+ Ring in 2014 in style with bevy of choice parties around the 305
Be the first to check out Italian designer Roberto Cavalli’s venture into restaurants when he opens his venue Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge on New Year’s Eve with two dinner seatings and various VIP packages. Designed to resemble the designer’s Villa in Tuscany and serving the family’s signature wine. Located in the SoFi side of the beach at 150 Ocean Drive, 305-695-4191.
Or, head to the Hotel Astor at 956 Washington Ave., Miami Beach where JP Rigaud, DJ Nova and Omar G provide the music during one of two a la carte dinners at 8 and 10:30 p.m. and during the open bar option from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Call 305-531-8081 for reservations.
The Pubbelly trio are going old school at PB Steak, 1787 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach with a a couple of options. Tableside service includes Maine lobster rolls, oysters Rockefeller, beef wellington and an iceberg wedge BLT and a $75 10-item small plate menu includes French onion soup dumplings, foie gras crème brulee, scallop crudo and buffalo style veal sweetbreads. Call 305-695-9550 for more information.
And for $625, the three-course dinner at the Bianca at the Delano, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach the decadent menu includes tuna toro crudo to start followed by a grand chilled East Coast seafood plateau, white truffle risotto and surf and turf of king crab stuffed Maine lobster and Hudson Valley foie gras. Equally rich and luxurious sides and dessert are also part of the dinner. Call 305-674-5752.
+ Midtown’s Sugarcane not just a dinner hotspot anymore
Maintaining the level of hotness in Miami’s fickle foodie community is not an easy feat but Sugarcane’s been rocking it for three years, much of that due to the talented and creative Chef/Partner Timon Balloo.
His menu of off the charts delectable small plates and unmatched artisanal cocktails keep the place slammed and riding on that success this is now a great spot for brunch too.
Especially with a slew of continuously evolving fresh and inventive dishes from sweet to savory. Take a trip to New Orleans through the vanilla bean beignets made with sea salt and bacon ganache or go a little Greek with the heirloom tomatoes with pickled watermelon and feta cheese. Or try the loaded up Fat Boy hash with bacon jam, two fried eggs and hollandaise.
Of course pancakes and waffles make the cut and here they’re served with house gravlax and creme fraiche or berries and vanilla creme (respectively).
And since this is brunch, pairing this with an appropriate artisanal cocktail would certainly make the meal complete.
Click here to check out Sugarcane’s brunch and cocktail menu.
+ SushiSamba’s carnaval celebrates Brazil’s independence
Samba the weekend away during SushiSamba’s Brazilian Independence Day celebration Sept. 6 and 7 at 9 p.m. at the restaurant’s Miami Beach and Coral Gables locations.
Costumed dancers shake things up performing the country’s traditional samba dance and the 400-year-old traditional capoeira dance that incorporates martial arts moves to the sounds of a live band.
The lively music and dance lends itself to sipping a refreshing caipirinha Brazil’s most popular drink made with Cachaca, sugar and fresh squeezed lime juice which during this weekend special event is available for $6.
Have to enjoy some traditional food along with the cocktail and top choices include short rib pasteis yellow corn seviche with queso fresco, black bean acaraje avocado crema and pickled onion and local fish steamed in a banana leaf with grilled tiger shrimp and mango chutney.
+ Decisions, decisions…not at L’Entrecote de Paris
Sometimes all you want is a little simplicity in life and that includes not taking an eternity to decide what you’re ordering at your favorite eatery.
That’s easily done at L’Entrecote de Paris, opening in the Brickell area Sept. 5, where they’ve perfected one dish, France’s legendary and signature Steak Frites. In fact, it’s the only entree on the menu but that’s alright because it’s done to perfection. A specialty select cut of meat is delectably prepared rare, medium rare or well done and the 7-ounce portion for lunch and 9-ounce dinner portion is elegantly fanned out on the plate and topped with the chef’s 21-ingredient secret sauce. The expertly prepared crunchy shoestring fries are the ideal topping.
All guests start off their meal with fresh mixed green salad featuring frisee and romaine with cherry tomatoes, walnuts drizzled ever-so gently with mustard dressing. And to finish things off choose from a light as air circular tri-color mousse of mint, white chocolate and chocolate drizzled with chocolate sauce. The traditional creme brulee, profiteroles and a selection of five macarons are among other dessert choices.
Aperitifs like house made quiches, cheese platter and pates are perfect starters and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and a Left Bank Bordeaux are highlights of an extensive, carefully-chosen wine list.
Try this fantastic French Bistro for lunch, dinner or for an after-work cocktail at the polished wood and brass-accented bar.
L’Entrecote de Paris is at Brickell Plaza, 1053 SE 1 Ave., 305-759-9995 or click here to visit their website.
+ Andale to Huahua’s Taqueria for Mexican grub
Authentic Mexican has come to Lincoln Road on South Beach by way of Chef Todd Erickson’s latest venture, a casual and pet-friendly eatery Huahua’s Taqueria set on the quieter side of the famous street. Chef Erickson knows his Mexican cuisine, hailing from Arizona and spending much of his childhood also traveling to New Mexico.
You’ll know you’ve found the place when you spot the adorable grey cartoon chihuaha with the blue Mexican hat, bright silver chairs and shelves brimming with hot sauces.
Those 21 hot sauce varieties are perfect on their tacos and enchiladas. But start first with the grilled Mexican sweet corn topped with cotija cheese and fresh cilantro or the chips with queso blanco, a mild and flavorful cheese sauce perfect for dipping. It’s a nice change from the traditional tomato-based salsa. Then move on to either the chili rubbed shrimp taco topped with jicama, lime, cilantro and spicy mayo or the pollo al pastor taco with chicken topped with charred pineapple, cilantro, onion and lime crema.
There’s a reason for the doggie on the signage too, because they’re welcomed here. With just limited seating indoors, tables and chairs are outside and all of them equipped with nearby silver bowls in four sizes to accommodate the tiniest to the largest pooch.
They’re at 1211 Lincoln Road. Call 305-534-TACO (8226) or click here to visit their website.
+ Bayfront Park: Versatile venue’s bayside in Downtown
Bayfront Park has a great amphitheater and is conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Miami. It’s easily accessible by Metromover (the Bayside stop leaves you across the street from the park) and there’s always something going on here.
When the weather’s cool it’s the spot for a weekly Friday night Downtown Concert Series hosting a variety of local musical acts. The remainder of the year it’s the site for great Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve bashes. They’ve got Yoga in the Park Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings, boat charters and para-sailing and for a no-fuss lunch, the ever-popular lunch trucks (there are several ones that park here on different days of the week) offer a great alternative to a sit-down restaurant and the view can’t be beat.
Bayfront Park is located at 301 North Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 305-358-7550 www.bayfrontparkmiami.com
+ Ballet Flamenco La Rosa: Passionate castanet moves
One of Miami’s most beloved dance troupes Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, led by artistic director Ilisa Rosal, who formed the group in 1985. In their nearly three decades of existence, Rosal has developed more than 100 flamenco performances.
Serving as a choreographer and dancer as well, Rosal and her troupe take flamenco beyond the traditional well known dance and in their performances, present it in a theatrical setting. Their original numbers explore the connection between flamenco and other dance forms including Middle Eastern, Indian, jazz, tap, blues and Afro-Cuban.
They regularly collaborate with internationally renowned guest musicians and dancers who enhance the experience. In “Celtic Callings” they were joined by the Breffini Irish Dancers while productions like “Las Brujas de Salem” (“The Witches of Salem”) and “Rey Lear” were inspired by Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” respectively.
Ballet Flamenco La Rosa performs throughout the year at various venues around Miami and also host weekly classes at the Performing Arts Network, 13146-8 West Dixie Hwy., North Miami 305-899-7730, www.balletflamencolarosa.com, www.panmiami.org
+ Matheson Hammock Park gives glimpse of Miami past
The drive to Matheson Hammock Park is just as gorgeous as the natural setting that surrounds the actual park. Located on scenic, tree-lined, woodsy Old Cutler Road, the park is a wonderful glimpse into Miami’s past.
Opened in 1930, the original idea of preserving the natural beauty surrounding the park remains today and is evident in the beautiful expansive view of Biscayne Bay. The man-made atoll pool, one of the park’s highlights which is flushed naturally with the tidal action of the Bay.
The sea breeze is ideal for picnicking at their pavilions, enjoying their nature trail or perhaps grabbing lunch in their coral stone restaurant. Kayakers and canoers love visiting here for a rest stop and grabbing lunch and relaxing before heading back.
Matheson Hammock Park is located at 9610 Old Cutler Road, 305-665-5475 , www.miamidade.gov/parks/Parks/Matheson_beach
+ New World Symphony: Classy new venue
The New World Symphony is known for presenting classical music with a few re-interpretations and now they’re presenting them in a brand new venue on Miami Beach. Just to see a master like Michael Tilson Thomas waving his conductor’s wand and leading this masterful group is exciting enough.
Now however, NWS has a new venue, the state-of-the-art New World Center designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry as well as an outdoor venue called Soundscape and designed by Dutch architectural firm West 8.
So now it’s even easier to catch a performance by this talented orchestra in a great outdoor setting on the 7,00o-square-foot projection wall in the 2.5 acre public park. Along with their regular performances they also host monthly special events including family days, solo spotlights and Pulse where they transform the already incredible indoor venue into a nightclub setting.
The New World Symphony’s New World Center is located at 500 17th St., Miami Beach, FL
+ Coral Gables Art Cinema: Reel indie films shown here
Lovers of independent films usually have to wait until March for the Miami Film Festival to come to town but the Coral Gables Art Cinema’s, a new 144-seat venue, run by Coral Gables Cinemateque, Inc., has changed that.
With stadium seating and rare 16/35 mm films shown in HD professional theater-quality sound, the bill includes American independent, foreign and classic films not found in typical multi-screen movie theaters.
The intimate cinema is a welcome addition to an already vibrant restaurant, cultural and shopping scene in Downtown Coral Gables. Housed inside a historic building on one of the city’s best known streets, Aragon Avenue is home to some of the City Beautiful’s best restaurants taking dinner and a movie to another level.
Coral Gables Art Cinema is located at 260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, FL, 786-472-2249, www.gablescinema.com
+ New Armani Exchange Flagship Heats Up Miami
If anyone knows how to re-open a store, it seems to be Armani Exchange. For the premiere, the Miami Beach’s Vice Mayor named it the “Official Armani Exchange” day and Hollywood stars traveled 3000 miles to celebrate and try on some of Armani’s sexy shades.
The new South Beach flagship is bigger and sleeker with futuristic steel accents and clean lines, while still keeping the art deco feel of Miami. The brand, which was created in 1991 to dress the urban, street-chic customers, still captures that fun, young, and sexy energy today. With the Miami essentials of tiny party dresses, smoky shades, and tight t-shirts, the new Armani Exchange is bigger in size and sex appeal.
+ Stella McCartney (Beatle’s daughter) sets up shop in Bal Harbour
Swanky, open-air and the epitome of high-end in Miami Beach’s north end, the Bal Harbour Shops are now home to a Stella McCartney boutique. Yes, the famous Beatles’ fashion designer daughter has set up shop where Miami’s elite go for their designer duds.
Airy and bright, the store is set up in true boutique style, with her unique, bold, colorful fashions hanging neatly off dangling racks. The shoes and handbags have their own displays and toward the back is a quaint, colorful kids’ clothing section.
The beautiful parquet wood floors feature violet and pink hues (the designer’s favorites) while at the front of the store a coffee table and chairs greet shoppers. Perhaps they might enjoy leafing through the book that features photos of her famous Dad.
The Bal Harbour Shops are located at 9700 Collins Ave. 305-864-2218. Click here to visit the site.
+ Consign of the Times: Bargain designer duds and wares
Not only is the name catchy with its play on words, Consign of the Times is a legendary spot with two locations in Miami where fashionistas shop to find great deals on designer clothing, accessories and home furnishings.
Making their mark since opening in 2001, the store quickly became the go-to spot in Miami Beach and South Miami, especially during season for gowns, jewelry, shoes and handbags. Their high-end luxury pieces are continually rotated and revamped in an effort to keep their return customers pleased with their findings.
The list of designer names is impressive and includes Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Hermes, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blanik, Chloe, Christian Louboutin and Bottega.
Boutiques are located at 1635 Jefferson Ave., Miami Beach 305-535-0811 and at 5900 SW 73 St., South Miami 305-667-6675, www.consignofthetimes.com
+ C Madeleine’s: Quietly hidden, big name designers
Vogue, Elle, Daily Variety and Lucky Magazines have all hailed C Madeleine’s in North Miami as the hidden gem that all fashionistas must find, trouble is it’s quite discreet, tucked quietly into a small spot along Biscayne Boulevard and NE 137 St. that’s almost not visible, even though there is a sign.
Fashionistas will go crazy for the vintage and couture clothing, bags, accessories, shoes and jewelry that range from the 1900s to even present day. At C Madeleine’s they take pride in offering customers quality, custom made items that make add a unique element to any wardrobe. The items sold here are either one-of-a-kind or one of only a few manufactured.
With a selection like this, it’s no surprise the place is a celebrity haunt, attracting the throngs of them that descend on Miami for jetsetting to events and weekend getaways.
C Madeleine’s is located at 13702 Biscayne Boulevard, 305-945-7770, www.cmadeleines.com
+ Meinto.com: Boutique shopping’s just a click away
Meinto.com is revolutionizing online shopping, giving fashionistas exactly what they want, boutique shopping that’s just a click away.
Originated in Denmark, the site features clothing, accessories, shoes and more from more than 100 boutiques in South Florida. The idea behind the site is to offer the best of fashion boutiques combined with the flexibility and availability of online commerce.
There are shops from Miami all the way Palm Beach featured. Names include Cheap n Chic in Miami, Deco Collection on Miami Beach, Essence and Emporium boutiques in Coral Gables, Isabel Riera in Coconut Grove, Kristine Michael in South Miami, Lorie Lester Studio & Boutique in the Upper East Side and several others.
That’s just a sampling of what’s available at Meinto.com. This user-friendly site gives big box retailers some much-needed competition and provides a more unique shopping experience.
+ A Great Gatsby Gables at Grand Biltmore Hotel
The Florida of yesteryear, the 1920s to be exact, is what the Biltmore Hotel, the grand estate property of Coral Gables, represents. This place is a true escape to another era, a la Great Gatsby, with lawns and greenery as far as the eye can see, blended with Italian, Moorish and Spanish architectural influences. Picture this: statuesque columns leading to the ceiling arches are reminiscent of a grand church and a baby grand piano sits alongside floor to ceiling French windows and begs to be played.
Although leaving the lobby might be tough, there’s much more to explore here. For dining there are four excellent options, with each one better than the next: award-winning Palme d’Or, the Italian courtyard restaurant Fontana, casual al fresco Cascade Grill, and the 19th Hole that overlooks the stellar Biltmore Golf Course. The Cellar Wine Club offers 100 wines by the glass and an intimate club-like setting. The rooms and suites are adorned with European feather bedding and Egyptian cotton duvet covers, custom-designed furniture in the seating areas, tile flooring and picture perfect windows overlooking the grounds and pool.
And if that weren’t enough luxury wrapped up in the Biltmore, there’s always the spa. The airy room filled with candles, comfy lounge chairs, beds and a gorgeous tiled spa tub, is a sanctuary for facial treatments, body scrubs, wraps, manis, pedis and all important massages. Complete the spa day with a luscious brunch, a long-time favorite for locals and guests.
+ Old Florida’s alive and well at Miami River Inn
Forget for a minute the barrage of fancy high-rise hotels that dot the Miami skyline and envision a leisurely weekend stay at the Miami River Inn, where old Florida is embraced, celebrated and preserved and has been since 1910.
Set along the historic Miami River (hence, the name), this quaint bed and breakfast has survived the changes that have made Downtown Miami into a thriving, modern metropolis.
The pale yellow house with lime green trim cries out Florida citrus while the lush tropical landscaping surrounding the pool provides a soothing, relaxing, sun-soaking oasis.
The Inn’s four cottages each with 10 rooms, feature hardwood floors, antique brass, wood and wicker furnishings, lovely sitting areas, garden views and comfortable, beautifully dressed beds. First floor rooms feature porches that open to the garden area, while second and third floor rooms provide a remarkable view of the Miami River and Downtown Miami.
The croquet green is a fun way to pass the time followed perhaps by a complimentary glass of wine in the evening.
Miami River Inn is located at 118 SW South River Drive, 305-325-0045, www.miamiriverinn.com
+ Mayfair Hotel & Spa: Elegant style in Coconut Grove
The iconic and elegant Mayfair Hotel & Spa has been a landmark in Coconut Grove for more than 20 years and their boutique style makes staying here a true getaway.
This luxurious 179-room all-suites hotel is located in the heart of the neighborhood, near great shopping, restaurants and nightlife, yet is quiet and secluded. Perhaps it’s the private balconies and Japanese hot tubs featured in most of the rooms. The rooftop pool and cabana club could be yet another reason.
The rooms, designed by legendary Miami architect Ken Treister, feature a door set in a hand-carved mahogany frame, sculptured plaster ceilings, Tiffany stained-glass windows and furnishings from Europe, Asia, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.
The on-site spa features seven private treatment rooms, couples suite, relaxation lounge and boutique and there’s also Spartico, the on-site trattoria featuring gourmet pizzas and Italian fare.
Mayfair Hotel & Spa is located at 3000 Florida Ave., Coconut Grove, FL 305-441-0000 or 1-800-433-4555, www.mayfairhotelandspa.com
+ Loews Miami Beach: Elegant, hip, gorgeous
With a recent $50 million renovation (who would’ve thought that was necessary), the already spectacular Loews Hotel in the heart of South Beach is now well…beyond chic. The re-designed lobby, guestrooms, entrance and addition of ice cream shop and boutique take the hotel to another level.
With 790-gorgeously appointed rooms and suites, they are spacious with flat-screen televisions, comfortable and luxurious seating areas, bedding, bathrooms and balcony views. For those who need to stay connected there’s hi-speed WiFi.
The oceanfront pool is the perfect spot to relax and for the ultimate in massage, facials and more the Elemis Spa awaits with yoga and fitness classes, a rooftop sundeck and full hair and nail salon. They make getting ready for an evening out on South Beach a breeze.
The Loews is located at 1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 305-604-1601, www.loewshotels.com/miami-beach-hotel
+ Hotel Urbano: Chic, artsy in heart of Brickell
Most of the hotels around Miami’s upscale Brickell area near Downtown Miami are big name large hotels so when Hotel Urbano opened its doors hailing itself as an “urban, art boutique hotel with a resort flavor” it was a welcome addition to the area.
The 65-room, three-story hotel features double and king rooms with pool and city views, balconies and walk-out lanais. Comfortable seating area with balcony view, flat screen television, premium cable channels and comfy robes make the getaway experience even more complete.
Highlights at Urbano include a rockin’ menu at the Bistro Urbano Restaurant & Bar by Executive Chef Anthony Velazquez, ecclectic art that rotates regularly when art shows are held and a relaxing, inviting pool area with firepit, waterfall and comfy lounge and covered couch seating. Sipping a cocktail from the bar and nibbling on some killer apps by the pool is the way to go. And it’s easy to stretch out the evening with the nearby pulsating Brickell nightlife.
Hotel Urbano is located at 2500 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL