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MiamiCurated by Karen Escalera - 4d ago
Duck confit at La Fresa Francesa

New, delicious and well priced restaurants for lunch in Miami to add to your list . Plus, a summer dinner special from one of my favorite restaurants in town, Mandrake (pan Asian food and “a stunner”). This and more in Eating News for July.

Mandrake offers summer dinner special

If you’ve been wanting to try hot spot and “stunner”,  Mandrake in South Beach (and one of my faves), now is the time. There’s  a summer dinner special which gets a jump on Miami Spice. The three course dinner for $39 plus tax and tip has a choice of three appetizers, entrees and desserts, plus a glass of sparkling wine. I had one of my always “go to” dishes, the scrumptious lettuce salad with crispy gnocchi and caramelized pecans and tried the pan seared organic chicken with ginger soy sauce, edamame puree and baby corn. The chicken was moist and flavorful, and loved the edamame puree. My son had the signature mandrake maki with crab, salmon hamachi and tuna and the grilled black angus beef tenderloin which he enjoyed. The special is offered Mon-Thurs 7-9 p.m. For my earlier review and more images, click here.

Via Emilia Garden

The charming couple, Chef Wendy Cacciatori and wife Valentina Imbrenda, owners of popular Via Emilia 9 in South Beach and more recently of Nonna Beppa in Tribeca, opened their newest addition, Via Emilia Garden at 3500 N. Miami Avenue. As with their flagship, the food is from the foodie region of Emilia-Romagna, the home of  Parmigiano, Balsamic vinegar and proscuitto. The new outpost enjoys a more spacious setting and charming garden with a retractable wooden roof. The décor is contemporary with an open kitchen, a butcher area where guests can choose their preferred cut of meat, small gourmet market, and a pasta making station with fresh pastas and raviolis made daily.

Pasta making station at Via Emilia Garden

Certain to be a topic of conversation are 20 framed collectible Nike sneakers from Italy’s popular street wear retailer, Slam Jam, priced at $10,000 a pair (available for purchase). Signature dishes include Tortellini in Brodo (tortellini in broth), featuring hand-rolled tortellini stuffed with prosciutto di parma, parmigiano, mortadella, beef and pork.; a favorite of mine — The Basket from the Emilia Romagna, a charcuterie board with prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, parmiagiano, stracchino cheese, gnocco fritto (fried dough), and marmalades; and  Cotoletta alla Bolognese; Chef’s Filet. Everyone is bound to find something (or many somethings) to their taste with the extensive menu that is also full of vegetarian options.

Service is friendly and prices are reasonable. Via Emilia Garden , (T.786-216-7150). It’s open for lunch and dinner. Reservations can also be made online .

Bacon wrapped dates at La Fresa Francesa

Finally made it to La Fresa Francesa Petit Café thanks to Francophile friends who know their French food. The cuisine is French bistro prepared by its French chef, “with a little inspiration from the city’s regional Cuban cuisine” – from seared foie gras and escargots to cheese and charcuterie plate, coq au vin, hanger steak,  and crepes.

The décor is what you might see in the home of an eccentric friend and the music is low, so you can talk. It’s in a strip mall in Hialeah. It does no promotion, prospering on word of mouth and a loyal clientele who return frequently. We shared the arugula, pecorino, cashew, red chili and lemon salad. Each of us had a duck leg confit with parsnip puree and pear mostarda. Our friends had the seared foie gras and the roasted quail with veal, bacon, butternut squash puree and honey.

Nutella crepes at La Fresa Francesa

Dessert was a crepe with dulce de leche. Everything was delicious. Appetizers, to be shared, hover in the low teens and entrees range from $23 to $34. La Fresa Francesca, 59 W. 3rd Street (T.786-717-6886). Open for lunch only Tuesday and Sunday; closed on Monday; Lunch and dinner the rest of the week until 10 p.m. Reservations are essential on weekends.

Ayesha Indian restaurant in Midtown

Ayesha Indian restaurant has opened its fourth in Miami, joining its sisters in Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay, Coconut Grove (called Saffron@Grove), and now Midtown. We happened upon it when friends mistakenly went there instead of Maska around the block. Deciding to try it with friends, we went for dinner and were rewarded with traditional, authentic Indian cuisine at the hands of a chef from Mumbai. There were large groups of Indian families, colorful wall frescoes with Indian themes and a Bollywood movie playing on a single TV. The four of us, who also included a fellow food and wine writer, started with samosas and a new dish for me — Medu Vada which are lentil donuts with different kinds of chutney and sambar.

