Sushisamba Owns the Hottest New Breakfast in Town

When you hear the word SUSHISAMBA, you think of, well, sushi, and perhaps that happy little dance local Brazilian chicas do.  But you probably would never envision a savory morning omelette, or a bowl of granola mix with housemade yogurt. That is…until now. SUSHISAMBA has brought it home, and is now offering a variety of sweet and salty favorites for the morning hour. Their breakfast selection is so vast that you will find everything from fruit “batidas” to mouth-watering steak and eggs servings with delicious homemade breads and toasts.

During my visit, I indulged in a little tasting I simply like to call heaven.

The morning began with a sweet watermelon-papaya batida. What I love about these batidas is that you can make your own by choosing the type of water you wish to mix your fruit with, such as coconut or celery water, and adding an enhancer at the end, such as ginger! I enjoyed my watermelon-papaya invention and began the tasting journey to the most delicious breakfast in town. I started with their power breakfast which consists of egg whites, red quinoa hash, Japanese mushrooms and pulled turkey. I know you’re thinking it sounds delicious, and it really was. But don’t get hungry just yet. Immediately after, I was presented with a perfect-sized serving of Sushi Samba’s chorizo dumplings in grilled onions, with avocado and aromatic cilantro puree; another well thought-out combination. The cilantro puree provides a unique aftertaste that compliments the flavors of the grilled onions and avocado quite nicely. Right when I thought my heaven tasting was coming to an end, a surprising serving of chicha morada pancakes with torched bacon and canela butter landed almost in slow motion at my table. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the colorful texture, and the way it looked so enticing.  I was surprised to see chicha morada pancakes on their menu, as chicha morada is a soft drink made of purple corn found in the Andes region of South America. An exotic and pleasant treat, I must say. The journey continued with a classic American breakfast: any style eggs, double-cut bacon, sausages, potato hash, seasonal fruit and toasts; all quite tasty. Moving along (nope, I’m still not finished with my heavenly breakfast), another one of my favorites was the sweet quinoa oatmeal…I won’t tell you about it, you just HAVE to try it. And, lastly, saving my personal best for last, their un-be-lievable Doce de Leite French Toasts served with seasonal fruits and sesame whipped cream. Now do you understand why I died and went to heaven? A new, unique, exemplary breakfast experience unbeknown to you, no more. You simply must try.

SUSHISAMBA is located at 180 Aragon Avenue in Coral Gables, and serves breakfast daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Brunch menu is under construction until further notice.

www.sushisamba.com

Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam Comes to Miami

Cirque du Soleil is a company that has been around for many years entertaining and enamoring an array of diverse crowds and cultures around the world. I have had the privilege to dig seriously into the mesmerizing world of these romantic, comedic, dramatic and poetically-mastered acrobatic stories that have touched the hearts and lives of many. In the search for some answers, I have come across the most fascinating facts, and have compiled a few pieces of information about the shows and the history of Cirque du Soleil.

An interview with Cirque du Soleil’s spokesperson:

Tell us a little bit about how a show is born…what are the first pieces of inspired thoughts, and the actions taken thereafter to put those pieces together to make those ideas come to life?  
First comes the creative spark in the genius mind of the Director of Creation. It could be an image, a song, a feeling… anything! A team, including the World’s top Creators in each field, is then put together to bring these ideas to life.  

How is then a program arranged or coordinated along with all the logistics? 
The Creation process of a Cirque du Soleil show averages 13 months! During that time a lot happens simultaneously; creation, casting, production, rehearsals. So much happens that it is hard to describe. I would say the best way to experience it is to watch the Emmy Award winning series “Fire Within” following the creation of Cirque du Soleil VAREKAI.

Besides the performers, how many other people are involved in the production/behind-the-scenes to put on a Cirque du Soleil show? 
On Quidam we have 45 performers coming from 20 different countries and 45 crew members. Show technicians, cooks, sport medicine therapists, truck drivers, accountants…altogether the Quidam family requires 90 people from 25 countries to make the magic happen.  

What inspired this upcoming show, Quidam, in particular?  
Franco Dragone had spearheaded several Cirque du Soleil productions and wanted to explore a new dimension; real life, real characters, real emotions. This time around Cirque du Soleil brings you into the imaginary world of a little girl, Zoé.

What is the intention, not just with Quidam, but with all the previous, current and future stories performed by Cirque du Soleil…is it more entertaining, or is intention more towards connecting with the audience at an emotional level?
Cirque du Soleil is dedicated to the creation, production and performance of artistic works whose mission is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world.

What can we expect from this show that could, perhaps, be different from all the other shows we have seen to date?
Quidam is a beautiful, emotional haunting production. Instead of putting on stage fantastical creatures, Quidam visits a world where eccentric characters take the shape of humans with real life concerns and emotions.

Would you like to share something in particular about the main character of this story, or about the storyline of Quidam?
The great thing with Quidam is, it is very theatrical but the storyline is not force-fed to the audience, therefore you might be sitting next to a person that sees a completely different meaning behind the imagery of Quidam depending on their own life story. I always love to eardrop on conversation as the crown leaves the show – you hear the best show reviews and interpretations!

Cirque du Soleil Facts & Statistics 

  • Cirque du Soleil began with 20 street performers in 1984
  • The company has over 5,000 employees, including 1,300 artists
  • More than 100 types of occupations can be found at Cirque du Soleil
  • The average age of its employees is 37
  • The company’s employees and artists represent close to 50 nationalities

Cirque du Soleil – Quidam Show Schedule – July 31 – August 4

•             Wednesday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m.

•             Thursday, August 1 at 7:30 p.m.

•             Friday, August 2 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

•             Saturday, August 3 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

•             Sunday, August 4 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Ticket Information

•             Adults: From $40 to $80

•             Children (12 & under): From $32 to $65

•             Military, Seniors & Students: From $36 to $67.50

Tickets for the general public are available online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/quidam or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

 

 

Guest Chef Brings Regional Colombian Cuisine to Miami

Colombian chef, Rafael Suarez, arrived to Miami from Bogota, Colombia to present some of his favorite dishes during his one week official and exclusive visit as guest chef at the InterContinental’s Armillary Grill Restaurant, where he will prepare delectable specialties from various regions of Colombia.

 The event will take place during the week of July 15th and finalize with a decadent Sunday brunch on July 21st in honor of Colombia’s Independence Day celebration.

 Chef Suarez has over 13 years of experience in the hospitality industry and is currently the Executive Chef at JW Marriott in Bogota, Colombia. 

 Soul of Miami scooped up an interview with the gastronomical expert to learn more about his scrumptious creations.

 The interview is in its original language below.

2013 – (Doral, Florida) – Interview:

Chef Rafael Suarez, it’s a pleasure meeting you. Tell us a little bit about the menu and some of the dishes we can expect to find during the event, which will be offered as a buffet during the week, a dinner on Saturday and a brunch on Sunday.

The menu is typical, encompassing the vast majority of dishes throughout Colombia. It will be served as a buffet every night, Saturday will be a set menu served with the same concept of touring much of the cuisine throughout Colombia, and for brunch, a typical breakfast serving bread soup, beans, broth and Colombian-style stew.

What inspired you to create this menu specifically?

The wide range of products from Colombia, and the fact that many Colombians live in Miami, which is the reason why the cuisine is known but not varied.
 
What Colombian traditions are incorporated in the menu?

Pork from Tolima, Stew from Huila, Stew from the coast, fish from Tumaco and other homemade-style dishes.

What impression do you wish to leave on those who will be trying your creations? And what do you expect your guests to learn about your customs and Colombian regional cuisine?

I want them to be gastronomically satisfied, leaving the restaurant happy and filled with memories and new flavors. They can learn to combine the products that are available in the local Miami markets in their everyday cooking, as everything that I am using is from here, I have not brought anything from Colombia.

I know you use a healthy approach and typical fresh ingredients from various regions of Colombia, and I know, too, that you specialize in kosher food. Is there any reason why kosher food has caught your attention?

The freshness of fruits and vegetables led me to investigate the subject of kosher cooking mainly for the great deal of demand there is for kosher meals. Additionally, the market is growing in Colombia and very few options are offered to patrons, even though oftentimes they look for typical dishes from their regions, at JW Marriott in Bogota we have been able to achieve a great deal of satisfaction from our guests with our Colombian cuisine where we combine flavors that have allowed us to be leaders in the market already for two years.

Have you been able to incorporate, in some way, the concept kosher food into some of the dishes of your recent culinary creation?

Yes, the secret is in the care and love that is placed into preparing the dishes, one speaks of kosher and some may see it as something terrible, Rabbi Kitchen Cleaning Supervisor!! But knowing and applying all this in real life is simple. It has a lot to do with care, food hygiene and health.

Having worked for large international hotel chains, do you think that this may have influenced you to create new and exciting culinary combinations with flavors and ingredients from other countries?

One always worries about having a special international menu, but when I travel I do not want to eat what I eat every day. I want to try new flavors so I ventured to create dishes where the flavor is branded COLOMBIA, but where the presentation and components are of the highest standard, with rich flavor, color and, above all, healthy. In Colombia we really like fatty meals but that we are changing that.

Would you say that this has made you deviate, in a good way, from your Colombian traditions to create a more extensive menu?

It’s not so much that I deviate, is more about changing service concepts without changing the history of a dish, i.e. I cannot make an egg arepa with corn flour and cooked quail egg, I do it with corn flour, whole egg but I incorporate shrimp, fish, turkey, chicken to make it lighter but just as rich.
 
Thank you very much again for your time. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Spanish Version

Chef Rafael Suarez, es un placer, para mí, poder hacerle esta entrevista: Cuéntenos un poquito acerca del menú y sobre algunos de los platos que podemos esperar encontrar durante el evento, que se ofrecerá en el buffet de la semana, la cena del sábado y el brunch del domingo.

El menú será típico recorriendo la gran mayoría de cocinas de Colombia, bufete todas las noches, el sábado será un menú servido con la misma temática de recorrer gran parte de la gastronomía Colombiana, y en el brunch, desayuno típico con calentado, sopa de pan, frijoles, caldo y asado estilo colombiano.

¿Qué lo inspiró a crear este menú específicamente?

La gran oferta de productos de Colombia, y el hecho de que en Miami viven varios colombianos por lo que la gastronomía es conocida pero no variada.

¿Qué tradiciones colombianas ha incorporado en el menú?

Lechona del Tolima, Asado Huilense del Huila, Sancocho Trifásico de la costa, Tapado de pescado del Tumaco y otras muy caseras.

¿Qué impresión espera que se lleve la gente de sus creaciones? Y, ¿Qué espera que aprendan sus comensales acerca de las costumbres y de la cocina regional colombiana?

Que salgan satisfechos gastronómicamente del restaurante y con una felicidad llena de recuerdos y nuevos sabores, y que ellos aprendan a conjugar los productos que se consiguen en los mercados de Miami en su cocina diaria ya que todo es de allá, yo no llevo nada de Colombia.

Sé que utiliza un enfoque saludable con ingredientes frescos y típicos de varias regiones de Colombia, y sé, también, que se especializa en comida kosher.  ¿Hay alguna razón por la cual la comida kosher le ha llamado la atención?

Si la frescura de las frutas y vegetales me llevó a indagar el tema kosher por la gran carta que ellos solicitan. Adicionalmente el mercado está creciendo en Colombia y las opciones son muy pocas para ellos, aunque son regionalistas y solo buscan cocina de sus regiones, hemos logrado en JW Marriott Bogotá que con la cocina Colombiana se encuentren muy contentos, y combinamos sabores que han permitido ser líderes en el mercado ya por dos años.

¿Ha podido, de alguna manera, incorporar el concepto kosher para preparar algunos de los platos que forma parte de su creación gastronómica?

Si. El tema está en el cuidado y en el amor que se coloca a las preparaciones. Uno habla de kosher y ve eso como algo terrible, Rabino Supervisor Limpieza de cocinas!!!! Pero ya conociendo y aplicando todo en la vida real, es sencillo y solo es de mucho cuidado, mucha higiene y mucho tema de salud.

Habiendo trabajado para grandes cadenas internacionales de hoteles, ¿cree usted que esto le haya influenciado a crear nuevas e interesantes combinaciones gastronómicas con sabores e ingredientes de otros países?

Me colaboro demasiado al ver que siempre uno se preocupa por tener una carta o un menú especial para ellos INTERNACIONAL. Pero yo cuando viajo no quiero comer lo que como todos los días, quiero probar nuevos sabores; por eso me arriesgué a crear platos donde el sabor es marcado COLOMBIA pero su presentación y componentes son de cocina de alto nivel con sabor, color y sobretodo saludable. En Colombia nos gusta mucho la comida rica en grasa pero esto lo estamos cambiando.

 ¿Le ha hecho esto desviarse, de buena forma, de sus raíces tradicionales colombianas para crear un menú más extenso y universal?

 No es tanto desviarme, es cambiar conceptos de servicio sin ir a cambiar la historia de un plato. Es decir no puedo hacer una arepa de huevo con harina de choclo y huevo de codorniz cocido, la hago con harina de maíz y huevo entero, pero le incorporamos camarones, pescado, pavo y pollo para que sea más liviana pero igual de rica.

 Muchas gracias, nuevamente, por su tiempo. Es un placer conocerlo.

Jungle Island celebrates 10th anniversary in Watson Island Park

Jungle Island celebrated in style with members of the community and elected officials on Thursday, June 27, 2013 in honor of the park’s 10th anniversary at its current location. Guests were treated to a beautiful cocktail reception and exciting animal show before Bern Levine, the park’s longtime owner, announced that Iconic Attractions Group will assume management responsibility for the park. John Dunlap, former Director of the San Diego Zoo and head of Iconic Attractions, will serve as president of Jungle Island.

Double Cross Vodka Seasonal Drink Food Mixology Event at Seasons 52

I have been to my share of mixology/food-drink pairing events, but nothing could compare to the one I recently attended at Seasons 52. The Double Cross Vodka (DCV) “Seasonal Drinks/Seasonal Food” mixology pairing was an experience that left me feeling that perhaps I had a hidden passion that, until now, I didn’t know existed in me: making cocktails!  The “beautiful and aromatic combinations of natural and fresh products” – as mixologist and creator of Edible Drink, Cricket Nelson, puts it – “allows the flavors and aromas come to life on your pallet.”

The evening began with a reception offering a variety of signature flatbreads paired with the Afternoon Tea Punch; a combination of DCV, Earl Grey Tea, orange blossom honey, and fresh sour orange and lemon juices, all elegantly garnished with edible flowers. It was a smooth delight in my mouth, and, yes, it was as delicious as it reads.

As we sat to enjoy what would become one of the most exciting evenings of my life, we were greeted at our table by magical, little black gift bags that included the instruments we would use for our interactive mixology journey.  The essentials were: one Double Cross Vodka shaker tin, one wooden muddler, a comfy, cotton Double Cross Vodka t-shirt (to wear right after the event as someone with proud “school spirit” would) and a pair of sunglasses…I’m guessing to be worn the day after a Double Cross Vodka party because it’s so good you really can’t get enough of it. On the table we found a double funnel, a bar spoon, a strainer, all the cocktail glasses we would need for the different drinks we were making, water, soda water, a centerpiece of fresh basil and mint leafs, a bucket of ice with an ice scoop and, of course, a big ol’ bottle of Double Cross Vodka.

A brief class on the origins and the making of DVC was clearly explained by Marita Leonard, Florida Sales Manager for this brand.  After her comprehensive introduction, the fun of mixology began.

We were asked to prepare the first ingredients that would become the base of the flavors of a Thai Cucumber party in my mouth.  These included: one tiny scoop of stevia, four slices of cucumber, one slice of jalapeño, and one shredded fresh leaf of basil.  Then, we muddled. After we confirmed that the ingredients looked like cucumber puree, we then proceed to serve 1.5oz of water, 3/4oz of fresh lime juice, 1.5oz of DCV and lastly, we added the ice. After all these steps are successfully completed, you close the shaker tin and, well, you shake. You shake away. Then you open the shaker tin. Serve. Drink. Enjoy. This first course cocktail was paired with perfectly cooked scallions and encrusted scallops with a toasted, semi-spicy sesame glaze; another Yummy combination.

The event went on to our second course, this time, as professional shaker tin mixers as we had become, we included all the ingredients necessary to make our second cocktail of the night, Lemongrass Cooler. This included a combination of DCV, lemongrass, lemon juice, ginger, coconut palm sugar and soda water.  This was paired with a delicious piece of painted tuna with lobster cremini ravioli and red Thai curry sauced.  Heaven!

Lastly (and sadly), we concluded the night with a Seasons 52 Indulgences platter, an assortment of mini decadent desserts that included treats from Chocolate Peanut butter Mousse to Key Lime Pie, Mocha Macchiato, Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, Seasonal Fruit Cheesecake, Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road and market fresh fruits served (guilty-free) in cute, small shot-size glasses. These were paired with a DCV Mocha Indulgence drink which consisted of a shot of DCV, agave syrup, fresh espresso, warm milk foam, all served in a dark chocolate cup (literally a cup made out of dark chocolate) with cinnamon dust. Needless to say, I was a very happy guest.

A big, Thank You, to Seasons 52, Field Sales Manager, Denise Erwin, Florida Sales Manager of Double Cross Vodka, Marita Leonard, Mixologist and creator of Edible Drink, Cricket Nelson, and of course, my wonderful friend, Gloria Burns of Community Newspaper for the kind invitation.

For more information: www.doublecrossvodka.com

photo

 

Arthritis Foundation Held Annual Walk At Amelia Earhart Park

(Miami, Florida) – The Arthritis Foundation held their annual Miami-Dade Arthritis Walk at the Amelia Earhart Park in early November.  Hundreds gathered onsite to begin the customary walk that helps raise awareness to improve the lives of those suffering from arthritis or related diseases.  Monies raised at the event are placed in programs that facilitate information and preventive care to those individuals prone to develop the disease, and to other care programs that are developed to provide assistance to those who have already been diagnosed. 

Among the honorees was Henry “Turlte” Thomas, Community Honorary Chair.  Thomas is the head coach of the FIU baseball team which was able to reach the NCAA Regionals two years in a row.  Coach Thomas very proudly accepted his title to increase community involvement at the Arthritis Walk. 

Medical Honorary Chair, Jorge L.Orbay, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hands and upper extremities.  Dr. Orbay has developed implant systems that have significantly improved the lives of his patients, and continues to make a remarkable difference through his Miami Hand and Upper Extremity Institute which provides specialized care, treatment, surgery and rehabilitation to arthritis patients. 

Kiyah Hall was the Child Honoree.  Hall was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of six.  Through the Arthritis Foundation, her family is optimistic that she will be able to lead a perfectly normal life.

Arthritis is the nation’s most common cause of disability with over 50 million men, women and children diagnosed.  The Arthritis Foundation organizes the nationwide Arthritis walk every year in an effort to continue raising awareness and be able to fund its fight against arthritis.

The walk featured live entertainment, refreshments, food stations, healthy activities, educational opportunities and a kid’s area for face painting, a petting zoo and pony rides. 

Members of the Coral Gables Woman’s Club (CGWC) showed their support alongside President, Mireya Kilmon, who for many years has been battling arthritis.  CGWC was a bronze sponsor along with Dunkin Donuts, Interval International, Miami Party Entertainment, SeaFreight and Preferred Care Partners.

Saul & Theresa Esman Foundation was the Platinum sponsor, followed by Silver sponsors Goya, The Hand Institute, Kendall Pain Relief Center and Leon Medical Centers.

FIU also made an appearance with its students, alumni, sports teams and, one we could not have done without, Roary. 

For more information about the Arthritis Foundation Walk, please visit http://www.miamiwalk.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1022462  ■

Gulliver Celebrates Inductees Into Athletic Hall Of Fame

(Miami, Florida) – Gulliver Preparatory celebrated the induction of the Class of 2012 into their Athletic Hall of Fame during the month of October.  Led by the Athletic Department and the Alumni Association, The Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to recognize and honor coaches, administrators and student athletes who have achieved athletic success, and who have made significant contributions to the reputation of their athletic program.  Inductees included Gina Derks Gardner – class of 1990, Coach Jorge Dieppa, Sylvia Fowles – class of 2004, Coach Mark Schusterman, and the late professional football player, Sean Taylor – class of 2001.  The 2010 Inaugural Class Inductees included Mrs. Marian Krutulis “Mrs. K,” Mr. Joseph A. Krutulis “Coach K,” Coach Jan Gomez, Coach Chuck Tobey and Gulliver Schools headmaster, James Williams.

Gulliver Preparatory plans to develop a physical “Wall of Fame” on campus to commemorate all inductees. 

For more information about Gulliver Schools and the Athletic Hall of Fame, please visit http://www.gulliverschools.org/

2nd Annual 5K Freedom Run & PARK Festival

(Miami, Florida) – The 2nd annual 5K Freedom Run & PARK Festival took place on September 8th at the JC Bermudez Park in Doral.

This project is the brainchild of community leader, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Marlene Quincoces, also known throughout the community as MarlyQ.

The 5K Freedom Run & PARK Festival is a volunteer-driven philanthropic event to remember, honor and celebrate American heroes. The event celebrates life, service and the people, companies and organizations who Perform Acts of Random Kindness (PARK) everyday. 

Hundreds of people across South Florida gathered at JC Bermudez Park to run, jog or walk alongside military men and women, veterans and first responders in appreciation of their service and commitment to our freedom. A moment of silence was observed at 9:11 a.m. in commemoration of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Univision’s Satcha Pretto was among the runners and won first prize in her category – women ages 30-34.

The City of Doral served as Presenting “Parkner.”

For more information about the PARK Project please visit www.parkproject.org.  ■

Arthritis Foundation Hosts Kickoff Luncheon

(Miami, Florida) – The Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter hosted its Arthritis Walk Kickoff Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency hotel on September 12th in Coral Gables.

Guests joined Mr. Henry “Turtle” Thomas, Florida International University Head Baseball Coach and Community Honorary Chair, along with Dr. Jorge L. Orbay, Medical Honorary Chair of the Arthritis Foundation. NBC6 health reporter, Diana Gonzalez, emceed the event.

The Coral Gables Woman’s Club (CGWC), a non-profit social and community service organization, attended the event to present the Arthritis Foundation with a generous $1,000 dollar check.

The Arthritis Foundation helps improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control, and cure of arthritis and related diseases.

For more information about the Arthritis Foundation please visit http://www.arthritis.org/florida/

For more information about Coral Gables Woman’s Club please visit http://coralgableswomansclub.org/. ■

Gables Ladies Luxury Hot Pink Summer Event At Crave

(Miami, Florida) – High Heels and Handshakes, in collaboration with the Coral Gables Woman’s Club, hosted a fundraiser event dubbed “Gables Ladies Luxury Hot Pink Summer Event” in benefit of Dress for Success Miami this past August at Crave restaurant at the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables.

Hundreds of guests enjoyed complimentary drinks, appetizers, fun games, prizes and a speed-networking session.

High Heels and Handshakes is an organization bringing philanthropic business citizens together through events benefiting local and global non-profit organizations.

The Coral Gables Woman’s Club (CGWC) is a social and community service organization promoting civic welfare.  CGWC also maintains the May Van Sickle Dental Clinic which provides free dental care to underprivileged children under 18.

For more information about High Heels and Handshakes please visit http://www.highheelsandhandshakes.com/

For more information about Coral Gables Woman’s Club please visit http://coralgableswomansclub.org/. ■

Flavors of Mexico and Central America in Doral

(Miami, Florida) – Armillary Grill, located inside the InterContinental Hotel in the heart of Doral, hosted a tasting of Flavors of Mexico and Central America this past week.

In celebration of the Mexican and Central American Food Festival, an event created by Armillary’s Food and Beverage Manager, Oscar Salgado, Armillary will offer a unique menu including exquisite cultural dishes from Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras.

The festival will run through September 14th with mouth-watering selections such as Honduran baleadas and coconut fish, Salvadoran plantain toasts and pupusas, Nicaraguan Indio Viejo (Old Indian) and gallo pinto, Costa Rican camote al horno (baked sweet potato) and Pijibay salad, and Guatemalan pacayas, torta de arroz (rice cake) and chicken loroco. 

Lunch buffet is $20.95++ from 11:30am to 1:30pm and their dinner special is $24.95++. ■

Miami Spice Sampling In Doral

(Miami, Florida) – In an effort to raise awareness about Miami and Doral’s outstanding cuisine, President and CEO of The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, William D.Talbert, gathered with local professionals and food enthusiasts at the InterContinental in Doral for an exquisite sampling of Armillary Grill’s Miami Spice menu. 

Every year, hundreds of restaurants participate in Miami Spice to showcases the best that Miami cuisine has to offer. The promotion runs during the months of August and September.

