The Biscayne Times

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Apr 17th
February 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pamela Robin Brandt - BT Contributor   

Sales, special events, and more from the people who make Biscayne Times possible

Bbigstock-valentine-day-6715229rrr. It sounds unappreciative, coming from an ex-New Yorker whose former abode is roughly 19 degrees below zero, considering the wind chill factor. But considering how many fantabulous outdoor festivals there are in BT’s territory this month, we’re hopeful for many sunny days ahead.

One of the fab outdoor festivals is Palette Miami, a festive neighborhood celebration of local flavors and general fun. It’s on February 8, from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at 5700 Biscayne Blvd., on a vacant lot across from 55th Street Station. That’s where the BT’s modest office is located -- appropriately, since we’re the festival’s media sponsor. Since there are several other mentions in this issue, we’ll say no more, except see ya there.

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing,” the old adage goes, and sure enough: The Downtown Miami Partnership (www.downtownmiami.com) announces two other outdoor events, also on February 8. First, the family- and pet-friendly 13th annual Flagler Fest & Classic Car Show. Flagler Street will be closed off for the crowds of people who’ll come to check out the collection of vintage cars and hot rods, not to mention the motorcycle show, street performers, historic downtown walking tours, entertainment at the Gusman Center, and more -- and all free. That Saturday is also the first Fresh Start Farmer’s Market (in the median parking lot at 50 Biscayne Blvd.; faceook.com/ourbiscayne), winner of the Miami Foundation’s “Public Space Challenge” for repurposing public spaces as community gathering areas; the market repeats on 2/15, 2/22, and 3/1. Both events run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., letting out just in time for the opening of Palette Miami. Now that’s our kind of day.

How about taking the family on a Saturday or Sunday drive to a festival that’s not just a road trip, but a time trip? Spend the day in the 13th Century or so at the Florida Renaissance Festival, which, for three weekends, March 29-April 13, will be located at Cauley Square Historic Village (22400 Old Dixie Hwy.), north of Homestead. Wander the fairgrounds watching actors in period costumes demonstrate how European pirates, knights, and tavern wenches in the late medieval period warred, cooked, made crafts, traveled, and frequently burst into song and dance. Shop at roughly four dozen ye olde souvenir shoppes for your own sword, elf ears, wench clothing, or fake fiery dragon pets. Btw: No pets are allowed, so leave your dogs and real-life dragons at home. For info and tix: www.ren-fest.com.

Now’s the time to pop in and say hello to a recent arrival in the neighborhood, Design Shop (5582 NE 4th Ct. #7A, 786-859-6365). Owners Lorena and Hugo Mijares, who are also both architects, have stocked their store, located at the 55th Street Station complex (BT neighbors!), with a selection of unique items from around the planet, reflecting design concepts from cutting-edge serious to seriously funny. (Wouldn’t you like to have a designer bird feeder or “fish hotel”?) It will be a wonderful stop as you search for a special gift to surprise that extra-special person on your Valentine’s list. All the more wonderful thanks to a whopping one-time discount of 30% to readers who mention the BT.

The City of Miami Beach (www.mbculture.com) has a full schedule of outdoor food, movie, and music events this month. The Soundscape Cinema Series, which actually continues through May, will feature five free films: Lord of the Rings (2/5), Lincoln (2/12), Mary Poppins (2/13), Much Ado About Nothing (2/19), and Hellboy (2/26). All start at 8:00 p.m. Also at Soundscape, on February 22 at 8:00 p.m., the city’s Arts in the Park program presents a free concert by Tito Puente Jr. and Marlow Rosado. And up at the North Shore Park Bandshell (Collins Avenue and 73rd Street), there’s a Food Truck and Music Fest scheduled for February 26, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more details/updates on all, visit the website.

Assuming it doesn’t snow, February is a great month in Miami to put together your own DIY mini wine and food fest. In the old days we believe they were called “picnics.” Whatever -- yours can be spectacular if your wine source is Laurenzo’s Italian Market (16445 W. Dixie Hwy., 305-944-5052) since, says David Laurenzo, “We’re continuing our amazing 50% off fine wine ‘Treasure Hunt’ sale!” Naturally, Laurenzo’s can also supply all your other picnic necessities: imported cold cuts, cheeses, breads, olives, desserts…everything but the lawn chairs.

