Thursday, January 31, 2008

Documentary Film Series @ Wolfsonian

You Say Hummus, I Say Choo-moose

Noah from Tasting Menu has been giving good blog recently with some writing about Israeli restos. He's also got some drool-worthy pics (like this one) from a meal at the Armenian Tavern in Jerusalem's Old City. Here's a treatise on the wonder that is Falafel Shuki, though he may face some backlash from hard-core "Melech Ha'Falafel" (The King of the Falafel, literally) supporters. The age-old question of the best fried chick pea ball in Israel is like most conversations in Israel - infinitely arguable.

Miami Snapshot

Flavorpill partnered with Le Meridien resorts for a promotional junket that sent individuals to various hotels for New Year's weekend. Miami was one of the destinations. As a travelogue the project is somewhat engaging. If you're a local there's nothing new here - dinner at Casa Tua is romantic, the Delano is a great place to spend an evening, trying to find Calle Ochco can be maddening, etc. Here's a last-day reflection.
Miami seems the perfect example of the American Dream taken to extremes. Some hundred and fifty years ago a few industrious, visionary people decided to clear the land, drain the swamp, and build a paradise. Since then, others have gone on to build their own paradise within the larger paradise.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Biggest Concrete Hallmark Card

Via Daily Candy's Valentine's Day email I hear about Send a Message whereby one can pay Palestinians living in Ramallah to spray paint messages on the separation wall for a fee (30 Euro, which is kinda steep for graffiti and 3 digital pics). I'm just really saddened by this. All of it. Even if the money goes to pay for basketball courts and laundry services it's still bittersweet. And not at all romantic. What are you going to do? Tack the photo on your fridge and pop open a bottle of champagne? Happy Valentines Day, honey. I bought you a piece of someone else's suffering.

Lola's Microbrew Dinner

Lola's On Harrison is having a "ROGUE" Charity Beer Dinner, JANUARY 31ST, 2008.

Coriander Crusted Sea Scallops
Mache Lettuce and Ginger Butter Sauce Paired with
Rogue Brewery's "HALF-E-WEIZEN"

Juniper Berry Brined Pork Tenderloin, Pepper Mango
Salad, Rasberry Chipotle Vinaigrette Paired with
Rogue Brewery's "JUNIPER ALE"

Buffalo Shortrib Braised in Hazelnut Brown Nectar,
Smashed Fingerling Potatoes, Hazelnut Gremolata
Paired with Rogue Brewery's "HAZELNUT BROWN NECTAR"

Moist Chocolate Stout Cake
Chocolate Stout Frosting
Paired with Rogue Brewery's "CHOCOLATE STOUT"

2032 Harrison Street
Hollywood, FL 33020

T-Shirts for Miami Museum Month

Another Basel Quote

Miami Basel has done for Miami what Frank Gehry's Guggenheim has done for Bilbao.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bonefish Grill, Coral Gables

Dinner at Bonefish Grill's new Coral Gables location. Had never dined at the chain before but I'm a fish fanatic (and a landlubber as well) so I was looking forward to an oceanic tasting odyssey. Portions are generous so be prepared to eat. There's plenty of non-seafood items to choose from and one of our friends gave high praise for the pork tenderloin topped with a portabella sauce. If you're not a fish person, that may be the way to go.
Each fish entree can be made to order by choosing one of 4 sauces (chimichurri, mango salsa, pan Asian and lemon butter). We started with a tuna sashimi appetizer (the large was $16 and a very nice app. size) which came with a delicious ponzu sauce. Mussels were bathed in a mild and subtle lemon and wine broth, not your typical butter and lemon song and dance. I opted for the Chilean sea bass (the large portion - 9 oz. is $22, which is mighty reasonable) with the pan Asian sauce. The sea bass was buttery perfect and - given the New Times review - sacrilicious, I suppose. It came with an addictive potato au gratin. We also tried the grouper with a tangy mango sauce which went well with the meaty fish.
I really admire the Bonefish wine list. For an "upscale casual" chain they know they're not always dealing with wine connoisseurs but they make an effort to have a pretty decent selection at acceptable mark-ups. The wine list is also organized from light to heavier wine (another nod to novices) so folks can choose accordingly. But they don't list vintage so negative points for that. They've got a bottle of Conundrum on there for $47 and a bottle usually goes for around $25 so not too bad. And a Mirassou pinot for $21 which sells for $10 at Publix. A Ravenswood red zinfandel for $25 is not bad considering it's usually $14 and a nice inexpensive red at that.
That night we went with a bottle of Evolution 2006 white (a blend of nine different grapes) for $41. It was crisp and delicious and perfect for a fish feast.

