Hurricane Party and Survival Tips From Miami's Best Chefs

Tropical Storm Erika is currently out in the Caribbean making trouble for everything in her path. Although categorized as a loosely organized tropical system with 50 mph winds, she devastated the small island of Dominica with severe flooding, leaving 12 dead in her wake. She is currently off the coast of Hispaniola. 

So what does that mean to Miami? No one knows for sure. Most of Florida is still in the cone of uncertainty, with a prediction of an early-Monday arrival in South Florida and a 50 percent chance of tropical storm force winds, according to NOAA

What to do this weekend? It's a good idea to take at least minimum precautions, like cleaning up loose debris and palm fronds, filling your car with gas, and stocking the pantry with nonperishables. Then sit back and have a hurricane party. If you need some ideas on what to buy before the storm, check out what's in the hurricane kits of some of Miami's hottest chefs.

Though they all have different items on their lists, there are a few universals — namely booze and plenty of ice. Take it from the chefs and stock up on both and these other storm essentials.

Ralph Pagano (Naked Taco and Naked Lunch)
"My hurricane survival kit always includes vodka, ice, watermelon, mint, and medical marijuana. Oh, and water. Until the power goes out, I'd have a library of classics like Godfather I and II, Casino, Goodfellas, Bronx Tale, and Pope of Greenwich Village." 
Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House)
"I'd say for a good hurricane party, you need lots of quality charcuterie. Since it's cured, it can stand being at room temperature. If you have a sweet tooth, a jar of Nutella never killed anyone."

Timon Balloo (Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill)
"For a party, I would be sure to have board games, plenty of spirits, and mixers for cocktails. I'd also have costumes — might as well use the time to let out those human urges. For survival, I always stock candles, batteries, charcoal, water, canned and dry food, and plenty of alcohol. And a generator." 

Dewey LoSasso (Redlander)
"My essentials would be tequila, a cooler filled with ice, a guitar, and a grill. For me it's all about grilling and using up whatever's going to go bad in the fridge. I usually have some fresh fish, so I'd make a ceviche and then grill some to make tacos. Then I'd take any leftover sorbets and ice creams and add tequila for some boozy cold drinks. I'd also have plenty of Miami Brewing Company's Cafe con Leche Stout on hand — it also makes a good coffee substitute if you only have electric machines and you have no plans for the day. And, of course, I'd play some blues. I actually bought a battery-powered amp because I prefer the sound of blues on an electric guitar over that acoustic 'Kumbaya' shit." 

Eileen Andrade (Finka Table and Tap)
"Blanton's bourbon, simple syrup, orange bitters, Angostura bitters, Florida oranges, whatever ice I can find, and a poker set. If I'm having a hurricane party, there's going to be a lot of drinking."

Todd Erickson (Haven and Huahua's)
"For a party, I'd definitely serve classic Pat O'Brien's hurricanes by the pitcher. A great cheese selection with jams and pickles will hold well at room temperature. I also couldn't do without my butane stove. Just because the power is out doesn't mean you have to eat bad food." 

Dena Marino (MC Kitchen)
"If I were having a hurricane party, I'd invite Dogfish 120, Stranahan's Diamond Peak Whiskey, fiocchi mozzarella, a baguette, lemons, prosciutto di parma, black summer truffles and a shaver, some blue corn tortilla chips and salsa — and a flashlight." 

Sean Brasel (Meat Market)
"For a hurricane party, I'd cook up some Aussie Wagyu steaks, like the tomahawk, with some magic seasoning blends and pair them with a double magnum of a 2008 Château red wine that I can’t drink all by myself. Company is welcome! My personal survival kit always contains red wine, dark chocolate, and my backpacking bag. Since I can live in the wilderness for seven days at a time, I am sure I can live in my apartment minus power for a few days with this bag."
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss