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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Brenda Popritkin of ‘The Whet Palette’ on favorite Miami restaurants, dining with special needs kids

Popritkin, who runs the blog and podcast The Whet Palette, shares how being the parent of children with special needs led to her passion for fine dining.

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Cuba may be only 90 miles from Florida, but for Brenda Popritkin, the food experience has been night and day.

After spending her early childhood on the island eating rationed eggs and rice, young Brenda moved to South Florida, where she discovered an abundance of steak, pastries and coffee windows.

Now as an adult, Brenda is the brains behind "The Whet Palette." It’s a blog and podcast covering food and wine in the Miami area or wherever her travels take her.

I recently chatted with Brenda about her favorite South Florida restaurants, the food trend she’s excited about and her first impression of McDonald’s hamburgers. She starts by explaining how being the parent of two kids with special needs led to her passion for fine dining.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.