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Day Two in Zimbabwe: Elephant Encounter

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by Howie Minsky


I awake as the first rays of light shine over the red sand hills of Nakavango Big Game Preserve in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa. It is only my second day of my two-month stint as a volunteer here and already I feel at home. I close my eyes and breathe deeply; the aroma of coffee fills the air. I am at peace. I grab a chair on the veranda and look out onto the African bush just feet away. It is winter here—the dry season—and the lush greenery of the rainy season has given way to leafless trees, tall yellow grasses of straw and large patches of dark red Kalahari sand. These are difficult times for African wildlife.

This morning, I choose to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not sure why… perhaps the sense of childlike adventure I feel here. I sip my coffee and watch as three warthogs nibble the salt lick a few yards away.

As I finish my second cup, our guide walks past and we jump to take our seats in the 4×4. I just want to get out into the bush and get to work. Thoughts racing… What creatures will we see today? What adventures await us?

Our guide says we’re heading to do maintenance on a watering hole, and then check on salt licks, and asks us to always be aware of people walking in the reserve; they are most likely poachers. We all nod our heads. We just want a safe environment for the animals to stay wild and free.

4Eland

As we enter the gate into the preserve luck is on our side. We spot an eland (pictured) atop a nearby hill. As quickly as we see him, he dashes off into the woods. We continue to ride through the preserve toward the Never Ever Forest—aptly named for the inexperienced who become lost and will Never Ever find their way home.

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As we drive along we see zebra, impala, baboons, black rhino—and then our guide spots the tracks he’s been looking for. As the vehicle slows, we see fresh massive circular prints pocking the dirt road. Elephant tracks maybe 20 inches in diameter.

These tracks are fresh, and we jump off the jeep to try and catch up with the elephant that made them. Walking through the bush we follow all the signs—the massive tracks, trampled saplings, mounds of scat (poo), and large branches ripped from decades-old trees.

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For more than three hours we follow the rough trampled path until something changes in the air, a heavy dusky odor filling up the dry woods. And there he is, close by, a dark drifting shadow just through the trees. As we move forward, we see him looming in the woods, a mottled wall of grey, ears twitching, trumpeting loudly. He stomps his foot, telling us to stay back. We continue forward, his ears fanned as he listens to our approach. Soon there are only a few trees between us.

And that is far enough. He stomps his feet and begins to charge toward us. There is a thundering sound of bushes crashing and snapping, and as he barrels toward us he bellows as loud as an oncoming train. Already large, his outstretched ears make him look twice the size. Knowing that 95 percent of elephant charges are bluffs, we stand our ground. But in the back of my mind I am wondering about that other five percent. What if he doesn’t stop? What if this time it’s not a bluff?

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A few seconds and he’s upon us, stopping just a few feet away. He is massive; all I see is the elephant head and ears before me. I can almost taste his earthy odor as my heart pounds in my chest. Again, he stomps his foot and tramples the bushes with his trunk. I am motionless, eyes wide, barely breathing.

As we stand our ground, he stares us down, shakes his head and turns. He slowly ambles away into the dark trees, until they engulf him and he is gone.

We head back to our vehicle in silence. Almost in unison, we exhale. My heart is still racing, my mouth is dry and my body is charged with adrenaline. I say “wow.” And I begin to laugh. What a trek. What a day.

What a place this is.


To read more of Howie’s adventures, visit Our Man in Africa on our website, and follow Howie on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.

Our graphic designer/production coordinator Shari Brown looks at the solar eclipse in front of our office.

How Boca Mag Does the 2017 Solar Eclipse

I’ll just leave these photos right here and let you decide how much fun everyone at the office had looking at the solar eclipse! Even though Florida wasn’t in the “path of totality,” we got to see an 80 percent partial eclipse.

Our graphic designer/production coordinator Shari Brown looks at the solar eclipse in front of our office.

Our graphic designer/production coordinator, Shari Brown, looks at the solar eclipse in front of our office.

With those eclipse glasses on, the sun burned deep orange, and I felt like I was looking at a twisted moon from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Your familiar web editor, Shayna Tanen. I attempted to take a picture of the eclipse using the forward camera on my phone, but resorted to your average selfie when that didnt pan out.

Your familiar web editor, Shayna Tanen. I attempted to take a picture of the eclipse using the forward camera on my phone, but resorted to an awkward selfie when that didn’t pan out.

The light was crisp and maybe one Insta filter off from normal. Me and my coworkers also noticed strange patterns in the shadows. I almost feel like today’s solar eclipse should mark the first day of autumn. There’s something different in the air. Guess it’s just cosmic coincidence making me feel a little profound.

The eclipse made mini shadows of itself! I think...

The eclipse made mini shadows of itself! I think…

We had fun at the office sharing the one pair of eclipse glasses sales representative Gail Eagle had, and people from all the stores in our office suite came out to see the sun.

Eli Marinoff, David Shuff, and Isabella, Pablo, Kat and Liami Algeo, and Gail Eagle.

Eli Marinoff, David Shuff, with Isabella, Pablo, Kat and Liam Algeo, and Gail Eagle.

And somehow the ice cream man knew there would be kids out, because even he stopped by!

What a day! A partial solar eclipse AND ice cream!?

What a day! A partial solar eclipse AND ice cream!?

People from all over Boca came out to watch the eclipse.

Dr. Yafi Yair, of Healthy Minds Practice and friend of Boca mag, watched the eclipse at Spanish River Park.

Dr. Yafi Yair, of Healthy Minds Practice and friend of Boca mag, watched the eclipse at Spanish River Park.

But we didn’t really get to see the total eclipse. A string of states from Oregon to South Carolina saw the full show.

Now thats a total solar eclipse! Photo taken by Erin Wasik Lee in South Carolina.

Now that’s a total solar eclipse! Photo taken by Erin Wasik Lee in Salem, South Carolina.

One thing I’ve been thinking about: We all live on the same planet. The same moon just covered the same sun we all wake up to each morning.

We’re all in this together.

Shayna is the Web Editor of Boca Magazine. She is a 20-something sorta-recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. Most of her time is spent fawning over cats and kittens; cooking food at home for her family; and observing Florida’s greatest asset: nature.
adam seger

iPic’s Master Mixologist Adam Seger Stirs Up Drama in His Cocktails

Adam Seger_Corporate Sommelier,Executive Bartender, iPic Entertainment


This story comes from our July/August 2017 issue. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine

Written by Lynn Kalber. Photo provided by the Gab Group.

He’s a man of many hats, or bar glasses, and what seems to be boundless creativity.

Pair that with Adam Seger’s passion for history, great cocktails and food, and you have the perfect party guest. Or party giver. Luckily, if you’ve ever visited an iPic movie theater, you’ve been a guest at a Seger party.

The luxury theaters known for their big reclining seats and superb moviegoing experience are also acclaimed for their food and drinks. And Seger shows up onscreen before each flick and shows you how to make those drinks.

“At [iPic], we’re having a lot of fun with bottled cocktails. We’re integrating them into the iPic experience this summer,” he says.

At iPic onsite restaurants in South Florida (Tanzy in Boca and The Tuck in Miami Beach), he works with a favorite film bash in mind, like the one from “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.”

“That party scene is with people having unbridled fun. They’re enjoying themselves, and it shows how cocktails help people to relax and be themselves. And it’s the bartender who makes that connection, as well,” Seger says. This Master Bartender and Advanced Sommelier makes unusual connections seem the norm. “We’re starting to be a place where we have a great bar that happens to be at a luxury movie theater.”

Boca: Are cocktails regional?

Seger: Oh, yes. The mojito is something we’re quite passionate about both in Mizner Park and Miami Beach. In Mizner Park, we have our own herb gardens for basil and mint in our mojitos.

Tell us about the next hot cocktail ingredient.

Passionfruit is on the rise. We’ve had that from the beginning. It’s the bacon of the cocktail world. Beautiful and exotic. And using a lot of fresh chiles—everything from spicy margaritas to spicy martinis, integrated into the mojito or daiquiri, coupled with a little bit of savoriness.

Is there an elusive drink ingredient you want to try?

