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My daughter and I aren’t the kind of people who appreciate the niceties of, say, Japanese Imperial Tofu Cuisine, but our first taste of ceviche had us at hello. There was such a confusion of adjectives: tangy, pure, mild, spicy, healthy, fun. Latin and Asian taste worlds fused together in the most unexpected way. I remember one spoon that combined lime-cured fish with ginger, soy and soft avocado bits. Another was a straightforward marriage of strong chili, onions and corn. I was happy that my daughter enjoyed the adventure. Teenagers have taste buds with the mood swings of Hollywood divas. Apart from the taste, however, the food had another extraordinary effect: it made me curious. How many more unknown taste continents were out there? Were there other cultures right now ready to introduce us to some new greatness? I’ve always believed that eating is like thinking. We chew on new facts, digest different thoughts, and spit out answers. We understand new cultures by placing them into our stomach. I suddenly wondered what Peru was. Sitting at the bar, we watched the show-and-tell traffic floating by on Grand Ave. The latest Lamborghinis, old Nissan Sentras with neon underfloor lighting, both polished and gleaming by the early Miami dusk. Usually the music pouring from passing cars follows the bi-polar Miami scene: relentlessly spinning salsas from El Zol 95 or the bump-and- thump RNB of 99Jamz. But not that night. Climbing out of every car was the same song: “Empire State of Mind.” A song about the unpredictability of dreams, growing up, tough journeys. A song about New York being back. A song of hope, delivered with the street cred of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ fuse-blowing energy. I was watching my daughter eat her much safer main course of chicken Caesar salad. I wanted her to live with that energy. South Floridians like to joke that “the best thing about Miami is that it’s so close to the United States.” But in those closing weeks of 2009, the best thing about Miami was that it was close to the Empire State of Mind. And somehow, for me, that state of mind still lives in six spoons of Ceviche. v

E CEVICHTEESM CON NER•T •WIN

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Profile for LatinLover Magazine

Latin Lover #6: Ceviche King  

Issue #6 is all about CEVICHE: the dish that is the quintessence of summer, a dish that says sun, sea, fresh and feisty in the language of j...

Latin Lover #6: Ceviche King  

Issue #6 is all about CEVICHE: the dish that is the quintessence of summer, a dish that says sun, sea, fresh and feisty in the language of j...

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