Miami’s cultural and gastronomic tours

With so much to do in Miami it is hard to decide where to start your day but if you are in the Downtown area, need a great cup of coffee and at the same time support your local roasters stop by Eternity Coffee Roasters on 117 SE 2nd Ave.  They have a roasterie and tasting room where you can choose your grains, make your own blends and they will roast it and brew for you on site.  I took my European friends to the tiny shop and they all agreed the coffee was superb, the espressos made just right, the aromas and the blends fantastic.

Just like in the wine world, the coffee can be tasted and appreciated, today there are more coffee connoisseurs who are showing interest in the “art of the barista” (coffee barman) So now you know, when you need your Java dose try Eternity Coffee and get the whole experience of coffee tasting.

The roaster at Eternity Coffee shop and tasting room.  Their single origin grains are mainly from Colombia from Farm direct trades.
The roaster at Eternity Coffee shop and tasting room. Their single origin grains are mainly from Colombia from Farm direct trades.
Choose, smell and taste the finest grains at Eternity Coffee roasters coming directly from the Farms in Colombia, Guatemala and other plantations in the world.
Choose, smell and taste the finest grains at Eternity Coffee roasters coming directly from the Farms in Colombia, Guatemala and other plantations in the world.
The flavor profile of each coffee is indigenous from the grain itself some of them with wild flower honey hints and herbal notes, hazelnut, milk chocolate, vainilla or tangy cranberry
The flavor profile of each coffee is indigenous from the grain itself some of them with wild flower honey hints and herbal notes, hazelnut, milk chocolate, vainilla or tangy cranberry

If you didn’t make a trip yet to Miami’s newest Museum the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) there’s no better time to do it then now and there are no excuses to be immersed in the contemporary art world with all this Museum has to offer. Arrive to the Museum by car, foot or take the Metro Mover stopping at the Museum station and you will be right there on 1103 Biscayne Blvd. Each second Saturday of the month there’s a free admission for everyone, a program sponsored by Target.

Most of the Latin American Art collection including Botero, Diego Rivera and Wilfredo Lam comes from Colombian-born developer Jorge Perez who donated $40 million in cash and art to earn naming rights.  Perez, the son of Cuban exiles, has been a major force in Miami’s urban redevelopment.

A visit to the PAMM will definitely open new ways to look at art and think twice when labeling Miami as a less cultural town.

Ai Weiwei "According to what?" retrospective at PAMM on display through mid March
Ai Weiwei “According to what?” retrospective at PAMM on display through mid March
The Museum is open from Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm.  Tickets are $12 for Adults and $8 for Seniors and Children 7-18 years old
The Museum is open from Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm. Tickets are $12 for Adults and $8 for Seniors and Children 7-18 years old
Piles of crabs installation by Chinese Master Ai Weiwei during the Opening reception of the PAMM
Piles of crabs installation by Chinese Master Ai Weiwei during the Opening reception of the PAMM

Time for lunch? Visit the Historic Miami River neighborhood, one of the oldest in Miami.  At a settlement from the early 1840’s is where you will find Garcia’s Seafood and Grill Fish Market located on 398 NW North River Dr. you will find fresh fish and seafood from the boats to your plate served with the traditional Caribbean seasonings and flavors.  For over 40 years The Garcia’s (a Cuban-born family of 11 kids) have been offering affordable dining with fresh catch grilled to order on a casual riverside setting.

Grilled Yellowtail, stone crabs sides of fried plantains (tostones), yellow rice and fried sweet plantains (maduros)
Grilled Yellowtail, stone crabs, sides of fried plantains (tostones), yellow rice and fried sweet plantains (maduros) with grilled shrimp. These side dishes are perhaps part of Miami’s Cuban traditional gastronomy
Garcia's fresh stone crab
Garcia’s fresh stone crab

Now is time to visit another great unconventional Gallery on a Historic site in Downtown Miami, CU1 Gallery at the Security Building on 117 NE 1st Ave.

The Security Building in Downtown Miami was the most imposing building at time of construction.  Constructed in the Beaux Arts architectural style,  is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
The Security Building in Downtown Miami was the most imposing building at time of construction in 1926. Constructed in the Beaux Arts architectural style, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
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CU1 Gallery is a photo space located inside the iconic Security Building. You can visit the gallery Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 6 pm. Free admission
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“Look at Me” was the first opening exhibition at CU1 Gallery where you can take a look through the photographer’s lens inside the vault at The Security Building
"Look at Me" showcased works by European photographers, most of them with extensive backgrounds in editorial and fashion advertising.
“Look at Me” showcased works by European photographers, most of them with extensive backgrounds in editorial and fashion advertising.
For the European partners of CU1 Goettlicher, Weber, Schmidt and Mueller, Downtown Miami will be facing an incredible art renaissance, it's going to happen.
For the European partners of CU1 Goettlicher, Weber, Schmidt and Mueller who believed in Miami’s art life, Downtown Miami will be facing an incredible art renaissance and it’s going to happen.

“Eye to Eye” is the current exhibition at CU1 Gallery on view until February 14 2014.  What are you waiting for? take a look at one of the newest innovative galleries in Miami.

Now get ready for the next art exhibitions on board of the SeaFair docked at the Chopin Plaza next to the Intercontinetal Hotel from January 16th to the 20th of 2014.  it is a unique experience to appreciate works of local and international artists showcasing installations, paintings, photography and sculptures.  See you on board Miami !!!

