Food News

Luiz Rodrigues of ECOMB Seen Eating...The Most Finely Chopped Caesar Salad You've Ever Seen

Courtesy of ECOMB
Bar recycling parties are the kind of thing Luiz Rodrigues does to inject some environmental awareness into the South Beach lifestyle. The Brazilian-born Rodrigues is the executive director of ECOMB, or Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach. ECOMB's "Raising the Bar" promotes recycling at bars both because it's the law, and also because being sustainable can be economical. Purdy Lounge, Abraxas, Waxy O'Connor's and the Catalina have all received ECOMB's stamp of approval. The group is currently working with Mova Lounge and the Mondrian to ramp up their recycling.

Rodrigues has single-handedly steered the organization toward bigger and better, including the opening of a new sustainable center, which will eventually become a green building. Dedicated volunteers and interns help out, but Rodrigues is the man with the plan. He envisions car sharing and shared bike stations in Miami Beach's future.

The group hosts monthly movie showings at Miami Beach Cinematheque. There are monthly clean-ups of smaller isles like Monument Island. This month's clean up is full, but you can reserve ahead for the next one. Another upcoming event is the Fun Day at the Beach Fundraiser/The Big Sweep competition on November 7.

After the jump: More on that Caesar salad, some moqueca from Sushisamba, and an amazing grilled whole fish...

Courtesy of ECOMB
Unappetizing trash gathered by ECOMB volunteers
New Times: What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Luiz Rodrigues: Today, I had breakfast at home. I had some cereal.

What are your top three places to eat in Miami right now?

One in South Beach is Tap Tap. I've been there probably a 170 times. I

love the grilled fish with garlic and lime sauce, grilled lobster, the

shrimp in coconut milk. The pumpkin soup is delicious. The

acra--malanga root--is delicious. They also have some meat dishes which I

like, but I don't eat as often, like the stewed goat. It's awesome.

Another one I love is Sushi Samba. They have one of my very, very favorite dishes. Every single person I've

taken to Sushi Samba and introduced to this dish, they totally fall in

love and come back for more. It's called moqueca.

It's kind of like a seafood stew. It's an Afro-Brazilian dish made with

yucca, with like a yucca cream, and some red palm oil or, as we call it

in Brazil, red dende oil. And then it has all different types of

seafood. It's a multitude of flavors in your mouth.

Most recently, there's a place I've been going to a lot, which is

Tacontento. One of my favorite dishes there is the green enchiladas.

The camarones al ajillo in this garlic lime sauce is also great--it

makes my mouth water to think about it...

What are your favorite foods to cook?

When I find time to cook, one of my favorite dishes to cook is a

Brazilian whole fish. It's a grilled fish. The fish I get depends on

the season. I marinade it for a whole day in white wine. The next day I

take the wine out, and I do another marinade for a half a day with

garlic, lime, salt, and pepper. In the evening, I take the fish out. I

grill it with olive oil. I put very thinly sliced tomatoes and onions

all over the fish. I slice potatoes and put them around the fish. So

you grill it at a very low temperature, and I keep on pouring on the

garlic-lime marinade. The onions basically caramelize, and it's all


Courtesy of ECOMB
ECOMB volunteers rescue a wild barbecue.
What is your favorite fast food/comfort food?

I don't know if you'd call a burrito a fast food. I like to run over

to Taco Rico on Alton Road and get a steak burrito. I'm not a big fan

of fast food places, but comfort food would be mashed potatoes. I don't

know why, but I love them. I will run over to La Parilla Liberty on

Washington. They have this grilled skirt steak with mashed potatoes.

and it's awesome.

Do you have any regular food rituals?

For lunch, I tend to have a certain little ritual. I go to this little

restaurant which is called Sandwich Qbano. They have this Caesar salad

in a big bowl, with large leaves and nicely grilled chicken. But then

they also have this tropical salad. They chop the whole salad, with

mangos and lettuce, in a food processor--very finely chopped. One day,

I asked them to chop my Caesar salad just like my tropical salad, and

they said, "Oh sure, we'll try that." And since then, a lot of people

from my office go by and ask for it the same way.

It's the best Caesar salad, I've had. You don't have to keep cutting up

the big lettuce leaves. They have great dressing. I eat that a lot

during the week.

At home, I tend to eat a lot of couscous, mixed green salads with tropical fruits, and grilled chicken.

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Trina Sargalski