I tasted Hemingway through the sugar cane straw of my perfect mojito last week and I may never be the same.
No matter that it was three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and I was the only member of my party to imbibe, that lime pulp danced on my taste buds like a wily marlin on the cool blue sea and I savored it as long as I could.
Later, we strolled through Miami’s Little Havana and feasted on the glorious colors there.
A wise old marketer sat on a bench outside his cigar shop and smoked, luring patrons in with the scent of his fat stogie and the winked promise of crusty stories. A line snaked out a famous ice cream shop and, across the street, serious gamers sat in the crowded Domino Park studiously ignoring (or covertly posing for) passing tourists assembled there.
Bright street art covered happy walls, and painted roosters stood sentry everywhere.
I followed our able tour guide, my nephew and fellow blogger Robert, through the neighborhood, cell phone camera cocked and ready to record. Again, I could have spent days exploring the food and shops, but we had a schedule to keep (and a Miami Heat game to attend), so we pressed on.
Later that night, we exited the American Airlines Arena and saw Miami’s Freedom Tower lit up in green and orange (in honor of University of Miami president Julio Frenk’s inauguration).
I felt, for a little while, as though we had traveled to Cuba…and I really wanted another one of those muy deliciosa mimosas. Viva La Pequeña Habana!
Welcome to Little Havana, USA where painted roosters preen.
Just as I was snapping a picture from the outside of the Versailles Bakery, a famous Cuban spot, this adorable little beret-wearing tyke ran over to the window on the inside with a look of pure glee…I’m still smiling back at him.
And if adorable toddlers weren’t enough, just look at the spread of Cuban baked goods!
I really should have just shot that unbelievable mojito, which you see hiding shyly behind my bowl of bean soup. I thought it would be more socially acceptable, though, to include my Sunday lunch. But, oh my! That mojito…
The requisite table shot, which I tried to take in the ubiquitous Versailles Restaurant mirrors. I’m not sure this shot was a success, but the people in it are some of my faves.
But I did love this shot of a Little Havana street mural.
Homemade Cuban ice cream.
The game is serious in Domino Park.
This dapper gentleman was waiting for a game.
How about this marketing ploy? You sit outside your Cuban tobacco shop, smoking a giant cigar and chatting up the ladies? Rough work, and this guy does it every day.
I liked the look of this yellow cab at the base of Miami’s Freedom Tower, which is considered the Ellis Island of the South.