Artist Serge Toussaint Seen Eating...Grits and Griot
|Photo courtesy of Serge Toussaint|
Serge Toussaint is the prolific muralist whose work you might have noticed throughout Miami, especially in Little Haiti, where you can't turn a corner without seeing his trademark style. His storefront art colorfully depicts what's for sale inside, but with that playful Serge touch: For example, a Pepsi can becomes "Pepsi Serge" and Newport cigarettes become "Newpot." Toussaint has painted everything from botanicas to bodegas, from Barack Obama to Eartha Kitt. This summer, Rachel Goldberg released a photographic compilation of Toussaint's work.
New Times: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Serge Toussaint: I had some grits and eggs. The typical breakfast for me is at the USA Car Wash. It's where I eat my food at. Right now, we're struggling. They're trying to close us down because of a license problem. My cousin's working on that right now, trying to get the restaurant opened back up. We got haters around here, you know?
He's not my cousin really, but I call him cousin because when I first came to Miami, he opened up doors for me. I didn't know nobody up here and he opened up his house to me and let me stay with him for a minute until I got on my feet. So ever since then, USA Car Wash is my hangout.
What are some of your favorite meals at USA Car Wash?
The griot [fried pork chunks] is real good. The griot is number one---and the oxtail. At night time, they got lambi, the conch. That is really good.
|Serge's trademark style on display at a Little Haiti variety store|
Le Bebe Restaurant is on 54th Street -- it's right across the street from my uncle's place. Le Bebe Restaurant has been there ever since I got here, so I stick to it. I like to stick to one thing.
Piman Bouk Restaurant -- it's a little bit expensive, but it's got some real good food too. Piman Bouk is on the radio. He's got a talk show. He's a very popular man in the community and by him being so popular, he opens up a lot of businesses, like a garage and the restaurant. He really helps the Haitian community. If anybody dies, and they don't have family to bury them, you go to Piman Bouk. He's a real cool guy. He will bury that person for you. So, in this community, he is well-respected.
Do you like to cook?
I got a little boat. I like to go fishing. I catch snapper and stew it the Haitian way, with rice and beans. We Haitians like things real spicy. We make it spicy with pikliz [spicy Haitian cabbage slaw] and piman bouk, a hot pepper [also known as goat pepper].
My wife, Jessica, cooks too. She knows how to cook some good griot. So I just want to give a shout out to my wife.