Pied A Terre: Lovely French dining in a tranquil atmosphere by Betty Alvarez

You will never know that tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach lies a quaint and dainty hotel in the corner of James Avenue and 17th Street, the Cadet Hotel. This 1941 Art Deco Hotel with 34 rooms and suites is the home to a cozy and elegant restaurant, Pied a Terre. A restaurant with a cuisine like no other.

Pied a Terre prepares healthy french cuisine using classic French techniques used by Michelin-starred restaurants in France today. Their approach to dining incorporates innovative recipes created by seasonal visiting chefs who shares and trains the restaurant’s staff to create recipes especialy for Pied A Terre. Great and different concept.

Our experience started with a refreshing welcome cocktail. Afterwards, Patrick Gruest, Food/Wine consultant explained the different types of dishes and the wine that would most deliciously be a great pair.

For our appetizer, I picked the Fresh Wild Mushroom Risotto. In addition to being the right portion for an appetizer, the outburst of flavor was exceptional. The plate was served hot as the risotto was tender and delicious. The mushroom that complimented it gave its robust flavor. It came with one plantain chip for decor.

As for the entree, I picked the Seabass with Peruvian flavor. I had to try this dish as I am of Peruvian background. The Seabass was very juicy covered with an assorment of Peruvian sauces such as the Aji Amarillo. It also was decorated with tomato, parsley and anchored with Mussels. The meat was tender and melted in your mouth. My dish was paired with a crisp and semi-fruit white wine.

For dessert, the Valhora Chocolate Fondant, a silky smooth chocolate cake with Vanilla ice cream topped with a sweet treat along with rose-shaped strawberries. A great presentation to a tasteful treat. The right portion for the right sweetness. Another guest at the table ordered the chocolate macaroon. Now, I thought they were going to bring the normal small macaroon but boy was I mistaken. It was a huge macaroon with chocolate ice cream on the side with a treat.

All in all the experience was to die for and the ambiance brought a nostalgic memory in me. If you sit in the back table seating for around 10 you can never imagine that you are steps away from 17th Street and Collins Avenue. The curtains really do the trick in hiding it and you feel that you are away in paradise.

It was a pure delight that I want to experience again.

For more information please visit www.piedaterrerestaurant.com

Miami’s Travel Industry Gathers for the Launch of the Level at Melia Caribe Tropical By Betty Alvarez

South Florida’s top travel agencies and airline representatives celebrated the anticipated launch of the luxury line of accommodations at Meliá Caribe Tropical, called THE LEVEL and THE LEVEL ADULTS ONLY. Close to 100 guests gathered for the cocktail event hosted by Meliá Hotels International, one of the world’s largest hotel brands, and Viva Travel on March 5, at Dolores but You Can Call Me Lolita in Brickell. Guests from the travel industry mingled with City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, and radio personalities, Roxana Garcia and Jose Antonio Alvarez. Also in attendance were representatives from the Dominican Republic Tourism Board, Leticia Del Rosario Regional Sales Manager USA & Canada for Meliá Caribe Tropical, and Patricia Alvarez, Director of Sales & Marketing for Meliá Caribe Tropical.

THE LEVEL and THE LEVEL ADULTS ONLY, are luxury experiences for vacationers who want that extra touch of personalized service at the Meliá Caribe Tropical located in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The newly launched, THE LEVEL provides discerning guests exclusive and preferential services and amenities, offering timeless luxury and comfort. This private area of the resort is ideal for families, couples and groups.

THE LEVEL features a myriad of special offerings, including a private check-in/out lounge for registration and assistance; and access to the VIP Lounge offering daily continental breakfast, free Internet access, premium beverages, liquors, hors d’oeuvres and coffee & tea service throughout the day and exclusive access to GABI Club. Unique experiences at THE LEVEL include Energy for Life activities like Body Balance – a mix of yoga and Tai Chi. THE LEVEL guests are able to indulge in the new Experiences Menu, featuring special workshops, dinners on the beach, romantic private breakfasts and in-room dining experiences. Concierges can also arrange for in-room Jacuzzi preparation and priority reservations for à la carte restaurants, YHI Wellness spa and fitness, golf courses, tennis courts and other activities. Guests of THE LEVEL have access to a private part of the resort’s white sand beach, as well as two private pools on property, one of which is for ADULTS ONLY.

Meliá Caribe Tropical is also introducing a new culinary concept, Cuatro, exclusively for guests of THE LEVEL ADULTS ONLY. This new establishment is divided into four different dining experiences, including Uno, traditional steakhouse offering premium cuts of beef; Dos, a Gastro Bar concept encompassing the best of a Spanish tapas bar and an Irish pub; Tres, Nikkei a fusion of Peruvian fare with Japanese and Cantonese cuisine; and Cuatro, a beachside buffet serving international cuisine with à la carte and snack options.

