Saturday, May 31, 2008
Adriana is one of those places the critics really love but which I find unexciting. The place is undeniably a hit, not only with critics but with the Peruvian expats that pack the indoor and outdoor tables for both lunch and dinner. As far as neighborhood restaurants in Surfside go, Adriana is succeeding where the Food Gang failed, creating a popular stylish spot that serves cuisine more sophisticated than the crowd-pleasing Italian grub found at neighboring competitors Ragazzi and Pescecane. The place also eschews such helpful notions as having a website or posting their menus online, and it appears they are doing just fine without it. Our meal was nice, but I didn't find any culinary fireworks strong enough to warrant repeat visits.
I liked the dining room décor, mixing quirky wine-glass light fixtures with lacquered neo-Victorian chairs and tables. It is casually-elegant and, when the place is full, it feels downright urbane. Our party of four started with the Adriana appetizer sampler ($16), a mix of three starters that included yuquitas (yuca fritters stuffed with cheese), tequenos (fried wontons filled with gouda cheese, pictured above) and fried chicken nuggets which were exactly that. These three dip-worthy options came with three sauces the best of which was the Huancaína, a fiery cheese sauce made aji amarillo chili peppers. The yuca fritters were a standout - light and fluffy, impressive for fried food. The bread at Adriana is great as well, baked in house and dotted with sunflower seeds and whole grains. Our mains included the squash ravioli with sage butter – delicate al dente pillows, pleasant but not especially compelling. At $14 a fine dish.
The three-peppercorn tenderloin with a side of creamy yucca puree was declared delicious by the table and, at $22, was our most expensive dish.
We also ordered the passion fruit shrimp appetizer as a main. It was nicely presented comprising 4 shrimp assertively glazed with a spicy sweet sauce served atop mashed potatoes. An artichoke salad was underwhelming; the only interesting ingredient was the addition of large kernels of Peruvian corn, otherwise it was sliced mushrooms, pedestrian greens and your average salad ingredients. The wine list at Adriana is quite reasonable but filled with unremarkable choices and plenty of bottles under $50. We went with a Robert Mondavi chardonnay, a serviceable ten-dollar white priced at $19, which was fine. For dessert ($7 each) we tried the lucuma mousse, with a flavor reminiscent of persimmon and a nice texture.
We also had the chocolate basket, which looked like a goopy chocolatey mess but was actually quite delicious.
Thus our experience at Adriana: not very expensive, but not inexpensive; pleasant food but not surprising.
9477 Harding Ave, Surfside; 305-867-1220.
Friday, May 30, 2008
"I put the whore in hora," declares the Goddess Perlman, ringmaster and MC extraordinaire of Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad – and so goes an evening of bashing all stereotypes ever uttered about Jewish women. Bringing a combination of comedy, parody and burlesque to South Florida for one evening only, the cast of Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad will take to the stage on Saturday, May 31 at 9 p.m. at the historic Alfred I. DuPont Building (169 E Flagler Street) in downtown Miami. Admission is $18 and tickets may be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800.838.3006. For more information about The Open Tent please email email@example.com.
"It used to be about the music, man. Now it's all about the art."
Miami's hipsterati was out in full force last night to explore the intersection between art and rock n' roll. If that intersection involved the imbibing of several sugar-enhanced rum drinks, then so be it. Ocean Drive was sponsoring the shindig and there's no way one could peruse the show sober. Everyone from graying art collectors to scruffy Wynwood regulars to dolled-up publicists were digging the scene. Lots of David Bowie-esque people came face to face with David Bowie-inspired art. I even spied a dude sporting a Sgt. Peppper-styled tasseled jacket. It was a crowd-pleasing show, and for that the museum gets major nods of approval. I can't think of a more appropriate exhibit to entertain locals during the art-drought that is the summer. Best in show, of course, was the live band in a soundproof box (above) which we soon learned wasn't so soundproof once the lead singer started having epileptic seizures over his keyboard. And we discovered a new use for vinyl records: floor tiles! Radness!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Checked out Jonathan Eismann's Pacific Time the other night and was truly impressed. We stuck with the small plates list (of which there are 15 options and according the chef, dozens more that he plans to introduce). Standouts included:
- the gnudi – lovely pillows filled with a silky sheeps milk ricotta
- a side of farro with stracchino cheese – rich and risotto-like
- the sauteed grouper in red curry, bananas and coconut water - the best dish of the night, amazing flavor, all the elements of the dish came together to a satisfying effect.
