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Labor Day Weekend Bites

A double duck slider at HaVen, surf and turf burger at The Forge, and more.

August 28, 2012

The Duck-Duck XL Quail Slider at HaVen Gastro-Lounge

Lobster on the Lawn at Bianca at the Delano
Bianca is putting a Labor Day barbecue twist on its classic Sunday brunch (11 AM–4 PM). For $55 per person, guests can upgrade their eats and hit the lawn for fresh Florida lobster, Italian sausage, and more. 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-674-5752; delano-hotel.com

A Double Duck Slider at HaVen Gastro-Lounge
HaVen is serving up a savory alternative to Labor Day's typical barbecue offerings. Try the Duck-Duck XL Quail Slider, which sandwiches a ground duck patty with foie gras butter and parsley-shallot salad and gets topped off with a fried quail egg. 237 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-987-8885; havenlounge.com  

The Ultimate Burger at The Forge Restaurant and Wine Bar
Few places may dare to add lobster marmalade and boneless short ribs to 10 ounces of grilled angus sirloin, but The Forge is not known for convention. All three ingredients meet on the Creekstone Farms burger, which is served with truffled French fries and pomegranate ketchup. 432 41st St., Miami Beach, 305-538-8533; theforge.com



8 Fall Looks by RaMona LaRue

The homegrown boho-chic brand takes a walk on the wild side.

August 27, 2012

RaMona LaRue by Arianne has made a name for itself around the country, filling the racks of retail elites like Henri Bendel, Nordstrom, and Fred Segal. But the label's signature prints and silks are made right in our own backyard, a product of Coconut Grove native Arianne Brown. Brown gained her appreciation for art from her mother Ramona, whose transcendent spirit was the catalyst for the brand's creation and namesake. This September, Brown will debut a fall collection flaunting subtle yet seductive animal prints and stripes in neutral tones. Our must-haves include the day-to-night palazzos and breezy pieces in exotic elephant skin print. Look out for more new additions in vibrant pumpkin hues, teals, and tribal prints in October. All can be found locally at Aleren, ISA Boutique, Jessie Boutique, Koko & Palenki, Savvy Girl, and Studio LX.



Miami Bartender Battle

Five mixologists will go head-to-head at Blackbird Ordinary next Monday.

August 25, 2012

The third annual Appleton Estate Rum Remixology bartender challenge will stir things up at Blackbird Ordinary next Monday, August 27 (6 PM). Five bartender semifinalists will present and prepare original cocktails in the hopes of winning a spot in New York City's Remixology Finals in early September.  

Among Monday night's cocktail contenders are Nick Nistico (Soho Beach House), Cricket Nelson (The Stage), Robert Ferrara (The Dutch), and Richie Petronzi (Florida Room). Each contestant must inspire an Apple Estate Rum cocktail from a song. The winner of the national challenge will receive a week-long, all expenses paid trip to Jamaica. 729 S.W. 1st Ave., Miami, 305-671-3307



Dinner Plans: A 'Top Chef' Pop-Up

Food TV regular Elizabeth Falkner serves a Sicilian prix-fixe through Saturday.

August 24, 2012

Chef Elizabeth Falkner

San Francisco chef Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake, Orson) kicked off a three night pop-up prix-fixe last night that will continue through Saturday, August 25. Hosted by the Miami Culinary Institute (MCI), Falkner is serving a three-course Sicilian dinner with wine pairings ($90). The former Top Chef Masters and The Next Iron Chef competitor will serve the meal family-style, with a traditional apertivi cocktail hour preceding—mixologist Darren Crawford will tend to the drinks. Tickets for an exclusive VIP cooking demonstration with Falkner are also available. After tantalizing Miamians with her Sicilian recipes, Falkner will head to Brooklyn to put the finishing touches her newest haunt, Krescendo, the menu for which inspired her MCI pop-up. Tickets to the here-this-weekend event are available exclusively on Living Social. 415 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami, 305-237-3276.



Weekend Recommender: August 23-26

The Miami Dolphins cheerleader runway show, a polo-centric bistro opening, and more!

August 23, 2012

Eating House chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and partner Alex Cassanova (LEFT)

Doma Polo Bistro Grand Opening
Thursday, August 23, 8-11 PM
Downtown Miami has a new resident in Doma Polo Bistro, which serves a mix of Argentinian and Meditteranean cuisine in a polo-inspired setting. Opening night promises complimentary cocktails and passed menu samplings. The venue kindly requests an online RSVP. 900 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, 305-400-0588

Eating House Pops Back Up  
Pop-up phenom Eating House reopened last Friday for a stint through October, when it will close again for permanent venue renovations and emerge during season. The menu changes daily, but this week’s plates included Cap’n Crunch pancakes, carbonara eggs Benedict, and bone marrow with escargot. Dinner is served Tuesday to Saturday starting at 7 PM and Sunday brunch is served from noon to 5 PM. 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, 305-448-6524

