When I was in high school, I was in band for four years (and I don’t remember a lick about how to play the clarinet, or read music, but that’s not important right now). Even though I was not involved in the marching band, I did participate in the symphonic class and made many friends. Even after graduation, I attended school events and performances in order to see some of my former bandmates play. I loved my bandmates, and they are part of my fondest high school memories.
Fast forward 19 years – you have no idea how much I cringed when I just wrote those numbers…19?? How did that happen? – and two of my fellow bandmates are doing amazing things (I’m sure a lot of them are, but this post is about two in particular).
Trumpeteer Albert Cabrera opened his own restaurant, Bread + Butter, just five months ago. In the heart of Coral Gables, it is my new favorite Cuban-American gastropub. Albert has become a fantastic chef, and gives Cuban staples a unique twist that will have your mouth watering. His creations are the perfect combination of traditional Cuban with a modern touch. To wit, I’ve been there twice in the past week, the most recent being last night with
Amy Kikita to watch the Heat beat the Spurs in the NBA Finals. We shared four different dishes and two desserts, and would have had more had our stomachs had room.
Albert honors his Cuban heritage not only with the delicious offerings, but with black & white portraits of his family decorating the restaurant, as well as a few Cuban touches mixed in that will make you smile (Marti’s Cultivo Una Rosa Blanca is written on the wall, there’s a Cuban escudo prominently displayed between portraits, y no puede faltar el reloj que marca a la hora que mataron a Lola). If you’re in the area, or even if you’re not, stop by, you won’t be disappointed.
On to my other talented friend, percussionist extraordinaire Brandon. I’ve mentioned Brandon before, and I’m proud to announce that he has opened his own center, South Florida Center for Percussive Arts. The center is currently in temporary quarters, but will be moving into its permanent space in the West Kendall area in just two weeks (coincidentally, about the same time when his second son is due to be born). I know that this has been a dream of Brandon’s for a very long time, and I’m so thrilled for him to have his dream come true.
Eric, the boys and I went by SFCPA this evening for the Free Drum Jam. We told the boys it was a surprise because we honestly didn’t know if they were going to enjoy it or not. When we first got there, we listened to Brandon and a few of the attendees, including his 7-year-old son Sam, jam on the drum kits. He then took us into the Hand Drum room and showed us how to play congas and Djembe drums. Although I don’t remember how to read music, getting back to my musical roots was like riding a bike, you never really forget what a great feeling it is to make music. Even my rhythm-less hubby had rhythm for a little while! By the end of the night, the boys were playing their hearts out on the maracas, the cowbells, the shakers, and even tried out the drum kits and marimbas. It was so much fun, we definitely plan on doing it again next week.
Brandon will be having a Summer Camp in late June, please check out his website or Facebook page for more information.
These old friends of mine are doing amazing things with their talents, and it makes me smile to see them succeed.