Dennis Redgrave’s Miami vacation was ruined when the Michigan City resident mistook a cheek-kiss from his cousin’s Venezuelan fiancé as a sign of sexual interest.
Twas Nochebuena in Miami and all through la casa
sounds of dominoes echoed and songs of azucar;
Papa picked up the lechon from west Hialeah
that Abuelo helped kill and put in Caja China;
Cousins and friends and strangers were gathered
and all were disturbed when they heard a loud clatter;
A fight had broke out between two cousins named Jorge,
over a woman named Mary, a recent divorcée;
“I called her, she’s mine!” said Jorge the realtor
“But I saw her first!” said his cousin (also a realtor);
The fight ended quickly over cups of coquito,
and soon we all danced and sang ‘Mi Burrito’;
Glasses were raised and bottles uncorked,
and we all screamed with glee as they cut through the pork;
“This is so delicious! A feast for the season!”,
said all at the table except Vera the vegan;
The tias helped clean while the tios just sat,
our abuelos told stories, we’re so thankful for that;
So we sat through the night and enjoyed their old tales,
of a life long ago, long before came Fidel;
But our eyes soon grew weary and our stomachs grew piqued,
so we said our goodnights and all kissed on the cheek;
Then we all left the house with leftovers and gifts,
some insisting they drive, some in Ubers or Lyfts;
What a great Nochebuena, a thought so sincere,
one that will never be topped, unless Raul dies next year.
Merry Christmas From the Plantain
The Plantain has confirmed that Michigan tourists Dennis and Julia Redgrave are safe and have been returned to their hotel after a day of attending the Calle Ocho Festival in Little Havana.
The couple was in South Florida for the weekend and had planned to explore Miami before leaving for a cruise to Haiti, St. Barts, and the Bahamas on Monday. “We looked up things to do in Miami and thought the Calle Ocho Festival looked real fun,” said Dennis. “The only problem is the website didn’t say what street it was on!”
The Michiganders spent most of the morning trying to find the festival, a task that took longer than anticipated after Dennis asked several locals for directions and was either just shrugged at or purposefully given incorrect directions. After several hours, and an inadvertent trip to Hialeah, the couple reached Eighth Street and even found parking after they paid a few children $40 to park in what they said was their parents’ lawn.
After several minutes of trying on hats, awkwardly dancing to La Vida Es Un Carnaval, and avoiding plumes of cigar smoke from very short men, the couple became separated from each other after Dennis was lured into what he thought was a friendly domino game and Julia accidentally enrolled herself in the festival’s croquette eating competition.
“I thought it would be fun, but I guess the competitive spirit got the best of me,” said Julia, a type 2-diabetic who became briefly comatose after devouring 91 ham croquettes in 8 minutes to take home the women’s eating title. As she sat unconscious on the floor, her husband was losing the keys to his rental car, several thousand dollars in traveler’s checks, and the new hat he just bought to a group of 80-year-old domino sharks.
After awakening from her stupor to find that her shoes had been stolen, a barefooted Julia tracked down Dennis and traded the $30 Valsan gift certificate she won for eating over 16,000 calories worth of croquettes to an on-duty cop in exchange for him calling an ambulance to take the occasionally still convulsing woman to the hospital for observation.
After several hours of observation, Ms. Redgrave was released. The 64-year-old retiree said she and her husband have canceled their cruise and plan to return to Michigan as soon as possible for some much-needed rest.
“She lucky to be alive,” said Julia’s physician Dr. Norman Babo. “It isn’t safe for a Midwesterner to eat that many croquetas. Or anyone, for that matter.”
Wearing a light jacket and a really cute knitted beanie she’s had since high school, Jessica Rodriguez stepped out of her Downtown Miami office, took a deep breath of the cool air, and for a moment was able to put the fact that the world was so damn awful outside of her mind. “The weather is so nice today,” said the young architect to herself just before an elderly man screamed at the second-generation Cuban-American to go back to Mexico.
Brushing off the vituperative stranger, Ms. Rodriguez walked a few blocks to her favorite local cafe for a hot chocolate, but it had closed down. “Commercial rent increases really do make it difficult for mom and pop stores to stick around,” she thought to herself before remembering the wonderful weather. There was an Au Ban Pan several blocks away so she headed there instead.
