Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

What:

A yummy Sunday night dinner at one of the hottest new restaurants in Miami — “Phuc Yea.”

Why:

There are so many reason to love “Phuc Yea” – let’s start with the obvious – its naughty name!

Everyone I talk to loves saying the name out loud — as if I’m lost on the double entendre or something? The cuisine, which is Vietnamese peppered with Cajun personality, is unique and like nothing I’ve ever tasted. The eatery, which is housed inside an old Art Deco hotel, is now re-purposed into one of Miami’s newest “see and be seen” hot spots. Wait, there’s more…

The airy lobby is adorned with a working raw/sushi bar and offers casual seating. The main dining room, which boasts a big bar at its center, is an interesting swirl of textured art and graffitied serial numbers (each having a sentimental meaning to its owners, Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata) and the glowing Lantern Garden, which serves up specialty cocktails and snacks, has this really cool, laid-back party vibe.

If all those aforementioned reasons aren’t enough…

I started spotlight with two signature drinks: “Hip Hop Sour Sop” (made with Bacardi, soursop, thai basil and lime) & “Saigon Tea Bag” (with rum, dojo chai tea, bobba pearls, carrot and condensed milk). Both were big on presentation. I loved the sweet and sour taste of the soursop, but who can resist slurping up bubba pearls? Not me.

The “Green Papaya Salad” – which I fell in love with – was my first starter. What a breath of fresh air; clean and light (served with crispy shallots, dried shrimp, carrots and peanuts, served in a yummy Vietnamese dressing.) I also tried the “Summer Roll” (made with pork, shrimp, cucumber, herbage and wrapped in rice noodles.) My photographer, James, said the ingredients were perfectly paired. In fact, he barely let me have a bite. Smh.

The next two drinks I sipped on: “Luv Me Laung Time” (tasted like smokey pineapple) and “Vietnami Ani” named after owner, Aniece (was a mix of hibiscus and rose water.) Soon after, the “Spicy Beef Noodles” arrived. Hello, lover…

They were AMAZE and my favorite dish of the night, made with peppercorn-rubbed strip loin, clear noodles, mushroom, herbage and served in a ginger soy vinaigrette. Spicing dinner up (even more) was easy, after Cesar dropped off a taste of their special hot sauce called: “Hot As Phuc”.

Oh, sweet baby Jesus! I love me some hot sauce, but this made my toes curl and hair sprout on my knuckles! So, I did what any normal hot sauce lover would do — have more!

Luckily, the “Fish Curry”, which came in a big pot, distracted me. It was filled with all kinds of seafood surprises; besides the fish of the day, I loved the jumbo prawns they included and the curry was spot-on taste wise.

For dessert, the most decadent “Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding” (with condensed milk, topped with shaved coconut) was delivered to the table. It was EVERYTHING; layered with ooey-gooey goodness. What an amazing way to end dinner and yes, it was completely devoured.

Food legend has it that about six years ago, “Phuc Yea” was one of Miami’s first pop-up restaurants, but that’s ancient history; I’m more interested in the here and now. With that being said, this place is permanent and with its provocative food and intriguing setting, I’m sure it’ll be around for a long time to come and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

When:

Happy Hour 5pm-7pm
Tuesday-Wednesday: Dinner 6pm-10pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Dinner 6pm-12am
Sunday Brunch: 11:30am-3:30pm & Dinner 6pm-9pm

Where:

Phuc Yea
7100 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, Florida 33138

Right in the heart of MIMO on the west side of Biscayne Boulevard. There’s a roomy parking lot in the back of the restaurant with a $5 valet in the evening.

www.phucyea.com
IG: @phucyea
FB: Phuc Yea
Twitter: @phucYEA

Delivery available: GRUBHUB, EAT24 or UberEats

When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.Vietnamese Proverb
Photographer: James Woodley www.JamesWoodleyPhotography.com
Wardrobe styling: Jackie Kay
Shirt & Skirt by Ted Baker
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Bubba Pearl” Auerbach

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

“Love is in the Air”

What:

Celebrating Valentine’s Day with PANDORA at Brickell City Centre downtown Miami.

Why:

What girl doesn’t LOVE getting jewelry? And what guy doesn’t LOVE gifting it?

It’s kind of a win-win situation when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It’s even better when the baubles are beyond beautiful, collectible-worthy and completely affordable. Hello, PANDORA!

I fell in LOVE with the gem giant at the end of last year working on a blog and TV story together called: “Beautifully Bejeweled.”

Since then, I’ve become an unadulterated fan. Yes, I guess you could say I fell in LOVE. I couldn’t wait for our next collaboration and well, here we are — celebrating Valentine’s Day — with “Love is in the Air.”

And while Pandora jewelry speaks for itself (as an extension of one’s feelings) with precious stones, mixed metals and rose gold goodness, sometimes LOVE isn’t as straightforward.

Over the years, I’ve written a lot of blogs about LOVE. Those experiences have taught me so many things about its diversity and ever-changing meaning.

There’s young LOVE, romantic LOVE, passionate LOVE, family LOVE and self LOVE (the list goes on.) There’s the LOVE of a child, friend, animal and there’s even the kind of LOVE that can be toxic, tumultuous, forbidden and heartbreaking.

No matter the kind of LOVE, it’s all around us and for the most part, it’s uplifting, soulful and unique (because everyone experiences it differently.) I wanted “Love is in the Air” to express that same sentiment.

Pandora jewelry easily captures the emotions of LOVE; whether it’s delicate and new, strong and everlasting or indelibly undefined – it’s all LOVE and it’s all beautiful and worth celebrating.

Happy Valentines Day from all of us at Shireen’s Favorite Things.

Where:

Pandora Brickell City Centre
701 S. Miami Ave, Suite 343b
Miami, Florida 33131
IG: @pandorabrickellcitycentre
FB: Pandora Brickell City Centre
www.pandora.net/en-us

Miami International Mall
1455 NW 107 Avenue, Center Court
Miami, FL 33172
305.471.4713
Ig: pandoramiaintl

When:

Brickell City Centre:
10-9:30 Mon -Sat
12-7pm Sunday

Miami International Mall:
10-9pm Mon – Sat
11-7pm Sunday

There is no remedy for love but to love more.Henry David Thoreau
Shop the three Pandora jewelry looks featured in this blog: 50 Shades of Pink, Pop Art, and Pandora Rose.
Happy shopping and of course, show yourself a little love on Valentine’s Day.

Photographer: James Woodley www.JamesWoodleyPhotography.com
Wardrobe styling: Jackie Kay
dress provided by Neiman Marcus, Fort Lauderdale
Jewelry styling: Pandora located inside Brickell City Centre
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “LOVE” Auerbach

Special Thanks to Diaset Cabrera

Shireen’s Spotlight: Olla

Shireen’s Spotlight: Olla

Shireen’s Spotlight: Olla

Shireen’s Spotlight: Olla

Shireen’s Spotlight: Olla

Shireen’s Spotlight: Olla

Shireen’s Spotlight: Olla

What:

A fun Friday night eating Mexican food at Olla on Lincoln Road.

Why:

I’m pretty serious about three things in life: fashion, film and Mexican food. And since this is my food blog…

I’m a beast when it comes to anything south of the border (I’m a New Mexico girl, after all.) If salsa and chips are in front of me, I’m useless until I’ve devoured every last bite. Hmmm…

So, imagine my delight when I was invited to “Olla Miami” to drink & eat all things Mexican. The new South Beach eatery is brimming with personality: it’s chic, industrial and moody. Perfect for my kind of palate.

BTW, in Spanish, “Olla” means “cooking pot” and sharing a pot/plate of food is the restaurant’s concept (think tapas.) Believe you me — if you go hungry, you’ll definitely leave happy.

Per usual, I started Spotlight with three signature drinks: “Passionista” (spicy & strong,) “Oaxaca Burro” (served in a mini-earthen pot) and “Pinche Flor” (refreshing & gingery.) Each drink was unique and packed its own kind of punch.

The “Passionista,” which is tequila-based and made with chile liqueur, was my absolute favorite (ingredients include: avion blanco, lime juice, ancho reyes, passion fruit and citronge.) Having just one of these creative cocktails was next to impossible. Round two, anyone?

As soon as I sat down, the freshest of guac with four yummy salsas/sauces arrived at the table. I’m proud of myself for exercising will power. Instead of annihilating, I nibbled; saving room for every daring dish created by Chef Scott Linquist (yes, of Coyo Taco fame.) The guy has major food game and I wanted to play.

I started with perfectly petite bites of “Erizo” (made with sea urchin, blue corn tostadita, asiento avocado, chile de arbol and pickled red onion.) It was smooth, sophisticated and unusual.

Oh hello, flavor-filled pots…

The corn truffles and wild mushrooms in queso fresco, called “Huitlacoche,” was rich and savory, but my love affair with the “Fideos Seco,” a.k.a Mexican Pasta, was unadulterated (with toasted garlic, chipotle tomato sauce and mexican style cheeses.) If you like pork and beans, “Charros” (made with cowboy beans, pork belly, pork cheek, smokey chilis and roasted tomatoes,) was succulent and zesty.

I tasted three main dishes…

The “Huarache” (cured skirt steak) was extremely tender; bursting with flavor. I’ve always been apprehensive to taste cuttlefish, but I went for it with the “Sepia” bowl (made with cuttlefish, Spanish onions, peppers and chimichurri.) It reminded me of calamari, which I happen to like. I especially enjoyed its texture and the bowl’s mix of flavors.

Last but not least, I devoured the “Coloradito” (duck breast, duck carnitas, sour cherry salsita, roasted peanuts and a fruity nutty red mole.) This dish was EVERYTHING! My favorite of the night. It was flavorful and that mole sauce? I had to force myself not to lick the plate.

Shockingly, I did have room for dessert.

With that being said, I enjoyed a bowl of “Churros” (smothered in ice cream, topped with whipped cream and drizzled in chocolate and caramel sauce.) Yes, it’s as good it looks. Actually, better.

I’ve spent many Miami nights wondering where to get great Mexican food in the Magic City. Wonder no more!

Whether you’re brunching, lunching or weekend dinner-ing, “Olla Miami” is more than just a fabulous fiesta, it’s a first-class dining experience filled with all kinds of spicy deliciousness and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

When:

Monday-Thursday: 11:30-4pm, 5-11pm
Friday: 11:30am-4pm, 5pm-12am
Saturday: 11:30am-12am
Sunday: 11:30am-8pm

Where:

Olla Miami is located on the west end of Lincoln Road, where chain restaurants and cookie-cutter stores have yet to infiltrate. It’s on the north side of the street. Your best bet is to park in the lot behind the restaurant or if you prefer a garage, there are two easily accessible on Alton.

Olla
1233 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, Florida 33139

Reservations: 786-717-5400

Instagram: @ollamiami
Twitter: @OllaMiami
FB: Olla Miami
www.ollamiami.com/

Mexican food is so full of color, life and music. It’s like a piñata exploding in your mouth.Kate McLennan
Photography: Life In A Flash (IG: life_in_a_flash)
Photo editing: James Woodley
Styling: Jackie Kay
Wardrobe: @bcbgsouthbeach
Evening Purse: @ximenakavalekas
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Cooking Pot” Auerbach

Modernly Minimalistic

Modernly Minimalistic

Modernly Minimalistic

Modernly Minimalistic

Modernly Minimalistic

Modernly Minimalistic

Modernly Minimalistic

What:

Exploring the sophisticated elegance of modern clothing with minimalistic influence; featuring “Volver,” a beautiful new boutique in South Miami.

Why:

When I first walked into “Volver,” I was completely blown away. It’s not just a boutique, it’s ART. From the fashion to the decor, it’s designed to evoke an elevated shopping experience.

The store is a sure reflection of its owner, Daniella Arellano, a young hipster who oozes fashion, creativity and effortless style. After working for a designer in Singapore, she decided to combine her love of clothing and interior design, giving birth to something unique, different and ahead of its time (at least for Miami.)

When you see “Volver’s” pieces, which are placed perfectly on broad hangers, they seem demure and introverted, but wearing them is a whole other story. They’re not just amazing, they’re WOW. The modern lines create a comely shape and the minimalistic influence boldly serves up ease and elegance.

Dani carefully curates all of her clothing from European and Asian brands, giving fashionistas a window into a world of “the singular,” a.k.a one-of-a-kind. I love the way she sees beyond the sometimes overly-inflated sexuality of South Florida fashion. Instead, she’s developed this uncanny way of knowing what a garment can do for a woman without showing all of her lady bits.

Expressing the “Modernly Minimalistic” trend is easy. You can start with one piece or go with an entire outfit: a simple blouse with detailed sleeves and a bold pant or a suit with clean lines with a surprise at the bottom. At the end of the day, it’s really all about self-expression. Speaking of…

I think of myself as a bohemian gypsy-inspired fashionista, being from New Mexico and all, but I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and experience fashion I didn’t understand or had never worn before. That’s why I chose to feature “Volver.”

Here’s the crazy thing: when wearing “Modernly Minimalistic” I felt like myself, but better. The clothing gave me a new and improved attitude. I was able to see beyond the image I have of myself and embrace a different style of woman, one I’ve always believed myself to be.

“Volver” is a Spanish word that means “to return” or “to come back.” Perhaps, for me, it’s no coincidence. Maybe there’s a part of me that’s always been minimalistic and as I’ve grown older, I’m just more comfortable expressing it.

When I was younger, I needed more bells and whistles to feel like my clothes were working for me. Now, I just want comfort, elegance and simplicity, which I’ve always thought was too much to ask for (until now) and that’s why “Modernly Minimalistic” is one of my favorite things.

(Don’t miss Deco Drive Thursday night at 7:30/11:30pm as we go inside this amazing new boutique and show you how to work the “Modernly Minimalistic” trend.)

Where:

Volver
5807 Sunset Drive
Miami Florida 33143

“Volver” is located in South Miami on Sunset Drive right by The Shops at Sunset Place. There’s plenty of parking; if you can’t nab a street spot, though, there’s a parking lot right behind the store and a garage across from the lot.

I love this area because it’s brimming with shops, restaurants and still has a neighborhood feel, despite being located in a big city. When I practice my retail therapy in this area, I always make a day of it. Happy Shopping!

When:

Monday-Saturday 10:30am-6pm
Sunday by appointment only

IG: @volvershop
Twitter: @volvershop
FB: @VOLVERshop

www.volvershop.com

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.anonymous
Photographer / Tracy Mendy www.themendyhouse.com
Photo Editor: James Woodley
Wardrobe styling: Dani/Volver
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “ART” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Jack’s Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Jack’s Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Jack’s Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Jack’s Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Jack’s Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Jack’s Miami

What:

An evening at Jack’s Miami in Edgewater eating delicious homemade Italian food.

Why:

“Jack’s” is the kind of place where everyone knows your name.

Yep, just like “Cheers” but better — because it’s the real deal. The new eatery gives me all kinds of fuzzy feels: it’s intimate, inviting and despite only being open for a little over a month, the food is ah-MAZE-ing.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it’s homemade. Especially the meatballs. Mama Mia! (Said in my best Italian accent.)

If you’re a regular Spotlight reader, you know I lo-o-o-ove me some good Italian food and with “Jack’s,” I’ve definitely struck gravy gold.

One of the restaurants best features? It’s snuggled into a charming old house, which reminds me of the way the world used to be (before high-rises and strip malls.)

And if you like dining outside, you’ll love the quaint patio area. It’s the ideal place to spend a long, leisurely dinner, a first date or a special occasion. I can’t wait to go back just as the sun is setting.

I usually start Spotlight with three signature drinks (for all you lushes out there,) but because Jack’s is so new, they’re still in the process of creating their cocktails. With that being said, their off-the-cuff drinks were dangerously addicting and quite frankly, pretty darn good.

The bartender whipped up a few things from his imagination: “Elder Jam,” “A Day at the Beach” and “The Deco Drive”.

“The Deco Drive” actually didn’t have a name, but after sipping the spicy concoction, I deemed it the spitting image of the show: strong, fiery and occasionally sweet (made with chili flakes, peach tree, tequila and pineapple.) The “Elder Jam” reminded me of a night out in Paris (made with vodka, St. Germaine, Prosecco and topped with a cherry.) Last but not least, “A Day at the Beach”, which totally tasted like a Creamsicle or a frozen Push-Up Popsicle.

I tried three appetizers: “Nonna’s Homemade Meatballs,” “San Gennaro Sausage & Peppers” and “Fire Roasted Red Peppers with Basil.” The meatballs were everything, smothered in Sunday Gravy and served on grilled Tuscan bread.

For my main dish, I devoured the “Braised Short Ribs” (slow-cooked and served over a bed of sautéed veggies with some crazy good mashed potatoes.)

The ribs were so succulent, they practically fell off the bone and melted in my mouth. I don’t know what the secret is to this dish, but if you’re a carnivore, you will NOT be disappointed.

For dessert, I had two of the most decadently creamy homemade Cannolis. Be still my beating heart! It was worth every mouthwatering high-calorie bite.

At “Jack’s” I felt happy and relaxed. It’s unpretentious, but at the same time, it’s classy and cool. And seriously, who doesn’t love homemade meatballs? They’re definitely one of MY favorite things.

When:

Monday-Saturday: 5pm-Midnight
Sunday: 4pm-11pm.
Lunch coming soon
Happy Hour is Monday – Friday 5pm-8pm
Sunday Gravy Happy Hour 4pm-8pm.

Where:

Jack’s is located in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Edgewater (just south of Midtown). There’s plenty of street parking, just be sure and feed the meter.

Jack’s Home Cooking
2426 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33137

Reservations: 305-640-5507
Special Event? Call 786-703-6180

IG: @jacksmiami
FB: Jack’s Miami
www.jacksmiami.com

May your life be like good wine; tasty, sharp and clear, and like good wine, may it improve with every passing year.An Italian Blessing
Photography: Life In A Flash (IG: life_in_a_flash)
Photo editing: James Woodley
Styling: Jackie Kay
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Wardrobe: Filomena Fernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Meatball” Auerbach

Special thanks to Alan Roth