Category: Event

Shiraz Bistro and Market

This weekend I attended a fun blogger event at Shiraz Bistro and Market, located in the Pinecrest area of Miami.  I always enjoy blogger events, meeting other bloggers, and learning about their blogs.  I’m usually very shy, but everyone is always so nice, it’s fun.

Shiraz has a cute little market set aside in the restaurant so you can purchase delicacies and cooking ingredients from the Mediterranean and Middle East. The owners were gracious enough to provide us with a full course meal, and oh boy, was it good!Shiraz Bistro

Pastries
JuicesTo start off our feast we were severed a variety of appetizers.  We had slices of pita beard and the option to dip them with subtly flavored humus, walnut chicken salad or a delicate and cool yogurt dip. In addition to the dips and pita, we were served stuffed grape leaves.  They looked like mini green leaf burritos and tasted great with the yogurt dip. I’m not a big fan of vegetarian dishes, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  Hummus and chicken salad

Just when I thought we were done with appetizers, we were served a second round. This time we had a choice of falafel, phyllo scrolls filled with feta cheese, and pan-fried Turkish sausage.  The yogurt sauce also ended up making a good dip for the falafel.  Along with our appetizers we were served a large salad to share, covered with feta cheese.

Turkish sausage and Baklava

Salad

Once we were done with appetizers we were promptly served our main course.  I ordered a chicken kebab.  I was pleasantly surprised to be served a deliciously tender chicken, less the skewers they were cooked on.  The chicken was mildly sauced with a hint of curry served with a long white rice.  I actually wished it was a bit more spicy, but it was still savory and moist, I would highly recommend it.Some of the other bloggers ordered some incredibly tasty looking dishes as well; lamb shank, lamb kebab, fillet mignon kebabs, etc..

Chicken Khebab

Lamb kebab

Well, about this time I was pretty full, but there was still dessert.  For dessert we had the option of baklava, kunefe and rice pudding.  Being that I love Nicaraguan style rice pudding, I wanted to try Persian style rice pudding. It was very different compared to the more liquid Nicaraguan rice pudding I was used to.  It was thick, maybe I’ll compare it to the consistency of bread pudding with just the right amount of sweetness, not over powered with sugar.  I was also able to try the kunefe, a Turkish desert.  It was a round pastry made from shredded phyllo dough with warm cheese in the center.  It was delicious, with a subtle hint of honey.  I would love to go back and have one again.

Rice pudding

We finished off our event with Turkish coffee.  If you are a fan of coffee like me, I would highly recommend you try it.  The coffee had to be made one-by-one for all the bloggers since it is slightly thicker than regular coffee or espresso.  They even served it in the cutest, most elegant little cups.  The coffee was thick and frothy, but not bitter and perfectly sweet.  No extra sugar needed for mine.

Turkish Coffee

Sugar Cubes
I didn’t add any sugar cubes, but they were so cute I had to take a picture 🙂

If you are in the Kendall/Pinecrest area, stop by Shiraz for a casual meal.  I can’t wait to go back and try other entrees.  As usual, feel free to comment.  Do you have other restaurants to recommend? Let me know.

Thanks for reading! – Gio

Shiraz Bistro & Market:
9630 SW 77th Ave
Kendall, FL 33156

Concerts Concerts Concerts!

Weezer and Panic! at the Disco:

Last month was a fun one, filled with concerts.  I recently got to see Panic! at the Disco and Weezer at Bayfront Park.  I always get a kick out of seeing what sort of crowd comes out to see a particular band.  In this case there was a lot of young girls wearing those mom shorts that are in style for some reason.  The opening act was Andrew McMahon, but we pretty much missed his entire set waiting in line and getting through security to get into the venue.

It was my first time seeing Panic! at the Disco, and my second time seeing Weezer.  I have to say Panic! at the Disco kinda stole the show.  I have never seen them before and they are really a fun band to watch.  The concert was days after the tragic shootings in Orlando and the lead singer of Panic! at the Disco, Brendon Urie, came out in a rainbow cape as a tribute. I thought that was pretty cool.  He was very gracious and thanked everyone for coming out and commented on how much of an influence Weezer was to him.   The band was a cool mix of rock, pop, ska, and piano melodies.  The highlight of the show was when they played Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Panic! At The Disco
Panic! At The Disco

Panic! At The Disco

After that, it felt like maybe they were stalling for Weezer to come out.  They played about 3 more songs until Weezer came out.  Weezer was awesome as usual, but I think they had some sound issues.  Some of those guitar high notes pierced my ears.  But they were great to watch live.  They played all their hits from all their albums and did a few mixes to squeeze all them in a short time frame. I was a little disappointed their set seemed cut short.  However, I left pretty content with the night.

