Toma: Pronounced like Tom with an ‘a’ as in Tomahawk.
Where do you live?
I live at Coral Way and 32nd ave. – so I have Coral Gables to my right and the Grove straight ahead. It’s perfect.
How long have you lived in the area?
3 ½ years
Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
I was born in a tiny town called Peru, Indiana. After many years of traveling and working all over the world, I moved here from California to become the general manager at the Air Force base lodge down in Homestead. If knew Miami already from the 90’s when I attended and graduated from UM.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
I am the Director of Guest Services at Resorts World Bimini. I oversee the transportation (land, air and sea) and accommodations for our VIP players, executives and guests. Bimini is an island 50 miles east of Miami. It is primarily occupied by The Genting Group – which is my boss. We own and operate a 305-room Hilton, casino and are currently repairing our mega-yacht marina; the largest in the Bahamas.
How often do you come to the market?
Every other week to stock up on my Turmeric Tonic.
Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
Usually, Adena talks me into a smoothie. Whatever she recommends is always yummy, nourishing and wonderful. I always stop at the Greek place for a Gyro. And, if my niece is with me, we will stop for an acai bowl.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
Turmeric Tonic! I have MS, which is an auto-immune disorder. I swear by 8oz of turmeric tonic every morning. I’ve been using it the better part of two years. For me, it’s the best way to start my day. I am energized, ready and just don’t feel fatigued. Everyone’s MS is different, but for me – the biggest challenge is fatigue. But when I put down my turmeric tonic in the morning, right before my breakfast, I feel ready for the day and alert.
What have you made with ingredients bought at LNB Grovestand?
I get the Turmeric Dressing and use it on salads.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
The Gyro! I love it.
A favorite activity I enjoy with my kids?
I am not married and don’t have children. My brother and I live together. He is a single parent to my 16-year-old niece, Kayla. I have been helping him raise her since she was 3 years old. We love to get our nails done and go to the market – when I can drag her out of bed.
The best deal at the market is:
I hate to be biased, but Turmeric Tonic!
Favorite market story:
I love running into fellow Goldendoodle parents. I have a 5-year-old, miniature Goldendoodle, he is a standard Golden Retriever and a miniature Poodle. His name is Lincoln and he loves the market. It’s so fun meeting the other parents and talking.
Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
My favorite Mexican place – anywhere I’ve ever been! It’s down in Florida City, across from the Cracker Barrel. It’s a taco stand called Rosita’s. It’s the best Mexican, hands down, you will ever eat. There are only a few things on the menu. I just point to order and you can’t go wrong.
I also love the Asian Thai Kitchen inside the Quickie Mart on Grand Avenue in the Grove. $11 for Pad Thai – no question. So good.
For special occasions, I go to:
I love Vickie’s for milkshakes. I just love milkshakes and Vickie’s take them to the next level. I am child of the 80’s and the interior is like being back in my childhood – Atari and the works. The design is a replica of the owner Matt’s childhood kitchen. It’s not just about the milkshakes, it’s about the experience. I love being there. I am also a huge a fan and proud of what Matt’s restaurant group has done with Spillover, Lokal and Kush.
Do you have a family recipe that you would be willing share?
Whenever I was homesick abroad, I could always count on making chili, in my crock pot, and feeling like I was home. For the first 16 years of my career, I worked for Army MWR(Moral Welfare and Recreation). I ran hotels for our service members in Germany, Korea and Japan.
To make my chili, I use ground turkey (beef may taste better, but I like to keep it healthy). I saute 1 lb. turkey with onions, then add two cans tomato sauce, two cans stewed tomatoes, two cans of spicy red kidney beans, a can of tomato paste. Put it all in a crock pot, on low, for 4-6 hours and you have chili. Add some chill pepper if you like.
What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
Lugo Point? I guess it’s not a secret anymore. When I was in school at UM, Dwayne Johnson took me there – not on a romantic trip – but to show me the coolest place.
A worthy splurge:
For me, my splurge is getting to bed early. With my MS, it is very important to not negotiate about my bedtime – ever. I got to bed every night at 8pm – so my splurge is getting 10 hours of sleep every night.
Bad TV. I’m a binge watcher – of the absolute worst TV you can think of – Housewives, reality TV – all the baloney. When I watch TV, I want to tune out – and not think at all. It’s my escape.
What are your hobbies?
Miami Hurricanes football! I am a season ticket holder (since 2009), alumni, and former employee of the football team. I tailgate every single game – 4 hours prior to kickoff. You can always find me at East 22 and you’re always welcome at my tailgate!
Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share?
For 11 years, I was a performer at Walt Disney World – in the late 80’s and through the 90’s. A few years ago, some friends of mine formed the Area 3 foundation. We are a 501.3c nonprofit. If you are, or were, a Disney performer – we provide scholarships and crisis grants. We never want anyone to feel alone – the Zoo Crew family is here to support them. Our recent fundraiser was an 80’s prom.
Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
We would love you to come visit Resorts World Bimini. If you interested in a quick getaway visit – RWBimini.com. Even though it’s a part of the country of the Bahamas – it is very different than Freeport or Nassau. It is miles of turquoise water, white beaches – the most amazing fishing in all the Caribbean. It’s a secret escape that many don’t know about and it’s so close to Miami. You can take a ferry – FRS Caribbean or fly on a sea plane through Tropic Ocean Airways. If you’d like to use my discount – please send me an email.
Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
Yes, how did you get your name, LNB?
A+W: LNB is short for Ellenby – Adena’s last name. Her parents started the farms in 1980 and called them LNB Groves.
Is there a question or words of advice that you would like to share with the community?
One of my favorite quotes of all time: “Most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” –Abraham Lincoln
Anything else you would like to share?
I was particularly moved after reading about Brad in your newsletter. He was so inspiring. For me, as someone, like him, who suffers from these types of disorders – life long, non-curable, it was really inspiring. It has motivated me to be even more consistent with taking my turmeric tonic.