Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Roadside groceries

I think some of the strangest things in Miami are the roadside grocers. You know, the people who walk thru traffic at heavy intersections and offer various fruits, veggies, seafood, and beverages to you while you sit in your car waiting for the light to turn green. This concept totally blows my mind. First off, how is this legal? It seems like any Joe with something to sell can walk thru traffic and try to hawk his wares without penalty. Are these people taxed? I doubt it. Are they operating with a permit? Negative. Yet they are allowed to meander thru traffic selling items to wary commuters.

Sometimes these people dont sell anything, they just beg for money. Like this one woman on 27th and 103rd who is there EVERY DAY with her walker moving thru traffic at a snails pace while shaking a cup and asking you to donate. This woman pisses me off because she wades thru traffic asking for money while wearing a fuckin walkman! If youre really that hard up for money, sell the fuckin walkman! Thats why I wont donate a dime to her. She even gets stuck when the light turns green sometimes and ends up in the middle of the road between two lanes while cars fly by narrowly avoiding her. Not cool.

Other roadside grocers that wont get my money:

The mango guy (you can get these anywhere in Miami for free)
The shrimp guy (do I really need to explain why buying shrimp in a 5lb bag on the side of a road during 90 degree heat is unappealing?)
The woman selling apparel (just plain silly)
The newspaper guy (I read online)

There are, however, a few guys that I do find give valuable service:

The lime/lemon guy (you can get a bag of about a dozen key limes or a half dozen lemons for $1 which is a pretty good deal)
The water guys on 103rd just as you approach 95 heading east (These guys are young and they hustle so I like to support their efforts. I also get thirsty on the drive home and the water that has been sitting in my car is usually 100 degrees by day's end)

As I handed the water kid my $1 yesterday, I thought, "How the hell do these guys profit on water?" For one, there are costs involved. I think that the last time I bought a 24pk of Zephyrhills it cost about $6-$7. That means that these guys would need 24 sales just to make $17-$18. That sucks. I wonder how long that takes and if its even worth it. $18 a day is $90 a week and if they kept that pace for the year they would make an extra $4680 tax free. That doesnt sound bad but I cant imagine they sell that much and I also imagine it take a long time to make that many sales. Heck, they'd have to sell 8736 bottles of water to make that!

I feel like this is just another case of "only in Miami" as I have not encountered these people elsewhere. I think the Food Network should have one of those shows where some guy drives around and purchases food from these roadside grocers and then makes a meal. Then you could guess how many hours it would be until he became ill or how many hours he would spend on the crapper the next day. Hollywood, here I come!

Friday, April 25, 2008

More airport woes...

Q: What do you get when you add these things together?

A flight to Phoenix on a Friday afternoon when you would rather stay home
A flight delay of 30 minutes
A bar that charges $23+ for TWO fuckin Makers Mark on the rocks
Two douchebags from NY who cant stop talking about how much they drink at an airport bar like its the first time theyve ever had alcohol even though they are married with kids and have told everyone about it

A: A good reason to kill yourself and everyone within a 15ft radius

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Currently stuck in my head and driving me crazy




Monday, April 21, 2008

Crawfish Boil @ Tobacco Road - Good Times!

Yesterday Tobacco Road held their annual crawfish boil and I made the trip for another year of peeling tails and suckin crawfish heads. The weather was beautiful out yesterday, maybe even a little on the warm side but not dreadfully hot like some Miami days can be. This made for easy crawfish consumption. They were really good this year. Lots of nice fatty crawfish in my 2 pound box and they were spicy but the spice didnt overpower the meat. A clean meal this is not. I felt like I needed a shower after dominating my platter o' crawfish but boy were they good. They also had burgers, dogs, and other grill fare. I think the setup this year was great too. Huge "you have to be a total dumbass not to understand" signs let you know where to order and where to pick up and there was never more than a line of a few people. That could also be because the turnout wasnt as great this year. I remember years past where the entire lot would be packed with people. Maybe because it was April 20th, a stoner's holiday? Lots of people partaking in a doobie or two all around the parking lot. Gotta love Tobacco Road for that haha. Anyways, the lack of crowd mustve sucked for the band that was on stage around 5pm because they were basically playing with absolutely no one standing within 20 yards. Oh well, they did play good music anyways. Overall, it was a great excuse to be outside with a big group of friends swilling beers on a gorgeous afternoon in Miami. Im already looking forward to next year. I just wish I didnt have to get up at 4am to catch a flight this morning...ugh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Restaurant Review: Pisco's (Coconut Grove)

