Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Go Klezmering This Weekend

Frank London’s Magic City Music Mayhem

November 2, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. at Flamingo Park (999 11th Street, Miami Beach)

Anticipate blankets, picnic baskets and an afternoon of arts in the park with Frank London and friends. Recognized as a central figure in neo-Klezmer revival, London - of the “Klezmer Conservatory Band” and The Klezmatics” (Hasidic New Wave) - and his “Klezmer Brass All-Stars” are coming to Miami for an afternoon of contemporary Klezmer fused with special guest musicians from our city’s music scenes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween @ Andu

Art Basel Buzz

The Art Basel Miami Beach Art Positions (aka The Container Shows) line-up is up. Always interested in art and cuisine coming together in surreal ways, my curiosity was piqued by the following installation.
For his installation and opening performance Raul de Nieves (born 1983) will throw an ice cream party at Newman Popiashvili Gallery (New York) titled “Ice Cream You Scream We all Scream for Ice Cream.” The container will be shaped like a large banana-split sundae sculpture from the outside. Inside will be an installation with sculptures and paintings. Guests are invited to eat ice cream.
Hope it's locally-sourced and organic.

Meanwhile, prominent art critics are predicting art world doom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Party Patrons

Tomas over at CoolPoolEvents has some fabu photos from the NWS's after-party in the Design District. Get ready for lots of pretty people dancing and making faces - a typical night in the MIA.

Halloween @ CIFO

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New World Symphony Kicks it Off Right

Caught the New World Symphony's kickoff last night at the Arsht Center and was duly impressed with Miami's vibrant cultural institutions. I am referring to three entities here - the Arsht Center (with its magnificent acoustics), the Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas aka MTT, conductor and musical force. I've attended Friends of NWS events before where usually a few musicians deliver creatively-imagined pop culture-referencing pieces in a party setting. This was my first encounter with the full majesty of the orchestra, and it was a revelation.
South Florida Classical Review has a great review of the concert and I found his last lines to resonate with my thoughts as the night ended:
The finale rounded off the performance quite gloriously, the New World members delivering the music with muscle and refinement, MTT seeming to encapsulate and convey the expressive essence of each variation in his body and gestures.
One could not deny MTT's enthusiasm for and animated delivery of the music (at one point it seemed he was doing "the robot" he was so into it). The fact that he was able to make a 200 year-old composition sound so fresh and alive is a testament to his talent and that of his posse of instrumentalists.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Key to the Cure @ Saks Bal Harbour

There's nothing quite so liberating as binging in a department store. Especially when it's for a good cause. Last week dozens of Miami restaurants and caterers offered their wares as part of the pink-themed bash at Saks Bal Harbour. There were plenty of cheerleaders in attendance, which always helps, and free-flowing Grey Goose which helps even more.

And of course, pink-tastic goodies galore. None more festive than the pink ribbon cookies offered by the adorable duo at Couture Confections.

Other standouts included an autumnal roasted corn soup with pesto from the new culinary team at Wish.

And iced hamachi with pineapple and jalapenos from Kobe Club.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Christy's Restaurant, Coral Gables

Christy's is one of those restaurants that could easily serve as a location for Mad Men, it is so thoroughly steeped in old school style. It's the kind of place where you actually feel that servers take pride in what they do, from their black cropped waiter jackets to the way they matter-of-factly ignite a baked Alaska, these guys have been doing what they do for a long time and they're good at it. The steakhouse turns 30 this month, which in Miami restaurant terms makes them the wizened fedora-wearing gentleman in a sea of pseudo-edgy, beef-wielding newcomers (like the soon-to-open STK and BLT Steak). In honor of the anniversary they're offering a $30 three-course meal in October that includes lobster bisque, and choices of steak including prime rib or an 8 oz. filet. We stopped by the busy restaurant on a recent Saturday night and did some dining Don Draper-style. We started off with a generous platter of potato skins caviar and sour cream. A nice combo of rich, salty and hearty.

The restaurant is known for their prime rib, a massive slab of aged beef cooked for three hours and then sliced to order. The Flintstone-sized portion was juicy and flavorful and fantastically huge for one person. I enjoyed the seabass, broiled with a nice char and served with a horseradish cream sauce. And for dessert, the only way to go is with the baked Alaska, presented with cruise ship-caliber panache, enough for 4 to share with a light meringue crust that masks the ice cream and cake combo within. So old school, and yet so refreshing in its old school-ness.

Address: 3101 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables,305-446-1400.

Grand Marchi Wine Tasting

It's not often we get wine events of this caliber. The 18 members of the Grandi Marchi - Alois Lageder, Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, Antinori, Biondi Santi s.p.a., Ca’ del Bosco, Carpenè Malvolti, Donnafugata, Gaja, Jermann, Lungarotti, Masi, Mastroberardino, Michele Chiarlo, Pio Cesare, Rivera, Tasca D’Almerita, Tenuta San Guido, and Umani Ronchi -- will showcase their wines on Tuesday, October 21, 2008, in a day of events at The Biltmore Hotel. You can quaff these fabulous wines at the walkaround tasting or splurge for the gala dinner.
· 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Walk-around tasting, open to the public (entrance fee)

· 7:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.: Gala Black-Tie Dinner at Biltmore Hotel for Cellar Club members and guests. Silent auction with proceeds benefiting the United Way of Miami-Dade

Walk-around tasting: $40 for the general public; $25 Premier and Cellar Club members and $20 for AmEx Premium Access Program . Tickets can be purchased at the door or RSVP to International Event & Exhibition Management at (877) 217- 9867 or by e-mail,
Gala Dinner $250 per person for the general public and $195 per person for Premier and Cellar Club members – RSVP (305) 913-3203, ext. 2092 or at the door, space permitting.

The Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables.

More info here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Spice Menu at Santo

Who says Miami Spice has to end?

Updates on the Ocean Drive Shake-Ups

When one door closes, another one opens. After the bloodbath at the mag, some promotions.
After serving as Editor in Chief and Art Director of Ocean Drive magazine for more than a decade, Glenn Albin and Carlos Suarez have been promoted to Editorial Director and Creative Director, respectively, and will be relocating to New York City to work in the company's new 45,000-square-foot corporate headquarters effective January 1, 2009. In their newly created roles, Albin and Suarez will be responsible for staffing up the editorial teams in local markets, and building and strengthening each publication's local presence....Florida InsideOut Editor in Chief Sarah Harrelson has been promoted to the role of Editor in Chief at Ocean Drive magazine, and Florida InsideOut will be incorporated into Ocean Drive through the creation of a shelter section to accommodate those advertising clients and readers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Extended Spice @ China Grill, Tuscan Steak and Kobe Club

Free Concert Tix is giving away tickets to the Bajofondo concert. It ends at 2pm so hurry!

Key to the Cure Kick-off

So I'd been thinking that I hadn't really done much for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are the plethora of pink-themed products and t-shirts with $2 here or 10% of every 4th pink nail polish you buy, etc. It's all kind of dizzying to keep track of. And really, do I need a pink-studded belt to show I care?

Then this lovely invite popped in my inbox and it was just right: A party at Saks Bal Harbour featuring food from 30 Miami restaurants (including 1 Bleu, China Grill, Tuscan Steak, Blue Door, Chef Allen’s, Touch Catering, Il Mulino, Kobe Club, Abokado), cocktails courtesy of Grey Goose and DJ Elaine Lancaster, possibly the most fabulous woman in Miami.

Bonus: The $40 admission goes directly to UM/ Sylvester.
Tickets are available at the door or call 305.243.9088 to purchase in advance.

Wednesday, October 15 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dinner at Casa Casuarina

You may have heard that Casa Casuarina has opened its Medusa-emblazoned gates to the public. Now locals and tourists can enjoy the castle-like landmark that used to be Versace's residence. The name of this new restaurant is Loftin's 1116 Ocean (in reference to the current owner Peter Loftin) and the entire experience is top-notch. The servers have that kind of gracious unobtrusive professionalism that is the hallmark of any five-star property (as they should; they're accustomed to serving folks who shell out $1,200 a night for a room). And the setting - well it's downright magical. The seating is mostly outside on the front terrace and though you can hear the booming soundtrack of Ocean Drive and occasionally observe tourists stopping to take photographs in front of the gate, the space strives and succeeds in creating an oasis on the busy strip.

The menu is refreshingly simple. Half a dozen seafood options, a handful of steaks and a couple of pastas. A starter of filet tartar (above) was an opulent Asian-fied take on a French classic with Szechuan peppercorns and yuzu mayonnaise. While the Caesar salad tweaked tradition with green olive tapenade in addition to plump anchovies and shards of Parmesan. If you are looking for a decadent and sublime bowl of pasta look no further than the fettuccine with a mix of chantarelle, morel and porcini mushrooms. Oh, and lovely shards of black truffles liberally strewn about. The dish had the perfect balance of richness and earthy flavors. Pure palatial comfort food.

And for dessert - a pretty copper pot of apple crumble made with wonderfully tart green apples and topped with fast-melting vanilla ice cream that eventually creates a delicious creamy-apple laced soup at the bottom of the bowl. The perfect coda to a romantic evening spent inside Miami's most-storied location.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Domo/Michy's Update

Yes, Domo has closed, and yes Michelle Bernstein will be working with owner Amir Ben Zion on a new restaurant. But NO, Michy's is not closing. It is staying put right where it is.
This is straight from Domo's PR. They'll be issuing a release clearing all this up shortly.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

China Grill, Ft. Lauderdale

My advice, go hungry. And bring a group of friends so you can try a bunch of different things. It's easy to see why China Grill is such a crowd pleaser. The menu presents the greatest hits of Asian cooking with bold, creative combinations that are completely satisfying and accessible to the average diner. Meaning, you don't have to be a yuzu snob to know that the miso cod tastes damn good. The menu is almost identical to the South Beach outpost and dishes are served family-style which means big portions and ideal sharing for parties of 4 or more. Menu standouts: the Kobe beef tartar - luscious and topped with a poached quail egg. The fried wonton chips were the perfect accessory to this creamy treat.

In terms of sushi - the big winner was the Havana roll composed of rum-soaked yellowtail, coconut and avocado. The uni was fresh and tasty and even topped with edible gold flakes for extra decadence.

In terms of mains:
The soy marinated skirt steak with wok sautéed lo mein noodles and tempura shitake mushrooms was flavorful and robust and could easily feed two.

There were fork fights over the curry miso black cod with its lovely yuzu-inflected sauce and fiery curry kick.

Skip the pan-seared spicy tuna, it was neither spicy nor generously portioned and we all found it to be underwhelming considering the flavor bonanzas going on with the other dishes. Desserts like the cheese wontons come with ying-yang designed chocolate sauce and pay homage to the restaurant's playful Asian theme.

Adress: 1881 SE 17th St,954-759-9950.