The Colorado lamb with mango salsa and grilled endive (above) was beautifully presented but not as mind-blowing as the other dishes. For dessert we skipped the ubiquitous chocolate option and went with an intriguing Florentine terrine, a slice of cream-like pudding studded with dried fruit and nuts and it was pretty nice. Prices are reasonable with most small plates around $10-$12 and sides at $6. Wines are also well-priced. The 1/2 carafe of Fernleaf sauvignon blanc at $16.50 went well with the spicy fare and there were other reasonable options under $30 including a Wente Riva chardonnay. The dining room is comfortable and spacious and, on the night we visited, bustling. So far it seems Eismann has created a locals-friendly place, one that may actually pose a threat to Michael's dominance of the Design District. We shall see!
35 NE 40th St.
Also check out this interview with the chef at MenuPages.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Ahh beer. Isn't it a beautiful thing? This pic was taken on our recent trip to Little Rock. We ordered a beer flight at Bosco's, the place for beer lovers in downtown LR. They brew their own and it was mighty fine. 8 3-ounce pours for $8, quite a bargain. When oh when will Miami get on the suds wagon?
Saturday, May 24, 2008
The bridge Santiago Calatrava designed at the entrance to Jerusalem will be dedicated on May 26. Harry at the stellar Jerusalemite has some great pics and a post about the design gem that Israelis have mixed opinions about (obvies. Wouldn't it be naive to expect a consensus?).
Friday, May 23, 2008
I didn't grow up in Miami (can't you tell?) so I had no idea about Miami Marine Stadium. Urban Paradise has a great post and great photos (like the one above) of the decaying aquatic relic. A new preservation group called Friends of The Marine Stadium intends to restore the iconic structure. I'm surprised it was not used as a location in the last Miami Vice movie, it's so atmospheric. Maybe for our next Miami-based production...
People are always recommending restaurants to me. And Bond St. is one of those names that consistently comes up when discussing fantastic sushi joints in Miami. I figured it was about time I explored this shrine to Japanese delicacies. Word on the culinary street was that Mike the sushi chef from David Bouley Evolution had relocated to Bond St. Indeed it's true. Mike is there, with his debonair mustache and his flair for fish. The restaurant is located in the basement of the Townhouse Hotel in a dimly lit, cozy and noir-sexy space. Perfect for a quiet, private date. It felt like Tokyo with an intimate sushi bar where you can interact with the chefs and be entertained by the maki-rolling action. We started with seaweed salad - addictively chewy and dressed with a fiery orange sesame sauce. One of the specials that night was sea bass tempura with a garlic dipping sauce - a nice platter of lightly-fried fish.
We heard the bluefin tuna was luscious that night so we went with a blue fin scallion roll, a Japanese amberjack and fuji apple roll, a "mango tango" bluefin roll and a spicy hamachi. The rolls were delicate and impressive, full of buttery, spectacularly fresh fish. A little fanciful at times (the diced mango on top was more of a showpiece rather than a flavor enhancer), the bite size pieces were perfectly proportioned and sumptuous on their own. The spicy hamachi included pickled kimchi while the fuji apple roll came topped with the lightly breaded cooked fish - both inventive touches. We capped it with a green tea creme brulee, a silky and fragrant ode to the drink itself. If you're looking for serious sushi prepared by a maki guru, this is the spot. Bond St. isn't cheap, mind you, as those bluefin rolls are priced at $18 and $24 and most other rolls are about $10. But if you are in the mood to splurge on some of the best raw fish in town, grab a stool in this subterranean lounge. It may be in the Townhouse Hotel but its appeal extends way beyond tourists. Seasoned Miami locals return again and again to Bond St. and it's clear why.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Dutch designer Marcel Wanders designed these jewel-toned faucets for Bonomi. Can we expect to see them at the Wanders-designed Mondrian South Beach? Perhaps.
From the company:
The warm moist air bathes your skin and “Aqua Jewels” by Marcel Wanders for Bonomi are your servants. The elements lay before you on a stage awaiting your command. The fragmented surfaces are tamed by reflections of light, anticipating your liquid rituals. The water cascades through the “Aqua Jewels” and uses your naked skin as its canvas, dusting you with dazzling droplets of liquid. A magical transformation begins and time stands still.’But surely you must be saying to yourself, Miamians would balk at the flashiness and overt kitsch factor.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
- Pacfic Time reopens in the Design District. Courtyard seating, Pan Asian flavors, a wood-burning oven. I smell competition...
- Fratelli Lyon is set to open next week. Wines by the glass, home made bread, heirloom legumes from Umbrian farmers to fresh goat’s milks cheeses from small Piedmontese cheese makers, to hand numbered, hand-bottled Italian olive oils from Molise and Italian wines from small estates.
- Manny's Steakhouse opened in the Met One building on Tuesday. From the press release: Manny’s uses dry-aged, corn-fed midwestern beef supplied by specially contracted suppliers. Chef Pablo Guarella procures only the center cuts from the loins and custom-trims them to exacting specifications.
Now if you'll excuse me I need to install elastic bands in all my pants...
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Upper East Side Garden
7244 Biscayne Blvd.
Upper East Side
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Imagine our delight Saturday morning when we awoke to the hustle and bustle of the Little Rock Riverfront farmer's market. Plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods were ours for the taking. We bought a jar of blackberry jam from these Amish folk. Any Amish dude who can rock a cellphone while his bonneted daughter sells jams is a post-millennial farmer. We eyed the luscious Arkansas-grown strawberries longingly but settled on a breakfast of an asiago baguette, fresh avocado and tomatoes. Only to be followed by an 18-mile bike ride around the river trail, but more on that later. Now we're off to the Clinton Library for brunch at "Cafe 42." It's the only place open on Sunday morning.
We had out first screening last night and it was jolly good fun. Little Rock film enthusiasts came out to support and we had a fantastic Q & A. Turns out, people are really interested in China and guerrilla film making so we had plenty to talk about. Our film screens again today at 1:30 but we're all out of fortune cookies. Maybe we can sneak some TsingTao into the theater...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Greetings from Little Rock, a place that truly rocks. Plenty of friendly people, a lovely riverfront district with unique restaurants and bars, and a big Asian pagoda-type monument. We were kind of comforted when we saw this structure in front of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. It was as if the city had anticipated our little indie film shot in Beijing and was saying, hey we dig China, we even dig pagodas. So far we've been hanging with film festival people, and everyone has been great. Last night we caught the film Crawford, which was preceded by a couple glasses of proseco with the director at Crush Wine Bar, a charming wine joint. The film is fantastic and I hope it makes its way to Florida somehow. It's about how the sleepy little town of Crawford,TX changed once Bush moved his ranch there and then of course the press invaded, anti-war protesters invaded and everything got crazy.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Checked out the Art of Food, a great new vegan nook at the Co-op Miami across the street from the Midtown Shops. I happen to love veggie eats (especially faux meat) having patronized many awesome Chinese veggie spots in New York so I was definitely excited for fakin bacon, tofu chik'n and such. And with their fresh, healthy (mostly organic) eats Art of Food exceeded our expectations.
We tried a sandwich variety platter which included a savory marinated tofu, a silky faux salmon (in the nori wrap) made with brazil nuts, almonds, carrots, and beets. There was also a great curried chik'n apple on wheat toast, a "missing egg" made with veganaise and a "save the tuna" made with textured vegetable protein, miso and sesame.
A raw lasagna made with brazil nut cheese and zucchini was surprisingly filling. All of it was delicious, with the curry chicken being a standout. The sandwiches and wraps are delicate and priced at about $8 which is not necessarily a bargain but makes sense given the quality of the ingredients and how good you feel after eating this (compared to a Subway footlong).