“One soy hot chocolate, please”, said a smiling Jessica to a 35-year-old barista with a nose ring who rang her up but otherwise refused to acknowledge her existence. Undeterred, Jessica swiped her card and flashed the barista a kind smile. “Yo, you need to insert the chip,” said the barista curtly in response. “Oh, of course,” Jessica responded as she inserted the chip. After she paid she gave the barista a $2 tip. “He needs it more than me,” she thought to herself and then waited 15 minutes for her drink to arrive.
As she walked back into the pleasant outdoor breeze, Jessica sipped her hot chocolate and realized it was not made with soy after all. She briefly considered asking for a new cup, but thought better of it because diarrhea can be nice sometimes and she really didn’t want to have another rude interaction with that barista. The hot chocolate was delicious though.
Jessica enjoyed the several block walk to the Miami-Dade County Book Fair. Along the way she almost got hit by a car only twice and was very happy to have had her headphones in so she could politely ignore the many homeless people who begged her for money. Pretending not to hear or see them, she saw one in an ill-fitting military uniform, which she figured must be fake. “Our government wouldn’t let real veterans live on the street,” she thought. Another had literally no nose and held a sign identifying himself as “Cancer Bob.” “Well, at least those people get to be outside on this gorgeous day,” she told herself as she tucked her purse under her arm and looked down at the sidewalk as she passed Cancer Bob.
When she arrived at the Book Fair, Jessica admired the vendors selling old copies of books and perused them knowing full well she would not buy any. She hadn’t actually read a full book since high school, and even then it was just the Cliff’s Notes of Brave New World.
She passed by a WLRN booth and was asked if she would be interviewed. She excitedly agreed and was asked what her favorite book was. “Brave New World,” she said trying to recall the name of the main character, which she couldn’t. “And why is it your favorite book?” asked the interviewer, to which Jessica nervously replied, “It just really was ahead of its time and is super inspiring” before adding “I do have to get going, though. Thanks! Bye!”
Walking through the fair, she then saw David and Gail riffling through a pile of old books at the Booklegger tent. “OMG! So good to see you!” she said to her friends, who she didn’t actually know too well or particularly like.
“Isn’t the weather just amazing?” she asked.
“Yeah, it’s nice. I guess. Did you hear the Trump is getting impeached?” said David.
“Oh yeah, I saw something about that. That’s bad, right?” sighed Jessica.
“Are you kidding? He was conspiring with Ukraine for his own domestic political agenda,” said David.
“It’s not like Biden wasn’t also using Ukraine to advance his interests. What about Burisma?” said Gail.
“Yeah, totally. Anyway, I love the Book Fair, I just was interviewed about my favorite book: Brave New World. It was pretty cool,” said Jessica, pivoting the conversation to a more pleasant topic.
“That book is crap,” said Gail, herself changing subjects to a backed drain pipe down the block that was sputtering sewer water into the street. “It’s going to be a Brave New World in a few years when this whole shithole is underwater,” she said and she lit up an American Spirit. “Climate change is a real problem. It’s why the housing market down here is crashing again. It wouldn’t be surprising if we had another recession I mean, he picked a climate change denier to lead the EPA,” said Gail as she flicked her cigarette into the street. “This is why we need to elect Tulsi Gabbard.”
“Yeah, anyway, I got to get going,” said Jessica, her stomach beginning to rumble from the whole-milk hot chocolate.
Jogging desperately toward a McDonald’s to use a bathroom, she was told by another old man to get out of the Country. When she finally made it to the McDonald’s it was filled with dozens of black teenagers. “They really shouldn’t be eating this crap,” she told herself as she limped toward the bathroom. There were three teenage girls waiting in line ahead of her, each casually staring at their phone and occasionally taking Snaps and playing with the filters.
It took about 10 minutes for the girls ahead of her to cycle through. When she finally arrived inside the bathroom and depants she pulled out her phone so as to occupy her mind during the act. “Fuck, only 4% battery,” she said to herself but nevertheless started to scroll through her Facebook page.
After several minutes a teenage girl started drumming on the door for her to finish, but she wasn’t close. As she scrolled through her newsfeed she saw story after story about what was going on with the Trump administration and the people he was picking to help run the Country.
The drumming on the door got louder.
“Hey, you taking a shit in there or something? I gotta pee, bitch,” laughed a young voice from outside.
As Jessica strained to finish, she read several posts about the god awful state of the world, the impeachment hearing, Taylor Swift’s feud with Scooter Braun, mass shootings, and Walter Mercado’s death.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” she said to herself, farting. This is supposed to be a happy time of year. The weather is finally nice,” she said to herself when her phone ran out of battery.
As she sat there in silence, with no distraction, she could hear the girl outside the door making fun of her. “She’s been in there forever. Someone better call the health inspector.”
As she finally finished she wiped and stood up to walk outside. The sink in the bathroom was broken. Typical.
Jessica left the bathroom and passed the group of snickering teenagers.
“Ain’t she going to even wash her hands, damn!” said one to her friends.
As she walked out of the McDonald’s she recoiled from the smell of oily fries and tried to once again put all of the awful things she had been hearing and reading about out of her mind
“Is the world really this bad,” she asked herself. As she stepped outside the nice breeze once again smacked her. “No, it really isn’t that bad,” she thought, readjusted her knitted beanie, and said out loud, “I love Miami in the Winter.”
It was 27 years ago this week that Hurricane Andrew touched down in South Florida, leaving a wake of destruction in his path that impacted a generation of South Floridians. “Andrew was one of the most important moments in South Florida’s history,” said your friend’s mother unsolicited on Facebook.
But 27 years later, Andrew has retreated from the spotlight and is no longer the powerful storm of his youth. Now, the embattled gale finds himself in a tropical depression after years of missed opportunities and poor decisions.
In an exclusive interview with the Plantain, Hurricane Andrew detailed his journey from a once great windstorm, heralded by many as the “Storm of the Century”, to an unemployed and highly disorganized storm system living back in his childhood bedroom.
“After I hit it big in Miami in 1992, I decided to test my luck and move in a north-westerly direction toward Louisianna with the ultimate forecast of reaching New York,” said Andrew. “I never came close.”
“Andrew makes a mess out of everything in his path,” said his father, Dr. Lawrence Appelbaum. “I told him he would never make it to New York. But he went anyway and ended up calling me and his mother a few days later to pick him up from Tennessee. When we arrived he was covered in blow and in hysterics. He’s been living here ever since.”
Hurricane Andrew says he is uninterested in following his father’s career in orthopedics or pursuing any career for that matter. “It’s not like I can just go and get a normal job at CVS or something. I’m Hurricane Andrew, everyone knows that. It would be humiliating if somebody saw me bagging groceries or working in a hospital or something,” said the storm. “I just need to focus on myself a little more before I’m ready to make a comeback and move out.”
Although he maintains he is not prepared to join the workforce, Hurricane Andrew acknowledged the strain that his lifestyle has put on his relationship with his father. “We’ve grown pretty distant, sure, but I know he loves me. I guess I just wish I felt he loved me for something besides just being his son.”
When asked to respond, Dr. Appelbaum was dismissive of his son’s concerns, noting the large amounts of money he has spent on him over the last two decades and suggesting that his son earn his love and respect by working toward building a future for himself.”He was a category 5! A 5! Now what is he? He’s nothing.”
“Andrew has no ambition. None whatsoever,” continued his father. “Not like his sister Sandy, who made landfall in NY where she was accepted to Julliard to study dance. Now she’s married to a congressional staffer from Far Rockaway,” said Dr. Appelbaum with aplomb. “They wrote about their engagement in the New York Times!” he gushed.
“I know some will look at me and think I’ve wasted a good opportunity,” said Hurricane Andrew. “Maybe I have. But I’m going to get back on my feet. I know it.”
When asked where he saw himself in the future, the once great storm smirked to himself before answering: “Anywhere the wind blows.”
In the suburbs of Coconut Grove, 17-year-old Ethan Dwyer is contemplating life on the cusp of adulthood and wondering if there is more to it than one day being identified as “Florida Man.”
A pejorative distinction in American society, the term “Florida Man” has become synonymous with the type of preternaturally bizarre behavior displayed by the State’s most inept, and often highest, residents.
“I just don’t know if this is something I want for my life,” said Ethan after coming to the horrifying realization while sitting in his AP Philosophy class that soon, he too, would be a “Florida Man.”
