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Monday, October 14, 2019

Can you stand the heat?

Atchana's is having its inaugural Siracha Challenge on Thursday, October 17. 

This has a focus on Sriracha and local made sauces which will include:
Steve, the owner's “Steve’s Mango-Racha”
Jeff’s “Miss “Chili”
Dave’s “Dragon Sauce”
Lee Kessler's (from Barracuda) super spicy sauce

There are 10 sauces in all. Learn Siracha fun facts and win gift certificates and prizes. Free milk provided!

They’ll progress from mild to mouth-on-fire Scorpion Peppers, Ghost 
Peppers and Carolina Reaper Pepper “Reaper-Acha."

Also Sriracha Crickets, Sriracha Gummie Bears and good times! Winners 
get prizes and will be inscribed on their Wall of Heat.

$25 includes first drink, sauce and appetizers. This is limited to 20 people to participate, reserve now by calling 305-774-0404.

This is at Atchana's Homegrown Thai restaurant, 3194 Commodore Plaza.

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Woman's Club to host candidates forum

Russell, Fried, Gonzalez

The Coconut Grove Woman's Club is hosting a District 2 Commission Candidate Forum on Wednesday, October 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.


Palomino.
The four candidates will be present:

Current Commissioner Ken Russel, Javier Gonzalez, Jim Fried and Rosy Palomino.

Moderators are Brian Bandell from the Miami Business Journal, attorney David Winker, who writes for various local publications and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald.

The Woman's Club is located at 2985 South Bayshore Drive.

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Arquitectonica receives prestigious award

Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, Museum President, Chicago Athenaeum; Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Brescia, Founding Principals of Arquitectonica, and Coconut Grove resident, Peter Studl, Past Chairman, Chicago Athenaeum.  Ms. Spear and Mr. Fort-Brescia hold laurel wreaths hand-picked at the base of the Acropolis in Athens Greece two days before the reception.  

The American Architecture Awards are the nation’s highest public awards given by a non-commercial, non-trade affiliated, public arts, culture, and educational institution. This year, the Chicago Athenaeum  selected Arquitectonica, the Coconut Grove based architecture firm, as winner of their top honor. They were presented the award on Thursday night at a ceremony at the Mr. C Hotel in Coconut Grove.

Founded by Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Brescia in 1977, together with Andrés Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Hervin Romney, Arquitectonica built its first project in 1978; and within five years, the firm had completed a series of major Miami projects that helped delineate a mainstream contemporary architecture for a whole generation of architects around the world. 

Based in Miami and with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila, Lima and Sao Paulo, Arquitectonica is a major presence on the world architectural stage.

“For over four decades," said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, Museum President, The Chicago Athenaeum, “Arquitectonica remains as the most influential office in Miami and one of the most prominent design firms in the United States."

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

These construction workers are on trend

So much of the daily scene these days consists of construction workers who are part of the fabric of the Grove. They are all over - even on scooters! They are part of the community, they are friendly, they are polite, they know the locals. It's an interesting dichotomy. 

A friend often mentions it and I had to laugh when I was picking up lunch at Asian Thai Kitchen (3135 Grand Avenue) the other day - there were many construction workers there getting Thai food for lunch. And daily you can see them at the local restaurants and many flock to Starbucks.

In the old days I remember construction workers with bucket lunch boxes and sandwiches and thermoses. Now it's upscale and trendy food and coffee!

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Craft beer was the star at Grovetoberfest

Grovetoberfest, the largest, most anticipated, all-inclusive beer festival in the country took over Regatta Park on Saturday. 

Over 400 craft beers were on hand, there were tastings, live music, and some of the annual favorite features. Beer enthusiasts converged to sample unlimited beer from across the country and around the planet. Aficionados and the “casual beer fan” enjoyed sampling, a live entertainment stage, and a VIP area.


It was overcast all day, which made it quite comfortable to be out there. Many food trucks offered delicious items and lots of people brought pets to the festival, too.

It's always an enjoyable event, people are happy, it's a fun time.













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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Stop by and pet the well-dressed elephant

Isn't she pretty? That's the elephant in front of Saffron, the Indian restaurant on Grand Avenue. Those are scarves and silk and flowers from Maya Hatcha next door.

That area of the Grove is becoming quite special now. Not sure if you've been by, but that big building that houses the gym on the second floor is being painted - yes, a beautiful mural is going up and it's enhancing the building. Then out front, you might have seen all the plants on the sidewalk every day, provided by Kreative Gardens, one of the tenants at the Coconut Village Shops at 2982 Grand Avenue, where Maya Hatcha and Catch A Wave are located, too.

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He cooked at The White House for Obama

Chef Juan Borjas

Juan Borjas is the new Executive Chef at The Spillover.

He started his culinary career working at Hillstone in Coral Gables, where he met Matt Kuscher, The Spillover's owner. In 2009, to further his culinary skills, Chef Borjas made a move to NYC to study at the French Culinary Institute. After mastering his studies, he worked at two legendary concepts, Le Cirque and Stanton Social, which were a part of the Tao Group. He moved on to become the Executive Chef for Beauty & Essex for three years and then had the honor and privilege of cooking at the White House for President Obama. Juan has appeared on the Food Network's television show Chopped and has recipes in the published book, "Share: Delicious & Surprising Recipes to Pass Around Your Table." Now he holds the helm in the Spillover kitchen and has some genuinely magical dishes to share with you.

Evolution is part of every great story. To grow and challenge themselves to strive for greatness has always been The Spillover's motto. So Kush Hospitality is charging ahead with a menu revamp they feel embodies the essence of The Spillover brand. The flavors on this menu will leave you wanting more, bite after bite. "We dare say, Coconut Grove has never tasted this good. With the culinary genius, Chef Borjas on our team, we're reinvigorating, reinventing and serving dishes that will surely enchant your palate. But don't worry; we will still be keeping our core menu items and incorporating Juan's signature dishes that he is known for like is Khao Soi Style Mussels and his amazing Prawn Toast," says Matt.

Reservations available on their website and are highly encouraged. Visit spillovermiami.com to book.

And coming up at The Spillover - Thursday, October 31 from 5-7 pm stop by for a not-so-spooky Yappy Hour in celebration of Halloween. They will be hosting a costume party for your four-legged friends, "Best in Show" wins a prize basket! 

And now the first-ever beer store in Coconut Grove just opened up, and guess what? it's inside of Vicky's House, the shake shop, The Spillover's sister. Now you can kill two cravings with one visit and get yourself a sweet treat while you shop for take-home brews.


The fully stocked shelves are rare-find craft beers you won't see at your local supermarket. Moreover, the shelves will only stock up on the most cutting edge beer geek essentials.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Motion filed against County regarding Playhouse

Attorney David Winker has filed a brief in the Coconut Grove Playhouse case.

"I am bringing to the court’s attention that by failing to provide a complete record of the underlying proceedings at issue, the County has mis-characterized the proceedings of the City of Miami Historic and Environmental Protection Board (HEP Board)," he says.

As outlined in his Amici Brief, two things happened at the October 5, 2005 HEP Board meeting:

1. The author of the historic designation report, Ellen Uguccioni, gave sworn testimony that it was her intent to designate in the report the entire exterior of the building; and

2. The Board Members voted unanimously to designate the entire exterior of the Playhouse.  

Neither of these facts are mentioned anywhere in the County’s Petition.  

In fact, the County:

1. attaches transcripts of every other relevant meeting, but fails to attach a transcript of the October 5, 2005 meeting.
  
2. cites to an unconfirmed, incomplete and uncorrected Designation Report.      

Winker says, "The failure of the County to attach the transcript of the October 5, 2005 meeting is understandable, as it contradicts the fundamental basis of their argument:  that the HEP Board found that “[o]nly the south and east facades possess architectural significance. Attaching the transcript would expose this statement for what it is: a falsehood."

"No one has raised this issue- what actually happened at the 2005 HEP Board Meeting- in any of the Playhouse proceedings to date (or in the previous case), and the transcript of the meeting (and the Affidavit of Anthony Parrish, the Chairman of the HEP Board at the time) makes clear that the HEP Board designated the entire exterior of the Playhouse."

Here is the motion and appendix in a dropbox file.


