Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Visitor to Miami: The Follow-Up...

So here's some interesting timing...right after I posted my "Guide to Miami" the other day, two similar items caught my eye.  The first (published one day after mine) is from the Wall Street Journal called "An Insider's Guide to Miami," and you'll find some interesting overlap. The second (published three days after mine) is from ESPN and mentions a particular Miami steakhouse that I also "reviewed."  The full text of both is below. (Gives me some credibility, right? ...right?)

Castles in the Sand

Red Light in the Blu Motel offers excellent dockside manatee-watching.

Ever since savvy developers began turning this riverside farmland into a millionaire's playground (and middle-class dream destination) in the 1920s, Miami has been equally built on style and scam. It's become a tradition for strivers and refugees arriving here to reinvent themselves—and, in the process, reinvent the city.
Miami is elastic, always retaking its shape, whether in the wake of the 1926 hurricane that flattened its beaches, or the "Scarface" era of cocaine violence in the early 1980s. The city would have to wait another decade before the South Beach renaissance would transform a tropical war zone into a hipster paradise.

The Standard Spa, Miami Beach
In Miami's latest reincarnation, artists have migrated from an increasingly out-priced South Beach to cheaper spaces across Biscayne Bay, reinvigorating mainland neighborhoods walloped by the condo bust and financial downturn. The annual carnival of art and money that is Art Basel Miami Beach (playing out across the city Dec. 2-5) is just the high point of a cultural scene that's remaking the peninsula yet again.
South Beach as buzz destination has largely been supplanted by areas like the Design District and MiMo (for '50s and '60s Miami Modern, the ongoing architectural vogue), filled with restaurants both haute and homey, as well as plenty of funky boutiques and clubs.
The Wynwood area plays home to sleek galleries and warehouse walls exploding with graffiti murals. Further south, there are more cultural nuclei in Little Havana, where nostalgia-chic clubs and galleries such as Hoy Como Ayer and Cuba Ocho vibrate with rhythms from new and old exiles. In North Miami, artist studios and independent galleries—as well as thrift stores and Caribbean markets—orbit the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Cubans may still be the largest and most visible group among the 69% of the city that is Hispanic, but more recent influxes of Colombians, Venezuelans, Argentines and Brazilians have brought new flavors and
dramas, as well as new candidates to soak up this city—and then rebuild it from scratch.
—Jordan Levin
The Restaurateur
[Miami concierge]
Michelle Bernstein
James Beard Award winner and co-owner of restaurants Michy's on the Biscayne corridor and Sra. Martinez in the Design District
Southern Fish Camp: Red Light in the Blu Motel. This two-year-old cafe has a great late-night menu, including wahoo fish dip and burgers, and an intimate bar scene. Excellent dockside manatee-watching. 7700 Biscayne Blvd.,
Catch of the Day: Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market. Just pure sepia-tone Florida, and it's Cuban, too. You can dock your boat, jump out and have a fab meal. Everything is super simple, fried or grilled. I love the caramel-y sweet fried plantains with grilled lobster. 398 N.W. North River Drive,
China Grill: Hakkasan. Every Jewish girl loves Chinese, and this place is my go-to. They have Maine lobster with chive blossoms and they make their own tofu. It's inside the Fontainebleau. 4441 Collins Ave.,
Fine Dining-in-Residence: Casa Tua. It's a vine-covered mansion that feels like it's in the Mediterranean. Talk about sexy and romantic—it's like eating in a luxe, secluded private home with a courtyard. 1700 James Ave.,
Teen-and-Mom Shop: Rebel.This shop is really fun. You can get something super sexy or more covered up. They sell pieces by hip clothing lines and local designers. 6669 Biscayne Blvd., 305-758-2369
The Connoisseur
[Miami concierge]
Mitchell "Micky" Wolfson Jr.
Art and design collector; founder of The Wolfsonian-Florida International University Museum
Garage Sale: Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art. This independent curator's gallery, housed in the owner's garage has audacity, style, intelligence and it's not so easy to find, which makes it fun. 158 N.W. 91st St.,
Embarrassment of Riches: Las Tias. All of the opulent design and home accessory treasures of the former oligarchs' palaces seem to end up for sale at the baroque emporium co-owned by real estate agent and social diva Esther Percal. 2834 North Miami Ave.,
Diva Needs: C. Madeleine's. No longer Miami's best-kept fashion secret, this 10,000-square-foot designer vintage store draws the likes of ladies Madonna and Gaga. 13702 Biscayne Blvd.,
Poseidon Adventure: Stoneage Antiques. An ocean's worth of deep-sea nautical curios and other memorabilia, from diving helmets and cannons to sleigh bells and stuffed polar bears. A Mad-Hatter's wonderland. 3236 N.W. South River Drive,
Puppet Mastery: Pablo Cano Studio & Gallery. Artist Pablo is a genius of fantasy, known for his charming and huge marionettes that would give Julie Taymor pause.Address by request,
The Writer
[Miami concierge]
Edwidge Danticat
MacArthur "Genius" Award–winning author of "Brother, I'm Dying"; Miami resident
Bakery and Cafe: Buena Vista Bistro. They specialize in classic French fare. You can have a meeting here, or just breakfast with the girls. Its owners give my daughters free Madeleines. 4582 N.E. Second Ave.,
Designer Treasures: Angel's Vintage Boutique. A mother-daughter team scour estate sales in Florida and beyond to pack this funky little shop with archival designer wear (think '60s Chanel frocks). 4308 N.E. Second Ave., 305-573-4308
Voudou Culture: Libreri Mapou. Jan Mapou's Little Haiti landmark is a true cultural center, selling Haitian books, music and beaded voodoo flags. The scene vibrates with live drumming and poetry readings. 5919 N.E. 2nd Ave.,
Haiti Haven: Tap Tap. This little hangout has great ambiance and extraordinary murals on the walls. I love the Erzulie room, presided over by the Haitian goddess of love. The rum punch and kremas (a sweet, lethal cream liquor) are exceptional. 819 Fifth St.,
Story Villa: Books & Books in Coral Gables. This is one of the country's leading independent bookstores: a hub for Miami literati, with readings almost nightly, and an airy courtyard restaurant. 265 Aragon Ave.,
The Collector
Art patron, gallerist and co-founder (with husband Carlos de la Cruz) of the De La Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space in Miami
Glass Menagerie: Fratelli Lyon. You eat surrounded by design at this Italian restaurant with sleek, bright, hyper-contemporary décor, in a glass bubble filled with top Italian wares from companies like Driade, Vitra and Maxalto. The furniture is always the latest. 4141 N.E. Second Ave.,
Real Deal: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. Michael Schwartz's restaurant offers unexpected takes on American fare. The desserts, in particular, are mouth-boggling puzzles of flavor. 130 N.E. 40th St.,
Cuban Classic: Puerto Sagua. The simple family-style eatery has nourished Cuba nostalgists since opening in 1968. Check out the Scull Sisters' whimsical sculpted 3-D mural of Havana in the day. 700 Collins Ave., 305-673-1115
Art and Sole: Christian Louboutin. An intricate installation of colored stockings guards the entry to one of the Design District's latest boutiques. 155 N.E. 40th St.,
Basel Tops: Marni. Art world denizens come straight from the airport to shop at this outpost from the family-owned, high-fashion store. Art Basel is practically a Marni runway show. 3930 N.E. Second Ave., Page 2

Monday, November 8, 2010
Red, The Steakhouse, attracts LeBron, D-Wade

Red, The Steakhouse
If you're in Miami and hoping to sneak a peek at the Heat off the court, try Red, The Steakhouse, in South Beach, which has been a favorite eatery for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
The upscale steakhouse, which opened in 2009 and is an offshoot of the original Red, The Steakhouse, in suburban Cleveland, made it to Miami before LeBron, but James' move to the Heat hasn't hurt.
"LeBron was into the Red in Cleveland, but has been to the Miami Red more frequently," said Peter Vauthy, who is executive chef and one of the proprietors of Red.
Though the Cleveland location was a go-to spot for James, there haven't been any negative aftershocks because, Vauthy said, the Ohio location isn't near the Cavaliers' arena.
Red's shrimp carbonara pasta and chicken is a LeBron favorite. Meat eaters can follow the lead of Wade, who likes the C.A.B. prime steaks, Kobe beef, pastas, seafood and fresh lemonade.
"Since we opened, at least 30 different times we've had members of the Heat in Red, along with many current and former NBA players," Vauthy said.
Wade has been a regular since the restaurant opened. Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Hedo Turkoglu, Rudy Gay and Shaquille O'Neal have also sampled the fare.
Players can be difficult to spot because they often eat in a VIP section behind drawn curtains. They also usually arrive after normal dinner hours.
When Wade walks into the restaurant, "Everyone [gets] a bit starstruck and you could see the guests at the restaurant buzzing about it," Vauthy said.
The restaurant, which is owned in part by former NBA player Charles Oakley, is also frequented by NFL and NHL players. As the Heat's season gets into full swing, Vauthy anticipates an uptick.
"I'm sure we'll see an upswing due to the buzz and personality of having LeBron as one of our guests," he said.

1 comment:

  1. Benjamin....WHY do you question your credibility???? You're everyone's Millionaire lifeline, remember??!! I just except all, books, music, food, etc. as gospel. But I am your mother too!