Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miami Restaurant Buzz

  • Miami Spice unveils participating restaurants. Newcomers include Karu & Y, David Bouley Evolution, O Asian Grill, Santo, Table 8, Food Gang, Michaels Genuine, and Oceanaire Seafood Room. Prices have gone up ($22 for lunch, $35 for dinner, both 3 courses) but so has the caliber of restaurants.
  • The gentrification of the neighborhood surrounding the MoCA continues with the opening of Dogma Grill North Miami Beach. This is a good development, Dogma fries are ah-mahzing.
  • Norman's closes, a shame for the SoFla dining scene, a boon to Key West and Orlando (he's focusing his energy on ventures there).
  • Govind Armstrong signs books Friday June 1 at Books and Books Coral Gables.

Tonight! TOFF Party

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Metro Mixer @ O Asian Grill

Karim Rashid in the Pink

If you ever had any doubt that Karim Rashid loves pink (an indeed, the man embraces the bubblegum palette like no man ever as) look no further than these images of the Rashid-designed Semiramis hotel in Athens.

Oh Ikea, Not Soon Enough

The Ikea countdown is on: the store in Sunrise is opening sometime this Fall. I can already taste the swedish meatballs! To pique your excitement for this welcome event, I direct you to this interactive site produced by Ikea called Be Brave, Not Beige allowing you to elevate a beige-toned room to a fun, pattern-happy environment.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tasty Tastemakers

The creators of Pinkberry, that frenzy-inducing frozen yogurt chain from LA, made House and Garden's list of 2007 Tastemakers. Clotilde Dusoulier, she of of the wildly successful food blog Chocolate and Zucchini (140,000 monthly readers!) made the list as well.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rice House of Kabob

As a resident Miami foodie who also happens to be of Persian persuasion I felt it my duty to sample the Persian food at Rice House of Kabob. The good news is that the fast-food casual eatery is cheap, clean and they know how to make delicate Persian rice. Not as crunchy as my grandmother's, but good enough for Miami standards. The downside is that the atmosphere and decor could use a little sprucing, the menu veers more towards Middle Eastern than Persian at times, and there's no choresht (a term for a variety of Persian stews featuring beans, greens and meat, usually very lemony and cooked for long periods of time) offered.

The chicken kabob platter (above) was fresh and colorful. It comes with tender pieces of marinated chicken breast, a Greek salad and a side of rice. There are other grilled kabobs on offer including meat and swordfish. At $7-$9 a platter it's good value. You can also order a rice platter by itself like this zereshk (above) with tart barberries and saffron, the rice moist and each grain separate, without being sticky. We also tried the stuffed grape leaves and were underwhelmed, they had been sitting in the refrigerated case too long. In terms of authentic Persian cuisine I would not trade this place for a meal at Saffron (6500 South West 40 Street), the best crunchy rice I've had down here, and they make a varieties of choresht. But if you're interested in a quick, healthy meal that teeters on the exotic, Rice is a nice option.
Rice House of Kabob
1318 Alton Road, South Beach

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sushi Samba: Fusion Still Has its Mojo

People in the food world shy away from using the word “fusion” these days. The term became too trendy, was never quite defined and is ubiquitous in restaurant descriptions. It takes a trip to Sushi Samba Dromo to remind us all that fusion cuisine can be exciting, flavorful and full of unexpected promise. The restaurant developed back in the day when fusion was a ground-breaking phenomenon, and despite its status and the older and wiser doyenne of Lincoln Road's upscale eateries, a meal at Sushi Samba proves that the Asian and South American-influenced eatery has not lost its mojo or its ability to churn out respectable fare.
Known as a restaurant with a nightclub atmosphere, the South Beach outpost of the Sushi Samba empire now has to compete with the recent openings of Quattro and Santo, not to mention the all the foodies hopping across the bay to Michy's and Michael's. But the prime location on Lincoln Road makes those orange umbrella-adorned tables satisfying both for the good food and people-watching.
The restaurant offers a traditional nightly omakase menu, a Japanese term for a chef's choice. Either 5 or 7 courses, the dishes range from kobi beef tataki to duck wontons to imaginative sushi creations. Ordering from the usual menu will also yield a fine tasting odyssey but the better value may be in the omakase as Sushi Samba's prices are not for the faint of wallet.
The décor is fun and chic, though it could use a refacing in certain areas. Lighting is dim, and salsa music pulses throughout the vast multi-tiered dining room. The circular sushi bar in the center of the restaurant functions as a visual spectacle and additional seating.

