I came across a small Kiosk installation for the first time at the Brooklyn Flea. They had cans of Jupina soda, Ricos meringues, bricks of espresso, La Cubanita guava paste, and orange gum balls exhibited together like a Cuban survivalist kit left under the Manhattan bridge. Asked to pick a handful of time capsule objects to explain Miami’s Little Havana circa 1985, I might choose the same ones (just adding a bottle of Royal Violets baby cologne for good measure). Read more
Posts from the ‘Resources/Stores’ Category
For months, I’ve had five untouched bags of farofa piled high on a pantry shelf. Not knowing how to use them but not wanting to throw them away either, I finally thought to ask my Brazilian friend, Claudia, for a recipe. When she started to recite the different ways it could be prepared, we decided it would be easier for her to come to my house next week to show me. She gave me a list of ingredients for our learning lunch with a warning to do no more than soak the black beans (lest I do anything to make them Cuban before she gets there). Excited, I went home to bring down the exiled farofa which was now…expired. It had obviously been trying to tell me something when it kept falling on my head each time I went into the pantry. Now that I had a plan but no farofa, I headed to Búzios in Little Brazil. Read more
New York City’s Chinatown offers everything you could possibly want while seeming completely inaccessible at the same time. That’s why I really wanted to take advantage of the market tour and Filipino cooking class offered by a member of my blogging group, Annette Tomei. Annette is a chef, writer and teacher at the International Culinary Center. Her blog, Wander, Eat and Tell, chronicling her travels and food experiences is always a push out the door, especially when she turns her attention to nearby neighborhoods I can explore with new eyes. One of her trips was to the Philippines to visit her brother-in-law Benjie’s family. While she was there, she spent time in a Filipino kitchen learning from four elderly women who shared their recipes and cooking knowledge in exchange for a promise that she teach it to others in her own country.
To that end, Annette planned today’s class. I met the group at the ICC and we walked over to Chinatown to pick up the final ingredients (and do some snacking you can read about here). The group was made up of Annette; Steven, our writing teacher; Hayley, another ICC instructor; Benjie and his friends, Luisa and Raqui. Food markets in Chinatown can be overwhelming so it was great to work our way through with a sense of purpose and Annette prepped guide. Looking the pictures now, it all seems so vivid. Before today I never felt like I could find the same spot twice, now I can’t wait to go back.
I discovered Despana by accident, looking for something else, in the disorienting cross streets where Little Italy becomes Soho. A small gourmet shop and wholesaler specializing in Spanish imports, it’s lined on one side with olive oils, jars of preserves, canned delicacies and Valor hot chocolate and cases of cheese and cured meats on the other. There’s also a small lunch counter offering pintxos, tortillas, bocadillos, salads and desserts. Basically, everything you worried you’d never find when your year abroad ended. Now that I have found it, I plan to seek it with purpose, again and again and again.