To get to your picnic spot the old-fashioned romantic way, bicycle. No bike? No worries. Bike Nerds (9538 NE 2nd Ave., 786-332-3463) just got in a huge stock of brand-new, old-school Fixies (fixed-gear bikes), plus a new line of Giro helmets. If you have a bike but it needs work, there’s a special deal for readers: Mention the BT for $10 off normal tune-up prices of $40 (single-speed) and $50 (3+ gears).

If February stays frosty, prepare for an indoor picnic by contacting Mr. Wood Custom Floors (305-758-7505, mrwoodmiami.com), a company that’ll replace or refinish your scuzzy floor with, as our Nana used to say, “a floor clean enough to eat off of.” This month’s deal for readers mentioning the BT: sanding and refinishing at $1.50 per square foot (minimum 1500 feet) or $2 per square foot (minimum 1000 feet). The job usually goes for $2.50-$3.00 per foot.

At Italian seafood eatery Big Fish (620 NE 78th St., 305-373-1770), on the Little River, the updated interior is now romantic enough to be date-worthy. But for our money, the expansive new waterfront deck rules. Starting this month, the restaurant will be serving lunch and Sunday brunch, as well as dinner. And, a triple-delicious deal for BT readers - $10 off your check of $30 or more for Lunch, Dinner, or Sunday Brunch.

Outdoor dining is also an option at new advertiser Buffalo Wild Wings (18721 Biscayne Blvd., 305-962-9995), which opened just a couple of months ago. Like all locations of the national sports bar chain, this new location in Aventura’s Town Center mall features a huge variety of chicken wings, as well as an astonishing number of big-screen HD TVs -- 64 of them, tuned to almost every sport imaginable -- except, probably, competitive eating. But that’s one sport that’ll require participation, not just watching, in order to try all 18 sauces and four dry rubs.

Feeling a few extra pounds after all the February pig-outs? Well, you put ’em on, but licensed nutritionist Dina Garcia at Vida Nutrition (11098 Biscayne Blvd., 786-479-4081) will help you take ’em off, the way contestants do on TV’s The Biggest Loser: using the FDA-approved MedGem to determine your own personal caloric needs with maximum accuracy. This month the high-tech ten-minute breath test, normally $99, is only $49 for readers who mention the BT.

Actually, there’s plenty going on this month that focuses on feeding your mind, not your mouth. Those who recognize that all art is political, like it or not, shouldn’t miss the exhibition, presented by Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design (www.mdc.edu), “Leonard Turkel: Pioneer & Activist.” A free public reception honoring the Renaissance Man (developer, civil-rights activist, guitar player, artist) is scheduled for February 7, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Freedom Tower (600 Biscayne Blvd.).

Another more unconventional musical theatrical experience, this one from MDC Live Arts: the National Theatre of Scotland’s runaway hit show The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart. Appropriately, MDC is presenting the production, whose plot is filled with wild karaoke and whisky shots, in an actual bar: Bar 337, formerly PAX (337 SW 8th St.). For info and tix to the six performances, which run 2/19-23: mdclivearts.org.

Continuing this season’s St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series (2301 Biscayne Blvd., 305-458-0111), the next two performances star England’s Vida Guitar Quartet playing works from Gershwin to Yiddish dances on February 9, and a pair of international award-winning piano duos from Germany (Stenzl Brothers) and Japan (Duo Yamamoto), on March 2. For tix, still miraculously budget-priced at $10 (including a fun wine/snacks reception): saintmartha.tix.com.

Oops. With all of February’s entertainment options, we forgot that this is also “the love bug month,” as Hannah Lasky of Hannah & Her Scissors (611 NE 86th St., 305-772-8426) calls it. So in honor of February 14, she’s offering 14 percent off on hair services to readers mentioning the BT. And since the salon does triple-duty as an art gallery and gift shop (Lasky is a fine artist as well as hair artist), it’s also a fab secret source for unique Lasky-designed, handmade tote bags, pillows, and other affordable Valentine’s Day gifts.

