a taste of Asia

Took my mom and gran to Fruit and Spice Park‘s 22nd Annual Asian Culture Festival yesterday and got to try all kinds of delicious treats and saw sights aplenty. This is one of my favorite Asian festivals in SoFla, but I wasn’t able to go during the last two years. It seems the park underwent a lot of landscaping during this time because it was even prettier than before and the event was even grander than I remember. During the years that I was able to go to the event, they generally had a heavy Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese presence, but this year they had even more representatives and stalls from the rest of Asia, including India, Iran, Korea, and other nations. The variety of food was fantastic and I only regret that I wasn’t able to convince my mom and gran to sample more treats. I was also very camera-happy during our walk through the park…

One of the neatest things I saw on display... a smoke bubble maker. Too cool!
The park's sunflowers were in fine form.
Some of the new additions at the park included a very refreshing fountain. The wind kept blowing droplets on us as we walked past.
Another pretty addition to the Festival.
Then there was the food... I had a delicious sampler of Bangladeshi vegetarian cuisine. Alas, it was too much for me, but I was a good daughter and shared.
As always, I am a sucker for bubble tea. This time, I had the Mango Boba.
I also threw caution (and diet) to the wind and enjoyed Gaby's Jackfruit Ice Cream. I really wish Gaby's distributed her wares further north...
I tried to spare my wallet, but couldn't resist getting another henna tattoo.
This is what it looks like after the top layer dried and peeled off... don't mind the mess on my bed.
One of the best freebies was a card with my name in Persian :). The writer even pronounced my name correctly (which is rare).

The drive was long and the day was hot, but I’m so glad I got to go this year and really look forward to going next year. Trips to Homestead are always exhausting but well worth the effort :).

Out and About: Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden

My mom used to tell me about this little Japanese garden by the beach where there was a huge Buddha statue. Like many of her stories, this was before my time which meant that it was a place I only ever heard of–one of the many near mythical places that she used to go to with my dad when they were courting.

Last year, the bchan and I went to Jungle Island and we noticed that the Miami-Japan garden was right next door to the park. We said we would go one day… and today we did! It was a Labor Day surprise that I wasn’t expecting, and it was a lovely treat during what proved to be a very hot day.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared to go on such an outing, so I left my camera at home and had to rely on my cell phone *for shame*. At least the picture quality is better than that produced by my old phone.

A Great Start

Last night, I watched PBS’s “A Breakfast Special” and it got me thinking about the most memorable breakfasts I’ve had. I LOVE breakfast, but I don’t really have a proper, full breakfast very often. My breakfasts typically involve a small bowl of almond milk and cereal with a side of jammy toast. Usually, full breakfasts are tied to special occasions in my home—birthdays and holidays, but especially my mom’s special Christmas breakfast with the works. Sometimes I’ll bake something up for breakfast and serve it with coffee. For the most part, I stick to the same tried and true breakfast/brunch places. These include South Miami’s Sunset Tavern & Deli Lane, where they have some of the best grits I’ve ever had and the ever delectable “Challah Egg Melt”. It’s a understated, relaxing place to have a fresh-air brunch on a Sunday. John Martin’s is another favorite, lots of fond birthday and lazy Sunday memories there. They make a great full Irish breakfast, and a mean Eggs Benedict and French toast croissant.

Then there’s the Indigo at the Riverside Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, where the brunch menu always changes and they bring your latte with a swizzle stick.

I also have some great memories of croissants at the Vie de France Bakery on Main Street in Miami Lakes, short stacks at the IHOP by the airport, and pancakes at the now dearly departed Joffrey’s. Most of these memories are associated with good company as much as great food… I think a great breakfast companion can make an Egg McMuffin seem like the most memorable breakfast. The last “best” breakfast I had was a short stack and eggs at the Original Pancake House in Doral on a lazy Saturday after an unsuccessful antiquing trip to the flea market. Delicious.

A Royal Affair

My b-chan found out that a special exhibit was going to be held this weekend at Aventura Mall in North Miami, so we made a date of it and went off to see the “Royal Crowns of the World” display. It was mostly a marketing ploy for Lakeview Home Accessories, purveyors of fine silverware and porcelain so far as I could tell. Most of the crowns were obvious reproductions, with a few exceptions. Lovely to look at, nevertheless.

These are a few of the ones I liked the most:

And because we were in the area, we took a quick trip to the Krispy Kreme factory to have some piping hot doughnuts. I haven’t been to this place since high school; it never changes. The doughnuts are still sinfully delicious.

Grand ol’ Opera

I went to my very first opera on Friday night 🙂 . I’ve been to musicals, plays, ballets, concerts, even magic shows, but never an opera. My b-chan surprised me with a pair of tickets on Valentine’s day and I was very excited to get a chance to finally see one live (thank you PBS for my introduction to opera). We went to see The Barber of Seville, which I have been wanting to see for years, ever since they built the opera house in Downtown Miami. It was a wonderfully whimsical production. The cast was incredible and the costumes made me want to dress-up in 18th century finery. The set was minimalistic, but featured an animated background that served as a comic backdrop for the story. A great first opera experience. Next year, it will be my goal to snag tickets to Carmen.

St. Sophia Greek Festival

I love festivals! I love Greek pastries! The St. Sophia Greek Festival (Miami) was made for indulging in all things rich and delicious. Lots of great food and a great atmosphere 🙂 .

I had to work and forgot to pack my camera, but my b-chan had his on hand and snapped some pictures of the food and festivities.

Greek pastries

Even more Greek pastries

Dancing at the Greek Festival

it all started with Rockband…

I’ve been in a happy, stable relationship since January. My b-chan loves to explore,  so I’ve gotten to visit lots of new places and attend great events. I’ve probably been to more places this year than I have in the last five, so I’m going to try to create a record of all the places I’ve visited. And, yes, it all started with an invite to play Rockband.

To see my on-going list… Continue reading “it all started with Rockband…”