In what part of town do you live?
Coconut Grove. I believe this is our sixth winter here. Six months out of the year, we live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and six months out of the year in Coconut Grove. Once our youngest child graduated high school, we decided to start spending our winters, working and living in Coconut Grove.
Over six years, have you found community in Miami, and if so – where?
It’s funny because up until this year I worked full time, so it was hard to build community during the day. I was trapped in my office 40 hours a week. This year is the first year I’ve been able to venture out and explore how the city operates during the day. That’s been great. With COVID, it’s been hard to engage in groups. I tend to meet people in sort of random ways, whether it’s somebody in my building or an exercise class outdoors in the park. I’m looking forward to coming back next year, not working full time, and being able to explore. Also, Coconut Grove is a great community, it’s really impressive. I tend to become friends with whoever owns the clothing store or our favorite waiters at certain restaurants.
You mentioned that work permits you to be here half the year, what type of work are you doing?
My work permitted me. I was very blessed that I was able to work remotely. My husband works remotely. I was an event planner for 25 years and I was able to produce and design my events from Miami with a project manager who executed them in Minneapolis. I was laid off a year ago, this month. So, I have taken this year to kind of figure out what my next chapter is.
What thoughts do you have about the next chapter?
I started to take Spanish lessons through a wonderful Spanish school in Minnesota twice a week. I started to take better care of myself. I’ve started to exercise and eat better. After I lost my job, and kind of feeling sorry for myself, I just ate and I drank wine and ate and drank wine. And then in September I said, I’ve got to change. I went on a weight loss program, and I’m thinking about actually coaching in the future for this program. Now that I have the time to be a volunteer, I’ve started training to volunteer with Literacy Minnesota, a program for English language learners. So, I’m still writing the next chapter, it’s a work in progress.
What are your strengths that made you strong at event planning?
I’m very organized and have great attention to detail. I am a good project manager. I love client relations. I think I miss that the most, I miss my clients. I love design and visuals. I’m a creative problem solver and can multitask. And, I work well with deadlines.
Would you share about how you got to know LNB?
For me, it means family. The greatest thing about coming down here was reconnecting with my cousins – you. Your father, Mitch, is my father’s first cousin. When I came down here and found out that your parents lived in Coconut Grove, I wanted to connect because it’s just really always nice to have family. That led to them telling me about the farmer’s market at Pinecrest – which is still my favorite farmer’s market. I could go to a farmer’s market every day if they were available. Then, I reconnected with you and Adena.
For the last few months, you’ve been using our turmeric concentrate. Would you share about how you’re using it?
As part of my ‘get healthy 2021 program’ I started to use the turmeric concentrate every day and I can honestly say I’m kind of addicted. I started by taking shots out of a shot glass each day. Now, I have incorporated it as part of my first morning coffee. I pour a shot in my black coffee and add a little bit of sugar-free, vanilla Torani syrup. I have my own latte every morning, and it is the best way for me to start my day. I don’t know what I would do without it. When I get to Minneapolis, I am actually going to have the (freeze-dried version) shipped to me. I am hoping to have a turmeric party when I get home with all my friends and introduce them to all of the great products LNB Grovestand produces.
Would you share some of your favorite restaurants or other businesses that you enjoy?
I love exploring new restaurants and that’s been hard this year with COVID, but I make all outdoor reservations. I call in advance to make sure that we have outdoor seating. If I see that it’s too crowded, I won’t go. We just went to Red Rooster last Saturday night in Overtown. It was probably the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. In the Design District, my favorite is Mandolin for Greek food. It’s a romantic, beautiful restaurant. We just went to the new Cote Miami, which is like culinary theater. In Coral Gables, Mamey is really good, with great outdoor seating. In terms of the Grove, we probably go to Green Street every two weeks because we love the waitstaff there, we know what we’re going to get, it’s dependable. For Thai food, we love Atchana. For Indian, we love Bombay Darbar. Paulo Luigis is like the Italian that I was used to grow up in New Jersey. And, the new ghost kitchen in Coconut Grove is Two Korean Girls. I love their concept. They come in these fabulous, bright pink boxes and the food is a great combination of flavors.
Any favorite stores?
I enjoy talking with the people at Books and Books and finding out what they’re recommending and what people are buying. Lesley Clothing – it’s the woman who owns it and the women who work there – I sometimes feel like bringing a bottle of wine and just sitting and talking to them for hours. They have a great selection of clothing. I also love the new location for The Wardrobe. It’s a really sweet clothing store with some really good home decor.
What would you say is Miami’s best kept secret?
Coconut Grove is a little bit of a secret because, not for people who live here, but people who travel here. When we have visitors and they’re so used to South Beach and and the tourist destinations, they’re so surprised what a gem the grove is.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
A tasting menu at a really good restaurant. The next time we go back to Cote Miami, they have two tasting menus at two different levels. I think the next time we might step it up.
What do you do when it’s raining out?
I’m a binge TV watcher, not going to lie. In a non COVID world, I would for sure go to the movies, but I don’t see that happening for a while.
Do you have any good shows to recommend?
Oh gosh. I watch a lot of shows with subtitles. I love Israeli TV. Shtisel’s third season is coming back on Netflix at the end of the month and I am really excited for it.
What community groups or philanthropic groups are important to you that you might like to promote or share?
Right now food insecurity is a really big issue in our country. Whether it’s Feeding America or any group that you can find that helps with food insecurity. I love what Jose Andres has done with World Central Kitchen. I admire him. I applaud him for just getting out there and getting food to people who need it.
Is there a project you’re working on or anything else that you would like to pitch?
I have worked out with a trainer who teaches a class in the park (in the Grove) twice a week. His name is Ofri Fitness Miami. He’s a personal trainer, but he also does these group classes Monday and Thursdays at six o’clock in the park. It’s a beautiful time of day to work out. It’s a high intensity class, but it’s great. The more people that go, the better the class will be.
What question would you like to ask us?
(LS) What are your goals for 2021 2022?
(A+W) Our goals this year are to do more projects and partnerships with other businesses that we enjoy. We will be launching a new website with ecommerce in the next few weeks. This will enable us to ship our freeze-dried turmeric concentrate and other shelf stable products anywhere in the country. The new website also aggregates these interviews so that they can become a reference to find tidbits of information.
Is there a question that you would like to ask the community?
It’s been really hard to find an outdoor book club. When I came here, I thought, ”I’m going to find a book club that meets outside,’ but I haven’t found one. I would love to find a book club in Coconut Grove that meets outside.