Check, Please!

I missed the premiere of PBS series Check,Please! last night. Spangdish caught the show and believes Michelle Bernstein is its saving grace which I imagine is probably true. While I appreciate the concept of the show I think it would be helpful to include food professionals/scholars every once in a while. So that, you know, we could all learn something from it.
Here's a list of the restaurants the show will be covering.
(The one restaurant I'm afraid for is Cafe Maurice. The food's nothing special but it's still one of the best places to share a bottle of French wine and listen to Yves Montand. Hope they weren't too harsh.) The show has a blog but posting is pretty slim.
Update: Lee Klein's take.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Shilo Benaroya

Israeli firm Shilo Benaroya made Wallpaper magazine's list of 101 of the World's Most Exciting Architects. Above, their first rediential project, a house in Tel Aviv.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meet Padma!

On Friday, February 22, step up to a judge’s table, as Padma Lakshmi brings her blend of sophisticated, international fabulousness to the Books & Bubbly party for her cookbook Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet. There'll be champagne, food, live music and Padma.
Friday, February 22, at 1pm at Books & Books
Bal Harbour Shops.

Uhma Spa, South Beach

Uhma Spa is changing the world, one massage at a time. The the latest addition to South Beach's luxury beauty scene, this day spa aims deeper than a conventional pampering haven. Owners Marco and Debora Leia designed the Zen-like space with earth-friendly materials like repurposed wood and non-PVC-emitting paint. Treatments are designed with eco-conscious elements in mind like a waterless manicure-pedicure and towels made from bamboo. Organic lotions, oils and soaps are used in all treatments and available for sale in the spa's stylish gift shop. The Sabai Herbal Ball massage, an Uhma specialty, blends Thai massage techniques with a hot herbal ball compress applied to energy points to both soothe and invigorate. The Tian Di Bamboo massage employs an innovative treatment whereby warm oil and bamboo rods are applied to sore muscles to both detox and promote healing.

726 6th Street. 305.695.0996

Friday, January 25, 2008

Flora Fiends Unite!

The Orchid Thief is one of my favorite books, and while I'm no flower connoisseur, the book piqued my interest in the vast world of orchids enough to want to learn more about this unique plant. Luckily, the World Orchid Conference comes to town this weekend. Let the botany bonanza begin!

The World Orchid Conference is being held at the Sheraton Miami Mart Hotel & Convention Center, 711 N.W. 72nd Avenue, Miami, FL

Lunch at River Oyster Bar

First time at River Oyster Bar, to try their new prix-fixe lunch. Three courses for $20. Selections include dishes off the regular menu with the options changing daily. We had:
snapper tartar topped with wasabi tobiko in a sauce of yuzu juice and tamari (above), corvino ceviche marinated in chilies, cilantro, lime juice and Peruvian corn (the highlight of my day. Why don't we see more of this wonderful giant kernel on Miami menus?),

grilled tuna salad with arugula and grilled vegetables, tuna taco platter that came with sides of feta cheese, guacamole, roasted red peppers, salsa and an impressively fiery hot sauce. Yes, we both got tuna, sometimes you're just in a tuna mood. (This was before the whole mercury scare article came out).

The standout was the corvino ceviche which was so wonderfully tangy and elevated by the Peruvian corn that it was gobbled up amidst fork jabs. The snapper tartar won for its beautiful presentation and pleasantly snappy tobiko, whose wasabi provided color, but not much fire. Its accompanying yuzu-tamari sauce provided a necessary floral, citrusy kick. The grilled vegetables and tuna came together well aided by a lemon-thyme dressing and peppery arugula. The taco plate was a great deal of food, and for those who like dipping and tasting (that'd be me) it was a nice way to do lunch.
The dining room at the River Oyster Bar is classically handsome and urbane, like a polo player. And it's a bit New England-y too with its grand semi-circular wood bar, wooden plank floors and airy oyster-house feel. During the day with sunlight streaming through the glass-paned doors it's downright sophisticated.
And for dessert? Macadamia nut sundae with vanilla ice cream, macadamia nut cookies, rum-marinated cherries and a dark chocolate pecan tart.

The Power of a Blank Page

I heard about this project via Ziva, at Designist Dream. She writes: is staging an art-inspired protest today at airports around the world calling attention to three missing Israeli soldiers - Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit - who were kidnapped from Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and southern border with Gaza in 2006.
The soldiers have been gone a total of 560 days. The photos are poetic and heartbreaking. Most of the website is in Hebrew but people have posted from Barcelona, Munich, Milan and Paris in addition to the dozens from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Miami Museum Month!


Just when Miami's fashion insiders feared Lincoln Road was the turf of chain retailers, with high rents and national brands edging out independent boutiques, a funky store called Guapa came along and revived hope in South Beach's shopping scene. Owner Maria Isable Perez, a former public relations executive at Estee Lauder, focuses on Spanish designers offering ultra-femme womenswear from brands like La Casita de Wendy, Ailanto and Jocomomola. Many of the designers out of Barcelona and Madrid are exclusive to Guapa in the United States which translates to a unique selection for the competitively stylish set.

Ecoist Bag Sale

Ecoist's shiny, earth-friendly purses and accessories are on sale. They are cleaning house and selling loads of inventory at huge discounts. Bargains include the fetish-worthy Coca Cola small clutch (marked down to $40) to the roomy large portfolio (now $118) made from blue Luna Bar wrappers. Bonus: they plant a tree for every bag sold.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ikea Food Fun

Went on an Ikea shopping spree this weekend. They had a couch sale; we caved in to consumer pressure and are now the proud owners of a Tysoland sectional. The best thing about leaving Ikea (aside from knowing that you've just squandered 6 hours of your life walking through a gargantuan Scandinavian furniture behemoth) is the nifty food store at the exit. We stocked up on herring, anchovies, crispy bread, fizzy pear cider and smoked salmon. I was inspired when I spotted the "Rosti" potato pancakes, sort of like Norwegian latkes. We got home and unpacked our Nordic bounty, fried a few rosti, topped them with the smoked salmon and sour cream (could've used a dollop of caviar, alas) and sat back to enjoy our hearty snack. Lookin Good has launched its beta site and it is a treasure chest of content. This is exactly the site I wish existed when I first moved down here years ago. I am loving the different themed guides and stellar photography. I even have a few articles in there. Kudos to the editor for hiring local bloggers like Paula from MangoandLime to spread some original and fantastic writing on the web.

Food Gang Does Brunch

The Food Gang's new brunch menu sounds pretty good. A nice bonus: your first mimosa or bloody Mary cocktail is on the house. The menu, consisting of omelets, poached, fried and scrambled eggs, is priced from $5-$9, (with the exception of a 4.38 ounce Petrossian ossetra caviar service at $1,000 and black truffle dishes at $25). Items include an American omelet (cheddar, ham, bacon or turkey bacon), Greek (egg whites, Kalamata olives, oven cured tomato, spinach, feta cheese, and basil), and Catalan (Manchego cheese, chorizo, tomato and fried egg).

The brunch menu is being offered Tuesday – Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jerusalem: Masaryk Restaurant

I've got a carb craving today. If only I still lived in Jerusalem's German Colony - I'd mosey on down to Masaryk for their ridiculously rich egglplant ravioli with mushroom cream sauce. Ahhh yeah...

A Glass of Miami's Finest

I'm one of those people who never orders bottled water at restaurants. Not only do I dislike the practice because it inflates the bill, but it's also ridiculously wasteful. So I'm always "Yep, Miami's finest for me." And I'm starting to really get annoyed with that "_______'s finest" euphemism. Lets be honest people, we live in a place where the water is pretty safe to drink. That's one of the perks of living in America. Thankfully local restaurants are catching on to the bottle-banishing trend.
In an effort to minimize their environmental impact, Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar and Restaurant has begun its own water program. Rather than offering still or sparkling, Jaguar offers a carafe of specially filtered local water with its compliments. Around the neck of the carafe is information regarding “The Facts.” This information is below.

The facts:
· 166 bottles of water are consumed by the average American each year.
· 8 out of 10: number of un-recycled plastic water bottles that wind up in landfills or incinerators.
· 1,000: Estimated number of years required for a plastic water bottle to decompose.
· Local water: What’s in most popular water brands.

Art & Wine Lecture January 25

Lecturer: Armando Droulers
John Heartfield was a pioneer of modern photo montage and helped transform it into a powerful form of mass communication. Working in Germany and Czechoslovakia between the two world wars, he developed a unique method of appropriating and reusing photo graphs to powerful political effect. At a time of great uncertainty, Heartfield's agitated images forecasted and reflected the chaos Germany experienced in the 1920s and '30s as it slipped toward social and political catastrophe.
$20 per Person
To register or RSVP Call 305.674.8278, Ext. 15

Odds and Ends

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Shakespeare in the Park

Went to the outdoor performance of Shakespeare in the Park Miami's Much Ado About Nothing the other night and had a great time. Sunday is the last performance and though it's a bit nippy outside I highly recommend it. Grab a blanket and a picnic basket, a bottle of wine and you've got a great evening. The acting was pretty good, too.

House of Diehl @ Stoli Hotel

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Stoli Hotel

The Stoli Hotel, the future of marketing. I wish they had played up the Russian billionaire thing more. You know, with leggy Eastern Block women in furry jackets proffering frosty cocktails, mountains of caviar and smoked fish, that kind of thing. The vodka was definitely flowing and it seemed that everyone was having a Stoli-tastic time tasting all the different infused vodkas. My new fave is the blueberry, which, thankfully, is not blue. You know there's a food lackage when people start pouncing on waitresses with trays of tiny grilled cheese sammies. The color-themed rooms created an aura of exclusivity whereby you could only enter with a matching wrist band but the space was so big no one seemed aching to get into the hotel-suite lounges. The space will be up for another two weeks with various parties and buzz-worthy DJ's holding forth.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Segafredo on Brickell

The skyscraper canyon that is Brickell has been a bit lax in satisfying the social needs of its office refugees. With the opening of Euro-influenced Segafredo, the professional set now have reason to stick around from day to night. The futuristic coffee house aesthetic and delicate, unpretentious Italian eats of the global brand have been transplanted to Miami's financial district. Taking multi-tasking to its stylish extreme, this outpost effortlessly melds several destinations into one: it's a restaurant, a casual cafe (or caffe, for you Italianos) and a boutique nightclub. Daytime idlers can linger over well-executed cappuccinos, flaky croissants and at lunchtime, crusty panini oozing with mozzarella and basil. The coffee bar with barstools, plush red leather couches and free internet attracts laptop toters galore.

Spazio Nero, the on-premise club whose name is Italian for black space, takes its thematic credo seriously. Think vampy black leather couches with silver buttons, black-tinted mirrors throughout, and fleur-de-lis textured black-on-black wallpaper. At 2,000 square feet, there's ample space to get your dance on as local spinning talent hold forth from the elevated DJ booth.

Because this is Miami, you know the eclectic antique furniture in the outdoor living room lounge will be packed round the clock. Better claim your couch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Miami Restos

The food gods have smiled upon our Magic City. All of a sudden, Miami is abuzz with restaurant openings. Must be the influx of all those European tourists brandishing their superior currency. Or maybe people need ways to spend the piles of cash accumulated during the real estate boom. At least we food fiends get to benefit. Here are few places you should get excited about.
And I want to welcome all you readers from Eater. Glad to have you, park your keister at the bar and throw back a few.
  • The Ritz South Beach has changed their in-house Americana into Bistro One LR. The menu's online: Polenta onion rings, monkfish osso buco, grapefruit glazed duck. I like what I'm seeing.
  • Philippe Chow's new shrine to Chinese cooking at the Gansevoort South (above).
  • Gerdy Rodriguez will helm 1 Bleu at the shiny new Regent Bal Harbour.
  • John Suley of Boca's Cafe Joley just opened a Joley at the Hotel Astor. Interior design by Michelle Bernstein's sister.

Procastination Junction

Wolf Pack Design Night

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vine Wine Shop Tasting Wednesday

Wednesday, January 16 th -- 7-9pm (No Charge!)
Vine "Swirl & Sip" Happy Hour
Join the weekly wine tasting, tasting the newest addition of amazing wines from Vine Wine Shop's collection -- 4-5 wines.
(10% off all wine purchases this evening)
7657 Biscayne Boulevard • 305-759-8463

Shanghai Tang, Mandarin Oriental

Trendy boutiques and trucker hats are great but sometimes you need a little class to go along with your Ed Hardy t-shirts. Shanghai Tang, purveyor of posh Asian designs, opened a boutique at the Mandarin Oriental hotel earlier this year. Make room in your closet for Chinese silk, Mongolian cashmere or the most refined shearling in the form of ready-to-wear for men, women and children. The store also sells housewares and accessories like hand bags, pouches and cases adorned with jade. Must-haves include the massive "Silk Road" Doctor's Bag purse adorned with Jade tassels and silver-plated cuff links emblazoned with "Double Happiness" characters.

Shanghai Tang
500 Brickell Key Drive
305.913. 8288

Monday, January 14, 2008

Table 8's Sweet Corn Soup Recipe

It's winter time and thus soup season. Even though our winter lasted about 3 days, it's still a great excuse to cozy up with a bowl of warm, hearty goodness. The sweet corn soup at Table 8 offers an elegant option for the warm food craving. Not as heavy as it sounds, due to a generous slug of white wine, the ethereal yellow broth balances the sweetness of the corn with the savory addition of leeks and celery. This is one of Table 8's seasonal offerings so it may not be around for long.
6 onions. 3 leeks, 6 celery stalks, 15 cloves garlic, bottle white wine, 6 quarts corn stock, 4 quarts heavy cream, 10 quarts of corn, salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: roasted shiitake mushrooms, roasted corn, green peas
To Make: Sweat onions, leeks, garlic and celery over med heat till translucent, add corn, add white wine, and corn stock – let cook for 1hr. In separate pot reduce heavy cream until 2/3rds.
Combine cream and soup mix, puree mixture in vita prep and pass through chinois, season to taste.

Tom Wolfe's Magic City

A peek inside Tom Wolfe's $7 million Miami book proposal.
“Our story begins,” Wolfe’s proposal opens, “inside the mind of a young Cuban policeman.” This policeman is Angel, a second-generation Cuban who’s no longer that invested in his heritage. Angel’s beautiful sister, Lourdes, has angered her family by marrying Dr. Michael Grubman, a famous (and Jewish) Miami sexologist who’s playing at high society without actually having the money to do so. While avoiding her creep of a husband by attending art functions (like “Miami’s annual freaknik for the newly, wildly, rich, the Art Basel show in December”), she befriends a mysteriously wealthy Russian émigré named Boris Korolev, who soon falls for her and urges her to run away with him. Angel, on the other hand, falls for Camille Duroy, a second-generation Haitian “mulat” passing as French.

Umm, gag me with a spoon? Someone. Please?

The Florida Room

Lenny Kravitz's new Delano basement drinkery is the new Mokai is the new Suite is the new go-to destination for style svengalis. A mix between a 1950's Cuban-style lounge and grandma's living room (complete with a Lucite grand piano), the teeny bar kicked off the year with a Basel shindig that had hundreds throttling to enter. Look forward to appearances from the owner himself, and pals like Lance Armstrong and Michael Bay.
1685 collins ave between 16th and 17th streets. 305.672.2000

Sunday, January 13, 2008

SNIP Salon, Miami Beach

Brit-born Riley McLachlan's petite salon SNIP at Base boutique always attracted a fab following but the 250 square foot space was a wee bit...wee. So it's quite exciting that SNIP has expanded to brand new, robust digs on 41st street. With a sleek industrial-chic layout courtesy of designer Tui Pranich (also a SNIP client) and added amenities like a mini-day spa and unique treatments like eyelash extensions the new spot is uber-comfortable and swank. Beauty Secret: The salon still offers gratis student cuts twice a week at 9am – call ahead.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Spinello Gallery Jan. 12

The former digs of the Spinello Gallery used to be owner Anthony Spinello's one-bedroom two-floor walk-up Wynwood. The young gallerist has since graduated to a less hidden, though still intimate storefront space in Wynwood's Arts District and has continued to stage impressive shows featuring local artists that have drawn everyone from tony art collectors to scruffy nightlife denizens. On Saturday's gallery walk catch Miami-based Christina Pettersson's first solo show entitled “This may be the last time, I don't know,” featuring graphite drawings of brick on paper. 7PM-10PM, January 12.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Upper East Side Green Market

City of Miami residents will soon be able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the Upper Eastside Green Market at Legion Park, starting Saturday, January 12th, 2008, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Admission is free..

Residents will have the opportunity to visit the various booths of vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, orchids, cut flowers, plants, local honey, tropical jams, fresh farm eggs, fresh bread, dog treats, Italian gourmet products and more. The Green Market will be open every Saturday thru March 15th, 2008. Legion Park is located at 6447 NE 7th Avenue. The market will be set up on the park’s grounds in front of the Upper Eastside NET Office facing Biscayne Blvd.

The Upper Eastside Green Market at Legion Park is brought to District 2 is being made possible due to support from City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, City of Miami Parks and Recreation, the Market Company, MiMo Historic District, the Biscayne Times, 55th Street Station, Soyka Miami and Andiamo.

Individuals interested in obtaining information about the Upper Eastside Green Market at Legion Park, please call 305-775-2166.

WHAT: Upper Eastside Green Market Comes to Legion Park

WHEN: Every Saturday, January 12 thru March 15th, 2008 from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

WHERE: Legion Park, 6447 NE 7th Avenue
(On the grounds of Legion Park in front of the Upper Eastside NET Office facing Biscayne Blvd.)

COST: Free admission

The Nori Trend

The NYTimes explores the new practice of using nori in dishes other than sushi. There a couple of nice recipes in there as well. I've seen this trend make its way down here in a few rare cases, most notably at Timon Balloo's Domo Japones where he pairs toasted nori-flecked bread with foie gras. The saltiness of the seaweed tempers the richness of the dish nicely. Looking forward to seeing how other chefs will employ this fun new ingredient.


Belgian waffles with sweet cream butter and apricots. Accompanied by fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Can't think of a better way to start the day. Shot (and enjoyed) at the Regent Palms, Turks and Caicos.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Art and Design this Saturday

Bits and Pieces

Leblon Cachaca Cocktail Recipe

This is one is both refreshing and creamy. Almost like a pina colada but with sophistication.

2 oz. leblon cachaça
2 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. coconut cream
1 slice orange
1 dash coconut flakes
shake all ingredients with ice and
serve on the rocks. garnish with
orange wedge and coconut flakes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Prix Fixe Lunch at River Oyster Bar

The River Oyster Bar just announced a year-round offering of a three-course, prix fixe lunch menu priced at $20 per person (tax and gratuity are additional). Choices include Chef David Bracha’s Caldeirada fisherman’s soup; Fresh Shucked Gold Creek Oysters or Caicos Conch Salad served with veggies, scotch bonnet and sour orange. Main course options include Linguini and Little Neck Clams; House Smoked Organic Salmon Nicoise Salad with beets, string beans, potato, hard-boiled egg and cucumber tossed in a sherry vinaigrette or the West Indies Spiced Mahi prepared with coconut spinach and mango-apple chutney. Desserts options are Apple-Cider Sorbet; Handmade Chocolate Truffles or Apple-Blackberry Crisp with cinnamon ice cream.
Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Half-price oysters are available during Happy Hour from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., six days a week.

ArTalks at Books and Books Tonight

Nomad stops at Books & Books: The second of a new series of free ArTalks, co-sponsored by Miami Art Museum and Books & Books, features Cuban-born artist Enrique Martínez Celaya and noted Miami art critic Alfredo Triff. They will discuss Nomad, which documents Martínez Celaya’s creative process during preparations for his current show at MAM and Views from a Tuft of Grass by Harry Martinson, the book of poetry which inspired the work. This ArTalk, part of a new series of occasional conversations pairing artists, authors and scholars in conversations centered on recently published books, will take place January 9, 8-9pm, at Books & Books in Coral Gables, located at 265 Aragon Avenue. Public parking garage is located across the street. Tickets validated at Books & Books will be charged a reduced rate.

youngARTS Party Saturday Night

The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA- is a Miami-based national organization that has supported young artists for over 25 years through programs, grants, awards & much more.

