Hot Fun in the Summer-time

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On August - 27 - 2009
Crystal Waters

Crystal Waters

Apple Restaurant and Lounge finally opened last week, after much ado about rain delays, permits, yada, yada, yada… The highly-anticipated LA eatery held a small

soiree last Wednesday evening for special guests including: principal, Steve Marlton, Shai Ben Ami, Corina Biton, Jason Clarke, Dr. Julio F. Gallo, Carmel Dubuque, Ricky Elias, Andrea Greenberg, Ashlee Harrison, Yannick and Hadley Henriette, Jillian Jacobson Altit, Edie Laquer, David Lebatard (LEBO), Nicole Lozano, Leslie Wolfson and Dr. Sanford Ziff who had the opportunity to sample a few of the restaurant’s offerings, prepared by chef, Bryan Ogden, son of James Beard Award winning chef, Bradley Ogden. The selections were passed by servers clad in uniforms designed by heiress-turned-fashion designer, Nicky Hilton. Apple, which is open every night but Sunday, is a restaurant from Tuesday-Saturday from 7:00 p.m.-midnight and then becomes a lounge until 5:00 a.m., (Mondays it is only a lounge) has taken over the former Snatch space, which was previously the home of Liquid Lounge (if those walls could talk!). This latest incarnation is more subdued and elegant, with oak-lined walls and astro-turf on the ceiling (we didn’t get that either). Gone are the stripper poles, deer-horned chandelier gilded with bras and our favorite, the mechanic bull that comprised Snatch’s decor. Nothing like watching a drunk, half-naked girl get flung across a bar by a mechanical bull! Ah, but we digress…We suspect that Apple will probably eventually become more lounge than restaurant, so there should still be plenty of bull to go around.

Also on Wednesday, Salon Vaso, the only Miami salon to receive the “A Cut Above” honor in the August issue of Allure Magazine, celebrated with a seaside cocktail aboard the Carrousel Yacht. Over 200 guests were treated to signature hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. VIP attendees included New World Symphony Friends Director, Stacey Glassman, Allure Magazine journalist, Brooke Siegel, NBC 6 meteorologist, Trina Robinson, handbag designer, Dr. Amy Brecka, Get Ink PR principal, Ellen Marchman and Carrousel Yacht owners, Leslie and Ian Kaplan.

On Thursday night, LIV was the scene for one of the hottest parties of the summer,

second only to Nick D’Annunzio’s ‘80s birthday bash, (which we are still buzzing about!), in celebration of 944 magazine’s Nightlife issue. The consensus among party guests was that they haven’t had that much fun in a club in quite some time (dreaded summer months!). The party was a live celebration of music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and today (not to sound like a radio station commercial). Reggeaton megastar, Pitbull, came on first and sang all of his current hits including “Culo,” “Ay Chico-Lengua Afuera” and his newest song “I Know You Want Me.” Pitbull surprised the already excited crowd when he brought out guest performer, Lil’ Jon. Representing the 70s was Anita Ward, who sang her timeless hit “Ring My Bell.” 90s dance music diva, Crystal Waters, kept the energy going when she sang chart-topping dance floor anthems such as “Gypsy Woman” (La da di dow dow…she’s homeless-you’re singing it now, aren’t you?),” “100% Pure Love” and her most recent smash “Destination Unknown!” When asked about the party, 944’s editor, Hadley Henriette, said, “Pitbull’s performance was really off the hook. I didn’t expect him to show up with a five piece band and all. Everybody was up on the tables during Calle Ocho. Anita Ward belted out Ring My Bell. What can I say? She’s still got it! It was 2:30 in the morning by the time Crystal Waters got busy with two back-up dancers. The crowd went nuts and Crystal sounded just like it was 1993. LIV is usually closed on Thursdays, but we brought in a great crowd. Everyone who was there really felt like they were part of something special: to see all these great performers…or maybe it was the Hornitos.” Hornitos and Presidente provided the cocktails for the party, which was well attended by many of the folks featured in the Nightlife issue, including: Jimmy Vargas, Erin Newberg, Buster Cox and Barbara Basti. Also in attendance were musicians, Doug E. Fresh; Dorks, Morons, and Geeks; Black Dada and T-Pain; Joseph Soracchi from The First 48 Hours; Mario Mosely from Dance your Ass Off, and Maria Lankina from Miami Social.

