Cultural Holidays

If shopping, shopping and more shopping is your idea of holiday fun, then read no farther. But if you’re interested in making the best of your year-end time with family members and visitors from out of town at some of South Florida’s fine year-end cultural and outdoors programs, here are some outstanding experiences:

Under the Kampong Moon

This exquisite garden and home of plant explorer David Fairchild in Coconut Grove honors its roots with a program showcasing Indonesian culture, certainly less known than others in diverse South Florida. From Mon., Dec. 29 through Sat., Jan. 3 (excluding New Year’s Eve), Under the Kampong Moon will feature Balinese music, dance and shadow puppetry under the direction of Dr. Andy McGraw of the University of Richmond and Balinese master artists Gusti Sudarta. The tranquil bayside setting of The Kampong is an idyllic backdrop for the soothing sounds of the gamelan orchestra. Guests can buy light bites form South Florida’s Krakatoa Indonesian Cuisine:

  • Sate Ayam: Indonesian chicken skewer with peanut sauce
  • Lontong Gulai kambing: Indonesian curry lamb with rice cake
  • Rendang Sapi: Beef Rendang with rice cake
  • Martabak Mini: Indonesian mini pancake with chocolate sprinkle
  • Pisang Goreng: Indonesian fried banana

The gates … Read More

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Local Love: Orchid, Garden & Gourmet Food Festival

Gorgeous orchids and tropical plants, fresh-from-the-farm produce, a charming setting, food trucks and Bloody Marys – now, there’s a recipe for a perfect South Florida event! Fort Lauderdale’s delightful Bonnet House hosts its annual festival this weekend, Dec. 6-7, in an idyllic setting. It’s the perfect place to stroll around and find local gifts, including plants and garden-related art and wares; take in cooking demos; stock up on local produce and herbs; and take a self-guided tour of the grounds and house, created in 1920 by Chicago-born artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and his second wife, Helen Louise Birch. Her father was prominent attorney, real estate investor and naturalist Hugh Taylor Birch, who donated the land for what is now Birch State Park.

The festival includes:

  • Orchid displays from vendors including David Orchid Society, Plantation Orchid Society and Sunrise Orchid Society, and plants from more than 40 vendors, including tropicals, fruit trees, bamboo and butterfly garden plants, plus garden supplies.
  • Food trucks including Flour Power, Cubarrican Latin Cuisine, Asian Fusion, Ken’s Weenie Wagon, Crazy About Chew and Legends BBQ.
  • Lectures on orchid care: Saturday – 10:30 Intro to Orchids,  2:00 Basic Orchid Repotting; Sunday – 10:30 Intro to Orchids, 2:00
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Threefold Cafe / Teresa Sharp

Threefold Cafe, Coral Gables’ newest all-day breakfast spot, serves up a unique combination of Australian dishes with a Florida twist. Opened this Summer by two Melbourne transplants, Teresa and Nick Sharp, they offers diners a taste of their native Australia dining philosophy with fresh local food. Chat Chow TV sat down Teresa to find out more about the restaurant, its extensive coffee offerings and some of the restaurant’s top dishes.

The pair relocated to Coral Gables after Nick was transferred for work. Missing Melbourne’s “off the charts” coffee the duo decided to open Threefold Cafe. All the coffee is sourced locally from Panther Coffee with all the baristas professional trained on-site by their coffee “Yoda” from Panther Coffee.

The menu encompasses their love of breakfast featuring dishes made with plenty of free range eggs, Zak the Baker bread and lots of creativity. Some top sellers according to Teresa are the “Pope Benedict” served on top of hash browns instead of English muffins; the “Smashed Avocado” bread and the “Not So French Toast” — a savory take on a classic breakfast dish.