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders at LIV
Saturday, August 25, 8 PM
The Miami Dolphins cheerleaders will take over LIV for their annual swimwear fashion show. The ladies will be joined onstage by hip-hop icon Darryl "DMC" McDaniels of Run-DMC. After the show, the squad will unveil its 2013 swimsuit calendar and sign autographs for fans. The $25 ticket and registration cost will be donated to the Miami Dolphins Foundation. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-4680

IKnowArt at Nikki Beach
Saturday, August 25, 2-7PM
Nikki Beach's garden area will welcome an afternoon exhibition featuring three local artists: Eleazar Delgado, Josepo, and MANO will each display works amidst Nikki's luscious greenery. Those who RSVP online can sip complimentary cocktails while perusing the art. IKnowArt is free and open to the public. One Ocean Drive, Miami Beach



Labor Day Getaway: Marco Island

Just 100 miles west of Miami is a pristine playground for golfers and gourmands alike.

August 23, 2012

STAY: Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort & Spa
Thanks to its unparalleled hospitality and stellar services, this Balinese-inspired seaside retreat earned a spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Gold List of The World’s Best Places to Stay. In 2009, the resort completed a redesign worth over $250 million, bringing in luxe mahogany furnishings, boutique shopping, and seven property restaurants. The resort also comprises two golf courses, one of which, The Rookery, houses a bird sanctuary. In fact, the course is just one of 25 worldwide to receive Audubon International's "Gold Certified Signature Sanctuary" stamp.

DINE: Kurrents and Marek's Collier House Restaurant
The resort's own Kurrents restaurant serves a much-loved, locally sourced menu. In addition to 21-day aged Black Angus chops, Kurrents samples the sea with dishes like citrus glazed Chilean sea bass and pumpkin agnolotti or day boat scallops with corn flan, morel mushrooms, roasted fennel, and pungent black garlic emulsion. Oft-loved ingredients like ramps, sweetbreads, mission figs, truffles, preserved lemon, and XO sauce are listed up and down the menu.   

Offsite, Marek's Collier House Restaurant serves European-inspired cuisine inside a historic house built in 1882. Chef and owner Peter Marek has racked up a laundry list of awards and accolades that include cooking for Queen Elizabeth and earning three International Culinary Olympics gold medals. There are no shortage of classics on Marke’s menu: creamy garlic escargot, lobster thermidore, Brandy-infused shellfish bisque.

EXPLORE: Set Sail and Ride the Waves
Take a guided Wave Runner Excursion ($175) through the Gulf of Mexico's Ten Thousand Islands. Home to hundreds of exotic animals and plant species, the islands are the largest expansion of mangroves in North America. The 90-minute tour takes adventure seekers in and out of this delicate ecosystem, stopping at key habitats of dolphins, sharks, manatees, and sea turtles.

Those seeking a more leisurely form of outdoor exploration can set sail on a Dolphin Watch & Shelling Tour ($50). The two-hour outing travels through Marco Island's intricate waterways, docking at untouched beaches to allow for shelling and photography.  

Both tours are provided by Marco Island Water Sports. Hotel guests can walk right out to the beach for additional details or may book in advance by calling 1-800-638-8410 or emailing stella.spera@marriott.com.

RELAX: The Spa at Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort & Spa
At the resort’s spa, signature treatments nod to Balinese healing practices and modern wellness technology. Holistic traditions and all-natural ingredients combine with oxygen facials and mineral soaks. A newly revamped private pool area, state-the-art fitness facility, and full-service salon provide the makings of a full day at the spa.

For Labor Day Weekend reservation inquiries, visit marcoislandmarriott.com.



Ballet for Wanderlusters

Ballet stars hailing from Prague, Spain, and beyond highlight Miami's International Ballet Festival.

August 22, 2012

Chilean ballet dancers Nataly Barros and Jose Tejada

The 17th annual International Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) will pirouette through South Florida starting this weekend, welcoming top ballet companies from around the world. This Friday, August 24 through September 16, performances, films, and artistic exhibitions will roll out at multiple venues across the area, including The Fillmore, Miami Beach Cinematheque, Lehman Theatre at Miami-Dade College, Colony Theatre, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and Gusman Center for the Performing Arts.

Festival founder and artistic director Pedro Pablo Peña has assembled more than a dozen culturally diverse companies to participate in this year's festival, including Ballet do Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, the National Ballet of the Philippines, and the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet. Celebratory activities will commence this Saturday, with an official poster unveiling, cocktail reception, and "The Art of Dance" exhibition opening at Paragon Gallery (7:30-10:30 PM). For performance schedule details and ticket information, visit IBFM's official website.



Q&A: Return of The Broken Shaker

Mixologist Gabriel Orta talks about the bar's November return.

August 22, 2012

Gabriel Orta  

If you’re still mourning the loss of The Broken Shaker, you’ll be happy to know that the defunct cocktail den is getting a reboot. As much of Shaker's magic was attributed to mixologist Gabriel Orta's craftsmanship and creativity, Orta and partner Elad Zvi will re-open their popular pop-up this November. Once again located at the Indian Creek Hotel, a restaurant and lounge are also being added to The Broken Shaker's blueprint. For more on the opening and Orta's mixology philosophy, we spoke to the man himself.

How did you get into mixology?
GABRIEL ORTA: I began my career working in restaurant kitchens. One day the bartender didn't show up at the restaurant I was working at, so I jumped behind the bar. I quickly started to learn about the world of spirits and all the craftsmanship that goes along with it. I was instantly hooked.

What can Miamians expect when The Broken Shaker returns in November? What will be familiar and what will be new?
GO: We have some exciting plans for The Broken Shaker re-opening. We're getting ready to announce more details and the overall concept soon. One thing that will stay the same, however, is the quality of our cocktails. The Broken Shaker is going to be a much-needed addition to the Miami cocktail scene.

And you’re adding a full-service restaurant to the mix. What prompted that?  
GO: Food is very important to me, as I got my start in the kitchen. I love to eat out and experience different cuisines, so it only made sense for us to serve fun, affordable dishes that go hand-in-hand with our cocktail offerings.

When do you plan on releasing the chef's name?
GO: Very soon. You won't be disappointed!

Which fellow Miami mixologists are you a fan of?
GO: I really like Ezra Pattek and Michael Parish. They are both doing really cool things. I also think John Lermayer is great, because he’s always pushing the envelope.

Do you have a favorite cocktail?
GO: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but two cocktails I always enjoy are a Clover, which uses gin, raspberries, lemon, sugar, and cloves, and a Tommy's Margarita, which combines a reposado tequila, like Don Julio, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice.

What about ingredients—what do you love to work with?
GO: One of my favorite ingredients is verbena, because its flavor is a combination of mint and basil, which are both great herbs to use in a cocktail. I also think agave is an essential sweetener, especially for tequila drinks. My third favorite ingredient is calamansi, which is a flavorful citrus fruit hybrid between yuzu and tangerine.



Openings: TIKL Raw Bar & Grill

TIKL (pronounced “tickle”) brings seafood-heavy tapas to Brickell.

August 21, 2012

Thai curried mussels with crispy sushi rice, lime, and coconut milk broth

Churning out small plates as of yesterday, TIKL Raw Bar & Grill focuses on two things: seafood and seasonal. The oft-changing, market-driven menu hops from China to Japan to Spain and beyond with options like Thai curried mussels, a pork belly hot pot, and an octopus, chorizo, and smoked tomato dish. Menu items fall into six categories: snacks, raw, small plates, robata (similar to yakitori), skewers, and large plates. There’s also a well-edited sake list and desserts like a chocolate lavender ice cream sandwich by pastry chef Michelle Cabrera.

The restaurant is the newest project from the team behind Altamare, where Cabrera also served as pastry chef. Guests can take their small plates and sake in a cozy lounge-style booth, chef Simon Stojanovic’s chef’s table, or alfresco. A portion of opening day proceeds were donated to Share Our Strength and TIKL is currently participating in Miami Spice. 1450 Brickell Ave., Miami, 305-372-0620



Fashion's Night Out Planner

The annual night of shopping and socializing returns on Thursday, September 6.

August 20, 2012

Village of Merrick Park
Merrick Park
is turning Fashion's Night Out (FNO) into a weekend-long celebration, kicking things off Thursday night with an on-trend runway show and our exclusive Ocean Drive lounge (6-9 PM). Over 35 stores and vendors will participate, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Diane von Furstenberg. A portion of the weekend's proceeds will benefit Fashionably Conscious. 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, 305-529-0200

Miami Design District
The Design District will fuse fashion and music for its fabulous street fête (6-10 PM), featuring performances by Afrobeta and libations by Grey Goose. Participating stores include Marni, Sebastian James, and Anya Ponorovskaya. Walls throughout the District will also transform into live Instagram and Twitter feeds.  

Dadeland Mall
Nordstrom will anchor the party at Dadeland Mall, offering courtesy makeup applications and beauty and stylist consultations (6-9 PM). The mall itself will be handing out goodie bags, hosting interactive demonstrations, and serving complimentary light bites and refreshments. Participating stores include Henri Bendel, Saks Fifth Avenue, and GUESS. 7537 North Kendall Dr., Miami, 305-709-4100

Lincoln Road
Walk up and down Lincoln Road's stellar lineup of shops for a slew of deals and delights (6-11 PM). BCBGMaxAzria, Desigual, Sunglass Hut, and GUESS by Marciano are among the coveted stores with special offers. 

For more information, visit fashionsnightout.com


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