I love a good story, especially when that story comes with the disclaimer “based on real events”, that is the butter on the popcorn.
Enter Faruk Bishevac of Food Tours in Miami, a true Miami researcher and semi-historian in his own right. Armed with old photographs of Miami Beach, connections to the yummiest local spots, and enough knowledge of South Beach’s History to stump even the nosiest busybody most curious tourist, Faruk walked us through the Art Deco lined streets and truly lectured on this food tour. Taking breaks in between multi-cultural meals and clever photo ops, we ended up tasting foods from four different countries which have influenced Miami’s cuisine at five of South Beach’s best restaurants.
Here were my top five moments on the tour:
I grew up in Miami in the early 90s. Memories of eating hot-dogs while listening to Oscar de Leon’s Que Bueno Baila Usted and then listening to John Mellencamp’s Small Town and eating arepas make up the environmental paradox that forms my iconic America. I’ve often struggled with the feelings of displacement that stem from emigrating before even entering kindergarten. My perception of America has been engrained in my existence prior to even living here. My first word was in English, my mother’s first car was a red 1965 Ford Mustang and my father had plans to move here even before my conception. The fact is that Miami has been my gateway to an education. I was a citizen long before obtaining that blue passport and there is nothing more American than that.
Even before arriving at Vanity Projects, I was already feeling the pressure of writing this post; pressure which manifested itself in the form of worry, anxiety, and fear; three emotional states which have become synonymous with me in the past year. I knew for my first blog post I had to choose something that felt as though it represented Miami, while at the same time, it had to be a project that resonated with me personally. So, I chose Vanity Projects to write about for a simple reason: any friend of poetry is a friend of mine. Their involvement at O, Miami’s annual month-long poetry festival inspired me to think about art in a new way. I never thought to unite art with vanity. In this case, uniting the written word with aesthetic vanity would never have appealed to me because in the past that had seemed so, well…vain.