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).

Read the rest of this entry »

Arctic Blasts

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On January - 14 - 2010

Cafeina- A much-needed Jolt!
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).  This boîte reminds us of cozy Nobu on west 57 Street in NYC, with its low lighting, oversized lamps and comfy couches.  We also love the loft and huge outdoor area and the attached art gallery, currently displaying the work of Carlos Alves.

We dragged took a group to Cafeina over the weekend to “enjoy” the arctic weather and the Wynwood Art Walk.  Despite the jokes about the crack-houses and seedy environs, the consensus was that Cafeina rivals any South Beach lounge and that the food blows the competition away!  This is due to the creativity and expertise of the charming, executive chef, Guily Booth, who “wo-mans” the tiny kitchen, creating signature international tapas, including sea bass skewers, mini-madness grilled sandwiches and crab cakes, lauded by Martha Stewart as “the best she’s ever had.” Come to think of it, they’re the best we’ve ever had too.  Booth’s cooking style is as unique as her warm and funny personality.  She will mingle with guests and offer to cook up whatever they are craving- whether or not it’s the menu.  And should you be celebrating a birthday, you may even be surprised by Booth’s original coffee cupcakes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Downtown Dos

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On September - 17 - 2009

mark-leventhal-jamie-jo-harris-and-nick-d-annunzio-at-wall-003So it seems that anyone with a star on Hollywood Boulevard, recording contract or fashion line was either in Toronto for the film festival or in New York for Fashion Week, the US Open and/or the VMAs, thus rendering our “Celebrity Sightings,” section null and void.  Not sure that next week will be a whole lot better, being that the Emmy’s, with their requisite pre and post parties are taking place, points west of the 305.  However, being that the name of this column is the “411,” and that those of us in the know consider Miami the “sixth borough,” we feel obliged to inform you that on Saturday night, Andre Balazs opened up the Boom Boom Room, in his Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District.  Touted as the “Biggest opening since Studio 54” by celebrity photographer, Patrick McMullan.  So, to make ourselves feel just a little bit less bummed (all right, slightly bitter) about not being there, and so that we (you) can talk about it as though you actually were (after a few vodka sodas, who really knows the difference?) we will expand our “Celebrity Sightings” for the week to include some of the fun NYC. 

Mama Mia!

Here 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, Jencarlos 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.

 Get Stoned

Another terrific downtown offering is mySpa at the InterContinental Miami, where we got one of the best massages ever.  While admittedly not a spa person due to limited attention span, (I was tempted to roast weenies on the little grill in the sauna and channeled Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes in the steam room) I enjoyed the simplicity and elegance of mySpa and the hot stones massage got the creative juices flowing (I mentally wrote 2/3 of this column on the table)!  My only complaint:  that the massage didn’t last all day.  Hopefully they’ll consider our suggestion and create a 24 hour massage.  A definite bonus for “football widows”, who will have reason to look forward to Sundays this season, is that mySpa is offering the Sunday’s Fabulous Football Survival Package, which includes a 60 minute myMassage (we definitely recommend the hot stones) followed by a 60 minute True Transformation Facial, for $160.00, a 20% savings, not bad considering the price of a game ticket these days.   ”Widows” can “grieve” together by taking advantage of all spa amenities including sauna, steam, fitness center or just relax poolside with a cocktail in hand.  Now that’s what I call a support group!  For more information, visit

Disco Baby

Badrutt’s Place, coined ”the European gem in the heart of Brickell,” premiered Disco Baby Supper Club on Saturday, with Master DJ, Mark Leventhal spinning all the songs we grew up loving and pretending to hate during the failed “Disco Sucks” campaign.  During the party, guests enjoyed full menu items as well as delicious tapas, including Chef Mario Da Como’s signature selections, such as shrimp, Carpaccio, crab cakes, cheeseburger bites, spicy meatballs, and pepper crusted beef medallions with horseradish sauce.  We must warn you that while the food is delicious, you may be too busy dancing to even notice it. So don’t over order and wear comfortable shoes.  Badrutt’s plans to throw the 70s themed party on a regular basis, so start grooming your afro wig and buffing your platforms, Disco Baby!  Stay tuned for upcoming dates.


Spin Spin Sugar


Socialite/singer/songwriter Jamie Jo Harris rocked the tables (Mac book) at Wall on Friday night, joining the ranks of gorgeous DJ Divas:  Tracy Young, Eve Salvali and Sky Nellor and showing, yet again that girls can rule the tables too, with all due respect to our favorite local guys, Irie, Dert, Leventhal, Kurtz, Johnny the Boy and Ruckus.  VIPs including Fabian Basabe, Eric Meier, Jose Ortiz, Lance Burstyn, Rich Santelises, Jerry Powers, Nicola Siervo, Karim Masri, Eric Levin, Tara Solomon, Nick D’Annunzio, Mark Leventhal and Harris’ parents, Fran and Mel Harris, danced to her chart-topping singlejamie-jo-harris-spins-at-wall-001 “U Turn Me On,” a pop duet alongside Barry Gibb, and other hits masterfully mixed by Harris. Absent from the spinning debut was Harris’ collaborator, nine-time Grammy Award-winning music producer Rudy Perez, who was summoned at the last minute by superstar client,  Beyonce Knowles (darn VMAs on the same weekend !).


In other spinning news:  David Barton is kicking off his new spinning program with his Tour de Barton spinning competition, in keeping with his goal of helping you, “look better naked.”  On Saturdays through the end of September, members and non-members will spin to win prizes including memberships, spa treatments, guest passes, apparel, and more. To sign up contact DavidBartonGym at

Gansevoort South (305) 534-1660.

Celebrity Sightings:

Seen getting down at the Boom Boom Room:  Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi, John Stamos, Josh Hartnett, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Jude Law, Lindsay Lohan, Nacho Figueras, Nicky Hilton, Rachel Zoe, and Tory Burch, to name a few.  At Marc Jacobs’ after party at Hiro Ballroom: Janet Jackson, Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, Rachel Zoe, Russell Simmons, Ciara, Estelle and Rufus Wainwright joined the 700 (of 1000) invitees who were allowed into the hot, sticky party, where Lady Gaga performed toned down versions of “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”  Notably absent, Madonna, who attended the show but skipped the party.

A few local celebrity artists joined forces to help the Miami Children’s Museum celebrate its first annual Family Carnival on Sunday.  Romero Britto, Alex Yanes and the guys from Ruthless and Toothless joined young fans in creating murals that will be displayed at the museum.


By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore