Thursday, June 2, 2016

IPic Theaters Take Going To The Movies To A Whole New Level

Times have certainly changed when it comes to watching movies at the theater. Gone are the days of settling for popcorn and an overpriced hot dog, while sitting in a hard chair. Now, you can pamper yourself and make the whole experience a VIP one. At least, that's what the new luxury iPic Theater at the Intracoastal Mall in North Miami Beach, has in store for moviegoers. 

                                   

Just picture this: you and your date wrapped in a comfy blanket, horizontally reclined with a pillow behind your neck, sipping creative cocktails while you feed each other some pretty amazing gourmet food. Oh yes... and while you are doing this, there is a new release playing on the screen. This is the experience you will have at iPic Theater. From the welcoming staff, to the larger-than-life lounge area, it's an unbelievable adventure from start to finish. 
   

      


Moviegoers can choose between Premium and Premium Plus seating, with the difference lying mainly in the fact Premium Plus seats include food and beverage service straight to your seat throughout the movie as well as free popcorn, Premium seats, located further in the front of the auditorium do not include chair service, however, Premium ticket holders can still enjoy the gourmet dishes and hand-crafted cocktails. They will just have to go purchase it directly from the purveyor and bring it to their seats.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article1965793.html#storylink=cpy
                                                   

The North Miami Beach theater currently offers six auditoriums, and tickets go fast, so you want to plan ahead.  Chef  Sherry Yard is the chef at the helm of the cuisine, and she has ensured that every dish is exceptional: from the Warm Biscuits, to the Angus Sliders, to the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bar, it is hard to choose what to enjoy with your movie.






Personally, I've already been to iPic Theater a few times and the experience has been outstanding each one. The only problem I see is that once you try iPic, it is very difficult to go back to the hot dog and hard seats. 




You can find another iPic location in Boca Raton, and the company plans to open a few others in Miami. Stay tuned for that news coming soon. In the meantime, lay back, grab a cocktail and let's go to the movies. For more information, visit their website here.





THE RITZ-CARLTON KEY BISCAYNE, MIAMI LAUNCHES NEW BABY GENDER REVEAL PARTY PACKAGE WITH THE NEW EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF LEVI RICHARD AT THE HELM

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami launches a new Baby Gender Reveal Party Package with the new Executive Pastry Chef, Levi Richard as the creative mind behind it all.


Pastry Chef Levi Richard 

Many love to celebrate each and every occasion, with one of the most important being the celebration of a new baby. While for decades, baby showers have been one of the most popular ways to celebrate the birth of a child, a new trend has emerged: Baby Gender Reveal Parties. Long are the days of finding out the sex of a baby in a doctor’s office, as many couples are opting to celebrate finding out the gender of the baby with close friends and family on a separate occasion. The couple requests that the doctor’s office releases the gender of the baby to a close relative or confident. From there, the suspense begins. With friends and family picking the gender they think the baby will be, the festive celebration reveals the sex of the baby, most commonly by revealing the color of a dessert. At the resort’s Key Pantry: Eat.Drink.Shop. marketplace café, couples may purchase one of Executive Pastry Chef Levi Richard’s one-of-a- kind gender reveal cakes or leave the party planning to our specialists.



Baby Gender Reveal Party Package
Packages starting from $390 USD


· 10 or more guests

· 10 pink balloons / 10 blue balloons

· Small pink and blue baby themed party favors

· Option of passed hors d’ oeuvres or culinary display with hors d’ oeuvres

· Gender reveal cake and/or unique creation by Executive Pastry Chef, Levi Richard



To begin planning, please contact the resort’s Private Event Coordinator Anna Karagina at (305) 365-4186 or via email at anna.karagina@ritzcarlton.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Get a Taste of Marathon in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is home to five districts, each with their own personalities and attractions that make visitors feel like they are a world away.



Stretching only ten miles, the islands of Marathon are right in the middle of the chain of the Keys islands.  Traditionally a home to fishing and marine activities and beachside restaurants, the city loves its stone crab, lobster, and other fresh seafood that come straight from its waters. Local chef John Mirabella has become one with the local seafood and community, immersing himself completely, so I asked him to take us on an edible tour of Marathon.




Growing up aboard a sailboat in Titusville, Florida, he is quite familiar with the sea. He spent his childhood sailboat racing and traveling, all the while catching dinner in the fresh waters below. While he has cooked his whole life, becoming chef, John spent more time on the sea by working for the US Navy.  Today, the locals know this Marathon chef and his wife Arlene by name and enjoy eating at his island restaurant, Castaway.




The waterside restaurant is known for its impeccable seafood, including fresh daily sushi rolls, but ask the restaurateur what his favorite hobby is and it's actually one step before cooking, spearfishing, 200 feet below the surface. Not only is John's activity adventurous, but it brings some amazingly fresh seafood straight into his restaurant.  One of his favorite catches to serve is the invasive lion fish, which is perfect for ceviche.  Chef John admits that the connection between the fishing and culinary communities is strong, something that can be seen on his menu as he tries to take the invasive species out of the sea to prevent them from further harming the environment.



If you're headed to Marathon for the first time, we suggest you get a taste for the sea for yourself.  Follow in Chef John's lead and do some fishing for a hands-on experience in the local waters. Because of its special location, Marathon offers backwater fishing, flats fishing, bottom fishing on the reef, and offshore trolling as well as deep dropping from 600 to 1200 feet.  John charters a boat right out of his own restaurant so you can grab a guide and go. He also has great connections to favorite guides and other charters for the best Marathon fishing experience possible. Once you nab a great catch, it's time to cook.




John says, "When you catch fish locally, you can also have it prepared in restaurants like mine which is a pretty big deal around here.  We have many many people come through our door every day carrying bags of fresh fish they caught and we prepare them in many different ways."




Of course John and the locals recommended his very own Castaway as a spot to eat,  which is also the oldest restaurant on the island and he is proud to say the eatery has been open since 1951.  Today, the menu covers a wide range of Floridian seafood as well as craft beers and wines to match the dishes.  Another one of John's favorite spots is Brutus Seafood, a market and restaurant owned by a family of fishermen who serve up one of his favorite lunches in Marathon.  If you're looking for a fancier,  but still relaxed, beachy atmosphere, John recommends Barracuda Grill. The local restaurant offers a variety of fresh seafood and steak dishes that are sure to impress.



Besides eating and fishing, plan a visit to the Dolphin Research Center where you can see how dolphins in the surrounding waters are helped and even take a swim with the impressive mammals.  For another educational adventure, take a trip to Marathon's Turtle Hospital and see how the endangered sea turtle is rehabilitated.  To round out your aquatic vacation, stop by the new Aquarium Encounters.  Not only does the aquarium offer an unclose look at interesting underwater creatures, but also a chance to get right in the tank.



When we travel, we always seek out and try a common dish to the area.  According to John, Marathon's specialty dish is often something made with Florida's favorite Hogfish or the locally loved lion shish.  Chef John's restaurant was the first in the state of Florida to serve the lionfish and received recognition for cooking the endangered species.  Thankfully, the invasive fish is buttery and tender, and delicious for cooking.  In order to spear the fish, one must dive very deep. The lionfish live about 1,000 feet down and come up between 200 and 400 feet.  To make matters even more challenging, the spines of lionfish contain venom and can cause extreme pain if one is pricked.  John still calls this kind of difficult fishing a sport, but admits that one must be careful.



If that sounds a bit too wild for your vacation, no worries. Chef John has shared one of his favorite lionfish recipes to try at home the next time you are feeling adventurous.


Castaway's Wreck Diver-Style Lionfish

Courtesy of Castaway Waterfront Restaurant


Ingredients:

42 ounces lionfish fillets, patted dry
flour (for coating)
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
5 tsp. capers
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. chopped fesh basil
parsley or kale for garnish

Preparations:

Dredge fillets in flour to lightly dust. Place in saute pan with small amount of hot butter over medium heat.  Cook first side, careful not to burn. Turn over fish when golden, and reduce heat while adding garlic, tomatoes, capers, white wine,  and lemon juice.  Cover to hold steam in and cook until fish is fork-tender.  Add basil and serve immediately. Garnish with sprig of parsley or kale and lemon wedge.







Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis' Destination Fashion 2016

On Saturday, March 5th, I had the privilege to attend The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis' Destination Fashion 2016, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in star-studded style. Presented by Swanee and Paul DiMare, the lavish affair treated over 2500 guests to an unforgettable evening at the Bal Harbour Shops. This is the only time in Bal Harbour Shops' history when its doors close to host this high profile, celebrity-styled affair.



The evening began with an impressive red carpet entrance showcasing world famous celebrities, philanthropists, business leaders and other notables. Dinner immediately followed, along with the presentation of the 2016 Women of Substance and Style awards and the Brunello Cucinelli's Spring 2016 Collection.  Co-Anchor of NBC News' Today Show Savannah Guthrie emceed the event, while Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Britanny and Christian Slater served as Honorary Co-Chairs. 

Guests got to travel back in time through a progressive party that highlighted the fashion trends, movies, edible treats and entertainment that left a mark during the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. A silent auction also gave partygoers the opportunity to bid on jewelry, trips and other items donated by many of the Bal Harbour Shops' stores and other supporters.


















The evening ended with a concert headlined by Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull, as the magic lasted well into the night.  Proceeds from Destination Fashion 2016 will benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The Miami Project, a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, if the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center.



                                                           

                                      





Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cabo Flats - A Mexican Haven In The Dolphin Mall

If you live out west then you know the entertainment choices are growing by the day and one of the spots bringing you a variety of great options is the Dolphin Mall, located at 11411 NW 12 Street.  There are a bunch of new dining spots there to please any palate, but one of my favorites is Cabo Flats, the Mexican restaurant known for its casual and comfortable atmosphere paired with delicious food. 




We headed out there a couple of weeks ago to satisfy our south of the border cravings and walked out feeling pretty happy after a few margaritas and a whole lot of guacamole. The food at Cabo Flats is affordable, fresh and great-tasting while the service stands out. It's also an excellent place to enjoy a night of hanging out with friends in a fun ambiance filled with refreshing drinks and good music. You'll notice from the moment you step inside that they've paid close attention to everything from the decor to the ingredients in their dishes.







I suggest you start off with their Guacamole, a made to order traditional house recipe prepared with avocado, onion, tomato, lime and cilantro. Pile it on your chips in between sips of any of their margaritas and it's a fiesta for your palate.




From there, you can try one of their many appetizers, or better yet, go with a combination. We had the Avocado Fries, and the Seafood Ceviche. The Avocado Fries flew off the plate, as we dipped the tasty treats wrapped inside panko bread crumbs into their roasted garlic cilantro aioli. The seafood ceviche was a winning choice as well.  I wasn't sure what to expect since I am a fan of the Peruvian version but this one rocked. It was refreshing, the fish was tender and the combination of spices were just right.




For entrees, check out one of their tacos - or do like we did and share a few. We indulged in the Carne Molida, Shrimp and Fried Mahi and they were all spectacular.  Each order comes with three tantalizing tacos on warm flour tortillas and are served with Mexican rice and your choice of black beans, refried beans or charro beans. Something else I loved about Cabo Flats is that one the members of our party could not eat spicy food, and they went out of their way to ensure her dish was prepared exactly how she wanted. They even returned to make sure she was happy with the dish. That was way cool.








You'd think that after all of that Mexican feast, there wouldn't be too much room for dessert but think again. These are my peeps, remember? We can eat. So we ordered their Flan (it's Miami after all) and their Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownie.  Listen to me, you have got to try this Flan. Number one, it is huge. And number two, it is creamy, perfectly balanced in sweetness and your taste buds will thank you. The brownie, oh the brownie. It was served moist and hot in a skillet, with vanilla ice-cream and brandy butter sauce.



Go catch a movie and make it a Mexican night. For more information on Cabo Flats in the Dolphin Mall, contact them at 305-351-1911, or visit their website.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Bonefish Grill Gives the Burbs Some Tasty Choices

We're all used to reading about the fantastic seafood spots in the beach and in Brickell. I love going to the trendy areas of Miami and getting a taste of the mind-blowing dishes they bring to the table. But when you live in Kendall, and you're not in the mood to battle traffic to the east part of town, you have to know where you can get a good meal out in the 'burbs. Well, sometimes this can be a challenge, but the good news is that times- they are a'changing.  Bonefish Grill is serving up some pretty delicious cuisine in a nice, hip ambiance and they have remodeled some of their locations to take things up a notch.


Bonefish Grill in Kendall




For example, I visited their recently revitalized location at 12520 S.W. 120th Street and I was very impressed with the experience. The relaxing atmosphere was enhanced by an industrial yet sleek interior design that complemented their savory, wood-grilled seafood and meat 

specialties. They're definitely on to something here…




You're probably wondering about the food right?  That's the best part. You can't go wrong whether you choose from their regular or seasonal menus. There are always innovative and exciting dishes being introduced at Bonefish Grill. And it's not just one location I can recommend. I'm a fan so you can usually find me either at their Kendall location or at their spot on 14218 S.W 8th Street. This place is usually rocking on the weekends and their Happy Hours are packed as well. The staff is very friendly and make you feel right at home. 


Bang Bang Shrimp

Maryland Crabcakes

I'm sure you already know, a meal at Bonefish Grill can't begin without an order of their signature, fiery Bang Bang Shrimp. These flavorful, tasty bites are tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce that will have you hot and bothered in no time.  And if you're like me and need a couple of appetizers to get the ball rolling, I highly recommend checking out their Maryland Crab Cakes. They are packed with goodness and served with a red remoulade dipping sauce that makes the experience supreme.


Swordfish & Pumpkin Ravioli

Oscar Mahi Mahi

Two entrees that drove me wild and are a part of their seasonal menu were the Oscar Mahi Mahi and the Swordfish & Pumpkin Ravioli. I couldn't get enough of those.  The Mahi Mahi was served grilled, then topped with lump crab meat, asparagus and a delicious lemon butter sauce.  The swordfish was a tantric experience all on its own. Just imagine a fresh tender swordfish, topped with feta cheese crumbles, crispy onions and truffle butter, then served with pillows of pumpkin-filled ravioli and French green beans. Definitely a top-pick for me.  The great news is, while the seasonal menu items change, the quality and flavor combinations of their dishes do not.



Macadamia Nut Brownie

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

We ended our fantastic meal with a couple of desserts that sweetened the deal even more. Their flourless Macadamia Nut Brownie had us licking our lips in harmony with its raspberry sauce, vanilla ice-cream and macadamia nuts sprinkles, while their creamy Pumpkin Creme Brûlée was a hit as well; taking a classic custard-style dessert and giving it a Fall twist. Regardless of which one you go for, you'll walk out smiling.

For more information on Bonefish Grill and their locations, visit their website at Bonefish Grill.




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Top Valentine's Day Spots For A Delicious Time

Still trying to decide where to take your honey for Valentine's Day? Well, I've searched all over Miami for places I'd love to be taken to (hint hint) and these are my Top picks. So Cupid... if you're reading this (and I know you are) first find me a hot date for February 14th and then shoot him this post with your arrow so he knows what I like....


1) Seaspice  

It's said that nothing sparks up the romance quite like aphrodisiacs and Seapice goes for the full Monty with its Seafood Carnival. Market priced, this dish ranges from $600-750 and offers two 2 lb lobsters, 8 jumbo prawns, 24 oysters, Alaskan king crab, Florida stone crab, tuna sashimi, salmon sashimi, Hamachi sashimi, salmon coconut ceviche, 2 oz. sevruga caviar. Tip: table 85 is a dimly lit riverside table overlooking the downtown skyline. For reservations, call 305-440-4200.







2) Da Tang Unique

Celebrate love this year doing something new and exhilarating. Da Tang Unique, an authentic Chinese gourmet restaurant is opening its door right in time for Valentine’s Day. The restaurant kicks off the night with an hour long performance by Ms. Qiao Li, a renowned Peking Opera Artist. She was a special guest performer of 2001 Oscar Award Ceremony and a graduate of the China Drama Academy. In addition to the theatrical and soothing presentation, the restaurant will offer three special menus for two people: The first option starting at $118, the second at $158, and the 3rd option at $188. All menu’s entail a starter, entrée, rice and noodle, dessert, and a complimentary glass of house champagne. For reservations call, 786-747-4686.






3)  Morton's The Steakhouse


Give your love a little bit of land and sea with Morton’s taste of the good life featuring an exceptional Morton’s steak and cold water lobster for only $55. For more information, visit their website.





4) Tuyo

Succulent. Mouthwatering. Delectable. Enticing. Do I have your attention yet? Discover love at first bite with Tuyo's three-course Valentine's Menu featuring a choice of tantalizing dishes that are sure to impress for $85 per person (plus tax and gratuity). For reservations, call 305-237-3200.




5) Bulla Gastrobar

Nothing says I love you like a Valentine-themed dinner at Bulla Gastrobar.  Choose from some of their delectable sharing dishes and end the evening with a sweet Brazo Helado de Mango y Vainilla. For reservations, call 305-316-3631.

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6) Pubbelly

Treat your sweet to a nine-course tasting menu at Pubbelly for just $85 per person, including one glass of champagne. Highlights include Kusshi Kusshi Oysters, Foie Gras and Corn Soup. For reservations call 305-532-7555.





7) Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove

Celebrate the holiday of love and the arts with a casual yet fun Art of Lunch Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove. Make an entire day of your experience with a locally-sourced, love-themed brunch featuring chef's carving stations, fresh seafood, breakfast favorites and of course desserts. The brunch includes bottomless Mimosas, Bubbly and Bloody Marys along with complimentary valet and tickets to the 53rd Annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival. Tickets are $85 per adult and $35 per child plus tax and gratuity. For reservations, call 305-644-4680.





8) Michael Mina 74 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach

This Valentine's Day, treat your sweetheart to an unforgettable night at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Delight your date on Sunday at the hotel's contemporary American Bistro, Michael Mina 74, where there will be options that include a special prix-fixe menu, wine pairings and even an indulgent poolside cabana. Lovebirds can enjoy a lavish four course prix-fixe menu for $250 per couple. For guests that want to swoon with their beloved under the stars, this menu can be served in a romantic private cabana for $500 per couple. Exclusive wine pairings can be added for an additional price.