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Miami Cocktail Company's Guilt-Free Drinks

Not only are they "skinny", they are also all-natural and eco-friendly.

June 13, 2013

Miami Cocktail Company splashes onto the scene with single serving, low-cal drinks
Miami Cocktail Company splashes onto the scene with single serving, low-cal drinks

Move over Skinny Girl, Miami is home to a new, locally-based premixed cocktail purveyor, Miami Cocktail Company. Sold in single serving bottles, each cocktail checks in at 84 calories, with no additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, or gluten. 

The sips get their taste via natural fruit extracts, a smidgen of Splenda, and distilled spirits, including 100 percent blue agave tequila and Cuban rums. Currently there are five flavors: Old Time Sweet Tea, Cherry Margarita, Pina Colada, Classic Mojito, and Pink Lemonade.

Miami Cocktail Company is the brainchild of Ross Graham and Simon Benstead. The pair made sure that Miami style resonated through every brand detail, including the packaging, which nods our city's rich, Art Deco allure. And in-keeping with the all-natural ingredients, the drinks and their vessels are also eco-friendly, thanks to recycled materials, water-based inks, and organic and bio-dynamic ingredients. Miami Cocktail Company bottles are currently sold at Vintage Liquor and Wine Bar in Midtown. 3301 N.E. 1st Ave., #105 Miami, 305-514-0307



What to See at the American Black Film Festival

Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, and Kevin Hart headline this year's lineup.

June 12, 2013

Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys at Sundance
Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys team up for the new film The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

Film Life’s star-studded American Black Film Festival (ABFF) returns to The Ritz Carlton South Beach from Wednesday, June 19 to Sunday, June 23. The five-day affair will spotlight upcoming new releases and world premieres as well as short film, documentary, narrative, and webisode competitions backed by the likes of Nickelodeon, CNN, and HBO.

The 17th edition of the ABFF opens with The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, starring Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jordin Sparks, Jeffrey Wright, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Anthony Mackie, and Jennifer Hudson. The film, powered by executive producer Alicia Keys and director George Tillman, follows two boys who are abandoned in a Brooklyn project.

ABFF's cinephile celebrations will close with the world premiere of Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, releasing nationwide on July 3. Lionsgate shot Hart's stand-up comedy set inside Madison Square Garden: The tour itself made history as one of the highest grossing comedic endeavors of all time.

ABFF has also partnered with the City of Miami's Community Redevelopment Agency to present "Films Over Miami," a showcase of local filmmakers and emerging talent. Movies will screen at the Colony Theatre, Gusman Theater, and Miami Beach Cinematheque. Limited-quantity event tickets are currently available online. Festival passes will be available on-site starting Wednesday, June 19. The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, 1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach




Q&A: Jewelry Designer Paula Mendoza

Meet the designer who's all about gold, raw gems, and artful inspiration.

June 12, 2013

Mendoza in her own designs 

Recently in town for a trunk show at Miami Beach's Pistils & Petals, New York City-based jewelry designer Paula Mendoza's statement jewelry starts conversations. The Colombian-born designer has made a name for herself through her use of raw gems, particularly emeralds, and Colombian gold. We chatted with the journalist-turned-designer before her anticipated arrival to find out what inspires her standout designs.

How would you describe your designs?
PAULA MENDOZA: Bold, rich, elegant, and timeless. 

How do you feel your designs fit into Miami's aesthetic?
PM: I think my jewelry aesthetic is the perfect combination of hectic, multi-tasking NYC and the relaxed vibe of Miami. It is very bold and fun so I think it is a great fit for the Miami woman who likes to travel. 

I heard you used to be a journalist, is that correct?  
PM: Yes, I went to journalism school in Colombia,  and for a while I was a journalist during the day and a jewelry designer at night. It came to a point that I had to decide between one profession or the other, and I realized then that I wanted to create jewelry full-time.  

What has been your proudest moment as a designer thus far?
PM: When the very stylish first lady of Colombia called me to meet her at the presidential palace to see and buy my jewelry. I was very honored that she chose me as one of her favorite designers. 

Who inspires you? Any particular designer, artist, or architect?
PM: I love Proenza Schouler and also admire the work of Marina Abramović. 

Do you have a dream client or collaboration?
PM: Dream clients would be Michelle Obama and Marina Abramović.



Father's Day Finds at Zeidy's Miami

The new North Beach boutique stocks a plethora of man cave essentials.

June 12, 2013

Man-centric retail destination Zeidy's is now open in North Beach, offering thematic hobbyists, collectors, and aficionados a bevy of trinkets and toys to shop. The new store, owned by couple Natan and Fanny Brach, is a treasure trove of luxury car and sailboat replicas, miniature gadgets, and food and wine related gifts. The store also sells an array of designer cufflinks, ties, watches, and accessories. Natan is no stranger to the retail business: he helped co-found Stonehenge Ltd. in 1984, which became one of the first companies to successfully transfer artwork onto silk neckwear. The company reached its peak in 1992, when president Bill Clinton wore one of their ties featuring Grateful Dead artwork. Natan and Fanny will officially celebrate the grand opening of their latest venture this Thursday, June 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. Guests are welcome to stop by Zeidy's for a classic wine and cheese social and shop last minute Father's Day gifts.



Outdoor Summer Concert Recommender

Bob Dylan, Nicole Henry, and Dave Matthews Band top our can't-miss list.

June 12, 2013

Bob Dylan will perform as part of the Americanarama Festival of Music this month 

Nicole Henry at the Overtown Rhythm & Arts Festival
Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Local songstress Nicole Henry and saxophonist Earnest Walker, Jr. headline the third annual Overtown Rhythm & Arts Festival. The event nods the area's rich cultural history as a hub for legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. The all-day festivities are open to the public. NW 3rd Ave., Between 9th and 11th Streets, Miami

Americanarama Festival of Music Featuring Bob Dylan
Wednesday, June 26, 5:30 p.m.
Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan headlines the Americanarama Festival of Music at the Cruzan Amphitheatre alongside his band Wilco. Dylan's iconic career spans over five decades and intertwines with some of America's most historical turning points, making his June tour stop an absolute must-see. The Americanarama Festival will also feature performances by Bob Weir and My Morning Jacket. 601 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach, 561-422-1658

Dave Matthews Band
Friday and Saturday, July 19-20, 7 p.m.
There's no such thing as a lukewarm Dave Matthews Band fan—you're either a mega-fan or just plain not interested. For the former, the cult-favorite band brings its annual nationwide tour to the Cruzan Amphitheatre for two nights this July. 601 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach, 561-422-1658



South of France Dinner at Pierre's; Father's Day at Mercadito

Plus: Pubbelly Group's new menus, three-day food and wine series at Joey's, and more.

June 11, 2013

The patio at Pierre's

Pierre's Ventures South of France: Head south in the name of sumptuous cuisine for "A Taste of South of France and the Mediterranean" at Pierre's at Morada Bay on Wednesday, June 12. Chef Jouvens Jean has crafted an $85 per person, four-course dinner with wine pairings (think foie gras mousse and saffron bouillabaisse). The waterfront meal will begin at 7 p.m. with a welcome cocktail inside the Green Flash Lounge. 81600 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 81.6, Bayside, 305-664-3225

Joey's Unlocks Its Wine Vault: Wynwood staple Joey's Italian Café is hosting three nights of epicurean indulgences with its "Cantina For Sale" series. Guests can enjoy chef Ivo Mazzon's four-course prix fixe ($28 per person) and then purchase an exclusive selection of 2005 to 2011 wines, priced from $32 to $120 per bottle. The series will run from Tuesday, June 18 to Thursday, June 20. 2506 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami, 304-438-0488

Pubbelly Restaurant Group Launches Summer Menus: Pubbelly and PB Steak kick off their carnivorous summer menus today (June 11). Available throughout August's Miami Spice program, the four-course, shareable dinner is $35 per person at Pubbelly and $39 per person at PB Steak.

Father's Day Fiesta at Mercadito: Midtown's Mercadito is serving a brunch just for pops on Sunday, June 16 (11 a.m.-4 p.m.), featuring four family-style courses overloaded with Mexican and barbecue specialties. The $35 per person feast will also flaunt a complimentary brunch cocktail and surprise gift for dad. 3252 N.E. 1st Ave., Miami, 786-369-0430

New Brunch Dishes at Harry's Pizzeria: Six new dishes are crossing the Sunday tablecloth at Harry's Pizzeria (11 a.m.-4 p.m.). Tuck into a crispy risotto cake, chicken sausage crespelle, and chocolate hazelnut panettone with candied orange zest. 3918 N Miami Ave., Miami, 786-275-4963

Cooper Avenue is Officially Done: Last year Miami Beach's Cooper Avenue was dramatically shut down just months after opening, alleging air conditioning and ventilation issues. Now Short Order is reporting that investors have purchased the space and will reopen it as a surf and turf inspired eatery. [Short Order]



Mixologist to Know: Ryan Goodspeed

The Genuine Hospitality Group beverage director talks ingredients and bar scene trends.

June 10, 2013

The Genuine Hospitality Group beverage director Ryan Goodspeed 

While on vacation in 2008, Ryan Goodspeed visited Michael's Genuine Food & Drink with friends—and he was so impressed that he applied to work for The Genuine Hospitality Group the next day. Now the company's beverage director, Goodspeed has overseen the bar programs of four restaurants, most recently Restaurant Michael Schwartz inside The Raleigh, where he also tends the hotel's beloved Martini Bar.

He believes in keeping cocktails simple and using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. "If you're always using the finest produce or spirits, you're going to execute something unique [with just] a few ingredients," Goodspeed explains. Right now he's working a lot with lychees, passionfruit, tamarind, and mangos. 

"I really like working with different types of honey, smokey black teas, spices, Panther Coffee cold brew and espresso, syrups, grapefruit juice, and new spirits coming to market or old ones being revived. There's always a hidden combination of flavors to be found," he says.  

As far as career path, Goodspeed took big cues from his first mentor, The Plow & Angel Bar's Brett Freeman. "I think the best piece of advice he ever gave me was to stick to restaurant bars." And that advice seems to be catching on throughout South Beach. "The big clubs will always be around, but as awareness for food and drinks grows, so will the craft cocktail scene on Miami Beach. As long as pricing is reasonable, they will come," says Goodspeed.

Currently, you can catch Goodspeed and special guest bartenders every Tuesday night (7-9 p.m.) at The Raleigh Martini Bar. Each week a new guest host introduces an original martini to be added to the Martini Culture Menu. 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach



Father's Day Gift Recommender

Seven Father's Day presents for discerning Miami dads.

June 10, 2013



Zuma Extends Brunch to Saturdays

You can now enjoy the riverside restaurant's Japanese brunch all weekend-long.

June 07, 2013

Enjoy a piled high sushi bar and new seasonal dishes at Zuma's Saturday and Sunday brunch service

The Epic Hotel & Residence's Zuma is now serving its decadent Sunday brunch on Saturdays, too (11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.), offering weekend guests a bevy of original favorites, as well as new seasonal items. The sushi counter will continue to serve endless sushi, sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls while soups, salads, and robata specialities stream out of the kitchen. 

Weekend brunch seatings begin at $95 per person and fluctuate dependent on Champagne and menu selection. Sample dishes include yellowtail and avocado rolls, babyback ribs with ginger, chili, and scallions, and plenty of oysters and ceviche. All brunch tiers include a family-style Japanese mushroom hotpot and dessert platter—served over ice. 

Zuma has also switched up its cocktail rotation, debuting sips like The Apricot Friendly, made with Tito's Handmade vodka, apricot, and Sapporo beer. Utilizing with the bar's new Sonicprep Homogeniser, a gadget that allows mixologists to infuse beverages with their ingredients of choice, the savory Umami Mary packs house-made truffle dashi vodka. Best of all, the restaurant has added fans and shade to its breezy waterside terrace. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305-577-0277



What We're Reading

Grove at Grand Bay breaks ground, David Beckham fuels the Miami soccer team rumor mill...

June 07, 2013

A rendering of the Grove at Grand Bay 

The Terra Group broke ground on its forthcoming Grove at Grand Bay luxury condominiums Wednesday. The project will feature cutting-edge designs by architect Bjarke Ingels, an on-site chef, pet spa, and four pools. [The Miami Herald]

Soccer's David Beckham showed up courtside (again) during a Miami Heat playoffs game this week. LeBron James shook Beckham's hand upon returning to the bench, further fueling those Major League Soccer team rumors. [Huffington Post Miami]

Locals and tourists alike know Miami Beach is synonymous with hours of fun in the sun, but it may be time to lather on the sunblock even when we're not frolicking seaside. Scientists in Australia have discovered that daily, full-body sunscreen usage dramatically reduces the skin's aging process. [NBC News]

Back in January, the Miami New Times caused a stir with its report on a Miami-based clinic that allegedly provided banned substances to Major League Baseball players, including Alex Rodriguez. ESPN Outside the Lines broke more news this week with allegations that the MLB is seeking hefty suspensions for the 20 players connected to the drug scandal. [ESPN] [Miami New Times]

Statistics student Joshua Katz has created a culturally-comedic series of maps that highlight regional differences in pronunciation. South Florida got a special shout out for its association with more Northeasterly accents and terminology and as one of the few places in the country that knows what a "sunshower" is. [Business Insider]


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