Latin House, A Food Lover’s Paradise

Latin House - Chimi Burrito

Latin House – Chimi Burrito

So I’ve been wanting to write about this amazing restaurant for a while because it’s one of my absolute favorite places to eat. The first time that I went to this place with Jessica, our waiter explained the inspiring Latin House story to us. Initially a food truck, Latin House gained its reputation by serving up some of the most unique cuisine in town. With the food truck craze in full swing across Miami, it didn’t take long before people began raving about their amazing dishes. Eventually they became so popular that groups of people began following the food truck from location to location and at times even to the chef’s home. Earning them the appropriate title of “stalkers”. Overwhelming success allowed the chef to open up a restaurant location and embrace the phrase “stalkers welcome”. For me it was love at first bite. Cuban, Mexican and American foods are all delicious on their own, but when combined together, they form some of the most epic fusion cuisine I’ve ever tasted in my life. So here’s what we ordered…

Latin House - Queso Fondue

Latin House – Queso Fondue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queso Fondue. A blend of 3 cheeses and Mexican chorizo, melted and served with fresh tortilla chips. This is a must have if you’re planning on ordering an appetizer. This mouthwatering treat is served in the same cast iron skillet that it’s cooked in, giving the Fondue a truly great flavor.

Latin House - 2 Sangria's and a Chimay

Latin House – 2 Sangria’s and a Chimay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sangria and Chimay beer. Known for giving everything an unexpected twist, Latin House makes their own special version of Sangria that’s perfect for Miami weather. I went with one of my favorite beers called Chimay which never disappoints.

Latin House - Grilled and Regular Chimi Burrito's

Latin House – Grilled and Regular Chimi Burrito’s

The Chimi Burrito and the Grilled Chimi Burrito. Normally Jessica goes with the “MadLove” burger but after trying my Chimi Burrito last time, I can’t blame her for ordering one this time around. Since they’re basically the same I’ll just tell you about the regular Chimi Burrito that I can’t seem to get enough of. Yellow “Chuchi” rice, three cheeses, sweet plantains and carne asada come wrapped in a large flour tortilla that is flash fried and topped with pico de gallo, avocado lime sauce and Mexican crema. In short, this is the holy grail of burritos. If you’re the type of person that likes going to a restaurant and ordering the dish that made them famous, then make sure you order one of these. I could literally write an essay explaining why this burrito is the greatest invention ever created but I rather you just try it for yourself.

Latin House - Timba

Latin House – Timba

Timba. Fried Cheese Cubes and a special Guava dipping sauce. The only negative thing that I have to say about this dessert is that it doesn’t come with more! I’m not really a desert person per say but when it comes to Timba, that doesn’t really apply. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these cheese cubes go perfect with the special Guava dipping sauce.

I highly recommend that all food lovers give Latin House a shot. Great service and amazing food keep me going to this restaurant time after time. I hope you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

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Casual Miami Dinner at the Pincho Factory

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries

Pincho Factory is a small casual restaurant with a big reputation in the Miami area. Known for their pincho’s and burgers, Jessica and I decided to give the burgers a shot. (I’m becoming slightly concerned at how often I order burgers. Leave it to blogging to realize you’re a burger addict!) After placing our order and taking a seat, we could not help but realize the diversity of the crowd around us. People from all walks of life gathered under a small roof to enjoy some really great food. It doesn’t get much better than that. So here’s what we ordered…

Mimosa and Heineken

Mimosa and Heineken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First order of business is always ordering a drink. I went with an ice cold Heineken (Right) and Jessica went with a fresh Mimosa (Left). Who says Mimosas are only for brunch. We enjoyed both drinks.

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries (Left) Toston Burger (Right)

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries (Left) Toston Burger (Right)

Next comes the Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar French Fries (Left). Obviously this isn’t a meal that I would recommend anyone eat often, but when you feel like taking a break from the healthy stuff this sure does hit the spot. The Pincho Burger was cooked to juicy perfection with lettuce, tomato, potato sticks and their special sauce. The Bacon Cheddar fries came with a ranch dressing on top. Each bite was both delicious and depressing. Delicious in taste but depressing in that I could tell it was a calorie bomb. Another and perhaps more renowned dish is the Toston Burger (Right) which Jessica ordered. Sandwiched between two tostones (fried plantains) comes a well-cooked burger with jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and a homemade cilantro sauce. If I return to the Pincho Factory I might consider ordering that burger instead. With the innovative toston buns and that amazing cilantro sauce, this burger is in a category of its own. Keep in mind though that the burger is super filling and likely to be too much for one person. Jessica could attest to that.

2nd Round

2nd Round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert ended up being a second round for us. After such a filling meal, it was all that we could bare.

My favorite part of our dinner was honestly the bill. Great prices and really unique food are always a great combination. For anyone thinking of going to the Pincho Factory I would strongly recommend doing so on a day that you’re starving. The burgers are very heavy and a side of bacon cheddar fries might put you in a food coma. Aside from that, I really enjoyed our dinner and plan on trying their Pincho’s next time. Thanks for stopping by!

Slave Labor in Qatar?

Transporting new migrant workers to Doha, Qatar

Transporting new migrant workers to Doha, Qatar

How far would your country be willing to go in order to host the World Cup? Well, if your country is Qatar, then you could say they are willing to kill for that opportunity. Amnesty International, a transnational human rights organization, reported that over 568 workers have died since January 2012 while preparing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. As more light is being shed on the issue, Qatar has been pressured to reform its current labor laws. While talks are underway to discuss the situation, the fact remains that nothing has been done to protect these migrant workers.

Currently Qatar has a labor law that allows corporations to control their employees’ exit visas. What this means is that by law, an employer could deny its employee the right to leave the country if they wish to do so. Recently I wrote a post on the migrant workers of Dubai, who suffer from a similar policy. Apparently, these construction corporations seek out poor immigrants from neighboring countries, mostly India, and then offer them an opportunity to provide for their families back home. These companies charge them what is known as a visa fee to cover their flight and work visa expenses, though they charge much more than necessary. Since their target employees are extremely impoverished people, the corporations offer a loan program to cover the visa fee.

Once the migrant workers arrive in Qatar, they find that they receive only a portion of their promised wage. The companies apply absurd interest rates on their visa fee loans and then withhold the promised wages so that these employees are not able to generate any real income. If they request their exit visa to return back to their country, the companies deny their request. The result is a slave workforce that is subjected to terrible living and working conditions. The companies responsible for this tragedy benefit from the free labor while Qatar benefits from the revenue of those very same companies. The fact that this is happening today in the year 2014 is beyond my comprehension.

I find it very upsetting that this situation is not making the news. My hope is that whoever reads this post and my other post on Dubai will spread the word about this. As of today, it’s estimated that 1.4 million migrant workers are constructing the 2022 World Cup stadium and surrounding structures in Qatar. If these companies continue their enslavement practices and Qatar does nothing to stop them, then who will? How many more will have to die or suffer for the World Cup before action is taken? If you’re an avid soccer fan and were planning on attending this event, you should know that the stadium was built on the blood, sweat and tears of enslaved migrant workers.

Are you from Qatar or India? Have you ever heard about these practices? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about this situation. Thank you for stopping by and if you like this post or any others make sure to subscribe to my blog.

Article Sources:

1.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatar-pressed-to-protect-world-cup-workers-1.1327507

2.

http://www.amnesty.org

World map of Qatar

World map of Qatar

Migrant workers in Qatar resting on site

Migrant workers in Qatar resting on site

 

Migrant workers in Doha, Qatar

Migrant workers in Doha, Qatar

Map of Qatar

Map of Qatar

Dubai, A City Built by Slaves?

Dubai Skiing Resort

Dubai Skiing Resort

Largest Hotel in the World

Largest Hotel in the World

Dubai's Artificial Island

Dubai’s Artificial Island

 

 

 

 

Chances are that you’ve heard something amazing about the city of Dubai. Maybe you’ve heard that they built an indoor mountain of snow for skiing in the middle of the desert. Perhaps you’ve heard that they constructed an island for luxury hotels or that they built the largest structure in the world. All of these things are true. However another fact that I’m pretty sure most people haven’t heard about Dubai is that the majority of low wage workers who erected these new structures, are modern-day slaves. Though the words “low wage workers” imply that these men and women make a salary, the truth is that they are slaves from the moment that they arrive. Let me explain what I learned.

After watching a Vice News documentary on youtube.com titled, “Slaves of Dubai” I discovered how these workers become slaves to their employers. The first step is recruiting the future workers in their country of origin. They are told that if they pay a small fee, then they could have the opportunity of working in Dubai. The “small fee” is referred to as a visa fee which supposedly covers the future workers permission to enter Dubai and their air fare. However the truth is that this visa fee is much more than the cost of the plane ticket and that the sole purpose of this fee is to get these future workers to take out a loan. After arriving in Dubai, the workers find that they get half of their promised pay and sometimes, they do not get paid at all.

What’s more, if you complain about the poor living conditions or lack of money, then your passport is revoked. You may find that your wage no longer reaches you but you still work long hard hours in the beating desert sun. The companies charge their “employees” for their living quarters which usually consist of about eight people to one room and forty five people to one bathroom. Most of the workers are paid so little that they find themselves stuck in Dubai with no means of returning home and escalating debt. Though these conditions are illegal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), they continue to occur. The video that I watched showed a man crying out of desperation, unable to provide for his family back home and unable to return to them. It’s just not right.

Do you live in Dubai or in another city within the UAE? I want to know what your take is on this situation. Do the people in your city recognize this problem, or is it hidden from them and never discussed? Have you ever spoken with a worker from one of these companies? I would love to know if these realities have reached your neighborhood and if anything is being done to stop this. Please let me know what you think.

 

Slave workers in Dubai being transported to their temporary homes outside of the city

Slave workers in Dubai being transported to their temporary homes outside of the city

Slave workers in Dubai living in close proximity

Slave workers in Dubai living in close proximity

Slave workers sleeping in their company provided rooms

Slave workers sleeping in their company provided rooms

Cannibal Warlord, General “Butt Naked”

Do you remember the last time that you ate a child’s heart so that you could be invincible in battle? Can’t recall ever doing so? Well take a look at this documentary that I found on youtube.com. The documentary was produced by Vice News, a news agency that does in depth reporting across the globe. In this documentary Shane Smith, Vice News co-founder and field correspondent, travels to the west African nation of Liberia to investigate the so called Cannibal Warlords that live there. Let me warn you that the documentary has some strong content.

After exploring several parts of Liberia, Shane Smith lands a shady interview with former General “Butt Naked.” The general, who gave himself the name “Butt Naked”, explains the origin of his name to Shane. He tells the reporter that he chose this name because of his combat strategy during Liberia’s civil war. A strategy in which he would instruct his rebel soldiers to strip down completely before battle. Once fully nude, he would have his soldiers bring an innocent child to him for ritualistic purposes. He would then cut the child’s heart out of his/her chest, while still alive, and have each of his soldiers consume a piece of it. General “Butt Naked” explained to his soldiers that this sacrifice would bring them magical powers in combat and make them invincible. Only then would the General and his soldiers go into battle, while still completely nude I should add. This ritual of sacrifice was repeated before every single battle, thus causing the needless slaughter of hundreds of innocent children during the war.

Today General “Butt Naked” spends his days preaching to his community. He converted to Christianity after the war and now preaches at churches around Liberia about his struggle with his violent past. Former victims of his cannibal rituals say that he converted to Christianity only to avoid punishment for his war crimes. So the former general’s life is now in constant danger of attack from people affected by his military past. According to him these are false accusations. He says that the reason he converted to Christianity was so that he could be a better person and more importantly a better father to his young daughter. Though he takes the full blame for his actions, he recognizes that if his parents would have raised him instead of abandon him, then he might be a different man today. That thought is what motivates him to be a better father and a better person with the help of Christianity.

I tried to put myself in his shoes and imagine what life must have been like for him in Liberia. I wonder what kind of trauma he experienced before deciding that killing children and eating their hearts was the right thing to do. Maybe he’s just a psychopath with no remorse, incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. However it seems odd to me that a person who is incapable of knowing right from wrong would choose to devote the rest of his life to Christianity seeking forgiveness for his sins. The question of whether or not this man should be executed for his crimes remains a mixed issue. Does punishing a person’s ignorance with death solve the issue of ignorance? Does not punishing this man solve the issue of ignorance? I’m not sure what the solution is, if there even is a solution, but what I do know is that this country and its people are completely foreign to me. I will pray for them and hope that change comes sooner than later…

I would love to hear from someone living in Liberia. If you are from there or have family that lives there, please reply to this blog post. I want to hear your story and know what it is like for you as a citizen of Liberia. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Post Sources

cia.gov

youtube.com

Liberia in Africa Liberia with neighbors

Source (Picture 1)                                                                              Source (Picture 2)

 

 

15 Quick Facts about Liberia

Official Language: English (Though only 20% of the population exclusively speaks English)

President: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, since 2006 (She was reelected in 2011 with 90.7% of the total vote in her favor)

Religion: 85.6% Christian, 12.2% Muslim

Total Population: 4,092,310

Capital: Monrovia

Median Age of Population: 18 years old (U.S. median age: 37 years old)

Sanitation Facility Access: 18.2% of the total population (81.8% with no access to restrooms or sewage infrastructure)

Health Expenditures: 19.5% of GDP

Physician Density: 0.01 Physicians/1000 people (Whatever you do don’t get sick in Liberia)

Education Expenditures: 2.8% of GDP

Total GDP: $2.89 Billion U.S. Dollars (Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth: $26.6 Billion U.S. Dollars)

Average Annual Income (Per Person): $700.00 U.S. Dollars (Qatar’s average is the highest at: $102,100 U.S. Dollars)

Privately Owned T.V. Stations: 3

Total Internet Users: 20,000 people (That’s less than 1% of the entire population)

Transnational Issues: Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Civil Unrest, Refugee Disputes with Neighboring Countries