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2012 January

Archives for January 2012

Miami Beach… places to go, dining, shopping and unique experiences



Sun brunch at Setai Hotel is spectacular, with the most beautiful food and limitless Tattinger champagne for $75 (plus service/tax).. stunning setting.

A La Folie, casual French crepe place – very charming and authentic (located on Espagnola Way), serene ambiance.

Betsy Hotel, Ocean and 14th St, amazing popovers!  Lovely setting.


Lively and chic, Mr Chow’s restaurant in the W Hotel – also the big bar in the back of the main floor is usually filled with cool people.  Also, a new sister restaurant, Philippe, opened Dec 2011 beautiful space and very nice staff, good happy hour drinks .. (36 Ocean Drive)

Ciccone in Soho House (Collins/44th) – open to public in the otherwise private club.  Nice scene.. lovely setting, wide menu choices

“Hot” hotel and restaurant, lovely outside restaurant on the bay, uber-cool crowd (I’m a member there) – Standard Hotel.  Bright and happy place!  “Health-conscious” menu.. BEST spa!! and hamam… amazinggg.

Another restaurant option – which has DJ;s most nights is Sushi Samba on Lincoln Rd Mall – sushi, creative food, not only sushi, I love the sea bass.. fun vibe!

Fun place for drinks and ANY meal in the restaurant – Betsy Hotel.

Meat Market, 915 Lincoln Rd.. chic and beautiful decr, yummy food, and a bit of “New York” feel.. makes it one of the best on Lincoln Rd, and nice ambiance.

 New addition to Lincoln Rd (at Alton) Rosa Mexicana, of the New York group.  Nice spot, good food.. Mexican!

 Romantic and luxurious setting – worth the price! The Villa, Versace Mansion – 1116 Ocean Drive, http://www.thevillabybartong.com/

 Casa Tua – ditto comments of The Villa, 1700 James St, http://www.casatualifestyle.com/hotel/

 Miami Beach has tons of steak houses, which is not my specialty.. but Smith & Wollensky’s is fun, beautiful waterfront setting, with a lively bar scene and some tables outside on the rocks.. another great sunset spot.  They have many good fish and veggie options too!

 The Miami Beach institution… Joe’s Stone Crab – celebrating 100 years in 2013.  Great food, huge space.. hustle-bustle  feeling..  “Old school” charm and classy service.  They also have a great casual breakfast/lunch café adjacent, and take-out with most of the same items from the restaurant menu.  I live for the Lobster Reuben… worth every calorie.


 W Hotel, has a nice bar in the back of the hotel,  the new more casual “Dutch” and poolside tikki bar are all frequently fun and lively spots.  The nicest W Hotel I have seen, with beautiful art work and soaring ceilings in the lobby.. great space!

 Drink at Rooftop bar of Gansevoort Hotel – a MUST! Best ocean view in Miami

 Best sunset – Mondrian Hotel, fun casual “tikki bar” for a drink.  Also a good choice for dinner – great food!

 Dream Hotel, 1111 Collins, is a newly renovated hotel, with rooftop pool and bar.  An intimate ambiance, and lovely city views…  

 Standard Hotel!  (see comments above)

 Art, Culture and places of interest

Vizcaya Mansion – Lovely place to visit during the day – (estate, museum and cafe) near Key Biscayne – about 20 minutes from Miami Beach


The Bass Museum is centrally located, and a little jewel of the city..  (very small, only need about half an hour);

MUST see – New World Symphony – opened a year ago; Gehry design; NWS company created by the fabulous MTT – it is a stunning location and worth any visit, performance, etc…

Wolfsonion, Collins and 10th St… highly regarded museum, but not my personal favorite. 

SHOPPING – please avoid Ocean Drive.. it is overflowing with the “Vegas-type” tourists… and no good stores instead, STROLL Lincoln Rd Mall.. a mix of very expensive boutiques, and Pottery Barn-type franchises- very unique to Miami Beach and great people-watching!  BEST Nespresso coffee bar (really good small menu for lunch too) !!!!! Semifreddo is very popular with the international locals. ALSO, right around the corner is Espagnola Way.. cute, several blocks long.. “only in Miami” quaint to see the little shops. A bit further North is Bal Harbour, the “Madison Ave” of Miami Beach… lovely indoor/outdoor mall with all of the beautiful fashion and jewelry shops, and several good restaurant options as well!   Parking lot is easy and not overpriced.

Botanical Gardens – directly across from the Convention Center, is a bit of respite and peace from the Lincoln Rd, and tourist scene… ice place to relax for a little while… and learn about the local flora and fauna.


Miami Beach is a very late night city.. so it will seem “dead” at times – sunsets are great happy hour times in the places I mentioned, and dinner is better later (like 9pm reservations).. the city becomes very entertaining!!!

I am not into the nightclub scene.. but there are many places that offer DJ music and dancing.. all night long.

Amnesia and Pearl are new, recently reopened hot spots – both South of Fifth.  Nice crowd!

Not on my list

Places that are “hot” but are not on my list…

Prime 112/Prime Italian/Vic and Angelo’s – good food/sketchy people

Barton G (who own Mansion) – too “over the top” presentation/pretentious service

Voila!  Hope that helps

Aspirations Founder Judy Holm appointed as Vice-Chair of Art and Culture…

I attended Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) 2010 in preparation for my work in Venice at the 2011 Biennale.  After a ten-year absence from the area, I could not believe the incredible and wonderful evolution of this city and the entire region, particularly in urban development and cultural innovation and maturation.  Specifically because of my perception of creative opportunities and this aspirational spirit of Miami Beach, I made the decision to relocate from San Francisco. 

The importance of art and culture has not only an important image impact on the community, but specifically with the advent of Art Basel Miami Beach, there is a discernible ripple effect on the entire economic growth of the city and its surrounding neighboring cities.

Art Basel is considered by most of the art world to be one of the most prestigious and financially important organizations worldwide.  In fact, ABMB has eclipsed the Basel fair as the largest sale of art worldwide.  This year, according to ARTLOG, the early estimates are $1 billion of art sold, and 50,000 attendees in the 260 gallery, 2,000-artists’ exhibition.  Additionally, fourteen satellite fairs, all of the important museums and other cultural organizations, countless galleries, murals (!), design showrooms, restaurants, and retailers all presented art and benefitted economically with raised visibility within the ever-growing and prestigious domestic and international base of attendees.

The zenith of this fair, and its related overwhelming positive financial and cultural impacts have brought unprecedented and inestimable value to Miami and Miami Beach.

The long-term potential of Miami and Miami Beach as a serious cultural center is at a critical stage of development.  The local level of dynamism and creativity is intense, but the international interest in the region as a cultural hub is still fragile, and largely linked to the presence of Art Basel.  The annual infrastructure of this most venerated exhibition, the continued cultural and related economic growth in our community- fueled by international art collectors, gallerists, and critics, is an exciting element of the cultural organic growth of our community.

As Vice-Chair of Art and Culture for the new council at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, I believe that one of the most important aspects of the group is to communicate, promote and highlight the jewels of our city.  The relevancy of art and culture is particularly critical today, as the public education in our schools has eliminated much of the funding, and related programs for our children. 

The future of art and culture, as with anything, lies with the future generations.  The need to educate and provide access to art and culture is therefore paramount; ultimately with the goal to incite interest and support.  One of the best ways to grow a business, is to attract lifelong “customers.”  Creating interest and passion about the myriad of categories in art and culture will help ensure commitment for generations to come.

We will be (PRE)viewing and (RE)viewing several different organizations and events each month, to ensure that our members and the constituency of the Miami Beach News are well informed.  Please, let us know if you have any ideas to share, or would like to recommend an organization or event to be featured- and we will let you know what we think!

This council was formed by Jason Loeb and Jerry Libbin.  I am honored and thrilled to spearhead the group with Brian Schriner and Alan Randolph.  The importance of arts and cultural and connection to businesses in Miami Beach was iterated by our Chairman Jason in his December 14, 2011 cover story introduction of our new council , “The economic forces of these art programs are huge and every business can benefit in some way.” .  Thank you Jason and Jerry for the tremendous opportunity to be help lead  such an important and passionate group!