Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Semilla Eatery & Bar

What:

Enjoying a killer Happy Hour & delicious French-inspired tapas at “Semilla Eatery & Bar” on South Beach.

Why:

If you love a good vibe, excellent drink specials and food you can share, “Semilla Eatery & Bar” is definitely the place for you.

The restaurant, which describes itself as a Gastro pub, has a special “je ne sais quoi” to it that reminds me of a bustling European bistro mixed with an intimate Parisian nightclub. What’s more, they’re killing the Happy Hour game, especially on Friday, when drinks and tapas specials are deeply discounted until closing time.

Semilla’s open-air kitchen dominates the restaurant, giving customers an enticing view into cocktails being created and food being prepared and plated. They’ve also perfected an appealingly chic atmosphere; with moody lighting, funky artwork and a DJ on-hand mixing tunes (wicky, wicky!) It’s a tough job, but….

I started Spotlight with Semilla’s insanely good “Bonne Maman Lemonade” (made with tequila, blueberry jam and pineapple juice.) The “Organic Cucumber Garden” was fresh and fantastic, tasting like it had just been plucked out of a local garden (of course) served with an adult twist: vodka (made with lime juice, basil leaves and ginger ale.) I also sipped on a traditional “Moscow Mule” which never disappoints, especially in its rustic ice-cold copper cup.

Once the tapas started arriving, they didn’t stop: diverse, delicious and decadent, I started with the “Tuna Tartar” mixed perfectly with avocado and yuzu (which is a Japanese citrus fruit.)

If you love Croquetas, do yourself a favor and try Semilla’s. It was one of my favorite dishes of the night, made with potato, chorizo, goat cheese and garnished with a thin slice of pepperoni — I’m still dreaming about inhaling them. Sometimes, I have to remember to pace myself…

Next-up: “Pulled Pork Brisket” served in pillowy bao buns (possibly my favorite kind of bread on earth.) The “Fried Oysters” were my absolute favorite of the night, made with confit leeks and smothered in creamy tarter sauce. This tapas is served with a cool, clear ramekin that helps squeeze your lemon. Now, that’s luxury! Lol (it’s the simple things in life.) BTW, the oysters are to-die-for!

What would Friday night “Happy Hour” be without a great flatbread? The “Tomato Mozzarella” was no exception; fresh and delicious. Another stand-out: the beautifully presented “Bay Scallop Au Gratin” garnished with truffles.

Give me some tender scallops, light potatoes and cheesy sauce goodness and we’ll be friends forever. Pair it with a crisp white wine (there’s a gargantuan list to choose from) and I’ve died and gone to foodie heaven.

My cup runneth over when the “New York Steak Au Poivre” arrived; tender, succulent and juicy. If you’re a meat lover, this will satiate your carnivorous cravings.

Ending my terrific tapas tour was the “Chocolate Bomb” (with raspberry granite, chocolate lava cake and fresh raspberries.) Yes, it was as good as it sounds. In fact, it was #TheBombDotCom …

If you work hard for your money (and God knows, we all do these days) and feel like treating yourself, “Semilla Eatery & Bar” is a great choice without the guilt; with quality food and amazing drinks at CRAZY GOOD PRICES, it’ll definitely be one of your favorite things, I know it’s one of mine. Round two, anyone?

When:

Monday-Saturday 5pm-12am (bar open until 2am)
Closed on Sunday
Happy Hour is week day from 5-8pm & all night Friday
(Wednesday ladies get 50% off the drink menu.)

Where:

Semilla Eatery & Bar
1330 Alton Road
Miami Beach, FL. 33139

Reservations: 305-674-6522 — if you want more specifics on their amazing prices, click here:
www.semillamiami.com and go to Happy Hour.

Be Social:
IG: @semilla_miami
FB: @SemillaMiami
Twitter: @SemillaMiami

Life without tapas, is like a heart without love.B.K.S Iyengar
Special thanks to Chef Frederic Joulin & Lavan Public Relations for making dinner so special.James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Dress: @DVF Boots: @lilacandlilies_boutique
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Pillowy” Auerbach

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

Fit & Flare

What:

New spring silhouettes by Herve Leger inside BCBG on South Beach.

Why:

Who doesn’t love a good bandage dress?

After my blog, “Herve for the Holidays” — I’m a total convert. For me, it’s not only a wardrobe staple, they’re also perfect for special occasions when I really want that fashion WOW factor. And…

Just when you think the brand’s body-conscious luxury stylings couldn’t get any better; for spring, they’re introducing new silhouettes best described as “Fit & Flare.”

I adore dresses with a healthy dose of femininity, mainly because I love material that moves. It’s classy, romantic and leaves something to the imagination.

Herve’s spring line does that and more with intoxicating new colors, interesting caged cut-out sleeves and longer, luxurious hemlines.

One of my favorite dresses of the season is Herve’s take on the ever-so-popular (but not always done correctly) off-the-shoulder, bohemian-inspired style (which is the blue dress pictured in the blog.) Its laid-back sophistication, with just the right amount of sex appeal, is sheer perfection.

Spring in Miami always means we’re just around the corner from our blistering hot summer days, so relishing our perfect weather for the time being is important (and fashionably necessary.)

As Easter quickly approaches, whether it’s brunch, a leisurely lunch or date time with that special someone, “Fit & Flare” is a fabulous way to breath new life into your wardrobe and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

Where:

Herve Leger inside BCBG South Beach
Lincoln Road Mall
744 Lincoln Road
Miami, Florida 33139

(On the corner of Lincoln and Meridian.)

When:

Monday-Wednesday: 10am-10pm
Thursday-Saturday: 10am-12am
Sunday: 11am-11pm

Be Social:
IG:@bcbgsouthbeach
Twitter: @HerveLeger

www.herveleger.com & www.bcbg.com

Easter is the only time when it’s perfectly safe to put all your eggs in one basket.Evan Esar
Photographer: James Woodley Photography
Dresses, accessories & shoes: Herve Leger inside BCBG South Beach
Styling: Jackie Kay & Marina
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Ever-So-Popular” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

What:

A glamorous Sunday evening dinner at “Gianni’s At The Villa” on South Beach.

Why:

I love fashion and adore food — so imagine my sheer delight when I was invited to dine at “Gianni’s At The Villa” on South Beach, inside “The Villa Casa Casuarina” (formerly known as the Versace mansion.)

Not only is the opulent fortress one of Miami’s crown jewels, it’s a place where imagination, fantasy and luxury come together in a massive eye-pleasing crescendo. It’s INCREDIBLE and…

No matter how many times I’ve gone behind the legendary walls (for stories, parties and star-studded events), it just never gets old. Honestly, it always takes my breath away and now, thanks to “Gianni’s At The Villa”, you can experience it, too. Imagine, drinking and dining where Gianni Versace himself actually mingled with the biggest names in fashion, movies and music. Dah-ling!

The new fine dining Italian-Mediterranean restaurant is housed on the first floor of the mansion, giving you access to admire its awe-inspiring main courtyard, exquisite dining room, elegant bar and famed 24K gold-tiled mosaic pool.

Not only is the scenery pure perfection, the food is pretty incredible, too (not to mention the cocktails.) I started Spotlight in the highly romantic and dimly lit “Onyx Bar ” where master mixologist, Alex Petriuk, impressed me with his mad shaking skills.

The appropriately named “Passion in the Mansion” (made with passion fruit vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and topped with champagne) was mind-blowing. It’s the supermodel of cocktails; garnished with a gorgeous piece of passion fruit. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart (#sweettart).

Seeing as I’m a ranch girl from New Mexico and all, I’m a sucker for a good tequila drink and the “24 Karat Margarita” is phenomenal (made with gold infused tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh OJ & lime juice, sparkling water and a generous salted rim.) Hmmm… another round, please.

If you’re a fruit lover, the “Berrisace Collins” is gonna be your new best friend. Besides its cheeky name, its leftover berry bottom is the perfect pay-off after finishing your cocktail (made with vodka, fresh berries, lemon juice and sparkling water.)

Before dinner, I started with an antipasti called: “Burrata Millefoglie” — with juicy red tomatoes, roasted eggplant, 12-year-old balsamic vinegar, Grissini bread sticks and Prosciutto di Parma; you’ll definitely want more. It’s the extra soft, creamy burrata that does it. I mean, who doesn’t love mozzarella and stracciatella? Be still, my cheesy heart.

I tried two main dishes, first, the “Gnocchi Di Granchio”, which was superb. It comes with a healthy serving of New Orleans Blue Crab and is topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano. If you’re more of a meat lover, “Filetto Di Manzo Rossini” (an 8oz Wagyu filet mignon cooked & seasoned to perfection) will NOT disappoint. It was my favorite plate of the night, served with grilled asparagus and pan-seared foie gras bordelaise jus.

And, the end-all, be-all of desserts? “Dolce: Triple Chocolate Mousse Temptation” (made with white, milk and dark chocolate mousse, crispy pearls, brownie cake.) What a treat! Its presentation is one of the best I’ve ever seen, especially its stream-lined, layered colors which are only discovered once you take a bite. Bravo!

There’s no other experience like “Gianni’s At The Villa” in all of South Florida. I’d even go so far as saying, there’s nothing else like it in the world. It’s just really special on so many different levels and now, thanks to the new eatery, its fabulously accessible to everyone and that’s what makes it one of my Favorite Things.

When:

Tuesday-Sunday: 6pm-Midnight

Where:

Gianni’s At The Villa
The Villa Casa Casuarina
1116 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL. 33139

IG: @giannisatthevilla
FB: @TheVillaCasaCasuarina
Twitter: @Giannis_SoBe

www.vmmiamibeach.com

Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but YOU DECIDE what YOU ARE, what YOU WANT to express by the way you dress and the way you live.Gianni Versace
A special thank you to Gabriel Scocco for making our dinner so special and a shout-out to Priscilla Burgos for being an awesome PR guru.James Woodley Photography
Dress: Keepsakethelabel.com.au
Purse: V73 www.v73.it/us
Boots: BCBG South Beach www.bcbg.com
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Sweet & Tart” Auerbach

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

Spring Romance

What:

Falling in love with “ETXART & PANNO” — a luxury brand (new to Miami) — where fashion meets sophistication and sensual femininity.

Why:

The first time I saw an “ETXART & PANNO” dress, I was completely hypnotized.

Like a moth to a flame, I floated up to the store window and pressed my hand against the glass. The sweet blue frock that caught my attention was humming with personality. Its whimsical butterfly print, which started at the top of the dress, seemed to cascade into a magical flutter as it stretched its way to the bottom. WOW!

I wanted to touch it, wear it, own it, just know more about it…

I’ve seen a lot of gorgeous clothes in my time, but there was something different about this dress. The quality of the material and the precision of the fit (even on the mannequin) was exquisite. Hmmm…

I wasn’t familiar with the store, so I tried sounding it out: “Et-sh-art & Pahn-no” — I pronounced it slowly under my breath a couple of times to get the hang of it and then whispered: “ETXART & PANNO, nice to to meet you.”

I didn’t know it at the time, but a week later (thanks to a mutual friend,) I’d be slipping into a “Spring Romance” with the brand — literally.

I fell in love with everything I tried on for the blog. Stylistically, the silhouettes know the body of a woman and the designs are daring, elegant and sexy. It’s no surprise that…

“ETXART & PANNO” — founded in the late 80’s by Omar Etxart and his sister-in-law, Emi Panno – hails from Barcelona, where fashion is bold, colorful and beautiful. The brand is incredibly popular in Europe and thanks to the fashion gods, it’s finally made its way to America.

More specifically, to the Brickell City Centre in downtown Miami, which is now the home of their first flagship store in the U.S. And it’s no coincidence that their clothing reflects what the Magic City is known for — glamour, luxury, and extravagance — just one (or a few) of the reasons why they chose Miami for their initial North American location.

By the way, “ETXART & PANNO” doesn’t just do “Spring Romance,” they have outfits for almost any occasion: professional, cocktail, black-tie, even the red carpet.

You’ll not only stand out in their stylings, you’ll feel like a million bucks, too — and us fashionistas know a fabulous dress and/or outfit doesn’t always equal comfort.

I love spring because of its endless possibilities. It’s not only an awakening of the senses, it’s a time for new discoveries and that’s exactly what “ETXART & PANNO” embodies and that’s why “Spring Romance” is one of my favorite things.

Where:

ETXART & PANNO
Brickell City Centre
701 South Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33131

The boutique is located on the ground level. There’s garage parking and it’s free for the first two hours.

When:

Monday-Saturday: 10am-9:30pm
Sunday: 12pm-7pm

Let’s get social:
IG: @etxartpannous
FB: @etxartpanno
www.etxartpanno.com

Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.Carl Friedrich Gauss
Photographer: James Woodley Photography
Styling & Wardrobe: ETXART & PANNO, MIAMI
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Bold, Colorful and Beautiful” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

What:

An early Saturday night dinner at “Bar Meli69,” my favorite neighborhood hang-out.

Why:

Warm, welcoming and unpretentious, “Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar” is one of my absolute favorite places in Miami. I think a lot of it has to do with its owner, Liza Meli and the people she surrounds herself with.

Liza is gracious, intriguing and has spent the majority of her life exploring her passions like music, dance, travel, food and her restaurant is a direct reflection of those experiences.

Aesthetically, “Bar Meli69” is a beautiful mix of bright colors, twinkling lights and flickering candles. Even its ceiling has a rustic charm, covered in rattan wicker. The restaurant evokes a unique feeling: it seems you’ve discovered a special hideaway that only a few lucky people know about.

Coincidently, that’s exactly how this hidden gem got its start…

The eatery opened quietly in 2014 on 79th Street as “BarMeli79”. Its intimate wine bar, delicious Greek tapas and neighborhood feel made it an instant hit with the locals. Fast forward a few years later, and one of the best-kept secrets in the Magic City grew into a bonafide hot spot.

To keep up with its impressive foodie following, “BarMeli79” moved further south to MIMO, snuggling itself into a bigger and better location becoming “BarMeli69”. I stopped by last week for an early dinner to get a feel for their new digs.

I started Spotlight with a refreshing glass of Greek white wine (Tsantali Agioritikos) paired with one of my favorite appetizers, “Flaming Saganaki” (a yummy cheese set ablaze at your table with the help of a little brandy.) If you like ooey-gooey goodness, this is a must-try.

If you prefer watching your waistline, the “Amalfi” is healthy and delicious (made with grilled zucchini, goat cheese & mint.) I washed it down with a glass of Liza’s famous house-made “Exotic Red Sangria” (don’t let its fruitiness fool you; it packs a punch, you just may not feel it coming on.)

My favorite dish of the night? “Grilled Lamb Loin Chops” (made with house pesto.) The meat was exquisitely tender and the pesto added a nice flavor without overpowering the lamb. Liza paired the dish with a deliciously light red wine (a Greek one of course) called Dafnios Liatiko.

The “Whole Mediterranean Bronzino” is another one of my favorite dishes, not just because it’s healthy, it’s also to-die-for. It’s cooked with Greek olive oil, lemon juice and oregano drizzle. If you’re not into deboning fish, no worries, they’ll do it for you right at the table.

I don’t always love ending dinner on a sweet note, but “Chocolate Baklava” (filo-wrapped pistachios, walnuts, dried apricots with honey-syrup drizzle) can quickly change one’s mind. Hmmm…

There are so many wonderful reasons to fall in love with “Bar Meli69” — with its extensive wine bar, amazing food and enchanting atmosphere — my neighborhood hang-out is definitely one of my “Favorite Things”.

When:

Monday-Friday: 5-11pm
Saturday: 6-11pm
Thursday-Saturday: Bar & Tapas until 1am
Monday-Friday: Happy Hour is from 5-7pm.

Where:

Bar Meli69
6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, Florida 33138

www.barmeli.com
FB: Barmeli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

reservations: 305-754-5558

(There’s plenty of parking behind the restaurant, but I think Uber’ing is your best bet if you don’t live in MIMO. That way, you can imbibe until you’re hearts content.)

FYI — Liza has turned “Bar Meli69’s” former location on 79th Street into a wine shop with light bites (like cheese). Try it, you’ll like it!

*Shout-out to Chef Maykel Solis, he’s the bomb-dot-com.

So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.Franz Kafka
James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Wardrobe: www.hauteglamboutique.com
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Ooey-gooey” Auerbach