The menu features some unlikely combinations of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian staples. Steaks and seafood are available as entrees (like the filet of Chilean sea bass, above) and we spied several tables ordering the generous lobster platters. But the real fun is to be had ordering a melange of small plates. The Chilean sea bass “anticuchos” skewers is one of the heartiest small plates boasting 2 generous hunks of miso-marinated fish resting atop oversize kernels of Peruvian corn marinated in butter and lime. The yellowtail sashimi “Tiradito” is worth the trip to Lincoln Road alone. Bathed in a tart lemongrass sauce, the thin slices of fish are enhanced by slivers of jalapeño peppers and the citrus sauce. The Kobe beef tataki comes relatively unadorned save for a drizzle of truffle oil allowing the flavorful meat to assert itself. A tuna ceviche with almonds, red onions and grapefruit juice practically sprung from the plate, it was so fresh. A sampling of the tuna tartar with red pear jus and garlic soy attests to the fact that the kitchen has a sure and steady hand when it comes to raw fish.

The sushi menu is where the fusion combinations have an opportunity to dazzle and highlight the best of both worlds. The “Neo Tokyo,” composed of yellowfin tuna and tempura flakes, is given a fiery jolt with a topping of aji panca sauce, made with Peruvian chili peppers. A “Green Envy” roll is an inspired collaboration between tuna, salmon, wasabi pea crust and a fantastic aji-amarillo-key lime mayo. The “El Topo” was less impressive, consisting of a beguiling mixture of salmon, jalapeño, shiso leaf and topped with an elastic mozzarella cheese and crispy onions proving that cheese and sticky rice are not a magical match. Of the side dishes the most unique is a bowl of that same Peruvian corn, the massive kernels snappy and full of depth. The sweet plantains and purple mash are also nice counterparts to the protein-packed menu.
The sake menu is superb, from Junmai to Nogori (cloudy sake) selections with enough choices to satisfy a tasting flight. The restaurant has also begin offering several “virgin” cocktails, each refreshing and non-hangover inducing. The “Acai Fizz” packs the most nutritional punch using antioxidant-rich acai berry puree and topped with a splash carbonated energy drink. The watermelon “mojo” martini is crisp and flavorful enough to stand on its own sans alcohol.
Dessert selections cover usual territory, from a perfectly balanced tre-leche (below) to a warm chocolate banana cake but the most compelling reason to stay for dessert would be the green tea ice cream, as rich and fragrant as the drink itself.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New Restaurants Opening

Things slow down in Miami in the summer, and yet all these restaurants are slated to open in the next few months. Maybe the sleepy time is an opportunity to work out all the kinks before the SEASON kicks back into gear. Look out for the following:
  • Abokado Sushi in Mary Brickell Village. End of June is the word.
  • Also in Mary Brickell Village sometime in June will open Grimpa Steakhouse, an upscale Brazlian spot.
  • Devito South Beach supposedly at the end of May.
  • I've also seen what looks like a new restaurant opening in Surfside called Adriana in the former Coifiocchi space but have not found much info about in anywhere.
  • Indian restaurant Ishq opening in June at 530 Ocean Drive in South Beach. I am excited for this one - finally more Indian options!
  • Bonefish Grill opens in Coral Gables June 25.
  • Restaurant #3 to open in Mary Brickell Village will be Rosa Mexicana opening July 11 and of course designed by Mexicana maverick David Rockwell.

