|Written by Pamela Robin Brandt - BT Contributor|
Sales, special events, and more from the people who make Biscayne Times possible
“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” Whoever said that first, it’s really just a funnier, more exuberant way of saying you can’t get too much of a good thing. And it’s a motto Miamians seem to live by.
Take Miami Spa Month… Which is two months long. Or Miami Spice, a discounted dining program originally designed to help fill restaurants during the year’s slowest month, August; it grew to include September ages ago, and this year numerous restaurants jumped the gun with July “Spice preview” menus.
This month’s advertisers certainly seem to be pursuing everything from self-improvement to community development to sheer enjoyment with a passion, pushing good things to excellence. And readers are the beneficiaries.
For example: We doubt that anyone, of any age, remembers the last time that a Happy Hour was an hour. But at returning advertiser Fish Fish (13485 Biscayne Blvd., 786-565-9765), owners Rebecca Nachlas and Melvyn Franks stretch it to new levels, with a Happy Hour that lasts all day at the bar. If you haven’t yet discovered this unique fresh seafood market/restaurant/lounge, now’s the time to do it. During Miami Spice, three-course lunches and dinners are $23 and $39 respectively.
At longtime North Miami Beach locals’ hangout Tuna’s Seafood Restaurant (17850 W. Dixie Hwy., 305-932-0630), owner Michael Chiodo and chef Rolf Fellhauer have a few pleasant surprises for diners, most dramatically a completely renovated dining room and new Yellowfin Lounge. The menu has also been spruced up with old-school spectacle: several items (including Chateaubriand or rack of lamb for two) carved or otherwise partially prepared tableside. During Miami Spice, the new dishes are available on the $33 three-course dinner menu.
Enjoy a different sort of dinner theater at Fiorito (5555 NE 2nd Ave., 305-754-2899) on August 12, when the hip contemporary Argentine eatery will present guitar sensation Caril Paura plus locro, Argentina’s unofficial national dish. The date’s a Monday, when Fiorito is normally closed, but best reserve; the first soiree in June, featuring the same musician and food special, drew a crowd of double the restaurant’s capacity.
Hooray! The Butcher Shop (165 NW 23rd St., 305-846-9120) is finally fully open. We started tantalizing you back in April with descriptions of this then still-under-construction place’s unique concept: It’s both a beer garden restaurant/lounge and a retail gourmet meat market. After selecting meats (including USDA-certified prime beef, rare to find these days even in upscale steakhouses) from the roughly mile-long butcher case, buyers can either take purchases home to cook, or get them cooked to eat on-premises with choices of seasonings and sauces. Festive ambiance and artisan beers, including proprietary organic brews, dictates choosing the second option.
With so much always going on at the main market/wine shop/café at Laurenzo’s Italian Center (16385 W. Dixie Hwy., 305-945-6381), it’s easy to overlook Laurenzo’s farmer’s market, across the street. But we never do. Our latest discovery: a stash of unsliced kosher hot dog buns thick enough to top-slice, for an authentic New England lobster roll (which are never served in a side-sliced bun). And this month David Laurenzo is introducing soursop -- an exotic Caribbean fruit that’s not only tasty but, according to a recent Cancer Research UK report David sent us, contains agents that may kill cancer up to 10,000 times more effectively than chemotherapy, and are also effective against high blood pressure and many other ills. (He had us at “tasty.”)
New advertiser Proper Sausages (9722 NE 2nd Ave., 786-334-5734) had us at the first bite of a fig and blue cheese link. Frankly, if Freddy and Danielle Kaufmann’s recently opened shop sold sausages alone (typically 5-8 varieties daily), it’d be enough. But the couple also sells Florida-produced meats, poultry, and eggs; housemade bacon, pâtés, salads, sandwiches, and prepared entrées; artisan beers; more. Special event: On August 11, Proper will be featured at a sausage/cocktail pairing event at Miami Beach’s Broken Shaker bar. Call for details.
