Luca Brasi, Meet Little John

Luca Brasi's doppelganger

Today's Grocer is a trade publication devoting itself to what its title suggests, the splitting of Publix stocks and the penetration of Klondike Bars into the holiday confection market. In the shadow of the gigantic Del Monte Fresh building, the seriously niche magazine held a party celebrating its redesign, which coincided with its golden anniversary, this past Thursday evening at the Omni Colonnade Hotel on Aragon Avenue in downtown Coral Gables.

Party planner Ana Margarita promised "food and drug industry professionals; distributors; retailers; wholesalers; manufacturers; celebrities; media outlets; and Sammy Figueroa and his Latin Jazz Explosion" would be on hand at the event. The Bitch failed to note about fifty percent of the aforementioned in attendance, but no matter; there was no lack of entertainment. Perhaps the most astonishing appearance was by dual celebrity lookalikes in the persons of a behemoth identical to the Luca Brasi character (from the video game, not the Godfather movie), and a diminutive twin of comedian-actor (and consummate Tybalt) John Leguizamo. Neither man would provide his real name, but, upon inspecting Luca's twin shiners (see photos), The Bitch decided it was probably just as well.

Melchior, one of the Colonnade's staid, genteel bartenders, has a staple on-the-job amusement: "I try to figure out what kind of drink people are going to ask for as soon as I see them. I start mixing it while they're walking toward me, and about 95 percent of the time I get it right."

In order to ensure business card collection compliance, Today's Grocer had employed a kick squad of women with boobs so fake that some sets abutted their owners' chins like unexpected lobster napkins and skirts made of ripped-up copies of the magazine.

"Don't you have a business card?" leered one tanned, combed-overed middle aged man to one of the tenderonies. His unhappy wife -- a Quirch foods exec named Bella -- frowned and shook her head. The Bitch asked the man -- Bob -- what he did for a living.

"I'm in real estate. I know real estate. I like it. It's good," Bob enthused.

There were curiously few groceries on hand; not even coffee from event sponsor Pilon, so the hungry dog headed over to nearby Houston's, where she noted Lil' Jon -- the hiphop star, not the pintsize clone -- at the bar. -as told to Jean Carey

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Frank Houston