Thanksgiving 2015 – Miami

Ah, Thanksgiving! Getting together with family, thanking the Almighty for all the blessings He bestows upon us – mostly undeserved to say the least; now that is grace!  We spent Thanksgiving in Hollywood, Florida (about 14 miles North of Miami). So, we enjoyed wonderful November weather in Florida; temps in the high 70’s and low 80’s with very low humidity – best time to visit Florida in my opinion.

This year we had several missing from the usual family that has gathered the past two years. Our oldest, Sarah, in Missouri with Jeffrey and his family. Our youngest, Jocelyn, with her fiancé, Kyle, at a wedding in Indiana. We also missed Rafaela, deployed in Egypt and Victor…could not make it this time. We hope all will be able to join together  next year.

So what does a Thanksgiving, where most meals were as untraditional as you can get look like? See below for a sample of what it looks like…

Dinner Before Thanksgiving Day

Chupe de Camarones – or seafood chowder Peruvian style. All I can say is Super Yum! The taste is unlike the familiar New England chowdah we all love. This is a great and tasty variation, rich and full of fish, shrimp, potatoes and each plate gets an egg that has cooked in the broth. I have not had this dish for many, many years. Natalia outdid herself with this one!!



In addition to the chowder, Leandro cooked a simply delectable octopus. He had a very specific way to cook it in boiling water and then on the grill. He added several spices and finished it with smoked Spanish paprika and some olive oil sprinkled on top. It was very WOW! Even my non-seafood eating wife enjoyed it!


My wife does not eat fish so she had to dip into the Spaghetti sauce we brought for the day after TG. This sauce was made following Maria Spera’s recipe…the best sauce we have had – ever. It came out very good and very close to Maria’s, but not quite there. We cooked it with a 4.5 lbs. shoulder roast that simply did not need a knife to cut through it. It got very good reviews.



Natti having some octopus; the tentacles can be a challenge sometimes, but they can offer some good picture opportunities. Salvador Dali like look here…lol.


Francesca the Magnificent entertained us with some magic tricks. The kids were simple amazed!, Well, Victoria was not convinced as you can see.


The kids having some good fun and laughs.


Thanksgiving Day

Many things depend on how you were brought up. Some would really have a hard time seeing a young pig (lechon) opened up and on a roasting surface~not us.  Leandro loves to grill and cook meat in a variety of ways. He could not wait to start this years main dish.


Slow roasting takes time and close attention. You must keep an eye on the coals and add as required to assure even heat under the lechon. Leandro  kept a large clay pot with hardwood charcoal ready to be added under the lechon as needed.


Natti was the official salad cook, variety was great. Here she is teasing us with her mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and pesto salad.


My wife having one of the many hugs Valentina was giving everyone.


Turning the lechon a couple of times was required activity. So, here we go!


Nobody just sat down and did nothing; everyone pitched in.


My sister making an old potato salad recipe that has been a staple in our family for quite a long time. Will keep the recipe in the family for now…sorry.


Our hosts this year; Natti and Leandro; thank you guys!


It never hurts having a swing when there are kids around. Actually, this picture shows a rare moment when the set was not mobbed by all of the kids.


What we are calling the 2015 official Thanksgiving Family picture. We were getting close to eating so we decided to take this before we were too full to move.


Leandro testing the doneness of the lechon; done is the verdict! Luca seems to agree and wanted a piece right then and there.


So here we are, ready to feast on our version of Thanksgiving dinner. Delectable cream of pumpkin with a very flavorful roasted kale and toasted sesame seed garnish, roasted pork, tomato salad, carrot salad, potato salad and red wine. Ah, almost forgot…two choices of hot peppers. Can you say…lets do it again!


Once again, our gracious hosts Leandro and Natti.


The Day After Thanksgiving

After a nice light lunch, we took a ride to a relatively new area in Miami called Wynwood Walls. What must have looked as an abandoned or unkept area near Miami, it is now a vibrant artist art gallery and trendy restaurant vortex area. My quick research indicates that this area was filled with warehouses, and in 2009 a gentleman named Tony Goldman decided that the many walls without windows would make excellent canvas for street artist to use and hopefully revitalize the area. Looks like that vision has now become a reality; we saw many people looking around and enjoying the art and restaurants.


Just about every walls in an area covering several blocks, were covered with colorful and sometimes mind twisting art.


A good example of a colorful portion of a wall. This section being about 7 by 12 feet.


Some Anime looking art.


Photo opportunity for all the kids.


We did not tour the whole area and what seems to be the official Wynwood Walls gallery was closed, but we could still see some of the wall art within their center court.


I previously said that some of the art was mind twisting. I think this is a good example of that. Still have no idea what this represents. You might.


Not sure if this artist is practicing an image she will eventually add to this wall. Regardless, we saw several artists working on the many open walls available in the area.


This may not be the best place to bring little ones, but our tykes did well considering the walking we did. I think they wished they could have driven this contraptions as by the end of our self led tour they seemed pooped-out.


As with many other similar areas, the main attraction is well-defined, but here is always something unexpected. This young man gave me a good reason to cross the street and chose the best angle to capture his “artful” hair style.


Ok, not wall art, but came across a real A.C. Cobra which is art in my book. Just a closeup of the hood plate.


Wynwood Walls, as reported in their website, …”has become a must see destination and it has been featured in the New York Times, BBC News, Vanity Fair and Forbes. Fifty artists representing 16 countries have so far covered about 80,000 square feet of walls”.


There is a huge variety of art being displayed; and many methods/tools used to complete them.


Some wall art depicted the theme of the store they covered.


This wall seems to have the name of all countries in the world. The girls concentrated on the hearts.


On our way out, we noticed a familiar character sitting on the roof of one of the buildings. Judging by his nose, looks like he has been sitting there for a long time.


How to best end out visit? Well, have more food and share it with others. Leandro’s brother Juan and family joined us for our last dinner in Miami.


Maria’s Spaghetti meat sauce over thin spaghetti, greek style salad, and the tastiest ever Aji de Gallina (chicken in hot pepper sauce) cooked by my sister and ending with my wife’s carrot cake (salivating thinking about it) rounded up the food enjoyed by all. Of course, we settle into a spirited conversation on Syrian refugees; good chat with at least three divergent views on how to best handle their current challenges.


Frederico and Francesca having some fun in the magic disappearing tube.



We stopped by to say good-bye as we readied to drive back to Georgia and to Greenville. We found the girls helping dad clean his car; they were doing a great job on the wheels; from black dust to shiny silver. Great job girls!!!

Thank you for visiting with us.

summer - December 1, 2015 - 8:41 pm

I’m always wondering how American families celebrate the thanksgiving day, I understand more now, thank you Carlos for great sharing. Nice and sweet family time!!!

Bruce Schlein - December 1, 2015 - 6:08 pm

Looks like a great time in Miami, especially the dining. I love the graffiti area and have perused it myself.

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