Thursday, July 31, 2008

Guilty Pleasures @ Aerobar

Get a jump on your weekend with Thursday night's Guilty Pleasures party at Aero Bar. The new airplane-themed club has a Jetsons feel with lounges that evoke a jetway heading to a futuristic airport hub. Two rooms--one with a clear soundproof wall with views of the neighboring lounge--offer plenty of music options for picky club-goers. Resident DJ Ross One spins an eclectic mix of house and rock that fuels the unpretentiously cool crowd. Thurs., 11PM. RSVP online.
247 23rd St.
South Beach

Get Primed for Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime is opening at the Aventura Mall August 9. The owners are calling it a "modern American supper club." It may sounds like a steakhouse but a quick perusal of the menu of Mitchell's Ocean Club (on which this restaurant will be based) yields some tasty seafood finds. Look forward to: Chilean Sea Bass with Glazed Carrots in a Champagne Truffle Sauce and White Truffle Caviar Deviled Eggs.
Sounds pretty sophisticated for the 'Tura, a place that holds the world record for longest Cheesecake Factory waits. Set to Party @ SET

RSVP to this shindig here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wino Chronicles

Drink up, people! It's summer for chrissakes!

Chinese Food Lackage

The general consensus amongst food people is that Miami doesn't have great Chinese. I'm on a hunt to see if that is true. Compared to New York, San Francisco or Boston, Miami has got no real Chinatown and options are limited. I'm still on the lookout for the following specialties:
- authentic dan dan noodles (noodles and bok choy come piled atop a fiery mixture of chilis, garlic and ground meat)
- Chinese Muslim-style restaurants that don't carry pork and do lots of interesting things with eggs, noodles and tomatoes (I found lots of these in Beijing)
- breakfast crepes (called Jian Bing) stuffed with cilantro, egg and spicy plum sauce made by street food vendors
- crispy sesame griddle cakes
- let's not even get started on authentic Yunan dishes ("crossing the bridge" noodles) or Fujian dumplings.

Sigh. A girl can dream.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

South Garden Dim Sum

It's China Week here at All Purpose Dark.
I'm researching a Chinese food piece, so look forward to some updates. Plus, all the pre-Olympics hype has got me missing China. Haven't been there since October and was jonesing for some dim sum and crazy eats. So I recruited Ross, an adventurous eater who possesses an open mind and even more accommodating stomach and we set out for the South Miami strip mall where South Garden works its dumpling magic. They do trolley service on the weekends and the place was packed with Chinese families. I like to know what I'm getting at these places and luckily most of the cart gals spoke English but there were a few mix-ups (tripe soup I'm looking at you) but it was an otherwise enjoyable feast. We got shrimp-stuffed eggplant, fluffy pork buns, stuffed bean curd, fish balls (eerily similar to gefilte fish), gelatinous rice pancakes wrapped around fried dough (loved the melding of textures there), fried sesame balls, fried turnip cake and fried bean curd stuffed with vegetables - the last one being best in show. Each plate is $2-$4 making for a wonderfully cheap and fun weekend breakfast.

South Garden, 10855 SW 72nd St.
(305) 274-8788

Tea Time @ 1 Bleu

The Regent Bal Harbour's posh 1 Bleu restaurant invited guests to fall down the rabbit's hole for a good cause at a Mad Hatters Tea Party. Miami socialites donned elaborate and striking headgear and gathered at the glossy new hotel for a benefit to raise money for Dress for Success, an organization that promotes economic independence for disadvantaged men and women.
Exec chef Gerdy Rodriguez put out quite a spread and everything from the dainty menus to the delicate tea sandwiches felt downright classy.

Each table was adorned with three-tiered trays of tea sandwiches including classic egg salad, cucumber with chive scented cream cheese, black current tea smoked chicken salad and the creative goat cheese and mascarpone fig and honey. I chowed on the fresh-baked scones with fixings like lemon curd and jam like a Buckingham-bred Brit. Four different types of tea were available including my fave imperial earl gray, colonialist that I am.
And the desserts, oh the desserts!

Chocolate-covered strawberries, French macaroons, coconut cupcakes, fruit tarts and something my table mate pronounced "a twinkie on acid." That about sums it up. That, and gold-flecked bon-bons. This is Bal Harbour DARRR-ling.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Hour @ Joley

Joley's summer happy hour is a full-fledged five-day a week mini-party. Kick back at the pseudo-speakeasy Hotel Astor bar as nattily-attired mixologists whip up two-for-one inventive cocktails like pomegranate and acai-tinis while you graze on gratis grub like truffle fries and meatballs. Then you can do it again tomorrow. Weekdays, 5PM-8PM. 956 Washington Ave., South Beach, 305.534.3343.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Le Boudoir

Addicted to the pastries at Le Boudoir but too lazy to schlep to Coral Gables? Fret not, an outpost of the groovy haute bistro has opened in the Brickell 'hood. Stop in for Parisian country bread, feather-lite macaroons and delicately composed sandwiches at this new downtown spot. Nightly prix-fixe dinner menus are an added bonus at this locale.
186 SE 12th Terrace, Downtown. 305.372.2333.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Free Sundays @ Vizcaya

Looking for a little budget-friendly romance? Head to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens for the estate's summer "no charge" Sunday and get lost in the gilded age glory of this supersized home. Take a stroll in its sprawling garden and admire the over-the-top Italian Renaissance architecture. One can never get enough of that over-the-top breakfast room!
July 27, 9:30AM-4:30PM. 3251 South Miami Ave., Coconut Grove, 305.806.8445.

