Monday, December 22, 2008

John Legend Hosts Prive New Year's

Pizza Fusion, North Miami

The beloved Ft. Lauderdale organic pizza chain Pizza Fusion make its way south with this cavernous outpost in North Miami. The LEED-certified restaurant churns out addictive thin-crust pies with options like whole wheat, soy cheese and gluten-free crust available. Organic beers on tap like the FL-based Monk in the Trunk ought to keep you from feeling too righteous.
14815 Biscayne Blvd (N. of 146th), 305-405-6700.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This Monday: Ugly Sweater Party

Eve Party @ The Florida Room, Dec. 24

It wouldn't be Christmas Eve on South Beach without Ajax Ent's yearly party featuring all the pretty ladies, Miami party fixtures and everyone in between. Expect a DJ, free cocktails from 10-11pm and very few weather updates on Santa.
No cover, 9pm-4am, Dec 24, The Florida Room, 1685 Collins Ave (between Lincoln and 17th), 305-674-6152.RSVP to

Friday, December 19, 2008

Symphony After Hours

Friends of the New World Symphony are having what looks to be a great event Saturday night. Info below.
The even is free for Friends of the New World Symphony. If not, memberships start at $250 for a year's worth of fabulous music and fun.
If you want to check out the action first and join later, they are offering a special "friend of a Friend" option to purchase a single ticket for Saturday night ($50).

To join Friends, or to purchase a ticket for Saturday night, please contact Stacey Glassman - or 305-673-3330 ext. 230.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chloe Spring/Summer 09

With all the Art Basel excitement last week I nearly forgot to post about the event that kicked the week off - the Chloe Spring/Summer 09 show held at the Ridinger's Miami Beach manse. It was a quiet and calm event, a bit intimate, and overall a nice way to kick off the madness of Basel week. As for the frocks on display, I detected a strong desert/safari theme running through the show. Maybe it was the neutral color palate (lots of washed corals, sandy beiges, creamy whites) or the awesome Birkenstock-like sandals the models wore with many of the dresses. The simple, unadorned hair and natural make-up also added to the damsel-in-the-dunes feel.

PlumTV Day

PlumTV is back from hiatus but they've done some program tweaking. Gone is the morning show DayBreak and it's been replaced by an afternoon show called "The Juice." They tape each episode at the Raleigh (a bit more beach-centric than the Standard but still keeping it in the Balazs hotel family). I was on as a guest blogger the other day. Not sure if the clip will be accessible on their site since the show is an hour-long but they've assured me I'll be able to post it here soon. So stay tuned!

$25 Off at Elemis Spa

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joey's Italian Cafe, Wynwood

My restaurant trend prediction for 2009: the stylish pizza bar. We were inundated with steakhouse in '08 so it's time for something new, casual and a lot more budget-friendly.

First up is Joey's Italian Cafe (2506 NW 2nd Ave, 305.438.0488) in Wynwood. Go there now. It's cheap and good. And the space is minimalist-cool. Sure, it's deep, deep in gritty Wynwood and at night you may be reluctant to park your car more than a block away (valet is free for you scaredy-cats). But Miami is all about taking risks, so why not start with this hip newcomer, with its pastas that can be had for full or half-portions (ranging from $5-$13) and deliciously creative salads like the radicchio with grapes and grilled baccala (below).

The pizzas are just the right amount of chewy and crusty with a lovely cheese-to-topping ratio. We tried the dolce e piccante made with figs, gorgonzola, honey and hot pepper. The blending of sweet, stinky cheese and fiery pepper was a culinary circus. And at $14 refreshingly affordable. We paired with a half portion of spinach ravioli in a salmon cream sauce ($7), a rich and smoky carby delight. The wines are well-priced as well and the pistachio gelato is a nice way to end the feast.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ta-Zin Moroccan Restaurant

Ta-Zin (427 Jefferson Ave, 305.531.8900) officially opens today. It's a North African restaurant heavy on the belly dancers and whirling dervishes. But thankfully, the food is actually pretty good. We sampled a 5-course menu that included a Moroccan bean soup called Bessara (it perked up nicely with a squeeze of lemon), a platter of meze that included spicy carrot salad, humus, baba and marinated peppers, a chicken pastilla (phyllo-wrapped shredded chicken topped with almonds and a dusting of sugar), and the main course (below), was three different stews including a lemon chicken with artichokes, meatballs in tomato sauce, lamb with apricots and prunes and a massive tagine of couscous topped with zuchini and pumpkin. And for dessert, almond cookies and sweet mint tea.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Conclusion: The Art Basel Media Round-up

Still jonesing for post-Basel coverage? Major pubs weigh in on the parties, the sales, the celebs and that "economic downturn" thingy adults keep whining about.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Discounts at South Beach Wine and Food Fest

We here at APD are big fans of the Sobe Wine and Food Fest, if only because it allows us to let our glutton flag fly in the company of hundreds of others and bask in three days of sheer food geekiness. Ah, the memories.
The tickets prices are always steep, but when you divide the price of admission to the Grand Tasting Village by seven hours of wine and nibbles it's quite a bargain. It's about as mush as you'd pay for a typical steakhouse meal. At least here you get to wear flip-flops.
Luckily the organizers want you to partake of all the Dionysian glory and will be lopping 10 percent off the ticket prices starting Friday and lasting all week.
Dec 12-Dec 19, 5pm, purchase tickets on the website or at 877-762-3933.

