BY JESS SWANSON
Just when you thought Mandolin Aegean Bistro—with its lantern-lit terrace and rustic backhouse—couldn’t get any more charming, co-owner Anastasia Koutsioukis has engineered the Design District’s very own on-site garden. Tucked away behind the bistro, the inconspicuous one-acre plot provides Mandolin with its own supply of organic herbs and vegetables, which are used in select menu items. Since the restaurant’s opening three years ago, Koutsioukis has worked closely with local farms and suppliers, but her dream, she says, has always been to “grow and pick veggies like my mother and grandmother did in Greece.” It was Koutsioukis’s garden-to-table vision that had her seek out Ready-to-Grow Gardens, a company that helps others cultivate organic vegetables, herbs, and fruits all year in South Florida. The plot will yield an eclectic mix of South Florida and Mediterranean produce such as kale, parsley, tomatoes, and other seasonal varieties to be used in the Garden Special, which will provide patrons with handpicked greens dressed simply in Cretan olive oil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and sea salt. Since only nature can dictate the amount harvested, come early, while supplies last. 4312 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-576-6066
photography by gary james
Go behind the scenes with Elle Macpherson during her Ocean Drive photo shoot.