I finally had a chance to check out this new restaurant that opened up on the corner of Mary and Oak in Coconut Grove. The place is called Pisco's and the menu is Peruvian fare although there is some variety while they work out what works best. I was a bit skeptical walking in because the spot that they currently occupy is the "black hole" of restaurant spots. You can dine "al fresco" but doing so basically means you'll be sucking exhaust from cars that pass by at the busy intersection of Mary and Oak. Ive never seen a restaurant last more than a few months at this location, mainly because its on the outskirts of the "heart of the Grove" and gets little foot traffic. That and previous occupants have done little to draw a crowd. Lucky for me, though the location may not be prime, the food certainly is.

I was deciding whether to choose between the parmesan sea scallops or the octopus so I asked the waiter for his pick of appetizer. He said the octopus was his favorite because of its authenticity. He was right on the money. The octopus w/ black olive sauce was incredibly tender and the sauce was unlike anything Id ever tasted before. Large portion too that I easily couldve shared. My friend got the mixed seafood ceviche and loved it. I thought that was important to note because this friend is VERY particular about his seafood because he fishes a lot and is used to that type of freshness. I tried it and it was more of a traditional take on ceviche when compared to Jaguar which I find to be more "new age" ceviche. For my entree I once again put my faith in the waiter and went with the grouper with shrimp sauce. Another winner. The grouper was moist and flavorful and the "shrimp sauce" also came with 6 sauteed shrimp which I enjoyed very much. My friends split a pasta dish that looked great and both enjoyed.

Overall, the meal was great and I appreciated the waiter's advice and even the manager coming over to check on our table. By the time we had finished the meal, there were 2 more tables of 4 dining outside which is the most Ive ever seen there at one time and pretty funny. I hope they are able to come up with more ways to draw a crowd because the food was really good. They have already added a guy named Joe Donato to play music on Thursdays so thats a start. Oh, and happy hour is 5-8p which is about an hour more than most HHs in the area or anywhere for that matter. If you find yourself the Grove, definitely give Pisco's a shot.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Please talk quietly on your cell phone!

Im sitting in the Delta Crown Room in Salt Lake City right now and there is a "loud talker" on her cell phone gabbing away loudly and annoying about everyone in a 15ft radius. Even the semi-hot woman in the massage chair is making gun-in-mouth motions! (Side note: semi-hot woman was also coerced by fat business guy to take off her shoes and put her bare feet in the feet holsters on the chair. Yeah, thats hygenic...) This is amazing because this lounge is packed and I dont hear anyone else's conversations at all. Here is what Ive been unfortunate enough to learn from the loud talker:

- She bought a dress that is "to die for"
- Her friend wants said dress
- She travels a lot and has built up 100K miles since December
- She is going to Washington and Philly with her friend
- She thinks her friend should be in her daughter's wedding because the friend also likes suede skirts (not sure how these two relate here unless her daughter is planning one ugly bridal party dress)
- Her emails to said friend arent going thru
- "Everyone has an opinion on Pee Wee the I.T. guy"
- She has to have some play time on her work trips
- Her emails still arent getting thru
- Her friend doesnt have a personal email account
- She has 3 email accounts including one for work

(another quick side: fat business guy is enjoying semi-hot woman in the massage chair waaaay too much. semi-hot woman is probably not going to enjoy this massage much longer...)

- Loud talker is "a slave to fashion"
- She has put on a few pounds lately
- She hates working out
- She doesnt care about it since she is on her 3rd martini (followed by insanely loud laughter that causes a lot of people to look at her with confused looks)
- She has to leave for her flight soon (THANK GOD!)

Finally, the conversation has ended! I can only pray that she has to leave for her flight before making another call or that her cell battery is dead. The latter is unlikely since this lounge is pretty freakin awesome and has outlets everywhere. At least I will have had enough bourbon by the time my flight leaves to ensure I am asleep for the 4.5 hour flight...

Olympic Torch Relay - WTF?!?!?!

Ok, this shit with boycotting China and trying to snuff out the torch has gone waaaaaaay overboard. Im not a fan of the situation in Tibet any more than the next guy but trying to snuff out the torch that symbolizes a peaceful and traditional global event is a crime. These hippies need to calm the hell down. What about the poor runner carrying the torch? If the Olympics were in Japan, that runner would be safe. Now his/her life is in jeopardy. Another thing that is absolutely absurd is Hilary Clinton suggesting the President boycott the opening ceremony. Yeah, great idea Hil. Let's boycott the nation that majorly supports our economy.

Bottom line is that there is a time and a place for everything and this is neither nor. I love the Olympics because its a time where we as a planet can all share in the excitement of sport and competition. These hostile protests have tainted this event and I say shame on everyone involved.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My latest adventure - 1 part awesome, 2 parts hilarious

So, Ive been in San Jose since late Friday night. Flew on the AA direct to SF, ate diner at Limon in the Mission district, then headed to SJ to work a trade show for the weekend. The night started at the hotel where my coworker and I enjoyed a killer filet at Michael Mina's Arcadia. After dinner, my coworker went to crash and I joined another industry buddy of mine for cocktails at the bar with a group of about 6 girls. I had met one of them before at this show last year and she quickly became one of my favorites - smokin hot and not afraid to get me and a few others hammered buying shots on some poor bastards bar tab haha. Also at the table were 2 other girls who grew up with my buddy. I found out they were in college and for some reason never put 2 and 2 together that this meant they were underage until I bought a round and thought about it. So, I was happy that everyone was tired of one of them and my buddy sent them on a bus back to SF before they could sip the drinks. He and I then downed their martinis like they were shots. It was only 10pm afterall, so this was obviously an awesome idea considering Id only had 4 Woodford/rocks at this point and didnt have to wake up until 7am. Yeah, my decision making skills are solid.

Every one of these shows I do has a party and, seeing that the industry I work in 95% female and 4.9% gay dudes, these parties are usually fun for a single guy like me. So, naturally me, my buddy, and the hot chick (who had been showcasing her $20K new boobs and being very kissy face) headed on over. THis is where the night gets blurry and then totally fades to black. I remember getting there, I remember meeting a chick that I was talking to at the bar earlier who had a cute face but under normal circumstances was not one Id even consider flirting with, and thats about all I remember. No idea how I got home and no idea why I awoke to find said female in my bed. Thankfully, I was clothed. I think, in my drunken state, that I might have been sympathetic to the fact that she was sharing a room with 4 others and let her crash with me. Other than that, I have no fuckin idea. Maybe my penis totally took over and was like, "Dude, youre hammered and fully incapable of talking with any "new" girls. Take the not-so-attractive one and lets party!" I dunno, but it was pretty fuckin funny nonetheless, especially when she and her friends came by my booth and talked some shit today haha. The hangover that kicked in around 1pm - not so funny.

Another thing about these trade shows is that Im in a booth selling to women all day. I flirt with them all day, mostly because I flirt with women all the time. Its fun. Now, given that these women love to make fashion statements, Im treated to at least 1000 pairs of breasts daily. Some are awesome, some make you wonder if mirrors exist. So, even after leaving the show, Im stuck in "flirting with cute women" mode. This happens in the line at airport security when Im headed to Portland, OR today with 2 women who I knew worked in the industry just by looking at them and who also happened to flirt my way saying that they were "stalking" me. (side note here - I fucking love women, man. I love everything about them, especially the fact that they are all different and always changing. I'll never figure them out so I'll never get bored and this is probably why me and serious relationships kinda clash) So, still feeling flirty, I begin to board the plane and notice a cute chick sitting in the last row of 1st class. She sees me, looks away, looks back, and I give her a wink and a smile. I get to my seat, still feeling hungover, and sit down. A girl from the previous night (one of the 6 girls at the bar table) happened to be on the flight and sitting right in front of me. She says, "Hey did you see Bush's daughter sitting in 1st class?" Yup, you got it - I just winked at the President's daughter. AWESOME.