After he had worked a 12-hour shift Saturday working at Burger & Beer Joint on Miami Beach, Tommy Strangie, waiter and semi-retired drag queen, got a special request from his boss: Design a burger to serve Sunday to an important guest who's on the Paleo diet, which shuns dairy, starch and refined sugar.
His boss didn't tell him the guest's name. But Strangie, who about once a year still steps out as alter ego Shelley Novak, figured it was Jeb Bush.
"I don't live under a rock!" Strangie told reporters Sunday.
When Bush showed up Sunday -- pushing away beer-battered onion rings ordered by his staff for the table -- Strangie offered the former Florida governor a lettuce-wrapped bison burger with chipotle ketchup, sautéed onions and jalapeños (no bun, no cheese) and a side salad of chopped vegetables with balsamic vinaigrette. Bush said yes.
Bush treated a couple from Wisconsin to lunch to begin a two-day financial donor conference in preparation for his all-but-declared 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Zeus Rodriguez and his wife, Dana, from Milwaukee, won the expenses-paid trip to South Beach as part of a contest organized by Bush's political action committee and campaign in waiting, Right to Rise.
“I personally have been a fan of Gov. Bush for many years, specifically due to his work in education reform and how it’s positively affected a lot of families that are very underserved in Latino communities,” said Zeus Rodriguez, who heads Hispanics for School Choice, a nonprofit that supports taxpayer –funded subsidies for children to attend private and religious schools.
“And I really like his holistic approach to the campaign,” he added.
“What campaign?” Bush said with a smile, putting his arm around Rodriguez.
“I’m sorry! That’s if he runs,” Rodriguez said.