Why Fad Diets Dont Work

Fort Lauderdale has one of those healthy, vegetarian-friendly joints that seem to be the new trend nowadays. It’s called Myapapaya, and it’s usually full of people in yoga pants talking about kale juice and flax seed. And OK, admittedly, I haven’t sold the concept well, but the food is actually pretty amazing.

The owner used to be a personal chef, and his menu is full of healthy salads and juices and whatnot. One of his dishes is called the Whole Grain Bowl. It’s basically a list of ingredients you’d expect in a vegan hippie’s cart at the farmer’s market. And it also happens to be delicious.

Turns out it’s incredibly easy to make, and now I find myself eating this almost once a day. Here’s how.

On a day when you have some time, cook a bunch of quinoa and a some wild or whole grain rice. It keeps for like a week and is the basis of a crapload of whole grain bowl combinations.

To the rice and quinoa, add some chopped greens. Then nuts like cashews or walnuts. Then cheese, maybe feta or shaved Parmesan. Edamame or beans like garbanzo or black add good protein. Just about any vegetable works in there too, including cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, or whatever is in your fridge. Fruit is good, like say sliced strawberries or apples. Maybe something dried, like cranberries or figs. Then, if you’re so inclined, add some boiled shrimp or chopped supermarket rotisserie chicken.

As far as measuring? Not so much. Any combination of the things above, or whatever you have handy, work well.

For the dressing, you don’t need much more than some lemon juice and a good oil, like coconut. Or maybe a thin vinaigrette if you have it. Avoid something heavy, like ranch dressing, which won’t mix well with the grains and will only make you want chicken wings.

What you have in the end is an entirely healthy meal. Not one ingredient listed above is bad for you. It’s also incredibly filling and, if you’re like me, it means you won’t feel bad the next day ordering a bacon cheeseburger. Even if it pisses off the hippie from the farmer’s market.


One Herald Plaza

The Final Days Of One Herald Plaza was so excited.This week, the Miami Herald will shutter its building on the bay. Located at One Herald Plaza, the beige box on the water is affectionately known as 1HP. Conference room meetings were interrupted by someone spotting dolphins. Water spouts could be seen forming from the cafeteria windows. Depending on the person, the building was either a testament to architecture done without aesthetics in mind, or an ideal place to do journalism.

For a decade now, there was little question that the building would be sold. It was too big for the post-layoffs Herald, and the paper stood to make too much off the real estate to hold on. As a contributing editor at WLRN-Miami Herald News for the past few months, I’ve tried to document the final days of 1HP in the photos below.

Few parking garages had a better view of the downtown progress than the Herald’s.The escalators had the old-school look of something from a 1950s department store. Most people took the elevators, but the five floors of escalators made for a more scenic ride.

After layoffs, whole sections of the building ended up empty. Hallways sometimes led nowhere, although signs remained symbols of the paper’s pride.

The second floor advertising office was the building’s most stunning space, with two-story ceilings and walls of red wood. The bay views didn’t hurt.

The decor may have been dated, but few South Florida restaurants could boast better views than the Herald’s cafeteria. The food was often Cuban influenced, well priced, and served with one hell of a cafe con leche.

The once-rough neighborhood around the Herald saw major improvements in the paper’s time there.On Monday, the Miami Herald opens in new offices in Doral

Miami Herald Doral

Before the Miami Herald moved to Doral on May 20, there was a lot said about how the paper gave up an icon, a building on the bay in the heart of downtown.

But there’s an upside. The 150,000-square-foot building is sharp and modern, and, when it’s finished, it will be an impressive display of old media might.

If you think newspapers are dying, you should see this place. Most everyone occupies the second floor, with advertising on the east and the newsroom on the west. Gone are the old building’s drop ceilings, in favor of a loft-style open rafter system. Long rows of lights provide runway-like stripes of white above the cubicles. With six stories compressed into two, the new office is busy, a bustling hub of the news.

The ratty carpets that had worn through to the floor under 1 Herald Plaza cubicles has been replaced with a sea of gray, with bright blue and green stripes. The depressing 1HP newsroom break room has given way to stations with Keurig coffee machines and a lounge with chairs and a couch.

It’s not a Taj Mahal of news. It doesn’t have that stunning view of Biscayne Bay. But 3511 NW 91st Ave. (snappy nickname still to come) is a proud statement that the Herald isn’t going anywhere, that the paper intends to be a powerful media force in this town, even if it’s from Doral.

The entrance to the 15-acre property includes a fence, an unmanned guard gate, and an unused puncture strip. Welcoming it’s not, but if the paper ever needs to boost security, it’s set.

The newsroom is an expansive space, with the paper’s sections grouped in bunches of cubicles. Most editors seem to have large cubicle setups with extra chairs rather than offices. While the old newsroom seemed like a sea of empty desks on some days, this space is bustling, with seemingly every desk accounted for.

The Continuous News Desk, like in the old newroom, sits in the center of the action. The design seems more like what Hollywood imagines newsrooms look like, with a row of desks and cubicles facing inward. Three conference tables sit in front. In the old newsroom, the editors met for what was called “stand-up” meetings — there weren’t enough chairs around the CND. Now everybody can have a chair.

The rows of lights give the room a vanishing-horizon effect, as if it’s hard to see the end of the place. Above is the WLRN portion of the newsroom, just south of the CND.

It’s hard to find a spot in the building where work is completed. Plywood hangs on partially finished walls. The TV and radio studios are yet to be built. Conference rooms need chairs or tables or both.

The Gene Miller Conference Room in the old building was one of the Herald’s crowning jewels. Small staff meetings featured a view of dolphins jumping in the bay, and staffers tell stories about watching funnel clouds form during boring meetings. Now, it has a view of the west parking lot, so it seems most meetings occur instead at the CND tables.

In between the newsroom and advertising sits a series of rooms and hallways that — even though the place is a rectangle — can be difficult to navigate. So each hallway has been given famous Miami street names, with directional markers posted on the intersections.

Rooms also carry names of Miami neighborhoods. Most have not been completed, like the South Beach Training Room and Overtown Room, above.

It’s hard to spot it here, but the view from the newsroom lounge is a cow field across 33rd Street.

In the old building, advertising boasted an impressive two-story room that opened to a bay deck, while the newsroom had drop ceilings and bleak lighting. Now advertising’s space is similar to the newsroom, an open room largely ringed with offices.

It wasn’t easy giving up the Herald cafeteria, with its homey meals and cafe con leche for a buck. But now there’s a quick cafe with pre-made salads and sandwiches and — new to the Herald — a fully-stocked workout room.

There’s no view of the bay, but there is the endless Doral sky, as seen from the building’s roof.

Diet And Training For Great Abs

There’s a standard the wife and I use around the house when describing food: restaurant quality. As in, is this pasta we made good for a home chef, or would we be happy paying 20 bucks for it at a restaurant?

Truth is, we have a lower standard for our own cooking, and we should. We don’t have the benefit of a team of people chopping mise en place and preparing stocks. We don’t have salamanders or massive mixers. And we don’t have a guy who does nothing but wash dishes so that using six pans to make dinner sounds reasonable. God, having a guy washing dishes would be awesome.

So whenever we come across a recipe that seems like restaurant quality, we add it to our repertoire. There’s the goat cheese enchiladas we have made so many times. Or the Mulberry Street sausage and pasta. Or Esquire’s lamb ragout.

The new one I’m adding to the list is apple pie-infused bourbon. It’s a recipe that takes five minutes but tastes like a chef took a week to prepare it.

The recipe below started with one from Southern Living, but after my first try, here’s an altered version that’s even better:

Slice two apples and drop them into a Tupperware container or pickling jar, if you’re actually the kind of person with pickling jars. Add three cinnamon sticks, which are not actually cinnamon but cassia (which is another post entirely). Add a teaspoon of nutmeg and maybe a few whole cloves. Pour a bottle of cheap-but-not-disgusting bourbon over the top. I’m a big fan of Old Granddad, which costs $18 a bottle and tastes better than a lot of the $18-a-glass Kentucky whiskey served up at bourbon bars these days.

Top it, and stick it in the back of the fridge for four days and don’t mess with it. To resist the temptation to try it early, you may need to put a lock on the fridge and ask someone else to hold the key. Presumably someone who doesn’t like bourbon, or apple pie. Actually, I’m not sure you should befriend that kind of person.

Strain the bourbon into the original bottle, or better yet, an empty bottle of better bourbon so that it looks all fancy. The original recipe called for a quarter cup of simple syrup, which I’d say is too sweet by half. And instead of flavorless simple syrup, use something that imparts flavor. I used maple syrup, which came across through all those spices, but honey, agave, and maybe even a bit of molasses would work too. Add the sweetener — I’d say two tablespoons, and shake the bottle until it mixes.

The final result is killer just over ice. Or with an orange peel and a little soda. Or with Coke. Actually, I’m really not sure if there’s anything you couldn’t put in it.

It tastes spicy from the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It tastes sweet from the syrup. And there’s no doubt it tastes restaurant quality.

Battleship Movie Review

A Review Of ‘Battleship’ That Should Save You From Watching ‘Battleship’

Granted, this is a pretty poorly timed movie review. It’s not like Battleship just came out, or that it just came out on video. It’s just that HBO is showing it every 30 minutes, so the wife recorded it. And last night we watched it, which is not advisable. Here’s why:

  1. Everything you think will happen happens exactly when you think it will happen.

When they show the old WWII veterans, you know they’re going to kill all the aliens. You know they will do heroic things. And they do. And they do so while delivering lines so cheesy you want to punch them in their handlebar mustaches.

  1. Burglary is okay if Brooklyn Decker wants a chicken burrito.

Seriously. The main character, the guy from John Carter who still hasn’t learned how to act, the guy who seems two joints into his night at all times, robs a convenience store because Brooklyn Decker wants a chicken burrito. This is funny, the movie purports. Instead of 10 to life, the guy from John Carter joins the Navy and is quickly promoted to second in charge. Also, he starts dating Brooklyn Decker.