The Miami International Art Fair (MIA) is coming on board of the mega yacht SeaFair on January 16th to the 20th
The Miami International Art Fair (MIA) is coming on board of the mega yacht SeaFair on January 16th to the 20th

(C) 2014 Montserrat Franco

A room with a view. From The San Martino cloisters

A room with a view from The cloisters of San Martino in Naples
A room with a view from The cloisters of San Martino in Naples

Continuing with our trips around Naples at the top of the hill is one of the most important monuments in the city, the Certosa di San Martino (San Martino’s charterhouse).  You can reach this part of town from Chiaia via de funiculars or by Vespa which is the best way of transportation in Naples due to traffic, the narrowed streets and of course…the parking, besides getting around on a Vespa can only make your trip in Italian cities even more authentic.

After the unification of Italy the San Martino cloisters and the National Museum of San Martino were restructured.  Originally built in the XIV century.
After the unification of Italy the San Martino cloisters were drastically restructured. Originally built in the XIV century, part of the complex was turned in to a Museum. From there the dramatic views of the Gulf of Naples and the Vesuvius.
In 1325 the construction of the cloister begun under the rules of Charles of Anjou.  The Monastery was deconsecrated in 1806 and since 1866 became a Museum displaying the greatest pieces of Neapolitan art and history
In 1325 the construction of the cloister begun under the rules of Charles of Anjou. The Monastery was deconsecrated in 1806 and since 1866 became a Museum displaying the greatest pieces of Neapolitan art and history
Carthusian monks lived in the Monastery designed by Giovanni Antonio Dosio at the end of the XVI century.  The original look dramatically changed over the years with Baroque and Mannerist rebuilding.
Carthusian monks lived in the Monastery designed by Giovanni Antonio Dosio at the end of the XVI century. The original look dramatically changed over the years with Baroque and Mannerist rebuilding.
Inside the Museum of San Martino there are permanent and itinerant exhibitions like the Bourbon Royal Boat from an exhibit in collaboration with the Naval Museum of Naples.
Inside the Museum of San Martino there are permanent and itinerant exhibitions like the Bourbon Royal Boat from an exhibit in collaboration with the Naval Museum of Naples.
From the Aragonese to the Bourbon dynasties the Museum of San Martino presents important pieces dedicated to the Kingdom of Naples.
From the Aragonese to the Bourbon dynasties the Museum of San Martino presents important pieces dedicated to the Kingdom of Naples.
The Nativity scenes (Presepe) became a form of art and a very important part of the Neapolitan tradition in the 19th century.  This part of the Museum of dedicates an entire section to The Presepe.
The Nativity scenes (Presepe) became a form of art and a very important part of the Neapolitan tradition in the 19th century. This part of the Museum dedicates an entire section to The Presepe.
Another scene of the Nativity I found on display at The Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples during the presentation of the "Duemilla Vini" guide to the wines in Italy.  Note the attention to the details and how simple acts of life take active part in the Presepe Napoletano
Another scene of the Nativity I found on display at The Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples during the presentation of the “Duemilla Vini” guide to the wines in Italy. Note the attention to the details and how simple acts of life take active part in the Presepe Napoletano
Even Pulcinella is part of the Presepe (Nativity) Pulcinella is a classical character from the "commedia dell'arte" and is a traditional character in the Neapolitan puppetry both contemporary with the art of Nativity craft in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Even Pulcinella is part of the Presepe (Nativity) Pulcinella is a classical character from the “commedia dell’arte” and is a tradition in the Neapolitan puppetry. It shows how characters from different periods of time are mixed up, note the hanging baccala (cod fish) the provolone del Monaco cheese, the ugly tomatoes on a basket.

 

Pause for Coffee

In Naples coffee is a ceremony, the Neapolitans love their espressos very strong and you can have them everywhere, plenty of historic coffee shops and pasticcerias (cake shops) offering a wide range of coffee brands, many of them born in Naples such as Pasalacqua and Kenon.  In fact the moka pot (Napoletana) is a Neapolitan invention dated back from the late 19th centuries.

Coffee time in Naples is anytime, I take mine macchiato (with a dash of foam) if you are watching the line ask for "dietor" a low calorie non aspartame sweetener  because they will assume you will drink your coffee with sugar.
Coffee time in Naples is anytime, I take mine macchiato (with a dash of foam) if you are watching the line ask for “dietor” a low calorie non aspartame sweetener because they will assume you will drink your coffee with sugar.
coffee break and newspaper readings in Piazza Vanvitelli at the Vomero quarter
coffee break and newspaper readings in Piazza Vanvitelli at the Vomero quarter
Scaturchio, one of the traditional coffee and cake shops in the Vomero quartier right next to the Funiculare station.
Scaturchio, one of the traditional coffee and cake shops in the Vomero quarter right next to the Funiculare station.
Café Biandini , as you can see most coffee shops in Italy sell more than coffee,  they are also a bar, a bakery and most of them offer a lunch menu and aperitif buffet from 5 pm.  I love the elegant uniforms their trained baristas wear.
Café Biandini , as you can see most coffee shops in Italy sell more than coffee, they are also a bar, a bakery and some offer a lunch menu and aperitif buffet from 5 pm. I love the elegant uniforms their trained baristas wear.

Italians know if someone is not Italian when they order cappuccinos during the day, afternoon or after a meal.  Cappuccinos are meant to be drunk only with breakfast, with those delicious “cornettis” (pastries).  After lunch or diner they drink their espressos.  Coffee is a way of expression and is a form of art.  Enjoy an espresso before or after your Museum visit.  See you tomorrow!!!

A classic Italian breakfast: cappuccino, orange juice and cornettis, the pastries can plain or filled with nutella, marmalade or chocolate.
A classic Italian breakfast: cappuccino, orange juice and cornettis, the pastries can be plain or filled with nutella, marmalade or chocolate.

(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco.  All pictures by me taken with IPhone 4S and Sony Cybershot.