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Meet Rocky Junior

Looks like Rocky the boulder left something behind. Is it one of the minuscule pieces that he was jackhammered into? No, it appears that one of those bricks that is piled up in front of the former Johnny Rockets building has a personality of its own. Right now there are bricks piled up because the cable company is digging up the sidewalk in that area.

People are angry about Rocky's removal, it's funny because just yesterday, a few of us were standing around talking about it; four adults were standing on the corner, talking about a big rock, which had a big personality. Rocky just comes up in conversation. Is our town so dull these days that Rocky is the subject of conversation?

Everywhere I go, someone brings him up! A couple of people from the Chamber of Commerce were talking about it yesterday and I stopped by one of the offices in the Grove yesterday and they brought the subject up - everyone loved Rocky. Even political candidates have contacted me over Rocky! I kid you not.

Someone sent me this photo in the middle of the night and said, "Hurry up and get out there and look at this little orange guy before the buzzkill of a BID removes it." It's great to see so many people around town with a great sense of humor, we need to get these fun people to get out there and retake the Grove and turn it back into the fun place it always was before it's gone for good.



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Grovetoberfest is Saturday; get you tix now

Grovetoberfest is one day away! The biggest beer fest around is Saturday, October 12. Tickets are still available.

The event is at Regatta Park (3500 Pan American Drive).

Tickets are still available online here.

Beer Socialite tickets are a great deal:

That's four hours of unlimited beer sampling. 150+ breweries. 400+ beers. 

All of this for only $74. Due to limited spacing, the Beer Socialites are running out. 

Beer Socialite Tickets can only be purchased online.
Once they're gone - they're gone! 

- 3 pm Entrance
- 4 Hours of Unlimited Beer Tasting
- 1 Commemorative Drinking Glass
- 1 Commemorative Bag
- 150+ breweries
- 400+ Unlimited Beer Samples
- Access to food trucks & vendors

There is general admission for $54.00 and VIP for $99.

General admission opens at 4 pm and includes unlimited samples.

VIP is from 2 to 7 pm and everyone enjoys the VIP treatment. But, they only have a limited number of VIPs available, so act soon. VIP Package includes:                                                          *Enter the festival early (2 pm)
*Access to VIP Lounge
*Grovetoberfest t-shirt
*Custom Grovetoberfest Mason Jar                                          
*Special high-end, limited release beers in the VIP Lounge
*VIP-Only Air Conditioned bathrooms
*Catered food

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Making good use of city boulders

I was in New York City last week and I was reminded of how New Yorkers revere their boulders.  They are placed around important areas to protect them from cars driving into crowds, they're all over - in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, at 30 Rock, etc. Here is Union Square. You'll notice they are a part of everyday life and New Yorkers put them to good use!


This two-headed guy uses the boulder as a desk.

Our poor Rocky the Boulder is gone, but I do have some good news coming up. We may have a Christmas tree and lighting ceremony in the Center Grove after all. I'll give you all the details when they are confirmed!


A protester or salesman, not sure which, there are a lot of both at Union Square, enjoys the boulder.


Tourists use the boulders to rest on. A guy in a wheelchair uses it as a windbreak.

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More greed and destruction in the South Grove

I am told that the Kampong/FIU is eager to please the neighbors so they agreed that the County could relocate the bus shelter several feet back onto Kampong frontage, thus freeing up the bike path. 

Speaking of the Kampong and FIU, a neighbor told me this, "I think all the sturm and drang about the FIU botany center at the Kampong is misguided. If a private developer were to build homes on that property, they wouldn’t be Grove cottages."

Recently a private owner started building a 20,000 square foot home in the South Grove that doesn’t require a variance. 20,000 square feet is the city maximum. But neighbors are sure he will cheat because he is building a 9 foot wall around the property from the current 6 foot wall. He's cutting down trees and trying to add a helipad

"But that’s what rich people with lawyers do," I'm told.  

And he has three more lots to build more monster homes. 

The same thing could happen at The Kampong without a variance, as is already happening South of The Kampong.

I'm told that the neighbors should not be so worried about the FIU botany center. They should be worried about what will get built instead if they shut down FIU and their botany center; and FIU flips it to a private developer!

