By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
Every now and then, all of the elements come together to create the perfect evening. Such was the case last week when man-about-town Michael Leondas Kirkland and his handsome house-mate Rothsay “Roy” Playa welcomed guests into their home for an all-night birthday fete for yours truly. We were overcome by Kirkland’s southern hospitality: from the polished, Tiffany sterling to the perfectly pressed linen napkins (a rarity this far south) to the tantalizing aroma wafting from the giant black iron pot, once belonging to his great-grandmother.
The mood was comfortable and jovial throughout the night, the din of laughter permeating the beautiful home which is filled with beautiful French antiques and mid-century Scandinavian pieces juxtaposed with paintings by Francisco Clemente Vikki Oglesby; photographs by Karl Lagerfeld, Herb Ritts and Miami’s own Iran Issa-Khan, to name a few. Guests were treated to Kirkland’s southern delights: black-eyed pea caviar salsa with paper thin fried cornbread, and his one-plate-wonder, New Orleans Gumbo accompanied by a giant mound of rocket arugula salad with aged parmesan and burnt bacon, drenched in bacon grease and molasses with aged balsamic and secret spices. Which, incidentally, we’ve been craving ever since!
After a few guests snuck back into the kitchen for second helpings, my mother, (once renowned chef-turned-beauty-expert), Maria Jose Almeida surprised me with her decadent trifle- a recreation of my grandmother’s famed Natilla (kicked up a few notches)- the icing on the cake (minus the cake) to the wonderful dinner- complimented by the singing of “Happy Birthday” and free-flowing champagne.
After dinner, guests mingled and conversed over drinks as the music was slowly turned up and an impromptu sing-along began- with all of the guests singing loudly to Fun’s pop anthem, “Tonight…We are Young” followed by a random rendition of the Horah in the kitchen. Just before leaving, a shot of Jack Daniels and a round of “Sweet Home Alabama” provided the signature southern ending.
Guests partaking in this fabulous evening included: Michael Shore, Michael Gongora, Maryanne Salvat, Marnie Howard, John Brevard, Sean Flannery, Shaila Freyer, Michael Gongora, Joao Bounassar, Brian Melton, Jairo Garcia and Daniel Garcia Vega.
Kirkland held an intimate dinner a few days prior in honor of his friend, Barbara Becker who departed for Berlin for the early part of the summer. Guests included Becker, Iran Issa-Khan, Tara Solomon, Marnie Howard, Todd Davis, Rothsay “Roy” Playa, among others.
18th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball Kick-Off Cocktail
On Thursday, June 7, InterContinental Miami hosted its annual kickoff celebration in honor of the upcoming 18th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball. More than 200 guests attended the exclusive gathering to toast 17 years of fundraising success.
“I am honored to be a part of a mission that has impacted so many lives,” said Robert Hill, Ball Host and General Manager of InterContinental Miami. “As a result of 17 nights of fundraising, the hotel and Foundation have together raised enough funds to grant 2,300 Wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions across South Florida. It is because of this unique 17-year partnership, the committee’s passion for the cause and our generous donors’ unwavering support that we have made – and will continue – to make the Ball one of the most anticipated and successful fundraising events of the year.”
Following an inspiring speech by Norman Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, Trevor Daycock, brother of Wish Child Emily and volunteer intern at Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, recounted his sister’s battle with epilepsy and the renewed sense of happiness and hope the Foundation provided his family by granting her wish to travel to London.
Esteemed guests including Founding Benefactors Howard and Barbara Glicken; former Make-A-Wish Foundation Chairmen of The Board Robby Elias and Bert de Armas; Star Benefactor James Ferraro; philanthropist Sanford Ziff and wife Baroness Beatrice Clancy; Michael Capponi; Lady Monica Heftler; Bonnie Eletz; Mark and Robin Levinson; and designer, Arianne Brown enjoyed music by DJ Irie, cocktails, and an elegant spread by InterContinental Miami’s Executive Chef Alexander Feher. Taking a taste of India with them, guests departed with cinnamon- and cardamom-infused cookies with vanilla-rose icing as specially prepared by Haven’s Executive Chef Todd Erickson.
Save the date for this year’s India-themed Ball: to be held on Saturday, November 3. Tables for the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball range from $5,000 to $20,000, and for the past five consecutive years, seats have been sold out two months prior to the event. Wish Sponsors range from $5,000 to $100,000. Tables, wishes and other sponsorship opportunities can be purchased by calling 954.967.9474 extension 318 or by visiting www.sfla.wish.org.
photo courtesy: World Red Eye/Manny Hernandez
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