Ayesha Indian restaurant in Midtown

Both were excellent. Then it was on to chicken saag , one of four varieties, and Nilgiri Lamb Khorma, a green lamb curry for Mr. W. Our pescaterian friends split the Malabar fish curry, a specialty of the South of India. Fish is made with ginger infused coconut curry, fennel and Indian spices, teaming it with rice. We all shared the garlic naan with a welcome touch of cilantro. All the dishes were a hit, and we all said we’d be back. Unlike many Indian restaurants, dishes are not big enough to share. Dinner for four with a bottle of wine, large beer, two appetizers, three entrees, bread and rice came out to $80 per couple including tip. There are several lunch specials under $20 including a protein, two vegetable side dishes, Indian salad, rice, naan and dessert.  Ayesha,3250 N.E. 1st Avenue., #120 (T.305-549-5237).

LIght bite: Shake Shack devotees in the Brickell area will be happy to hear their newest output is now open in Mary Brickell Village.

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MiamiCurated by Karen Escalera - 5d ago

The swim and resort wear show from the Miami International University of Art and Design was a homerun. To see the talent, tremendous creativity and passion of the student designers was exhilarating and uplifting. It was a big dose of feel good medicine. The runway show, part of Miami Swim Week 2019, featured the work of over 50 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design students. Students hail from everywhere ranging from Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Vietnam and Ethiopia, to Latin America, Europe, Haiti and the USA. The students created swim and resort wear for both men and women based on their interpretation of trends and their design aesthetic. They used unusual items such as bicycle bungee cords, raincoat material and denim. This year men’s swimwear was well represented, not only with swim trunks and speedos, but with eye popping resort coverups. For women, a new addition was head gear, especially wide brim mesh hats that added an extra element of glamour. The fashion tent at Collins Park was packed, the music well chosen, and the production well done. Already looking forward to next year’s show.

Want to see more of their creativity? Check out the post on swimwear designed using packaging from McDonald’s from last year. Click here.

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MiamiCurated by Karen Escalera - 1w ago
Love my Iznik ceramic vessel!

On a recent trip to Turkey thanks to our exceptional tour guide, Gamze Arteman,  I came across Iznik Turkish ceramics which are considered among the finest works of art from the Ottoman Empire. The art form was established and patronized by the sultans.. As any great art works or art form, they withstand the judgment of time, able to compete among the finest contemporary works in their genre.

Tahir EGINCI, owner of Iznik Classics

The ceramics are known for their technical quality, beauty and exquisite designs inspired by nature. A highly labor intensive work, they involve a four step process made from quartz, and colored with precious stones which ensure they last forever. It can take an artisan 60 to 90 days to make a single tile.

Besides tiles, Iznik ceramics are fashioned into vessels that can be utilitarian such as pitchers, vases, bowls and platters, or purely decorative objects. Today the traditional patterns and forms are reproduced, but, new artisans are giving their personal interpretations to age old  patterns with more varied images and coloration.

A top place to see some of the finest works being produced is Iznik Classics in the historic Sultanahamet area. The four story shop has one floor that’s a virtual museum of the works of Adnan Hoca, one of the most famous of Iznik artisans.

There is no online shop but if interested, you can write to them inquiring about availability of specific pieces on the website and prices. Then, sales can be made with a credit card or bank transfer and they ship. They shipped my piece and it was expertly packed and arrived on time.

www.iznikclassics.com

Main Gallery: Utangac Sokak No: 13-17 Sultanahmet-Istanbul-Turkey 34122

Telephone : + 90 (212) 516 88 74 & + 90 (212) 516 88 73 Fax: + 90 (212) 517 04 72; email, iznikclassics@hotmail.com

Kapalicarsi (Grand Bazaar) Store: Ic Bedesten Serifaga Sok No: 188 (Cevahir Old Bazaar) Istanbul-Turkey  Tel: +90 (212) 520 25 68; iznikclassics@hotmail.com

 

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Summer is a great time to check out the latest beauty treatments and start a new routine to get in shape for “the season”. My hairdresser, the super talented Steven Schmidt who has coiffed the super models at Fashion Weeks from Milan to New York and Paris Couture, moved to a new salon and medspa, Danny Jelaca. He told me about the cutting edge skin treatments for men and women and uber mani pedis, and said it is one of the best hair salons in Miami,  so off I went to South Beach to check them out.

