Alex, Danielle, Eliana and Raphael

Where do you live?
Coconut Grove.

Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
Danielle:  I am from Curacao and studied in Massachusetts for college. We met in New York and moved to Miami four years ago to be closer to family.

Alex: I’m from Venezuela and moved to the US in 2001.

Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
Danielle:  Our kids keep us busy! And, I am the Director of Development for an organization called United Hatzalah. It’s an incredible organization based in Israel where 5000+ volunteers respond to emergencies in record time.

Alex: My background is in finance, but right now I’m focused on real estate and I started a company last year called Sky 18 Capital. We specialize in private loans for commercial real estate.

How does United Hatzalah work?
Danielle: Volunteers use motorcycles with medical equipment and try to respond to an emergency within 90 seconds. The 3 closest volunteers who are EMS trained can respond to emergency so that they can stabilize the patient before the ambulance arrives. The founder Eli Beer has a Ted talk I encourage everyone to watch it, and he speaks all over the world at synagogues and private homes. We have several events each year in Miami to raise awareness and funds.

How are private loans different than bank loans?
Alex: In the mortgage industry you have the traditional mortgage that you go through the bank or you can get a loan from a private lender. Typically, private loans are for a shorter period and have higher rates, but they offer many advantages. Sometimes, people cannot wait a month for a bank to approve a loan. Also, banks may require you to cross collateralize tying up your other properties. Private loans, in a way, are more personal and much faster. I am also a business and financial consultant.

How often do you come to the market?
Pretty much every Sunday.

Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
We first buy fruits and vegetables from the first vendor, SWFL Produce. He has great berries – our kids love them! And then we buy the mozzarella and the pickles from Flap and Coco. Of course, we get the smoothies and guacamole from you guys. We also like the honey from Keys Beez.

What’s your favorite thing from LNB Grovestand?
Danielle: We love the smoothies – our favorite used to be the Sapodelicious and now it’s the Flower Power or the rainbow. Our kids love the rainbow. We love the guacamole and turmeric tonic as well.

Alex:  For me, I like the turmeric tonic and the flower power smoothie. The turmeric tonic is amazing!

Danielle: The turmeric tonic is incredible! I definitely notice the benefits during the flu season! Alex drinks it every single day.

I wish the market had:
Alex: I was glad to see that Brett started selling Bison and free-range chicken. It was missing meat for people wanted to buy that. I’m glad they added more chairs through we’re still missing a bit of shade.

Danielle: I would love to see more hot lunch options that are also healthy. I miss Artichoke, organic and delicious.

Favorite market story:
We love running into my niece, Seraphina, at the market!  It’s fun to run into our friends, and the kids love climbing the trees (which I think is not allowed anymore).

Do you have a family or favorite recipe that you would share?
Alex: Mostly fish and grains, were not big on meat. I do most of the cooking, but I don’t use a recipe, I look for ingredients that inspire me and then usually wing it.

Danielle: He’s an amazing cook!

Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
Alex: We like Asian and Japanese in particular, Matsuri is our go to for sushi. Also, Wabi Sabi, which is a little bit more north, closer to my office, is not very well known but has great Japanese.

Danielle: For Italian, I like Sapore Di Mare in Coconut grove and Kyu in Wynwood for Asian, and Mandolin for Greek.

A favorite activity I enjoy with my kids?
Going to the beach or museums. They like going to the Frost museum.

What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
The Kampong. It was the house of David Fairchild, the person that created the Botanical gardens in Miami, and he created a mini botanical garden for his family. Now, it is open to the public but many people don’t know that it’s there. You’ll only find a few people there at the same time, so it’s like it’s just open for you. You can have a picnic there, I like to go with the kids and sit by the water. Sometimes they have events. You better call first because sometimes they don’t answer the door.

A worthy splurge:
Danielle: for me it’s a coffee at Blue Bottle.

Alex: For me, the turmeric tonic. It’s worth the trip to go to the market to get.

Rainy-day activity:
With the kids, Museums. 

The most romantic spot around:
Cauley Square. We found it once when driving south. It used to be a railroad workers village on the way to homestead.

Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share? 
Danielle: Besides United Hatzalah, we are also involved with AIPAC.

Alex:  We are involved and support many groups. I participate with Chabad in the grove, visiting sick people at Mercy Hospital.  

I’m also involved in the Miami New Drama at The Colony Theatre on Lincoln Rd.  I am the Board Treasurer. We produce four plays each season and other events throughout the year. Right now, we are about to open FAKE by Carmen Pelaez. It follows the character, Camila, at a renowned auction house right after she is promoted to head of their Latin American Art Department. When she is presented with one her great-aunt Amelia Pelaez’s paintings as a last-minute sale inclusion she questions its authenticity forcing her to choose between her career or her Amelia’s legacy. 

We just closed a play called ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI that put the spotlight on Muhammad Ali’s night winning the heavyweight champion title in Miami and then going to a hotel room in Brownsville to stay the night due to segregation laws. There he meets up with Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. It was a very impactful play that engaged the community.

How did you get involved with the theater?
My childhood friend is the artistic director of the company. He moved from New York where we both were living. He wanted to bring quality theater to Miami. I think it is a great cause because it helps make Miami a better place.

Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
Alex: If anybody is looking for private loan for real estate, please give me a call.

Danielle: I you would like to learn more about United Hatzalah, check out this video.