Sunday, September 30, 2007

H. Stern Miami Debut

For a while I used to think that luxury jewelry superhouse H. Stern was an Israeli brand, since they have approx. 33 stores in the tiny country. Turns out, they are a Brazilian (Jewish) family-owned jewelry company with stores around the world (though Israel is one of their biggest markets). Now, we Miamians can enjoy the bling as they just opened a dazzling new store in the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables.
Last Thursday the store launched with a Brazilian-themed party complete with bossa nova band, Oronoco Mojitos and delicious hors d’ourves created from recipes that are served at Eca, the H Stern restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. Owners Hans and Ruth Stern flew in from Brazil for the opening and were there to meet guests and to be the all around lovely people they are. The red-carpet worthy pieces on display were from the new collection designed by Diane von Furstenberg and truly fit for a diva. I am loving the “Power Rings,” with their strong independent I-am-woman-hear-me-roar message. I am also loving Ashley Judd as the new face of H. Stern - a classic beauty.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Shorty

I am uber-excited for Wes Anderson's new foray into precious film making - The Darjeeling Limited. It looks gorgeous, love Jason Schwartzman, love Adrien Brody, love any film that takes a chance on a foreign culture/location. Now I read that Anderson put together a 13-minute short starring Schwartzman and Natali Portman called "The Hotel Chevalier." LOVE the word "chevalier." And what girl does not have a girl-crush on Natalie? The film will be available soon for free download on iTunes. Looking forward to it...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Top Chef 3 Finale Preview

After seeing this clip all I want to do is to go to Aspen! Hello mountains, snow, trees that are anything but palm...Lucky chefs!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spa Week October 15-21

Get excited for Spa Week. Treatments at Florida spas for $50! On the list so far - the Setai and Doubeltree Resort in Sunny Isles. A massage at the Setai for 50 bucks? That is a spectacular bargain.

And Iran, I ran so far away....

The hullaboloo over Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia yesterday made me nostalgic for my undergrad years. Good ole alma mater was once again the nexus of controversy. The whole event is rather unsavory and I don't think there's any way university Lee Bollinger or the school could have emerged from this mess without looking brazen or like a doormat. Some good points are made in this article and here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wherefor Art Thou, Hipster Jew Mag?

Jennifer Bleyer, the founding editor of Heeb magazine, has an essay in Nextbook where she relates how she came to leave her hipster-mag. It's refreshingly honest, if not rife with name-dropping. Interesting that sometimes the product of creative output can be the alienating factor itself. Here's a quote:
But as more people got into Heeb, the more disconnected I felt. After a while, it was like I was putting out a magazine for people with brown hair. Sure, I have brown hair. I like having brown hair. But I can talk about it only so much until it feels irrelevant, not to mention self-indulgent. Being the poster girl for hipster secular Judaism wasn't really me. And although I was glad for Heeb's success and worked very hard for it, the popular message was, roughly speaking, that being Jewish is cool.

Being Jewish, cool? Um, dork factor: ten.

It's not cool now, it never has been, and it never will be. But, this was the message taken by many people, and I was its mortified messenger.

I preferred the definition of Jews as ultimate outsiders. That I bore this ridiculous message of coolness made me want to crawl under a rock. I finally felt true Jewish guilt, having created and unleashed a monster against my core beliefs. I didn't want to be a "cool Jew." If anything, I wanted to be a holy schlepper.

So after four issues and almost three years, with an easy exhale, I left.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sleepless Night

A tentative schedule for Miami Beach's Sleepless Night is out and it looks mighty fine. Some highlights:

Collins Park


7 p.m. – 6 a.m. : Classic silent films take on a new texture, projected onto the surface of the Rotunda by Red Chemistry. Program includes "Asphalt " (1929), "Broken Blossoms" (1919), Chaplin shorts (1915 – 17), "Foolish Wives" (1922), "The General" (1926), "It" (1927), "Metropolis" (1927), and "Modern Times" (1936).


8 p.m. : The world of make-believe comes alive with Pablo Cano's "Musical Marionettes"

10 p.m. : Fashion Show! Miami Modern Luxury celebrates the 100th Birthday of Neiman Marcus


8 p.m. – 4 a.m. : Miami Light Project and FundArte present "Global Cuba Sneak Preview" starring Los Herederos, Arte Vivo, and surprise guests!

10 p.m. , Midnight and 2 a.m. : Spiegelstage! Catch a sneak preview of Spiegelworld's tantalizing provacateurs, bringing their tent to this site December 20 th! Florida Premiere.