First, the salon itself deserves special mention. It’s a symphony in white – fresh, bright, contemporary, and with crystal chandeliers. Everyone is super nice, which one doesn’t always find in a glam salon whose owner caters to the likes of everyone from Paulina Rubio and Ivana Trump to Carlos Ponce and Cameron Diaz. My first challenge posed to Isis Suarez, the medical esthetician, who trained and worked in New York,  was what would make my skin glow as it was looking dull and not “fresh”. She recommended the microcurrent treatment for women and men which she called a “gym workout for the skin”. Coincidentlally, in an article In the New York Times about the most troublesome hair and skin problems of the season, they mentioned puffiness which comes from planes, seasonal allergies and free flowing rose (“a recipe for bloat city”). The suggested antidote was a a treatment that delivers tiny electrical currents that speed circulation.

LED light therapy mask

Isis’ twenty minute treatment is precisely that, a combination of ultrasound gel and collagen which are applied with a tingling microcurrent (6 biweekly treatments for 3 weeks, $180 or a $30 add on to a European facial, $150). The result? My skin looked fresh, my cheeks rosy, and that evening one of my good friends said I looked fab –and she didn’t know I had had a treatment. Also ask about the LED light therapy.

Nail dipping

Then it was time for my dreadful peeling nails. She took special care in all aspects of the manicure, adding treatments including a coconut sugar rub that exfoliates and hydrates, and a fruit peel. For the peel she took a cotton ball infused with Brilliance Peel and wiped the top of my hands several times. The cotton came out dark. She said that with a plan of six treatments, one sees a noticeable lightening of sun spots (the same treatment can be done on the face). And for me, a bottom line was how long does the manicure last, considering that typically the polish peels after 5 days. She told me 10 days. And yes, it lasted ten days with no special care. (regular manicure, $45; with peel, $55). She also does nail dipping which is said to be a gentler alternative to acrylic nails.  Isis is up to date on the latest and greatest, too many treatments to describe here. Plus, there are all kinds of hair and beauty services and massage. Total head to toe.  It’s well worth a visit. And a big plus, they have their own parking spots (free) in a lot next door. Danny Jelaca Salon & Spa, 300 Alton Road, Suite 100A (T.305-604-9696).

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MiamiCurated by Jennifer Agress - 1w ago

By: Jennifer Agress and Yours Truly

Hot Miami summers are the perfect time of year to cool down with a sizzling happy hour. The hardest part is deciding where to go! Lucky for you, we’ve narrowed down the newest options to seven of our favorites, the best happy hours in Miami this summer, 2019. This includes everything from happy hours on weekends, late nights, themed happy hours with entertainment , free wine with purchase of an appetizer and more!  Find out why we love them, below.

Lobster Bar Sea Grille

Lobster Bar Sea Grille 

This sparkling South of Fifth gem offers a “Twilight Happy Hour” every night of the week. (Yes, you read that right.) The rectangular bar is perfect for socializing and even meeting new people. From 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., get $4 beers, $6 wines, $7 specialty cocktails, $8 spirits. The extensive menu of very appealing bites includes everything from jumbo lump crabcake, Wagyu burger slider and char grilled octopus to lobster on a bun for no more than $14 each (most for less). Lobster Bar Sea Grille is located at 404 Washington Avenue. Valet is available and street parking is nearby. 

Boulud Sud

Boulud Sud 

Every Friday during summer 2019, Boulud Sud, Daniel Boulud’s upscale Mediterranean-inspired spot inside the JW Marriott Marquis, is giving out FREE wine! All day long, Head Sommelier Daniel Chaviano will give guests a complimentary glass of wine with the purchase of any appetizer. The theme of the wines change weekly and they’re all handpicked by Chaviano, himself. As if that weren’t enough already, “Summer Fridays” are made even better with an extended happy hour from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., which offers $5 beers and bites, $6 frozen cocktails, $8 wines and $9 cocktails. Boulud Sud is located at 255 Biscayne Boulevard Way. Reduced valet parking is available with ticket validation.

