Thanks to Versailles Bakery and La Colada Gourmet "The House of Cuban Coffee" for the authentic Cubano Coffee experience.
Best Cuban Coffee in Miami
Was stoked to find some amazing Cuban Coffee and local food adventures in Little Havana in Miami. If you want to get a much less touristy version of Miami check out Little Havana. Great music, food, cigars, mojitos, and of course, coffee. It's a great place to live on the Culinary Edge! Check out our video below.
Thanks to Versailles Bakery and La Colada Gourmet "The House of Cuban Coffee" for the authentic Cubano Coffee experience.
I’m weird, I like weird things, I like weird people. I appreciate weirdness as an aesthetic. When people say, “That’s weird.” with a negative inflection, I always reply “Awesome, weird is a good thing.” I was taught this very important lesson by my first girlfriend who loved to embrace weirdness.
I like the absurd or things that seem out of place. Contrast. It makes for a more interesting life tapestry. Many of the best things in life, including people, I didn't like at first because they struck me as weird. Like eating an oyster. But then, as you get to know it more, it becomes love.
And I'm not exactly talking about embracing weird things as a form of delusion or total escape. You don't have to come untethered from reality to be weird. I'm talking more about weirdness with intention. Some would call it eccentricity. And it takes courage to be weird or eccentric. Because conformity tends to be the norm in social groups.
John Stuart Mill said, "Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character had abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained." This quote is one of my favs.
Stay with me, I'm getting to the point of this post.
I’ve gone through phases of my life where I’d say I was probably doing some kind of performance art. For much of the 2000’s I wore a Dick Cheney mask to parties, gatherings, festivals, gigs. It’s a long story, but I went to go buy a George W. Bush mask for Halloween at the Halloween store on Haight Street and they were sold out. The clerk said we do have a Dick Cheney mask left. “Wow, I said, that’s even creepier. Perfect.” I am the number one all-time consumer of Dick Cheney masks because I've lost many. A very wise friend at Burning Man once put a caribiner on my mask so I wouldn't lose it. I digress.
For a while I went through a phase where I had a plastic rat, named Shelley (named after the poet Percy Shelley). I made Shelley part of the band I was in called Pono and I would take pictures of Shelley with famous musicians or people. Here are some of those pictures. I'm proud of these pics and my embrace of weirdness. And kudos to these fairly well known people who embraced weirdness allowing me to take pics of them with a plastic rat. Embrace weirdness my friends, it makes life more colorful. It also allows our human uniqueness to surface. It adds to layers to the mosaic of humanity and it's fun :)
Andrew Paul Resiganto, known to family and friends as Captain Andy, died on February 11, 2021 in Fawcett Memorial Hospital at the age of 81. Andy is survived by his partner Rebecca Maulbaurn, his son, Andrew J. Resignato, and his Sister Joan Marozas.
Andy was born in New York City on March 29, 1939 in New York City. He grew up in Brooklyn, NY and worked as Merchant Seaman on tugboats and oil tankers out of New York Harbor.
Andy was an avid fisherman who owned 17 boats throughout his lifetime, a celebrated cook, a devoted Son and Father, and a lover of opera. He had the pleasure of meeting and shopping with Marilyn Monroe, a story he would often retell. He traveled to many countries and throughout Italy tracking down and connecting with his Italian relatives. He appeared in many episodes of the Food & Travel Web Series the Culinary Edge TV.
Memorial services will be held at Boca Grande Pass, FL, the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys, the ‘Third Rocks’ in Coney Island and Long Island, NY.
I always wondered if Bob, Bill Murray's character in Lost in Translation, only knew of a serious Ramen joint in Shinjuku, if the movie would have ended differently. Here's what the end of the movie would have looked like.
Eating Food on A Bollywood Set
Back before COVID happened Bailey and I traveled to Mumbai, India to drop in on my friend Edward Sonnenblick and his family. It turns out Edward became a Bollywood actor in 2008 and was able to bring us on several Bollywood sets when he was shooting.
The crews were so hospitable to us as guests many times offering us a meal or at least some nice Chai Tea. The food was very homestyle and authentic. Our latest CETV episode is about that exact subject. We're hoping to get back to Mumbai someday for a followup. Hope you enjoy it!
The End of An Era: Lava Covers Pohoiki, One of the Greatest Hawaiian Surf Spots and My Home Break
BY CHEF ELLARD
Sunday: As I write this I’m above the Pacific, flying back to Hawai'i where the Kīlauea Volcano is erupting, making my partner and I, as well as many others, lava refugees for the last three months. Currently, lava is .75 miles away from overtaking and covering one of the greatest surf breaks in Hawai'i. A spot I know well.