There's an amazing smoothie selection and all their plastic goods are made from eco-friendly biodegradable materials. We tried a "chocolove" smoothie made with cherry, strawberry, raw carob, vanilla and nutmilk. F'ing awesome. We finished it off with desserts courtesy of Barclay the baker who makes those addictive cookies the size of your face at Blu Dog. Here she tempts sugar junkies with gluten-free cupcakes, decadent fudge brownies and chunky chocolate chip cookies.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Sunday, May 18
The Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Avenue
Join The Wolfsonian and fifteen other local museums in celebrating International Museum Day. In honor of the event, The Wolfsonian offers several promotions including free gallery admission and a ten-dollar lunch special at The Dynamo Café
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
It's a busy, busy week here at APD central. We're off to Little Rock tomorrow for their film festival (Foreign Devils is screening there twice - all my Arkansas peeps, come out to support!). After I wrote this piece I decided I should get out more. So I've got a Hot List to write and then I'm getting treated to complimentary undergarments at this new store. Hey, no one said journalists shouldn't have proper back support, right? So amuse yourself by perusing First Looks of Red Light and Blu Pizza, a neighborhood profile of Middle River in HOME Ft. Lauderdale, an interview with chef Philippe Chow in this month's Modern Luxury (p.134), a profile of clothing- designer-with-a-cause Somy Ali, and a Q & A with designer Jefre Figueras Manuel, a wonderfully creative person who composes "couture landscapes." This past December he created the fantastic outdoor garden at CASA DECOR. I hope to see more of his living gardens in Miami soon.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Hawks Cay was meeting San Francisco chef Johnny Alamilla and getting a sneak peek of his inventive Nuevo Latino eats at the soon-to-open Alma. The restaurant will be similar to the restaurant of the same name Alamilla helmed in San Francisco, serving what the chef terms "West Coast Latin cuisine." Lots of malanga, yuca, green chilis, and jalapeno. The chef speaks Mayan, Spanish and French and this type of cooking jives with his Mexican and South American roots. For this Duck Key outpost Alamilla plans to incorporate local produce into some of his signature dishes. He's got a delicate style but isn't afraid to use spice, which is always a good thing in my book. We tried:
- grouper ceviche marinated in lime and Florida grapefruit and mild green chili (below)
- grilled Cuban bread salad with shards of manchego, argula and citrus jalapeno vinagrette (above)
- pan seared duck breast, sweet potato flan, ancho chili black berry sauce
-dulce de leche pot de creme
All the dishes deftly balanced the spicy, tangy and delicious. I couldn't get enough of the sweet potato flan and the custard-like dulce de leche was a unanimous hit. All in all a nice indication of what is to come in the Keys.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Kudos to Miami fashion goddess Karelle Levy for rocking the "Style Wars" competition in New York. Read the NYTimes coverage and check out the slideshow.
Reads the caption: Karelle Levy, a Miami-based designer and performance artist, was the winner. Working to the theme of "Wed or Dead," Ms. Levy used sheets of X-ray film as a top, strategically placed cotton pads on the model's hair bun and high heels, and turned surgical gloves into a large flowerlike shoulder applique in what proved to be an innovative use of medical supplies.
The New World Symphony makes me happy. It's hard to quibble with an organization that backs such a talented group of musical mavens, throws fantastic parties where top-shelf liquor is flowing (in this case Chopin vodka), and has as its fearless and tireless leader the lovely and charming Stacey Glassman. The vibe at the Vagabond Saturday night was all sweetness and light. The outdoor tiki-hut beds were the primo spot to relax and absorb the musical odyssey taking place on stage. The crowd: urbane and charming. The music: eclectic, seductive and impressive as always. The event was one last hurrah before the summer doldrums. As such it was a fitting tribute to a well-played season.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
358 San Lorenzo Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Friday, May 09, 2008
During May, Lincoln Road's Raphael restaurant is running a buy one, get one promotion on pasta dishes. Selections include truffle ravioli, black truffle and ricotta cheese in a light creamy sauce ($23) and gnocchi 4 formaggio served in a four cheese sauce ($13).
North Beach's new Ariston has added lunch service. The wood burning oven is up and running and Peinirli (Greek Style Pizzas)are available for lunch and dinner. Also available Sunday through Thursday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., is a three-course menu is priced at $22.95 per person and includes a glass of house red or white wine. Additionally, ladies drink free from selection of house wines and cocktails from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. with dips and small bar bites served at the bar and kids eat free on Sundays with purchase of adult entrees.
Abokado Sushi has introduced Abokado Social happy hour daily from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. The Happier than an Hour (due to its daily three-hour time span)includes $3 draught beer; house martini’s and mojitos at $6 and wine by the glass at $6. A special bar menu including 5 rolls; edamame; individual Abokado nachos and Kushiage Cheese (panko-crusted queso blanco on skewers) is available for $5 to $7.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
In case you haven't heard, Books & Books has joined forces with Luminaire and Bang & Olufsen to celebrate retail and reality – design and destination, music and mood, books and books – at this pop-up space at the Moore Building on the corner of NE 41st Street and NE 2nd Avenue.There’s a full coffee bar, a WiFi Video Lounge – and a carefully selected collection of the best in books, design, music and sound. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-6pm.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
19501 Biscayne Blvd.; 305.705.1472.
Shoe junkies are flocking to Tuccia Di Capri, the brand new custom-made sandal boutique off Lincoln Road. Opt for classic designs made famous by Hollywood icons like Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Loren, or go for their gladiator sandals which appeared all over the runways this season, from Balenciaga to D&G. $150-$500. 1630 Pennsylvania Ave., South Beach, 305.534.5864.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Appetizers – choice of: Bresaola; Gravlax di Salmone or Involtini di Mozzarella.
Second Course – choice of: Ravioli di Pollo; Mahi Mahi; Lasagna di Mare or Agnello Brasato
Dessert – choice of: Napoleone con Fragole or Bignet Con Gelato
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
Says Stephanie: "Rag*Trade will continue to be a hub for local designers to showcase and sell their designs and art work, and will continue to be Miami’s only clothing exchange. In addition Rag*Trade will have a new section dedicated to selling local band merchandise."
The schedule from here on out is as follows: Rag*Trade will be closed for a bit (May 2-9) while it undergoes some restocking. On May 9 Rag*Trade will reopen and then on May 30 is the Grand Re-Opening Party! So mark your calendars and clean your closets out for some rag trading!
If you need further information about Rag*Trade please contact Sweat Records at: 305.758.5862 ext. 5.
- Missed all the tennis festivities last month at the Sony Ericsson? Fret not, you can still catch the tennis action this weekend when Beach Tennis USA holds court on the sand. The tournament, featuring top-ranked pro beach tennis teams from around the world, will be taped for broadcast as the players compete for a $3,000 prize. May 3, starting at 10am. Ocean Dr. between 8th and 9th Streets.
- You've never seen celebs Johnny Depp, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Brad Pitt quite like the portrayals in artist Robert Wilson's VOOM PORTRAITS exhibit opening this Friday at the Bass Museum. The provocative high-definition videos are presented on large-scale HD plasma flat-screens, and accompanied by original musical scores. $8. Starts May 2. Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm, Sunday 11am-5 pm. 2121 Park Ave., South Beach. 305.673.7530.
The view from my patio at Hawks Cay. This is the "tranquility pool," the adults-only nook where no kiddies are allowed. (There's another larger pool where they can frolic.) The resort just underwent a $35 million renovation after the family that had owned it for decades sold it to a hotel group. The new white cabanas add a dash of St. Tropez chic to the salty Keys atmosphere . I love that I get (free) wifi out here. Can this be my new office?
Thursday, May 01, 2008
One of a plethora of watersport offerings at Hawks Cay is the "hook n' cook" option where if you hook a fish on a fishing expedition, chef Tony Glitz will graciously cook it for you for dinner. We dealt with choppy water on our 3-hour excursion and to my regret I didn't pop a motion sickness pill opting instead for the anti-nausea wristbands. Flash forward to me desperately pressing the gray wristbands to no avail as the boat sways like a teacup at the state fair. Fret not, I didn't bail my lunch and the water eventually mellowed a bit. I even caught a few petite yellowtail snapper which chef kindly grilled up for a satisfying fish feast. The pic above is actually a speckled grouper, (petite as well - it was a day for dimunative fish). Not big enough for dinner, but feisty enough for its closeup.
I'm in Duck key for a few days, staying at the renovated Hawks Cay resort, sampling San Fran chef Johnny Alamilla's soon-to-open restaurant Alma, cavorting with dolphins and catching a few yellowtail snappers (the key word here is few). Oh, and did I mention the pina coladas? When in the Keys...