Hot Tuna Tasting Tonight!

Hot Tuna, a sexy new sushi spot has just opened on Washington Ave. Tonight they're giving you a sneak peek with cocktails, appetizers and the requisite dancers on the bar.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Food at Basel

Last Art Basel post, I promise.
This one has to do with - you guessed it - food at the fairs, or "How I went four days without eating a real dinner."
First up, Best in Show was the Fratelli Lyon cafe at Design Miami. The fair's temporary tent structure was the nicest of all the temp tents, and Fratelli outfitted the space with their trademark orange plastic wire placemats, stainless steel counters and platters of antipasti, olives, fresh bread and mouth-watering charcuterie.

If you weren't up for paying for snacks but were lucky to snag a Design Miami VIP card you could indulge in the Audi-sponsored VIP bar where unlimited champagne and espressos as well as Fratelli breadsticks, olives and almonds were on hand. Put it this way: I spent a lot of time at this counter, mostly due to those addictive breadsticks.

Sustenance could be had in Midtown amidst the all the tents that composed the fair village at SushiSamba's pop-up Sugarcane cafe. We sampled a Ginza roll, festively flecked with graffiti-themed rice and a luscious tuna roll.

Saturday morning's Sagamore brunch was packed to the gills with art world fixtures, all of whom dove into platters of smoked salmon, fresh berries and heaping platters of Epicure cupcakes, mini-muffins, black and white cookies and danishes.

And the prize for most subversive refreshment goes to Scope Art Fair and their makeshift absinthe bar sponsored by Pernod complete with scantily-clad Moulin Rouge-y waitresses administering the green-colored spirit via sugarcubes and antique spoons. Then afterward boozy patrons were free to cavort in the bounce-house constructed by Friends With You.
Art is fun and wacky!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Best Reason Not to Take Your Kid to Art Basel

Shot at Bridge Art Fair.
5 year-old girl: Mommy, what are they doing?
Mother: Just keep walking!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monopoly Miami Beach for You

Attention board game junkies: You may have heard that Miami Beach has its own version of Monopoly. This is quite exciting, given the fact that life in Miami often feels a bit like the Fisher-Price version of reality. And just in time for marathon holiday gaming is this contest giving you the chance to win your very own board.
It's capitalist-tastic.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Best of Art Basel

I'm baseled out, people.
The fairs, events, satellite fairs, satellite events, and satellites to the satellites have left me a bit drained, a bit hazy and possibly a tad stupider. Yet there's always a silver lining to the madness. And who knows what next year will bring? So here's a look back at some "best of" moments:
Best use of a domed ceiling for a surreal jewelry film: David Lynch's 7-minute “Diamonds, Gold and Dreams”, for the Cartier dome in the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Imagine a cool planetarium film, substitute diamonds for planets and David Lynch for Leonard Nimoy (only no narrative voice-over). Also, plenty of champagne available. And really good pumpkin risotto and microgreen salad.

Best use of $5.5 million: The 52-karat yellow diamond ring at the Cartier dome. Well, maybe not the best use, but you know, there's a high karat-to-million ratio there.

Best reminder of the heyday of condo parties: ICON Brickell's 800-person affair to celebrate the completion of 3 towers.

Best use of a mailroom: The first bar to greet partygoers at the ICON Brickell. Notice how the Phillipe Starck-designed room has mailboxes that extend to the ceiling, not meant for use but to symbolize towering repetition.

Best contrast to the glitzy fairs and glitzy parties: Fountain's late-night beer-addled bash whereby a semi-nude chick and guy wearing a prom dress danced around and broke plates.

Best Brazilian-Japanese art show: SushiSamba's Ginzatropicalia in Midtown. The pop-up sushi cafe was a nice touch as well.

Best spot to laze about: NADA's hammock courtyard. Always lovely, always strange to think you're in the middle of the hood. And the art inside was top-notch as it always is at NADA, the only satellite fair that never disappointments.

Best way to start the day: The Sagamore's annual brunch-fest. Muffins from Epicure, trays of mimosas and possible every person in South Beach.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Stop Making Sense

David Byrne is coming to town, people. That's right, the rock genius behind The Talking Heads. So get your head out of the Basel sand and participate in the ticket giveaway contest. It requires you to watch the overly-perky hosts on the site's video feed but, once again, it's free tix.
Ahh, free stuff.
It's so much better than exchanging money for goods and services.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Scion Installation @ Raleigh Penthouse

elodie in Miami

French electronic artist elodieO will be performing Thursday night in Miami. elodieO intertwines 60's Nico-esque pop with 90's era trip-hop for a fresh, down-tempo sound. Her new album, Stubborn, features collaborations with Jesse Murphy and Aaron Johnston of The Brazilian Girls.
elodieO Live
December 4th @ 9PM - Ecco
168 SE First St.
(305) 960-1900
no cover

A Night in the Life

Managed to hit a few events last night. Here's a play-by-play.
Where: Art Basel VIP Collector's Lounge
Spotted: Chad Oppenheim, Maarten Baas, Cem Kinay.
Highlights: Chatting with starchitect Oppenheim, he and wife Ilona have a newborn at home. His next project in Miami is an art storage facility called The Vault. Baas's melting glass installation for Ruinart champagne (above). Noticing that the food menu prices in the VIP lounge are way, way overpriced. $35 for chicken salad? Yowzahs! That Ed Ruscha for $8.5 mil is sarting to look like a bargain.

Where: Art Basel Vernissage
Spotted: Everyone with a pulse. Seriously, this "invite-only preview" is about as exclusive as Costco membership.
Highlights: The people-watching as usual. It's hard to see the actual art with so many drag queens and Europeans in crayola-colored suits walking around.

Where: Kelly Klein's book party at the Raleigh.
Spotted: Andre Balazs, Rachel Zoe.
Highlight: Overhearing Balazs say to someone: "You can do that, you have a real house. I have a shack." Of course he does.
Where: Olaf Breuning's Sphinx sculpture on the sand behind the Sagamore.
Spotted: A small crowd, a big sand sculpture, tikki torches.
Highlight: The quiet.
Where: Ritz Carlton's Masters Mystery Art Show
Spotted: Local media types.
Highlight: Top Chef contestant Jeff McInnis's fried haloumi cheese and mozzarella salad.

Where: Mondrian Miami Opening
Spotted: Marcel Wanders, Jeff Morr, Gil Dezer, the usual hoi polloi.
Highlight: The outdoor pool area which was spacious and crowd-free. The only saving grace of being indoors was the sublime DJ prowess of Alexander Dexter-Jones.

Realizing that the fight for a drink at the bar was too Darwinian and deciding to go home.
Annie's mac & cheese on my couch in my PJ's.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Inside the Mondrian

Stopped by the Mondrian yesterday for a quick lookie-loo and found it to be quite fun. The overall feeling is of life exaggerated, from the 20-foot tall cabana hedges to the massive bell-covered chandeliers, everything is supersized in a Euro fairytale kind of way. The press party is tonight. More to come!

Paradise Lost: Opening Wednesday

Under the Bridge, Dec. 5-6

Takashi Time

One tends to see a lot of fantastic outfits during Basel week. (Need I remind you of this unforgettable doozy a few years back?). But the highlight of my night was catching Takashi Murakami dressed as a giant pom-pom at the Design Miami/NYTimes party at the Raleigh Penthouse. Sure I also rubbed backsides with Andre Balazs (and oh, what a fine backside t'was to rub) and mingled with Chuck Close. But Takashi clearly stole the show.
As it should be.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sra. Martinez, Design District

The Art Basel madness has begun and with it a slew of culinary new beginnings. Domo Japones is now Sra. Martinez (or Senora Martinez to you), a tapas spot from Michelle Bernstein of Michy's fame. We stopped by over the weekend for a sneak peek and had some fantastic small plates. The lady has a hit on her hands, clearly. Apologies for the pale pics, as we were a bit sangria-addled and had only a measly iPhone to capture the experience.
Here we have the fried artichokes - sublime and crunchy. Of all the fried offerings (and there are quite a few), probably best in show.

Next up fish cheeks with raisins and figs,a wonderful dish all around. They use monkfish which adds a nice textural contrast to the sauteed fruit. I also highly recommend the fried eggplant, more like delectable thin eggplants chips with a slight tempura-like breading. The patatas bravas are a heaping platter of steaming potato cubes with a spicy tomato sauce. Mushroom croquettas were nice but lacked bite. The churro dessert comes with a spicy Mexican chocolate sauce that I nearly downed shotglass-style it was so damn good. And the goat cheese dessert with thyme-infused honey was elegant and refreshing. Photos of the interior are here. The menu is here.