A rainbow of hues lights Miami nights year-round. Electric trains are bridged in them. Condominiums dotted in and designed with them shine ribbons of color on surrounding waters .

More recently, Miamians have begun illuminating buildings and trees for a post-pandemic Christmas that is filled with visits with Santa Claus, presentations of “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker” and more.

For this, the inaugural December edition of Calle Ocho News, we share the calendar, one recipe, and shopping information to celebrate the season in Little Havana and surrounding areas (that is, when the Christmas lists to Santa Claus have been sent).

Christmas Calendar

Saturday, Dec. 11

3:30 and 8 p.m.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Blvd.
(786) 468-2000

8 to 9:30 p.m.
Florida Chamber Orchestra: Christmas is in the Air
Miami-Dade County Auditorium
2901 W Flagler St.
(305) 547-5414

Thursday to Sunday, Dec. 16 to 19

(Also Dec. 21-24 and 26)

  • 7 p.m., weekdays, except for 2 p.m. matinee added to Dec. 23 and a noon only show on Dec. 24;
  • 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturdays; 1 and 6:30 p.m., Sundays

Miami Ballet: The Nutcracker
Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Blvd
(786) 468-2000

Put a Pork in It

Calle Ocho’s landmark Versailles Restaurant on Nov. 10 celebrated 50 years of fulfilling founder Felipe Valls Sr.’s vision to establish a place with quality, affordable food — and then some.

The restaurant now operated by three generations of Valls has drawn the likes of Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, Eva Longoria, Beyonce, Andy Garcia, even the Dalai Lama.

Here from The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook, published by University of Florida Press in 2014, is one of the eatery’s low-maintenance recipes.

Roast Pork Recipe

This recipe calls for marinating the pork for 24 hours and then cooking it in the oven for six to eight hours. Serves 10 to 12.

roast pork recipe 460x600 - Christmas in Miami, Calle Ocho Style 
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 15 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 (8- to 10-pound) pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, onions, oregano, cumin, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the salt in a large bowl.

Rinse and dry the pork. Then rub it all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt.

Place the pork, skin side up, in a high-sided roasting pan that will fit in your refrigerator. Pour half of the juice mixture around the pork, being careful not to wet the skin.

Cover the pan with foil, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Do not turn, as skin must be dry. Keep remaining marinade refrigerated in an airtight container.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Rub olive oil on pork skin. Bake, skin side up, for 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 275° F. Cover the pan with foil, and let the pork roast for 5 to 7 hours. A meat thermometer must read 170° when inserted into the thickest part of the pork.

Two hours before serving, remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 375° F. Continue roasting the pork for 1 more hour.

Remove the pork from the oven, and let it stand in the pan for 30 minutes. While the pork rests, bring the reserved marinade to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes until the garlic softens.

To serve, carve the roast, although the meat will often fall off the bone. Pour the warmed marinade over the pork.

Christmas Eve Supermarket Hours

  • Presidente: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., may vary by location and close early
  • Publix: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Publix Liquors at Brickell Village to 9 p.m.
  • Sedano’s: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wal-Mart: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Winn-Dixie: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., pharmacy to 6 p.m., at 1155 NW 11th St. (opening hours otherwise vary by location)

Christmas Day Supermarket Hours

  • ALDI: Closed
  • Presidente: Closed
  • Publix: Closed
  • Sedano’s: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wal-Mart: Closed
  • Winn-Dixie: Closed

Going Whole Hog: Buying a Christmas Eve Pig

  • Publix: Order at least two to three days in advance if limited in-stock supplies are gone, according to Director of Communications Maria Brous.
  • Sedano’s: Accepts reservations until the store is sold out, and customers can begin reserving today, Senior Account Manager Erica Hernandez wrote in an e-mail. Whole pigs weighing from 20 to 49 pounds are priced at $2.29 per pound and from 50 to 99 pounds at $1.99 per pound, Hernandez noted.
  • Winn-Dixie: Order at least 48 hours in advance if in-stock supplies are gone, according to Senior Public Relations Account Manager Miranda Anderson.


Source: Calle Ocho News