Get Floored at the Carnival Center

The other night I had the opportunity to check out the Carnival Center's new event space in the Knight Concert Hall. It was quite spectacular. With a few additions they transformed the concert venue into an imaginative space. The designers covered the entire orchestra section of seating with multi-tiered platforms to create an open space perfect for holding an event. They also created cozy cabana-like spaces with couches and white curtains and placed high-top cocktail tables throughout. All of the balconies were lit up with golden lights and the overall experience of being in the cavernous hall with cocktails and live band playing was pretty sweet and a lot cooler than being in a hotel ballroom for events of that scale. And the food? Suprisingly good. I went to town at the cheese table - a dozen varieties from brie to British Stilton - they had me at Taleggio. Duck salad, portobello mushroom stacks and mini-cupcakes that kept coming around made the night thoroughly enjoyable.

Miami Spice Will Go On!

Two restaurants - North 110 and Vix - have already announced that they will be extending their Miami Spice menus through October. North 110 is even giving a free glass of wine to spice diners on Sundays. I'd venture that before September is over a few more will extend their pre-fixe menus as well. Guess the response from the public was positive enough to keep it going. The menu from Vix looks enticing enough to warrant a try if you missed them in September:

Mediterranean palette
Whole hearts of baby romaine with creamy garlic dressing, cous cous salad, braised fennel, and preserved citrus
Latin palette
Ceviches served with tostones and citrus and ginger marinated grouper and spicy prawn with Spanish olives and olive oil
India/Middle Eastern palette
Crispy soft-shell crab tempura with buckwheat soba noodles, tomato-tamarind sauce and coriander

Mediterranean palette
Herb marinated and grilled “line caught” swordfish with heirloom tomatoes and citrus-fennel salad
Latin palette
Argentinean mixed grill: skirt steak, short ribs and chorizo with house chimichurri
India/Middle Eastern palette
Choice of three curries with spinach paneer, basmati rice and pickles
▪ chicken makhani, cilantro leaves and ginger ▪ Sri Lankan chicken, coconut and cashews ▪ goa shrimp, coconut milk and chilies ▪
Lamb korma, almonds and tomatoes

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Hour at the Sagamore, China Grill and Tuscan Steak

Just Another Night at the Bal Harbour Shops...

Went to the Chanel launch party last night for their new Coco Mademoiselle fragrance. I love going to these fashionista parties because no one takes the hors d'oeuvres, hence it is not a Darwinian struggle to get to the toast points. Some of the tasty tastings included French macaroons which are my current new obsession. I love how chewy they are. And simultaneously airy. Only the French could think of such a contradictory yet compelling pastry. In addition to the commercial starring Keira Knightley being shown on the flat screens there was plenty of fine bling on display - both on the limbs of aforementioned fashionistas and in glass cases. Check out the vid here.

Think Pink Party September 30

Upcoming Events: Hip Hop Weekend

Saturday, September 29, 2007, 2:00pm

The Light Box, 3000 Biscayne Blvd #100 Miami, Fl 33137- FREE-

Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes is a riveting documentary that examines representations of gender roles in hip-hop and rap music through the lens of filmmaker Byron Hurt, a former college quarterback turned activist. Conceived as a “loving critique” from a self-proclaimed “hip-hop head,” Hurt examines issues of masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia in today’s hip-hop culture.

Sunday, September 30, Miami Beach
Books & Books hosts a special appearance by author Jeff Chang
as part of the 5th Annual Miami/Project Hip Hop, presented by Miami Light Project. Chang has written extensively on race, culture, politics, the arts, and music. His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop, garnered honors including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He has also edited an anthology entitled Total Chaos: The Art & Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, released in February 2007. For more information, visit:

Mary Gordon will read from her new memoir, Circling my Mother, on Monday,

October 1st at 8 PM.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pizza Fusion Looking Good

I have yet to try Pizza Fusion, the organic pizza chain, but I have heard great things. Right now they have two locations in Broward but stay tuned because outlets in South Beach and Aventura are in the works. A quick perusal of their website reveals some great deals. If you're up in Ft. Lauderdale check them out.
FREE PIZZA MONDAY - Buy any large specialty pizza and recieve a second medium cheese pizza for FREE! (A $13 value!)
- Buy any large specialty pizza and recieve a FREE bottle of our Frey Organic Red or White wine! (A $19 value!)
- Get a large cheese pizza, Fusion House Salad, Order of Breadsticks, and 2 drinks (non-alcoholic) for only $24!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Favorite Jews

In honor of Rosh Hashanah we bring you a few thoughts on favorite Jews. We shot this video at a global summit for young Jewish innovators this summer. If I had to choose my favorite Heeb, I'd go with Golda Meir. The woman rocked. Any gal who can hold her own in a convo with the King of Jordan deserves my vote.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Wolfsonian-FIU invites you to a special members-only reception for Agitated Images: John Heartfield & German Photomontage, 1920-1938.

