Saturday, February 2, 2013


Home sweet home.

There are some places that I absolutely have to go and thing I love to do when I go back to Miami. Growing up there and then not living there for a long time I am always surprised by how much the city grows and develops every time I return home.

My vacation got off to a rocky start that turned amazing. I can't emphasise this enough, when you are travelling, be nice to the cashiers, flight attendants, desk clerks, etc. I bought my tickets to Fort Lauderdale a few months early. I was worried that I was going to get bumped from my flight since I wasn't given a boarding pass when I checked in for my flight. Usually, I am like the last person on the plane, but I was very early for my flight this time. I went to the gate and asked for my seat assignment, and was told to come back a half hour before the flight. I asked again nicely and was told that my name would be called before the flight boarded. I was growing increasingly concerned because there was a bit of a standby list on display. Five minutes before boarding my name was called and I was upgraded to first class.

The first class experience on an American Airlines flight in my opinion isn't as worth it. Previously I had only flown first class on Virgin America. The food is terrible. The seats aren't much more comfortable. Value wise, I wouldn't have pay more than say fifty bucks to upgrade to first class on American.

Once I got to the airport, I had to deal with the rental car situation. I reserved a car from Avis. Reserved an MKZ but was assigned a MKS. If you know me you know that I am not the SUV type. So eventually got everything corrected and was given a MKZ, but on the way to the parking lot there was this beautiful white 328. I went back inside to do my negotiations and was informed that that car was a 2012. Then I was offered a brand new 2013 with very low mileage.

Imagine how pissed I was when I found out that there was no satellite radio in this car. Really Avis... No satellite radio in your BMW. I must say that after buying a Toyota Camry... There are some features that my Camry has that the BMW has a much better navigation system in some ways. The controls are a bit more intuitive. The Camry's voice control is much more straightforward. It took me about 20 mins to figure out the Bluetooth in the BMW.

I had dinner with my grandma, more like a large late night snack considering it was well after midnight at the Latin Cafe 2000 (1149 W 49th St, Hialeah). There are several Latin Cafes dotted through Miami. We had the appetizer sampler. The sampler consisted of:
Tostones Rellenos con Picadillo: Delicious fried plantains which are smashed to form a little cup which contains a savory mix of ground beef and olives it has a tasty tomato base to it. Fresh they are amazing but the tostone, or plantain part of the situation doesn't reheat well at all as I learned the next day.
Croquetas: A Cuban staple which is essentially chopped up ham breaded and deep fried. They are a tasty treat that is usually served with saltine crackers. I usually forego the crackers when eating them. Done right they have a soft inside and a crispy outside. A delicious ham flavour that isn't too salty.
Tamal: which was tasty and had the correct proportion of masa to meat. It is absolutely horrible when you get one that is overwhelmed with too much masa.
Pork: what makes pork taste better? Frying it in its own fat. You get the nice lemony flavour (though most mojo marinades are made with tasty bitter oranges) of the mojo marinade accentuated by a hint of garlic. The cooked onions that accompanied it have a slight vinegary taste. The pork is very tender with a crisp exterior.
Papas Rellenas: My favourite part of Cuban cuisine hands down. I fiend for these when I am away from home. It is the perfect snack. Devinely smooth mashed potatoes coat a delicious filling of Picadillo and is deep fried to crispy perfection... Hey nobody said Cuban food was healthy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Three Down

This time I got the chance to experience the newest stadium in the league.  Marlin's Park.  I gotta say maybe it's just because it is in Miami and I love Miami so much... But that stadium turned me into a bit of a Marlins fan.  I didn't think it was possible.  I always joked about being a Yankee's fan, just to get people mad, but in all reality... I have no allegiance to any baseball team until now because I really didn't care a bout baseball at all.  To be honest I still kinda don't, but that doesn't detract from the allure of an amazing stadium like Marlin's Park.  It actually looks like somethign from the futre.  Both games that I went to were played with the roof on so I guess I'm kind of obliged to see one with it off.  It's July and hopefully I will knock off the White Sox, Dogers, Royals, Cardinals or Brewers maybe.
The Marlins lost the first game I went to in amazing fashion thanks to Heath Bell giving up 4 runs in the ninth inning, making it the first game that I've been to where the home team hasn't won.  Fourtunately they redeemed themselves on Friday night. Hey don't count the Fish out there are so many Baseball games.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Two Stadiums Down.