Curious what lunch offerings Threefold offers? Or where they source their products … Read More

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Basel Like a Boss

No matter the criticism leveled at this annual art extravaganza, Miami never sparkles more brightly than it does during Art Basel and the satellite art fairs. Pop-ups spring into play, new hotels and restaurants are kickstarted into action, the nonstop party cycle has already gotten underway and, perhaps most welcome of all, southbound Alton Road between 17th and 8th streets has been reopened.

What’s new and noteworthy on the dining and drinking scene over the next week? Here are highlights for events taking place from Mon., Dec. 1 through Sun., Dec. 7:

  • Gospel and Falafel! Who knew that Zak (the Baker) Stern, of rustic loaves and smoked whitefish, sang with a gospel group in school? His love of that jubilant, soulful genre led coming up with a spirited mashup of live music paired with fresh falafel, pita, chips, bourekas, a house pickle bar and rugelach, from 8pm-midnight. The bakery’s minimalist interior and exterior stands out among Wynwood’s psychedelic visual cacophany; the music and food, Zak figures, is art aplenty.
    Here’s the schedule:
  •    Tues.: Minister Desmond T. Jackson & Sovereign Ministries
  •    Wed.: Minister Desmond T. Jackson & Sovereign Ministries
  •    Thur.: Betty Padgett & Band
  •    Fri.: PenTab Miami Mass Choir
  • Chef
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Monday Night Live at the Arsht

How about a little live music with your produce shopping under the stars – or a drive-in movie? Some weeknight farmers markets in South Florida are setting up shop later in the day, around 4pm, and making entertainment part of the mix. Compared to the busy weekend markets, the weeknight spots offer a cooler, less hectic experience for shoppers on their way home from work to stock up on local produce and artisan fare, plus get added value of music, demos and movies under the stars. The Oakland Park Happy Hour farmers market, now on Wednesdays at Jaco Pastorius Park, features a monthly farm-to-chef showcase plus a deejay and a beer and wine garden. In Coconut Grove, in the playhouse parking lot, the Grove Green Market – slated to reopen in December – invites shoppers to buy their local fruits and vegetables and prepared foods, then catch a movie at the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In. And the latest weeknight market-plus offering is the Monday night farmers market debuting Dec. 1 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.

Now starring at the Arsht Center!

The market will feature lots of local products, says Claire Tomlin of The Market … Read More

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Signs of the Season

Just as snow blanketing fields in a monochrome corduroy signals the start of winter up north, bursts of bright green rows mean growing season is well underway in South Florida. Early crops – Asian greens, French breakfast radishes, cucumbers, green beans – are already in the farmers markets, while strawberries and tomatoes take in the November sun, working on their size and sweetness.

There are other signs of the season in Homestead and the Redland. Robert Is Here – the sprawling produce stand at the crossroads leading to Everglades National Park – is a fixture for locals and tourists, famed for their fruit shakes as much as their local fruits and vegetables and fresh-from-Florida products, including jams, jellies, honey, sauces, condiments and baked goods. Robert himself – who started selling cucumbers from this spot when he was 6 – is holding court with regulars. They’re talking about the qualities of the guanabana (grown in Key Largo) and the size of the pommelos (massive). In the rear, Robert’s son Brandon is coordinating a shipment of sweet Mysore bananas piled in the back of a battered pickup. Other family members are making tubs of guacamole. There’s already a line at the shake … Read More

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Turkey Talk

Consider your Thanksgiving turkey. Fresh? Frozen? Brined? Dry-rub? Kosher? Stuffing? Dressing? Cooked breast-down? Deep-fried? Grilled?

None of those decisions, though, are as important as choosing the turkey itself. Is it a commercial turkey bred to be broad-breasted, so fattened up it has trouble walking, but very affordable? Or is it a pastured organic turkey that has never been fed hormones, antibiotics and growth promoters, foraging and feeding on actual grain?

Above: Pastured turkeys at Twin Oaks Farm, Bonifay

For organic farmer Renee Savary, there’s no question. The taste of her turkeys … “well, there’s nothing to compare it to,” she says. “They’re juicy, flavorful but not gamy, the meat is dense and doesn’t dry out. Even the leftovers are juicy.”