Taste of the Nation, Miami

Oh Taste of the Nation, how my belly loves thee! This is one of the better food events in Miami. It gives food geeks a chance to meet local culinary talent while simultaneously eating and drinking to gustatory oblivion. Usually the chefs have their A-game on for the fundraiser, with each restaurant eager to impress the crowd and see which booth garners the longest lines and most attention. Celebrity chefs were in the house: a cherubic Allen Susser was a genial host, Cindy Hutson rocked her bandanna and Michael Schwartz held court at his predictably popular table. At these events you also get a lot of duplicate dishes going on and this year the theme of the night was beef. Lots of rare, raw, seared, braised, grilled red meat. Whereas last year's was all about the tuna - seared tuna, tuna tartar, tuna ceviche, tuna sashimi (by the end of the night you were pumped so full of mercury you set off the metal detectors) this year it was all about the Kobe.

The Ritz Key Biscayne's Dune Burger Lounge was proffering lovely kobe sliders topped with gorgonzola, Kobe Club seduced passers-by with beef cheek ravioli and Tuscan Steak had luscious steak tartar presented in porcelain spoons.

Touch chef Sean Brasel was hyping his new Lincoln Road venture Meat Market with marinated kobe skirt steak with aji panca chimmichurri. The spot is set to open in the Fall and if this dish is any indication of what we can expect, it will be a sufficiently creative spin on steakhouse fare. It will also be quite popular as food fiends snapped up the slices of perfectly cooked steak.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room's massive ice sculpture raw bar was a predictable hit. Who would turn down fresh shucked oysters?

Best in show was the Setai's cured salmon with lemongrass foam and chili-flecked eggplant. A nice melding of textures and flavors and a beautiful piece of silky fish.

Also quite nice was Blue Door at the Delano's duck and shiitake mushrooms. It was practically the only duck dish of the night and a welcome red meat respite.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cinebistro: It's Shiny! It's Pricey!

Checked out the new Cinebistro at the Dolphin Mall recently for this piece and was quite impressed. Sure, it's WAY out west. We're talking edge of the Everglades west. You go through seven toll plazas west. Like, I felt I was in another country west. (Is my beach-centric side rearing it's tanned head here?) But if you make an experience of it and slap on a few mall-based errands it's not so bad. And once you settle into those massive leather seats and crack open a bottle of Goats Do Roam wine (about $20) you start thinking, this is absolute genius. The ticket price is a bit steep - $15 on the weekdays and $17 on the weekends but you do get free valet (you're at the mall so that's not such a perk) and the ability to choose your seats which is rather convenient if you're with a group of friends. The pseudo-swanky lounge designed with Philippe Starck furniture is every idea the French designer has ever had distilled to suburban-friendly proportions. Dangling glass chandeliers, gilded framed mirrors hanging precariously from the ceiling, white curtains flowing. Needless to say, the folks at the Dolphin Mall were loving it.
And the food? For the most part it's fine. No culinary surprises here. Most of the menu is constructed such that the food is partially cooked or almost ready to go because it comes out within, oh, about 90 seconds of ordering it. Skip the mushroom starter-not worth $12. The skirt steak (below) was a nice dish, a generous portion and not bad for $17. The snapper was well-executed with nice hunks of banana but not worth $23. It's better to stick to the budget-priced items like the guacamole and veggie burrito. The one dessert we tried, the deconstructed key lime, was underwhelming. You're better off getting a Toblerone from the upscale concession stand.

All in all it's a fun movie-watching experience. There are no kids, everyone's a bit tipsy and every so often you'd hear plates crash to the floor as some clumsy theater patron fumbles with their tray table.

Pizza N' Porn

Here's a unique way to spend your Friday night: Upper East Side Garden's upstairs lounge hosts a Pizza Porn Party pairing pizza pies from Che Sopranos with cheesy 1950s naughty movies. Retro-liciously risqué, no? The $5 cover includes one Grolsch brewskie.
July 25, 7PM-12AM. 7244 Biscayne Blvd., Upper East Side, 305.984.3231.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Deli Democracy

The Daily Show visits with elderly South Florida Jews and hilarity ensues.