Prior to the 944 extravaganza, RA Sushi in South Miami celebrated its one year anniversary with a “Mad Hatter’s Sake-Tea-Ni Party,” which raised over $800 for The Wellness Community – Greater Miami.

The fun continued throughout the weekend. On Friday, The Fifth hosted the latest performance to support the GREY GOOSE® Entertainment presents “Rising Icons” series.  R&B diva, Keri Hilson, performed an entire set to a packed crowd. Dennis Rodman, Cindy Taylor and David Lee Roth (strange bedfellows indeed) helped to celebrate Bullets 4 Peace designer, Rafi Anteby’s birthday at the Eden Roc hotel on Saturday night with a poolside fashion show featuring painted models walking the runway.   Sunday night at LIV was quite a scene. Singer/producer, Ryan Leslie, took the stage, delighting fans including Michael Jordan, Matt Damon, his wife Lucy, and Wilmer Valderrama.

Coming Up

The MOCA Shakers, a group of young, international patrons of the Museum of Contemporary Art, will hold a kick-off party for the launch of their season on Thursday, September 3, at the Viceroy’s Club 50 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The launch will be an effort to boost ticket sales for MOCA’s upcoming Mystery Dates fundraiser which is scheduled for November 7.  A party to promote a party, what a novel idea! Grey Goose Vodka will be serving up free cocktails during the launch party and MOCA insiders ensure a good showing of their “hip artsy members.” The Mystery Dates Party will include glamorous dinner parties at the private homes of some of Miami’s most intriguing art collectors and designers.  The ‘mystery’ of which dinner each guest will attend will be revealed immediately preceding the dinner, at a cocktail party at Museo Vault. Proceeds from this event benefit MOCA exhibitions of emerging and experimental artists.

Celebrity Sightings:

W South Beach was a celeb hotspot this weekend. Basketball legend, Michael Jordan, was spotted taking in the scene and cuisine at Mr. Chow on Friday night.   Meanwhile, comedian, Eddie Griffin, was hanging out in a different area of the hotel enjoying a little downtime after his performance at the Miami ImprovAkon,  Alonzo Mourning and good friend, Amare Stoudemire, of the Phoenix Suns savored mixologist, Ilad Svi’s tantalizing concoctions at the Living Room. The cast of Burn Notice wrapped up filming on the terrace of Area 31 restaurant and at the pool deck of the EPIC hotel on Monday.  The hotel and restaurant will be featured in the season finale.   So You Think You Can Dance? winner, Jeanine Mason held a party for 800 of her closest fans and friends at Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom last week. Fresh out of high school, Mason is starring in a 41 city tour with the top 12 dancers, from the show. The tour is scheduled to hit the American Airlines Arena on Oct. 22.

They Don’t Call ‘em Dog Days for Nothing

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On August - 10 - 2009

By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

whotelsouthbeachAs summer drags on and kids prepare to go off to school next week, locals strive to find creative ways to entertain themselves amidst the mugginess, summer storms and a sluggish social calendar. The good news is that although celeb sightings are scarce this time of year, fun times can still be had at hotels such as W South Beach, various wine dinners, cool restaurants offering terrific deals and events such as RA Sushi’s Anniversary Party and the Brickell Art Crawl.

W South Beach has served as a ground zero of sorts for socialites and A-listers over the past couple of weeks. Gigi Levangie Grazer recently hosted a party for the Miami launch of her fourth book, Queen Takes King, alongside tastemakers including Alejandra and Tico Torres, Lisa Pliner, Eva Chow, Fernanda Dormit, Francesca Leoni, Frederic Dechnik, Hernan Arriaga, Karim Masri, Laure Hériard Dubreuil, Leslie Wolfson, Paul Bacardi, Richard David Story, Rita Schrager, Sam Robin, Sarah and Jason Callender, Sarah Harrelson, Suzy Buckley, Valeria and Ugo Campello, and Nicola Siervo, who celebrated his birthday last Saturday at W South Beach with a dinner at Solea and a party at Wall. In honor of the title of her sexy new novel, the striking Grazer was dressed like a queen. All of the servers wore silver tiaras as they passed the party food and cocktails on wooden chess boards, instead of trays. Grazer’s guests were treated to GREY GOOSE La Poire Peartinis, Caipiroskas and hors d’ oeuvres from Soleà, while Grazer mingled and signed copies of Queen Takes King.

The following day, luxury, fashion, lifestyle “expert” and author, Lara Shriftman, co-founder of PR firm, Harrison & Shriftman held a Day of Beauty for forty five of her closest friends at, you guessed it, the W South Beach. The lucky ladies were treated to a day of beauty, shopping, gifting, and relaxation, oh and let’s not forget the delicious lunch and cocktails. Guests also received astrology readings by Barbie Leyva and makeovers. When asked about the party, Shriftman, with baby Lucas on her hip, explained, “All of these activities and treatments created an ambiance of feminine worldliness, allowing all the guests to feel relaxed and effortlessly beautiful.” Upon leaving the party, each guest received a suitcase (yes, you read correctly) of fabulous gifts, including products, clothing, and gift certificates! Friendship definitely has its privileges.

Coming Up

Don’t Miss RA’s Sake-Tea-Ni

RA Sushi in South Miami’s celebrates its one year anniversary this Thursday, August 20, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. The theme for the restaurant’s special celebration is a “Mad Hatter’s Sake-Tea-Ni Party” complete with themed food and cocktails, dance beats by DJ Johnny the Boy and local celebrity drag queen Daisy Deadpetals reigning as the night’s “Queen of Hearts!” The party will boast everything from wild and crazy hats worn by staff, to a “Pin the Grin” on the Cheshire Cat game, flavored hookahs, and themed décor throughout.  Specially priced rolls and cocktails will be available throughout the night, with $ 2.00 from the purchase of each menu item going to The Wellness Community of Greater Miami.

Badrutt’s is the Place to be for the Brickell Art Crawl

Badrutt’s Place, the European gem in the heart of Brickell, will be the focal point during the Brickell Art Crawl, this Friday, August 21, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. The Crawl is part of the highly- anticipated celebration of the recently completed Heineken Miami Mural, designed by Kiki Valdez. The works of other local artists will be revealed as well, with art installations by Carlos Lizano, Damien Cruz, Ruben Ubiera, Victor Payares and Renier Gamboa. Four other restaurants including Segafredo, Novecento, Piola and Dolores Lolita, will participate in the crawl, with Badrutt’s Place at the center being that it is located exactly at the halfway point. While at Badrutt’s, make sure to take advantage of the weekly happy hour and enjoy 2-for-1 cocktails, wine, and a beer along with a specially designed bar menu created by internationally renowned mixologist and chef Mario Da Como.  We highly recommend staying for dinner and sampling Da Como’s delicious creations and charming “table-side” manner. Some of our favorites include: tiradito, shrimp, risotto, crab cakes, cheeseburger bites, albondiga ‘Jeremy style’ tomato dip and pepper crusted beef medallions with horseradish sauce. To get more of a sophisticated dining experience make sure to get to Badrutt’s by 8:00 p.m. At around 11:00 p.m., the party bus arrives and the entire vibe changes, as the DJ and party people take over.

Sizzling Summer Steals

Start Wining

Canyon Ranch Grill invites guests to “Name that Grape” during an evening showcase of fine sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines. On August 20, guests will be guided by wine professionals through a tasting and Q & A session as they sample delicious hors d’oeuvres by Executive Chef Elizabeth Barlow. This month, guests will participate in a “blind tasting” featuring six anonymous wines. The guest that correctly guesses the most wines at the end of the evening wins a free bottle when dining at the Grill. The tasting begins at 6:00 p.m. and tickets are just $20 including complimentary valet parking. Call 305.514.7165 to RSVP.

On August 25, Eos continues its monthly wine dinner series with specially selected wines from the Tuscan Hills region. Guests will enjoy a delicious reception and multi-course dinner paired with five wines from Tuscany’s western border, a region recognized for its use of traditional grape varieties in its production of high quality Italian wines. The featured wines including the Chianti Classico by Fontodi 2005 and the Brunello di Monalcino by Tenuta Friggiali 1999 are ideal compliments to Chef Michael Psilakis’ signature dishes – Muscovy duck breast with dried cherry bordelaise, radicchio and truffled potato, and the grilled dry aged sirloin among others. Reception begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $95. For reservations, please call 305.503.4400, ext. 7151.

Meat Market, continues its popular monthly Wine Dinner series, organized by sommelier Gabriel Varela and rising star chef/co-owner Sean Brasel, on Tuesday, August 25, 2009, with a 7:00 p.m. reception and 8:00 p.m. seating. The third of many wine dinners, Varela pairs Brasel’s bold, contemporary American cuisine with the award-winning wines of Château St. Jean winery. The five-course dinner menu, with paired wines, priced at $160.00 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity.

Step Aside Kernel Sanders

Chef Michelle Bernstein has rolled out a special summer menu at Michy’s, her flagship Miami restaurant. Every Wednesday night, Bernstein is cooking up an endless fried chicken feast, priced at just $33 per person. In addition to the artery-clogging fried chicken, the Wednesday night smorgasbord features a bottomless parade of sides: biscuits n’ gravy, coleslaw, and watermelon Greek salad. The dinner includes a slice of luscious dark chocolate cream pie.

Celebrity Sightings

Mos Def brought down the house during his performance at the Arsth Center over the weekend. Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos Alvarez, walked down the aisle at Mansion’s celebrated dinner theatre show, Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding, on Saturday night with his entire family. The Mayor feasted on an Italian spaghetti dinner and wedding cake, and partook in the interactive show, dancing in the conga line with 200 other “wedding crashers” to the tune of “HOT HOT HOT.”  Last week, retired football player Warren Sapp keep things “kosher” at Rare kosher steak house with two guests.

Kayne West and John Legend shot their new music video at LIV Sunday night. West’s girlfriend, Amber, danced the whole time cheering on her boyfriend, while the crowd went nuts. Last Sunday, Ludacris and Manezane of The Runners partied at LIV’s Imagine Sundays. Rapper, Pitbull, received a Key to the City on Wednesday. Pitbull will perform along with Crystal Waters, Doug E. Fresh and Anita “You Can Ring My Bell” Ward for 944’s Nightlife Issue Celebration at LIV this Thursday.

Froelich-ing About Town

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On June - 25 - 2009

1-a-lead-photo-author-paula-froelich-and-vanessa-menkesThe Webster’s soiree for the launch of Page Six editor, Paula Froelich’s new book was a subdued and sophisticated affair. The brilliant, fabulous and all-around-cool-girl, Froelich signed copies of her book, Mercury in Retrogade, and mingled with distinguished guests, including: Suzy Buckley, Yannick and Hadley Henriette, Suzanne Birbragher, Sandee Saunders, Dr. Julio Gallo, Gigi Ganatra, Leslie Wolfson, Ashlee Harrison, Stephanie De La O, Ashlee Harrison, Daniela Swaebe, Jami Mark, Vanessa Menkes, Vanessa Poskanzer, Aaron Glickman, Jilian Sanz, Ellen Marchman and Markus Ketty, to name a few. Froelich praised the efforts of writers and discussed just how difficult it is to succeed in the field. When asked how she felt when she received the first shipment of her published books she laughed and stated, “I crapped my pants!” Inspiring! Read the rest of this entry »