The Commodore

The Commodore

This gentlemen’s bar in The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami is marked by heavy leather couches, dim lighting, a fireplace and a lush patio with distinct South Florida vibes. Grabbing a drink here feels worldly—like you should be drinking a scotch on the rocks in your grandfather’s library, discussing the latest headlines. Get a taste of its regal setting at a steal when you stop by The Commodore’s daily happy hour! From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day, get $9 cocktails, $5 Modelos and $7 glasses of red, white, rosé and sparkling wine. If you’re hungry, try one of Executive Chef Abel Veulens’ tasty snacks: like ahi tuna tacos, chimichurri empanadas and a trio of spreads with tzatziki, hummus, spinach and pita chips. They’re all priced between $7 and $9 during happy hour. The Commodore is located at 3300 SW 27th Avenue. Reduced valet parking is available for $7 with ticket validation.

Swan & Bar Bevy

Swan & Bevy 

David Grutman and Pharrell’s recent collaboration, Swan & Bevy, is part swanky restaurant, part sexy, A-list cocktail lounge. The latter of the two is Bar Bevy, which offers an “$8 ‘Til 8” happy hour Tuesday through Saturday. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., get bites (like Arancini with preserved truffle and parmesan), handcrafted cocktails (like the Blackberry Summer with tequila and St. Germain), beer and wine for just $8 each. Bar Bevy is located at 90 NE 39th Street. Multiple valet stations are available throughout the Miami Design District and a public parking garage is connected to Palm Court.

Fiola

Fiola

When you’re in the mood for a good cocktail at a great price, head to South Miami’s glamorous, Michelin-caliber Italian spot, Fiola. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, go to the bar and get $6 Peronis, $9 wine, $12 cocktails and a menu of bites, charcuterie and cheeses starting at $12. If you want to really make it an occasion, go full “Italy” and order the tableside Negroni Bar. It comes with Bombay Sapphire Gin, Martini & Rossi Rosso Vermouth and your choice of three Amaros. Fiola is located at 1500 San Ignacio Avenue. Street and public parking are nearby. 

La Centrale

La Centrale

This three-story Italian food hall continues to be a Brickell City Centre favorite. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, its Aperitivo Bar offers “Aperitivo Hour.” Here, you’ll find a menu of wine, beer, cocktails, spirits and bites, all for just $5 each. Cheers to that! La Centrale is located at 601 South Miami Avenue, Suite 181-C. Parking is available in the Brickell City Centre parking garage.

RumBar

RUMBAR

Sitting in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami, RUMBAR is a 1940s Havana-style lounge with dark woods, a bespoke cocktail menu, salsa dance nights and live Latin music. Giving you yet another reason to go there, this sultry watering hole is kicking-off July with a new drink deal almost every night of the week. Seems too good to be true? Just read below to see what we mean.

Every Monday & Tuesday: During “Two Timing Mondays & Tuesdays,” get two-for-one cocktails from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Every Wednesday: From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., “Tostones Takeover Wednesdays” offers both your choice of a signature cocktail and a flight of tostones (of the chef’s choosing) for just $12.

Every Thursday: From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., “Cocktails and Croquetas Thursday” pairs one order of croquetas with a specialty cocktail for just $12.

Every Friday: During “Rum y Cafecito Fridays,” enjoy half-priced cigars, $10 rum and cafecito cocktails, and a rum and cafecito cocktail cart, a cigar roller and domino tables from 7 p.m. to close.

Every Saturday: It’s “Salsa Night Saturdays!” Come for salsa dance lessons and domino tables, and stay for $12 pairings of salsa and guacamole plates with a signature cocktail. The fun runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Every Weeknight: The “Late Night Happy Hour” runs from 10 p.m. to close and includes select bites, cocktails and wine for just $5 to $8 each.

RUMBAR at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami is located at 455 Grand Bay Drive. These deals will start on Monday, July 8th. Reduced valet parking is available with ticket validation.

