Sunday Brunch at the new RWSB — inside W South Beach. Hello, Jerk Chicken and Waffles; are you flirting with me or just waiting to #GetInMyBelly?
Sometimes a girl just needs a local getaway and when she does, W South Beach is one of her #FavoriteThings. If you’ve been there before you know exactly what I’m talking about: the pool is divine, the bar atmosphere chic and the food — #ComeToMama. It’s always delicious, but even more so now that RWSB has taken over the space “The Dutch” used to call home and while the interior is still light and airy, with a beautiful garden terrace, the menu is marvelously different.
Executive Chef Josh Gripper, who is known as one of the best pastry chefs in Miami, has taken his rightful place as head of the kitchen, creating an American menu with Caribbean & Latin flair. With sumptuous brunch dishes like “Steak and Egg Burrito” with pico de gallo or “Duck Hash & Sunny Side Eggs” served in red eye gravy, there’s definitely something for everyone. I started my #Spotlight experience with….
RWSB’s Bottomless Cocktails. For $25, you can choose between Mimosa, Bellini, Bloody Mary and Michelada. What’s brunch without a Mimosa? #Cheers!! Being a Southwestern girl, I had to get my spicy Michelada on, too. Never had one? It’s Blonde Ale Beer mixed with tomato juice, lime and cayenne pepper. #HmmmX2.
If you like more of a classic drink, the smooth and delightful “BBQ Old Fashion” is perfect — made with bacon-infused buffalo trace bourbon, smoked maple syrup and bbq bitters. Don’t worry if you’re not drinking, the yummy “Cucumber-Thyme Lemonade” is a non-alcoholic refresher made with cucumber juice, lemon, thyme and simple syrup.
I tried two appetizers: “Yellow Crudo” and “Lobster Salad.” It’s hard to choose a favorite, especially as I love seafood. The crudo is a carnival of colors made with fresh raw fish, avocado, pickled fresno chiles served on top of a light ponzu sauce. OMG, the seafood salad is chunky bits of lobster served with florida citrus and creamy stracciatella cheese. Both are light and invigorating; perfect if you’re watching your waistline.
From the Brunch part of the menu, “Avocado Toast” has never tasted so good, with poached eggs on sourdough bread. It’s ooey-gooey center is the stuff foodie dreams are made of. The coconut lime sauce poured into the tender “Florida Catch” of the day is highlighted by a mango chutney, but the “Jerk Chicken & Waffles,” is the plate that really stole my heart, infused with Habanero Syrup and served with a pile of Haitian Pikliz (pickled cabbage, carrots, bell peppers and scotch bonnet peppers.)
For dessert, you can choose from dishes like “Cuban Flan,” “Dark Rum Donuts” and “Salted Lime Pie” — but I went for the “Banana Cream Pie” #StopThePresses Oreo cookie crust, chocolate ice cream, Bruleed bananas and chunks of chocolate — don’t mind if I do.
After Brunch, I stretched my legs with a stroll through the back garden. There was live saxophone music and a beautiful beach breeze. I sat for awhile, enjoying the moment. It’s so true: sometimes all you need is a little get away, even if it’s in your own backyard — that’s why “RWSB” is one of my #FavoriteThings. Cheers!
Located inside W South Beach
2201 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139 rwsbmiami.com
Celebrating the opening of “House of Yas” in Sunset Place, a couture fashion house with an authentic Cuban flair created by designer Yas Gonzalez. #StandOutMiamiStyle
Artistic, provocative and incredibly unique — that’s how I’d describe designs by Yas Gonzalez and honestly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, but since it’s South Florida, let’s go with the tip of a tropical oasis surrounded by the beauty of deep blue oceans, lush greenery and island architecture. In fashion terms, Yas creates sultry pieces reminiscent of 80’s Versace mixed with structured lines of modern day designer, Philip Lim.
I first discovered “House of Yas” last summer when someone suggested I feature the #HavanaCollection, an ode to Yas’ beloved home country of Cuba. The limited edition line consists of dresses, skirts, shirts and swimsuits decorated with iconic Havana landmarks. Yas took the photos herself and transferred them onto her body-con pieces. She even designed with her childhood memories in mind, like her grandmother’s decorative tiled floors and viola, beautiful prints with lively personalities were born, but…
As fashion fate would have it, a collaboration with Yas would have to wait — to accommodate her worldly schedule. She was busy traveling to places like New York, Vancouver and Dubai to showcase her work. If that’s not impressive, how about the people she’s creatively clothed: Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Lady Gaga and more recently, #ShireenFavoriteThings.
Yas is also participating in Miami Swim Week (which is in full swing right now.) It’s where she got her start four years ago, designing an eye-popping bathing suit line right out of fashion school. Its success motivated her to open her atelier, which progressed into her first brick and mortar: “House of Yas” at Sunset Place in South Miami.
