Arts & Culture

Sonora Carruseles / Facebook

Maybe you’ve never heard of the Miami salsa band Sonora Carruseles. But President Obama has. This week he put one of the group’s songs on his summer playlist – and the Colombian-American ensemble is obscure no more.

Steve Dolinsky

A cubano sandwich in Cuba? That might be hard to find. Food writer Steve Dolinsky says the sandwich was actually created in Florida.

But don't fret. There are many delicious culinary options available on the menus in La Havana. Black beans, rice, plantains, picadillo (a dish made of ground beef, olives and raisins) — you can have them all in Cuba. But Dolinsky has made some of his more surprising food discoveries in paladares — restaurants in people's homes.

The paladares started in the 1990s, when the Cuban government allowed private businesses to open.

Joyce Tenneson

When President Obama was sworn into office for his second term in January 2013, it was Miami-raised writer Richard Blanco who read the inaugural poem.

He was the first Latino and first openly gay inaugural poet in U.S.  history. And now Blanco, a child of Cuban immigrants, will put his poetic stamp on another historic event -- the re-opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Blanco, now a resident of Maine, was chosen to read his new poem during the re-opening ceremony before a crowd of Cuban officials and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

If you want to get a sense of how complex racial identity is in Brazil, you should meet sisters Francine and Fernanda Gravina. Both have the same mother and father. Francine, 28, is blond with green eyes and white skin. She wouldn't look out of place in Iceland. But Fernanda, 23, has milk chocolate skin with coffee colored eyes and hair. Francine describes herself as white, whereas Fernanda says she's morena, or brown-skinned.

Jason Howle / Flickr via

It's not only about shaming. Some restaurant owners and chefs in South Florida use their social media accounts to vent about competitors, try to locate dine-and-dashers and, yes, trash bad reviewers. 

Whether it's a personal profile or the brand's account, commenters seem to stand by the posters putting their guests on blast.

Summer and mangos go hand in hand in South Florida. People with mango trees in their backyards often give the King of Fruit to coworkers and friends.

But these small gifts don't make a dent in the hundreds of mangos growing in people’s backyards. The solution? Some homeowners ignore them and let them overripe until the point of rotting.

That’s when Anna Milaeva got an idea. She was running in the residential areas near Brickell and stumbled upon a mango in someone’s backyard.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

The annual spiny lobster season opens Thursday, when commercial trappers can start pulling traps from the water and divers and recreational fishers can start grabbing the crustaceans.

"We never know what's going to happen until they make those first pulls and we see what the market's going to bear," said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association.


The Miami Book Fair International has announced some of the names in its lineup of authors. 

Punk poet Patti Smith will kick off the fair’s 32nd edition, which runs from Nov. 15-22 at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. Smith will discuss her latest memoir “M Train” on Nov. 15 in MDC’s Chapman Conference Center.