Weezer
Weezer

Weezer

The Cure and Twilight Sad: 

More recently, I was able to catch The Cure.  They also had their show at Bayfront Park.  This show had a mixed crowd of older people, yuppies, goths, I even saw an adorable baby with headphones on to protect their little ears.  We were able to catch the opening act, Twilight Sad.  They were pretty good. Definitely a goth type band.

Twilight Sad
Twilight Sad

Finally, The Cure hit the stage.  They played all their hits, people were swaying and dancing and singing along.  It was a really good show.  The band did not show their age when it came to their performance.  Robert Smith even got emotional at the end, being that it was the last stop of the American tour.

The Cure
The Cure

The Cure

The Cure

 

Brew at the Zoo 2016

Sample Mug
My Sample Mug

Last Saturday I finally got to go to the New Times & Zoo Miami Brew.  I have been very curious about these type of beer tasting events.  Overall I had a good time, but It was a bit different than what I had imagined.

So this event is referred to as Brew at the Zoo, but it should really be called ‘Brew Adjacent to the Zoo’.  I’m sorry to say we did not see any zoo animals that night 🙁

My friend had invited me along with some of her friends that had purchased the tickets as a group discount for $25 each.  We ended up meeting up at the Zoo Miami parking lot. We saw people tail gating and pre-drinking before the event and were giggling and thinking that was redundant.  Later, we found out exactly why people were pre-drinking. Once the event started, we followed the crowd to an entrance along the right side of the Zoo.  We also received sample mugs as we walked in (they were adorable). The event was on an open lot adjacent to the zoo parking lot.  It reminded me of going to a food truck event.  Instead of food trucks on an empty lot, there were beer vendors.  There was a ton of people, and each little stand had a big line.

We sampled several beers from Magic Hat, Ballast Point, Wood Chuck, MIA Brewery and a few others.  Some tasted pretty good and some were pretty bad.  Around 9 or so, Arrested Development took the stage and some of the people went to see the show.  Someone in line told us that they came to the Brew just to see them.  They sounded great from a distance, but I honestly missed it all.  We ended up standing in line for some arepas and pinchos (pork kabobs).  The food was delicious, but basically those were the only food options.  By the end of the night we had really only sampled about 7 beers due to the long lines.

Overall,  I had a pretty good time.  I went with cool people, and the food was also good.  But of course food is not included in the ticket price.  But I guess I’m not too big on the beers we sampled.  Also, it would have been cool to get admission to the Zoo and walk around. The musical guest was a bonus to me.  I didn’t even know there was going to be one.  So in the end, I am not sure if I would pay for a full ticket price of $40 and up.  It would seem more economical to try a new bar and order a few pitchers.  But if you are curious like I was, getting the group discount (I believe it was a Groupon) would be your best bet for the next Brew at the Zoo.

Thanks for reading, and as always leave a comment – Gio

Swensen’s Beer Party

Swensens Glass Window

Last week, me and a few other bloggers were invited to a special tasting event at Swensen’s. Swensen’s has been located in Coral Gables by US 1 since 1971.  They have revamped their menu, adding fresh new items and ideas, including craft beers and gourmet burgers for a more gastro-pub type menu as opposed to a diner.  The owners along with their dedicated staff have been busy coming up with delicious new combinations of Adult Shakes as well, pairing some of them with their latest selection of craft beers.

Our first tasty treat was a truffle oil mac and cheese.  We had a few options of beer to try, Brooklyn Blast from Brooklyn Brewery, La Rubia from local Wynwood Brewery, Pineapple Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewery just to name a few. But I decided on a cider, Kopperberg Premium Cider. This is definitely, the best cider I have tried so far.  It taste and looks similar to pink champagne. Bubbly, and sweet, with a light fruity flavor.  I think it was a good contrast to the mac and cheese since it is heavier and bit more salty.

Truffle Mac and Cheese
Truffle Mac and Cheese
Kopparberg Cider
Kopparberg Cider

Our next menu item to try was dolphin fingers.  They were battered and fried, but very tender and light to eat. They were served along with a lemon garlic aoili sauce. The sauce was a delicious flavor boost to the dolphin fingers.

Dolphin-Fingers
Dolphin Fingers

Next, the awesome staff from Swensen’s brought out duck confit sliders.  They were deliciously made with their in house Asian BBQ sauce and ranch sauce.  The meat was super tender and juicy.  I guess I can describe the consistency as similar to pulled pork.

Duck-Confit
Duck Confit

So you think I would be full by now.  Yes, I was getting there.  But then they brought out their Nica Burger.  Guess who is Nica?  Me!  These sliders were made with Angus beef patties, slice of Nicaraguan style fried cheese (queso blanco), crema (yogurt type sauce), a sweet plantain, and Nicaraguan style cabbage salad (repollo).

Nica-Burger
Nica Burger

In between all this food tasting, I tried another beer.  This time a Monk in the Trunk.  According to our very nice server Riky, it is comparable to maybe an AmberBock.  It was not too hoppy or dark, but not as light as a bud light or similar beers.  So I liked it.

Monk-in-the-Trunk
Monk in the Trunk

Our final food sample, was a mac burger.  It consisted of fried mac and cheese of course, a hamburger patty, bacon, and was topped with a pepper-jack cheese sauce. I think the cheese sauce was my favorite part of the burger.

Mac-Burger
Mac Burger

For desert we sampled their new Adult Shakes:  Cafe Con Leche and Bananas Foster shake.  The Cafe Con Leche Shake was made with Cigar City’s Maduro Brown Ale and their delicious coffee ice cream. The Bananas Foster shake consisted of bananas, warm caramel, and Due Soft’s Caramel Cream Ale.  They were both delicious.  I can’t wait to go try more flavors.

Cafe-Con-Leche
Cafe Con Leche Shake
Banana Fosters Shake
Banana Fosters Shake

I had a great time and left very full and satisfied.  I would definitely recommend anyone to stop by and check out their new menu items, shakes and selection of craft beers.   The owner would like to keep adding more in the future as well.  Not only is their food good, but their staff is very polite and friendly.  This includes Chef Carlos Laherra, who came out to greet us, and our awesome server Riky who came up with many of the shake combinations.  They have even updated the music selection that plays while you eat.  Alternative bands like Pearl Jam, and other indie bands were playing while we ate.  It was a nice atmosphere and as always, it was nice to meet other bloggers and try new things.

Swesen’s is located:  1586 South Dixie Highway, Coral Gables, FL 33146

Primus and The Chocolate Factory

This past Tuesday I got to see one of my favorite bands, Primus!!!

The show was held at the Filmore by Miami Beach.  It’s a pretty good venue for concerts.  I pushed my way to the front and was able to get all the way to the stage with only one short girl in front of me.  Woo!  (That’s pretty hard to do when your a tiny person like me with general admission tickets.)

The show was Primus & The Chocolate Factory, so half of the show was dedicated to the songs from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  The stage was pretty barren at first, but for the second act they tripped it out.  Oompa Loompas even came out and did their dance.  It was great!

The band was on their game.  However, at one point Les got distracted and had to stop.  To quote him, he said ‘It’s Primus, this shit is hard!  Let me gather my thoughts.’  It was adorable, what can I say 🙂

They were definitely worth seeing for a 2nd time.  I’m so glad I went. It’s been a big highlight for my month so far 😀

If you have never heard them, you should look them up.  Pork Soda and Sailing the Seas of Cheese are probably their most well known albums.  Below is “Too Many Puppies”, which they also played at the show.  Enjoy!

 

Foam Glow 5k

I’m back for an update!  What have I been doing lately? Umm…I don’t know…a lot.  I really should write down some of these things.  I went to a play recently and I was in another art show.  But I’ll leave that for my next post.

Let’s see, I had signed up for a night time fun run, the Foam Glow 5k some time ago.  I wasn’t actually looking forward to it.  One of the main reasons I signed up was so I can lose some weight.  My thinking was that if I signed up, it would force me to at least make some effort to exercise and get ready for the race.  I didn’t want to walk the entire thing…or possibly collapse during the race because I was so out of shape. So I did end up riding my bike almost once a week, or I walked, or tried to run around the gulf course around my house.  Not as much as I should have, but more than I have done in forever.  Either way, the race was at night when they are normally ridiculously early in the morning and my friend Lisa would be there.  So why not?  I ended up inviting my sis and future bro in law.

The event almost felt like I had gone to Ultra.  It was held at the Homestead Speedway and there were people dressed up in candy raver gear, glow sticks, or other weird outfits for the race. There were people even tail gating before the race! Which seems fun, but beer is not the smartest thing to drink before you run/walk 3.2 miles.  There was a stage with a DJ and some MCs.  The MC’s had this big foam canon machine that sprayed everyone.  It looked pretty cool I have to say.  The music, foam and atmosphere gave off a pretty good vibe.  I was also surprised there were so many people.  There was probably a good 2000 people there.

