Tag Archives: cheeseburgers
Wearing bowling shoes purloined from the long since torn down Pickwood Lanes across the street, Debbie and I went to the Apple Pan on our first date together. We found two empty seats on Gordon’s side of the counter and ordered cheeseburgers, fries and coffee. Gordon is gone, Manny is gone, Isaac is gone but Victor is still making burgers behind the grill. He’s been there for over forty years making burgers for Carlos Castaneda, Don Knotts, and Davey Lopes. With every kid we’ve had our frequency visiting the Apple Pan has diminished- our family would take up 1/4 of the restaurant. We tend to go there in batches with Debbie and I taking one or two of our boys, or a friend taking one of our kids as a birthday present. But every time we stop in Victor takes a break and we chat. It’s small talk for sure but there’s something more to it then just that. There is a comfort in the endurance of time that we all acknowledge and respect but know it can’t last forever.
One Sunday I stopped by with my camera and Victor was there early to start his shift. I asked him if I could shoot his portrait. He got a big smile on his face and said, “Really!” We talked about where the hell the time went, he even dropped the “F” bomb. We talked about Manny who passed away a few months after he retired from the Apple Pan, we talked about our kids growing up and how he gets a kick when Sam comes in with one of his friends and says, “Hi.”
After I was done I said to Victor, I’ve never seen you without your hat- would you mind?” And he did-
I remember once while working in Miami I was talking to a model who out of nowhere says, “You know, The Boat show is in town.” This struck me as strange since I don’t own a boat, wear nautical attire or give the airs of someone who would be interested in boats. Then a few days later I was walking down Ocean Drive and a double decker tour bus was driving by and the I could hear over a loudspeaker emanating from the vehicle, blah blah blah….The Miami Beach Boat Show…blah blah blah. If that wasn’t enough I started seeing banners being towed by airplanes announcing that The Boat Show was here! I never went to the boat show.
Besides shutting of the AC and opening up all of my windows in my hotel room, Miami means Cuban coffee. I usually go to this place on Collins Ave. across the street from the Shore Club. It’s a family run convenience store which specializes in stamina pills, flavored condoms and cigarettes. I order cafe colada which always comes with these little plastic cups. I think I’m supposed to share this drink with friends but I since I’m all alone I end up throwing away the little cups and sipping this massively sweet strong drink by myself.
My favorite breakfast in Miami is a colada and cuban toast. Cuban toast is basically a very light and airy french bread cut open , spread with butter and put in a paninni press. You have to eat it quick before it gets stale.
A good place to eat in Miami is Puerto Sagua. It’s no nonsense cuban food at a reasonable price. I usually sit at the counter, order a Presidente and the breaded steak with plantains and moro rice.
The best burger in Miami is Le Tub. It’s actually not in Miami but in Hollywood 20 minutes north. The sirloin burger is charbroiled, massive and just plain great.
It’s the only place I know of where you can see tarpon swimming while eating a cheeseburger and sipping a Stella. Apparently the tarpon won’t eat anything thrown to them except fried shrimp. They turn their noses up to french fries. Come to think of it, Le Tubs’Â fries aren’t so great. Go there for a burger and a beer!
I usually get up early to get a cuban coffee and read a little before work. The early morning in South Beach, when the sun is just coming up is usually filled with some strange quality. I can’t quite put my finger on it. People wandering the streets after a long night of frolicking just looking for a way to get home and get to sleep. There’s lots of singing and crying.Â I remember once,Â I was practicing yoga at the beach. The sun had not yet come up so it was stillÂ dark. I was sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. And, just as the sun was coming up over the horizon, it revealed 2 guys in a comfortable position of their own. To each their own. My day was just beginning, theirs was just ending.