Kikita, the Luckiest Girl in the World, Sees Ruben Blades in Concert

I very well may be the luckiest girl in the world.

I'm sure there are other girls that think that, but I bet I can make a pretty good case for being the luckiest.

(This is Kikita, by the way, Marta's eldest daughter. <-- That alone makes me pretty lucky, but that's not important right now ;-D)

A little over a week ago, my timbales teacher told me to look up an Eddie Palmieri song and listen to it as much as I could stand because he was going to teach it to me. Of course, in my hunt for the song in question, I remembered a whole bunch of OTHER Eddie Palmieri songs I love.

A few days after my Palmieri moment, Mami sent me a text message. The nice people at Al Punto had offered her two free tickets to see Ruben Blades the following Wednesday, but she was going to be on vacation and would I like to go? And, if I DID want to go, did I have someone I could take with me?


What you might not know is how much I LOOOOVVVEEE Ruben Blades.

I think his voice is like a fine summer wine. Light, sweet, smooth and delicious. (No, I don't drink a lot of wine, but if Ruben Blades' voice WAS a wine, I'd drink it every day.)

I immediately called my OTHER timbales teacher (the one who is just showing me what he knows because he's nice) and, like me, there was no way he'd say no to an invitation to see one of best in the business.

Ruben Blades was playing at the Hollywood Bowl. I'd never been to the Hollywood Bowl, but was instructed to take a picnic and that every seat is an experience.

There could be no sounder advice.

I stopped to get pan con lechón from my favorite Orange County Cuban restaurant, Bella Cuba and we arrived at the Hollywood Bowl with enough time to find our seats (they were AWESOME! Thanks, Al Punto!) and enjoy our sandwiches. It was perfect. 

2012-08-15 19.46.36

I was so excited on Ruben Blades, I had completely forgotten about the band that would be opening for him... The EDDIE PALMIERI Orchestra!!


See what I'm saying about luck? 

Eddie started by saying, "Whether you stand up and dance or just dance in your seat: if you don't move or get involved with this band, you are not well." 

I could barely contain my excitement. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Eddie asked for requests and joked that he would play all those requests "next time." I was secretly hoping he would play my favorite song of his, "La Malanga" when he announced that the next song had been written by a Cuban singer/songwriter named Rudy Calzado and was called "La Malanga."

Could a girl get any luckier?!?

Yes. A girl could run in to her favorite local salsa star by the name of Chino Espinoza (of Chino Espinoza y Los Dueños Del Son) with his son Jake.

Kikita con Chino y Jake Espinoza

After each song, I would turn to my friend and say "We could leave now and I'd be so happy," and Ruben Blades had not even started yet! It was THAT GOOD.

Of course, it took Ruben Blades all of 10 seconds to leave me speechless. He was incredible. His voice was everything I knew it would be.

He introduced his song "Decisiones" by saying, "In 1984, this song was banned by the dictatorship in Panama. Today the dictatorship is gone, but the song remains."

As if I needed any more reasons to love him? My Cuban-American side was cheering "Yes! Dictatorships CAN be overthrown!"

Of my top three favorite Ruben Blades songs, Ruben played "Muevete" which is my second favorite and ended with his classic (and my third favorite)  "Pedro Navaja" which he started with a little bit of "Mack the Knife."

I was so happy. What a wonderful experience. What a wonderful concert. What a lucky girl I was... and, wait, what? He was going to do ONE. MORE. SONG.

Being the Luckiest Girl in the World, I knew he would play my favorite song of his, "Patria."

I couldn't stop the tears of joy and disbelief from rolling down my cheeks.

Not that I want to push my luck, but I am so looking forward to "next time." If last night was any indication of some of the upcoming events at the beautiful Walt Disney Concert Hall, then I might have to become a Professional Attender of Wonderful Music Things. I'm told this next season is going to be "Limitless" and full of surprises a la Gilberto Gil, Bobby McFerrin, and Holiday Sing-Along with Julie Andrews!

I know, right?

I am one lucky (and oh-so-happy) girl! =D

2012-08-15 21.04.52

Kikita Loves Monkeys

Familia! It's Kikita here.

In case you didn't know, I love monkeys.
I also love movies.
So when the chance to see a movie about monkeys comes up, I'm SOOO there.

"The Lion King" is my favorite Disney movie and Rafiki is a huge reason for that.
"Aladdin" is one of my favorite Disney movies because of Abu.
Can you guess what my favorite part of "Tarzan" is? Yes, the "Trashin' the Camp" part (Of course, the fact that N'SYNC and Phil Collins sang it was a HUGE plus).
Before those came out, "The Jungle Book" was my favorite.

I love monkeys.
You get it.

When Mami got an invitation from Disney Nature to go see their new movie, "Chimpanzee," she knew exactly who to call.
She called before she even looked at the date and realized she would be out of town.
She called so that I could have time to clear whatever I had planned to go see it.

10 am on a Sunday in Hollywood?
No problem.

I shouldn't admit this, but anyone who knows me knows that I go to church on Saturday nights because 10 am on a Sunday is just too early to get to a church that's only 10 minutes away...
Does this mean I love monkeys more than I love Jesus? I hope not.

I digress.
I went to the movie.

2012-04-15 09.52.01

I was in awe.

"Chimpanzee" is a documentary, but not your typical documentary. It was a story. But it was FULL of information. Even for my love of monkeys, I had no idea that chimpanzees were omnivores, did you?

It was truly an incredible story.

In fact, I was loving it so much that I found myself wondering, "Would it be wrong to name my first-born son "Oscar" after the little baby chimp who is the star of the film?" (No, I DO NOT have any children yet, I'm just planning ahead.)
I settled for buying a plush-monkey of Oscar instead, but I call him "Oscarito."

CHIMPANZEE one sheet

The movie is in theaters right now.
Do yourself and your kids a favor, go see it. 
If you don't have kids, then call a friend and go see it.
You won't be disappointed.
I promise.

And you just might learn a thing or two that you didn't know before. 

Voices From Mariel - a Screening (or 2 or 3)

**The following post was written and brought to you by the one and only Kikita. Marta and the rest of the big, fat, Cuban family are currenty cruising to Puerto Rico**

Mami, Marta, has been collecting your Cuando Sali de Cuba stories for quite some time now getting ready for Hispanic Heritage Month. What better way to kick off the month than with a screening of the film that kicked off the Cuando Sali de Cuba story sharing?


Back in May, there was a giveaway of the DVD "Voices From Mariel."

Voices From Mariel logo

And now, at the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, there will be a couple of special screenings of this incredible documentary in select cities.

If you're in Miami, you can go see "Voices From Mariel" next weeked, September 9, 10, & 11 at:
90 NW 29th Street
Miami, FL 33127
(305) 571-9970
Click here for tickets and showtimes


September 9-15 at:
11865 SW 26th Street
Miami, FL 33175
(305) 221-1801
Click here for tickets and showtimes

If you're reading from New Brunswick, New Jersey there will be a screening for you, too!

On September 25th, "Voices of Mariel" will be part of the screenings offered in the New Jersey:

New Jersey Film Festival Location
Voorhees Hall #105
71 Hamilton Street/College Avenue Campus
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ
(You have to be sure and arrive about 30 minutes early to get your tickets at the door, though)

All of these screenings are fantastic, but a movie isn't really a movie until it's seen in LA, right?
Of course, right.

So, on September 10th at 8pm, as a part of Cuban Cultural Night at the MACHA Theatre in West Hollywood, there will be a special screening of "Voices of Mariel" complete with a Question and Answer session with some of the makers afterwards. ("The Makers" being Dr. Jose Garcia - the creator, Rob Tritton - a producer, and Steven Bauer - a totally awesome actor and if you don't know who he is I - Kikita - might be worried about how Cuban you really are!)