But the decision is not an easy one, Ethan admits. “I’ll be the first to concede that Florida is kind of gross, but it is still home and will always be part of me. I would miss it if I left.”
Ethan’s father, Dr. Harold P. Dwyer, is insistent that his son leave the state after he graduates high-school.
“The last thing I want for my son is for him to have to call himself a Floridian,” Dr. Dwyer said while thumbing through the latest copy of The National Review. “Nothing but meth heads, snake people, and hurricanes around here,” said the Boston native who moved his family to Florida 5-years ago and has watched with horror as Ethan started to adopt what Dr. Dwyer considers to be “Floridian traits.”
“When we first moved from Massachusetts, Ethan was a perfectly normal boy. But being exposed to over 5-years of Florida rubs off on a kid,” said Dr. Dwyer with remorse. “At first I ignored Ethan’s insistence on wearing cargo shorts and his affinity toward rap-metal, but when he asked us to buy him a snake I knew he was in real danger of becoming a “Florida Man”. He needs to get out before its too late.”
“I guess I’ll buy some skinny jeans and try to move somewhere with a lot of culture like Brooklyn or Portland,” Ethan said while staring dejectedly at his newsfeed. “Maybe then I’ll be the type of cultured intellectual my dad wants me to be.”
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Antoine Jackson of Liberty City wonders if there is more to his existence than hoping that the police never confront him or his loved ones about anything ever.
A report by me, looking around Ceviche 105 right now, confirms that 97% of white diners in Peruvian restaurants will order the Lomo Saltado.”Easy access to foreign flavors is just one of the reasons why I love Miami,” said 33-year-old architect David Johnson as he confidently ordered his meal of steak, french fries and rice after feigning interest in the restaurant’s many authentic Peruvian specials.
“Oh, I had octopus last night,” he lied to the waitress. “I’ll have the lomo saltado, por favor.”
The Plantain spoke to Javier Ortiz-Saperstein-Smith, a recently laid off employee with Miami-Dade County’s economic development office, who confirmed that together with Cuban shredded beef staple Vaca Frita, the Lomo Saltado make up roughly 65% of Miami-Dade County’s total hospitality revenue.
“White guys really love beef, rice, and french fries,” said Mr. Ortiz-Saperstein-Smith, who noted that he personally believes that mixing rice and french fries is too starch heavy. He isn’t wrong.
It’s summer again, so South Florida locals can once again expect 6 months of apocalyptic temperatures, thickets of humidity, and uncontrollable rain showers that only occur during those brief moments of your day when they are forced to step outside.
“This weather is going to be really miserable,” said the Plantain’s chief meteorologist Reina McCloud as she swatted a mosquito away from her frizzed hair. “Our Doppler Weather model predicts daily showers localized to your lunch break and commute home. If that weren’t bad enough, we are also expecting another four straight months of humid 90-plus degree weather that is going to make you want to literally die,” said the 26-year-old climate scientist as she began to prepare for the round-the-clock “Hurricane Watch” for a storm developing off the coast of Africa that have no likelihood of ever reaching South Florida.
But not everyone is upset about the temperature increases.
“The weather is just the price we pay for being able to avoid the cold during the winter months,” said overly-cheerful accountant Paul Notowitz outside of a Coral Gables Publix. “The trick is to have a job that lets you work indoors and provides you with enough money to keep your home and car reliably air-conditioned,” laughed the accountant as 17-year-old bagboy Antoine Jackson loaded bulk packages of Gold Bond powder and bug repellant into Mr. Notowitz’s Lexus.
As our interview with Mr. Notowitz wrapped up it started to rain. The 46-year-old professional entered his car and flashed Mr. Jackson a smile and thanked the young man for his help, jestingly advising the teenager to “try to stay dry.”
“I’ll do my best,” replied Mr. Jackson as he wiped away perspiration from his upper lip. The teenager then sighed, reentered the Publix to end his shift, and then walked in the downpour to the University Metrorail Station in order to make the hour-and-a-half return trip to his Liberty City home.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber announced that his office has issued an executive order declaring brunch a basic human right for all Beach residents.
“In times like these Americans need to remain committed to our core principles of civil liberty, equality, and bottomless mimosas. I only wish I could guarantee brunch to every man, woman, and child in our State,” said the Mayor who is expected to run for Governor next year on a platform of economic and ecological reform, gun control, and universal access to brunch. “Everyone deserves to have some eggs benedict with cayenne peppers late on a Sunday morning,” he added.