There are four categories of guestrooms for THE LEVEL, including THE LEVEL ADULTS ONLY Suite, THE LEVEL ADULTS ONLY Suite with Whirlpool, THE LEVEL Master Suite and THE LEVEL One Bedroom Master Suite. Every guestroom in THE LEVEL category features special bathroom amenities such as a spa shower; bathrobes and slippers; a concierge service; pillow menu and fragrance menu.

For more information about Viva Tour please contact Flor@vivaaents.com. For more information about THE LEVEL at Meliá Caribe Tropical, please visit: www.meliacaribetropical.com.

About Viva Travel
Viva Tours is a multifaceted Tour Operator with over 25 years of industry experience. Viva Tours’ vision is to provide unique travel experiences to travelers around the world and to become an industry leader all while continuously thinking outside the box to offer its travelers memories to last a lifetime. In 2013, Viva Travel & Tours launched an aggressive marketing strategy encompassing all media facets and grassroots promotions, which in return brought the VIVA Brand alongside its partners to the forefront and made the brand synonymous with TRAVEL. In 2014, they plan to continue their proven marketing efforts to become the leader in travel to the Latin America and Caribbean regions. During the summer 2014, Viva guarantees 21 full charter flights from Miami to Punta Cana with LAN Airlines. Additionally, the tour operator guarantees fixed departures with LAN Airlines year round from Miami to Punta Cana.

About Meliá Hotels & Resorts
Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand is the Group’s city and resort hotels brand that combine a mixture of stunning yet functional facilities within preferred business and leisure destinations, such as Meliá Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia, Meliá Jardim Europa – Sao Paolo, Meliá Caribe Tropical – Dominican Republic, Meliá Barcelona – Spain, Melià Vendome – Paris, Melià Whitehouse – London and Meliá Zanzibar – Tanzania. The brand is designed to offer the five senses a fresh and innovative experience through igniting the Spanish tradition of excellence in hospitality. All hotels pay close attention to sensory design coupled with fresh and welcoming decorations, balancing aesthetics and design functionality. Meliá hotels feature a VIP experience called “THE LEVEL” that offers a private lounge with open bar, exclusive room accommodations, special in room amenities and the finest service. www.melia-hotels.com

Landmark Doral Cosmo chic Event of the year launching its Welcome Home Center by Betty Alvarez

Lennar’s newest community in Doral, Landmark, recently opened its sophisticated new sales center with a grand opening party that welcomed 700 guests. The “cosmo-chic” community offers contemporary design while delivering modern technology and exclusive amenities. For upscale and affluent homebuyers with a modern flare, Landmark is an ultra modern design setting with a new urban twist that promotes outdoor activity in community, green space while blending lifestyle and convenience in addition to nearby shops and restaurants.

A new standard in contemporary-living with an inspiring collection of two and three story townhomes, (some with elevators) each unit is designed with the latest architectural styles with clean lines and abundant natural light – both offering sky view terraces complete with summer kitchens Starting from the mid $400s, these contemporary townhomes feature a vast collection of floor plans with three and four bedroom designs, ranging from approximately 1,700 to over 2,00 a/c sq ft of living space, as well as the innovative NextGen – The Home within a Home design – all exuding included luxury upgrades

Comfortable open-spaces are optimized for function with flowing floor plans and multi-levels of enviable indoor-outdoor South Florida living. Volume kitchen and living areas provide a countless array of options for customizing the ideal entertaining and dwelling space. Interiors boast contemporary style accents such as floor to ceiling windows, recessed high-hat lighting, stainless-steel stair railing, and grand kitchens with Quartz countertops, glass or stone backsplash, double wall ovens, and wine cooler, as well as Advanced Savant WirelessTechnology System.

Residents of Landmark will enjoy Club Chic, a resort clubhouse with cutting edge fitness center and expansive pool, as well as Open air Ampitheater, Tennis and Kids Splash Park. Located in the heart of Doral, residents are issued the benefits of on-site amenities, nearby schools, shopping, dining and famed Trump International Resort and Spa.

Visit the chic Lennar Welcome Home Center at NW 66th ST and 107th AVE., Doral, FL. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (. (877) 200-0199. You may also find information on www.lennar.com/floridadeals.

It was all about the Margaritas to celebrate National Margarita Day with El Jimador Tequila by Betty Alvarez

El Jimador Tequila was proud to represent National Margarita Day on February 22 with the final event of a two week long competition that took place at the Wynwood hotspot known as The Social Lubricant Lounge.

Five Mixologists from five of South Florida’s most well-known venues battled it out at the Social Lubricant Lounge to find out who made Miami’s best Spicy Margarita!

The Five South Florida locations and their head mixologists include:
-TWIST represented by Nathan Smith,
-Baires Grill represented by Plamen Atanasov,
-The Social Lubricant Lounge represented by Ronaldo Shehadeh,
-Tarpon Bend represented by Christopher Garcia,
-TequiztLan Mexican Restaurant represented by Stephanie Ortiz.

The finale event served to engage with consumers in a unique way that encourages them to enjoy el Jimador in a truly dynamic array of settings. DJ Miik presided over the turntables as guests got a Mixology Lesson where they learned how to make simple cocktails which can be easily reproduced in the comfort of their home or when out on the town. During this experience, they literally poured, shaked, and served up their very own take on the perfect el Jimador Margarita!

Adding to the fun, guests were part of different stations to include the “Shake and Bite,” “Mixology Lab,” and “Social Mixology Demo” where once they’ve learned to make a delicious cocktail, they presented it via a brief digital video that they can quickly post to their social media platform. Immediately, they were able to share their personal recipe with friends and followers. The grand finale of the event was the announcement of the winner of the best el Jimador Spicy Margarita in South Florida!

Winter Beauty in South Florida that only Uni K Wax can provide by Betty Alvarez

South Florida is known for its more comfortable temperatures during the winter season. That is why the “snow birds” come to our vibrant town during this season. However, one does not realize that even if the temperature does not fall below freezing, it can cause some discomfort to the skin if not taken care properly. That is where Uni K Wax comes in.

Uni K Wax is one of the pioneers in waxing, providing the cleanest, greenest and fastest waxing experience on the market. It is where I depend on my waxing needs. It’s safe, reliable, and best of all it does not hurt on my experience. One is out of there in minutes depending on the procedure.
The staff is caring and always reliable to the needs of the client. The great thing about Uni K Wax is that they have many locations near my many stops around Miami. One such stop that I had a great experience is the one at The Palms at Town and Country in Kendall. Cary, my waxing specialist who was assigned to me has been working there since the center opened. I did my eyebrows, around my face and bikini area.

The session started with her asking me how I wanted the outcome on each specific area. When that was done, she started the process. She shaped my eyebrows really well along with some areas on my face. I have done many waxes before at other places but I found that Uni k was the safest, painless, and fastest process that I have experience. She was to the point and got it done quickly as she mentioned the more rapid the session is done the better. Afterwards, she placed a small ice pack pouch in the area to soothe the skin. It really helped and it was not freezing cold. This is a new added bonus to the session as Uni K Wax introduced it. I felt so good, clean, and ready to continue to conquer the day. I will definitely ask for her every time I go there now. However, it is best to make an appointment to ensure your session will start on time but walk-ins are always welcomed.

During this Winter, give the your skin an improvement with a great waxing session. Waxing is one of the best ways to effectively exfoliate your skin and help fight against dryness. It encourages a faster turnover of dead skin cells and regular appointments actually help to improve skin condition.
For more information and to locate a Uni K Wax Center near you please visit www.unikwax.com

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Luxury Living debuts Maria Pergay for Fendi Casa by Betty Alvarez

Luxury Living was proud to debut the special works of Maria Pergay for Fendi Casa and a presentation of the Bentley Home Collection at the 12th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach on Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Luxury Living Showroom.

Maria Pergay, a famed Parisian-based designer with select works exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was commissioned by Fendi and Fendi Casa to create an iconic collection with unforgettable products reinvented and produced in a limited edition, one of a kind pieces. Skillfully combining the fur and steel world, several of Pergays’s works were displayed at Luxury Living Fendi Casa including Bureau Louis XV, Torcheras Flammers and Chaise Marguerite.

Also for the first time, guests were able to step into the Bentley Home lifestyle, which reflects the elegant, prestigious and recognizable style of Bentley through a range of exquisite modern furniture. The fine furnishings align perfectly with that of the venerable car company’s manufacturing process. In addition, to the Bently Home Collection and Maria Pergay’s peices for Fendi Casa, varieties of Fabio Peitrantonio’s art were on full display througout the 10,000 square foot showroom.

Distinguised guests included: Alberto Vignatelli, Raffaella Vignatelli, Daniele Vignatelli, Andrea Minnucci, Gabriella Moncada de Paterno, Vladimir Kagan, DJ Caterina Davies, Michael Goldstein, Matthew Burke, Fabio Peitratonio, Tiziano Lamberti, Alessandro Cremona (Editor-in-Chief of Casa Vogue), Malinka Max, Marysol Patton and Vincent de Paul.

Together along with Luxury Living Group’s CEO, Alberto Vignatelli, and Luxury Living USA President Raffaella Vignatelli, Luxury Living embodied the essence of contemporary art and design and delivered a unique experience for all that attended.

By Betty Alvarez

Miami Culinary Tours in South Beach-Great experience for tourists as well as locals alike By Betty Alvarez

I have always heard of Miami Culinary Tours as lovers of food who are new or old to the area walk to different restaurants to taste a piece of Miami’s gastronomic delights. It was not until recently that I got to join this savory tour that really opened my eyes on Miami and its rich culinary history.

