Curating Craft Spirits

Well, hello again. It has been a long time since my last post. Since I last shared anything on here I left a job, started a new job, lost my amazing cat, Ziggy, to a long battle with kidney disease, and…oh…yeah…the whole pandemic thing. Needless to say life has been crazy and maybe even unbearable at times for us all. But, we are not going to dwell on the negative here. It’s all vanilla and caramel. Peat and sweet. It feels good to be back.

I have a lot of new posts in the pipeline but I wanted to start out by sharing some fun news. While I have enjoyed whisk(e)y for a long time, most of my adventures in the field have been purely for fun. While I have had the pleasure of being a member of and current Board President for the Evansville Bourbon Society – including nearly a dozen private barrel picks – I have never done anything formally in the industry. That is, until a few months ago when I joined an amazing team (on a volunteer-basis) at a new spirits start-up, Curiada. While there have been online spirits retailers in the field for a while, Curiada stands out. A savvy and spunky bunch, this team is curating unique spirits that you will not find on the shelf at your local liquor store. From Scotch to Cachaca, there is something for the curious drinker in everyone.

As their Spirits Taster, I am in charge of offering an unbiased opinion in representation of the whiskey drinker who is looking for something unique and tasty. It has been a blast so far and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

So, if your curious and you want to try something new, head on over to the Curiada website or follow them on Instagram @trycuriada. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Cheers!

Josh

Messy Eats – Miami: Part 3

It has been a long time since I’ve written a post. While I have enjoyed writing and have still been writing during my hiatus (the draft of my first novel complete and a short story done), I’ve been so busy and overwhelmed with life and work that my blog fell to the wayside since last September.

I have been wanting to get back to my blog for months and decided to fire-up the ole webpage today. When I did, I discovered I never completed my Miami series. So, now that I am back, here is the completion of my journey through food in Miami. Reader beware: it doesn’t quite end well…

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As I leave the brewery and once again enter the summer heat, I have to decide what to do next. I’m full of coffee, donuts, and beer, so I decide I could really use some protein. I fire-up my Google Maps app and find two starred locations I had previously pinned for myself. A taco place and a Cuban food joint. “Should I hit one of them or both?” I decide to take up the charge and go to both. I decide to start with tacos so I take a left and head on down the street.

A few blocks down I am greeted by what can only be a bachelorette party. A half-dozen girls in bedazzled pink to shirts run up-and-down the street. There is no way out that isn’t obvious. One of the girls sees me and aggressively approaches.

“Can you help us out with something?”

“Umm. Sure,” I respond.

She grabs her list and rattles off a few things. “Do you have a tatoo?”

“Nope.”

“Are you single?”

“No.”

“Can you sign a Brittany Spears’ song?”

“Um.” Not wanting to drag it on any longer. “Sure.”

“Cool. What song?”

I rack my brain. “…Baby One More Time.”

“Great! Hang on. My friend is going to record it. Thanks a lot!”

Before I know it I am standing there with two girls singing Brittany and being recorded.

“I must confess I still believe.”

All I can think is this video is surely to be all over the internet tomorrow.

“When I’m not with you I lose my mind.”

At best, my wife is going to laugh uncontrollably when she hears about this.

“Give me a sign. Hit me baby one more time.”

At worst, she’s gonna kill me.

“Thank god it’s over,” I think to myself.

They thank me and run off. I take a moment to get back to equilibrium. I start walking again toward lunch. I make the mistake of stopping in a small art shop on my way and am confronted by a girl from a second bachelorette party.

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“Can you help me with something?”

“I already helped a girl up the way,” I respond quickly.

“Dang. That’s the other group. Thanks anyway.”

Relieved, I decide to hit the taco joint ASAP.

As I walk-up to the restaurant I step around a group crossing my path as I look up at the sign to make sure its the right place.

SLAM! TWIST! POP!

I stumble as my left foot sinks into the ground and gives-way. It twists left and over-corrects, twisting right. I nearly fall to the ground. Not sure what just happened, I try and collect myself. I walk into the restaurant and get in the line. But, the pain is too great.

I step back outside and sit at one of the picnic tables lining the front porch. I grab my ankle. It’s throbbing. I look at it. It’s starting to swell. I tie-up my shoe real tight.

“Damn,” I think to myself. “Damn.”

I text my wife (who’s about to give a big presentation…mistake) to let her know what happened and that I think I’m going to be okay.

I stand-up. I can put weight on it without too much pain. I take a few steps. I can walk okay even though it’s quite painful.

“What do I do now?”

“Do I take an Uber back to the hotel?”

“Do I take an Uber to the hospital?”

“Do I just stay and eat tacos?”

“Do I go get Cuban food?”

After contemplating my options for a good ten minutes, I decide even though there is not too much pain I am going to need to elevate and ice my ankle soon, but that I am still hungry.

I decide it’s Cuban food, Uber, elevate and ice.

So, I walk the twelve blocks to¬†Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop. It’s a painful, arduous walk. But, as I sit down, order a Cuban burger and fried plantains, and take my first few bites I know it was worth it.

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Messy Eats – Miami: Part 2

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Stuffed with donuts and coffee, I wander the streets of Wynwood, taking in the endless wall murals from graffiti artists all over the world. This is an interesting place. The overwhelming graffiti art and dirty streets gives you a sense that something isn’t right. But, I think that’s because my equilibrium is off. I’m not use to this atmosphere. And, as I settle into it, I kind of like it.

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I wander and take pictures as I go. The walls, the streets, and the signs are all adorned with words and images. I round a corner and am greeted with a giant painting of Darth Vader. The Star Wars fan in me is intrigued. “Why Vader?,” I ask myself. There has to be a deeper meaning. I scan the building and I see a sign which reads: J.Wakefield Brewing. “Yes! This is exactly what I need,” I think to myself as the hot sun beats down on me as I begin to sweat. A black and grey brick building which resembles an old car mechanics building stands before me. People hustle and bustle in front of me, moving kegs and barrels of beer. The parking lot is full of cars and bags-upon-bags of grain.

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I walk in to a half-full bar, and take a seat. The walls are covered in scenes from Star Wars. I’m excited. I read through the beer list and order their hefeweizen: El Jefe. I am presented with a glass of cloudy orange beer. I take a sip and am greeted with banana, cloves, and coconut! That’s interesting. I look at the menu and realize this is on purpose. It’s an intentional marriage of Germany and South Florida. I love it. A refreshing taste on a hot day.

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“I think I’ll have one more,” I tell myself. I scan the list. I want a good, fruity, citrus IPA. My favorite style for the summer. Steady Hoppin it is. New England style with Amarillo, Galaxy, and Mosaic hops. Should do the trick.

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As soon as my glass hits the counter I’m welcomed with loads of fruit and citrus aromas. I can’t wait to imbibe. It’s fresh, floral, and bitter, lined with citrus and piney notes. For some reason it reminds me of summers at my grandparents house when I was a kid. Must be the florals. It’s good. It’ll get me good and ready to head back out into the South Florida sunshine. Just one more thing to do, take pictures of the Star Wars adorned walls. Cheers all!

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