A Truly Great Hawaiian Surfing Break
The prospective loss of this little known Big Island spot is one that really stings for people that have basked in the glow and magic of this place. The spot I’m referring to is called Pohoiki aka Isaac Hale Park. Pohoiki lies on the Eastern Coast of the Big Island in a District called Puna. It is one of a very small handful of surf breaks on the East Coast of the Big Island and I submit it is one of the greatest breaks in the Hawaiian Islands.
Now when I use the word 'greatest' I don’t mean Pohoiki has the largest waves, although I’ve witnessed people drop in on 20+ footers there. I don’t mean that Pohoiki is the most well-known spot like Peahi (Jaws), Waikiki, or Pipeline. I don’t mean that it is the greatest because it was often mentioned in Surfer Magazine or any major surf publication. I mean it is a great surf spot because the waves are very consistent, it is often uncrowded, naturally beautiful, and has one of the best and diverse groups of regulars of any surf break. It offers a lot of different surfing skill options all in one place.
Pohoiki is also more than just a surf spot. It is an important community meeting place where locals, both Hawaiian and haole, as well as, a trickle of adventurous tourists interact, generally harmoniously. On any given day Pohoiki is a confluence of surfers, fisherman launching their boats, families with their children swimming at the boat ramp, snorkelers, locals grilling or selling food, and sometimes having unofficial drag races. It's people hanging out and basking in the glow of a place where the ocean meets the land in a way that offers something for everyone.
This mix to me represents what’s best about modern day Hawai’i - diverse types of people sharing their love of the ocean and the outdoors. It was the greatest for me because it was there I learned to stand up and go down the face of a wave for the first time, where I taught my partner how to surf, and met bodyboarding/bodysurfing legend Mike Stewart, with whom I would eventually share a session at Pohoiki. This magical place captures the Hawaiian experience for me and gave me a deeper understanding of the joy Hawai’i can impart on the human soul.
Tuesday: I’ve landed and surfed on the Kona side of the island at a spot called Kahalu’u. I haven’t surfed in three months so it was a great pleasure to be back. Lava continues to flow and is now only .6 miles away from the boat ramp at Pohoiki.
A Port in Puna
Pohoiki means 'two little moons'. In 1963, The Army Corps of Engineers carved out a channel with a jetty in a 1000 foot bay that contained two half moon bays with a reef in the middle. They built a boat ramp and in doing so created the only port and safe ocean access area in this rugged and untamed part of Hawai’i. It allowed access for fisherman to this rarely fished part of Hawai’i and a safer place for locals to enter the water to swim and surf.
Puna is definitely one of the most unique areas in Hawai’i because it is located on the face of the most active volcano in the world, Kīlauea. As was revealed many times in the last century, the volcano can retake the land from the residents here at any time. The result is an area low in large scale development from hotels and resorts (expensive properties can’t be insured) which has kept the land cheap and the cost of living low. This has allowed people who didn’t have much money to live here, including Native Hawaiians, hippies, mainland dropouts, and adventurous travelers looking for less crowds and a less commercial, more authentic Hawaiian experience. Pohoiki is a place where a lot of those people come together and commune with the sea.
Wednesday: Lava is now only .25 miles away from the boat ramp at Pohoiki and continues its steady flow.
First, Second, and Third Bay
The Bays are known by the not so original names of First, Second, and the lesser known Third bay. They offer distinctly different types of waves on different conditions. On smaller days, First Bay, a right hander, is an ideal place for beginners and keikis (children) to catch gentle waves that end on a shallow but very forgiving reef. There is a spot very close to the middle reef that is pretty much exclusive for bodyboarders as it is to steep and shallow for surfers. This allows some bodyboarders to have their own spot, almost right on the middle reef, usually separate from surfers.
On medium sized and bigger days at First Bay a surfer can catch a great wave just outside the middle reef and ride a beautifully formed right across the deeper channel almost all the way into the boat ramp where the wave gently deposits you. The crystal clear water allows for amazing visuals of the reef below. This is the wave I learned on in 1998 when I first came to Puna. On weekdays back then it was often just myself and an older local Hawaiian surfer. I would sit and study him as he knew exactly where to take off and how to trim himself into this beautifully formed wave. I remember the intensity in his eyes as he caught wave after wave. In between his rides I would sheepishly paddle into his takeoff spot and try to get one for myself. After many failed attempts, one day I did and it was pure bliss!
On bigger days a spot called Elevators breaks further out in the channel offering a steeper left wall that for the most skilled surfers can be connected through the channel to the inside right. The result is a seriously long ride and the respect of the surfers on the inside wave and people on the beach. On huge days, waves break further out and then powerful whitewater comes through the deep channel. If you catch this whitewater the wave reforms on the inside into a classic right which you can ride across the channel into the boat ramp area. So even if conditions are huge a relative intermediate surfer like myself can score great waves at Pohoiki.