I’d like to get my hands on some more ambergris. It is used in extremely expensive perfumes, like Chanel No. 5. It was also called for in 19th century punch recipes. It comes from a sperm whale [a bile duct excretion that can be expelled from either end—Ed.] and floats to the top of the ocean. It floats around for about 10 years and becomes solidified and bleached by the sun, and then washed up on the beach. It’s very scarce, but it just takes a tiny bit of it. The aroma makes you think you’re on the most pristine beach you’ve ever been on.

Lynn Kalber wasn’t born in Boca Raton, but she attended elementary through high school there, so she might as well have been. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida and has been in journalism most of her life, including 26 years at The Palm Beach Post. She’s written feature and food stories, and edited food copy among other jobs, including blogging about wine (The Swirl Girls). Her husband is writer and author Scott Eyman. They live in West Palm Beach with an assortment of cats and dogs.
macaron day

For National Macaron Day, We Give You Villa Azur’s Raspberry Macaron Recipe

Villa Azur reveals recipe for Macaron Day

Executive Chef Erwin Mallet of Miami’s Villa Azur is sharing his macaron recipe to celebrate National Macaron Day on May 31. These meringue-based bites are made with egg whites, powered sugar, almond flour, and jam for a delectable sweet. All the ingredients are measured here in grams, which is a common baking measurement. Don’t use the metric system? No problem, just type the conversion you want into Google.

Raspberry Macaron 

national macaron day

Ingredients:

MACARON

  • Almond flour/meal – 212 grams
  • Powdered sugar – 212 grams
  • Egg whites, two separate amounts – 82 grams, 90 grams
  • Red food coloring
  • Granulated sugar, plus a pinch for the egg whites – 236 grams
  • Water – 158 grams

RASPBERRY JAM

  • Raspberry purée – 1 kg
  • Granulated sugar – 50 grams
  • Pectine – 10 grams

Macaron Preparation:

  1. Prepare your pastry bag, parchment paper and sheet pan.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together, then pour in the 82 grams of egg whites and combine with spatula, add the red colorant.
  4. Place the remaining 90 grams of egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  5. Combine the 236 grams of granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 degrees F.
  6. Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks.
  7. When the syrup reaches 248 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup.
  8. Increase the speed and whip for 5 minutes until it is cool.
  9. Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the egg whites a little at a time.
  10. Transfer the mixture to the pastry bag with the tip and pipe the macaron, lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the pastry bag.
  11. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes.

Jam Preparation:

  • Warm up the 1 kg raspberry purée with 50 grams of granulated sugar and 10 grams of pectine until the jam boils.
  • Put the jam in the freezer for 2 hours.
  • When the jam is cold, put it in a blender and mix until the perfect texture.

To fill the macaron:

  • Transfer the jam into the pastry bag.
  • Remove the macaron from the pan.
  • Starting in the center, pipe the jam and top with a second macaron.
  • Put in the refrigerator for 3 hours before serving.

Hungry for more food news? Visit our food page, and subscribe to the magazine for the most delicious coverage of Boca and beyond. 

Lynn Kalber wasn’t born in Boca Raton, but she attended elementary through high school there, so she might as well have been. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida and has been in journalism most of her life, including 26 years at The Palm Beach Post. She’s written feature and food stories, and edited food copy among other jobs, including blogging about wine (The Swirl Girls). Her husband is writer and author Scott Eyman. They live in West Palm Beach with an assortment of cats and dogs.
the banyan

Food Review: The Banyan Restaurant & Bar in Pineapple Grove

Lynn Kalber Lynn Kalber wasn’t born in Boca Raton, but she attended elementary through high school there, so she might as well have been. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida and has been in journalism most of her life, including 26 years at The Palm Beach Post. She’s written feature and food stories, […]

Lynn Kalber wasn’t born in Boca Raton, but she attended elementary through high school there, so she might as well have been. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida and has been in journalism most of her life, including 26 years at The Palm Beach Post. She’s written feature and food stories, and edited food copy among other jobs, including blogging about wine (The Swirl Girls). Her husband is writer and author Scott Eyman. They live in West Palm Beach with an assortment of cats and dogs.
pinot noir

Perfect Pinot Noirs to Complement Easter and Passover Menus

Allison Lewis Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.