John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld, 1891-1968) was a pioneer of modern photomontage and helped transform it into a powerful form of mass communication. His agitated images forecasted and reflected the chaos Germany experienced in the 1920s and '30s as it slipped toward social and political catastrophe.
Free to all members; guests $10. RSVP required: 305.535.2645 or

Tuesday, September 25, Miami Art Museum (MAM) launches a book discussion group dedicated to the topic and mystique of art. Participants will discuss different genres such as mysteries, biographies, critical books and even scandalous stories. Reading Art – MAM at Books & Books premieres this evening with a discussion of New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century by Jed Perl, facilitated by Marijean Miyar. In November, the group will be reading Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him and the discussant will be Brooke Minto. If you are interested in registering to join this group, please call 305-375-4073 or email The discussions will take place in the Antiquarian Room from 6:30—8:30pm.

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6:30-8:30pm, you can bring your dog to the Barks & Books Fundraiser, an evening of wine & hors d’oeuvres, in collaboration with the Camillus House Young Leaders and PetNet of the Humane Society of Greater Miami. The event benefits the New Camillus House Shelter – including a pet kennel -- to which Books & Books will be donating 20 percent of your book purchases this evening. RSVP (for your pooch, too) to or Marcy Belfi, 305-374-1065, ext. 331.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Celebs Need to Eat Too

Just found this blog in New York that rates restaurants based on celebrity sitings. Looks like Justin Timberlake's Southern Hospitality has surpassed Waverly Inn for celeb feedings. Good to know. And who would have thought bold face names still show at Serendipity?

Design Junkies of Miami Unite!

Friday, September 07, 2007

More Beijing Restaurants: Alameda, Ganges, Cafe Sambal

When filming ended we decided to treat ourselves to a real embassy-crowd meal. Alameda was named "Best Restaurant" by That's Beijing. It also got awards for best business lunch and best service. The lunch meal is a set price (68 RMB or about $8) for 2 courses and this is very pricey for China standards but normal for Beijing Western-friendly places which gives you an idea of how well you can eat for so so little. The food was great, not especially exciting - salmon with Dijon and crunchy cabbage, shitake mushroom soup, ricotta and pine nut fritters - but the setting was lovely, an airy glass-enclosed courtyard hidden in an alleyway off the main Sanlitun road. Lunchtime was busy and filled with expats and other assortments of Westerners. The service was great and it was one of the most relaxing meals we had in China. Come the Olympics this place will be PACKED.
On another night we headed to the non-imaginatively named shopping complex called "The Place," that is the kind of high-budget mall that is too expensive for most Chinese but are constantly being built and stand relatively empty save for Westerners and rich Chinese businessmen. We were attracted to The Place because it features a massive hologram roof awning over which ocean scenes and dolphins swimming are projected. It's strange and cool and was worth filming. We also wanted to try Ganges, a reputable Indian restaurant located in the basement level of the mall. Dinner was delightful with well-spiced saag paneer, eggplant and chewy naan bread. The restaurant was cozy with cushiony seats and Bollywood movies playing on flat-screen TV's. Overall, a nice experience. On our last night out we dragged ourselves to Cafe Sambal, a trendy Malaysian joint recommended in the Beijing Wallpaper guide. At this point we were pretty travel-worn and Sambal's rustic furniture (low wooden tables and stools, bare walls) and super-dim-to-none lighting was sleep inducing and not too comfortable. The menu seemed elegantly composed and not being too familiar with Malaysian cuisine we ordered a vegetable curry (fiery and piquant, not too heavy) and stir-fried vegetables that looked star-shaped when sliced. The food was interesting and the crowd seemed uber-chic (the restaurant is located in a romantic courtyard close to Houhai Lake) and it seemed like a great place to go for drinks or with a small group. But despite all the upscale restaurants and exotic cuisine, the best food discovery we made in Bejing was the woman selling sesame breakfast buns from a little stall in the parking lot of our apartment building. After a few times ordering with my Chinese-speaking friend, I learned how to order in Chinese (super-exciting!) , though after patronizing her stall for 2 straight weeks she pretty much knew what we wanted each morning and greeted us with a sheepish grin that communicated "I know you, Westerners, it'll be the usual?" These sesame buns were the Chinese equivalent of an egg-McMuffin, though much, much tastier. The buns are fried and crusted with sesame seeds so they are crisp and warm, the bun woman then slices them open, brushes the insides with a spicy plum sauce and fills in a fried egg, lettuce (and of course ham if desired). This fortifying sandwich costs less than 25 cents. We enjoyed these crispy spicy eggy pockets of goodness every morning on our 30-minute cab ride through Beijing traffic. Of all the people we met during our film shoot, we have a soft spot in our hearts for the sesame bun woman and her paint brush of plum paste.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Beijing Restaurants: Sichuan Cooking, LAN South Beauty