On the other side of the bay past the middle reef is Second Bay. On small days Second Bay has a beautifully formed right hander that breaks into the shallow reef inside. This inside section is not quite as user friendly to newcomers and beginners as First Bay. Mostly because of the copious amount of wana (pronounced “vah-na”) aka sea urchins that occupy the inner reef. Many people including myself became victims as the sharp long spines of these animals pierce the flesh and result in a souvenir of spikes that can lodge deep into your extremities. One surfer told me his friend had fallen head first on the inside of Second Bay and got wana in his face!
Once you learned to surf the wave inside and not put your feet down all is well at Second Bay. This break has a steady stream of regulars which include in the morning a dawnish 6 a.m. crowd, the 7:30s, and 9:00s. I chose to go out at 11 a.m. and sometimes I’d be the only one out. On big days the wave breaks on an outside reef and connects to several sections leading to the inside wave. Myself and many surfers have reveled in this wave, as well as, the scenery which includes many honus (sea turtles) lazily swimming around, and a gorgeous landscape of lush jungle set against a backdrop of rugged lava. And there is almost always waves at Second Bay.
Many surfers, including myself, reveled in this wave as well as the scenery which included many honus (sea turtles) lazily swimming around, and a gorgeous landscape of lush jungle set against against a backdrop of rugged lava.
Beyond a natural jetty to the south is Third Bay. I have only seen surfers at Third Bay three times as it is extremely challenging. High reward, very high consequences to use surfer parlance. If you don't know what you are doing you could end up in bad shape on the sharp protruding lava rock that sticks up everywhere.
Another place you didn’t want to end up was on the reef between the two bays. Many Pohoiki surfers, especially beginners, ended up high and dry on there. Once there the ocean comes in and unforgivably knocks you down as the the sharp reef slices through your skin with ease. Just like Second Bay, once you got to know the shifting currents and spots you could easily navigate around the reef, surf right up to, or even over it in the right conditions.
Further out the channel from First Bay and to the left is a spot called Dead Trees or ‘Deadies’ for short - because of the dead trees that stubbornly remain directly in front of the peak. (I always love how unromantic and practical surf spots are named). It is basically a reef slab going from very deep to shallow forming a gorgeous, steep, fast, hollow wave which can be ridden left or right. Also, high consequences if you don't negotiate the reef correctly. I had never rode this wave until bodyboarder/surfer Mike Stewart took me out and explained the wave to me and why it was his favorite wave on the Big Island.
Thursday: The lava has stalled less than .2 miles away from Pohoiki. Some think it’s possible Pohoiki could be spared. Are my prayers being answered?
Meeting and Surfing with a Legend at Pohoiki
One day after surfing a big swell at First Bay I was exiting the water and a local Hawaiian guy yelled out, “Hey Mike Stewart.” I thought, “Does he mean 'THE' Mike Stewart?” I turned around and sure enough right behind me on the boat ramp was the Bodyboarding/body surfing World Champion himself. Now I am keenly aware of who Mike Stewart is because I started my wave riding career, like many people, as a bodyboarder. I only learned how to stand up surf at Pohoiki many years later. In the late 80's and early 90's when bodyboarding was developing as a viable surfing sport, Mike Stewart was the man. A blond haired blue eyed Hawaiian born guy who became the best known bodyboarder in the world. I had pictures of Mike on my wall in huge barrels at Pipeline when I was a teenager. Mike has developed a well-deserved reputation and respect from even stand up surfers as a true waterman, diplomat, and surfing pioneer.
Here I was 30 years later surfing at my home break in the same place as one of my childhood heroes. It took me a while to work up the nerve to go up to him, but when I did I learned that Pohoiki was one of his favorite breaks and that he was in fact a full time, long term, Big Island resident. I told him I lived in Kalapana, surfed Pohoiki often, and that I had a cooking / travel TV show. I shyly suggested he should be on the show someday.
About a year went by and I ran into Mike again on island and this time I was more determined and convinced him to be on my show, the Culinary Edge TV. He said yes and gave me his contact info. I arranged to film a show with Mike where we would tour a local family farm on the Hāmākua Coast, named Double "D" Ranch. We would take delivery of some local meat and produce, and go for a surfing/grilling session wherever the waves were the best on the Big Island that day. As fate would have it the best waves on the island were at Pohoiki that day, and I’m glad they were.
Mike loaned me one of his Science bodyboards and gave me a pair of Viper fins we picked up at the local surf shop. It had been quite a while since I bodyboarded and I was both nervous and excited. It just happened that when we got to Pohoiki the waves at Dead Trees were decent. Not huge, thank God for me, but big enough for Mike to show off his stuff and for me to get some rides without meeting a bloody fate. Mike explained the spot to me, my cameraman (Averan Gale) got some killer footage for the show, and we all ended up grilling our local food and hanging out at Pohoiki until the sun went down. Pohoiki and Hawai'i offered it’s magic to me as it had many times before and I was grateful beyond measure.
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