AND MORE CHOICES:

Here are more happy hour picks around town —

Buzzy happy hours

Happy hour deals at top restaurants

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MiamiCurated by Jennifer Agress - 2w ago
PIGS OF PARADISE TOUR WITH THE FORT LAUDERDALE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (FLIFF)

There’s so much going on in Miami in July 2019, from the much awaited spa months,  Dionne Warwick in concert,  a mango festival, and major movie happenings in the Bahamas, to performances by international ballet stars, Miami Swim Week 2019 and more. Looking for something new to do in the Magic City? Try one of the events listed below. We love them—and we think you will, too!

MIAMI SPA MONTHS

 July 1st to August 31st

Miami Spa Months are back! This is that beautiful part of summer where Miami’s most luxurious spas and wellness centers offer massages, facials, beauty treatments and more for up to 50% off. In addition to unrivaled discounts, most of these treatments come with fun perks like hotel pool access, free fitness classes, meditation and more. Click here to find out where you can get pampered for a steal. Miami Spa Months deals start at $109. Treatments and parking rates vary by location.

Miami spa months at The Setai Hotel

PIGS OF PARADISE TOUR WITH THE FORT LAUDERDALE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (FLIFF)

Friday, July 4th to Monday, July 7th 

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) has partnered with Grand Isle Resort & Spa—on Great Exuma Island—for a weekend of movie screenings in the Bahamas. The inspiration behind the trip is Earthbeat Films’ latest feature film, Pigs of Paradise, which is based off T.R. Todd’s bestseller, Pigs of Paradise: The Story of the World-Famous Swimming Pigs, and was actually filmed in Exuma. The movie’s director, Charlie Smith, has been taking the film on a world tour, which began in Cannes in May and will end this September in London. The long weekend of events will include parties, excursions to swim with the pigs, a July 4th celebration, a book signing and of course, a variety of movie showings. Guests traveling to Grand Isle Resort with FLIFF will get exclusive discounts on flights and accommodations. As part of the FLIFF package, attendees can stay in a one-bedroom villa for $400 or a two-bedroom villa for $640. The hotel package includes complimentary daily breakfast, complimentary movie nights and a free Pigs of Paradise book. Silver Airways is offering attendees a special flight rate of $350 round trip from Fort Lauderdale to Great Exuma.

DIONNE WARWICK AT THE ADRIENNE ARSHT CENTER

Saturday, July 6th

Five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning music legend, Dionne Warwick, is coming to the Adrienne Arsht Center! On this special night, the icon will sing her beloved hits, like “What the World Needs Now” and “Say A Little Prayer,” all accompanied by a live symphony orchestra. Starting promptly at 8 p.m., the upscale affair will have a triple purpose: it will celebrate America’s 243 years of independence, honor Dionne’s iconic impact in the music industry and award Dionne with a “Key to the County.” Adrienne Arsht Center is located at 1300 Biscayne Boulevard. Tickets start at $77 and can be purchased here. Valet and public parking lots are available.

American singer Dionne Warwick in concert, circa 1980. (Photo by Richard Blanshard/Getty Images)

MIAMI SWIM WEEK 2019

Thursday, July 11th to Tuesday, July 16th

It’s that time of year again. Miami is known for its sexy beaches and beach-goers, making it the perfect location for the world’s hottest swimwear brands and fashion models to come together and celebrate the best of swimwear. Along with a weekend full of runway shows, parties, beach events and more, Miami Swim Week will once again play host to SwimShow 2019, the world’s largest trade show for swimwear. SwimShow will take place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and runway shows and parties will be hosted at various luxury hotels and venues throughout Miami Beach. Find out everything going on during Miami Swim Week here. The Miami Beach Convention Center is located at 1901 Convention Center Drive. Valet, street parking and public parking lots and garages are available. Hotel locations and parking options vary by event. 

NIKKI KIDD AT DEERING ESTATE

Saturday, July 13th

As part of the The Deering Estate Cabaret Concert Series—which features performances by eclectic and world music artists in the estate’s historic Stone House Ballroom—Deering Estate welcomes international jazz vocalist Nikki Kidd. Known for her seamless fusion of classic and modern jazz, Nikki’s voice transports listeners to the speakeasies of the early 1920s. Guests can bring snacks to enjoy during the show, and a cash bar will be available for any drink purchases. Gates will open at 7 p.m., and the concert will start promptly at 8 p.m. Deering Estate is located at 16701 SW 72nd Avenue. Tickets are priced at $25 per person, excluding tax, and can be purchased here. Parking is available onsite. 