Tonight! Battle of the Bands at MOCA

Rock out with your art out tonight as MOCA hosts the second Battle of the Bands in conjunction with their music-themed Sympathy for the Devil exhibit. Local bands include Old Wives Tales, Psycho Daisies and Treasures. Bonus: complimentary Grolsch beer, VitaminEnergy bevvies and Dogma Grill hotdog vendors. $5. July 24, 8PM.
770 N.E. 125th St.
North Miami

Endless Pours at Prime Blue Grille

If you love wine (you're reading this blog so you probably enjoy a quaff or eight) then you should, nay, you must get yourself to Prime Blue Grille next week. Starting Monday July 28-August 2 the swanky downtown steakhouse is celebrating their 1-year anniversary with bottomless pours of 10-12 wines during lunch and dinner. The best part? The wine is absolutely free. As in complimentary, gratis, de nada. As my dad would say - goose egg. Plus, the restaurant is currently offering what they dub a "Power" lunch and dinner menu that is very similar to a Miami Spice deal in that it is three courses priced at $23 for lunch and $36 for dinner. Menu options include filet mignon, halibut, skirt steak and pasta. Plus, the food at Prime Blue Grille is stellar. I had a chance to preview this bottomless pours phenomenon and I walked out of this waterfront restaurant completely stuffed and really, really happy. The meal starts with a sparkling white like a champagne or proseco, moves on to a couple of sauvignons and chardonnays, climaxes at 5 or 6 reds and winds down with a port or ice wine for dessert. Your table becomes an orgy of wine glasses and it's a beautiful thing.

The wines change each day and though the pours are about 2 oz. each, if you love what you're drinking the accommodating servers will graciously oblige your oenophile fantasies. Some of the wines tasted:
Fleur du Cap sauvignon blanc
Hugel pinot blanc
Hanzell chardonnay
Laetitia pinot noir
Chalk Hill merlot
Mollydooker shiraz
Groth cabernet
Paul Jaboulet muscat
Chateau des Charmes Paul Bosc riesling
So let's review:
3-course $23 lunch or $36 dinner + free-flowing wine= one ridonkulously good deal.

En Avance Placement

Design District divas, take note: Lincoln Road emporium En Avance has just opened an outpost over the causeway. Make room in your closets for ultra-femme European frocks from labels like La Petite Salope, Etro and Robert Rodriguez's new Black Label couture collection. Moving to the mainland hasn't cramped this boutique's beach style: they still stock light, barely-there dresses that are practically a uniform for every South Beach hardbody. 161 NE 40th St. Suite 101, Design District. 305.576.0056.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thursdays @ Badrutt's Place

Happy hour gets downright giddy at "Thursday Champagne Night" parties at Badrutt's Place. The Brickell neighborhood spot treats the ladies to complimentary Champagne while flutes of Mumm Napa Rose go for just $9 for the gents. Live music from vocalist Christina Sichta adds to the linger-friendly vibe. Thursdays, 6:30PM-8PM. 1250 S. Miami Ave., Brickell, 305.415.0070.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gift Bag Porn

Raina at the New Times blog has a great post on the contents of the Swim Week gift bag. If gift bags could talk this one would say something bitchy about your hair.

Fashion Week Miami: Epilogue

Now that Fashion Week has drawn to a close, it's time to reflect on the bikini bonanza. It's a challenge to collect my thoughts with all the vitamin energy drinks still running through my system, but I'll give it a try. (Also, Cafe Bustelo, you totally had me with the tequila-spiked ice coffee - watch out Dunkin Donuts!) So what have we learned?
1. I learned that people will do anything for gift bags. I also learned that people are willing to wait in line upwards of 45 minutes for free Brazilian flip-flops. I guess when you're downing multiple spiked Bustelo coffees, the time just sorta flies, right?

2. The Raleigh penthouse is a fabulous spot to hold a press conference. Christian Audigier, you are the definition of suave.

3. Sometimes a stationary fashion show is better than a runway show. Case in point - the La Perla "show" at the Gansevoort pool plaza. We arrived wondering if we'd missed the show only to find out, nope, those mannequins stationed inside the pool are the show. Brilliant! Take your time, grab a glass of champagne, pull up a cabana and peruse the swimwear at your own pace. So much better than those "live" models walking way too fast!

4. I also learned that there is a Miami party fixture named Shaggy Steve. And Shaggy Steve is everywhere. Let's call him S-squared.

He manages to be at every party you will ever attend and then some. His look can only be described as sorta like Robert Plant if he was from Long Island and never sexy. His fluffy curly fro is unmistakable. During events like Art Basel, Swim Week, Food and Wine fest, the Boat Show, etc. be prepared to see S-squared at approximately 42 events a night. In fact, it's possible that S-squared has cloned himself in an effort to cover more ground. If you see S-squared ask him for his card, it's the size of a 3" x 5" photograph. This man may possibly be the coolest person in Miami. You heard it here first.

Taste of the Nation, July 24

Name one night this week when you can taste dishes from top Miami restaurants like Bourbon Steak, Kobe Club and Sushi Samba Dromo? Thursday night, of course! Join hundreds of gourmands as they gather to sip and nosh at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne for the Taste of the Nation fundraiser. The ticket price snags unlimited bites from more than 30 local restaurants and a bevy of bevvies including wines and mixed drinks. July 24, 6PM-7PM VIP reception, 7PM-10PM grand tasting, $125, VIP $250.
The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne
455 Grand Bay Dr.
Key Biscayne
1.877.26.TASTE (for tickets)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Backstage at Ed Hardy

Sometimes the rigors of my job require me to do strange things. Watching a make-up artist apply bronzer to a shirtless model before the Ed Hardy show is one example.

So-Mi Boutique

Miami fashion mavens have been raving about Aventura's new So-Mi boutique. It may be tucked inside a shopping center, but the ultra-femme frock emporium is anything but ordinary. A one-stop shop for glamazons, the store sells jewelry, flirty dresses from Tricia Fix, booty-hugging jeans from Hudson and James Jeans, Lisa Curran swimwear and Cosabella lingerie. The cozy décor of this space (a comfy couch, vintage mirrors and a plush rug) provide the perfect laid-back vibe for impromptu shopping sprees.
2775 NE 187th St., Suite 2, Aventura. 786.787.9087.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Celebrate Poplife Tonight!

Seems like only yesterday DJ wranglers Aramis Lorie and Barbara Basti started a recurring little-party-that-could, called it Poplife and brought stellar music to Miami's club world. Help celebrate the nine-year anniversary of this beat-loving duo's contribution to the music scene Saturday for a birthday blowout at the White Room. Local DJs Matt Cash and Induce will keep you moving until the featured performance by Brooklyn-based band Free Blood. July 19, 10PM, $15 in advance. 1306 N. Miami Ave. Downtown, 305.995.5050.

Swim Week Day 2

Yesterday was Day 2 of Swim Week madness. After a lovely tea party at 1 Bleu at the Regent I jetted down to South Beach to get lost in the fray. First I made a stop at the Gansevoort rooftop lounge to chat with Marie-Laure Fournier, a beauty ambassador for Talika Cosmetics, a French company that specializes in very cool products developed to treat burn victims during WWII. More on that later. I then headed to the Raleigh to check in for the Tibi show. I was invited backstage at the fashion tent where Smashbox make-up artists were feverishly applying bronzer to the model herd. It was predictably hectic back there with a plethora of camera crews jockeying for space but I truly enjoyed the industrial A/C. After about 4 minutes of snapping random pictures I felt rilly, rilly short with all those Amazonians milling about. I did love their gold shoes, very Nancy Sinatra.

Back by the Raleigh cabana beachway sponsors like Aveeno, Sephora and Conair set up swag tents with lots of giveaways. The most popular was the Havaianas flip-flop stand where the line grew to about 70 sweaty sandal fans willing to slug it out in the heat to get their very own rhinestone-embellished pair. I ducked into the Tibi tent where rows of folding chairs and more industrial A/C beckoned.

Lots of Sophia Loren-influenced looks from Tibi designer Amy Smilovic. Paisley prints in bright fuchsias, purples and greens. Another highlight of the night was the Shay Todd show at the Setai. We got there just as the show started. The runway was over the Setai's courtyard pool which I've always thought is a great venue for fashion shows.

The Los Angeles-based designer was showing lots of gossamer feather-light beach dresses and tunics in addition to sophisticated beachwear. There were also some terry-cloth mini-dresses thrown in for extra absorbency. Here were colorful looks that were perfect for a day at the beach or a jet-set jaunt in St. Tropez. But then again, what else were you expecting? After the show guests walked out with generous gift bags from Nivea including some thoughtful cellulite cream. After being inundated with models all day I was ready to bathe in a tub full of it.
But I'd also like to point out that the models have not been as anorexic-heroine-chic as expected which is a nice surprise. Watching the girls strut I found myself thinking, wow that girl has an ass. Could be that Miami models have a little more badonk-a-donk. This is a refreshing change from the starvation mode usually on display.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Miami Swim Week

Miami Beach Swim Week or Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim (if you want to get technical, and really, when discussing bikinis technicalities are essential) kicked off last night with a poolside party at the Raleigh and a Diesel runway show. The Raleigh is fashion headquarters with all the shows taking place in the sprawling backyard pool and cabana areas. Fashionistas, publicists, media hoi polloi and random party fixtures (Shaggy Steve, I'm looking at you) were out in force. Diesel opted for the runway over the pool which proved a casual setting for the fashion extravaganza. No assigned seats, just people grabbing spots on the poolside cabana beds while casual trend-setters sat on the edge of the pool dipping their un-gladiator sandaled-feet into the cooling goodness.

The theme of the show seemed to be collegiate football punk with several male models sporting trim swim trunks along with quarterback shoulder gear, models wearing helmets and May Andersen walked out suggestively clutching a lacrosse mallet. Everyone learned there's no easier way to get applause at a fashion show then to send out toddlers in bikinis. Ka-yoot!

Everyone also learned that there's no easier way to work up a sweat in the middle of July in Miami than by simply standing motionless watching a fashion show. What can we look forward to this weekend? More sweaty fashion show fun.

New Media Art Opening

Ami James is a post-millennial Renaissance man. Not only is he the co-owner of famed tattoo dive Love Hate Tattoos (and the star of reality show Miami Ink based on the spot), but he's also a digital artist. Check out his work Friday when ArtCenter/South Florida hosts hosts a preview of “the86collective” an installation of new media art. There'll be plenty of Ruby Rey cocktails on hand for those of you who refuse to peruse art sober.
800 Lincoln Rd.
South Beach

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Prix-Fixe Fixings

Perched over the Atlantic, the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne is a prime spot for a lunar light show. Head to the terrace for the monthly Cioppino moonrise dinner featuring a three-course Italian menu courtesy of chef Ramon Guerrero. July 18th, 6PM. 455 Grand Bay Drive. 305.365.4286.

Get your fish fix on with the foodie favorite Alta Mar's summer prix-fixe menu. Beginning July 1 and running through Labor Day, the seafood resto is offering a $25 three-course menu featuring choices like Peruvian style tiradito with yellow pepper cream, and grouper ravioli with butter sage sauce. 1223 Lincoln road. 305.532.3061.

Feist-y Puppet Love

A fun way to start the day: Feist counts to four with the help of Elmo and the gang. My love for Sesame Street just grew exponentially.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thirsty Thursdays

Join Coconut Grove after-office tipplers at Thirsty Thursdays at Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latam Grill. Wine connoisseur Barry Alberts will be pouring three whites and reds and pairing them with fresh ceviche and chicken and steak skewers at this sexy Latin lounge. Thursdays, 7PM-9PM, $16. 3067 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove, 305.444.0216.

Plum Launches RSVP

PlumTV Miami Beach and Domo Japones have joined forces to launch RSVP, a new late-night talk show. The show will be hosted by Domo owner Ami Ben-Zion and will tape every Sunday night at 9pm in the restaurant's upstairs lounge.
From the press release:
The show’s goal will be to bring together A-listers, locals and visitors for relaxed
conversation and mingling. From high fashion designers to local restaurateurs, sports
figures, authors, celebrities and adult entertainment stars; RSVP is sure to surprise
viewers with it’s animated mixing of personalities and attitudes. This is Miami’s
private party where the sought-after can let their guard down and learn, grow, share,
flirt, relax and be inspired

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bike Valet

I valeted my bicycle yesterday. It was pretty neat.
I rode my Citizen folding bike to the Regent Bal Harbour for an appointment and after huffing and puffing my way up the steep driveway I coasted to the valet station and breathlessly said, "Hi. I'd like to valet my bike!"
(Meanwhile I'm thinking to myself I'm so effing green.)
The courteous valet guys looked a little confused but one seemed to know what to do and offered to stash the bike in the office. After my appointment I came out and was like, "Hi, I think my bike is in your valet office." The gracious parking attendant promptly procured the office keys and reappeared with my hot two-wheeler. I tipped him a few dollars and was on my way.
Valet practice of the future? Perhaps...

Miami Spice Previews Extended

Miami Spice is now 3 months long as some participating restaurants have decided to extend their preview menus to include July as well. Hopefully they'll introduce new menu items once Spice officially kicks into gear in August so you'll have reason to go back. Three-course lunch is $23 and dinner $36. Here are a few attractive options:

Million dollar views at wallet-friendly prices can be had at 1 Bleu at the Regent Bal Harbour. Preview menu items include Florida grouper served in a salsa verde, alongside clams, sweet peas and a potato confit, and a fragrant civet of duck served with lentils and citrus scented salmon with carnaroli.

Beef-tastic sexy Samurai-sword spot Kobe Club offers mains like salmon with lobster dumplings & Tarragon beurre blanc; roasted Kurobuta pork chop with Japanese chili-pepper apple sauce; wild mushroom Pasta with portabellas, porcini and chanterelles; and upgrades for Wagyu selections.

Prime Blue Grille has extended their "Power Lunch" and "Power Dinner." Lunch includes choice of filet mignon and dinner includes choice of a filet, boneless rib eye and halibut. Plus, the views of the bay and the Miami River are spectacular.

The Standard Hotel's $99 Special

First it was the Gansy and now the Standard is offering bargain-basement prices for their holistic-chic rooms. They're even throwing in breakfast and access to the "hydrotherapy playground" which I assume means their awesome indoor hamam and outdoor saltwater pool. I think it's time for a staycation...

Heathrow Lounge

Boost your street cred with a visit to Washington Ave.'s latest hip hangout Heathrow Lounge. The Brit-loving drinkery aims to impress South Beach chicks and blokes with an all-embracing attitude celebrating everyone from socialites to strippers. With four UK-inspired rooms, each with their own atmosphere and décor, including Hyde Park, a “burlesque forest,” the James Bond-themed Spy Bar, and Milk Bar reminiscent of Clockwork Orange reveries, you may get lost in translation. 681 Washington Ave. South Beach

Monday, July 14, 2008

PlumTV and Me

My latest PlumTV appearance. It's all about light eating these days, my friends. In fact, I even dabbled in a little raw foodieness to research this piece. We did go on a little tangent about bottled water, but it's really one of my pet peeves as I've mentioned before. I do love me some tap water!

Here's a list of places mentioned.
Art of Food
Life of Food
Pacific Time
Fratelli Lyon
Pelican Hotel

Thursday: Janelle Monae @ The Florida Room

Waltz with Bashir

If this film ever makes it to South Florida it is a must-see. The trailer blew me away.

In the tradition of A Scanner Darkly and Persepolis this animated documentary from Israeli director Ari Folman takes the viewer through surreal images and fractured memories regarding the Israeli Army’s mission during the first Lebanon War in the early 80’s. It premiered this May at Cannes 2008 to standing ovations. More info here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Restaurants and Such

  • French restaurant Le Boudoir opens a Brickell outpost. They're having an opening party Monday night.
  • A new tapas spot called G Lounge has opened at the Upper East Side Garden.
  • Cita's Italian Chophouse (3176 Commodore Plaza) opens in Coconut Grove on July 22. Menu highlights include Barolo-braised short ribs and sun-shaped pasta shells made with saffron and stuffed with Maine lobster ragout in a light tarragon cream.

Bastille Day @ Maison D'Azur

Francophile foodies this one's for you. Maison D'Azur at the Angler's is hosting a soirée in honor of the Gallic festivities on Monday July 14. I've never eaten there, so I can't vouch for the vittles but from what I hear people are impressed. It's a bit pricey, but no one ever said your love of French food was a budget-conscious decision.
Here's the menu:
Assortment of Hors d’Oeuvres
Diver Jumbo Sea Scallop, Citrus Dressing, Baby Arugula and Caracara segments
Seared Mediterranean Gray “Dorade” Filet, Tomato Provencal, Basil oil
Petit Beef Tenderloin Angus, Demi Glace with Fresh Herbs, Sautéed Green Asparagus
Fresh Profiterolle filled with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream. Chocolate Ganache, Roasted Sliced Almond
Price $80.00 per person + Tax and Tip

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Free Stuff Miami-Style

Let's face it – having fun in Miami can be a costly venture. But, like many cosmopolitan cities, Miami boasts a plethora of free activities. Always a thrifty bunny, I've scouted out some wallet-friendly deals perfect for these cash-strapped times.

Museums. Miami's cultural institutions are quite generous when it comes to waiving the regular admission fee on certain days of the week so you can get your art on and save some ducats. The Wolfsonian waives its $7 admission fee Fridays after 6pm. The Jewish Museum of Florida located in idyllic South of the Fifth neighborhood is free on Saturdays. And the Miami Art Museum doesn't charge admission on Second Saturdays and every Sunday.
Wolfsonian. 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach 33139. 305.531.1001
Jewish Museum of Florida. 301 Washington Ave. Miami Beach, 33139. 305.672.5044
Miami Art Museum101 West Flagler Street. Miami, 33130. 305. 375. 3000

Yoga. It is relaxing and improves balance and posture. But at $20/class it can be a pricey piece of Zen pie. Fortunately the folks at Lululemon Athletica feel for the yogis out there and offer a free evening class (usually around 6pm) every Sunday at their South Beach showroom. You can also head out to Miami's Bayfront Park Monday and Wednesdays at 6pm and Saturdays at 9 am for a free class in the Tina Hills Pavilion overlooking Biscayne Bay.
Lululemon 826 Collins Ave, 2N. Miami Beach, FL 33139. 305. 673.8496
Bayfront Park. 301 North Biscayne Blvd. Miami 33132. 305.358.7550

Wine and assorted alcoholic bevvies. Yes! Free drinks – beer, cocktails, wine and spirits are complimentary every Second Saturday at Miami's Art and Design Night in both the Wynwood and Design District neighborhoods. Galleries, high-end furniture show rooms and private art collections throw open their doors and welcome the crowds with art and liquor and the occasional cheese platter. The drinks are free, but it's always polite to tip the servers.
Design District. NE 36th to NE 41st streets, west of Biscayne Blvd. Miami.
Wynwood. NW 19th to NW 36th streets, west of Biscayne Blvd. Miami.
P.S. - There's also MyOpenBarMiami for free drink listings all week long.

Author readings. Miami may not have the literary lineage of New York but we are still an attractive stop on any author's publicity book tour. Local bookworm mecca Books and Books hosts regular readings of famous and lesser-known authors on a virtually daily basis at their Coral Gables flagship and Lincoln Road and Bal Harbour branches. The readings are almost always free, but if you're looking for the author's autograph you should probably buy the book.
Books and Books. 265 Aragon Avenue. Coral Gables. 305.442.4408

Jazz. Every last Friday of the month the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami hosts free jazz concerts under the stars on their sprawling outdoor lawn. The concerts happen rain or shine and usually get going around 8pm. The museum galleries are also open by donation so you can catch some art with the music.
MOCA. 770 NE 123rd st. North Miami 33161. 305. 893.6211

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sat Night: Splashion

In honor of Miami Beach's annual Swim Week, MIAMI magazine is throwing a "Splashion" party at SET this Saturday. The South Beach club will be a sea of sculpted bods and drool-worthy swimwear with a runway show featuring looks from Green Grass, Praia Beach Boutique, Rebel, Tuccia Di Capri and Edward Beiner. Complimentary cocktails and DJ John Cash practically guarantee a good time. A $20 minimum donation is required at the door to benefit local eco-friendly charities ECOMB and the Surfrider Foundation. July 12, 10PM-Midnight. 320 Lincoln Rd. South Beach. 305.531.2800

Sat Night: Eat Your Art Out

Can you eat art? You'll see Saturday when local artist Jason Hedges combines food and art in Aesthetic Experience #13 (Lamb) at Locust Projects. The performance installation, which involves spit-roasting a lamb, focuses on ancient cooking techniques while contrasting with modern day kitchen conveniences. July 11, 7PM-11PM, no cover. 105 NW 23rd St., Wynwood, 305.576.8570.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thoughts on This Journalism Thing

It's a sad time be a print journalist in Miami. Aside from this which is just so, so pitiful, I got a call from my editor at the Herald Home & Design magazine recently explaining that they're shutting down the magazine. Shame, too, because I think that while the specialty pub was a bit thin on the ads they consistently turned out some pretty good articles on Miami's thriving design and architecture scene. Through my work with the magazine I came in contact with some talented folk profiling people like Chad Oppenheim and Gene Meyer. Fellow media friends have sounded the deathwatch for other design pubs like Florida InsideOut. Guess there are no more lavish condo ads to keep these magazines going. The last issue of H&D comes out this month but for now here is my piece on unique restaurant design from last month's issue.
As a freelancer I've almost given up on pursuing print publications. Online it is!
Here are some recent articles for
A look at the new Regent Bal Harbour.
First Looks of Art of Food, DiBono's, Pacific Time, Fratelli Lyon, Kitchen 305, and Philippe.
I also had a chance to interview chef Mark Zeitouni of the Standard hotel's Lido Restaurant. Turns out he's a design buff in addition to being a celebrated chef.
And here's a quickie on the Co-op Miami.
I've also got a piece on Vix at the Hotel Victor where I drank the most expensive cup of coffee on earth. It's called "kopi luwak" and it's $45 for an espresso-sized cup. And yes, it was damn good.

Fashion Show at Co-Op Miami


Dinner and a movie just got an upgrade with the opening of the swanky Cinebistro at the Dolphin Mall. Merge your love of flicks and food at Miami's first movie theater-restaurant combo featuring a full bar and a loungey Philippe Starck-designed dining room. Settle into the screening room's high back leather rocking chairs and feast on gourmet tapas-style eats like tuna ceviche with coconut and crisped shallots, cobb salad with lime-cumin dressing and grilled skirt steak. Movie tix are $15 but that includes comp valet.
11471 NW 12th St.
West Miami

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

Gansevoort $99 Special

The Gansevoort South has rooms available for $99. Zowie. Them's a good deal!

Taste of the Nation Discount

Taste of the Nation is coming up on July 24. It's like the Sobe Wine and Food Fest, except less hectic, indoors and you actually get to talk to the chefs. Lots of good eats and wines to be had. Using the discount code TASTE08 nets you $200 for VIP and $100 for General Admission (that's $50 and $25 off, respectively). This discount code expires on July 13th so quit procrastinating and buy those tix. It's for a good cause!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Restaurant Chatter

Miami Cupcake Madness

Ahh, the obligatory cupcake post. I know, I know. It's practically illegal to write a blog these days and not have written about cupcakes. So here we are. The subject of this post? A pleasant morning spent tasting Miami's finest cupcakes in the home of one very gracious host, Jean Marc De Silva, cupcake enthusiast and proprietor of one very cool online design store The highlight of the day (besides the predictable sugar coma) was meeting fellow Miami blogger Paula, she of the fantastic Mango&Lime and her charming fiance. Paula's also got a great post on the cupcake tasting, so head over there for more food porn. I've got a detailed rundown soon to be up on but here are some highlights to get you in the mood.

Classic vanilla and chocolate goodies from Stella's Sweet Shoppe. Fantastic presentation, lovely cake, but frosting was deemed a bit too thick for some.

Next up, the S'mores cupcake courtesy of Dots Treats. Lots of decadence here with brownie-like chocolate cake, marshmallow filling, dark chocolate ganache frosting and mini-marshmallow topping. A little too much fanfare for cupcake purists, but an interesting take on two old-fashioned sweets.

Two Girls and a Cupcake's "Chick Flick." Lots to like here with vanilla-on-vanilla action. Reminded me of really good wedding cake.

The prettiest of the bunch: Cupcakes Nouveau's treats with perfect fondant flowers. The cake and frosting were delicious with the vanilla bean cake redolent with flecks and a rich pudding-like frosting.

Nine varieties of cupcakes conquered, the triumphant end result.
A fun event, thanks Jean Marc!

Morimoto Migrates South

Like all smart snowbirds Iron Chef Morimoto plans to fly south this summer and hang with the old folks. He's opening a restaurant in Florida. But not in Miami, alas. In Boca. Accoding to "Cafe Bites," a New Times foodies newsletter, the chef is opening a sushi place at the Boca Raton Resort. From the post:

"Details are still sketchy, but the sushi-oriented restaurant will have an ocean theme — blue hues, white marble, and mahogany — done by New York multimedia designer Ben Rubin. Apparently the Iron Chef works hard to keep his iron constitution. “Every once in a while, he comes down here and you can see him jogging around the resort,” says PR director Carole Boucard. “And people are screaming, ‘Oh my God! That’s Morimoto!’”

Damn. I love me some Iron Chef vittles but not enough to schlep up to GatedCommunityville.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Salon Gilbert

Stylist Gilbert Roqueiro is a genius with a blow dryer. Trust me, the man knows his way around a head of hair. Stop by his shiny new red namesake salon in midtown to pamper your humidity-stressed tresses and take advantage of their bargain-priced packages like the "lunch express" where a blowout and simultaneous manicure goes for only $38 or opt for a Dr. Hauschka organic pedicure: it is sandal season after all. Best of all, you can book an appointment online!
Salon Gilbert
3430 N. Miami Ave.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Next Time in NYC

After reading the account of a meal at Matsugen that Jean-Georges delivers on his blog (yup, he's got a blog), I'm jonesing for some coarse buckwheat noodles and shabu shabu.
And I found this breathless account of a meal Momofuku Ko which leaves me thinking, eh. Not worth the trouble. English muffins, McDonald's-style apple pie? A little too precious for me.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Bella Rose

Sexy fixtures of South Beach's nightlife are flocking to the new Bella Rose lounge that occupies the former Boom Boom Room space. With a Lower East Side-meets-Miami aesthetic, the new club is refreshingly bottle service and attitude-free. Check out this hip hangout on Thursday nights when DJ Tom Laroc holds court at the turntables. 423 16th St., South Beach.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Philippe Miami at the Gansevoort

Everybody's talking about Philippe. The buzz-worthy NYC import opened at the Gansevoort South last week and the hordes are dim sum curious.
So what can we say about the high-end lo mein mecca?
Well, the space is dramatic. Two floors, 400 seats (is there ever a restaurant in Miami that can fill 400 seats?), a glass-enclosed kitchen with views accessible from the second floor, an all-black private wine room, lipstick-red couches, a buzzing bar. It's all there. The main attraction is the scene, and there's plenty of it. But that scene doesn't come cheap. Let's be blunt: this is an expensive restaurant. Specialty cocktails start at $20. (Other cocktails range from $15- $18). Mains are family-style (each dish serves 2) and they start at $42. For chicken and broccoli. You can order those as half dishes but it's still pricey.

To be fair, the food is good. Nothing I tried was bad, but it wasn't mind-blowing either. It's classic American-style Chinese food with a few subtle (very subtle) creative touches. Chef Philippe Chow's signature dishes are fun and worth trying like the chicken satay skewers (3 for $16) that have an alarming electric orange-color. Turns out they are dyed using carrot juice. They're also smothered in an addictive creamy peanut sauce. The kitchen is also magnificently talented when it comes to duck so make sure to order some sort of duck dish. We got the crispy duck pancakes (half order is $29) which were two lovely meaty shanks with skin that was crispy and flavorful. A neighboring table ordered the Peking Duck and it's presented tableside with all the accompanying fanfare; they wheel it out to ooh's and aaah's and an Asian chef carves it at the table. Speaking of fanfare, there's plenty of it here with a massive team of white-suited waiters, black Mao-jacketed foodrunners, and an assortment of other water-fillers, napkin-folders, plate-clearers, duck-carvers, etc. If you like lots of service, this is your place. There's also a nightly noodle show where a handkerchief-bedecked chef does some dramatic dough-kneading and expertly creates a curtain of noodles, much to the delight of the dining room.
It's chopstick shtick. And it will no doubt be a hit in Miami.
[photos via Tomas Loewy at CoolPoolEvents]

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Where to Watch the 'Works

A nifty fireworks map courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel. I highly recommend NOT going to 8th and Ocean unless you want to simulate a Baghdad-style family outing.

Open Bar at O Asian Grill

Independence Day BBq's

Start your weekend off with gourmet fare courtesy of chef John Suley's upscale barbecue at Joley. Dine alfresco on the Hotel Astor's patio with delicious grub like BBQ Chicken, BBQ Brisket and sides like Jalapeño Corn Bread. Desserts include Berry Shortcake, Apple-pie and Peach Cobbler. Receive a complimentary cocktail when you dress in red, white and blue. $25 per person. 8PM, July 3. RSVP to (305) 534-3343 or email: Jodi Silva –
956 Washington Ave. South Beach.

Head over to the Acqualina Resort for their annual 4th of July barbecue. This year's festivities include fashions by designer Carlos Miele, live Mediterranean music, specialty cocktails and gourmet barbecue vittles such as dry and wet St. Louis Ribs, hamburgers grilled to order, grilled chicken wings, grilled Mahi Mahi, four kinds of potato salad, a pasta bar from Il Mulino New York, gelato, and an array of desserts. $55, $27.50 for kids 12 and under. July 4, 12PM-4PM. 17875 Collins Ave. Sunny Isles. 305-534-0081 ext. 14 for reservations.

Celebrate Independence Day with not one, but two lavish buffet spreads and live entertainment at the posh 1 Bleu at the Regent Bal Harbour. Go for barbecue at the hotel pool's Aqua Soleil from 12PM-7PM or opt for The View Bar's clambake buffet taking place 6PM-10PM. Barbecue, $65, clambake, $75. July 4. 10295 Collins Ave. Bal Harbour; 305.455.5400

Wolfsonian Opening, July 3

When was the last time you thought about Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal? Thought so. Get thee to the Wolfsonian Thursday night for the opening of their new exhibit A Bittersweet Decade: The New Deal in America 1933-43. Through paintings, sculpture, vintage posters and furniture the show examines how government and culture collided in the aftermath of the Great Depression. July 3, 6:30PM-8:30PM. $10.
1001 Washington Ave.
South Beach

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Blog Love

I've been remiss in adding two great blogs to my sidebar. Miami's best street photographer Miami Fever has a blog and Miami, bro a feisty gal with lots to say. Vilkomen!