First stop: 660 at the Angler’s- I arrived late at the first stop. The restaurant served fresh ceviche and tiradito. For my fellow walkers, it was a great start as it refreshed them as we walked in the hot Miami sun.

2nd Stop: Bolivar Restaurant. We stopped by this Colombian restaurant where each table in our area already had a Reposo cocktail mixed with Colombian beer and a small plate with one empanada colombiana (a deep fried crunchy corn Colombian patty stuffed with shredded beef and potatoes) and Patacones de Pollo (deep fried green plantains topped with shredded chicken with a hot sauce on the side. The sauce was a little bit too much to handle given that I am Peruvian and thank goodness the cold cocktail made it better. However for my fellow table foodies they preferred to be without it. But it was all good and tasty. Our tour guide Anna explained the various other Colombian cuisines that included la bandeja paisa; a typical fusion cuisine Colombian dish containing an oversized amount of food and the wide variety of ingredients, which prevent it from being served on a single regular plate, so it must be served in a platter or a tray. Yum!

In between some stops our tour guide talk about some of the historic buidings of Miami Beach such as the architecture of the Art Deco Hotel and one of the most famous photographed places in the world, the Versace Mansion while we all cooled off in the shade.

3rd Stop: David’s Cafe. This is one of the famous historic Cuban quick stop in Miami Beach. We were greeted by Pastelitos de Guayaba (Guava Pastries) and the famous Cafecito Cubano (Cuban Coffee). It was delish and for my fellow tour friends who were from Ohio it was nothing that they never tasted before. They never had Cuban coffee therefore it was great to see them enjoying a taste of Miami and Cuban history.

4th Stop: Larios on the Beach. After our tour guide Anna told us the history of Cardozo Hotel and how the Estefan Family built their empire in the culinary world, we strolled to Larios on the Beach Pop Up location inside the Cardozo Hotel. Their old location on the 800 block of Ocean Drive is currently being remodeled. Their smaller but yet popular place still serves the same delicacy. Due to the fact that we were all hot from our walking tour our waiter quickly severed us a tall glass of water while some of the fellow foodies ordered cocktails. A good basket of Cuban flattened bread served out of the oven was also brought to our table. Minutes later a small tasting plate of Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), Platanos Maduros (Sweet plantains), Arroz moro (White rice mixed with black beans) came to our table. Delish! This good serving of food was the highlight of our tour. It was overwhelmed with the array of flavors.

As we were going to our fifth stop, we headed to Deco Drive Cigars where Anna was explaining the history of the store as the Cuban cigar maker was sitting inside near the window for everyone to see how he made the cigars. Some of my fellow friends even went inside to buy them. To cool off from the dreaded heat, the rest of us headed almost next door to the Z hotel as we saw a good game of human chess in a lounge area located directly below the pool. If you look up you can see the pool area where some the kid swimmers said hi to us as they had some fun swimming in the depths of the pool.

5th stop: Jerry’s Famous Deli. Haven’t been here for over 2 years, the place has not changed. Formerly the gay disco nightclub Warsaw Ballroom in the 90′s, this deli came to be one of the famous pit stop for a good deli sandwich or meal. A sweet treat was served to us: Raspberry Rugala which is a delicious Jewish pastry.

6th Stop: Blocks Pizza Deli. Located in Washington Avenue, this small and quaint family-owned pizzeria makes delicious pizzas one “block” at a time. They only allow the freshest ingredients, organic seasonal produce, all natural deli meats sliced before you and homemade sauces to top the delicately baked crust. Other than pizzas, they cover all sorts of other cravings with home baked Blocks Pockets and freshly made Salads that also come in a delicious crispy Pocket. For our group experience the owner himself made the Sun-dried Hippie Block Pocket made out of sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, baby Spinach, basil pesto, and Kalamata olives. It’s like eating a pocket sandwich. Delish! All healthy and organic. Just the way I like it.

7th and last stop: Milani Gelateria. We headed to the beautiful and lovely Espanola Way where we strolled through the pedestrian walkway looking at all the quaint restaurants until we hit our last stop of the tour, Milani Gelateria. Authentic Italian Gelato. They showed off their gelato machine that contained the sweet and cool treat featuring a pinwheel of different flavors. OMG! We were all hot and could not wait to try a taste of heaven. I had the tropical gelato and it was sweet and creamy. It was a great ending to a hot day where we all learned great things during the food tour.

All in all, we hit seven stops, tried food from all over the country, mingled with people (mainly tourists) from all over the world, and as a local, I felt like a tourist. What a great afternoon and a great experience! I recommend that you should try it out!

For more information about Miami Culinary Tours please visit: www.miamiculinarytours.com


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