As you wander around in Little Haiti, the famed neighborhood in Miami where Haitians have established a foothold, you must make a stop at Vegan Marie’s place on NW 54th Street near NW 2nd Avenue. The store sells many different items like African clothing, Haitian sandals and hand made jewelry from leather and beads, as well as healthy products for the hair and for treatment of the skin and the face. Personally I made sure to get a bar of African soap that is great treatment for acne and blackheads. Marie also makes natural juices from sugar cane, passion fruit and other specialties of the house. You will be able to taste the various juices made naturally with no artificial ingredients, as you decide on that special item you want to get for a friend.
Vegan Marie possesses this aura of simplicity, coupled with a sense of cultural belonging. Once you enter you will be greeted by Marie and her husband Shiller who will make you feel right at home. It is also the home of Chire Pantalet.
What is Chire Pantalet ? You are probably asking. First, it is an expression in Haitian which means tear off the panties. Let’s add no more. It is not a call for rape, which is one of the most despicable acts in existence, but the description of an act of love on the night of the honeymoon. So, Chire Pantalet is an alcoholic beverage made from a secret recipe, jealousy guarded in the archives of Vegan Marie’s, which includes kleren, the Haitian spirits made from sugar cane, and ginger. According to the maker, once you drink it you’ll want to go home to your girl. Ask for a taste, and you will be rewarded, but careful, you may want to go home after.
If you are looking for a nice gift for the upcoming season take a stroll to NW 54th street, three doors from the famed Haitian restaurant Chef Creole, near the corner of 54th street and NW 2nd Avenue and browse through what Vegan Marie has to offer. You will be amazed at the offering.
Vegan Marie is inviting everyone on Saturday, December 19 to a night of spiritual music with the Makaya Nest Festival starting at 8 PM. The celebration will be in the backyard of Vegan Marie’s in open air, with all necessary precautions observed, so wear your mask. There is a charge of $10 to attend.