Kendall native Mandy Baca is an unlikely historian. Her first loves aren't the dusty archives and musty-smelling books that normally keep historians company, rather they're the aromatic spices of the kitchen.
Courtesy of State Archives of Florida Vintage postcard of Biscayne Boulevard.
Baca is a trained gastronome, she earned a master's degree in Italian gastronomy and tourism from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. While that might sound almost scientific, Baca described her degree as a crash-course in "traveling, eating, [and] pretending to study." With that background, it's no surprise that Baca's first book, The Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine: Cortaditos, Stone Crabs and Empanadas, delved into the rich background of Miami's food culture.
Baca's second book, Discovering Vintage Miami, is a bit of a divergence from her foodie-focused background. The heavily-illustrated volume is a jaunty history tour through some of the Magic City's best vintage establishments. There are some familiar places in Discovering Vintage Miami, places that have endured through Miami's makeovers: Arbetter's Hot Dogs, Joe's Stone Crabs, and S & S Diner. But there are other lesser-known places that might be a discovery even for the most native of Miamians.More »