Ein Prosit! Oktoberfest in South Florida

  Beer, wurst, schnitzel? Ja! Never mind that South Florida doesn’t have the rich German heritage of the Midwest. Revelers of nearly every cultural background are ready to celebrate the subtropical version of the annual Bavarian festival that begins in September and runs through the first weekend in October. Here are some places to get your dirndl or lederhosen on. Ein, zwei, drei, g’suffa!

Sam Adams Octoberfest (Sept. 19 & 20)

Now in its fifth year, this festival takes over SoHo Studios in Wynwood so it’s undercover and airconditioned – a smart move for South Florida since it’s still rainy season. Festivities include music from the International Polka Band, a “Raise the Stein” Contest  and Miss Octoberfest judging.

German-American Society of Hollywood Oktoberfest (Sept. 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 25)

Those looking for a traditional experience with their bier will get the most satisfaction from cultural organizations, who showcase local folklore groups and entertainment, and include members of the community. You’ll find young and old, many dressed in colorful costumes, enjoying German brews and fare.

20th Annual Coral Gables Oktoberfest (Oct. 2-12)

This event marks two decades of Oktoberfest led by Austrian Harald Neuweg. Held on the plaza of Fritz & Franz … Read More

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Joy of Jackfruit

Jackfruit at Fruit and Spice Park. Photo by Alfredo Añez

Only a few years ago, this massive fruit with its powerful fruity aroma seemed to be a novelty in South Florida, little known except to tropical fruit aficionados and members of the Asian community. Today, you can find fresh jackfruit at farmers markets, on restaurant menus and in backyards with increasing frequency.

“There is definitely more awareness today,” says Dr. Richard Campbell, director of horticulture and senior curator of tropical fruit at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. “The jackfruit has a strong cultural connection with the people of Asia. Here in South Florida there is a growing awareness of the jackfruit that comes through these ethnic groups. Mango is indeed highly successful in South Florida and is our biggest farm-gate fruit, but jackfruit is also strong and growing. Using the Asian culture and awareness, South Florida farmers and markets have been successful with jackfruit.”

A member of the mulberry family, the jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is native to Asia. Its spiky bright green fruits, weighing upward of 30 to 40 pounds, hang from the trunk. Inside are fleshy arils surrounding large, starchy seeds. Green jackfruit has a meaty quality … Read More

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Crowdfunding a New Greenhouse









At Bee Heaven Farm, Margie Pikarsky’s idyllic organic farm in the Redland, there are rows of avocado trees, papaya trees soaring high into the blue late-summer sky and fat starfruit (carambola) hanging from the branches. Workers are packing avocados. Butterflies visit flowers along the periphery. Tall rows of sunn hemp, a cover crop, serve as feathery walls. Everything is lush and green, except for a fragrant mound of fresh brown mulch and a large, leveled area of dirt, once part of the grove.

In the summer, avocados are Bee Heaven Farm’s key crop.

This will be the site of a new greenhouse. For 10 years, Bee Heaven’s small shadehouse was used for growing transplants and seedlings, sold at markets and festivals. But the demand for seedlings that grow well in South Florida has been increasing, so the farm needs a much larger greenhouse – one that can be used for growing trials and aquaponics, among other uses. The nursery would also be open to the public, Pikarsky says.

Pikarsky figures the new greenhouse will cost about $55,000. This will allow her to build a 60×90 greenhouse and a 60×12 pole shed to … Read More

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Streetscapes Make Downtowns Sparkle

It’s a whole new landscape in urban South Florida – one that recalls earlier days, when folks walked, biked and took trolleys and streetcars to get around. Streetscapes – wider, pedestrian-friendly downtown areas, with room for sidewalk cafes, lush landscaping, welcoming benches and street lighting – are business boosters and enhance neighborhood downtowns in fresh, new ways. They’re in the works in a number of busy urban areas: Coconut Grove’s Commodore Plaza is currently in the midst of a streetscape design, expanding the brick sidewalk area and adding new trees, while in downtown Miami, historic Flagler Street will soon be getting a major makeover with new trees, drainage repair and other elements to create a more inviting atmosphere for both tourists and residents. And in Coral Gables, an ambitious facelift for Miracle Mile and Giralda in the heart of the downtown business district aims to enhance this lively dining and shopping destination.

“To me, this is transformational,” says Marina Foglia, executive director of the Business Improvement District (BID) of Coral Gables. “Now we have the Design District, Wynwood, Downtown Miami, Brickell, Flagler, South Miami and Coconut Grove,” she says. “We need to make sure we are viable.”

For Coral Gables, … Read More

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Cheers! That cocktail’s gluten, sugar-free

Living that gluten-free, sugar-free, no-allergen lifestyle? Then you may be interested in Devotion Vodka, an American vodka made with 100 percent corn.

“Most vodka is made from a combination of mixed grains, wheat, potatoes or corn,” says Mike Calleja, partner and COO, Devotion Vodka. “The big role gluten plays in vodka is the source in which it originates. Devotion Spirits uses only 100 percent corn, leaving no room for mixed grains or wheat as some of our competitors do.

The corn is non-GMO and sugar is not added, Calleja says. For flavor, they teamed up with Allen Flavors, maker of Arizona Iced Tea, to develop a way to eliminate sugars as a flavoring agent in vodka. In place of sugar, they use a proprietary essence process and natural flavors to create desired components of taste, he says. The result is a vodka that is not watered down. “Today, most flavored vodkas on the shelves have been diluted by sugary flavoring agents, giving them the candy effect, and watering them down to 70 proof,” says Calleja. “Devotion’s proprietary flavoring process was created to ensure its flavored vodkas maintain all sugar-free attributes and remain 80 proof.”

“We are the first vodka family … Read More

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Recap / June’s Miami Spice Mash-Up

The 13th Annual Miami Spice Restaurant program kicks off in just a few weeks on August 1. This year to celebrate, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) launched a series of special of monthly Miami Spice Mash-Ups, where chefs collaborate for a one-night only dinner and prepare dishes from their upcoming Spice menus.

On Wednesday, June 25, J&G Grill at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort kicked off the series with its Chef de Cusine Brad Kilgore and pastry chef Antonio Bachour creating a six-course menu with visiting Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly family of restaurants.

The intimate dinner showcased the creativity of these chefs with dishes such as Local Poussin, “Saucisson de Lyon,” Five Spice, Chard Walnut Emulsion from Kilgore, Pork Cheeks, Asparagus, Mushroom Dirt, Parmesan Cheese and Pickled Mushrooms from Mendin; and Salted Honey Yogurt, Candied Tomatoes, Greek Yogurt Custard, Strawberries, and Yogurt Sponge Cake from Bachour. Guests also enjoyed cocktails from Botran Rum and beers from Stella Artois.

Check out more highlights from the video above and make sure not to miss the next Miami Spice Mash-Up on Thursday, July 24 at 8 p.m., when chef Clayton Miller of 50 Eggs and Todd Erickson of … Read More

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Signs of Times: Jumbo’s Closes for now

Jumbo’s owner Bobby Flam plans to take some time off.

For more than five decades, Jumbo’s Restaurant on NW 7th Avenue has weathered literal and figurative storms – social change, economic turmoil, hurricanes, a community in flux. You need only look at the cobbled-up building for snapshots into the past and present: the back door, where until 1966 black diners were only allowed to order takeout. A sign hung under the order counter for the Obama Deal (two cheeseburgers, ketchup, sliced pickle, fries, 16-oz drink, $5.99). Years of local best-of awards and national recognition in 2008 as an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation. A proclamation overlooking the gritty parking lot: Jumbo’s Stands the Test of Time. Invisible scars are there too, like the memory of the tragic deaths of two men standing outside of the restaurant, mowed down by an out-of-control driver two summers ago.

Jumbo’s has been through all of it. This week, its doors will close.

“Wednesday’s the last day,” says owner Bobby Flam, with a shrug of patient resignation, looking around at barely a handful of customers. The business just isn’t there anymore. He’s selling the property, though not the name, to a developer.… Read More

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Enter family recipes in Jewish Museum contest

From the JMOF-FIU Collection: Kitchen in Home of Henri and Rose Levy at 1030 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, c.1927.

Got a great family recipe for pickles, rugelach, gefilte fish? Enter the Jewish Museum of Florida–FIU’s recipe contest celebrating the closing of their fun exhibition, Growers, Grocers, & Gefilte Fish. They’re looking for the best homemade pickles, gefilte fish and rugelach in Florida.

Celebrity judges chef Alan Susser, Danny Serfer of Blue Collar, Josh Marcus of Josh’s Deli, NBC 6 Anchor Adam Kuperstein, Linda Gassenheimer of WLRN and The Miami Herald and Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally A. Heyman will select the winner Sunday, Sept. 21 at 3pm. The event is hosted by documentary director Billy Corben.

Entries are open to home cooks (no caterers or professional chefs) over the age of 18 with a great, original recipe for homemade pickles, gefilte fish or rugelach.

To enter, fill out the official Jewish Museum of Florida–FIU Recipe Contest Entry Form. Include your contact information, list of ingredients and recipe instructions, and a short story about your recipe. Email your entry form with the Recipe Contest and Category in the subject line (ex: Recipe Contest-Pickles) to marketing@jewishmuseum.com or fax … Read More

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