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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Try the new Salt & Straw ice cream on Saturday

Salt & Straw, the new ice cream place opening at CocoWalk, we wrote about it here, is having an Ice Cream Social here in the Grove on Saturday, October 12 from 1 to 4 pm.

Experience the delicious flavors of this west coast favorite and get to know co-founders Kim and Tyler Malek.

Enjoy scoops for $1 each, with all proceeds benefiting Coconut Grove Elementary.

They'll be near Tigertail + Mary at 3321 Mary Street on Saturday, and if you can't wait, on Friday, October 11, they'll be in Wynwood from 7 to 11 pm at Panther Coffee, 2390 NW 2nd Avenue.

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Owl-O-Ween at The Barnacle

The Barnacle is throwing a Owl-O-Ween party on Sunday, October 13.

Stop by from noon to 4 pm and enjoy educational games, crafts, and story bookreading. Park in the neighborhood and stroll down the tree-lined path through the park to the Micco Pavilion. 

Join park rangers to learn about the fascinating lives of owls and their important role in a healthy ecosystem. Enter one or more of the day’s contests for a chance to win prizes, and stick around to meet ZooMiami's Animal Ambassador, Tweek the screech owl, when he stops by for a visit.

The event is included with the regular $2 per person entry fee. Children under age 6 enter free. 

The Barnacle Historic State Park is at 3485 Main Highway.

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Stupid obstacles in the bike/jogging path

People are questioning the wisdom of this - a pole, placed smack dab right on the Commodore Trail, which is a bike path.

"How about we put it in the middle of the roadway. Why not? Almost as many people bike, walk, jog or scooter that path as they do Main Highway. What kind of reaction would we get if FPL or ATT put this square in the middle of Main Highway?" asks a reader.


Recently, a bus shelter was placed on the trail, blocking most of it in one area; blocking the Commodore Trail sign, too. At least there's a scooter there to conveniently get around it you want to.

"As a volunteer citizens group, the Friends of the Commodore Trail have been working tirelessly for the past two plus years, and this new obstacle just insults our work. Public officials issue permits to use the trail for utility poles, bus stops, fire hydrants, signs, flower stands . . . you name it.  Now, there is painted dotted line running the length of the trail between the utility pole south to the entrance of the Moorings on Main Highway, so I’m guessing that they will be tearing up the trail as well," says a member of the Friends of the Commodore Trail.

We're still having our parking issue in our neighborhood. The Commissioner, Police Commander, County and other folks abandoned us. They were supposed to do something, but they have done NOTHING. So I'm not sure if anyone cares about this less than smart thing now on the Commodore Trail, but we'll see.

Comments are open. So what do you think? I had only closed comments because it seems that hundreds of you prefer to comment on Facebook and only one or two of the same people have been commenting here. But comments are open here again.


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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Meet author Zaida Alfaro at the Woman's Club

Zaida Alfaro
Meet author Zaida Alfaro who will be signing her new book "The Last Note," at the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove on Thursday, October 10.

Stop by from 5:30 to 8 pm and listen to this great story teller. She'll speak on how and why she started writing mystery novels and present her book about a Miami Music Mystery.   

Zaida is about to release a music video and she will sing a few songs, as well. She is funny, endearing, smart and has a wonderful voice, don’t miss her book signing and performance. She is, also,a great supporter of the Woman's Club.

When you join these fundraisers, you help the club pay, not only for the clubs’ expenses, but also enable them to give back to the community, as they continue to contribute to some of their favorite charities.

Cost is $10 at the door, there will be free snacks.

The Woman's Club is at 2985 S. Bayshore Drive.


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Second Candidates Forum next week

Fried, Gonzalez and Russell at Monday's forum.

If you missed Monday's candidates forum, there is another next week.

The Coconut Grove Woman's Club is hosting a District 2 Commission Candidate Forum on Wednesday, October 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Three of the four candidates will be present:

Current Commissioner Ken Russel, Javier Gonzalez and Jim Fried. Rosy Palomino has not confirmed at this writing and was a no-show at Monday's forum.

The candidates each have certain platforms that interest them:

Ken: environmental initiatives, affordable housing and green space.

Javier: Melreese Park, NCD zoning and the Playhouse

Jim: planning and zoning, affordable housing, public safety including traffic calming.

Moderators are Brian Bandell from the Miami Business Journal, attorney David Winker, who writes for various local publications and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald.

The Woman's Club is located at 2985 South Bayshore Drive.

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Monday, October 07, 2019

Call to artists for Mad Hatter Festival

The 15th Annual Mad Hatter Arts Festival returns next month, the festival is November 23 and 24 from 10 am to 5 pm each day. The usual, the festival will be held on the grounds of The Barnacle Historic State Park and along
the sidewalks of Main Highway right outside the grounds.

This juried event features original art of all types of media and hand-crafted items as well as select dealers of vintage, antique, repurposed items, and collectibles, and plants.

Artists, Artisans, and Vendors wishing to be considered in the jury process should submit an application. Join in the fun!

Cost for tent exhibitor is $90 plus $25 application fee. The artist provides their own 10' x 10' tent to be set up at The Barnacle.

Sidewalk exhibitors are $65 plus $25 application fee. The artist provides a 6' table and/or grids or rolling rack set up on Main Highway. 

Entry deadline is Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Be a part of this zany arts festival -- for more information or to request an application packet, contact MadHatterArtsFestival@yahoo.com

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Sunday, October 06, 2019

Bike Coconut Grove wins foundation grant

Bike Coconut Grove, a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 to promote bicycling and walking in Coconut Grove, announced two important steps toward achieving its goals. The organization has received a grant from the Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge to improve the Commodore Trail at the intersection of Ingraham Highway and Douglas Road, where the Trail is little more than a narrow shoulder of one of the community’s busiest roadways. Also, Bike Coconut Grove is the lead organizer of Coconut Grove Bike and Walk to School Day, which will take place Friday, October 11.

Improving the Commodore Trail and making it safer for all users has been a key goal of Bike Coconut Grove since its inception. Toward that end, the group created a new project, Friends of the Commodore Trail, that will soon become a seprate nonprofit. The Miami Foundation announced on Monday that Friends of the Commodore Trail was awarded full funding for its proposal to improve the intersection of Ingraham Highway and Douglas Road. The improvements will include widening the Trail, trimming vegetation, and other ways to make the Trail safer for all users. This will involve close coordination with the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works and the City of Miami.

Helping to organize Bike and Walk to School Day has been one of Bike Coconut Grove’s annual activities in both the fall and spring. For the spring 2019 event, 36% fewer cars passed Coconut Grove Elementary School than on the previous day. The number of participating schools has steadily increased. Nine schools have signed on for this year’s fall event: Carrollton School, Carver Elementary School, Carver Middle School, Coconut Grove Elementary School, Plymouth Preschool, Ponce de Leon Middle School, Ransom Everglades Middle School, Ransom Everglades Upper School, and St. Stephens School. 

All the participating schools are encouraging families to bike, walk, and carpool to school during the morning. The City of Miami Police Department will deploy additional officers at the intersections of Oak/Matilda and Grant/Matilda. In addition, the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District has arranged for older children to be part of a fun excursion on the Cycle Party vehicle. In addition to the Police Department and the BID, supporters of the event include the Coconut Grove Village Council, the BikeSafe/WalkSafe program at the University of Miami Medical School, and parents, teachers, and administrators at the participating schools.

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Saturday, October 05, 2019

City workers are unfair to residents

A lady posted something on the NextDoor website. She says the City of Miami's Building Department posted a "Stop Work Order" on her door, yet she was not having any work done.

She was disturbed by the fact that someone anonymously complained and the city did no checking and just posted the signage. The city just assumes the complaint is true.

I know it's upsetting, but she wasn't fined, she only received the stupid sign.

This interests me because we see illegal construction going on daily in the City and the Grove and I've been told to my face by developers that they paid people off to get what they want in the way of development. They also build and then pay fines later, you know, do it first and apologize later.

We're still dealing with the parking issue or lack of it in our neighborhood. Someone complained and all hell broke loose. A developer removed "no parking" signs and rather than check that out, the city and county banned everyone from parking.

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