Wow, much restaurant news. But a community’s food reflects its culture, and we’re not the only one who thinks so. Take EMW broker associate Robbie Bell (305-528-8557). You know her as the urban lifestyle specialist in relocation and second homes, who can find you a home in your personal perfect neighborhood. But she also writes the Scrumpterou Report, an insider’s guide to her favorite neighborhood restaurants. Download it at www.GoToRobbieBell.info.
When we moved from NYC to Miami, decades ago, “culture” seemed kind of a capital-K thing. No more. Miami’s defining passions and soul are all reflected at the eighth annual festival of flamenco songs (which means dance, too) of Siempre Flamenco at the Adrienne Arsht Center, August 30-September 1. The performance, which features an exceptional line-up of guest artists from Spain, is at the Center’s intimate Carnival Studio Theater, enabling viewers to get up close and personal with the emotions onstage. For info/reservations: 305-866-4387 or www.arshtcenter.org.
School? Didn’t summer vacay just start? Nope, it’s really time to start preparing for the 2013-2014 school year, which, at returning advertiser Monsignor Edward Pace High School (15500 NW 32nd Ave., 305-623-7223), begins on August 19. A very limited number of student slots at Pace -- which, under the direction of principal Ana Garcia, has now integrated iPads 100% into its curriculum -- are open at press time, so call or go to www.pacehs.com immediately for applications.
Kids want to go to school looking cool. So this month partners Kevin and Francis Bacon at The Cutting Room (1666 79th St. Cswy., 305-868-8725) are offering haircuts for just $15 to boys and girls up to age 15. Visit www.thecuttingroommiami.com to see how hip you can look.
Eyeglasses haven’t traditionally been considered fashion accessories, especially for kids taunted as “four-eyes.” But the designer selection at USA Optical (17096 W. Dixie Hwy., 786-486-5294) will have your kid, or you, not just seeing great but looking great. Bring in the coupons in this issue’s ad for two deals: 25% off new glasses, and a free eye exam.
Learning is something that can continue beyond school -- and should in certain crucial areas, such as your personal self. Daily Offering Yoga (6901 Biscayne Blvd., www.dailyofferingyoga.com) has three offerings this month. On 8/31, Yoga ’n’ Rhythm transforms participants by expanding creativity and releasing stress musically. Monday night Buddhist Basics covers fundamentals of Buddha’s teachings. And serious potential teachers can learn more at an open house on August 10, covering the 200-hour yoga-teaching program.
One nondeveloper-type development that thrills us is the increasing number of stores blurring the lines between art and craft. An outstanding example: new advertiser Frangipani (2516 NW 2nd Ave., 305-573-1480), a modern lifestyle boutique that’s part shop, part gallery, focusing on sustainable and handmade products. Stop by to check out their modern and very fun stock of clothes, toys, tattoos, stationery, body lotions, clocks, bar glasses, and other items that are useable but definitely art. During the shop’s annual “Florida Pass Sale,” August 29-31, locals receive a 20% discount with your Florida driver’s license.
Even your home’s utilitarian kitchen can become part gallery, thanks to new advertiser, and new Wynwood shop, Appart (141 NE 24th St., 305-200-6232), which sells unique artful kitchen appliances. Check out their stock of premium KitchenAid, Blendtec, and Bodum countertop units in exclusive colors; products are designed to both look amazing and last a lifetime.
Ah, how we wish new advertiser Sit ’n’ Sleep (14440 Biscayne Blvd., 305-705-9723), which is currently celebrating its grand opening, had been around when we were furnishing our small condo a decade ago. If that had been true, our living room would sport a focal Italian sleeper sofa that projected elegance to the entire space, rather than a futon-ish thing that screams college dorm.
If you’re a condo dweller, it’s possible you never thought of a fish tank as a design element that could bring the outside inside, with style to spare. Consult new advertiser Belle Aquarium and Garden Design (786-718-6487). And if you have an actual outside -- a yard or whatever -- this think-outside-the-box company can also handle design, installation, and maintenance of gardens, from veggie to Zen. Go to www.belleaq.com for a rundown of all possibilities.
Shopping fans who’d rather park once and then enjoy strolling many possibilities, rather than wasting a tank of gas driving between stores, will join us in welcoming two new Upper Eastside advertisers.
Antiques & Design Center (8690 Biscayne Blvd.), a retail complex home to 15 specialty furniture/design stores, will be growing by another 13,000 square feet, for a total of 39,500 square feet of retail space. Danny Reyes, president of Regaland Properties, hopes to break ground for the mall’s second expansion in two years by the end of August. Call him at 305-458-7134.
Big changes are also in the works for iconic Biscayne Plaza (79th Street and Biscayne Boulevard), a new advertiser under the new ownership of Global Fund Investments, headed up by Doron Valero. Most specifics are yet to come, but thrift store addicts can anticipate a mega-Goodwill store in the 23,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Big Lots. There’ll be a new CVS Pharmacy, too, and at least two spaces are yearning for eateries. Interested in opening a restaurant or a retail business? Call Douglas Wolfe at 786-367-7223.
Transitioning from artsy/development stuff to seasonal nitty-gritty practicality: It’s the height of hurricane season. But that needn’t mean months of ugly shutters ruining the appearance of your home or business. Welcome new advertiser VITRI Corporation (141 NE 3rd Ave. #600, 305-767-7971), a specialist in durable and beautiful high-impact glass. Downtown’s DDA has actually offered to contribute 75% of the total cost to replace aluminum eyesores with this glass. But wherever you live or work, VITRI offers complimentary on-site consultations.
No need to lose power in summer’s storms, thanks to Joe Blair Garden Supply (320 NE 79th St., 305-757-5554). See this issue’s ad for special deals on Honda generators -- and a Honda mower, for after-storm clean-up.
Cars need special summer maintenance, too, but it needn’t cost a bundle, at least not for BMW owners. Munich Autohaus (12400 NE 13th Pl., 305-893-5958) is continuing its keepin’ cool specials: $60 for a coolant flush; 15% off all A/C work).
And the South Florida resident veterans at Busy Bee Car Wash (10550 Biscayne Blvd., 305- 891-5889) remind drivers that appearance is far from the main reason for washing/waxing this season. Intense sun causes gloss loss and stains, plus cracks upholstery and rubber; seasonal rains, rather than cleaning, trap sediments to cause rapid oxidation and corrosion. So see this issue’s ad for some special summer discounts.
Is anyone out there seriously dreaming, this month, about ways to grow their businesses, rather than dreaming about lounging in a hammock with a pitcher of mojitos? If so… Well, we hardly know what to say to you. Oh, wait. We actually do: At new advertiser PrintDocs (2020 NE 163rd St. #101, 305-999-0245), a full-service graphic design and printing company, owner Wayne Seymour can help relieve your unseasonal obsession with work by doing your promo projects for you. The company specializes in enhancing your corporate presence in today’s global marketplace. And customers praise PrintDocs for speed, high quality, and low price.
Finally: If you haven’t already, you soon will be seeing ads for the campaigns of Robert Malone and Richard Dunn, both running for Miami City Commission in District 5 -- which you may live in and not even know it. Following 2010 U.S. Census results, boundaries between District 2 and District 5 were redrawn -- controversially, with the Upper Eastside split in two. We’re not going to tell you here who to vote for. We’re just telling you it’s a wide-open race with likely major repercussions for those living north of NE 61st Street, and BT readers will likely decide the election. So please, regardless of who you vote for, just vote.
Volume 11, Issue 10, December 2013
Some recommended stops on the mad dash through Miami’s Art Week
Sales, special events, and more from the people who make Biscayne Times possible