Poetry Hour at The Betsy
Brooklyn poet Ariana Reines will close the Hotel’s month-long poet in residency program with a reading this Wednesday.
April 23, 2012
This Wednesday, Brooklyn poet and author Ariana Reines will perform her unique brand of spoken word during the final week of The Betsy Hotel’s National Poetry Month program. Through a partnership with the University of Wynwood, The Betsy invited four talented poets to stay in its Writer’s Room, an intimate working space intended to nurture and harbor creative musings, for the month-long program. Poets in residency have included Melissa Broder, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Malachi Black, and, now, Reines.
Reines will recite the works she’s been crafting during her week in the Writer’s Room this Wednesday at B Bar (7 PM). An official closing event will take place April 29, featuring readings by Ecco Press publisher/editor in chief and poet Daniel Halpern, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and Knight Fellow Campbell McGrath, and University of Wynwood director P. Scott Cunningham. 1440 Ocean Dr., 305-760-6902
Taste Test: Milagro Unico Small-Batch
Tippling notes on the ultra-premium sipping tequila available at just one South Florida establishment.
April 20, 2012
With a name like Unico (Spanish for “only”) expectations for Milagro’s new small-batch tequila are considerably high. After getting a taste of the micro-distilled joven, imbued with hints of caramel, vanilla, and black pepper, we’re happy to report that Unico lives up to its name.
And speaking of our Unico tasting, it took place at Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar, the only establishment in Florida where you can taste the tipple. (The restaurant chain has a total of four locations in Florida, all of which serve Unico.) Rocco’s purchased exclusive rights to carry the spirit in the Florida market and, with only 1,200 bottles in existence, supply is limited.
The taco and tequila bar's Fort Lauderdale outpost was the first to officially debut the spirit and marked the occasion by hosting a delectable dinner pairing during the ongoing Las Olas Food and Wine Festival. You can order a statuesque bottle of Unico for $600, or enjoy it by the glass for $75. 1313 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, 954-524-9550
Marley Biopic Begins Limited Run in Miami
A new film reveals the elusive nature and fascinating life of reggae legend Bob Marley.
April 20, 2012
The film chronicles Marley’s life, through unseen footage and interviews with friends and loved ones, from his humble beginnings in Jamaica to his meteoric rise to musical icon status and humanitarian. “My life is only important if me can help many people, ” said Marley in a thick Jamaican brogue via archival footage.
Among friends and family featured in the film are his daughter Cedella, wife Rita, son Ziggy, fellow musician Bobby Wailer, footballer Alan “Skill” Cole, and mistress Cindy Breakspeare. Though the Marley family approved production, no subject was off limits, including Marley’s well-known promiscuity, the complex relationship he had with his eleven children, and his biracial identity struggles. At just under two-and-a-half hours, the film digs deep into Marley’s life and legacy—and the performance scenes alone are worth seeing on the big screen before the film leaves town. 90 N.W. 29th St., Miami, 305-571-9970
Weekend Recommender: April 19-22
Bask at a beach club, shop a vintage super sale, and welcome new nightlife in Brickell.
April 19, 2012
Jeronimo’s Bar Opening
Thursday through Saturday, April 19–21, 9PM
After a successful South Beach debut, Jeronimo’s will officially open its second outpost in Brickell with a weekend-long, burlesque-inspired bash. Featuring a dimly lit lounge space and plentiful bottle service, the Brickell location aims to bring a little more swank than its SoBe sister. 75 S.E. 6th St., Miami, 786-220-7690; jeronimosbar.com
Bella Beach Club Grand Opening
Saturday, April 21, 2 PM
Under the watchful eye of Tommy Pooch and Alan Roth, the Trump International Beach Resort adds a Mediterranean-inspired day lounge and restaurant to its repertoire. The chic white and aqua décor will serve as a backdrop for a who’s who of sun-soaked schmoozing. 18001 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach, 305-673-3873; bellabeachclub.com
C. Madeleine’s Designer Sale
Sunday, April 22, 8 AM–1 PM
For over a decade, C. Madeleine’s vintage boutique has dazzled shoppers and stylists by carrying coveted labels like Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, and Alexander McQueen. Sunday marks the fashion mecca’s third annual clearance sale, promising up to 95 percent off prized designer duds. 13702 Biscayne Blvd., N. Miami Beach, 305-945-7770; cmadeleines.com
Secrets of a Master Rum Blender
One of the foremost female blenders in the world discusses sipping rums and finding success in a male-dominated field.
