Today we’re continuing our series on the people who make what we do possible — our supporting members. ❤️ Today we’re featuring member Rick Wallach!
Where in town might people run into you?
Kendall, Pinecrest in general. In the mornings, you’ll find me at the Brewing Buddha cafe on SW 124th Street. I’ll be in the back room of The Fish House in South Miami on Wednesday nights for their weekly jazz sessions; otherwise, Tuesday-Saturday I’ll be at the wonderful Luna Star Cafe in North Miami.
What local business do you think deserves a shoutout?
Definitely want to mention Chana Thai on SW 136th St across from the Falls. Great Thai food and a sushi bar serving up lots of imaginative fresh fish dishes and rolls. I also recommend Rumi Persian restaurant on South Dixie Highway at 122nd Street, and our local Cafe Cubano going back maybe 25 years, Las Dos Palmas on SW 89th Avenue for great boliche and rabo encendido. A bit less local to me but a favorite haunt is the superb Cote Gourmet restaurant on N. Miami Avenue in Miami Shores, where I enjoyed a jackfruit and seafood curry the other day.
What made you decide to become a member of The New Tropic?
I was at the Luna Star Cafe when Alexa came in to do a video of the place, and then, a week later, I was at the Brewing Buddha when she came in there, too. She told me about the site so I checked into it and was impressed by what you’re doing.
What’s something you’re working on that you could use help with?
I’m editing a large two-volume collection of critical essays on Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. I could definitely use some help with the Adobe publishing software, which has gotten so complicated you almost need a PhD to operate it.
If you only have one meal left in Miami, where are you going?
I’m going to Old Lisbon on Coral Way for their marvelous pulpo in olive oil and wine sauce, one of their many delicious preps of bacalao, and a lethal concoction they call a chocolate mousse with a straight face but which is far better than that.
What’s a recent story you’ve read about Miami that you wish more people cared about?
I’m concerned about the arsenic levels the city of Miami just discovered in the ground at Melreese golf course, the residues of a county incinerator that used to occupy that site many years ago. It surely isn’t the only place where development has merely covered over toxic wastes – the Miami River is a nightmare – and we’ve got an enormous amount of cleaning up to do.
What’s your perfect day in our city?
I travel so much professionally that when I’m home, I’m likely to be a homebody. I enjoy sitting out back in my gazebo, enjoying the tropical air, reading or doing research, sipping homemade lemonade. I’m also an avid armchair naturalist and supporter of wildlife rehab projects; our property is heavily wooded, with fruit trees and flowering shrubs which attract all kinds of wildlife. I enjoy watching the varieties of hummingbirds, anoles, geckos, ring-necked snakes, skinks and iguanas, and other wildlife, who inhabit our gardens and stop by to keep me company.
What does it mean to you to live like you live here?
It means, above all, feeling in tune with the sultry atmosphere of the tropics, being aware of the unique and beautiful foliage, wildlife and the insouciant pace of life. There’s a great deal of natural world interpenetrating the urban and suburban areas and I love that, even as I love the roar of a tropical downpour pounding on my roof, the way thunder rattles the whole house (and resets the timer on my microwave, which can be a pain but it also reminds me how lucky I am to be able to live here). I can feel the Everglades to the west like some kind of subtle spiritual pressure; when I was (much) younger I spent a lot of time out there, boating or hiking, and it feels like home. I still drive down to the national park about once a month to walk the boardwalks through the forests at the various visitor centers, though I don’t go far south enough to hit the brackish marshes with their motherload of mosquitos until late in the fall.
What are you celebrating in your life right now?
Our daughter got married to a terrific young man a couple of months ago; we’re lucky to have her, and thankful he came into her life. Aside from that, I’m just celebrating having lived this long.
Supporting members like Rick make our work possible — and they get special perks like event discounts, ticket giveaways, and bonus content in the newsletter. Become a New Tropic member today to join the crew.