Archive for the ‘Palate’ Category

Nikki Beach- Fine Dining South of Fifth

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On January - 28 - 2010

Nikki Beach is known for many things: the serious Sunday afternoon-into-Monday morning parties for South Beach locals; sun kissed, bikini-clad bodies lounging about from Marbella to St. Tropez to Koh Samui; claiming the #1 spot in Travel Channel’s “World’s Sexiest Beach Bar” list…but fine dining- not so much.  Well it’s time to add exquisite dining experience to Nikki Beach’s offerings.   Executive chef, Gerry Gnassi’s gourmet menu is available for lunch and dinner, and includes sushi, including a Maine Lobster Roll with mango and tobiko caviar, wood-oven gourmet pizzas, prime steaks and fresh seafood.  Our top pick was the 2 ½ pound Australian lobster tail, which we dubbed the “Jurassic Park lobster.”  We seriously wouldn’t want to run into this thing in the ocean but it was gloriously grilled on our plate, even though we could barely eat ¼ of it.  Other favorites included the giant prawns and Chateaubriand for two (more like 4).  The menu revamp is part of a comprehensive overhaul of the entire property, and definitely worth checking out.

Cafeina-a much needed JOLT!

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On January - 20 - 2010

Ultra-hip, trendy hotspot, Cafeina, named for its caffeine-infused liquors and specialty cocktails, is our latest, favorite hang-out, located deep in the heart of Wynwood (you won’t find it unless you are consciously looking -we typically use landmarks such as the overturned truck and funky green and red patterned building to know we’re on the right track).

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Pacific Time-About Last Night

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On November - 1 - 2009

 

hipsters-at-pacific-time1 It’s hard to resist a party named after one our favorite 80’s classics, About Last Night.  Enter Pacific Times’ celebrated chef, Jonathan Eismann, with provocatively named, scrumptious dishes such as the gnudi (pronounced “nudie,”) “dates” and “grouper cheeks” and we are hooked.

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Prelude is a Perfect Fit

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On October - 29 - 2009

Barton G with the Pointer Sisters at Prelude

The center formerly known as the Carnival Center turned two this month, and what better way to celebrate than to open a stylish, beautiful and reasonably priced (no, your eyes do not deceive you) new restaurant in which you can dine before or after a show without ever leaving the building. Prelude, by Barton G. debuted last week with the flair and fanfare that typically accompanies a Barton G. event. The grand opening party included Geoffrey the giraffe, an orangutan, a fireworks display and, none other than the legendary Pointer Sisters.

Prelude offers fixed-price dining with a new-to-Miami twist. “Diner’s Decision” allows patrons the choice of any three dinner menu items for $39 or any two lunch/brunch items for $23 so you can choose 3 appetizers, 3 entrees (if you are just coming off of a juice fast) or 3 desserts. Also featured at Prelude will be South Florida’s most comprehensive by-the-glass wine list, with more than 90 selections available from state-of-the-art wine dispensers either by the taste, the half glass or the glass. For lighter appetites, an à la carte bar menu is available. What’s more, Prelude promises to get you in and out in less than an hour and 15 minutes, just in time for the show.

Expect a scaled-down version of Barton G.’s typical unusual, exaggerated food presentations, such as a wooden cutting board with your skirt steak, hand-blown glass platters and mini-cast-iron pots. Seatings start at 5:00 p.m. with the 6:15 p.m. slot reserved for ticket holders. The restaurant will also be open on days when there are no performances at the center. Don’t miss the beef Carpaccio appetizer, (we wish we would have ordered three of these), the goat cheese tortellini or the “menorah” of custards- with just about every imaginable flavor. Consider dining in a group so you can mix and match your appies, entrees and desserts and sample just about everything.

Just be sure not to over order- food is not allowed to be taken out of the restaurant as per Arsht Center rules, so forget about sneaking a dessert into the show- we already tried. Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 5:00 p.m. until late, dining hours at Prelude cater to folks who seek elegant fine dining in downtown Miami.

Celebrity Sightings:

Lance Bass hung out at the super-chic Club 50 at Viceroy Friday night drinking Atlantico daiquiris and dancing to Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi. Bass made the rounds, going to WALL and LIV on Saturday night and dropping by Pacific Time’s “About Last Night” party on Tuesday and later the Florida Room, after dining at Blue Door at the Delano.

On Friday night at WALL, Transporter’s Jason Statham joined buddy Nicola Siervo to watch “next big thing” R&B artist Chris Jones, son of Foreigner’s Mick Jones, perform tracks off his upcoming album. Also on hand was Jones’ producer, Scott Storch, and the ubiquitous, Lance Bass, who shared a VIP table with friends and showed off some fancy footwork to songs by Will.I.AM, Journey and Jay Z. Later in the night, Statham visited the newly-remodeled SET for its grand reopening to hear DJ Rony Seikaly spin a set of progressive house for the South Beach jet-set including Michael Capponi and SET owner Eric Milon.