Nikki Kidd at Deering Estate

2ND ANNUAL SOUTH BEACH MANGO FESTIVAL + 1ST ANNUAL MANGO PALOOZA

Saturday, July 27th to Sunday, July 28th

The South Beach Mango Festival is coming back to Lummus Park this month! This event, which celebrates mangoes worldwide, will bring together 100+ vendors as well as local farmers, fruit experts, artists, chefs, food trucks, craft beer distilleries, live music and more. In the Mango Tasting Tent, find cooking competitions and demos, the neighborhood’s best restaurants and bars serving mango cocktails and bites, and every exotic fruit grown in South Florida: like dozens of varieties of mangoes, coconuts, avocados, dragon fruit, jack fruit and mamey. You don’t just have to eat and drink if you don’t want to—there will also be activities for kids, “Mango Dancers” and yoga, stretching and meditation classes. The first day is Mango Palooza and is for 21+ adults only. The second day is open to adults and children of all ages. Lummus Park is located at 1130 Ocean Drive. Tickets start at $20 per person and can be purchased here. Parking garages and street parking are nearby. 

South Beach mango festival

INTERNATIONAL BALLET FESTIVAL
Saturday, July 27th to Sunday, August 18th 

Returning to South Florida this month, the International Ballet Festival welcomes 200+ ballet dancers and 20 ballet companies from across the globe to showcase their talents in the Magic City. Performances will take place at top venues all over South Florida, like The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater, Lehman Theatre at Miami Dade College North Campus, Colony Theatre Miami Beach and more. Location and parking information varies by event. Tickets for all performances can be purchased here

International ballet festival
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Missed the MiamiCurated reader fashion event at Camilla boutique in Aventura Mall? Here’s a look at your fellow readers and stunning clothes in a photo gallery.

Fashions are perfect for our Miami lifestyle and also work for that summer holiday from Capri to Ibiza with their silky Bohemian chic style. Some serious shopping happened including, to our delight, a sale on a number of choice pieces. The champagne freely flowed and every guest received a handsome, bejeweled clutch bag in one of Camille’s iconic prints.

If you couldn’t come to this event, never fear, I’m planning one for October. So stay tuned!!!

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MiamiCurated by Josie Gulliksen - 3w ago
No. 3 Social, Wynwood

By Josie Gulliksen and Yours Truly

Next time you’re in the mood for a cocktail, instead of sitting indoors, why not re-think the venue and head up to the roof instead. Enjoy fresh breezes and Miami’s ever emerging skyline. Rooftop bars in Miami have become quite popular, and new ones well worth a visit have popped up around town, some with live entertainment. Take a look at the list below for our five picks for new, best rooftop bars in Miami. And if you’re looking for a restaurant with a killer view, check out an earlier post below.

The Citadel

8300 NE 2 Ave., Miami, FL 33138, (305) 908-3849

Known mainly as a food hall with nearly a dozen concepts, The Citadel in Little River recently opened a rooftop bar. With lush landscaping, much of which can be seen from the street down below and plenty of comfortable patio seating under wide umbrellas, it’s the ideal atmosphere for a craft cocktail. The long, inviting bar features a variety of craft draft beers and mixologists creating a variety of unique libations. The live music schedule on the rooftop makes for a great night out. For information on the food hall, click here.

The Citadel, Little River Photo by KarliEvans @allseingmedia

Vista

5020 NE 2 Ave., Miami, FL 33137, (305) 405-7547

Just about 10-15 minutes away from The Citadel on the same street, you’ll find Upper Buena Vista and the Vista rooftop bar. The garden vibe here is on point with hanging plants dotting the covered seating area. The glow from the string lights make a great pathway to the bar that’s tucked toward the back. There you can have a variety of specially created craft cocktails made unique blends of vodka, gin, prosecco, fresh fruit and herb garnishes and more. Before or after, have dinner in the downstairs restaurant (for my review, click here).  And while you’re there, check out the fab boutiques, many with creative fashions from Latin American designers, a stylish shop for home decor,  and one of Karen’s favorite vintage stores.

Vista, Upper Buena Vista

Astra

2103 NW 2 Ave., Miami, FL 33127, (305) 573-5778

Over in Wynwood, just minutes from Vista is Astra where “the sea and sky meet” according to the website. This is the “buzziest” of the new rooftop bar scene.  Called the Sky Garden, it has an attractive Mediterranean feel with olive and lemon citrus trees. Take a seat in either a round swing chair with an overstuffed cushion or wooden bench seating with equally comfortable cushions. Beautifully landscaped with box planters filled with colorful flowers, relax under them with a glass of wine, draft beer or select cocktail. Food is served as well.

Astra, Wynwood

Bloom Sky Bar at Langford Hotel

121 SE 1 St., Miami, FL 33131, (305) 420-2200

As the only one on this list located in Downtown Miami, the skyline view is what makes Bloom Sky Bar special. Sit atop this historic 1929 building, now a hotel, and sip on a craft cocktail while enjoying one of their many weekly events.

Bloom Sky Bar at the Langford Hotel, Downtown

No. 3 Social

50 NW 24 St., Miami, FL 33127, (305) 395-5811

Walk up a set of stairs and make your way to the cozy No. 3 Social in Wynwood, a rooftop bar that’s got a fun, funky vibe. What else would you expect in Wynwood? There’s both indoor and outdoor seating here where the DJ’s turntable regularly spins. Seating is comfortable, a good place to relax and try signature cocktails with names like Norman’s Revenge great for tequila lovers made with Don Julio Blanco, and the Cactus Flower a blend of Mezcal the “it” spirit of the moment, aloe liquor, lemon, agave, aloe juice and prosecco.

Added to this list are several of the “classics” — Juvia and Watr in South Beach and Area 31 and Edge on Brickell Avenue.

Looking for a restaurant with a killer view? Check out an earlier post with nine picks. Click here.

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MiamiCurated by Karen Escalera - 3w ago
The invitation to the flower happy hour

You know the “happy hour” part – in this case there’s unlimited wine and another beverage to mesh with the evening’s theme (e.g. saki, sangria) and appetizers. It’s 6:30 pm. to 8 p.m. but you can linger. Differences are it’s in a flower shop in Miami, it’s on set days, and lucky you, the next one is this Wednesday, June 26. What about the rest of the “flower”part?

You’re given a lovely assortment of greens and flowers, a clipper, clear tape and a vase. Over the next one and a half hours you make your own arrangement which you can take home.  Tony Kohler , Director of Events at Pistils & Petals, a “go to” place for top arrangements in South Beach, or one of his team guides everyone through the process. This is literally “hands on”.

We were given the flowers and greens, clippers, clear tape, and of course the wine!

I have taken classes in flower arranging, but they have all been presentations. It’s a world of difference when you actually do it.

Intent on my task at hand with Tony Kohler, Director of Events at Pistils & Petals, giving me valued tips

We had English country flowers which, truth be told, are difficult to mess up. Here’s my arrangement, so  judge for yourself. And even if the arrangement hadn’t turned out the way I wanted it to, it was a fun time, and I learned in the process.

My arrangement

The group size is a maximum of 15 people. The price all in is $55 per person. They also offer the event for groups from 8 to 20 at the same price per person.

Classes are held every other Wednesday starting July 10th, until the end of August. The next classes will be on June 26th, July 10th, and July 24th.

For  more information, contact Pistils & Petals, 1060 Alton Road, T.305-534-5001. For reservations, click here.

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MiamiCurated by Karen Escalera - 1M ago
Flying a plane in Homestead

By Jennifer Agress and Yours Truly

With so many neighborhoods in South Florida, it’s hard to know where to go when you have a free day… and of course, what to do when you get there. That’s why we’ve started a new series!  Join us as we discover “How to Have the Best Day in…” some of our favorite neighborhoods in the Greater Miami area. First up was a Day in Overtown. And now, our picks of the best things to do in Homestead.

Fruit & Spice Park is a 37-acre subtropical paradise with more than 500 varieties of exotic fruits, herbs, spices and nuts from around the world

Spend a beautiful morning at Fruit & Spice Park.

Nestled in the heart of Redland, Fruit & Spice Park is a 37-acre subtropical paradise with more than 500 varieties of exotic fruits, herbs, spices and nuts from around the world; over 180 varieties of mangoes; 70 kinds of bamboo; 40 types of bananas; 15 kinds of jackfruit trees; and more. Wander through and sample the fallen fruit, take a horticultural class, visit the herb and vegetable garden, stroll through banana groves, or hop on a guided tram tour and see it all at once. Spend an hour there or stay all morning—either way, you’re sure to be enchanted. Fruit & Spice Park is located at 24801 SW 187th Avenue.

Wat Buddharangsi Buddhist Temple

Meditate at a Buddhist temple.
Morning meditation makes any day a good one! As you explore Homestead, don’t miss a trip to Wat Buddharangsi Buddhist Temple. Spread across five acres, this temple stands out from its rural surroundings with Thai wood carvings, a 23-foot temple, colorful Bonsai trees and gold, horn-shaped structures. Phrasiridhammavidhet, who is the original abbot, and three monks live onsite all year round, offering Buddhist sermons and weekly meditation classes in both English and Spanish. Stop by for just 30 minutes and do your own personal meditation in front of the five-ton, gold-leaf Buddha statue. Not only is entry free, but trust us: it’s the relaxation you never knew you needed. Wat Buddharangsi Buddhist Temple is located at 15200 SW 240th Street.

Do a wine tasting at Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery.

Enter the grandiose tasting room at Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery and belly up to its striking bar to try a bevy of red, white and pink wines and local beers made from Florida fruit: like lychee, guava and mango. Once you’ve found a varietal you like, buy a bottle, head outside to the lush courtyard and tiki hut, grab a seat at the communal picnic table and enjoy it. On a beautiful day, the surrounding coral waterfalls, colorful gardens and idyllic lagoon make for a stunning view. Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery is located at 30205 SW 217th Avenue. Tastings are priced at $12.95 per person and include tastings of five different wines and a souvenir wine glass.

Go on an airboat ride at Homestead’s oldest alligator farm.

Everglades Alligator Farm sits right near the entrance to Everglades National Park and is home to 2,000+ alligators. You can get up close and personal with these alligators on guided, daily airboat rides—they’re a must-do activity in South Florida! When you’re done, you can also see an alligator show, a snake show and even an alligator feeding demonstration. Everglades Alligator Farm is located at 40351 SW 192nd Avenue. Airboat rides are priced at $25 per adult and $19 per child.

Fly a plane!

Fly up to 5,000 feet above Homestead with Miami Gliders. Here’s how it works: you’ll sit in the pilot’s seat of a glider plane, with a certified pilot right next to you. A townplane will launch you to your designated altitude (2,000 feet, 3,000 feet or 5,000 feet), and with the pilot’s instruction, you’ll actually get to fly the glider back down to your starting point. How’s that for a little adventure? Prices start at $120 per flight. Miami Gliders is located at 28790 SW 217th Avenue.

NASCAR and kart racing

Visit Miami’s own NASCAR track.

At Homestead-Miami Speedway, you’re always in for a roaring good time! (We mean that literally—those racing engines are no joke.) This track plays host to a series of events throughout the year, from weekly “Fast Lane Fridays” to the Ford EcoBoost 400, Monster Jam and more. When there are no events happening, book a Kart-racing experience at the onsite Florida AMR Motorplex. If you like to get your heart pumping, this is where you want to be. Homestead-Miami Speedway is located at One Ralph Sanchez Speedway Boulevard. Tickets vary per event.

Enjoy a Mexican feast at Casita Tejas Mexican Restaurant.

You can’t go to Homestead without trying Mexican food! It’s a low-key staple there, and Casita Tejas Mexican Restaurant has some of the best. Here, get authentic Mexican food like the Guadalajara Platter with a tamale, cheese chile relleno, beef taco, chicken quesadilla and bean tostada; Fajita Bite Nachos, which loads a skillet with chips, refried beans, melted cheese, fajita strips, fresh roasted pepper, sour cream and jalapeno slices; or “Mexican Bullets” with roasted jalapeno peppers, chicken, ranchera sauce and monterey jack cheese. The best part? Even with a margarita or a beer, your feast won’t break the bank. Casita Tejas Mexican Restaurant is located at 27 North Krome Avenue.

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