The actual race took a while to start and we had to wait and wait as they let small groups of people start running (I’m sure so we all didn’t trample each other).  Once we started it was super dark and it was hard to run in a steady pace.  There was way too many people, kids, and moms with strollers. Eh…moms, sorry but you should really leave your strollers at home for that sort of thing.

Anyways, we ran/walked the race and it was pretty fun.  The music and foam were still being blasted at the crowd way after we left.  Funny enough it took a good 45 minutes to find my car after the race. Everyone else seemed to have the same issue and were wondering around clicking their car alarms. It was a funny scene in the parking lot.  Afterwards we had a good meal at Chilis. Although the staff was completely over whelmed that night.

So if you get the chance to sign up for one of these things, you should!  It will be fun, and a different experience to check off your bucket list.  Also, most of these races donate a portion to charity, so that is a plus 🙂

 

Mysteries of the Unexplained

Last month I entered a piece of ‘art’ titled Boogie Men for a show at the Bird and Bear Gallery (located on the 2nd floor of Tate’s Comics).  The theme of the show was Mysteries of the Unexplained so I created a piece about the monsters that most kids think live under their beds or closets.  It was mostly card stock and added details with pen.

I wasn’t expecting much and I even missed the opening night artist reception because I had other obligations.  However, low and behold someone out there actually liked my piece and purchased it.  This was very surprising and I didn’t believe it for myself until I saw it in person with the word “sold” by it. It is a nice feeling and am very happy to have entered, let alone sell my piece.

I have to thank my friends who are always doing creative things and motivating me to try to work on my skills.  I will definitely try to participate in more shows and see what I can come up with 🙂

 

Boogie Men

 

 

The ghosts on the top center is Emily’s work and the UFO in the center row is Chez’s
It’s my favorite co-host German, next to his ghostly woman.
Hector’s piece.  Looking pretty creepy here.

 

Long Time No Blog….Supercon!

Hello fellow followers…all 7 of you 😉

Anyways, I have been neglecting my blogger duties lately.  Been out and about and just plain watching and reading a lot of nonsense online.

One of the few things I have been up to in the real world is attending Supercon!  I got to see lots of awesome cosplay by some of the attendees, went to some panels, and of course spent money at the vendors.

If you ever get a chance to attend Supercon next year, I would highly recommend you do!  Take advantage of the panels that include discussions with comic artists and other topics.  I also wanted to mention the “Pineapple-Shaped Lamps Sketch Comedy Show”.  It was a pretty funny group of actors that performed a few comedy skits related to everything nerdy.  The hour long show was pretty entertaining.  Hope they come back next year with new stuff.

Check out some pics from the con.  Of course my phone was about to die, so I only was able to take a few pics.  Enjoy!

 

Posters being sold by a vendor at the con.  Hey look it’s Game of Thrones 🙂
This has to be one of the best cosplay outfits I have seen.
This Hulk comic and a few others were being sold for about $3-$4,000!
Awesome Storm cosplay!
Another hot X-men character, Mystique.
Just some of the awesome craftwork by some of the vendors, a Sailormoon handmade card.
For you Brony’s out there…

Tool Concert!!! Bank Atlantic Center 02/04/12

I finally got to see Tool this past Monday!!! They are one of my all time favorite bands 🙂

The show was great!  The band plays as well as any of their recordings.  They pretty much played all their popular songs including Stinkfist, Sober, Aenema, FortySix and 2, and Schism.  The light show was great.  If you were on any sort of narcotic I’m sure it would have added an extra umph to the light show 😉

I completely lucked out because of my awesome friends.  We ended up upgrading our nose bleed seats for suite seats for free.  Courtesy of some nice strangers and hot babes. That completely brought an extra dose of awesome to the whole night.

Unfortunately, my fancy phone was dieing around this time (as usual).  I tried to take as many pics as possible, but they all came out blurry and distant looking.The stage had a pretty cool set of large screens that played their videos on.

The opening act failed to mention their name, so I had no clue who this band was.  They weren’t very good tho.  Lost of growling type singing….

One thing that was a bummer from the night is that the lead singer Maynard was hiding by the drummer the whole time.  Many people have told me he tends to have stage fright and does this at all the shows.  Awe…that saddened me.  However, he still sounded great! So it was just a minor flaw in the act.
So check out Tool.  They are a pretty hardcore rock band with a dash of artsiness to them.  The lyrics have alot of meaning and the entire band is just an awesome ensemble and do a great performance.  You can view the video for Sober below: