History of Joy

If you’ve never taken a Historic Tour with Dr. Paul George, noted historian and Miami gem, you owe it to yourself to do so. So often times we live in a place for a long time and never explore and appreciate the history around us. I recently took a Miami River Cruise (a Christmas gift) out of Bayside with History Miami’s Paul George and had a wonderful time.

He was assisted in the tour by Dr. Rachel Silverstein, the Miami Water Keepers Executive Director, who explained the ecological aspects of the river and current water issues. When Dr. George spoke of a place where you used to be able to get Grouper Sandwiches on the river, this got my mind (and stomach) going. It was near lunchtime so I Yelped “Best Fish Sandwiches in Key Largo” and Hobo’s Cafe came up.

I’m sure Hobo’s Cafe is not a politically correct name for a restaurant these days, but their food is darned good and their fish sandwich was DELICIOUS! I got the Baked Mahi Mahi Sandwich on our way down to our condo. Granted, it was 2 pm by this time and I was starving, but still. The $17 sandwich came on a Kaiser Roll, with delicious sauteed mushrooms smothering the Italian seasoned mahi, crisp lettuce, sliced tomatoes, red onion, pickle slices and a Key Lime peppercorn butter sauce that sent it over the top. Next time, I would get the sauce on the side, as it did make it a little soggy. Zeke’s Conch Ceviche was also very good, so I can definitely recommend Hobo’s Cafe. Maybe we can think of a better name for them.

Emma and Gui came over for dinner Monday night for Mexican food. She loves Mole, so I made Chicken Mole, along with Trader Joe’s Tamales, Yellow Rice and Refried Beans. Mole is a signature dish in Mexico and every region does it differently. It’s also a complicated recipe with a long list of ingredients, so I just used Mole sauce out of a jar (Dona Maria’s) to make it easier. I poached chicken thighs in broth in the Crock Pot, then removed and shredded them. I then added the mole sauce to the broth, whisking until smooth and added the shredded chicken back in to coat it. Yummy, although I forgot to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for crunch; I topped it with fresh cilantro.

Mole Chicken with yellow rice, refried beans and tamales.

I didn’t take many photos of this dinner. I’m trying to be more “in the moment” and consequently not taking as many photos as I normally do. I also did this at the Boat Tour, but I’m finding I like to go back and look at my photos after an event is over. That way, I experience it once and get to look back on them over and over again. For example, I wish I would’ve taken a photo with Dr. Paul George, but we both had masks on. I’m done with photos with masks.

Another Christmas present I got was the Hamama Sprouting Kit, from A.J. It’s so easy and a lot of fun. You just put water in the tray, plop the sprouting pouch on top and watch the sprouts erupt about five days later. You use kitchen scissors to harvest them and they keep growing- to be used in soups, smoothies, salads, sandwiches or just as a garnish. I liked it so much I got one for my sister Elise for her birthday.

My new favorite Trader Joe’s find is a delicious Prosecco called Conegliano Valdobbiadene. In addition to being yummy and not too expensive, it also comes in a pretty bottle, making it perfect for gifting. I have enjoyed Prosecco for a while as a cheaper alternative to Champagne, but lately my go-to Prosecco (I’m looking at you, blue-labled La Marca) has gotten more and more expensive. Like chicken wings, which used to be the cheapest part of the chicken to buy, its popularity has made the cost rise.

Trader Joe’s find of the week!

I got to watch my sweet little Phoenix last week. While A.J. was in the kitchen, she said OMG!


There’s a baby opossum in your pool, dead.


I screamed (“really Mom, you’re so dramatic!”). I decided to let Zeke deal with it when he got home from work. That’s a husband’s job, right? My housekeeper Isa texted me later, telling me there was “giant rat” in the pool. I told her it was an opossum and I was going to get Zeke to remove it.

Zeke agreed, but told me I had to hold the bag while he scooped it out. I put a black garbage bag in a trash can, where he dumped the bloated, once-furry but now very wet body.

It already smells

said Zeke.

I tied the top together and, holding my breath, put the poor opossum in the garbage. It was in our trash can for four days! Yuk. I put a Post-It on the lid saying “Warning: Dead Opossum inside”, but then removed it for fear they wouldn’t take it. Because, then what would I do?

The house next door to us is going up quickly and it’s going to be a monster!

Zeke took a tape measure and measured between their slab and our house and he thinks they are building into our setback. He believes they’re going to build it and ask for an abatement afterwards. They started construction at 6:40 a.m. the other morning, so I marched over and confronted the lone worker, pointing frantically at my watch. He apologized, but come on- he had to know he’s not supposed to start until 7! When I called Building and Zoning later that day, they told me I needed to call the Police for a Noise Complaint, which I’m not going to do. I asked her about them building into our setback and she said she didn’t think so because someone had already come to inspect on Valentines Day.

I’m now a part of The Villagers, a historic preservation group, and they met Friday at the Historic Hampton House on 27th Avenue. The Hampton House was a hotel that housed African Americans back when Miami was segregated and they weren’t allowed to stay in other hotels, even ones where they performed. We happened to be there on the exact day (February 25th, 1964) when friends Cassius Clay, Malcom X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown all gathered together to celebrate Clay’s unexpected win over Sonny Liston.

This event was immortalized in a play, called One Night In Miami, later made into a movie directed by actress Regina King. We were supposed to have lunch at Marcus Samuelson’s Red Rooster in Overtown, but the restaurant cancelled at the last minute. It probably had something to do with the SOBE Food and Wine Festival. Disappointed, Kelley and I pivoted and ate at Hometown Bar-B-Q in Allapattah. I got the Brisket, Kelley got Korean Ribs, both were good and the place was hopping by the time we left.

So now I want to see the movie One Night In Miami, but am presently watching Inventing Anna (Netflix), another story about a scammer by Shonda Rhimes. I’m liking it, although it’s a longer commitment than the Tinder Swindler. I just finished the book The Boys, by Ron and Clint Howard and highly recommend it. It’s pretty much a love letter to their parents, which is nice to see, as well as a story of growing up in Hollywood. If you listen on Audible, they narrate, probably an even a better way to experience it. Remember when the only way you could read a book was to READ IT, on paper, in a book form?

The highlight of my week is the days I pick up Wyatt from school for Golf and Tennis. He is always SO excited to see me- “Gigi!”- running to me full speed and giving me a big hug, before I take his backpack and we walk home. He takes my hand, as he skips down the sidewalk and tells me about his day. I love that he skips.

Everything to him is amazing– whether it’s the apple juice I bring him to drink, the Pop Tart I toast for his snack or the Chicken and Waffles he had for lunch. He has such a happy and excited energy and, for me, is a joy to be around. Oh, to be six and find everything AMAZING.

Wyatt at golf.

So take a look around and see what’s in your hometown, that’s waiting to be discovered. Whether it’s a trip down the Miami River, a retro historic hotel or the best fish sandwich of your life, prepare to be amazed.

Speaking of which, the Coral Gables Community Foundation’s Tour of Kitchens is Saturday, March 5th. It starts and ends at Merrick Park and features beautiful homes and kitchens with bites, drinks and vendors at each stop. Tickets are available on Eventbrite and proceeds benefit the Coral Gables High Culinary Academy. It promises to be an amazing day!

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it.

Ferris Bueller

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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