April 18, 2012
Lorena Vásquez Ampié
Zacapa Rum is one of many brands participating this week’s Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, but its story is unlike any other. Nearly every detail that goes into producing a bottle of Zacapa rum, from aging to bottling, lies in the hands of one woman: master blender Lorena Vásquez Ampié, one of only four female master blenders in the world.
Produced in the Guatemalan countryside and aged within old American whiskey barrels at almost 1,500 miles above sea level, Zacapa slow-ages its rums using a signature Sistema Solera method. “By slowly aging our rums at altitude and using the complex Sistema Solera, we allow the rum and the wood sufficient time to exchange their individual virtues,” explained Vásquez. “This results in the incredible profile and depth that define Zacapa.”
Vásquez has been largely credited for perfecting the Sistema Solera process and thus distinguishing Zacapa in the spirits market. The brand’s use of first-pressed sugar cane in place of molasses (as used by the majority of rums) has also helped Zacapa win top taste honors. At the International Sugar Cane Spirits Festival, Zacapa took home the 2006 gold medal and, in 2007, the highest award in the aged rum category (15+ years).
We chatted with the woman behind it all to learn more about what it takes to become a master blender and the many virtues of fine sipping rums.
As one of four female master blenders in the world, what has your experience within the spirits industry been like?
LORENA VÀSQUEZ: It took a great deal of time and dedication to reach this position, and I’m extremely proud of my role with Zacapa Rum. I’ve devoted the majority of my career to Zacapa Rum. As master blender for the past 28 years, I believe I have one of the greatest jobs.
What type of challenges have you faced while establishing your career within such male-dominated industry?
LV: Males have consistently dominated the art of blending; the spirits industry has always been focused on masculine tastes. Due to the perceived male influence on the industry, the toughest challenge I faced while establishing my career was shattering the illusion that blending is a man’s job.
In addition to degrees in chemistry and food technology, what other sort of training do you have?
LV: Upon graduation from Universidad Nacional Autonóma de Nicaragua, I married a Guatemalan and moved to his home country. I then joined Zacapa Group, working in the quality control department. My extensive education along with this experience helped me develop an innate sensitivity to scents and flavors. I was passionate about learning the intricacies of crafting premium rum, which led to my position as master blender.
What do you find yourself drinking most often from the Zacapa stable of rums?
LV: I frequently enjoy Zacapa 23, served either neat or on the rocks and paired with a delicious meal. Zacapa XO, on the other hand, is more sophisticated, making it the perfect after-dinner drink. It’s quite delicious with a specialty dessert incorporating dark chocolate.
How do you see the brand, and sipping rums in general, evolving in the next few years?
LV: Spirit connoisseurs are becoming more educated about the versatility and complexities of rum. I would like people to appreciate the quality and robust flavors that rum has to offer, similar to other ultra-premium spirits such as scotch and Cognac. As more rum aficionados appreciate sipping rums, I hope that the deep aroma, full color, and rich flavor of Zacapa Rum will become a household name.=
Zacapa Rum will participate at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival Grand Tasting, April 21-22, at the Deauville Beach Resort. 6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-865-8511
Valencian Art Lands in the Design District
A new exhibit unites Spanish and Miami-based artists at the Buena Vista Building.
April 18, 2012
Valencia, Spain is known for its sophisticated use of street and structural art: Walk through its historic downtown center and you’ll see murals adorning everything from business entrances to bus stops.
ArtistaInvitArtista, an international artistic exchange project, hopes to bring a little bit of Valencia to Miami with “Common Gound,” an exhibit featuring the works of 11 Valencian artists and eight Miamians, each bound by their ability to create engaging installations by manipulating conventional materials.
Selctions include an intricately woven light installation by Miami resident and exhibit co-curator Alette Simmons-Jimenez, as well as Valencian artist Sebastián Miralles' mind-bending abstract structures that challenge notions of geometry and scale. The Miami showcase is the collective’s second presentation and is on view through May 4. 80 N.E. 39th St., Suite 120, Miami
Miami Spa Week Best Bets
Melt away stress at three of Miami’s most relaxing retreats.
April 17, 2012
Seven Seas Spa & Salon
Take time to rejuvenate and refocus with the much-anticipated return of Miami Spa Week. Now through April 22, coveted spa treatments and holistic fitness packages will be reduced to a mere $50 each. Hydrating facials, soothing massages, and pampering pedicures are just a few of the services available this week. Here are three of our favorite picks from this year’s Spa Week offerings.
Exhale Mind Body Spa at the Epic Residences & Hotel
Spa Week Specials: Smart Facial Peel to enliven complexion, a five-fitness class package that includes yoga and core fitness courses, and a Pure Manicure and Pedicure combo to spruce up your beauty routine. 270 Biscayne Blvd Way, 305-423-3900
Seven Seas Spa & Salon at the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort
Spa Week Specials: 50-minute Elemental Facial customized to your skin type and 50-minute Elemental Nature With Aromatherapy Massage. Both treatments utilize only Aveda products and procedures. 16701 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach, 305-749-2100
Uhma Organic Spa & Green Shop
Spa Week Specials: 50-minute Sense of Awakening Hot Massage Treatment and 50-minute Revitalight Therapy Facial. Both treatments are exclusive to Spa Week. 726 6th St., Miami Beach, 305-695-0996
Dinner with Scarpetta and Perrier-Jouët
Perrier-Jouët and Scarpetta host an exclusive evening of Champagne pairings and Italian fare.
April 17, 2012
Four–star Fontainebleau gem Scarpetta will get an extra dose of decadence when Perrier-Jouët hosts a Champagne dinner at the restaurant on April 22. The evening will combine recently appointed chef de cuisine Nina Compton’s new dishes, such as diver scallops with sunchoke purée, with superb Champagne pairings like Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2002 chosen by Jouët chef de cave Hervé Deschamps. Dinner guests will be greeted with a champagne reception at 7:30 PM, promptly followed by dinner at 8 PM. As a keepsake, diners will also take home a Hervé Deschamps-signed bottle of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut. The evening is priced at $250 per person, with tax and gratuity excluded. Reservations are required for attendance. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 877-326-7412
New Arrival: Joe’s Jeans
The Miami newcomer brings 55 shades of denim to Aventura Mall.
April 16, 2012
This Saturday (April 21), the search for the perfect pair of denim gets a little bit easier as Joe’s Jeans opens its first South Florida outpost in Aventura Mall. Joe’s ability to effortlessly fuse comfort with style has made it a favorite among celebrities like Katie Holmes and Whitney Port.
The Miami store will be the lifestyle brand’s sixth nationwide location, joining the ranks of New York, Santa Monica, and San Francisco. Miamians will be particularly delighted at the array of colored and printed denim on display (think Aztec prints over geranium red and floral crop pants). For short and skinny jean fans, the brand stocks styles in 55 vibrant spring shades.
Guys can peruse an assortment of dark washes, easy tees, and cotton button-ups. Don’t miss the opening day party featuring sounds by DJ Dutch and vintage tote giveaways with any purchase. 1951 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura
Brunch Plans: Cecconi’s Sunday Feast
This Sunday, make time for Bloody Marys, gooey burrata frittatas, a killer raw bar, and so much more.
April 13, 2012
The buzz over the Cecconi’s Sunday Feast brunch ($35), which debuted earlier this month, is well deserved. For the feast, executive chef Sergio Sigala and pastry chef Oscar Bonelli put out five custom food stations with enough options to satisfy even the pickiest of palates. The egg station offers cheesy burrata or pancetta and mushroom frittatas, as well as classics like eggs benedict. A raw bar brims with oysters, juicy shrimp, and tuna and salmon tartare. Further legitimizing the “feast” is a carving station, cheese and charcuterie board, and dessert smorgasbord, plus pasta and risotto. Dishes are rotated from week-to-week, but often you’ll find a sublime Italian-style macaroni and cheese and saffron risotto. Live music and roving Bloody Mary carts also make regular appearances at the alfresco Italian restaurant. Bonus: Bellinis are complimentary and perfectly prepared. 11 AM–3 PM. 4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-507-7902
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GESI SCHILLING
AG Jeans design director Mark Wiesmayr and stylist Jeanann Williams on denim's cultural footprint.