Another source of great affordable gifts: thrift shops. And it doesn’t get any greater than at the brand-new location of new advertiser Goodwill Industries of South Florida (441 NE 81st St.). For years, Goodwill operated across the street from Midpoint shopping center (formerly Biscayne Plaza). But at 6000 square feet, the original was just a store. At 20,000 square feet, the new place is a Goodwill Superstore and Donation Drive-Thru. A grand opening is scheduled for February 13.

With luck, you may even get that Valentine’s Day gift for an unbeatable price: nada. Check out this issue’s ad for the Shops at Midtown Miami, and follow the instructions to vote in their “Who Wore It Best?” contest. (That is, which 99.9 FM Kiss Country DJs had the best outfits at a Showdown/Throwdown chili cook-off.) Top winner gets a $250 shopping spree; five others get $50 sprees. Sweet. Vote at: facebook.com/midtownmiami.

On to more serious stuff: The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. This month’s news from brand-new Metropolitan International School of Miami in Wynwood (3465 NW 2nd Ave., 305-439-7191), a cutting-edge private institution that so far is only for preschoolers: Starting in February, an array of after-school programs will be offered, such as dance, singing, and acting programs guided by professional teams. There’s also Art Portfolio preparation (for students prepping for an art-focused high school like DASH, or an art-teaching career). “Hmmm,” you may be thinking. “Early preparation is great, but so far MIS is only pre-K. Perhaps a little young to get a portfolio together?” Right you are. The after-school programs are open to the public and intended for secondary school and high school-age students.

At Monsignor Edward Pace High School (15600 NW 32nd Ave., 305-623-7223 x342), the name “Spartans” is most often associated with its renowned athletic teams. And the term “boot camp” is usually associated with strenuous physical training. As the cute capitalization suggests, though, Pace’s second annual SpARTan Boot Camp, on February 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., is not about athletics or team sports; it’s an intensive day of art, dance, drama, and music for 5th- through 8th-graders of both genders. From a wide choice of subjects (drawing, sculpture, musical theater, band, guitar, hip hop, more), students can attend one morning and one afternoon session before presenting a showcase for parents. Price: just $10, lunch included. Sign up now (space is limited) at bit.ly/pacespartanbootcamp.

Don’t forget the other children in your family: the doggies and kitties. Whether they’re feeling just neglected and whiny, or they’re truly ill, new advertiser Miami Shores Animal Clinic (570 NW 103rd St., 305-757-3030) has the resources to fix them right up. This full-service clinic offers both emergency care and routine medical, surgical, and dental work; does dietary consultations, and more. Then there’s The Spa, offering grooming plus just plain pampering services.

Leung Healthcare, a medical and dental practice with several offices, has two pieces of news this month. First, on February 5, a class on management of blood pressure is scheduled at 888 NE 126th St. #101; 305-899-1406; both Leung patients and their guests are welcome. Additionally, Leung just scored a brilliant new Certified Physician Assistant, Jean Philippe Charles. Originally from Haiti, he speaks Creole, French, and Spanish -- as well as English. Welcome, whiz kid!

In a month when you’re having lots of fun, you need a terrific smile. So remember longtime advertiser Biscayne Dental Center (14771 Biscayne Blvd., 305-945-7745), and thank them for the February deal: Sign up for Invisalign treatment this month and get either new Glo whitening (a $550 value) or retainers (a $300 value) absolutely free.

Residents painting a community mural; a bluegrass chamber choir… Okay, the last was not a Knight Arts Challenge winner. We just made it up. The point is, if you’re a South Florida artist (in any genre) with exciting, creative ideas but no dough to implement them, this is the time of year to apply for Knight Arts Challenge funding. Don’t let the practical stuff intimidate you; the Knight website talks you through the grant application process. So go for it, at www.KnightArts.org. The applications deadline is February 24.

If, on the other hand, you’ve saved so much taking advantage of the deals above that you have more money than you know what to do with it, schlep it over to new advertiser C1 Bank (2632 N. Miami Ave., www.c1bank.com). You should go anyway, just to see the lobby, which is less like a bank and more like an art gallery. Businesswise, though, services range from simple checking accounts to full business stuff. Though C1 has 26 locations in southwest Florida, this is its first Miami branch, and they genuinely seem to believe in Wynwood…and to be having fun.


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