The fast-paced action of the Miami Heat and those monster slam dunks from King James deserve to be celebrated with a tasty libation and thanks to the new RedFrog Bar at the AmericanAirlines Arena there’s a new way to toast great plays and victories.
Basketball fans can thank Carnival Cruise Lines, who as partners of the two-time defending NBA champion Heat, decided the best spot to expand their on-board signature brand watering hole was the AAA.
Visit the 100 Level where you’ll find the RedFrog Bar and Carnival’s private label brew the ThirstyFrog Red, a rich-colored draught beer with toasted notes from the fine caramel and black malts used during the brewing process. The medium-bodied beer has a malty, slightly sweet taste that’s well balanced with elegant European grown Noble aroma hops.
At the 400 Level RedFrog they up the ante with signature cocktails like the Rum Runner Jumper — a blend of two Bacardi rums, banana liqueur, orange and pineapple juice, bitters and grenadine. The mojito, a Miami fave, gets a makeover with spiced rum and brown sugar and the Painkiller packs a punch with two Bacardi rums, coconut syrup and orange and pineapple juice.
Cheer on (and toast) the Miami Heat to a third NBA championship at the AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd.
There are so many Cuban restaurants in Miami that it’s hard to figure out where to get the most authentic flavors of the island. Spread out all over Miami, the list of the best five are both on the mainland and over the Causeway.
The tried-and-true two — La Carreta and Versailles have to be on the list. Yes, it’s a bit cliche but the food at each is really authentic. And if anything, making this list is a testament to their longevity. There’s only one Versailles but there are several La Carreta’s so make sure to go the original one, with the wagon wheel out front, on Calle Ocho (SW Eighth St.) and 36 Ave. The bakery at Versailles as meeting place for many Miamians is a time-honored tradition as is a late-night dinner at La Carreta after a night of partying.
Habanero steak at Islas Canarias
Sergio’s on Coral Way and 32 Avenue is great for midnight sandwiches, an afternoon cafecito and their never fails, cure anything that ails you sopa de platano (plantain soup). While over at Islas Canarias in Kendall the croquetas are killer as are their stuffed tostones and paella.
And believe it or not, South Beach’s David’s Cafe II on Lincoln Road has excellent black beans and rice, picadillo and palomilla steak. A welcome authentic, Cuban restaurant that’s surviving among all the other nouveau cuisine places.
La Carreta, David’s Cafe, Sergio’s, Versailles, Islas Canarias
Nikki Beach in Miami is the hidden jewel of South Beach, located at One Ocean Drive along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean amid swaying palms trees and warm sunny breezes. Nikki Beach Miami has established itself as the landmark nightclub and venue for ultimate private parties, large celebrations, and always lives up to its reputation as a South Beach Miami party playground for jet setters, celebrities, VIPs, guests and visitors alike.
Those club promoters, what will they think of next. Well, it seems like next has already arrived and it’s called House Nightclub in the Wynwood neighborhood. The concept is just what it seems, a nightclub that looks and feels like…a house. A very modern, futuristic house.
Naturally, it’s housed in a former warehouse and although there are kitchens, showers and bedrooms within this club theme, for sure no clubgoers will be wearing robes and house slippers. They will however, grab their cocktails in the kitchens which will serve as bars, lounge on beds while sipping (or perhaps slammin’) their chosen concoctions and hang out in showers that double as VIP rooms. Promoters are calling it the “Ultimate House Party,” a cyber modulated world with holographic technology, 360 degree panoramic projections and 3D architectural mapping.
The small, mom and pop eatery in Downtown Miami is slowly disappearing, replaced by modern, hip restaurants and leading the trend is Cvi.che 105.
Chef/owner Juan Chipoco and sous chef and co-owner Luis Hoyos have created an incredible ambiance and menu that is indicative of their passion for traditional, delicious Peruvian cooking. The space is deceivingly large and inviting, with a bright interior, open kitchen and ultra-contemporary furnishings and accents.
Chipoco blends sexy dishes like seafood orgy ceviche, a blend of marinated raw seafood including fish, calamari and shrimp served in typical Peruvian tiger milk with more traditional ones like Mama Ele Corvina Fish – his grandmother’s recipe of pan roasted fresh corvine fish served with a crab cake in a rocoto sauce and a homemade potato cake
They also take great care in developing specific flavors for each ceviche depending which region of Peru it represents.
