Rum Boogie

Miami’s the No. 1 rum market in the world – no surprise there – so it’s the logical place to hold the largest gathering of folks involved in rum. This year’s sixth Rum Renaissance Festival features more festivities than ever before, with tastings, seminars, entertainment and cocktail competitions slated for the event, held at the Doubletree Hotel Miami Airport Convention Center April 25-27.

This year, it’s all about the cocktail. “Tiki Cocktails and Classic Cocktails will be a focus,” says spokesman Joseph Gerbino. The festival will again feature the Bacardi Tiki Takeover Competition where the Bacardi UK Tiki Team will compete against the Bacardi US Tiki Team. “The UK team will showcase the Liltikitini,” he says. Here’s their recipe:   

This year’s Miami Rum Renaissance Cocktail Week events include:

Monday, April 21

  • Rum cocktail pop-up bar with eclectic cocktails from Caña Rum Bar in Los Angeles. Broken Shaker, Miami Beach

Tuesday, April 22

  • Original Tiki Cocktails in the Molokai Bar (optional dinner with Polynesian dance show). Mai Kai, Fort Lauderdale

Wednesday, April 23

  • Classic Bacardi Cocktails VIP Party featuring libations from the first family of rum. Bacardi Penthouse, Bacardi U.S.A. Coral Gables Headquarters

Thursday, April 24

  • Imaginative cocktails and poetry

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Erica Guzman / Aragon 101

Aragon 101 is the home decor boutique and cooking school located in the heart of Coral Gables. Chat Chow TV sat down with owner Erica Guzman to learn more about the store and its popular cooking classes.

“The idea behind the store is merging the idea cuisine and home decor,” Guzman notes. “We focus a lot on table top and how you can have a great meal with the perfect ambiance.”

The cooking classes are held once a week for a group of 14 “students” of all varying levels. The classes are as interactive as attendees want them, with some people getting highly involved while others just want to watch and enjoy their meal.

“People come in here and can be part of it but not really be in the kitchen,” Guzman says. “And there is another set of people that come here and want to be involved and get their hands dirty. We welcome both.”

Aragon 101’s cooking classes showcase cuisine from all over the world using a variety of talent to conduct the classes including notable chefs, caterers, and chocolatier’s, depending on the class theme. Some popular recent themes have been recipes based out of the popular “

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O, Miami Poetry Festival 2014

Be forewarned: you will be exposed to a poem this month. Many of them. They will come at you from the air, the water, by the sea, projected onto walls. La poesía te tocará. It will get you against the wall, popped up, pinned up.

Poems will be intertwined with food and drink and plants. They will live sustainably alongside compost at a community garden. Foragers will hunt for edible plants in our Miami Backyard and find sustenance and art and beauty here. Poems will appear on cocktail napkins still wearing their boozy perfume. Wine will accompany poems. So will lots of liquor, come to think of it. Poems are what’s for breakfast. And lunch. And snack bars. And dinner. And ice cream. And after-dinner drinks. You will be well nourished this month.

O, Miami’s Closing Party

The last day they’ll skip farewell kisses
(The maudlin the poet dismisses)
Instead, at Gramps Bar
It’s Limericks au revoir
That will surely be dirtier than this is.

We love being a part of O, Miami’s playful mission! We’ll be doing our part to help expose our community to poetry over the next month.

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Hot Hialeah? Pincho Factory to open 3rd location

Is it Cari Garcia’s My Hialeah story and Fatgirl Hedonist blog that’s responsible for the love being lavished on La Ciudad que Progresa these days? Pincho Factory, the popular comfort food restaurant in Westchester and Coral Gables, is opening their third location in Hialeah. They’re planning to convert Koky’s Barbecue Ranch, at 4950 W. 12th Avenue, into a free-standing restaurant seating 100. Says Nedal Ahmad, part owner of Pincho Factory: “When we asked our Facebook followers where they’d want to see our next location, they said Hialeah-Miami Lakes. It’s where our biggest base is.” The former Koky’s building will be getting a makeover featuring the same butcher block and chalkboard decor of the Gables and remodeled Westchester locations. Except for incorporating the Koky’s sign as part of a mural inside the new building, “no one will recognize it,” once they’re done, he says .

Nedal is coming off a whirlwind of activity these past few months, in addition to planning the new location. First, Pincho Factory was a participant at the 2014 South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s Burger Bash – “the Holy Grail,” he says. Then he headed up to New York City and sampled his Toston Burger

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Raising Dough for Zak the Baker

It’s another balmy Sunday morning at the farmers market at Pinecrest Gardens. Farmer Margie Pikarsky’s Bee Heaven Farm staff is stacking clusters of freshly harvested radishes. Arepas are sizzling on the grill. A long line has formed in front of a table with a sign that says: Zak the Baker will be here at 10:00 ish!

“Ish” means closer to 11. Zak Stern, his wife and sister-in-law arrive, unload bins of sourdough bread, and move quickly, dispatching the loaves until they sell out. When the rush is over, everyone relaxes under the shade. A friend drops by with a vacuum cleaner with a bow on it, a wedding present for newlyweds Zak and his wife. His parents are there, too. All that’s left on the table are crumbs, samples of cookies and sesame candies, and a clipboard announcing “Wynwood Bakery Opening! Help Our Kickstarter. 30% funded / 25 days to go.”

“It’s hard to ask for money when there are more important causes. We’re a profit business,” Zak says. “Why is it worth it? I wonder myself.” He turned to crowdfunding to raise $30,000 for cost overruns in construction of the Wynwood warehouse they’re converting to a bakery and café,

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Daniel Boulud / db Bistro Moderne

Daniel Boulud needs little introduction. The legendary French chef has won every culinary accolade known to man and owns and operates some of the best restaurants in the world. Chat Chow TV recently had the opportunity to sit down with Boulud to learn more about his delicious cuisine and newly released cookbook.

For his Miami outpost, db Bistro Moderne, Boulud envisioned a classic French bistro that guests could frequent often with light, approachable fare. Along with the delectable food, Boulud notes that service is a very important element at all his restaurants and he and his team spend a lot of time training the wait staff so guest’s experience goes smoothly.

While DB Bistro Moderne has only been open a few years, his famous three-starred Michelin restaurant Daniel just turned 20. To celebrate the anniversary Boulud released his newest cookbook DANIEL: My French Cuisine. The book features unaltered recipes from the restaurant along with essays, beautiful photography of his classic dishes, and his favorite items to cook at home.

Curious what Boulud thinks of people photographing their food at restaurants? Or what his favorite candy is? Find out all that and more in the video.

Via Chat Chow

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What’s Your Idea?

Turn a vacant lot into a community garden? Transform a parking lot into a farmers market? Convert a school bus into a fitness caravan? These ideas – and others – got funding last year through The Miami Foundation’s Our Miami Public Space Challenge. The initiative awarded $100,000 to the best ideas for improving, creating and activating local public spaces.
 
Of particular interest to us is an additional $30K from Health Foundation of South Florida for ideas that promote access to fresh food through gardens and farmers markets and healthy exercise. If you visited the Biscayne Farmer’s Market in the median of Biscayne Blvd. in the last month, then you experienced one of the winning ideas in 2013! The Challenge is looking for ways to use parks, libraries, public buildings, markets, plazas, playgrounds or any place where people can convene and connect. The challenge is open to anyone: individuals, groups, for-profit companies or nonprofit organizations. The best ideas will be selected by community experts and professional placemakers.
 
Last year’s winners included ideas from Urban Paradise Guild, the Bayfront Park Management Trust and Maggie Fernandez and Melissa Hunsberger. Get inspired by the full list of ideas here. Then take a

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Savor African comfort food in South Florida

South Florida is celebrated for its cultural diversity and accompanying cuisines. Unfortunately, Ethiopian is not one of them. This African regional cooking style, known for spicy stews and vegetable dishes served atop a spongy sourdough flatbread called injera, largely disappeared here several years ago with the demise of Sheba in the Design District. If you craved savory wats and chickpea stews, you had to find them in cities like Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia or New York.

But no more! For the next few months, satisfy your Ethiopian cravings at the Hot Bars of Whole Foods Markets in Florida. Ethiopian food is the first on their 2014 ethnic culinary calendar, where the company selects a cuisine, collaborates with experts to come up with authentic dishes using top quality ingredients, and educates their team on how to put the plates together. It’s a sharing and learning experience for everyone.

“We worked with an Ethiopian vendor who created dishes from family recipes,” says Frank DiVito, regional associate coordinator for prepared foods. “All of our stews, breads and vegetables are very authentic.” The vendor also makes the injera, the distinctive bread made from fermented teff flour, that serves as an edible utensil, used to

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Meet New 4-H Home in Hialeah

Editor’s note: Amelia Earhart Park is also featured in writer Cari Garcia’s My Hialeah story in our Winter 2014 issue.

Urban schoolchildren may get few opportunities to find out about local gardening and agriculture, outside of events like the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition or school gardens. Now, there’s a new place open year-round at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah. 4-H, the development organization for youth 5 to 19 years old, has recently relocated to the Schoolhouse, and everyone’s invited to their Open House Mar. 22 from 11am-3pm, says agent Ruth Santos. Admission is free, and there’s a $6 parking fee.  

“We are delighted with our new home and excited to meet our new Hialeah neighbors,” she says. “Whether you grew up in 4-H or have never heard of it, we hope that by coming to our Open House and experiencing the 4-H combination of fun and learning, you will want to know more.” 

The Open House features a host of fun activities, including:

  • Creating a Florida-Friendly bromeliad garden outside their office
  • Learning about how important bees and worms are to the food we eat
  • Making trail mix with healthy ingredients
  • Planting vegetable seeds

Participants can also make crafts, get

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