Well obviously a lot has happened since my last blog post.  I've visited two baseball stadiums, traveled a whole lot, been the sickest I've been in a long time and lost a lot of weight because of it.  Let's get to the fun stuff first. Cleveland is awesome.  You can't underestimate Progressive Field.  Wonderful stadium.  Combine that with the fact that you can get a chicken sandwich between two waffles there and you just scored yourself something amazing.  I was also able to talk to one of the ushers at the game to score some better seats a few rows up from third base.

Cleveland as a city was great too.  I really can't knock it.  I didn't do much because I was only there for a day and it was pretty rainy, but I did have the best fried chicken of my life there, and also had amazing sandwiches from Melt.

Then there was Denver,  I've gotta say to everyone who isn't a baseball fan, you've gotta see a game live.  I mean it wasn't the most exciting thing in the world, but Coors Field was also pretty great.  Of course I just had to have a Coors being that it was Coors field, but then switched to Blue Moon.    They also had Rocky Mountain Oysters there but even my adventurousness as a foodie led me to pass on it and get the Denver Dog.  I still don't remember what all was on it but it was pretty good.  It was kind of crazy too because I got to see Moyer get two RBIs.  Kinda funny for it to happen with a 49 year old pitcher.

I guess I have to be some sort of a good luck charm too, because every game I've been to, the home team has won.

Ah well so many more stadiums to go, and I can't wait.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Restaurant Week 2011

BLT American Brasserie
Frisee and Arugula Salad/Prosciutto Wrapped Egg/ Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Scottish Salmon/ Baby Bok Choy/ Shiitake & Ginger Vinaigrette

Tuxedo Cheesecake/ Raspberry Marmalade/ Hazelnut Crumble

Ricotta Beignets/ Blood Orange Caramel/ Vanilla Bean Cream 



Homemade parmesan gnocchi (Substituted with farfale)
Rock shrimp/ braised saffron leek / lobster tarragon emulsio

Coq au vin
Bacon lardons / pomme puree / Beaujolais wine reduction

Cafe Spiaggia
wild boar ragu, 
Parmigiano Reggiano

chicken liver mousse,  
cranberry compote, arugula, crostini

Frito Misto




Sauteed Brussel Sprouts


The time that has passed since my last blog posting has been a very trying one.  It started off pretty good.  I had a lot of fun at restaurant week, as demonstrated by the extensive display of food that is in this blog posting.  It was a good time.  I was very impressed  with BLT, Vermillion and Cafe Spiagga.  Not so much with Bistronomic.  I also walked away from C-House, thinking eh it's worth it, though it clearly wasn't the spectacular experience I was expecting.  The best thing I had at C-House as a matter of fact was the drink.

Enough about the food.  Work has been very tiring as of late.  I guess in retrospect that's what happens when you work 12 hours a day, six days a week.  Throw in a hour commute each way and a hour and a half of getting yelled at by Tony Horton, and it makes for a very busy day.  I had to stop P90X though unfortunately. Due to the fact that I got very sick all of a sudden at work one day.  I was just sitting down and suddenly felt very dizzy.  I've been fighting it off for the most part, but the nurse says she think's I am coming down with some type of virus.  Still I thought it best to stay away from working out and just get a lot of rest.  I feel like the normal cold type symptoms now.  Your headachey, stuffy types.  Mix in a little of a sore throat.  I plan on doing some light workouts shortly and going back into P90X when I'm done working the outage at Quad Cities.

Song of the Day: "Anne Braden" by Flobots

When I hear people tell me "Black people don't" fill in the blank-scuba dive or be gay in Africa or whatever-I think, You're ignorant.  Because the beautiful diversity of Blackness it the most remarkable feature of a Blackness that we continue to try to quarantine Blackness but the beauty of Blackness is that it's a rash that breaks out everywhere.
Who's Afraid of Post Blackness by Toure

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The First Ten

I hate Tony Horton.  He has got to be one of the most obnoxious assholes on the face of the earth.  That being said I cannot argue with the results of this program. I look different every day.  A look in the nitrite helps me to turn on that DVD player and force myself through another 60+ mins of workout. Another source of motivation comes from an unlikely source, a coworker telling me that I'm not extreme enough for P90X and I should just do P90. We'll see if that theory holds up over the next 80 days. I feel like I can do anything right now.

You can't skip a day. You would never be able to catch up.

With regards to solid foods, I immediately started to eat meat again though my diet is mostly vegan now a days. No intention of becoming a full on vegan but I can attest to the fact that I do feel a lot better eating less than half a pound of meet per day.  This seems like it should have been harder, taken longer.
"But imagine for a moment if we knew, strictly as a matter of course, these few unremarkable things: What it is we're eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what, in true accounting, it really cost... We eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and what we're eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world."
From An Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Song of the Day: Daydreamer by Adele

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 31-40: The Battle, The Bible, The Beginning

Man I can't believe how lazy I'm getting with these posts.

The Battle

I arrive
The rhythm of the drums in my ear
It motivates me
I move up the stairs with energy
I arrive
To endure torture for another hour
Feeling optimistic I press forward
I'm ready
A half hour in it starts to taunt me
It laughs at me
It spits in my face
Each number seems so slow or so low
How could this be
My anger grows
I arrive
At the base of the electronic hill
How well equipped I am for this
Silly hill did you think you were a match for me?
The power of my legs,
The beat of my heart
The breath of my lungs
The guitar solo
Feeble foe you are easily defeated
I take all of my anger
Most of which you have created
Reflect it back at you
And I get stronger
I arrive
At the end
I emerge victorious
Head held high
I went into the cave and slayed the dragon
I made the eighty yard drive to score the winning touchdown
I climbed Mt. Everest
I shot the buzzer beater
I crossed the finish line first
All in only one hour

It's been a long time since I wrote on this blog or wrote poetry too for that matter. This has helped me to discover a lot.  This is one of the best things I have ever done in my life and I don't think that I will ever be the same.  Twenty-six years of walking this earth and I finally go through something that takes me through a dramatic change.  I had time to closely examine all of my shortfalls.   For so long there was a sense of blind belief.  Just going through the motions.  To lazy to check the facts.  This has been my bite from the tree of knowledge.  My Rosetta Stone.

Physically, I am already 34lbs lighter.  That is a tremendous amount of weight.  At a supposed healthy weight loss rate, I am 240 days ahead of schedule.  This is just the beginning though.  I still want to cut about 20 more pounds off.  That would put me back into my "normal" weight range.  The challenge will come when I start to integrate solid food back into my diet.  As previously stated, this is the end of fast food consumption.  That's going to be the hardest part of this.  Ending a tumultuous relationship with a food that continues to do nothing but put health in peril.  For what?  The comforting feeling of the taste of highly processed ground beef treated in a high pressure ammonia bath, sent frozen through a processing facility and then cooked and reheated in a microwave. I've been hungry during this fast, very hungry at times.  Now armed with knowledge of how long the human body can endure without food, the human spirit is strengthened and I have enjoyed my last burger and fires.

Emotionally, this has been quite the roller coaster ride.  The highs have been really high and the lows have been really low.  It's also a little disheartening that most of the goals that were set to be accomplished from this fast were left on the shelf.  The only thing that I did end up living up to is the food part. In a little more than three days, this will have been the longest period of my life I have endured without meat.   Upon examining that previous sentence it really speaks to a bigger problem a bigger societal ill. It is no secret that our food system is flawed.  America doesn't grow meat.  It manufactures it, in order to meet unrealistic demands for said beef and pork products.  That is much to the detriment of man millions of animals that suffer a short and sick frail existence only to be slaughtered.  It is not right.  I feel healthier and better than I ever felt in my life even though over this time period I've consumed about 10% of the protein recommended protein intake.  Meat is very appetizing.  Tasty.  Now this starts a new trend of responsibility and ethical system for me to greatly reduce my personal meat consumption.

Spiritually, my religious views have completely changed.  I do feel closer to God now than when I started and I do carry with me the basic tenants of the Christian faith.  I don't believe that the Bible itself as a whole, is the word of God and can be taken literally.  I can only speak for myself, but after reading from beginning to end, it doesn't make sense.   Why after the coming of Jesus would slavery be an endorsed behavior.  If you take the Bible literally you can easily use it to oppress and justify the disenfranchisement of the rights of large groups of people. So now I feel closer to God in believing in his teachings,  Jesus was one who didn't judge and showed everyone around him love all the time to be like Jesus means much more than what I thought previously.  It means letting go of all your prejudices for any group of people and showing everyone around you the same love of Christ.  We should do this without regard for race, religion, sexual orientations and social standing.  We must look at everybody with love.

Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Songs of the Day:

  • Day 31: "If My People" by Fred Hammond
  • Day 32: "Meeting In My Bedroom" by Silk
  • Day 33: "Californication" by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • Day 34: "Damage Inc." by Metallica
  • Day 35: "Crazy" by Seal
  • Day 36: "Handlebars" by Flobots
  • Day 37: "Transformers" by Gnarls Barkley
  • Day 38: "Sweet Lady" by Tyrese
  • Day 39: "Rusted Wheel" by Silversun Pickups
  • Day 40: "Until The End of Time" by 2Pac

This has been a very trying time and I am glad that this is over as of midnight tonight.  I wouldn't have been able to do this without supplementing my diet a bit with juices from the Naked company.  Especially during the last week with the outage starting.  It is very hard to shop and prepare juice when you have to work 12 hours a day.

Now for the important part.
Final Weight: 200lbs (Down 34 lbs)
Final Body Fat: 19.3% (Down 6%)
Final Waist: 36" (Down 5")
Final Chest: 40" (Down 1.5")
Final Biceps: 15" (No Change)

The Beginning
The blog isn't finishing and I'm starting P90X on Monday.  It's a new me.  A healthier me. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 30: Zorin Unlimited

It's been tough these past few weeks.  Over this time I've had to overcome a  ton of mental  barriers in order to make it this far.  Now I'm 75% of the way done.  I can't even believe it.  It makes me think about how much more I could have done in my life if I would have just believed in myself more and put my mind towards accomplishing them.  

I had a long talk with my pastor this morning for a long time, much of which was about what I wrote in yesterday's blog post.  Sometimes I worry that my ability to reason and the way I think about things, which is completely different than most of my friends and family gets in the way of me having the ability of just accepting Christianity at face value.  I have to investigate.

Song of the Day: "My Body" by Young The Giant

Weight: 209lb (Down 30lbs)
Body Fat: 22.6 (Down 7%)
Waist: 39" (Down 2")
Chest: 41" (Down .5")
Biceps: 15" (Down .5")

Today I Consumed:

  • 1 Naked Protein Zone Mango
  • 3Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • Juice of:
    • 1/2 Pineapple
    • 3 Zucchini
    • 7 Oz Spinach
    • 1/2 pound Green Beans
    • 2 Inches Ginger

Luke 14:27-30 AM
Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, Saying, This man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish