Those who keep up with Miami Dish on Twitter and Facebook know that I love visiting Chicago.
I’ve visited two to three times every year for the past eight years or so– once I stayed for a month.
There’s so much I love about Chicago but wonderful opportunities, family and friends have kept me rooted in my hometown. Being able to chronicle Miami’s emerging food scene has been a huge draw; our food landscape has changed dramatically in the past few years–something I tried to capture in the recent Tasting Table Miami City Guide. It’s been an ideal niche for me to be able to focus on good food and good stories in this crazy place.
However, I’ve often been torn. Ever since I read a book jacket that described author Diana Abu-Jaber as dividing her time between Miami and Portland, I’ve been enchanted with the notion of getting the best of two places. After reading that, I’ve liked to think of Chicago as a second home town, as a place where I “divide my time.”
Now the city that has vied to be my home for so many years will become my home base. There are opportunities for my husband and I in our Second City too rich to pass up right now. So as of late January, we will make it our primary home for the next few years.
I choose to think I will still be dividing my time. My dad pointed out that now I’ll just be flying to visit Miami on my vacations rather than Chicago. I have family, friends and community that draw me here. I am a native with a deep love of this place, its peculiarities and its tropical wonders. I’ve worked so hard to build up Miami Dish that I hope to figure out a way to maintain some kind of steady presence here.
As far as Tasting Table, it’s been an amazing experience working as the inaugural Miami editor. I always tell people that I’m so proud to have worked for a media outlet with such a strong editorial character; Tasting Table is one of few organizations that still pays for writers to dine anonymously. I’m leaving the Miami edition in the capable hands of Paula Echevarria.
Nostalgia and the Food Bucket List
While my old friend Ayleen was in town over the holidays, I listened again to my “Letter From West Kendall”, a story I produced for WLRN’s Under the Sun series about growing up with Que Pasa, U.S.A.? and my love-hate relationship with my hometown. In the story, Ayleen says she’s glad she left Miami, but she’s also wistful for random things like family birthday parties in Tropical Park and Santa’s Enchanted Forest. I felt sentimental too. However, I won’t gloss over my excitement about Chicago. The two places are and probably ever will be competing, tugging at my heart simultaneously.
The trick is to enjoy the place where I am, to experience it in the moment. I think I’ve done that well in Miami and I’ll continue until I’m on the plane north. During my last few weeks here, I’m trying to savor as many only-in-Miami foods as I can (see some of my #miamifoodbucketlist on Instagram).
Finally and most importantly, thanks for reading, tweeting and commenting over the years. Thanks to those who’ve passed on great tips and to all who have supported me. I’ll keep you posted on the next chapter but expect to read more from Miami and Chicago.