That’s when the fashion stars finally aligned and “Colors of Cuba” came alive when I walked into Yas’ new boutique. Not only are her designs one of a kind, you’ll be the life of the party in one of her pieces. Yas describes them as “La Vida es un carnival,” (life is a carnival) and while I agree with that spirit, I also relish in the powerful individuality of what she creates. I’m not the only one who’s noticed..
Yas has been featured in British Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair. While you can shop just about any trend at “House of Yas,” I’m most attracted to her stunning special occasion dresses. I feel like a million bucks in them and that’s the point. She’s the kind of designer who creates in a way that extinguishes vulnerability and celebrates the female form, in all its gorgeous glory and that’s why I love wearing “Colors of Cuba” — one of my new #FavoriteThings.
House of Yas
Ground floor of Sunset Place
5701 Sunset Drive #192
Miami, Florida 33145
Catch Yas’ swim designs
Friday, July 12th.
WeWork South of Fifth Rooftop
1st Show: 5PM, 2nd Show: 7PM
429 Lenox Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139 Koko Swim Week Show
Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.Ernest Hemingway
James Woodley Photography
All clothing and accessories: House of Yas
Styling: Yas Gonzalez
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Artistic, provocative and incredibly unique” Auerbach
Drinks and bar bites on a Friday night at one of the hottest new bars in town: “The Sylvester Cocktail Bar & Lounge” in Midtown Miami.
One of the things I really miss about living in Manhattan is the really cool and eclectic bars I used to frequent. In any given borough or neighborhood, there was always that one magical place where you could meet your friends and wash the day away with a fabulous cocktail. We’d talk, laugh, play pool and just enjoy one another’s company…
When I moved back to Miami, I suddenly realized the bar culture was much different. If I wasn’t in a nightclub with blaring dance music, I was pushing my way through an overly-crowded hotel restaurant in hopes of finding my way to the bar to buy an overpriced, sadly-poured, paltry martini. Oh, how I missed my freestanding watering holes, but thanks to “The Sylvester,” I’m back in the game …
The newly-opened cocktail bar & lounge, which also specializes in coffee, tea and CBD, is a tropically-inspired oasis in Midtown Miami. With palm frond wallpaper, antique furnishings, shabby/chic chandeliers and a smattering of retro-inspired art, you’ll feel
like you’ve stumbled onto the set of the tv show “Golden Girls” or better yet, the movie “Birdcage” (without the performing drag queens, of course.) Its groovy personality has a hint of nostalgia, too. They have a foosball table, Chinese Checkers and a Playboy pinball machine.
The most impressive parts of the place, though, are the creative cocktails and tasty bar bites. Thanks to co-owners Ben Potts & Brian Nasajon (of Beaker & Gray fame,) the menu is a sampling of all things South Florida, at least the good parts and this experienced dynamic duo totally knows what they’re doing…
Case-in-point: the “Nooo Que Frio,” which is their take on an Old Cuban. Liquid nitrogen muddled mint, green apple, Italian liquor and sparkling wine makes for an interesting mix. Don’t let the green juice look fool you, it’s a cocktail that packs a punch. If, like me, you like a little more zing in your drink, the “Magic City Mule” is a #MustTry made with vodka, house pineapple ginger beer and chili pepper bitters. The campy copper cup it comes in is definitely worth a #SippinSelfie.
Both drinks paired perfectly with the “Arepa Grilled Cheese” made with Swiss cheese, yellow corn & tomato cream or go with something lighter like the “Key West Shrimp Hand Roll” stuffed with quinoa, pickled chili and peanut cream. #ComeToMama
My favorite drink of the night was the “Cayo Hueso Gimlet.” If you’re a regular blog reader, you know I’m
obsessed with The Florida Keys and this drink is an ode to its signature Key Lime Pie — made with tequila, graham cracker milk, Key Lime cordial and topped with a Key Lime truffle. I wish it came in a pitcher, because I practically inhaled it. The cheeky “Monkey Jungle” is a close second made with scotch, nitro cold brew, chocolate and banana custard cream. Holy Toledo, Batman! This fab take on an Irish Coffee doesn’t disappoint….
And neither does the “Chicken Liver Mousse” and for the record, I’m not exactly a liver lover, but this rich and creamy treat served with blueberry jam, pickled mustard seed and everything crackers is #TheBombDotCom. Speaking of, the “Medianoche” sandwich with palm sugar ham, house mustard and cucumber is love between two buns.
If you’re looking for a unique place to wet your whistle, catch up with friends or just enjoy a fun Friday night — complete with an after hours snack — “The Sylvester” is one of the best hang-out’s in Miami and who doesn’t wanna drink to that? Cheers to one of my #FavoriteThings.
3456 N. Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33127
USA, Earth, The Solar System
Discovering Christina’s Cabana Clutches, perfect for the South Florida fashionista who needs chic versatility for beach days, brunch plans and dinner dates. #HelloSummer
There are three key ingredients a South Florida girl needs to survive summer in the tropics: a strong sunscreen, a stylish SPF hat and an easy, breezy clutch that’ll take you from day to night, no questions asked. The first two I’ve always had a pretty good handle on; the last one? Not so much — until a few weeks ago.
That’s when I met Christina McGuire, the creator of “Christina’s Cabana,” an on-line boutique specializing in tropically-inspired clutches. The first time I saw one of her pretty purses on Instagram, I was smitten, but it was the story of WHY she created them that inspired me to write “A Cabana Clutch”…
Christina started her bag business out of sheer fashion frustration and believe me, most of us have been there. You’re about to wear an amazing dress, you’ve accessorized it with fabulous jewelry, you even have sassy sandals to match, but your handbag? It’s got more issues than Vogue (I read that once on a coffee cup.) Anyway, you try on every single clutch in your closet, but nothing’s quite right — they’re either too big, too small, the wrong color, the wrong texture or it’s the wrong time of day and the list goes on…
That’s when Christina took matters into her own hands and created “A Cabana Clutch.” It’s just what she needed, too: a bag streamlined enough to go with any outfit; adding details, like fringe, gave it posh personality. She knew she was onto something: she would go out with her friends and they kept commenting on her coordinated clutches. Each time they urged her to make more, eventually convincing her to pursue purse-making full-time and lucky for us, “Christina’s Cabana” was born. Crazy enough, that was only six months ago.
After her pet project turned into a bonafide business, Christina expanded, selling her clutches in select retail stores like #BrinyBoutique who provided the gorgeous dresses for the blog. She also started utilizing social media to promote her purses and that’s where I come in. Isn’t Instagram a beautiful thing? After we connected, we planned out a #FavoriteThings feature.
In person, Christina has a radiant glow about her, but it’s her bubbly personality that I really adore and both attributes are definitely infused into her contemporary, fringe and/or pom-pom creations. Christina also has a deep appreciation for all things tropical; naming her Cabana Clutches “The Golden Tan,” “The Oyster’s Pearl” and “The Beach Bar,” just to name a few. No two are alike either, because she hand-makes them so they’re uniquely one-of-a-kind.
Whether your dressing up or down, “A Cabana Clutch” will effortlessly connect the dots in your ever-changing wardrobe. Even better, you’ll be able to go from day to night without ever missing a stylish beat and that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Things.
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.Sam Keen
James Woodley Photography
All clutches are by Christina’s Cabana and appear in the following order: The Golden Shelly Clutch, The Coral Clutch & The Golden Tan Clutch
Outfits provided by @brinyboutique
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Captain Clutch” Auerbach
Discovering Pharaoun Cocktail Rings — perfect for the woman who loves to fancy-up her fingers. Yes, that would be me. After all, I’m an unabashed ring girl. Dahhhhhling.
I don’t know how, when or why it happened, but somewhere between adolescence and womanhood, I became a bonafide #RingGirl. It’s not like I have swan hands, either. In fact, when I was growing up, my brothers bequeathed me the title “Flintstone Fingers” (the famous cartoon characters known for their chubby hands & feet.) I hated the nickname, but instead of trying to distract from my meaty digits, I celebrated them by painting my nails and wearing any kind of sparkly jewels I could get my hands on. Eventually, flashing my fingers turned into a full-blown love affair with rings. Mainly, statement ones.
For me, a ring isn’t just an extension of my personality; it reflects my mood, enhances what I’m wearing or, simply put, the presence of one on my pretty pointers makes me happy. Glam, whimsical and sophisticated is what I’m most attracted to and that’s exactly what a Pharaoun Cocktail Ring is. Designer Sergio Andrés Mendoza makes sure of that. His motto: “I want you to find a ring that symbolizes a version of yourself that you love.”
When I first read that quote, I was like, “man, he totally gets me” and I’m sure a lot of other women feel that way, too. Sergio doesn’t like suggesting which of his designs you should wear; he wants you to find it for yourself. Think of it as an emotional treasure hunt where you get in touch with your own feelings and/or inner goddess-ness. When it comes to choosing one of his creations, he told Ocean Drive Magazine: “Maybe it reflects a part of you that you don’t see often but want to be reminded of. Maybe it is your greatest strength. Maybe it is the person you want to be.”
I first learned about Pharaoun Cocktail Rings when we featured Sergio on Deco Drive, where he was quick to point out his gemstone-esque collections are made right here in Miami and if you look closely, the rings (which are perched on 22k gold over silver) are just as beautiful from the back as the front — underneath they’re decorated with intricate carvings and glass stones. It’s almost as if the ring talks out loud to its admirers, yet at the same time, whispers something special to the woman wearing it.
With collections named “Sea Urchin,” “Superpower” and “I am Beautiful,” you can’t help but feel a connection to Sergio’s jewelry. Especially, in this pop culture climate of “I am Woman hear me roar.” Who doesn’t want to feel empowered by what they’re wearing? I know I do. In fact, opening up a little black box with a Pharaoun Cocktail Ring snuggled inside can make a girl glow and that’s why “Golden Fingers” is one of my #FavoriteThings.
I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You cannot possess radiance; you can only admire it.Elizabeth Taylor
James Woodley Photography
Gold Body Suit: @belle_damour_lingerie
All cocktail rings are Pharaoun designed by Sergio Andres Mendoza. From left to right I’m wearing: Ovni, Starry Night, Bash, Lotus and Sea Urchin.
Prices available upon request
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Ringo” Auerbach
New drinks and bar bites at Toro Toro Miami and of course, a lively late night dinner featuring the best steak this side of the Mississippi. Oh, and I have two words for you: LA BOMBA!
Toro Toro is just one of those places that gives me all the feels. It’s sexy, exciting and has what the French call: “je ne sais quoi.” Its sophisticated nightclub personality is mixed with a fabulous foodie flair — which always makes for a fun Friday night, especially when you get an invite to try out new creative cocktails and yummy additions to the already mouth-watering menu. I’ll drink to that…
And I did, with the “Lil Guavana” and all vegan drink you can really wrap your lips around, made with rum, guava and aquafaba — a frothy all-vegan ingredient that replicates egg whites. “The Last Garden” with gin, green chartreuse, cucumber water and a hint of jalapeño. is a creative combo of sweet & spicy. I sipped on both while enjoying the “Hamachi Tiradito,” marinated in habanero passion fruit juice. It comes with sweet peppers, cilantro and crunchy chile fritos. #TalkAboutTexture. #ComeToMama.
Three must-try’s on the bar bites part of the menu: “Tuna Aranitas” (oh-so fresh & spicy) “Short Rib Tacos” (hello, juicy and delicious) and my favorite, “Chicken & Chorizo Croquettes” (made with mouthwatering gruyere cheese and aji amarillo aioli.) On the lighter side of the menu: a succulent “Beet Salad” with pistachios and ricotta cheese, but it’s the aji amarillo vinaigrette that adds an incredible tangy touch.
If you like coffee with a twist, the “Estocada Double Espresso” is a great way to cleanse your palette in-between courses. The drink features espresso, Licor 43 & Pisco; it’s strong, sexy and packs a pleasant punch. If you’re a bonafide coffee feen, you could even try one for dessert. More of a drama drinker? The “Encierro,” has a smokey presentation made with bourbon, sweet vermouth & cherry liqueur.
If you’re a seafood fan, Toro Toro has a pretty good selection, with dishes like “Grilled Octopus” (in cilantro sauce) and “Chipotle Miso Chilean Seabass,” (in teriyaki sauce.) The sea bass, which is rich, moist and tender, is one of the best things on the menu. A pretty close second is the “Charred Pork Belly” served in a corn silk sauce with corn arepa.
If you really want your mind blown, the “Miyazaki Wagyu NY Strip” steak is another level of taste and quality. It’s so tender, it actually melts in your mouth. If you’ve never had an opportunity to taste Wagyu, Toro Toro is the perfect place to do it. A “Sweet Potato” side topped with Jalapeño honey butter and Mexican cheese was the perfect accompaniment.
If all of the aforementioned wasn’t enough, I had my socks totally knocked-off by the LA BOMBA. A chocolate bowl filled with berries, dulce de leche, strawberry ice cream, cream cheese mousse and almond cookie crumbs is literally dropped into the center of the table. It doesn’t end there — once it’s crashed and broken up into pieces, it’s zealously topped with caramel, vanilla and berry sauce. I’ve never seen or tasted anything like it. The delicious dessert magic is made plop possible by a thin protective plastic sheet sealed to the center of the table before it’s served. And yes, you just eat it off the table!
The magic of Toro Toro has a lot to do with the talents of Chef Jean Delgado. His charismatic personality and love of traveling is infused into his food. Not only is he passionate about what he does, he understands the chemistry behind it — it’s about the overall dining experience, which he tries to make as special as possible and that’s why Toro Toro Miami is one of my #FavoriteThings.
located inside InterContinental Miami
100 Chopin Plaza
Miami, Florida 33131