Residents responded enthusiastically to the news, with many taking to the streets to celebrate what is being referred to as “The Brunch Declaration”.
“I can’t believe I lived to see this”, said 38-year-old bike messenger Joseph Gonzalez. “You live your whole life hoping against hope that the world sees the light, and suddenly it happens. My children will now have access to a future I never did”.
But not everyone is happy with the declaration. Local restaurateurs questioned whether Mayor Gelber’s declaration meant they could no longer charger patrons for brunch, or if this meant that Miami Beach’s government would subsidize the costs of the meals. The Mayor’s office has yet to respond to inquiries from The Plantain.
For brunch activist Michael Roman, Mayor Gelber’s Declaration is a step forward, but by no means a complete victory. “We will not rest until the entire world has the right to enjoy a drunkenly decadent meal between the hours of 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at taxpayer expense. We cannot stop to congratulate ourselves until #brunchrights are enjoyed by all.”
The Plantain caught up with 17-year-old Liberty City resident Antoine Jackson to gather his thoughts on the move for equal-brunch rights. The high-school senior told the Plantain that he was happy for the residents of Miami Beach and hoped to one day enjoy a brunch on Miami Beach, but couldn’t talk long because he had to walk to a convenience store eight-blocks away from his home to pick up a box of generic Cinnamon Toast Crunch for his siblings to enjoy before school.
“It’s so fucking hot I need to bring a change of shirt,” said Mr. Jackson before adding “I hope the Miami Beach residents enjoy their free meal though.”
By Daniel Jimenez
Kendall, Miami’s restaurant-studded enclave that rose in popularity in the 1980’s and 1990’s as an affordable housing solution for the burgeoning Yuppie community, has been voted The Number #1 Suburb in America to Raise a Family. But residents see it differently.
Rosita Juana Eserbas, 84, says, “I’d say a more accurate designation is ‘The Number One Place to IGNORE Family.’ After my husband died, my son moved into my 3-bedroom house with his wife and kids, telling me that I should live with family and didn’t need all this space. The next thing I know, they moved me out of my own home into this tiny condo, and now I never see any of them.”
Kendall area high schools have reported to the Miami-Dade School Board that in recent years the number of kids seeking meetings with school guidance counselors has risen, 63% in the last year alone. And what do the counselors report as the main reason for seeking sessions with them? Attention. “These kids are basically living alone,” reports Cantlissa Ennimore, a guidance counselor at Kendall West High School. “Their friends are always on their phones. Their teachers—also on their phones—assign them work requiring internet research and intranet-based learning modules. Both of their parents work and their siblings are locked in their rooms playing video games. These kids are starving for human contact and attention.”
Kendall’s Number #1 ranking came from a study released Thursday from The Wellsley Berpshire Institute on Family, touting Kendall as being the idyllic, ideal suburb. A recent episode of the TV series This Old Townhouse also mentioned Kendall as a haven for the bargain-shopping DIY multitudes due to the vast numbers of run-down cookie-cutter condo community units available for purchase, remodeling, and flipping for a quick buck.
Residents declare that Kendall is nothing but a bunch of people jammed together in a box-like, rat maze, with lots of great restaurants, a couple of movie theaters, and some stores.
Uber Eats driver, Haspo Usten, 36, says that the majority of his business consists of making deliveries from Kendall restaurants to customers often just around the block from the dining establishment. “Half the time, I don’t even see the people I deliver food to—I just see a hand sticking out of the townhouse door reaching for the bag of food. It’s not hard to steal French fries or a half a sandwich from a hand,” Usten says, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.
There is a general consensus among those living in Kendall, that—if it wasn’t for rush-hour traffic jams on work days—there’d be no way of knowing just how many people do live in Kendall. As for the rest of Miami residents, they never go to Kendall and mostly ignore the whole area.
By Lisa W. Hopper , a freelance journalist and staff writer for The Plantain. After writing this article, she stopped having her meals delivered, has taken a vegan cooking class, and now prepares her meals at home. She lives in north Dade County and has only ever gone to Kendall to interview residents for this article. She plans never to go there again—the traffic was terrible.