J-Lo N.K.A. (now known as) “LOLA,” made an appearance at LIV on Saturday night. In the audience: Marc Anthony, Lance Bass, Kim Kardashian, and Reggie Bush. The former J-Lo greeted her fans and said thanks for coming out and supporting her new video, “Fresh out the Oven” featuring Miami’s own Pitbull, then danced to her remixes with husband, Anthony. According to an insider”I just don’t think “Lola” will ever be as fierce as Beyonce’s alter ego “Sasha” but I hope she proves me wrong.”

Also on Saturday night, Michael Jordan had dinner at Red, The Steakhouse with his girlfriend and a group of friends. Saturday Night Live funnyman, Kenan Thompson, took a table at Louis, sharing a bottle of Belvedere with local buddy Matt Heien, while cracking jokes with his waitress and pretty girls at neighboring tables.

Tennessee Titans, LenDale White and Bo Scaife, were seen having lunch at 8 oz. Burger Bar on Sunday. The Titans were enjoying a bye week and hoping to break their 0-6 record.

For the past two weeks, MTV’s Ibis Del Mar has been a fixture at Pacific Time’s “About Last Night party.” This week, she sat down with chef/owner Jonathan Eismann and VGeorgio Vodka founder, Victor Harvey, to tape interviews for her new MTV.com show, tentatively titled “Keeping it Real with Ibis.”

Making an appearance at the Tod’s boutique at Bal Harbour Shops: Vogue.com contributor/fashion consultant to the chic (…and the not so chic), Amanda Brooks, carrying a brown mink Tod’s bag. Brooks’ book (say that 5x fast), Love Your Style, was lauded by Anna Wintour, who called the book “candid, canny and cool.”

Groove is in the Art

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On September - 23 - 2009

urbanite-bistroThe brand-spanking new, Urbanite Bistro, a quaint, cozy resto-bar which looks like a typical, underground SoHo spot, invites you to embrace your inner “boho, artistic child” thanks to its rotating exhibits of local artwork, which are for sale and decorate its trendy, plum colored walls.Urbanite offers eclectic bistro fare, of which we recommend the shrimp corn dogs (how can you go wrong?), Pad Thai, and alligator egg-rolls (if you dare). How’s that for “eclectic? Of course, there are your usual meat and potatoes dishes and a variety of sandwiches and burgers. The place also features two stylish and well-appointed bars, perfect for a few cocktails before hitting neighboring clubs, Vagabond and Karu & Y. If you crave a little nosh during clubbing, return to Urbanite- the kitchen closes at 3:00.

To show its support of the local art scene, The Urbanite Bistro invites guests to a public arts reception on Tuesday, October 6 from 7:00- 9:00 p.m. This month this “rotating gallery” hosts provocative artwork by Latin American artists, Gabriela Sanchez-Vegas and Rudolf Kohn. Guests will receive an Urbanite VIP card, redeemable for a complimentary specialty cocktail during the reception. The Urbanite Bistro is located at 62 NE 14th Street. Reservations may be made by calling 305.374.0662 or visiting www.urbanitebistro.com. Valet parking is free.

Mama Mia!

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On September - 15 - 2009

miaHere in Downtown, Miami, there are definitely a few spots worth mentioning. Mia Biscayne opened with much fanfare in the form of searchlights, throngs of people outside the velvet ropes and special musical guests last Wednesday. This latest addition to the downtown club scene features a restaurant, live music venue, nightclub and outdoor terrace that just screams “happy hour” to those who work and/or play in the downtown/Brickell area. Conceptually, it’s a like Karu and Y, but with a cozier feel, better service and much more convenient (read less life threatening) location. The premise is that Mia is an ideal place to spend an entire evening, where you can grab a good meal, have some cocktails and stay to dance until 5:00 a.m. Upon arrival, we were personally greeted by the adorable Executive Chef, Gerdy Rodriguez, a young-Tyler Florence type, who looks like he stepped out of one of those reality cooking shows. Rodriguez credits his Cuban upbringing for his flavorful fusion concoctions, which include the Mia roll, lobster topped with spicy tuna, crispy plantains (yes, mariquitas), scallions and avocado cream (our favorite), Kobe sliders and piping hot Manchego cheese and Serrano ham croquettes (close second). Another highlight unique to Mia Biscayne is the I-Bar, a translucent runway installation that club goers control by touching, kind of like laser light show meets giant IPOD touch. Talk about ADHD helper- now if only we could send texts on the thing. Hunky award-winning actor/singer, gencarlos-canela3Jencarlos Canela, and American Idols Christina Christian performed live, and DJ George Morel provided the sounds for guests such as Dr. Sanford Ziff; Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio, and notable political figures, Mayor of West Miami, Cesar Carasa, Commissioner, Rebeca Sosa, Commissioner Tomas Regalado and Mayor of Hialeah, Julio Robaina – all of whom presented the owner of MIA, Luis Arias, with a proclamation to the city.

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