In what part of town do you live?
How long have you lived in the area?
Born and raised in Miami. I’ve lived here on and off since 1988.
Would you share a little about your family?
I come from a Cuban father, which is very rare in Miami, who exiled from Cuba in 1962. My mother’s Spanish, and moved here when she married my dad in 1976. And, I have an amazing younger sister. I’m married to a Scottish national that I met in China and we have an eight week old baby named Sierra.
How did you meet your wife?
I met my wife in China through Tinder while on a vacation to see old friends from when I lived there.
What brought you back to Miami?
After China, I was ready to start the next phase of my life, which was settling down and getting married. I wanted a more stable job. At a time I was DJ’ing. I got into education, then I left for Spain to connect with my wife. And then, we came back to Miami to start a family.
What was it like being a DJ in China?
It was the perfect job for your mid to late twenties. China was transitioning from old to modern China. It was around the time of the Olympics and the club I worked for was very happy to pay me a lot of money to play underground popular music because they did not want top 40 stuff, which for me was great.
What are you doing now?
I’m a special education teacher. My focus is on autistic kids. I work in the Dade County public school system at a school called Gulf Stream elementary in Cutler Bay. This year I’m teaching fourth and fifth grade autistic kids. But right now, I’m on paternity leave.
What lessons have you learned teaching autistic children that you can share with us?
Patience. The hardest part is no two autistic kids are the same. There’s similarities, but what might work for one autistic kid doesn’t work for another. The logo for autism is a puzzle and that’s very accurate. You have to use different pieces to figure out how to communicate and break through to an individual kid. You need to have a desire to crack the code. But overall, patience.
What do you enjoy most about it?
That’s a good question. ASD or autism spectrum disorder is generally a communication disorder. You see these kids really struggle and you teach them, and you teach them, and you teach them. When you see them take that and apply it and then they see the results, that’s what I like the most. I enjoy seeing them work hard to reach a goal and make that goal.
What types of hobbies do you have outside of work?
I love working with my hands and creating things. I started with leather working because I was confined to an apartment. I can spend hours on YouTube watching woodworking videos and gaining information. Initially I said, I’m going to be a teacher and I’m not going to make a lot of money so I should learn to make my own furniture. I’ve taken a lot of classes since then and I’ve joined our local wood-turning guild. I really enjoy it.
I know that you also are a beer connoisseur. Would you share about that passion?
My mom is a chef and was always teaching me to understand flavors. I spent a very long part of my life not drinking. About a month after I started drinking beer, I read about a maple bacon coffee porter that was done by Funky Buddha in Fort Lauderdale. And literally the night that I read about it, I drove there and naively walked inside and said I wanted to try it. They looked at me and said, you must be new to craft beer because we only release that once a year, and it was released a month ago and we don’t have any more. And from there I was like, what else do you have? Like the way I approach food, I want to try as many varieties as I can. That’s how you develop a stronger palette.
Could you describe your favorite beer experiences?
That’s really tough, I’ll give you a tie. My wife and I love to do road trips and they are planned around going to breweries. So, we actively try a lot of beer. Hill Farmstead in Vermont, is always ranked as one of the best brewers in the world. We tried all of their beers and they were all insanely good. And then, we did a really unique tour of all the sours in Brussels and the amount of unbelievably well aged sours that we drank that weekend was pretty fantastic.
Where can you buy good beers in Miami?
I’m really partial to Mendez fuel which is on 32nd and Coral Way. It’s a mobile gas station, but the concessions are gourmet. They have 14 or 15 beers on tap, organic food, CBD drinks, and great fresh juices. They get a lot of stuff you don’t normally find in other places. You can’t drink there, it’s all growlers to-go. Also, the Food Stop, next to Titanic, is a hidden gem. You can find really good beers. And then, in terms of sitting down and having a beer, Lokal or Vicky’s has the best menu in Miami.
How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
If you average my whole life, it would probably be about once a month. There’s times I go every Sunday, and then there’s times I haven’t been for a couple months.
When you come, what’s your ritual like?
We always get a smoothie. To be honest, that is the biggest motivator for us. We love your smoothies. Then we’ll walk around, maybe go to the gardens. I like the acai bowls and the barbecue guy is good. Primarily though, we wake up and say we really want a smoothie.
Do you have any favorite farmer’s market stories?
I think the best story would be the first time I went and running into Adena and being like, ‘Oh my God, what’s up?’ I used to babysit Levi (Adena’s younger brother) and I don’t think I had seen her in at least 15 years. Seeing the Ellenby family was always a great experience. As farmers, they had a very different way of living then my family, and I always loved it.
What do you enjoy most about our market?
It’s family friendly and very safe. You get a strong sense that it’s the local community. And I know that I am getting good quality.
What would make the market better?
Definitely more shade and the parking area is a bit cramped.
What restaurants do you all enjoy?
My family, for years, has been going to LAN PAN Asian. It’s solid, consistent, and great. Right now, my wife and I like The Salty Donut in South Miami for coffee and donuts. Their cold brew is fantastic. We like Tigertail and Mary, for something a little hip.
Where would you go for a special occasion?
Bazaar in the SLS on South beach. It’s not the flashiest of places, but it holds a lot of significance and my wife and I love eating there. My wife and I like fusion and experimental foods. Our favorite thing is the nitrous frozen caipirinhas.
What’s a worthy splurge?
Bazaar….it’s a splurge to get from Pinecrest all the way to South Beach for a restaurant.
What’s a good rainy day activity?
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
I’m not sure if it’s a secret. They opened a poke bowl restaurant, next to Trader Joe’s and Roasters, that is fantastic for what it is.
Where’s the most romantic spot in Miami?
Full moon on Key Biscayne listening to music with my wife.
What community events are coming up that we should know about?
Coming up, the Learning Experience, which is a school dedicated to children with special needs like severe autism or intellectual difficulties, is having a fashion show to raise awareness and money. Students from the school get a chance to walk the runaway and they love it. I think is a really nice event.
What question would you like to ask us?
When are you going to have your LNB shirts for sale? I want to buy a shirt.
(A+W) They are ready! And, they are super comfortable. We cannot advertise them at the market, so email us and we will bring your size on Sunday. They are $15.