This article in the NYTimes about Chinese artists that have dabbled in the restaurant business got me thinking about the great restaurants we tried in Beijing and how I've neglected to post about them. So here they are. Coincidentally we ate at one of the restaurants mentioned in the article, Tian Xia Yan, a casual Sichuan cafe opened five years ago by the photographer Cang Xin in 798 Dashanzi Art Zone. We were there the day we shot at the Gao Brothers Studio.
Sichuan food is incredibly spicy. If it is prepared correctly it is spicy enough that your lips are tingling halfway through the meal and you think no amount of beer will quell the fire. But then you get used to it and the experience is lovely. That day we tried a tofu dish that looked like shoe leather, it had a tough and chewy texture and was dressed in sesame oil flecked with chopped chilis. I could not get enough.
An upscale place to try Sichuan cuisine is the South Beauty chain of restaurants. The chain, started by female entrepreneur Zhang Lan, is composed of uber-yuppy Asian eateries with over-the-top decor and an army of servers. During our meal we were waited on by no less than 7 white gloved waiters. We had eaten at South Beauty in Shanghai and the chain has 12 locations in Beijing, each one plush and quirky in design but the one most worth visiting is the LAN location. Designed by superstar Philippe Starck, the 6,000 square foot restaurant comprises the entire floor of an office building. The decor is literally every Starck idea on a wonky acid trip. He takes all of his concepts - the gaudy chic, the Alice in Wonderland thing, floor-to-ceiling drapes, the color red, Ventian chandeliers, lucite and layers it repeatedly. In addition to the bar, lounge, and vast dining room there are 15 private rooms, some with throne-like chairs for high-rolling business dinners. The staff seems to revere the restaurant so much that after our dinner one of our servers gave us an extended tour of the venue, showing us each and every private room. And the food?
The nice things about South Beauty is that their menu is basically the same at each spot and if you order wisely you can easily have a great meal for about $40 for two people which, considering the setting, is amazing. Their dan-dan noodles (above) are blisteringly spicy but so satisfying and we also tried their mapo tofu which was nothing special. I was puzzled by the choice of multi-colored sprinkles as garnish for sweet lotus root, it added a bit of crunch which was nice.
There are pricier items on the menu like shark's fin soup and bird's nest but that's not how we roll. On the plus side, the restaurant is Western-friendly and most of the staff spoke English so any questions we had about the food were easily clarified. LAN is a spectacle and ironically being ensconced in Philippe Starck-ness made me feel close to home, it was like a taste of the Delano in the Orient.(LAN South Beauty address: 2/F, West Bldg, China World Shopping Mall, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

DeVito Limoncello Tasting

Went to the media tasting for DeVito's Limoncello on Friday. The little man was sort of trapped behind the bar and engulfed in a thicket of paparazzi and camera men.
For about 30 minutes all I could hear was his DeVito's amiable but disembodied voice talking about making Italian food, how he Rhea love to cook, how his kids stay at George Clooney's place in Italy. The best part was when he showed how the label on the bottle is like a scratch n' sniff sticker.

In that span of time I managed to suck down two flutes of the sweet liquor, which reminded me of a melted pack of lemon-drops spiked with alcohol. When DeVito was permitted to emerge he was escorted through the crowd to the bathroom and then to a table in the back.
The ratio of photogs and ascot-wearing waiters to celebrity: about 30 to 1.

Top Chef 3 Miami Clip o' the Week

This week we see that Howie learns to compromise.
Guest judge is local talent Michael Schwartz from Michael's Genuine Food and Drink.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007