To celebrate their youngARTS program (showcased this week throughout Miami), the NFAA's youngPATRONS are hosting what promises to be an amazing party at the incredible Soho Studios this Saturday, January 12th.

Contact Rebecca Interian for more info on this Saturday's party and future events: 305-377-1140, x. 218;

Morningstar Freezer Jenga

Morningstar products are half off at Publix this week. That's like a lunar eclipse in the grocery world. So I went a little overboard. I couldn't help myself. Have you had their veggie corn dogs? They are off the hook. I'll be the first to admit I'm a bit obsessed. I even banished the ice box to make room for my precious fake meats. Talk about letting the market dictate the menu...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sobe Food Fest Tickets!

Recent Articles

I am a busy bee today - lots of deadlines, lots of laundry to do and a visiting mom in town to entertain. So, in the vein of shameless self-promotion and out of sheer laziness, I offer you some of my recent articles to enjoy.
  • An article in Hadassah magazine about the impact of trips to Israel on young Jews.
  • Beauty picks for December and the opening of a new Guerlain spa at the Regent Bal Harbour.
  • An intro to CasaDecor'07 and the Doug and Gene Meyer suite in the December issue of HOME.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Turks and Caicos Adventure

Miami is a fabulous place to live, but sometimes it's nice (nay, necessary) to get away. And for a travel bug like meself, having nearby Caribbean treasures a quick jaunt away is one of the bonuses of living in South Florida. The Turks and Caicos, only an hour and a half from MIA, provided the perfect escape. The country is a series of 40 islands (only eight are inhabited) in the British West Indies. Tourism development is a sleeping beast that has just recently been awakened by a slew of new projects aimed at an upscale clientèle. But despite the new development the island is tranquil, life moves at a leisurely pace, and there's plenty of natural beauty still preserved. I stayed at the Regent Palms Resort, a classy property with tasteful Old Caribbean decor, a gracious staff, and a spa that I wish I could bring back home. My massive suite rivaled most one-bedroom apartments I've lived in and even had its own washer/dryer and stainless steel kitchen with - be still my Epicurean heart - a Viking range. I could have held a dinner party in the bathroom itself (which, considering the presence of a spacious jacuzzi would not have been a bad idea). The photo above is from the palatial balcony. The view of the sparkling ocean is probably something everyone should wake up to at least once in their lives. The nice thing about the ocean in Turks is that an offshore reef breaks the waves so the beaches are blessedly placid with glassy surfaces and clear views to the depths below.

The almighty conch is king in Turks and Caicos. The discarded shells lay in haphazard formations along the beachside restaurants.

A view of "Da Conch Shack," an island institution. More on that experience in an upcoming post.

Schoolgirls walking home. You got to love a place that insists on kids wearing school uniforms where eating barefoot at a Tikki hut is the norm.

A view of the entrance lobby at the hotel. Love how it straddles the indoor/outdoor divide. Basically it is both.

A sunset cruise complete with "island punch" proffered by the easy going captain. I opted for a can of Turks Head lager, the local brew. It was pretty good.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Astrix January 5

Put away the stilettos and get ready to dance Saturday night when Pawn Shop Lounge hosts Israeli turntable titan DJ Astrix and his fellow Holy Land spinners Shay 360 and Moti Maymon. Known for popularizing psychedelic trance music, the Russian-born Tel Aviv-raised Astrix once kept a crowd moving through sunrise–good thing this show goes until 6AM! Jan. 5, 10PM; $25. The Pawn Shop Lounge, 1222 NE 2nd Ave., Downtown; 305.373.3511.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Kobe Club Miami: Luxe Steak Parlor

Was privy to a preview of restaurant guru Jeffrey Chodorow's new Kobe Club Miami last night. The restaurant officially opens today but they were in full swing last night. The posh eatery is half the size of New York location (52 seats as opposed to 110) so it's a bit more intimate and has more of a private club feel to it. They've also recreated the noir bordello decor with 2,000 Samurai swords dangling above black banquettes and a swanky bar outfitted in stingray leather. The vibe is seductively dark and sexy and there are a few secluded booths where you can dine clandestinely behind strappy leather curtains.

The menu is basically the same as the New York outpost though they may start incorporating some local seafood into the mix. Not all menu items were available last night but our table sampled the "Samurai Flight" of three types of wagyu-Japanese, Australian and American. The consensus at the table was the meat was expertly cooked, and the Japanese won out from its less marbleized peers. The restaurant has gotten flak for using the kitschy flags to differentiate the meats but it's actually quite helpful if you're in the mood for doing taste comparisons (and why not have a little kitsch here and there?). We also tried the Dover Sole meuniere and the Atlantic Salmon which comes with delectable little lobster dumplings. Both fish dishes were tasty which is good news for non-carnivorous diners.

Appetizers include the usual steakhouse fare with a few creative selections that stand out. We tried the iced hamachi which was refreshing and lightly seasoned with lemon, sea salt and topped with diced pineapples and scallions. The iceberg wedge was a hefty portion doused with blue cheese dressing and the tomato and red onion salad was straightforward tomatoes and red onions, sliced, elevated by a 50 year-old balsamico. Sides were gluttonously good - we tried the creamed spinach, the parmesan truffle fries which come in a basket big enough for four, sake white truffle creamed corn which was quite delicate and the hash brown topped with lobster and chorizo which comes in a rustic square cast iron pan. The menu is extensive so it takes a while to figure out exactly how to plot your beef feast but that's part of the experience. Even the dessert list comes with an impressive and highly detailed selection of digestifs including rare and aged whiskeys.

If you're not up for spending big you can also get a respectable steak for under $40 which is comparable in price to a lot of restaurants in Miami that have less to offer in terms of atmosphere and design. Service was professional, cordial and well-orchestrated which, for a restaurant that is new (and in South Beach) is a testament to fine management. Chodorow's restaurants are well-staffed and well-funded so you always feel like you are in good hands. I can only speak for his properties in Miami but I haven't had a bad meal at Blue Door or Tuscan Steak and that's been echoed by most people I know. He smartly kept this Kobe Club small and it hits just the right notes of being sceney but also appealing to an epicurean crowd.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Kung Fu Chu's @ The Catalina

There's a new sushi and sake lounge at the Catalina Hotel and it is Tokyo-tastic! Decor is anime-chic with whimsical Japanese comicbook artwork adorning the lobby lounge area and waitresses dressed in plaid miniskirts and knee socks for that Harajuku girl look. The cocktail menu features a nice list of sake selections and the outdoor tables are the perfect people-watching spot on Collins Avenue.

And the food? With an exec chef who used to cater to the emperor of Japan the Izakaya-style menu did not disappoint. Specialty sushi rolls ($9-$13) are creatively composed (and named) with surprising flavor combinations like the Kung Fu Crunch made with crab, tempura flakes, avocado and spicy tuna. I couldn't resist the Kung Fu Jew roll made with cream cheese, avocado, crab and cucumber wrapped in soybean sheets and topped with salmon. My only issue with tempura flakes is that they come on top of the roll instead of inside.

There's also a great dim sum menu ($6-$8) with half a dozen varieties of dumplings and noodle dishes, though the portions are a bit wee - the veggie dumpling portion produced 4 petite pockets. We also tried the okono miyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake) as there are not many places in Miami where you can get this coveted Japanese street food staple. For dessert we had the green tea and red bean ice cream, both sweet, fragrant and refreshing after a sushi feast.

Kung Fu Chu's is at the former Dorset Hotel, 1720 Collins Ave.
South Beach

The Best Falafel in Paris

Mark Bittman brings us the best falafel in Paris.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 Restaurant Trends

1. Bite-size desserts
2. Locally grown produce
3. Organic produce
4. Small plates/tapas/mezze
5. Specialty sandwiches
6. Craft/artisan/microbrew beer
7. Sustainable seafood
8. Grass-fed items
9. Energy drink cocktails
10. Salts (e.g. sea, smoked, colored, kosher)
[Via Grub Street]