In 1912 the Gardner brothers opened a store that still remains in the family. Almost a century later, there are four branches of Gardner's Market in Miami. Tonight customers of the South Miami branch of this specialty grocery shop can enjoy A Taste of Italy. Besides the usual Gardner's Italian delights such as sun-dried-tomato pesto, bruschetta, crostinis, and lasagna, try succulent green and black Cerignola olives, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, roasted prosciutto, and taste varieties of pecorino, a variety of hard Tuscan cheese made from sheep's milk that is especially delicious when baked with truffles. Wines from Opici will be available for tasting, so you can sip on Cesari Ripasso or Luiano Luianico while sampling the gourmet treats. For dessert, try an Italian cookie -- ladyfingers, cantoccini, and Vicenzi amaretto treats will be on hand to sate your sweet tooth tonight from 5:00 to 7:00 at Gardner's Market, 7301 Red Rd., South Miami. Call 305-667-9953, or visit www.gardnersmarkets.com. (PEGY)
It feasts on snails, lives under a rock, has eyes that rest at the top of movable stalks, and turns bright red when boiled. If you think we're referring to lobster, guess again. We're talking crawfish, the just as tasty and half as pricey crustacean of Louisiana. When prepared, it tastes something like a sweet, succulent blend of shrimp and lobster. At the fourth annual Crawfish Boil, you can eat them with butter or cocktail sauce, or if you're not a fan of these shelled critters, feast on other scrumptious Cajun specialties. Drink your fill of frosty Fairchild hurricanes, groove to live music, and of course, devour delicious fresh crawfish tonight at 7:00 at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $45 in advance and $60 at the door. Reservations are recommended. Call 305-667-1651 ext. 3377, or visit www.fairchildgarden.org. (PEGY)
Hula girls, the Grim Reaper, Mr. Peanut, and "Mom" will be displayed on arms, legs, backs, and bald heads at this weekend's National Tattoo Association convention at the Deauville Beach Resort Hotel (6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Master artists from Japan, Germany, Australia, and Denmark will be representing and ready to put you under the gun. Go for the beautiful artwork, to get inked, or to learn more about the business. Friday's highlights include the popular tattoo contest (most realistic, best portrait, best sleeve) from 1:00 to 5:30, and Saturday night from 6:00 to 7:00 there will be a slide show tribute to Lou Sciberras, the founder of Tattoos by Lou who died of a heart attack in 1996. The convention runs Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, March 13. Today's hours are 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Admission is ten dollars per day. Call 305-534-7984, or visit www.nationaltattooassociation.com or www.tattoosbylou.com. (LO)
Speak your mind, and people will listen at this weekend's Partners in Protest Forum on Dissent. Activists for First Amendment rights will assemble and speak about the environment, animal and human rights, and military law. Saturday's schedule includes a discussion of 9/11's effect on media with The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America author Jennifer Van Bergen at 1:30, and an evening screening of Miami Model, a documentary about the 2003 FTAA protests, at 9:00. Today's keynote address by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman starts at 3:30 and will be followed by the Music of Protest concert featuring Jerrods Door at 7:00. The forum runs Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13 at the United Teachers of Dade union hall, 2200 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Admission is $30 for all three days, or $15 per day. For a complete schedule of speakers and workshops call 954-326-8347, or visit www.partnersinprotest.org. (LO)
It is March already. A quarter of the year has all but disappeared and how many of those resolutions have you kept? Now is the time to do something with those wild ideas in your head. The Miami Performing Arts Center has launched "Phase 1" of a new commissioning project called INCUBATOR, which "aims to create and expand opportunities for artists living and working in our community," says MPAC artistic director Justin Macdonnell. Original works from playwrights, choreographers, composers, and multidisciplinary creators of performance pieces are being sought. Projects of any scale, and suitable for either indoor or outdoor venues, will be considered. "We encourage artists to ... extend the boundaries of current artistic practice and the use of new technology," says Macdonnell. Proposals must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 11. For proposal requirements and submission instructions call Adriana S. Perez at 305-579-7627, or visit www.miamipac.org. (LO)
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It's a chopper, baby. And a lawn mower. Okay, it's a motorcycle lawn mower. Dixie Chopper (the manufacturer of the world's fastest lawn mower) recruited the Teutul family of Orange County Choppers and the popular Discovery Channel series American Chopper to design and build the customized cycle. The result is described by Ron Thompson, president of Power Mower Sales (13118 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami): "It's got 80 horsepower and 100 pounds of torque, and you know those cars that have the rims that keep spinning when you stop? Well it's like that, but with lawn mower blades. It's a big-boy toy." The Dixie Chopper motorcycle will be on display at Power Mower today only. The Peterson's Harley-Davidson will also showcase a selection of 2005 motorcycles for those more interested in highways than greenways. Get your (lawn mower) motor running from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Call 305-235-5382, or visit www.dixiechopper.com. (LO)
"Smoking a cigarette is like having sex, and smoking a cigar is like making love," purred esteemed actor Jeremy Irons at this year's Habanos festival in Cuba. Cubans are known as the world's best, but you can puff on high quality cigars when the Macanudo American Passion tour comes to town. Experts will be on hand to school wannabe aficionados on smoker's lingo. Learn how to roll from the pros, get free samples and Colibri lighters, all while chilling on a supercool 45-foot bus that has been converted into a cigar club on wheels, complete with leather furniture, an outdoor deck, and a mirrored VIP lounge. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em when the Macanudo Traveling Cigar Lounge rolls to a stop at Sabor Havana, 2600 NW 87th Ave., Miami. Call 305-436-8860, or visit www.cigarworld.com. (PEGY)
By Lyssa Oberkreser and Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik