And completely free is the show by Lenny, if you’re lucky enough to be there when he is, who this day was using his hands to shovel fresh fish into a sizzling fry pans loaded with butter and garlic and also talk with them, slashing the air as he spoke, a little man with a big voice. With all that gesticulation, I had to ask: Lenny, you Italian?
"That’s what my mother tells me,” he growled, before the Brooklyn native offered more opinions on the Celtics-Heat game that night and then going full swing into the meaning of life that included “We’re here now, we’re goin’ somewhere else later.” That wraps it up nicely.
One night, I also took in Clarke’s in Miami Beach, a wickedly good, upscale-but-affordable Irish pub, a place of wooded, mirrored atmosphere and serving amazing pub food, from bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, to its signature Irish spring rolls. I went with potato soup for $4.95, thick and creamy, flecked with bacon bits and lumps of blue cheese, an appie that made it difficult, but not impossible, to devour the massive $13.95 shepherd’s pie that followed.
It was also a night to involuntarily burn into the memory banks where I was at a most historic moment. As we dined, CNN broke the news of Osama bin Laden’s killing, and when President Obama spoke, 75 or so people stood watching, stone silent. When it was done, the place erupted in cheers and applause, louder still when the barkeep cranked up “Born in the USA.” A goose bump moment to say the least.
There’s so much great food in the Miami area, these are just two. At next year’s rum festival, I’ll be calling Glenn again to find more.