Leticia de Mello Bueno
Where do you live?
How long have you lived in the area?
Uy. Too long! I moved here when I was 8 then returned a few years ago after college and a stint on Miami Beach.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
I am from Brazil. My parents came on business and decided to raise us here away from social pressures-- and 20 minutes, not 2 hours from the nearest beach.
Please share what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
I work with strategic creative (content, programming, event, marketing) consulting and styling, mostly in food. As of late, I’ve rekindled a passion for conservation. In addition to working with food, I work with the Tropical Audubon Society (clean water and habitat for birds and people) on communications and with National Audubon Society on event development strategy support for key centers and chapters.
How often do you come to the market?
I used to not miss one week, but now I don’t go as often. That said, I have “fairies” who bring me things, like turmeric tonic, guac, salad dressing and a few things from Bee Heaven Farm and my Keez Beez honey. I’m lucky. That started because I was traveling a lot for work and would either not be in town, or need quiet on rest on Sunday mornings.
Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
I do. I come early and walk my usual suspect booths, get a smoothie (whatever has Jackfruit and or passion fruit), then continue walking. I shopped after I’ve been around the market at least once and said hi to people and run into acquaintances. I need to process what’s around, see what’s go or new-- and do the shopping after social time.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
I’m a guacamoletarian. LNB has the best avocados in town. If I’m going to have a quiet Sunday reading or watching a film, I’ll get the ready-made guac. You prepare and enjoy silence broken only by crunchy chips ;-)
I have a special love for anything jackfruit. When my cousin visits from Brasil, we get a few bags before we go shopping and snack on them through the day.
What have you made with ingredients bought at LNB Grovestand?
Well, turmeric and guac go long ways but what I’ve enjoyed the most was purchasing a banana branch and using it for a photoshoot. That was overnight chia and oat pudding with toasted pecans and Keez Beez Honey. It is satiating, simple, hearty and comforting at once.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
Keez Beez Honey (honey oat soap and honey/wax lip balm, too), Dark leafy, herbaceous or cruciferous things from Bee Heaven Farm. Sometimes I troll for a treat, when I do, it’s probably a cookie from Zak the Baker or a croissant. My parents love empanadas. I feel like I’m leaving someone out. Perky lettuce!
The best deal at the market is:
Shade from the oak trees. The only way I can really stand the heat-- and really makes this market feel so very special.
I wish the market had:
Don’t get me started! I could go on...
Favorite market story:
Oh so many. I once came to the market early, met a Food Stylist from New York there and we went to town choosing ingredients for a Bloomingdale’s photo shoot. We filled the car to the point we barely made it to the Keys-- it was a beautiful growing season. The conversation was good though. That made for a delicious and beautiful week for everyone.
It was nice to have a New Yorker find, appreciate and compliment "my" farmer’s market in Miami. Mission Accomplished!... a proud moment for a Miamian-- seeing how far we have come in things good, clean fair FAST, in the 8 years prior thanks to thoughtful growers and eaters who vote with their dollars. Also thanks to Chefs who had been sourcing locally since "before it was cool" and organizations like Slow Food and Les Dammes d'Escoffier.
Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
I still find myself at the Bar at Michael’s Genuine occasionally. When they have it, I like the wood-oven roasted eggplant with tahini. When they have simple vegetable soups at lunch, I really enjoy it too- broth and veggies.
Whisk Gourmet when I’m craving a 3-D, satisfying sandwich. Chef Brendan makes the best ones in town. He and his sister Kirsten are really special people, and that makes everything taste even better.
For special occasions, I go to:
I really prefer to entertain at home-- or even at friends’ homes (can I come over? I’ll make everything, don’t worry). I love to cook and invite friends over. I love to choose recipes ie, set a nice scene, choose the music and spend days and hours slowly preparing. The best part is that things always end up exactly as I wanted and completely differently than I originally imagined.
Taco Night, Halloween Dinner, a Mad Men Party, or simple suppers. It doesn’t matter to me. I love sitting around a table, listening to people. Hopefully, there will be a lot of laughs.
What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?
Weekly Birding Trips (mostly free) with Tropical Audubon Society from August - May
Picnic lunch under the oak Trees at Tropical Audubon Society for a picnic or take-out lunch.
Sunday Fish Fry at Shore to Door Fish Market in the Grove.
Leica Lounges at Leica Store MIami (if you like photography)
The Phoebes… stay tuned.
Spring and Fall Bird Migrations- WOW!
A worthy splurge:
Travel. Always travel. Shoes, good olive oil, good coffee, good wine. Linen.
Netflix and talking to my cousins abroad on Whatsapp
The most romantic spot around:
Matheson Hammock at dusk, Grove Isle at sunrise or sunset, Full moons on the beach. Birding somewhere remote. That time right before dawn when all is quiet and everyone is asleep. When people share their sacred places with you.
I wish you had asked me about:
My dog, Brunello-- he comes to market too! And my hobbies. I, along with 20 million others in the US (half of them women), am a Birder. It’s a thing and we live in an extremely important area for birds.
Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share?
Tropical Audubon Society is the state’s longest-standing conservation organization. It is the David of the environmental organization connecting people to birds and habitat- as well as protecting clean water and habitat for birds and people through advocacy, education and conservation. Check it out.
I’m also a big supporter of NPR/WLRN, New World Symphony, Educate Tomorrow and good, clean fair food.
Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
Hi. I’m a little bit of a hummingbird. Reach out to me if you would like help engaging emotionally with your audience, in a meaningful way, whether it is through social media and digital marketing, programming or event development, as well as in developing cookbooks.
With more than 15 years of experience with distinctive epicurean brands, I have worked with and consulted for chefs, writers, restaurants and more. I’m not a foodie (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I actually studied food history, wine history and hold sommelier certifications. I am also trained in and train on social and digital marketing.
Collaboration and enjoyment must be part of the process.
Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
No. I just want to thank you for your work and commitment… and say… I want to be a little more like you when I grow up ;-)
Is there a question that you would like to ask the community?
Would you please be more mindful/thoughtful/conscious about your single use/ plastic consumption?
If you would like readers to be able to contact you, how should they get in touch?
Instagram messenger: @gastronomisti