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/

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