Miami D&E Magazine (don’t bother looking for it, it folded) we ran a review and an ad for this place, so I knew of it. Now, understand this is not a review. I keep Kosher so there was nothing there I could eat, and even the drinks were problematic, so consider this more of an impression of the place.


Normandy Isle Laundry Cleaned Up

I went to do my laundry at Express Laundry of South Florida and as I walk in, I see the picture above. When I go to get my quarters, one of the employees has to count them by hand because the automatic change machine is not working. Turns out, I overhear as I’m adding detergent to the washers, that the laundry was burglarized just last night, sometime between closing at 10:30 pm and opening at 8:00 am.

The thieves made a hole low on a wall leading into a back office that doubles as storage, moving a hell of a lot of really heavy equipment piled up back there, from what one of the owners told me, to get into the main area. There, they proceeded to break the locks on all the dryers and to take out the change machine, emptying them all of their precious jingling contents. They also stole cash from the back room (including the payroll) and who knows what else.

This is just sad and a big shame. The people who run the laundry are very nice and have improved that place a lot from how they got it from the previous owners. Here’s hoping the police catches the thieves and that the laundry owners not have any more troubles.

"Planned Progress" in Normandy Isle

For the last few months the Normandy Isle area of Miami Beach has been undergoing a number of construction projects all rolled into the vaguely-named “Normandy Isle/Normandie Sud Neighborhood ROW Improvements (BP-4)” project (though you have to go HERE to see a description). Now, I’m all for general neighborhood improvements and I understand that there will be inconveniences while the construction is underway, but at least as it regards my street, this is already bordering on the ridiculous.

It’s been 3 months since our street was first invaded by the construction crews. Parking, already a thorny issue on the Beach, has been made an even greater headache by the projects, most of which are started, then left unattended for days or weeks, before being picked up again. Just last week the crews returned to my street to begin the “final phase,” which so far has involved the removal of a roughly 5 ft. section of asphalt next to the sidewalk, and today, as you can see above, the removal of the sidewalk itself. I’m hoping that they will start pouring the signature pink concrete to make the new sidewalk and gutters soon. Perhaps it is a good thing I am flying out of town next week.

The big problem I have with all of this is one of communication. Though there are some signs around the area with all the legal mumbo jumbo these usually have, the residents of the area should have been informed directly about the project to be undertaken in our neighborhood. In fact, I’ll take that further and say that type of communication should not be a one-time event at the start of a project, but a constant stream of information and updates as things move along. I mean, there is already a web page for the project at the official city website, how about adding an RSS feed and regular updates? Is that too much to ask of city hall?

In the meantime I continue to stretch my patience and park my car in makeshift (and generally illegal) spaces, thanking heavens that no ticket-happy cops have passed by (and if they have, thank you for being understanding).

Hello Miami

Hey, everyone, my name is Daniel M. Perez and I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I just joined Miami Metblogs as a contributor and I’m very excited about it. Though I’ve been living in Miami for thirteen and a half years and I keep a blog, I’ve never really done so about the city. Which isn’t to say I haven’t had opinions to share about this magnificent mess we call home, I just never wrote them down; that’s about to change.

A few factoids about me: I live in Miami Beach, I’m Puerto Rican and I’m Jewish. I love to write (I have a small publishing company and keep five different blogs on various topics), play games (pen & paper roleplaying games, plus card and board games, and Wii), travel wherever and whenever I can, and ride my bicycle with a mindset of style over speed. Everything else you’ll just have to find out as we go along.

I have a love-hate relationship with Miami, and though in the past I expressed it by not caring about my hometown, I now make a concerted effort to address it by looking for what’s good despite the not-so-great parts.

Thanks to the Metblogs team for this opportunity. I look forward to sharing my view of Miami with all of you, and to your feedback letting me know how you, in turn, see Miami as well.

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