Savary raises turkeys, ducks and chickens on Twin Oaks Farm in Bonifay in the Florida Panhandle, roughly midway between Tallahassee and Pensacola. She sells her organic produce, eggs, honey and preserves at farmers markets in north Florida and online. She’s now bringing her goods – and her turkeys – to Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood.

While Savary has had her working farm since 2008, it’s taken a few years for her to figure out how to raise turkeys. “They’re … Read More

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Key lime time again

Left to right: David Rodriguez, assistant brewer; Luis “Pops” Brignoni; brewmaster Nik Mebane; Otto Othman, chief marketing officer, Pincho Factory; Luis Brignoni, president Wynwood Brewing Co.; Nedal Ahmad, CEO, Pincho Factory; Alex “GMoney” Gutierrez, taproom manager; Mike Kent, packaging ninja.











You may have read in our fall issue how Key West rum distiller Paul Menta used tangy Florida key lime juice to create a local key lime rum and the peels for what he calls a lime-oncello.

Now, the tart citrus zing of key lime is surfacing again in a new farmhouse saison ale, the result of a collaboration between Wynwood Brewing Company and Pincho Factory. “We wanted to do something special for our fourth anniversary Nov. 6,” says Nedal Ahmad of Pincho Factory. He got together with Luis Brignoni of Wynwood Brewing Company to come up with the namesake 627 Ale. They agreed to do a saison, an unfiltered golden colored ale, that uses lime instead of the more traditional orange, and coriander, used in Pincho Factory’s burgers and other dishes.

“We don’t use the key lime juice, we use the peel,” says Brignoni. “This way we get … Read More

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Get Growing at GrowFest!

Late October starts feeling like fall here, and there’s one event here that truly celebrates the very best of outdoor South Florida – subtropical flora, pleasant temps, the pastoral beauty of the Redland – and throws in homespun artisan products, edible plant sales and a friendly, laid-back vibe. The annual GrowFest! at Fruit and Spice Park, Oct. 18-19, is organized by Margie Pikarsky and her team at Bee Heaven Farm: “GrowFest! is about connecting the dots between the farm or garden and the dinner table. It’s about providing the knowledge and materials to grow, forage, buy, prepare and eat good, local, seasonal food.”

Every year, GrowFest! has gotten bigger and better, with more vendors and booths. This year, there’s a smart combination of practical (plant clinic, showerhead and lightbulb exchange, plant advice) with cultural (mango poetry, community art on Sunday and the screening of “Hungry for Justice” a documentary about social justice issues for agricultural workers presented by Florida Organic Growers). We’ll be there too, with our brand-new fall issue, so do stop by to say hello and pick up your copy.

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

Backyard plants: Get seedlings – including heirloom tomatoes and hard-to-find … Read More

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First SEED Growing & Thriving

Next week’s SEED Food & Wine Festival – the first plant-based food and wine festival in the country – is generating lots of buzz. Part of it comes from the star power they’re attracting: celebs like actor and author Alicia Silverstone, raw food chef Matthew Kenney, award-winning plant-based chef/restaurateurs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, and retired NBA champ and vegan John Salley, to name a few. And the rest of it comes from a South Florida community that’s really “getting it” when it comes to healthy eating, says co-founder Alison Burgos.

“We’re riding the cusp of this very new conversation in Miami,” says Burgos. “I don’t think this is a fad. It’s the future.”

When Burgos and Michelle Gaber decided to launch SEED in South Florida, they knew “we’re in a community that celebrates excess and indulgence and can be fickle,” says Burgos. “Latins, eat healthy food?” Burgos says she grew up with traditional fare like roast pig and starches. “It would offend the family if I didn’t eat everything on my plate.”

Brendan Brazier

But that’s changing. “Meat is not the star anymore. Health and wellness is a real game changer. People want to be healthy.” Today, she sees … Read More

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