It’s festival season

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Ocean Drive, South Beach

Art season has started in Miami. For the next few months there are lots of festivals and art shows. I attended two this weekend. Two old ones, they have both been around for years.

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A scene on Ocean Drive, South Beach.

Today I was in South Beach for the Art Deco Festival and yesterday we went to the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables. That festival is close to home, it’s on the University of Miami campus. I’ve been going to both festivals since I’m a kid. Yes, they’ve been around that long. It’s also Regatta season for the next six months, but I don’t really deal with that. I live on the water, but I’m not much of a boater.

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Vintage cars lined Ocean Drive for Art Deco.

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I know a lot of the artists from over the years and from the neighborhood. They tend to go from festival to festival and so do I, so I guess I’ll see a lot of them this coming winter.

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Eating my way through.

My favorite thing is to eat my way through the festivals. I love festival food and other great food and drinks. One of the festivals in February has an English tea room and for all three days of that festival I have tea and scones with friends. Whoever is around, I drag over with me and everyone enjoys that – English tea with scones with jelly and clotted cream! I go for three days because the festival is right in my neighborhood and it’s easy to just stay put for the weekend rather than deal with the traffic in and out of town. I’ll post pictures of that next month.

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How can you pass up this paella?

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Beaux Arts on the UM Campus

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Living in the Roaring ’20s

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Let’s bring back the newsies caps, but not the smoking.

Some of us were talking and we have a feeling that a lot of the 1920s will come back in the 2020s. I’m talking about maybe fashions and sayings and things like that. Maybe even  reprisal of silent films as a goof. It may all start as a goof.

I have so many of those newsboy/newsies caps, but I never wear them. Possibly some guys may start wearing them as a goof and they’ll catch on and become the fashion. Maybe sayings will come back like, “horse feathers,” and “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” and “four-flusher.” You can see a full list here.

Other fashion statements of the 1920s were beaded dresses, argyle socks, Cloche hats, art deco and flapper styles. Maybe guys will slick back their hair and wear straw hats.

Podcasts are sort of like old time radio, aren’t they? And maybe sepia toned photos could be a common thing on Instagram. And what about cars, people might drive more restored cars around as a common thing – Model T’s, Model A’s, The Hobnocker, Bugatti, etc.

Pez was invented in the 1920s and so was Pineapple upside down cake and Kool-Aid and sliced bread! Water skiing was invented and the dial telephone,  and the jukebox and sunglasses! And of course newspapers were at an all time high in circulation, every city had their fair share. And it was the Gatsby and the Charleston dance era. Who knows, even if just one or two things came back for a bit, it would be interesting.

I never liked when the years changed or the decades passed. I don’t know why, I guess I didn’t like the passage of time. But for some reason, I’m all into the 2020s. I’m looking forward to them.

Pumpkin and apple picking in the Hudson Valley

Earlier this month, I think on October 5, a couple of my cousins and I drove upstate from New York City. We went to Poughkeepsie and Highland, which are on either side of the Hudson River. It was the 10th anniversary of the Walkway Over the Hudson. It was originally a train bridge during World War II and 10 years ago, it was turned into a walking bridge, which spans the Hudson River and connects Highland and Poughkeepsie. The walkway is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge.

It’s an incredible walk, the walk itself, but I mean the view. We had hoped to see fall leaves, which I believe are red and yellow now, but October 5 it was still warm and the leaves hadn’t turned yet. But it was a beautiful day. So nice, so peaceful and it’s gorgeous up there.

We had lunch at a place on the river, drove over the other bridge, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, which takes car traffic, to get there.

The best part, or maybe just as great as the walkway was a stop at DuBois Farms, where we went pumpkin and apple picking. It’s a real farm with animals and so many other features like prepared food and drinks, weekend BBQ’s, a tavern on site and so much more – so beautiful, check them out here: duboisfarms.com.

This was the same week as NY Comic Con, so we went from that hectic scene, to the serene scene of the Hudson Valley. A perfect fall week.

NY Starbucks are a sitcom onto themselves

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There’s always something going on at Starbucks in New York. I guess it’s the same in Miami, at my Miami location, which is home, everyone knows everyone else, and sometimes there is one big conversation going on in the whole store, you know, sort of like an Andy Griffith episode. In New York it’s different, there are the regulars, but so many tourists pass through and there are so many stories.

It’s almost as if any Starbucks in New York could be a sitcom, or a comic strip!

The other night I went to Starbucks which is across the street from where I’m staying and I ended up drinking two wrong coffees! Why? Because there were three Toms there at the same time! There were only a handful of people there, so there weren’t many people to get confused with, but apparently there were three of us!

I ordered on the app as I usually do, I walked in and heard my name called so I took the coffee, but after I tasted it, it didn’t taste right, so they gave me another coffee named Tom; still wrong. Two Tom coffees, both wrong. I told the girl behind the counter what I had ordered – a cafe mocha with extra whipped cream, and she said, oh, this is for another Tom.

I said, “Another Tom? There are three Tom’s here ordering at this very moment?” She said, “Yes, we have a lot of Tom’s here tonight!”

This morning I went across the street for breakfast. I usually go to Pret A Manger every morning and get the same thing – coffee or green tea and oatmeal. But I ended up in Starbucks. And it was a madhouse, very crowded and crazy. I didn’t use the app because I don’t usually order green tea and oatmeal on the app so I thought it would be faster to order at the register rather than look for the items on the app. But it was quite confusing. There were three registers open with people yelling in orders from every direction.

I ordered and the lady handed me my tea. I guess I looked confused, but I was just wondering who was going to hand me the oatmeal. I must have really looked confused because a guy next to me waiting for his order said, “The milk and sugar is over there,” and he pointed behind us. I smiled and tapped him on the shoulder, you know, friendly-like, and I said, “I know, I’ve been here before,” meaning Starbucks, any Starbucks. He got a bit embarrassed and laughed but I explained to him I was just waiting for the oatmeal. It was a nice funny experience early in the morning.

I was handed my oatmeal, said goodbye to they guy who was still waiting, and left.

Eating healthy

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I thought I was a healthy eater but guess not. I ran into a friend at Publix the other day. I found it interesting that I always see her at the same area in Publix. I run into her often and she’s always at the produce section. She told me because that’s the only area she shops in, the produce area, she doesn’t buy any prepared food, which I do. She took one look at my shopping cart and threw a fit. I had things that I thought were healthy, like a frozen dinner that was chicken and broccoli, but she told me it had too much sodium, it did – 1050 milligrams (mg) ! I don’t buy canned soup because it has 750 mg of sodium, and this “healthy meal” had over 1000 mg!

I ended up putting so much of the food I had in the cart back and after a tour around the produce section with my friend, I ended up with Kiwi, watermelon, watercress, spinach, tuna, lemons, strawberries, peppers, apples (which I hate) you know, everything green and red, nothing with sugar or salt and I felt so much better for it. I do honestly try to eat vegetarian if I can but I guess I was lax in reading all of the labels. People in the store were laughing as they watched us go around. I felt so foolish because I really do think I’m eating healthy and I guess I eat healthier than most people, but I had a lot to learn.

I almost ended up with another friend for breakfast that morning at a place we call the Dirty Deli, which serves all greasy diner food. Glad I didn’t go that day.

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But I did end up at a festival in town later in the day and I cheated. I had a cheeseburger and then as I was walking down the street I saw these great doughnuts by The Salty Donut which is this great place in Miami. They had a promotion going on – $1.00 per doughnut, which is quite cheap for them. So I had one, as you can see here.

I’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow, I have all that green and red produce I bought, so I’ll eat it, which I do love. Doughnuts and burgers in moderation.

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Me eating a tiramisu doughnut. It was only $1.00! 

Enjoying the Beaux Arts Festival

The Beaux Arts Festival is in town this weekend. Starting in January a whole bunch of art festivals take over the South Florida area. It’s a lot of the same artists that make the circuit and go from show to show, so there is not much new art to see, but it’s fun to be out and for my friends and me it’s a lot about the food.

The Beaux Arts Festival is a yearly event benefit for the Lowe Art Museum on the University of Miami campus. This is

the 67th year.

Annabel Langbein; natural New Zealand cooking

annabel“No matter how humble the food, people are always so happy to be cooked for.”

Those are the words of Annabel Langbein, a cook and food writer from New Zealand.

On Saturday mornings, I watch her tv show on one of our PBS channels. She cooks from her kitchen from her cabin in the woods, on a lake, in New Zealand on “Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook,” which only has a few episodes – three seasons, 13 episodes per season. Anabel cooks off the land, she grows most of her own crops and she heads out to local farms for other sources of food.

I don’t cook, I barely like to boil water, but I enjoy cooking shows, I find them very relaxing. Put that together with Annabel’s New Zealand accent, probably my most favorite accent in the world, and it’s enjoyable, especially when she goes out to forage for food in the New Zealand country side and mountains. The scenery is so beautiful.

At the end of each episode, she brings a bunch of friends together and they eat out on teh deck of the cabin, they eat what she prepared throughout that episode. The people are mostly those who were in the episode earlier – maybe a wine maker or a farmer or a helicopter pilot who took her up over the mountains or maybe an apple orchard owner where she picked apples for that meal’s dessert earlier in the day.

She drives an old yellow truck and prepares meals out in the wild where she is spending time, like at the apple orchard or up in the mountains.

Anabel has an interesting history, she started out as a hippy in the 1970s, having left home at age 16 and lived in the wilderness, cooking over open fires, which eventually brought her to her cooking life.