Hidden Gem in Coconut Grove

Last Sunday, I went to try this bakery place in Coral Gables that was serving brunch but was completely disappointed. I am not going to mention them but if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (Both @InBetweenPics) you would know where I’m talking about. Since I was in the area, I decided to go to Coconut Grove to take some pictures and to check out what good restaurants were around. To my surprise, I found this park sort of hidden and unexpected, I literally just wondered in. Well maybe it’s well known and I just wasn’t aware of it. The Bernacle Park was a historic house built in 1892. It was so relaxing, I sat on the bench for a while just admiring the view. There was a small tour going on but it was a small group of people and doesn’t really disturb you if you are not interested.

If you are looking for something relaxing this is the perfect place.

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Just A Friday

This last Friday I went to the first Jazz & Blues festival. They could have done a better job organizing it and getting more restaurants to participate.  The turn out could have been better. They decided to do it on the same Friday as the Miami Critical Mass (Thousands of people riding their bicycle on a different route every last Friday of the month) and Justin Bieber concert. It wasn’t too bad but I had average hope for this and they were not met. Hopefully next time will be better. But what I did get out of this event, I found some new places I will be checking out soon. There was this jazz place called Avenue D Jazz and & Blue Lounge. Apparently the owner of this place is the music composer for Soprano and Dexter (I saw the Emmy trophies on the display cabinet) and luckily when I was walking around, he was there. You will most likely see him there and I will quote him, he is “the guy that looks like the janitor” – I think this is a new place but I might be wrong.

The other thing I wanted to talk about it’s the Miami Critical Mass. I want to do it badly. But my excuse is, I don’t have a bike. I want to get a nice bike but $300 for a bike seems a little bit steep for me when I’m deciding to get another lens for the camera. I will probably rent one and see how it goes. I am determined to do it in February. If you are interested check out their website. It’s every last Friday of the moth.

 

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A Stroll in Downtown Miami

Yesterday was a weird day. I tried going to three different restaurants for brunch and they were either sold out on their egg benedicts (I’m partially to blame, I got up late), or they had to close because something happened in their kitchen, or they didn’t open?! I was really looking forward for the first one since I wanted to review it for my other blog. At the end, I gave up and ate at the restaurant next to the last one I tried.  It was nothing out this world but their natural juice was good. I am a big fan of fresh juice. After that, I took the mover back home and noticed two events going on at the Bayfront Park. One was a wellness fair (it was more drinking and music than wellness) and the second one was an art fair on a boat. Yes, you heard right. I really wanted to go to the art fair, until I realized the boat was filled with retired people most likely confusing the art boat with a casino boat. At the end I just walked back home and snapped some pictures.

If you like my pics you can follow me on twitter or Twitter both are @InBetweenPics In between Pictures was too long

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A Day in Miami

Yesterday I did what I’ve been avoiding ever since I moved to Miami: The Rich and Famous house boat tour. For my own surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I had the night view of downtown and also a chance to snap some pictures. Before that, I had enough time to take some more pictures around Bayside. It was a very touristy experience that I don’t think I would be repeating any time soon. This is the kind of place I would show someone only if they beg me to but definitely not something I will take people to. It’s nice but I would not appreciate it if someone showed me these kinds of places. Ultra touristy.

Bayside Bayside 2 Downtown Night View

On a different note, the same day I discovered this little bar in downtown called The Corner. I loved the place. I really liked their lay back atmosphere and crowd. Not the typical Miami, or South Beach crowd or even Space crowd even though it was right next to it. (For you who don’t know, Space it’s a 3 levels club famous for its terrace after parties but famous in a bad way. My word of advice: STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE.) They have a great beer selection and their drinks were not bad at all. Didn’t get to try their food but I will next time. The best thing about this place is: they open until 5am on Sundays! It made me feel like I was in a real city. I finally found a place that doesn’t close before 11pm.

Full disclosure: This is a hipster’s bar. It even has its own cat. Ha!

Cat Bar The Corner

Miami From Two Different Perspectives

Miami

I was reading the Huffington Post when I came across these two articles on Miami from two very different perspectives: A New Yorker writer that relocated to Miami and an Indie record business owner born and raised in Miami. I found them very interesting mainly because I share similar thoughts on Miami as both of them. I was born and raised in one country, moved to Miami and lived here for more than 5 years, also lived two years in LA and six months in Shanghai. I can say my point of view it’s a mix of both of them.

I have previously mentioned how this city has grown the last couple of years and I would love to see a bigger progress. But for that we need more talented, young, hip, crowd in Miami! If you meet these qualities, please move to Miami ASAP.

My Favorite part from the New Yorker:

Why do you hate Miami?
I hate Miami for all its potential. It has everything: gorgeous beaches, rich people, diverse people, lots of immigrants from all over, cheap cool places to live, perfect weather, an abandoned warehouse district… Miami could so easily become the new Berlin. But it’s not going to happen–yet.

Even that terrible man Sam Zell (blech) said he had to relocate his businesses out of South Florida because he couldn’t retain talent here. Right now, there’s very little business opportunity apart from where there is massive opportunity: banking, real estate, tourism, various and sometimes shady immigration-related businesses.

One huge problem with Miami’s development is that the smart kids either stay home and live with their parents now or they get the heck out of town. There can’t be a cool culture scene without young people living independently. They have to make neighborhoods.

In ten or twenty years, Miami might easily be the greatest, most interesting city on earth. All the ingredients are here! But then, fairly shortly after that, in the medium-term view, it’ll probably be under 3 feet of water, so it all might be too late.

You can read the whole article here

From the local:

Biggest misconception about Miami’s local music scene?
That it doesn’t exist, that it’s only Gloria Estefan, Tiesto and Rick Ross. For seven years now we’ve been living proof that that could not be further from the truth. We have amazing bands, scenes, festivals and a really unique camaraderie down here. Miami also has every other possible extrapolation of arts and culture, and a lot of it all blends into each other.

You can read the whole article here

Micro Theater – A New Form of Art

koubek center

Koubek Center – Photo Courtesy of Koubek Center

After years living in Miami, I have finally seen a major swift on what Miami really represents: A cultural hob that it’s slowly taking shape. A far cry from its spring break parties, electronic music festivals, and famed clubs. It still is but, and a big but, the cultural events has weighted heavier in the last couple of years. The reason why I say all these, it’s because I am very surprised that something so culturally innovative that just started a couple of years ago in Spain, is gaining so much support here in Miami: Microtreatro or Microtheater how it would be translated. I have mentioned it before but didn’t really went into details.

Microteatro started in Madrid in 2009 and consist of very short plays of 15 mins or so in a small room for around 15 people. The rooms are usually small and all black with some props. So how it works: there are several plays going on simultaneously and after each, you go to the common area where you wait for the next play and most of the time end up talking about it with other people. You can select which play to watch and pay for those only.

The common areas usually have food and drinks for you to enjoy while you wait or you can just hang out. It’s a small and cozy environment where they encourage discussion. Each play cost $5 at the Centro Cultural Español.

My first experience, I went to see a play written and directed by my friend. It was a bad idea to start with that one. Keep in mind this is a play where no more than 15 people are watching at a time, you are up close, and in a very small room. The play was about Auschwitz. Usually, plays starts once you are in the room but not this one. They started building up the tension from the line and all the way into the room. I still have the cold words echoing in my head. I have watched several documentaries about WWII, concentration camps, most of the related movies, wrote several essays on Auschwitz, I even took a holocaust class in college. So it’s not like it was a complete surprise. I knew how it was and yet I was shocked. The play was well written and the actors were amazing, but the claustrophobic feeling of the small room added an extra layer.

This is not a play for the faint hearted. The second time I saw this play, at the book fair, I was more interested in the spectators’ reaction. I felt bad for anold guy that kept looking at the floor because he was too afraid to make eye contact with one of the actors. It was interesting to see how other people reacted to the play.

Every month there are new theme and new plays. They have two different schedule

Fri – Sat 7 – 11 pm Sun 7 – 10 pm Prime Time

Fri – Sat 11 – 1 am  Golfa.

Plays are usually in Spanish but they also have in English on  Wed to Thur 8 to 11 pm.

micro

October – November Theme: Because I get scared

Good Ramen in Miami – A Paradox

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Yesterday was one of those days where you go eat at a Japanese restaurant and you have one too many drinks and then the chef gives you some free, fresh, homemade ramen, and then gives you some more drinks. Does it happen to you often? No? Maybe? OK maybe not but it was definitely one of those nights where you don’t know where to go for dinner and end up in a restaurant you have never been to and it completely surprises you. So that’s what happened. I have been craving ramen so badly since I came back from LA. I used to have ramen every other week in different japanese places all over LA. Coming back, I missed the food and my regular doses of ramen. This place was a complete surprise: first the decoration it’s super cute and very Japanese classic style meet modern. Second, the food was actually pretty good! I have very high standards for food and for me, no Japanese restaurant in Miami has come remotely close to good. So good Japanese Ramen in Miami, it’s a paradox. But this place was good and it deserved a post on my blog. The soup base was really thick – which it’s a indication that it has been cooking for a while and we mean a while. The ramen was homemade, which I could tell as soon as I put it in my mouth. The pork belly was very tasty and tender. Please don’t drool all over your device. But it was as good as it gets. Does it compare to LA? yes, Does it beat some of the ramen I tried in LA? maybe. I will leave this one up for debate. If you have tried ramen in LA, NY, or even Japan, let me know what you think. I am really interested to know.

