Miami officials should leave La Placita Puerto Rico mural in place

The other day I saw a story by James-Beard Award-winner Carlos Frías at The Miami Herald about a new restaurant called La Placita which features a giant Puerto Rico mural. The restaurant painting is a tribute those who have made the move to Florida after Hurricane Maria and settled into Miami, according to the owners.

When I saw the story, I was impressed that Miami is welcoming the Puerto Rico transplants so well…considering all the hardship that has occurred since Hurricane Maria wiped the country killing over 3,000 people and making over 100,000 abandon their homes for the United States and leaving those that remained in Puerto Rico in the dark for nearly a year.

People in the United States can barely stand a few hours without air-conditioning, electricity, cell phone, and internet service. Imagine going through that for an entire year (and some people may still not have power).

Hurricane Maria was one of the worst natural disasters to ever happen in history to a country that is a U.S. territory and colony to boot.

Most of it can be traced back to FEMA and reckless disaster preparation and response by the current federal government in the United States (just read Chef Jose Andres for more on that). Nevertheless, the survivors persisted and found new homes and are still rebuilding their lives.

Later, the story quickly changed after the opening date of the restaurant. Now Miami officials are telling the owners to paint OVER the mural since apparently they did not get proper permits before painting a giant Puerto Rico flag over their restaurant and the historical association there is fuming about it not fitting the neighborhood.

How is it possible that Miami was unaware that there was a GIANT Puerto Rico mural being painted in this neighborhood? Give me a break. Haven’t the people of Puerto Rico been through enough? Why doesn’t Miami cut them a break?

One of the most international cities in the country should understand that many of these people now living in Miami are refugees of a horrible situation that has displaced them from their homes.

Can they have just this? I know I was planning to go down to Miami from Tampa to visit this restaurant just to see this painting and I hope it will still be there when I get the chance.

It’s the least we can do for those who have suffered so much.

Sign the petition to support them.

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Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender Competition 2018 Miami

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender (MIB) Cocktail Competition at Racket in Wynwood.

Bartenders showcased their talents and the winners move on to London (the home of Bombay Sapphire) for the finals and the chance to win $10,000, a digital feature in GQ, and other Conde Nast digital properties.

Cocktail competitions are awesome because you get to see bartenders push themselves to the limit. Bartenders have that same creativity that chefs show in the kitchen and the same passion too. The United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) helps to promote that and USBG Miami helped to partner with this event.

Bartenders are judged on flavor, appearance, bartender presentation, and imagination. The key to these competitions is to make something new, while also staying true to the spirit that you’re competing with. Due to these requirements, the people’s choice award will often not be the same as the one the judges choose.

Last night’s winner for people’s choice was Evan Lewis from Taquerias el Mexicano in Miami. His cocktail is called “Queen’s Bouget” and incorporates Bombay Sapphire Gin, Blueberry “Gin-ager”, Lemon Aquafaba, Blueberry Cardamom syrup, Sparkling Elderflower Liqueur, topped with a Floral Candy Orchid. This drink made gin truly fun to drink.

The winners of the Southeast judging contest who will move on to London are:

  • Derek Stilmann from Beaker + Gray in Miami. His drink is called “Who I Am” and incorporates elements of his life into each ingredient. The cocktail has Bombay Sapphire Gin, Spiced Milk Syrup, Lustau Cream Sherry, Gunpowder Tea, Orange Liqueur, Absinthe Salt, and Rose Mist.
  • Cody Henson from El Coyote Charleston with “Ceylon Fix”. This drink includes Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lemon Juice, Pineapple Syrup, and Doctor Possner’s New Star Soda.

Food Adventures

Carlos Eats Miami!

I will be vacationing in Miami starting this Sunday the 31st until next Friday the 5th. Despite living in Florida since 1998, I have never been to Miami and I am excited to try all the restaurants food spots out in Miami (looking forward to checking out their food truck scene!). I will be staying on Sunny Isles Beach. If you have any recommendations on where I should eat at, leave me a comment below :). I have already taken down a few places from a few friends, but would love to add some more things to my list. I’ll be updating soon from Miami and look for a ton of finished posts to be heading your way very soon as well!

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