The Politics of Drinking and Dining

Under the heading of Most Incredulous Incentive, the "Eat The Vote" campaign kicks off in Fort Lauderdale November 1. Show your Florida voter's reg card (yes, it must be valid) or proof of voting in the November 5 election, and you'll be eligible to receive various freebies -- drinks, desserts, the occasional appetizer -- at any of the 30 or so participating restaurants. Visit the Website at to see who's offering what. Billed as a nonprofit, nonpartisan event, the drive was dreamed up by restaurateur and mayor of Wilton Manors Jim Stork, who owns the popular Stork's Bakery & Café. The caveat? You'll have to travel to Broward. But the rewards, well, they're civically delicious.

Forget about the water in Mexico -- whatever you choose to drink, just don't eat the lobster. At least not here in Miami. Carlos Seafood, Inc., a Miami-based company, has been accused of selling 24,750 pounds of Mexican and Jamaican lobster tails that had tested positive for salmonella, even after Customs, who had been suspicious of Carlos Seafood's sources, instructed the company to destroy the tails. Rather than losing the $433,000 investment, however, Carlos Seafood forged Miami-Dade County landfill papers and sold the tainted tails commercially. Granted, this particular incident took place in 1998, and I'd hate to think any of those particular lobsters are still hanging around in some purveyor's freezer. But keep in mind that Carlos Seafood was also cited in 2001 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for conditions that could lead to potential contamination. So if you get sick, you might just want to get tested. Tainted tails may be the Mexican way, but class-action suits are the American way.

Got your beer goggles handy? Yup, me too. And I'll be employing them to best effect at Doraku on November 6, where for a mere $40 I can enjoy Asian Beer Night. Along with the four courses, I get to consume eight brews from Japan, Thailand, Singapore, China, and the Philippines. Seriously, pass me the pilsner. I have to train for the Miami Beach International World of Beer Festival, which takes place January 31 through February 2. While I can currently put down a couple of bottles of wine, a Smoked Porter followed by a Fruity Lambic are hardly along the great-taste, less-filling lines. The festival's tented "beer village" promises to be a tribute to our wise lawmakers, who have finally repealed state mandates that only permitted beer to be sold in ounce sizes. Now we can sip on metrically improved imports from all over, including cask-conditioned ales from England, and Murphy's Red and Stout from Cork, Ireland -- which incidentally will be served in a fully replicated Irish "Pub-on-the-Beach," complete with dart boards and pool tables. Just don't follow up a day of beach and beer with a swim out to the underwater "Cuervo bar" -- an artificial reef that lurks a mile or so from shore -- goggles or no.


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