"Scene Eating" is a new Short Order interview column. We'll provide a glimpse into the food habits of our community, focusing on people who make living in Miami more interesting, sane, and worthwhile. They don't necessarily work in the food industry. If you're curious about the food habits of a local, nominate that person in the comments section below.
Serge Toussaint is the prolific muralist whose work you might have noticed throughout Miami, especially in Little Haiti, where you can't turn a corner without seeing his trademark style. His storefront art colorfully depicts what's for sale inside, but with that playful Serge touch: For example, a Pepsi can becomes "Pepsi Serge" and Newport cigarettes become "Newpot." Toussaint has painted everything from botanicas to bodegas, from Barack Obama to Eartha Kitt. This summer, Rachel Goldberg released a photographic compilation of Toussaint's work.
New Times: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Serge Toussaint: I had some grits and eggs. The typical breakfast for me is at the USA Car Wash. It's where I eat my food at. Right now, we're struggling. They're trying to close us down because of a license problem. My cousin's working on that right now, trying to get the restaurant opened back up. We got haters around here, you know?
He's not my cousin really, but I call him cousin because when I first came to Miami, he opened up doors for me. I didn't know nobody up here and he opened up his house to me and let me stay with him for a minute until I got on my feet. So ever since then, USA Car Wash is my hangout.
What are some of your favorite meals at USA Car Wash?
The griot [fried pork chunks] is real good. The griot is number one---and the oxtail. At night time, they got lambi, the conch. That is really good.
What are some other places you like to eat?
on 54th Street -- it's right across the street from my uncle's place. Le
Bebe Restaurant has been there ever since I got here, so I stick to
it. I like to stick to one thing.
Piman Bouk Restaurant -- it's a
little bit expensive, but it's got some real good food too. Piman Bouk
is on the radio. He's got a talk show. He's a very popular man in the
community and by him being so popular, he opens up a lot of businesses,
like a garage and the restaurant. He really helps the Haitian
community. If anybody dies, and they don't have family to bury them,
you go to Piman Bouk. He's a real cool guy. He will bury that person
for you. So, in this community, he is well-respected.
Do you like to cook?
got a little boat. I like to go fishing. I catch snapper and stew it
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the Haitian way, with rice and beans. We
Haitians like things real spicy. We make it spicy with pikliz [spicy Haitian cabbage slaw] and piman bouk, a hot pepper [also known as goat pepper].
My wife, Jessica, cooks too. She knows how to cook some good griot. So I just want to give a shout out to my wife.