The massive 17,500-object collection on view at the Lowe Art Museum, located in the heart of the University of Miami Campus in Coral Gables, features a vast array of artworks from around the world.
They focus on the classics here and have spent decades perfecting and expanding their pieces. Renaissance and baroque paintings and sculptures, Native and Ancient American art as well as Asian works share space. And that’s only their permanent collection.
Their changing exhibitions include photography, African-American art, lithographs, watercolors, pastels, acrylics and screen prints. Special events hosted at the Lowe include lectures, dance performances and family days.
Their billed as showing 5,000 years worth of art and that’s worth checking out.
The Lowe Art Museum is located at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables
Zoo Miami is one of the most unique attractions in Miami and is not your conventional zoo see, there’s no cages here, well, virtually none. Moats separate a majority of the animals from the visitors which makes it a much more natural experience.
Strolling along the pathways, either on foot, on a safari cycle, in the safari tram tour or on the monorail, is an adventure in everything wild. Monkeys climb on tree limbs and branches in King of the Jungle, while the Huon tree kangaroo, koalas and a crocodile monitor lizard hang out in the Australia exhibition.
Flamingos, giraffes, hippos, snakes, rhinos, lions, tigers, lizards, eels, spiders and more, they all live here in this massive 327 acre park. Kids can enjoy more than just the wildlife with the ever-popular Diego Zoo show, with the famous character from Dora the Explorer.
Zoo Miami is located at 12400 SW 152 St., Miami, FL 786-619-3418, www.zoomiami.org
It’s about more than just the food at Dolores but you can call me Lolita in the heart of Miami’s thriving Brickell area. This is a compound that encompasses the restaurant, lounge, private room and even the Japanese favorite Sushi Maki next door. They go for the warm glow of candlelight in the restaurant where the wall border close to the ceiling brims with quirky and inspiring sayings.
Then there’s the menu which is brimming with delicious selections like the appetizer called Maybe, the Best Serrano Ham Croquettes you ever tasted or the Caesar salad was created in Tijuana Parmesan cheese and croutons. Those wacky names doesn’t mean they don’t take food seriously here, entrees include pappardelle with a Kobe beef bolognese or baja fish tacos of tempura fish filets served with a chipotle-guava cabbage slaw.
Eat or party or do both at the restaurant or lounge, the atmosphere’s great at both.
Owned by Miami’s own Emilio & Gloria Estefan, the golden couple of Latin music in Miami, sitting bayside behind the American Airlines Arena and boasting an atmosphere that won’t quit, it’s obvious that the energy is high at Bongo’s Cuban Cafe.
This is the place to party al night and in Latin style, where deejays play all types of Caribbean music including salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton and regional Mexican music. It’s also a good place to catch Latin artists who attend after parties here. When Miami was host to the MTV Video Music Awards, Latin Grammys and Latin Billboard Music Awards the international artists attended after parties here.
The interior decor, purposely filled with palm trees, bongo shaped tables and multi-faceted colorful lighting in bright Caribbean colors, is set up to evoke a tropical island feel.
Surviving in the same location on South Beach is unto itself a testament to longevity and Jazid can proudly boast they’ve done it for 14 years. It’s all about the live music experience at Jazid, something the area is not necessarily known for.
They don’t pigeonhole themselves into one genre here either, anything goes. The list of live performers screams diversity. Feneiva plays on Tuesdays, performing in both English and Spanish and blending salsa, reggae and acoustic. Afro Kumbe on Wednesdays is made up of members of Miami’s favorite Latin fusion band Locos por Juana who are lighting up the festival and nightlife scene all over Miami. On Fridays Kulcha Shok Muzik frees up the stage for reggae bands, a different one each week.
They don’t skimp on the drink specials here either, kamikazes one night and aguardiente, the drink of choice in many Latin American countries, another.
Jazid is located at 1342 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. 305-673-9372. www.jazid.net
Mickey meets the Miami Symphony orchestra this season during a concert series ‘Golden Sounds of Hollywood’ series. The music performed will be from the Walt Disney Studio archives and will feature music from the classics to the recently released. The concerts take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami (1314 Miller Drive, Coral Gables), and 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at Lincoln Theatre (541 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach). An extra performance music lovers of all ages has been added to the concert series and will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at Gusman Concert Hall.