Suhani Pittie: On the Cuff of History

I discovered Suhani Pittie at last month's Miami Fashion Week. The brainy-beautiful gemologist-jewelry designer made Elle Magazine's list of 10 women in India to look out for in 2007. Her designs are ethereal and very craft-oriented. The cuff bracelets are fiend-worthy. There's something really comforting about a cuff, it sort of hearkens back to armor and evokes all these ancient associations. Pittie plays with that notion by embellishing the cuffs with rocks, gems and even buttons.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Grass Goes Happy

Radio in the Wild Kingdom

The New Times has a quirky piece on an Israeli guy with a radio station in Little Haiti. These slice-of-life articles are truly special. It's a South Florida version of Talk of the Town, except instead of covering a cocktail party with Norman Mailer we have a broadcasting maverick beaming Hebrew to the world from a tropical shantytown. Talk about flavor!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Slideshow Highlights

A recap of some visually enchanting slides from Green Flamingos:
From Ecoist brothers Yoni and Yair Marcoschamer -

Gabriele Marewski's Paradise Farms -

Food from Chef Michael Jacobs of Grass Restaurant -

Rebecca Carter's Ecorazzi take on celebs doing green (or not-so-green in the case of John Travolta)-

Nick Gunia on toilet efficiency and glass recycling -

Stephanie Spiegel's Buddha bank and guerrilla gardening -

Facundo Poj on landfills and designing furniture -

Kay Witte gives the European Perspective (seems that they are light-years ahead of the States in terms of green building) -

Monday, May 14, 2007

Green Flamingos Rundown

Whew! 8 presenters, 160 slides, 56 minutes of programming, over 100 audience members, 12 bottles of Rain Vodka, and 3 cheese and tart platters later, I am happy to report that the launch of Content:Miami's first event was a rousing success.

Presenter Yoni Marcoschamer (left) and Mark Gunia, brother of presenter Nick share a pre-show drink.

The crowd mingled and perused the space-age features of the Zeitgeist Showroom before the program began. A big thanks to Zeitgeist for hosting us, it was really the perfect venue for this event. Plus, the transforming kitchen module is always a crowd-pleaser.

The goat cheese tarts and gourmet cheeses provided by Grass Restaurant chef Michael Jacobs went like hotcakes. Everyone also appreciated the free drinks at the Grass after-party. Thanks to Richard and Michael!

Several presenters had items on display including Nick Gunia's Alterna Corps terrazzo floor tiles made with discarded glass and insulation made from recycled denim. Ecoist brother Yoni and Yair's handbags made from recycled candy wrappers were big hits and had all the ladies (and some gents) coveting the fashionable clutches.

Their motto "buy a bag, plant a tree" had me at hello. (You can buy them here, folks.)

The packed crowd settles in for the presentation. Attendance was so impressive that we ran out of chairs and most people ended up standing for the show, proving the event-going stamina of Miami party people. Or maybe there was something special in that organic vodka....

Rebecca Carter of GreenerMIAMI and Ecorazzi delved into the world of celebrity "green gossip" finding the green lining in every celebrity scandal, declaring Paris Hilton's jail time as "45 days of reducing Paris's carbon footprint."

Facundo Poj gave a fascinating look at art and furniture he creates from discarded bathtubs and airplane materials including doors (above) that can be transformed into comfy lounge chairs.

Nick Gunia described the work of Alterna Corp and also donated a green credit through Dream in Green to help reduce make the night's event carbon-neutral.
A fantastic time was had by all. Thank you to everyone who gave their time and energy to help make this happen!
Special thanks to Shawn for being resident photographer.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tonight! Green Flamingos!


Gallery Night Tonight

Two shows you should check out tonight in Wynwood:
Jacin Giordano's solo exhibit "People Places and Things" at Snitzer Gallery opens at 7:30 p.m. and runs through June 23. The gallery is located at 2247 NE 1st Pl., Miami.
Federico Nessi's "Spiritual Cramp" photography show at Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts located at 2043 North Miami Ave.
I know both these dudes and their artistic prowess is almost as astounding as their other prowesses (or is it prowesi?). Plus, Freddy has a mustache, need I say more?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Green Flamingo Presenters

Bios and pictures of the Green Flamingo presenters are now up on Content:Miami. Get a sneak peek before tomorrow's event!

Mother's Day @ The Wolfsonian

Taste of the Nation, Fort Lauderdale

I did not do much note-taking at last week's Taste of the Nation at the Broward Convention center. I was too busy stuffing my face with seared tuna and cheesecake but I did come away with a few choice observations.

First, it was SO much better than anything at the South Beach Wine and Food Fest. It was certainly cheaper (tickets were about $85 as compared to SoBe's whopping $160), your ticket was a tax-deductible donation (not sure if that's the case with the SoBe fest) and the atmosphere was much more dignified. While the SoBe tasting unraveled into a drunken Spring Break for 40 year-olds, this tasting-fest was a chance to talk with the Chefs and restaurant-owners, sample a great selection of wines and not get your feet all sandy. Second, the food was plentiful, and the chefs benefited from having access to electricity, baking, sauteeing, and keeping everything warm as it should be. Standouts included Boca's Absinthe Cafe's made-to-order tuna tartar ice bar (above) and the dessert buffet created by Susie's Scrumptious.

The only issue was the incredible waste of Styrofoam plates at every tasting station. It didn't jive with my green heart, but other than that, it was a mighty spiffy event. Look forward to the Miami Taste event in August.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Michael's Jazzing Up the District

Michael's Genuine Food and Drink gets a rave review in the New Times. I NEED to get over there and try it. The review got me so hungry.
A subtly flavored small plate of faintly house-cured salmon comes daintily dressed with orange sections, pearl-size salmon eggs, and lemony fennel slices shaved so thin you could read through them (although I'm not sure why you would want to do that). A more rustic small plate, panzanella salad, actually comes in a bowl, and pleases via softly ripe heirloom tomatoes, mellow balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh basil, and crunchy cubes of soudrdough — one of three breads, along with olive and cranberry, that comprise the predinner selection.
Did I mentioned that I am currently obsessed with fennel? Nothing jazzes up a salad, fish, or anything like fennel. I gotta get over to the Design District. Maybe for a post-Green Flamingos bite this Saturday night?


  • My review of Golda's Balcony - if you are interested in one of the most bad-ass women of the 20th century GO SEE IT! I was already a professed Golda-file and this play does the fine lady justice. Plus, you get to walk around the Biltmore afterwards, such a treat!
  • Coverage of the Palm Beach Film Fest Awards.
  • And I wrote this piece on Cafe Emunah for the Forward. Hopefull y'all will check it out, the food is divine.
  • Plus I've been blogging up a storm at Social Diva.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lots Going on Saturday Night

Free Samples and Wacky Wigs

Courtesy of my PR-liscious contacts, some new product launches:
S-Solutions is debuting its revolutionary new anti-aging treatment line right here in Miami at the most “in the know” boutiques. South Beach’s S-Solutions offers an aggressive approach to anti-aging and boasts the longevity secret to cell turnover and regeneration using high-profile ingredient Epidermal Growth Factor.
At both debuts, there will be GIFT BAGS with samples for the FIRST 200 people. A representative will be on site to answer questions and give product demonstrations. The first event is at Cream in South Miami on May 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The South Beach launch at Brownes & Co. is on May 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more info on Cream, call 305.669.9220; for more information on the event at Brownes, call 305-538-7544.

You know how I love me some gift bags!
And in case you feel the need to change your lovely locks:

Snip Salon at Base on Lincoln Road is offering a collection of rainbow-colored wigs for the Britney in you. They'll customize it to fit your taste (and mood). Only available through May.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bruschetta Martinis

I am not a big user. I am a saver. When someone gives me a gift, or I acquire something not needed immediately, like a decorative item, I usually stash it in the closet, in its box, until I've "used up" the item that preceded it. I do this with new towels, new sheets, dishes, candles, etc. It is my way of maintaining order, conqering clutter, and in my own neurotic way, an attempt to be eco-conscious. I really make sure to "finish" those glasses,towels, before I unleash the new ones.

My dear friend Michelle gifted me these lovely stemless martini glasses last year and I resisted putting them into my beverage rotation. They are too nice, too delicate, I thought. I'll save them. But for what? What the hell am I saving all these things for? So at a recent dinner gathering I busted them out, using them for a tangy "bruschetta martini" appetizer. The whole thing was devilishly simple and, though I felt more than a bit Martha Stewartish presenting these dishes to my dinner guests, I could not argue with the fact that they looked quite pretty.
The recipe is as follows:
2 tomatoes diced
2 gloves of garlic chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch basil chopped
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake gently and pour into martini glasses. Garnish with a slice of baguette.