  1. No, that’s not possible. Not even a little.

Take, for instance, the message we send into deep space, which would take tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of years to travel that distance but actually is as quick as sexting. Or the fact that a WWII battleship goes from museum to murdering aliens. Seriously, why would a battleship that has sat as a museum have live ammunition?

  1. Somehow they pull off making the game a movie.

Not the whole movie overall, which was a ridiculous commercial for Subway and Hasbro and whatnot. But there’s a part in the movie where Rihanna is calling out coordinates just like the game, and it sort of works. It’s not quite as ridiculous as it sounds. Well, it is ridiculous, because why can’t the aliens see the ship exactly? How is it that they traveled across the galaxy but don’t have working radar? But still.

  1. If you came up with a plot right now for Battleship the movie, it would be better.

Maybe it would be based in WWII. An American battleship is driven off course by a rogue storm and finds itself surrounded by the Japanese navy in the middle of a dense fog, leading to a game of guessing where the enemy is hiding. Or maybe an electromagnetic pulse has knocked out the controls of modern-day destroyers and it’s the Americans versus the Russians using nothing but guile. Maybe anything else entirely. Although, to be fair there is the amazing Alexander Skarsgård. Okay, a new movie entirely but with Alexander Skarsgård.

Here’s How A Somewhat Obscure Law Blows A Big Fat Hole In Florida’s Red Light Camera Law

Today, I beat a red light ticket. And I beat it with a foolproof defense. Every single person who gets a red light ticket should use it.

Well, you should use it if your spouse was driving the car and not you. And you should not — I repeat, should not — lie and say your spouse was driving simply to get off the ticket. That would be wrong, even more wrong than a government video taping its citizens to record minor traffic infractions.

Anywho, my battle with the court system began when I got a $190 ticket in the mail, which included a link to a video that showed my Volkswagen blowing through a light at 10:10 p.m. on Dec. 5. The ticket explained that Florida’s red light camera law specifies that if you weren’t driving your car when it ran a red light, you have to fill out an affidavit stating who was. But I had a rock-solid defense, so I requested a court hearing, which came this morning.

When it was my turn, the only people left in the courtroom were a couple lawyers, a half dozen cops there to testify, and a handful of court clerks. The judge began by asking a Fort Lauderdale Police Department officer to play the tape of my car cruising through a red light.

He turned to me with eyebrows raised skeptically and asked, “What’s your defense?”

The speech I read was an impassioned plea the wife, a law school professor, helped prepare (the full speech is copied below, and if it applies to you, you should damn well use it in court too). I gave the judge copies of the Florida Statute I cited and offered him copies of Florida Supreme Court rulings that were applicable.

The judge was reluctant at first. “If you weren’t driving the car, you need to tell me who was,” he said.

“You can’t ask me that, your honor,” I replied, and immediately I regretted the answer.

“I can ask you anything I want,” he said, and I knew he was right.

“Sorry, your honor, what I meant to say was that Florida law allows me to decline to answer that question.”

There was some more back and forth, and he spent a couple minutes studying the statute. As he did, a couple cops sitting next to me as I stood at the podium started whispering, “You can’t claim spousal privilege. It only works in civil court.”

“That’s not right,” I whispered back at them.

“You’re wrong,” one of them said, shaking her head with a smile.

Finally, the judge asked, “So, were you driving the car?”

“No, your honor.”

“Okay, case dismissed.”

The clerks handed me a form indicating that the charge had been dropped, and I walked out a free man. Okay, I would’ve been free even if I had been found guilty. But I also would’ve been perhaps $600 lighter. And now anyone whose spouse was actually driving when their car went through a red light has a rock-solid defense.

The red light camera spousal privilege defense

Good morning, your honor. As the owner of the vehicle, the local ordinance requires that I sign an affidavit indicating who was driving, if it wasn’t me. However, in this instance, a Florida statute forbids this.

I would refer you to Florida Statute Section 90.504, also known as the spousal privilege. This statute says that a spouse is not required to testify against the other spouse, and so in this case, I am not required to testify against the person who may have been driving the car that night.

The spousal privilege has long been recognized in Common Law and in Florida law. The Florida Supreme Court decided Henderson v. Chaires in 1889. The citation is Volume 6 of the Southern Reporter, page 164 (1889). The court in Henderson compared it to the attorney client privilege. It said, on page 166: “No rule of law is better established than that which forbids disclosures by husband or wife as witnesses of matters or conversations occurring between them ….”

As I noted earlier, the Florida Legislature codified the spousal privilege in Florida Statute Section 90.504. And it has been recognized time and time again in the courts, including recently in the Florida Supreme Court case of Kaczmar v. State in 2012. The citation is Volume 104 of the Southern Third Reporter, page 990. The Florida Supreme Court held that communications between a husband and wife were privileged because the husband “had a reasonable expectation of privacy while speaking privately with his wife,” and the court held that admitting the testimony at the trial court “was error.”

So I would ask that this ticket be dismissed.