Not too long ago, good customer service meant a warm welcome and personal attention. Today, great customer service can mean leaving the customer alone to fend for themselves. That shift is thanks, in part, to technology.

It’s the smartphone that allows customers to be simultaneously social and anti-social in how they relate to and interact with service staff. Websites like TripAdvisor, OpenTable and Yelp have given customers a voice, and restaurants and hotels are listening -- and responding.

Creative Commons via Flickr / Andrew Malone (

The Miami City Commission will vote Thursday on a measure that would pave the way for farmers markets to get operating permits in the city.

Several years ago Miami approved a pilot program to make it easier for some small new farmers markets. On Jan. 1, 2014, that program lapsed and no one really took notice. Until an organization in Wynwood tried to get permission for a new farmers market and was told the special permit no longer existed.

Since then, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has introduced an ordinance that would permanently reinstate the program.

Edson Hong / Flickr Creative Commons

Another unique food festival is coming to South Florida.

At the end of this month Delray Beach will be celebrating bacon and bourbon.

Why bacon and bourbon?

"We just thought it would be a great hook to come up with some creative menus with bacon and bourbon," said Nancy Stewart, the executive director of the city's inaugural Bacon & Bourbon Fest.

Her company is also behind Delray's Garlic Fest and the city's Wine and Seafood Festival.


Feb 28, 2015

Listen to the aired episode by clicking play below.

Lisann Ramos

There’s no doubt the South Beach Wine and Food Festival includes many mouth-watering events. The Amstel Light Burger Bash and the Death By Chocolate Dessert Party certainly paint images of dietary free-falls.

But the festival is also starting to reflect growing health trends that are sweeping the nation.  

In only two years, the Buddhas and Bellinis event has become a huge hit. On both Saturday and Sunday of the festival, 200 people gathered by the pool of the Raleigh Hotel on South Beach for a yoga class.

8 Chefs On What Kind Of Food Miami Is

Feb 22, 2015
Lisann Ramos / WLRN

During the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, we asked eight renowned chefs (some local, some not) to describe greater Miami as a dish. 

They were gathered at Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach to talk with Topical Currents host Linda Gassenheimer and with the Miami Herald's Evan Benn and Sara Liss.

Hear those interviews below, and read the chefs' food interpretation of Miami after that.

About a year ago, the Miami Herald named business reporter Evan Benn its new food editor. He was appointed because Miami's paper of record noticed the importance of South Florida's booming culinary industry. 

That's an industry Benn is well connected with, and during this year's South Beach Wine and Food Festival, he's putting in the spotlight the people who make South Florida matter to the larger world of good cuisine.

02/09/15 - On the next Topical Currents we discuss the future of organic farming, sustainable agriculture and how the common lentil can help.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

  Commuters in Boston’s South Station, coping with temperatures in the 20s and light snow, on Thursday got a taste of the Florida Keys. 

The Monroe County Tourist Development Council this week took over the station with ads and promotions for the Florida Keys. On Thursday, they provided samples of the islands’ signature dessert: Key lime pie.

And not just any Key lime pie. This is billed as “the world’s largest Key lime pie.” It’s 9 feet in diameter.

Miami Forager Wants To Hand Out Free Fruit Trees

Jan 26, 2015
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

Recently, the Knight Foundation released the finalists for its first Knight Cities Challenge.


The foundation was looking for proposals to make more than two dozen communities around the country better places to live and work, and 10 of the 126 finalists come from Miami.

Tiffany Noé is one of those finalists. She owns a small urban farm in Miami called the Little River Cooperative.

Her idea is to provide the public with free fruit trees.