Get wild this holiday season at Zoo Miami. From Dec 17th-30th you can put on some 3D glasses and enjoy animal-shaped lights as you stroll through the 12 nights of Zoo Lights. Have dinner with Santa on Dec 23rd where children will have the chance to make their own ornaments and receive a holiday gift. Kids can even watch animals receive their specially prepared gifts.
Lesley Abravanel knows her way around Miami and then some…comes with the territory. What does she do? What doesn’t she do. She’s the Miami Herald’s long running gossip/nightlife columnist/blogger (with column titles like Velvet Underground and Scene in the Tropics), editor of the food/drink blog Miami Eater, Miami listings editor for Black Book and author of guidebooks Frommer’s Florida and Frommer’s South Florida.
It’s no wonder Lesley is the perfect person to provide insider tips and faves about the city she knows so well.
What do you love about your city in the summer/fall?
What I truly love about summer and fall is as soon as summer is over, regardless of the temperature, natives tend to whip out the Uggs, the thigh high boots and the ski caps. It could be 100 degrees with a heat index of 120, but if it’s October, it’s boots and hats all the way.
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods? For eating? Museums? Nightspots?
The obvious answer to this would be Midtown Miami, the Design District and Wynwood for various reasons—food, culture, hipsters, nightlife. But I’ll give another shout out to the always evolving areas of Brickell and Sunset Harbour/Purdy, where on any given day, week, or month, a new restaurant or watering hole seems to emerge from nowhere. I’m also keen on developing downtown Miami.div>
What is your favorite place to shop in the city?
Why, Target at Midtown, of course.
What inspires you about your city?
The absolute inanity of it. And the insanity too. And the efforts of a sophisticated, educated group of many trying to change the aforementioned. That inspires me most.
Do you have an insider tip for tourists visiting your city for the first time?
Miami is not all about South Beach. Rent a car and explore.
Are you a regular somewhere? Local hangout?
They seem to know my name at The Room and Clarke’s. (Both are on Miami Beach)
Do you have a secret spot in the city (to unwind, get away, people watch, read a book, escape)?
What are you favorite restaurants/museums/parks/ shopping places/bars/etc?
Restaurants: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Joey’s, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill (all in the Design District), Jimmy’s East Side Diner (on 72 Street and Biscayne Blvd. in the MiMo District)
Bars: The Room, Clarke’s, Fox’s Sherron Inn (South Miami), Ted’s, Deuce, Raleigh Bar (rest are on Miami Beach)
Tell me about your current job and your past history that makes you the perfect person to be a Miami insider.
I moved to Miami when I was 11 years old so I think I am almost a native. I have been Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Miami for over 23 years. In this role I create working partnerships between the corporate and cultural communities. We have programs that help business professionals connect with their creative side and make meaningful use of their skills and their free time. I work with over 500 arts groups and hundreds of artists in Miami Dade and am a passionate fan of the arts in our community.
What do you love about Miami in the Fall? The cultural season gets into full swing in the fall. I also love football which starts in the fall and love the Miami Dolphins (most years). The weather cools off and hurricane season ends.
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods? South Beach on the bay side, Design District, Mimo and Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
For eating? Lincoln Road, Coral Gables
Museums? Miami Beach, Downtown
What is your favorite place to shop in the city? Museum gift shops have the best and most unique items for sale. Your purchase supports the arts. Many museums carry the work of local artists. You can find a list of all the museums in Miami-Dade at www.MiamiDadeArts.org and click on find an arts group.
What inspires you about Miami? The diversity of the people and places, the sunshine, the warm and inviting atmosphere and of course our world class cultural community including over 1,000 arts groups.
Do you have an insider tip for tourists visiting Miami for the first time? Explore. Go to the different neighborhoods for different experiences. Visit our museums, take an Art Deco walk or historic walking tour with Dr. George. Check the Weekend Section of the Miami Herald and go to a festival or special event. Miami has more festivals than days in the year! Visit the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau website www.gmcvb.com for a great calendar of events and programs and great promotions such as Miami Spice month at some of our best restaurants.
Are you a regular somewhere? The Adrienne Arsht Center, museums, theatres and festivals.
Do you have a secret spot in the city (to unwind, get away, people watch, read a book, escape) and why? Maurice Gibb Park in South Beach is a quiet little park right on the bay. Perfect for a small picnic with friends, walking the dog or just watching the sunset over beautiful downtown Miami.
What are your favorite Restaurants – Joe Allen, Solea at the W, Dynamo Café at Wolfsonian, Garcias on the River, Sr. Martinez
Museums – Miami has a great variety of museums and I love them all. Some of my favorites Wolfsonian, Bass Museum, Lowes Art Museum, Deering Estate. Looking forward to our new museum park opening in a few years in downtown Miami.
shopping places – Lincoln Road, Bakery Center Art Space, Museum gift shops
Art Basel, Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Miami Book Fair, Summer Shorts, Miami Hispanic Theatre Festival
Brides in the City, is Miami’s premier bridal show. See the latest in couture bridal fashions and wedding designs, from food to flowers, music, photographers, limos and more. The event is presented by Grande Affaires and the InterContinental Miami with experts and wedding merchants on hand to answer important planning questions. See lavish displays of everything you’ll want for your wedding and enjoy tastings provided by the InterContinental and a specialty drink in the Knot Lounge. The award-winning Tartara Band will perform, and there will be honeymoon raffles and a bridal photo shoot station.
100 Chopin Plaza, Downtown Miami
Everybody knows that Miami is the place to go for the best spa treatments, and in celebration, several spas are offering special deals for the entire month of July. After a long day of fun in the sun or a long night partying, enjoy some of the exclusive manicures, pedicures and massages at discount prices. Even spas like the ones in the Standard Hotel and the Doral Resort, which have been ranked as one of the “Best Spas in America” by Travel + Leisure magazine, are taking part in the offers. So lay back, close your eyes, and indulge your body.
If you’ve never celebrated the 4th of July on the beach, then Miami is the place to do it. It’s an all weekend celebration all over town, with parades, live music, fireworks, and of course, the best after-parties in the country.
During the day, Key Biscayne will be holding their annual parade, while the Homestead Sports Complex will be hosting a car show, rides, and live music all day. Once it gets dark, don’t miss the amazing fireworks show from Bayfront Park that can be seen from all over downtown.
After that, the parties continue with internationally renowned DJs, who will be playing all over town, like Erick Morillo at Liv Nightclub.
Master ballet choreographer George Balanchine had a protege once, his name was Edward Villella and he is now the artistic director of the Miami City Ballet. Even though Villella has made a name on his own, with an induction into the Dancer’s Hall of Fame in 2004, it’s no wonder a major chunk of the troupe’s repertoire — which numbers 88 ballets — are Balanchine-choreographed pieces.
The troupe’s international blend of dancers have performed with the Paris Opera Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of China and the San Francisco Ballet, to name a few. This season, on top of the Balanchine pieces, there are nine world premieres in the mix. Check them out this season as they leap, twirl and float across the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Downtown Miami.
The hypnotic moves of Miami’s stellar dance troupe Momentum Dance Company, who have been gracing stages around the city for more than two decades, makes for a mesmerizing experience. A show by Momentum always holds some kind of surprise with their ingenious creativity. The repertoire of numbers conceived by artistic director Delma Iles are so popular that dance fans have come to expect them, like “Sand Dance,” a solo effort by Iles that incorporates a single spotlight and sand into the performance.
Performing all over the city, this contemporary group is known for inventive and innovative moves and haunting performances that captivate the audience and leave them wanting more. Make a point of catching Momentum while in Miami or risk missing an unforgettable experience. Check out their website to find out when the next performance is taking place.
Head a little north of South Beach to one of the most unexpected places – the historic Fontainebleau Hotel – to party the night away at Liv Nightclub, a hotspot catering to celebrities and locals alike. For example, chances of spotting actress Gabrielle Union, who loves to play in Miami, hanging out with her friend, Miami Heat basketball player Dwayne Wade, are very likely.
After all, the place is 30,000 square feet of pure party atmosphere with three full service bars, VIP areas where the Cristal champagne usually flows to world-renowned DJs playing dance tunes as well as hip hop and house music. The all-night light show, main dance floor, and second floor balcony viewing area are the perfect recipe for an unforgettable weekend.
Awash in pastel and mostly under cloudless blue skies, the Art Deco Historic District is a feast for the eyes for both its architecture and the beautiful people that spend time there. Lovingly restored in the 1980s by the Miami Design Preservation League, the District is where it’s at. Celebrities flock here and Ocean Drive has long been considered the American version of the French Riviera. Stroll along famed Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road Mall, funky Washington Avenue and chic Collins Avenue to take in historic buildings that were all the rage in the roaring 1920s and have stood the test of time. Architect Morris Lapidus put the area on the map with his unique designs, check out the legacy he created.