Sponsors: American Express, Bacardi and Stella Artois. 

For a listing of participating restaurants and/or more information about Miami Spice, please visit http://ilovemiamispice.com/. ■

A New Sushi in Town

(Miami, Florida) – AIJÓ, a restaurant with an exquisite culinary creativity like never seen before, has named JADE in downtown Brickell its new home. With its innovative concept materialized in a contemporary and beautiful setting, AIJÓ has a unique fusion of traditional Japanese bites accompanied by a variety of world flavors. Their signature roll, “Reneboy,” is a splendid piece of fresh smoked salmon, “crispy rice” and sweet eel topping.

Upon its grand opening, owner, Rene Buroz, hosted a private 10-course dinner where handpicked delicacies prepared by Executive Chef, Christian Bonilla, were presented, and paired with a fine Moet & Chandon Rose along with their signature martinis.

Make sure to like AIJÓ on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/aijobrickell. ■

The Motivational Edge Opening Fundraiser

(Miami, Florida) – They say third time’s the charm and that was definitely the case as Motivational Edge Founder and CEO, Ian Welsch, proudly welcomed close friends, professional colleagues and local residents to the long-awaited grand opening fundraiser of the new Allapattah Music and Literacy Center.  The grand opening was schedule twice prior to the June’s successful event, but had been postponed due to bad weather conditions. 

The new school is one of the latest developments of The Motivational Edge.  This learning facility will provide underprivileged children of the local community with a creative opportunity for musical expression. One of the many programs already underway is the Art of Creative Writing & Lyrical Expression, where students learn the importance of lyrical art, rhythm, flow, writing styles, techniques and critical thinking, while implementing their original works through personal recording sessions and showcasing their talents to their instructors, peers and supporting family members.

The Allapattah Music and Literacy Center is now open to the public for registration. 

For a previous interview with Mr. Welsch about the The Motivational Edge, please visit http://theetiquettegirl.com/2011/08/30/the-motivational-edge-hosts-fundraiser-event-to-benefit-foster-youth/

For more information about The Motivational Edge and the Allapattah Music and Literacy Center, please visit http://themotivationaledge.org/. ■

Amigos For Kids – ING Miami Celebrity Domino Night

(Miami, Florida) – Amigos For Kids, a non-profit organization that benefits abused and neglected children, celebrated its signature annual fundraiser event, the ING Miami Celebrity Domino Night, at Jungle Island during the month of June.  Hundreds gathered at the tropical courtyard for delicious bites and desserts provided by various vendors, and complimentary drinks sponsored by Bacardi USA. Celebrities walked the orange carpet where a lineup of TV, radio, magazines and social media writers and reporters awaited their arrival.

Amigos For Kids hosts Domino Night every year as a way to raise awareness on child abuse and neglect. Through their philanthropic efforts, they partner up with other organizations, educational groups and the community to help give neglected and abused children a brighter future.

Last year, Amigos For Kids celebrated its 20th year anniversary.  For the interview coverage with Cofounder and Chairman, Jorge Plasencia, kindly visit:

http://theetiquettegirl.com/2011/07/01/amigos-for-kids-domino-night-2011/

For more information about Amigos For Kids, visit: http://amigosforkids.org/. ■

Miami Metropolitan International Fashion Week

(Miami, Florida) –Miami Metropolitan International Fashion Week (MMIFW) gave residents a refreshing change of fashion scene with Air-Bistro-Studio-Gallery, LMNT (elementi), in Midtown Miami.  The 7,000+ sq.ft. space was home to the three-day event which showcased a fashion-forward lineup of daywear, eveningwear and swimwear designs from around the world including the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, England, Mexico and more. 

With a background in TV production, as well as the modeling industry, Maxine Viktor, envisioned a great opportunity to offer Miami a transformation from the typical – and somewhat cliché, Miami Beach – for an annual fashion show location.  Viktor partnered up with Philip Stienstra, a professional in the nightlife and entertainment industry, to collaborate in creating an event that would change the concept of “Miami-Fashion-Beach” and bring a more truly culturally diverse background to Miami’s fashion venues.

A successful MMIFW sealed each event with after parties and events in Gavanna Miami, Cafeina Miami, and Kyma Lounge. ■

A Decade of Relay

(Miami, Florida) – The American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life kept moving forward, even after a challenging Miami sky.  But whether there was rain or shine, thousands of people gathered at J.C. Bermudez Park in Doral during the month of April to do exactly what they have been doing for the past ten years – camp out in the middle of the night to relay, while sharing the event simultaneously with various other cities throughout the country.

Every relay event begins with an inspirational survivor lap at sunset.  After dark, they perform the Luminaria Ceremony to honor those who have been ‘touched’ by cancer in some way, and to remember loved ones they’ve lost due to the disease. 

“The reason for starting the event at sunset,” said Gerardo Reyes, Team Development Chair for Relay for Life of Doral, “is because the sunset is symbolic to receiving the bad news that you or a loved one has cancer, and feeling the light in your life turn off…it’s a darkness that falls upon you.”

Families camp out during the entire evening to receive a sunrise the following morning as a symbol of hope that, one day, the cure for cancer will be found.

For more information about Relay for Life visit http://www.relayforlife.org/

PhilanthroFest – A New South Florida Annual Tradition

(Miami, Florida) – After many months of planning and preparation for what came to be Miami’s first ever philanthropic festival, hundreds of residents and visitors strolled through the greenspace grounds of Midtown Miami to take part in a successful, 1st Annual PhilanthroFest event.

More than 75 philanthropic and community organizations came together to share their mission, messages, accomplishments, and future projects and ideas to better the lives of those in need. Categories within these organizations included business development, city/county services, cultural/arts, educational, environmental, health, poverty/welfare and youth services.  People were able to enjoy musical performances, art exhibits, a fashion show, live entertainment, raffles, games and prizes.

Produced by Miami Crawls and Life is Art, PhilanthroFest was designed to celebrate all South Florida non-profit organizations while raising awareness of their different causes and objectives.  Through this festival they hope to explore the needs surrounding the community and help all organizations accomplish their dreams and goals.  PhilanthroFest is scheduled to be an annual outreach festival, also to include educational programs and other community initiatives. 

Visit PhilanthroFest for more news and information at http://www.philanthrofest.com/

The Miami Taste of Brickell Food & Wine Festival

(Miami, Florida) – The 2nd Annual The Miami Taste of Brickell Food & Wine Festival took place during the month of March along Brickell Bay Drive, where culinary lovers experienced the best that Miami’s international cuisine has to offer.  Patrons could not get enough of the variety of flavors from restaurants like Chinois Chinois, El Gran Inka, Le Boudoir, Rosa Mexicana, Planet Sushi, Dolores-Lolita, Mint Leaf Indian and many more.

The festival offered a variety of activities and exhibits including an exotic car show, live concerts, local artists and vendors, historic tours and non-profit participants. 

The festival started in 2011 with the vision to reach the community and bring residents, visitors and corporations together to “dine at one big table” – said Cynthia Bettner, Director and Producer of Brickell Food & Wine – and to grow as a Signature Event for the local community in years to come.

Visit  www.tasteofbrickell.com. ■

Photos Courtesy of Reporter Jose Ricardo Cancel

Fashion Fights Heart Disease In Style

(Miami, Florida) – The American Heart Association sure knows how to put on a fight against heart disease, and during the month of February it did it in style.  Miami International Mall was home to the Go Red event which offered a unique spring fashion show with vibrant designs from Express and Francesca’s Collections among other designers.  Natalia Zea of CBS4 Miami led the event as Mistress of Ceremonies. Go Red is the American Heart Association social initiative dedicated in creating awareness of the risks and threats of heart disease among women.  The movement brings energetic and passionate women together to take action in promoting healthier and active lifestyles.  The organization also recently celebrated over four decades of success.  The 44th Annual Miami Heart & Stroke Ball took place during early March at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami.  The event brought in over $400k to fund research initiatives and other special programs. But the battle against heart disease did not, and does not, end there.  A couple of days after the Heart & Stroke Ball, over 8,000 participants joined in at the Annual Broward Heart Walk in Fort Lauderdale.  The walk brought in corporate sponsors and individuals fighting together to raise their goal of over $700k.  Proceeds from this walk will help fund medical research and educational programs for the community.  You may also want to SAVE THE DATE! Wednesday, April 4th is National Walking Day, if you want to find out more about what the American Heart Association has in store for you, visit www.heart.org. ■

– Nathalia Y. Bogani – “The Etiquette Girl”

Calle Ocho – More Than A Street Name

(Miami, Florida) – When we think of “Calle Ocho” during the month of March, the first thing that comes to mind is the well-awaited for block party that draws in thousands of Miami residents to this very street. Why? – You ask? Because it’s the biggest festival of the year offering an array of live entertainment shows, and a delicious blend of central and south American food. Being the largest Hispanic festival in the nation, Calle Ocho marks the end of the Carnaval Miami season. But little is known about its origins, and what lies in the two weeks leading up to this Latin street fiesta.

In the late 70’s, the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana started an event to bring the Cuban community and culture together, and Carnaval Miami was born.  In the following years, it began to evolve into the melting pot of Latino cultures we see today.  This year, Miami’s Calle Ocho Festival broke the Guinness world record with a 250 foot long banner displaying 422 flags from around the globe. The carnaval has also showcased many highly-acclaimed, international artists on its main stage, including Celia Cruz, Jose Feliciano, Gloria Estefan, Willy Chirino, Thalia, Olga Tañon, Elvis Crespo, Oscar de Leon, Albita, La India, Rey Ruiz, Pitbull and many more.

The carnaval begins in February with Miss Carnaval Miami, and continues on with various cultural, art, and sporting events in the two weeks that follow.  This year, the schedule of events included the Crowning of the new Miss Carnaval Miami Queen, Melissa Ramirez, Carnaval Soccer 5v5, Carnaval Miami Run, Art in the Park, Carnaval on the Mile, Carnaval Miami Cooking Contest, Carnaval Miami Domino Tournament, Carnaval Miami Golf Classic and, the grand finale, Calle Ocho Festival.

Pictures of the city’s largest annual party below – Calle Ocho 2012! ■

 – Nathalia Y. Bogani – “The Etiquette Girl”

Miami Unites to Fundación Bella – A “Beautiful” Campaign to Fight Breast Cancer

(Miami, Florida) – Mexican photographer, Martin Gavica, is the Founder and President of “Fundación Bella” (Beautiful Foundation), a campaign designed to raise awareness about breast cancer, and educate women on the importance of self-examination for early detection.

Gavica visited Miami during the month of February and scheduled photo sessions in a Brickell studio.  He photographed 208 women representing countries from all over the world, including Canada, US, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, and Spain to name a few.  To date, he has photographed more than 5,000 women from all over the world.

 Gavica started the campaign as homage to his mother who died 2008 after a 9 year battle with breast cancer.  He has taken the campaign through all the states of Mexico and has also been invited to visit New York, California, Massachusetts, Washington, Texas, Arizona and Minnesota among other states within the U.S. “It’s not just about my mother anymore” – says Gavica – “it’s now about the survivors.  [The campaign] is moving along with its own force, and I’m just going with the flow.”    

To obtain more information about this campaign, please visit http://www.fundacionbella.mx (Spanish website). ■

 

– Nathalia Y. Bogani – “The Etiquette Girl”

An Evening Dedicated To FIU’s “First Generation” Students

(Miami, Florida) – FIU’S Presidential Residence, like every year, was home to the 3rd annual First Generation Scholarship Benefit.  FIU President, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, opens his doors to the students, staff and faculty of the University to raise funds and awareness for this special empowerment program.  In 2006 the Florida Legislature established the First Generation Scholarship Fund to support students who will be the first generation in their families to pursue and attain a college education.  This is the only known program in all of the United States to match private contributions 100%.

If you would like to join FIU in supporting these “First Generation” students by making a contribution to this fund, please visit http://firstgen.fiu.edu/. ■

Dr. Rosenberg with Roary and wife Rosalie

 

Myka Figueiredo - Development Officer

 

Nathalia Bogani, Rosalie Rosenberg and Marly Quincoces

 

 

Photos are courtesy of StarMar Events

– Nathalia Y. Bogani – “The Etiquette Girl”

New Soul Of Miami Contributor: Nathalia Bogani

Welcome to new contributor: Nathalia Bogani

Nathalia Bogani is currently an Associate Producer at Univision Communications, Inc. for sister network – Galavision. She also started her own brand, “The Etiquette Girl,” to keep the community informed of current events and sharing important information from influential interviews. She can often be seen covering events in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Nathalia has reported for events such as “Vista Magazine Relaunch,” “Revlon & Shape Magazine – Shape Your Life,” “Grand Opening of SEE Eyewear Boutique,” “Bacardi U.S.A. for Hatuey Beer,” “Amigos For Kids – Domino Night,” “Miss Miami’s Breakfast for the Arts,” “WGIRLS to Benefit Lotus House,” “Miss Florida U.S.A. 2012 Pageant,” “Cleber Lopes for Breast Cancer Awareness,” “Vanidades Brides Event,” “Saks 5th Avenue Fashion Night Out,” “Casimiro Foundation 10th Anniversary Gala,” “Women of Tomorrow Kick-Off,” “Jungle Island’s Bridal and Quinces Event,” “Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure,” and many more.

Having obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration Management from Florida International University, she went on a quest to further her education and obtained a Master’s Degree in Advertising and Communications from Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Elisava School of Design in Barcelona, Spain. Nathalia is also a graduate student of The John Casablancas Modeling & Career School, and is currently seeking her certification from the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), where she serves for the Board of Directors as VP of Marketing.

Nathalia has played numerous roles as a leader and as a volunteer for many non-profit organizations. She was the Founder and President of the “Helping Hands Club” in College, and the Treasurer of her sorority, Delta Phi Alpha. She volunteered for “Dress For Success,” “The Social Butterfly,” and “The Casimiro Foundation.” She also serves on the Executive Board of Directors as Social and Public Relations Chair for WGIRLS, Inc. – Miami Chapter, and she was recently voted Chair of 2012 for the Doral Business Council’s Committee – Women’s Alliance Group. Nathalia is also a member of the National Association of Professional Women and is an active advocate of her Alma Mater, Florida International University, and a contributing member of the Alumni Association. Nathalia also mentors students at FIU, Univision’s Education Program – “Es El Momento” (It’s The Moment), and at the Young Women’s Preparatory Academy.

Her company, Classy & Smart, Inc., is a boutique that specializes in Marketing, Branding, Public Relations, Etiquette, and Personal Image consulting services in Miami, Florida.

Nathalia wants to continue her career as a producer, helping others as a consultant, reporting on social events for the community, and instilling her volunteering values as an inspiration for others. She wants to become Miami’s number one etiquette role model with a prominent Etiquette Girl brand.

She is a strong believer that if you propose and promise something to your heart, you can achieve anything you wish.

Click here to see all her posts.