There are plenty of people who don't know anything about the Mariel Boatlift beyond Scarface or that one Pitbull album, those are the people you should bring with you to this event.

And, afterwards, please come up and introduce yourself to me.

Let's take a picture.
And you can tell me your Cuando Sali de Cuba story, or ask for tips on how to get your Taka Taka just right. ;-)

I hope to see you all on Saturday, September 10th at 8pm!
MACHA Theatre
1107 North Kings Rd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Click here for tickets

If you haven't submitted your Cuando Sali de Cuba story to Mami yet, there's still time! Go ahead and send her an email.
(600-700 words with photos.)

If you can't make it to any of the screenings because they're not in your area, there's only one thing to do: find a way to have a screening in your city! Go ahead and send me, Kikita, an email and I'll make sure you get in touch with the right people.

What a great beginning to Hispanic Heritage Month, no?

See you on the 10th!

Cuban Food Review ... Or is it?

*The following post was written by Kikita, la hija de Marta.* 

Here in "The Bubble" (as Mami likes to call it), there is not much Cuban food to be had. That's why Mami posts recipes over on Babalú Blog. That's why we cook so much. If we want to eat out and we want to eat Cuban food, we have to take a road trip.

So, imagine my excitement when I hear that the Souplantation (which is known as Sweet Tomatoes in some states) is having a special where they will be serving Cuban Cuisine for two weeks in August!

Then I saw the menu, and I got worried. There was a whole lot of "chorizo" and nowhere did I see the word "platano."

Did I let that stop me?

Of course not!

Even though their list had me thinking that whoever planned there menu must have had Cuba confused with some other country (Spain, maybe) and that the person had never heard of the internet or how to do any kind of research (because if they had would they really have thought "Chorizo" said "Cuban Food" - nevermind that we put chorizo in boliche, that's not imporant right now), I decided I would go and give these plantation people a chance.

First up, the Havana Banana Salad.

Havana banana salad description

No, the "Banana" was not platano. It was just your basic, everyday banana. And since it was a chip, it was really just acting as a tasteless crouton. Was the salad delicious? Of course. A delicious citrus blend of happiness. I daresay it tasted like summer. But it didn't taste Cuban, not even with the black beans added for effect.

Not ready to give up hope, I continued on and found this:

Chorizo potato and lime description

I'm sure there are ways to Cuban-ify potato salad, but this wasn't it. Switching out bacon for chorizo (which, again, says "Spain" before it says "Cuba", right?) and adding lime with that dash of cumin (which ARE two Cuban food staples, we just don't staple like that) only makes your potato salad taste limey. Yummy, if you're the type who likes potato salad, but not Cuban.

I held my breath as I continued on. Telling myself that there really was no way to mess up "Cuban beans and Rice." It's too traditional. It's impossible to get wrong. Impossible? Not for Souplantation!

Cuban rice and beans description

E'CU'E ME!?!


Y que es turmeric? Isn't that an INDIAN spice?!


And did they add the honey to make the beans sweet? They were the wrong color.

Souplantation cuban beans and rice

We call them Black Beans and White Rice for a reason. This reason must have been lost on the Sweet Tomatoes. If they were going for a Moros y Cristianos style, the were still the wrong color whether you make it with black beans or the red ones. Plus, all that lime was really pushing that "summer" taste. And if you like cold beans and rice, it was really quite delicious. An untrained palatte might even go so far as to call it "Tropical" because "Lime" really does scream "Tropical," but "Tropical" was not the scream I had bubbling up in my throat.

In a state of shock, I moved to the soups. 

They're the Souplantation, right? So maybe they'll do better with that... or not.

Sweet potato and chorizo soup description

Ay! Again with the chorizo! And sweet potatoes? Well... I guess that's the closest thing to boñato. (Technically speaking, sweet potatoes ARE in the boñato family, they just aren't the ones most commonly used in Cubano boñato dishes.) I was not fooled for one second. I was eating chili, without the cheese and with black beans and sweet potatoes thrown in to confuse me. A delicious chili, but I didn't come for a chili cook-off. I came for Cuban food.

I was grateful when I saw the sign that told me, this time, no one was trying to pretend this food was really Cuban. Just because you put the word "Cubano" in front of Focaccia, does not make your pizza Cuban.

Cubano focaccia description

I knew it was trying to be "just like the classic sandwich," but putting ham and more chorizo on top of a pickle pizza just makes it a pickle pizza with ham and chorizo. (Yes, I know Focaccia is not exactly pizza, but it's flat and there was cheese on it and it tasted like a pizza with ham and chorizo and pickle - a good pizza, but not even a Cuban pizza: which DOES exist, by the way.)

 Once I got past my utter disappointment at not finding the promised Cuban food anywhere, I really did enjoy the taste sensations dancing on my taste buds.

All in all, the food was good, it just wasn't Cuban.

Souplantation cuban food plate

Thanks Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, if you ever think about adding a Cuban Cafecito to your menu, please call me, Kikita, first and let me teach you how to Taka Taka.

It will be more better. Te lo prometo.

I promise. 

Taka Taka Time

Southern California Cuban Festival 2011 in San Dimas

The following post was written by Kikita.

It's that time of year again!

Time for the Cuban Festival!

It's been a few years since I've been, but I'll definitely be there this year!



(Seriously, if you're a blog reader and you decide to go to the festival and you do see me, please come up and say hello.)

P.S. Despite the fact that I am not going to Miami for Cuba Nostalgia this year which would finally give me the chance to head out to the Cuban Festival in Echo Park, that festival was canceled this year due to lack of funds and the park not being available. Which means the San Dimas Cuban Festival is the only one in the L.A. area this year ... and that is SO important right now! ;-)

Curses! Foiled Again!

**The following post of daring ingenuity and all-around cleverness has been brought to you by the one and only Kikita.

I've been temping.
'Nuff said.

Actually, there's so much more to say.
I've done temp work before. I've worked all kinds of places. In fact, there was even a time when I worked as a "Staffing Agent" (AKA "person who sends temps to companies"). All that to say, I've worked with and for all kinds of companies.

Temp jobs usually get the same kind of credit that temps do; they are the lame and mundain things that no one else wants to do, so let's hire a dingbat to do it because monkeys are just too messy. Of course, that is not always the case, but it never ceases to amaze and amuse me when my temporary boss is surprised at how quickly and well I learn and do things. I can't help but think, "Isn't everyone like this?" Apparently, NOT.

(If you thought THAT was horn-tooting, wait 'til you read the rest of this post!)

So, I've been at my current company since October. The job was only supposed to last until Thanksgiving, but they loved me so much (How could they not?) that they found other reasons for me to stay. And the reason they found has me working the beautiful hours of 11am to 8pm. Perfect hours for a salsera like myself, but that's not important right now. ;-)

I was even invited to Thanksgiving at the Head-Honcho's house, but I declined to go hang-out with my Grandparents.

Before I go further, let me explain that Head-Honcho's Wife works there, and she was my boss for the first part of my assignment. As I continued to prove myself as Awesome, the other managers started requesting the honor of my presence for whatever projects they had going. The Office Manager won and blessed me with the fabulous hours and a key to the office. 

About a week ago, the Office Manager came to me and asked if I'd be willing to stay a couple of extra hours for a special project one night. It was "The Big Boss's Birthday." That's right. The Head-Honcho had the misfortune of having his birthday fall on a workday and a mischeivious Office Manager who knew what temps could help with the Best Boss Birthday Prank EVER!

She wanted to fill his office with balloons, but it was too expensive. I suggested covering his office in Post-Its, but it was still too expensive.

FOIL, on the other hand, was only $1 for one 200 foot roll... BUAHAHAHA!


She bought 10 rolls.

Foil covered office

We only used 4.

Foil covered table and chairs

It took three of us about 4 hours to acheive these wonderous results.

Foiled computer

We covered two walls.

Foiled office wall

We individually wrapped each can of soda in his mini-fridge.

Foiled tree and sodas

There wasn't much we left uncovered. If you look closely, you can see we even foiled his plant.

Foiled desk with tissues

In case there was any doubt in my mind that I was working for the Best Head-Honcho at the Best Company EVER, it was put to rest when I saw this:

Giant foil ball

The Biggest Foil Ball of All Time.
(and he hasn't finished unwrapping everything in his office yet.)

Not that anyone has actually Foiled his office before, but I'm told after numerous exclamations of general shock and awe the Head-Honcho was finally heard to have said, "CURSES! Foiled again!"

(Shortly followed by, "Kiki! Ju've got some 'splaining to do!")

Foiled desk set


Why Kikita thinks Spain Will Win the World Cup

Kikita here.

Virtual Vuvuzela Spain
At some point I'm sure Mami has mentioned that we don't have TV. If you didn't know that, well, now you know. We live in a valley, so we can't even get basic channels without basic cable. We watch movies and are big Netflix fans, but that is not important right now.

Not having cable has made watching the World Cup games quite an adventure.

I have had to go to great lengths to support my Top 3 picks (USA was in my Top 5, but not Top 3) and get my fill of soccer (aka "fútbol").

World cup at cafe
I took my laptop to a local cafe so that I could work and support Uruguay against the Netherlands.

I have exploited various friendships for their television and recording capabilities.
(Thanks Atkinsons! Thanks Michelle!) Cheering during a game

I was up and at a German pub (wearing Argentina colors) at 6am only to watch in horror as Argentina was led to a slaughter.

I changed into Spanish red and relocated to a Spanish bar to scream at the top of my lungs as Carles Puyol made World Cup history.

Of course, it is 1000 times more fun to watch a game on Univisión because when any team makes a goal there is that classic "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!" sound that only the Spanish announcers know how to make so I have tried to make it a point to see the games at places showing them in Spanish.

I am ready for Spain to win on Sunday. They HAVE to win.

Since the Germans couldn't score against them, we know that Spain must have a great defense, but here are the Top 5 Reasons why I KNOW Spain is going to win:

Reason #1:Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez
(I like to call him Xavi Hotness)

Reason #2: Sergio Ramos
(Oh, I'm having a surge alright!)

Reason #3: Fernando Torres
(Fernando TorYES!)

Reason #4: David Villa
(According to FIFA "David Villa is currently one of the world's hottest striking properties." See? Even FIFA understands what I am talking about!)

Reason #5: Iker Casillas
(Every great time needs a gorgeous goalie.)

And while I've heard people complain about how obnoxious the sound of the vuvuzelas are, I can't help but love them. They look like so much fun! I haven't been able to get one of my own, so instead I got an app for that!


Spain Win
With reasons like these, how could we lose?

My Father's Day Gift

(The following post was written and lived by Kikita. It is dedicated to her Big, Fat Verdés Family.)
**WARNING: You may need tissues.**

My grandfather, Rodolfo Verdés, died on December 11, 1999. 

I never called him "Abuelo." Instead I affecionately called him "Papi" as did all of his children and grandchildren. My grandmother, Luza, never called him by his first name. He was always "Verdés" to her. He was always "Verdés" among his brothers and sisters and their children and grandchildren. It was a sign of respect. He was the ultimate father figure. He worked hard and he loved his family deeply.

On his 50th birthday, he began his life all over again in the United States.
I don't know all the sacrifices he made for his family, but I know they exist. I know that he went wherever there was work and sometimes that meant being away from his wife and children for long periods of time.

I also know that every one knew that he loved them. Somehow, despite his absence, there was no doubt about the love he had for his children and grandchildren.

Papi 70s

I know he was quiet, but when he DID say something it was bound to be brilliant and, often times, hilarious. He had the BEST sense of humor.

I know his favorite color was red and that it had nothing to do with his politics.
I know that he loved Cuba passionately, loved the United States for welcoming him, and he hated the (c)astro dictatorship just as passionately.

