Archive for the ‘Florida’ Tag

Bound by Generations   Leave a comment

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Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia is a novel I wanted to fall in love with. Unfortunately, despite it having so many elements I’m drawn to, that didn’t happen.

With the exception of a Mexican immigrant and her young daughter, Garcia’s debut work focuses on the women in a Cuban family, several generations removed. Immigration, abuse, mother/daughter relationships, addiction, miscommunication and loss are brought together through glimpses into each woman’s life. The result is a disjointed narrative.

Loss is the most dominant thread, beginning with Maria Isabel in a cigar-rolling company in rural Cuba in 1866. As the only female roller, hers was the most compelling story. To keep the workers engage, a man read either from a novel or newspaper until war made it impossible to continue.

The next chapter is a leap to Miami 2014, where Jeanette, Maria Isabel’s great-great granddaughter is a grown woman and substance abuser. She’s a much less engaging character; yes she makes poor choices, but more is needed than illustrations of her bad decisions. Although she briefly helps the young daughter of the Mexican neighbor who’s apprehended by ICE, there’s little else appealing about her.

The characters need to be fully developed. It’s as if they’re faded photos without any nuance.  While this is a work of fiction, the experiences the women endure are important because, unfortunately, they’re not unique.  The impact would be greater if, instead of multiple situations, more details were limited to only a few.

Of Women and Salt

Two-and-a-half bookmarks

Flatiron Books, 2021

207 pages

Munch at Brunch   Leave a comment

pinchofrenchtoast

Brunch is one of those meals I really enjoy but don’t often have. I like the possibilities it implies: sleeping in, a combination of breakfast and lunch foods, the likelihood of not eating much later in the day, and it’s usually shared with friends (or family, which recently was, in fact, one in the same)

The Pincho Factory is recognized in the South Florida area for its fresh all-beef burgers. I didn’t try one, but Pincho deserves accolades for its brunch offerings. These include inventive twists on traditional morning fare: Nutella Waffle, Banana Bread French Toast (above), Red Velvet Pancakes, Steak and Eggs, and a Bacon Wrapped Omelet. A handful of sandwiches are available, as was a special: Vaca Frita Toston, which was a spin on the Cuban Ropa Vieja.

pinchosign

Here’s the description on the chalkboard at the place-your-order counter. Cuddled  is not the word I would have used, but I was hooked at slow braised. The shredded beef, which practically melted in my mouth, was dressed with a subtle but tangy cranberry sauce and nestled between hamburger bun size fried plantains (below). It was an unusual but successful combination of flavor and texture.

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The four-egg omelet boasted 12 slices of bacon sounds like an invitation to a cardiac arrest. A bacon basket effect was created by weaving the pieces together for the omelet, which was covered with lettuce and tomato. At least it looked somewhat healthy.

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Ah, brunch!

Pincho Factory
Slightly More Than Four Plates
Four Plates
30 Giralda Ave.
Coral Gables, FL