After I finished my ramen, I asked for the chef to congratulate him and to thank him for the delicious food. Which, I usually don’t do, actually, never do. We started talking about how much I love ramen and he was kind enough to offer me some ramen to take home! – I wanted the soup too but I was happy to take just the ramen. Now I have to figure out how to make soup tasty enough for this ramen!

Their Yelp Review – I stopped trusting Yelp’s reviews but doesn’t hurt to check it out once in a while.

Japanese classic style meet modern

Japanese classic style meet modern

Delicious ramen

Delicious ramen

Fresh homemade ramen

Fresh homemade ramen

Empty Sake Bottles

Empty Sake Bottles

Pork belly

Pork belly

From the outside

From the outside

Judging a book by its cover

A couple of weeks ago, was the Miami International Book Fair. It was a week long event culminating with three days of street fair with food, music, micro theater (I will get into details on this one later on), lots of free books signed by authors, and great discount.  I have to admit, I love books. I even created a book section on this blog (although it should be renamed to: books I buy but never “have time” to read) Going through all the different genres, authors, and readers, was refreshing from the usual Miami events.

There were several things noteworthy for me at the book fair. One was the McSweeney’s booth which is an independent publishing company based in San Francisco. They had the most creative designs on their books covers and magazines. When I spotted the booth, I knew whatever it was, it was from California. I have to confess, I did what most readers try to avoid doing: judge a book by its cover. It was impossible not to spot the unique design of the book’s cover and how beautiful it looked standing there in all its greatness. PLUS it was half price! How can I say no to that? I said to myself, worse case scenario, it will make a great coffee table book. It turned out (of course I went straight to Amazon to check the reviews) it had really good reviews. Days later, I find the book on the “10 Best Books of 2012” list on the New York Times. I have heard about the writer before but as a nonfiction reader, didn’t pay much attention. Maybe after I read the book, I will let you know if the cover match the content. So far, I am happy.

The second thing, and I will probably talk more about it on another post, it’s the Micro Theater. It’s a concept that started in Spain but it’s gaining popularity in Miami. The plays are usually presented at the Koubek Center but it was brought to the fair. Although, the actors had to work with whatever they could (plays are usually presented in a small room but instead they were presented inside a container – imagine the heat!) it was still a different and great experience. Not many people are familiar with the Micro Theater concept but rest assure it’s a different and sometimes intense experience. I will get into more details later on but for this post, this will do.

I can’t believe I just wrote a whole post about a book’s cover. But tell me, isn’t this cover genuinely creative and beautiful?

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Art Basel part II

Another post about Miami? This blog must be about Miami! NOT. Ok so I have been posting a lot about Miami but lately with all the events going on, I must. This last week was all about art, events, and Art Basel. Out of all the events, places, and everything art related, I went to AD Oasis. In my opinion, it was a great place to hang out but artsy? No. Their idea of Art Basel was three art pieces hanging in the lounge area. But what took me by surprise, taking this a bit out of context, was their take on Cuban sandwich. I had to say, it was the best Cuban sandwich I had in my life. The pork was roasted to perfection. Music was good but I had to say my favorite DJ through out the entire event was Paul Sevigny. Mia Moretti was great as well. Saturday was Art walk (every second Saturday of the month) and it was packed as always. Needless to say, parking was a nightmare. I don’t usually go every month, simply because they don’t switch art too often and it gets repetitive. This Saturday was better than usual with all the street art and artist from all over the country. Overall, it was a great week to be in Miami.

Jordi Molla

Jordi Molla

AD Oasis by Night - Carrera Event

AD Oasis by Night – Carrera Event

AD Oasis by Day

AD Oasis by Day

Paul Sevigny

Paul Sevigny

Raleigh Hotel

Raleigh Hotel

Mia  Moretti

Mia Moretti

Artsy Miami

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Art Basel Miami Beach Photo

There are several events that just passed and others upcoming events that I would like to cover. Lets do one at a time. The most eminent event and by now, if you live in Miami and you don’t know anything about this event, you my friend, need to go out more and read some news. So, the most eminent event: Miami Art Basel. I am actually very excited for this event. The main reason is, not only is the convention going in the convention center, there is also events all over South Beach, Downtown, and in Art District going on as well. It’s like Miami decided to be the most artsy city in the US for three days by gathering artists from around the world in one spot. Additionally, the art video section is really neat (picture for reference if you haven’t noticed yet). Art videos are screened in the SoundScape Park, on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the New World Center. I just hope it doesn’t rain.  Art works by more than 2000 artist, certainly can’t miss that.

*Photo not by me