I know that there is plenty about him that I don't know and, when I get to heaven, I intend to ask him all of it.

I know that I miss him.

And I know that he had asked my Mami to take his ashes back to the province of Pinar del Río (where he had been born) and scatter them in the Valley of Viñales.
I wasn't there when he asked, so I don't know if he specified whether he wanted her to wait until Cuba was free or not or if he just wanted to be there.
To be honest, I didn't know anything about Viñales. It was just a name to me.
But not anymore.

I now understand the breathtaking beauty that is the Valle de Viñales and why he would want his ashes scattered there.


And I know that I'm the only person who can tell you where he is now.

When Luza, my abuela, asked me to go with her to Cuba there was no doubt in my mind or in anyone else's that Papi's ashes would go with us. Papi had given Mami instructions about what he wanted, but Mami will not be going to Cuba anytime soon and the ashes had already been waiting for ten years. I worked impossibly hard calling all over the country to make sure I could get the ashes to Cuba. It became obvious that I wasn't going to have all the paperwork I had been told I needed and so I was faced with a dilemma. After much discussion, it was decided that I would "smuggle in" only some of the ashes. That way I would be keeping the promise Mami had made to Papi, but that he could still wait for a Free Cuba for the rest.

I don't think I can explain to you what it was like to separate out some of his ashes to take with me. I wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the situation and I wanted to weep at the same time. It was an adventure, and it was a heartbreak. It shouldn't have had to be that way, but it was. I didn't want to get to the airport and have his ashes confiscated. Can you imagine? Waiting so long and coming so far and then having the ashes confiscated by the communists running the joke of an airport? What would they even do with them? Would they have made me turn around? Would they have just tossed them out? (I would not put it past them.)

I never told my grandmother how I got the ashes into Cuba. I told her to trust me and that I would get it done. I think she might have fainted if she had known I brought him in as Lancome face-powder. (I know that Papi would have gotten a kick out of it, though.)

  Papi Ashes

I made sure I had the poem he requested and I had a "recent" photo of him.

My cousin, Waldo, and his girlfriend, Mille, came with me on the road trip to Pinar del Río. We wore red in honor of Papi. It was a beautiful day and it was a beautiful drive.

I was detached for most of the drive, until we were actually in Pinar del Río and  I realized: "This is where Papi grew up." That was when the first wave of emotion hit.
Pinar del Rio
Thatched house
4 - tobacco
It hit me a second time when we stopped to take pictures of the Valley of Viñales. I had never seen anything like those mountains before. (In fact, they weren't really mountains, they were "mogotes" - but that is not important right now.) Seeing them I understood why Papi would want his ashes scattered there and I was again choking back tears.

First view

Waldo is wonderful for comic relief and asked if I just wanted to toss the ashes off the ledge where we were standing so we could go home. I laughed and told him that all I needed was to get next to one of the mountains.
We drove and drove and I started to get antsy, especially when the clouds were starting to threaten rain.

When Waldo headed towards this crazy mural depicting evolution, I thought he was making another joke about what we were doing. 5 - Mural
As if to say, "Well, Verdés was a dinosaur, so why not park him there?"

That was not the case.
There are many roads across the valley. There are any number of mountains and countless places to stop. We could have stopped at the third "mogote" on the left after you pass the blue shack, but how would anyone ever find it again if they wanted to?
And how would we put the rest of the ashes in the same place once Cuba was free?

So . . . the Mural de la Prehistoria was the place. I climbed up onto the mountain side and pulled out the poem. I stood under the chin of the red dinosaur and silently prayed that the wind wouldn't throw the ashes in my face when I scattered them.

I read the poem.
I scattered the ashes.
I placed a sprig of wildflowers on the rock.
I left the photo and the poem there.

And then I exhaled.
It was March 3, 2010.

2 - final shot
When we finally got back to the house, I told Luza about our day and where we finally scattered the ashes.
She gave me a hug and a quiet, "Gracias, Amy."
After 10 years, it was finally done.

It is father's day.

Papi is in the Valle de Viñales and he has a spectacular view.

1 - the view

That is the only gift I could give him.

Feliz Día de los Padres, Papi. Te extraño bastante.

How to Turn 55 While in Miami

The following post has been brought to you courtesy of Kikita.

Greetings from Miami!

Yesterday was Mami's 55th birthday (it's ok, she told me I could tell you) and the celebrating started early in the morning and went late into the night. (Ok, technically I think she will be stretching her birthday out through the weekend, but that's not important right now.)

This is how I found her this morning:

Modernmami birthday cake
Sharing a cake with her blog-friend the Modern Mami.

A couple of hours later Mami was enjoying a Dulce de Leche cupcake from InStyle Cupcakes.

Dulce de leche cupcake
After a quick stop to visit Tio Abuelo Fernando (yes, the 99 year old one I went to Cuba with in March)...

Visiting fernando
Mami had lunch with her cousin Yllien at the Gables Diner (yes, I got to go too).

Ylli at gables diner
Next it was time for the main event.

It was time for the big, fat, Cuban birthday party.

And we made it happen!

We had such a great group of people show up! And from all over the United States!

Lea & Vidal made it from New Jersey (and yes, we're going to pretend that the only reason they were in Miami was to say hello to Mami on her birthday).

Lea and Vidal 

Scott and his daughter Daryn came all the way from Georgia.

Daryn and Scott Gillies
Billy trekked in from New Orleans.

Billy hug
Carrie showed up for some Tiki Tiki.


My cousin, Michael, made an appearance along with his lovely wife, Kimberly.

Michael and Kimberly
Amanda from Brandon's Puppy brought her whole brood with her and even Abe was there with his daughter Alissa.

Dinner table

It was so wonderful to have such a mixed group come and share such a fabulous evening. To all of you who were there, thank you. Mami was incredibly touched and feels oh-so-loved (which was the whole point).

Blowing out the candle

To those of you who couldn't make it, here's what you missed (beyond delicious Cuban food and fun-tastic conversation):

Since my Dad and the rest of my siblings could not be there with us, they sent a video. Ok, it was all my Dad's idea. He worked hard on his video slide show and couldn't wait for Mami to see it. It was really quite adorable.

When I set up her computer and started playing it, she burst into tears because the song he'd chosen was the song they had danced to at their wedding.

Mami watching video
It was a very sweet moment and a very sweet video.

I hope you enjoy it:

A Big, Fat, Cuban Family Birthday Party Invitation

Kikita (la hija de Marta) here and I have a happy announcement:

Mami will be turning...*ahem*... 21 on Friday, May 21st, 2010.

Birthday mami baby

We will be in Miami for this momentous occasion and I've decided there is only one thing we can do. We must have a Big, Fat, Cuban Birthday party and EVERYONE is invited!
Where is the party, you ask?
Habana Vieja Restaurant

Come and enjoy some "Tiki Tiki time" with Marta as we celebrate her coming of age.
(Her actual age is "not important right now.")

Please don't feel obligated to bring gifts, the best gift is your presence.
Also, I can't buy your dinner, but I'll be happy to take a picture of you with Marta, so bring your camera! (And if you don't HAVE a camera, I'll have one and can email you the picture.)

If you have any more questions about this momentous occasion, you can email me, Kikita.
I'd be happy to give you my cell phone number so you can find us once you arrive. Just email me and ask. :-)

  Mami birthday
So, here's the re-cap:

When:        Friday, May 21st, 2010

Where:      Habana Vieja Restaurant

                    3622 Coral Way
                    Miami, FL 33145
                    (305) 448-6660

RSVP to:  Kikita

For those of you who won't be able to make it, but are hoping to catch Marta at Cuba Nostalgia, we will be at the Babablú Blog booth for most of Saturday, May 22, 2010.

We can't wait to see you!