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Mandy Baca

Miami, FL

Mandy Baca

Author of The Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine: Cortaditos, Stone Crabs & Empanadas and Discovering Vintage Miami.

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How Miami neighborhoods got their names

Ah, Miami-Dade County: the land of dreamers, visionaries, builders, and fabulously peculiar towns and neighborhoods. Before the real estate land boom of the 1920s it was a swampland, but that didn’t stop the country’s rich from coming to make their mark. These early pioneers came with big ideas that would be the beginning of quirky, one-of-a-kind places.
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Exploring vintage North Beach

The nonprofit Rhythm Foundation is celebrating 28 years of bringing international music to Miami. Check out their vibes at Big Night at Little Haiti, Friday November 20; or with Cafe Quijano at the Olympia Theater on Saturday, November 28. Located between the hustle and bustle of South Beach and the upscale Bal Harbour (63rd to 87th, to be exact), North Beach is a slice of paradise.
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Shtetl by the Sea

Prior to the 1960s, Miami was home to a prominent Jewish community. Since then, numbers have significantly dwindled, but that’s not to say they are insignificant. Forward, one of the nation’s top Jewish media outlets, noted in an article from February 2014 that “more than half a million Jews live in three counties – Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach – making the region America’s third-largest Jewish metro area.”.
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From Nicaragua to Miami

While Cubans make up the most significant Latin community in Miami, Nicaraguans don’t fall far behind. Reports from the 2010 Census counted more than 120,000 Nicaraguans in Miami-Dade County—but the real number is probably higher, as the Census doesn’t account for children, those who did not participate, or undocumented immigrants.
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Traditional Cuban meets Nuevo Cubano

We’re teaming up with Arts & Entertainment District to launch A&Eats: The Search for Miami’s Next Great Restaurant Concept. We’re giving away a year of rent-free restaurant space to one new restaurant idea. Could it be yours? So much of what we think of as Miami cuisine is really our spin on traditional Cuban food.
The New Tropic Link to Story
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How Cuban food became Miami food

We’re teaming up with Arts & Entertainment District to launch A&Eats: The Search for Miami’s Next Great Restaurant Concept. We’re giving away a year of rent-free restaurant space to one new restaurant idea. Could it be yours? At the epicenter of traditional Cuban culture in Miami is Little Havana, and with it comes decades of rich history.
The New Tropic Link to Story
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Miami restaurants we’ll always remember

We’re teaming up with Arts & Entertainment District to launch A&Eats: The Search for Miami’s Next Great Restaurant Concept. We’re giving away a year of rent-free restaurant space to one new restaurant idea. Could it be yours? Owning and operating a restaurant is a tough feat and not for the faint of heart.
The New Tropic Link to Story
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From Pride to The Palace: Miami’s LGBT community through the years

Miami has had a gay nightlife scene as early as the 1930s. From then on, it would be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, filled with progress, failure, celebrations, and heartbreak in Miami LGBT history, leading to our current status as a gay mecca that attracts more than 1 million LGBT visitors a year.
The New Tropic Link to Story
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That South Beach life, then and now

Miami Beach is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. An incredible amount of progress has occurred since then, with the little beachside city growing from a lowly swamp island to a world-class destination adored by the rich and the fabulous. But it hasn’t all been sunshine and glamour. The city lives off of its largest thoroughfares — Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Alton Road, and each with its own history, ambiance, and purpose.
The New Tropic Link to Story
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Making comics in Miami

We have some strong creative roots in Miami, with footholds in the film, art, and literary scenes. The comic book scene is no different. We caught up with five locals making comics in South Florida to chat about their lives, their latest projects, and their inspirations. Born and raised in South Florida, Jeff Dekal has spent most of his life creating illustrations he calls “urban and uncanny,” Like many local artists, his earliest artistic influences were the colorful graffiti on Miami’s walls.
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How Eight Miami-Dade Cities Got Their Names

Even more interesting than the origins of Miami’s neighborhoods are those of our individual cities. Many Miami-Dade cities were inspired by the real estate land boom of the 1920s, when soaring dreams met big wallets resulting in some crazy stories and well, some ideas that worked. We took a look at the origin stories of eight of Miami-Dade County’s cities.
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Miami History: What was there before?

Nothing in life is permanent. Things change, life goes on, and old haunts become Starbucks and fro-yo shops. But, there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Places are not completely forgotten; they live in that warm place in our minds that harbors memories. Take a look back at the grand places we all once visited in Miami history — what they were and what they are now.
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About

Mandy Baca

I am a freelance writer covering the topics of food, history and culture. I am also the author of The Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine: Cortaditos, Stone Crabs and Empanadas (The History Press, 2013) and Discovering Vintage Miami (Globe Pequot Press, 2014). I reside in the vibrant city of Miami where I continue my quest to inspire and advance the interest in local history. I am available for freelance work and would love to hear from you.