Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

Shireen’s Spotlight: Coya Miami

What:

Brunch at Coya Miami

Why:

If “Coya Miami” were a woman, she’d be Angelina Jolie: beautiful, sexy and interesting (minus the six children.) Visually, the restaurant is nothing short of spectacular and its nighttime weekend vibe is chic and sophisticated, hosting the Who’s Who of downtown Miami.

The last time I dined there, the Peruvian-inspired restaurant had just opened and dinner was fantastic, but I had yet to try their brunch — until last Sunday. They gave me a choice of a 12pm or 2pm seating. I like my weekend sleep, so I went with the latter.

When I arrived, the main dining room was comfortably crowded and a DJ was playing some cool remixes and mash-ups. I’m also a sucker for good lighting and Coya is king when it comes to atmosphere, providing just the right amount of soft light, mixed with the late afternoon sun. Perfection.

The menu for brunch is all about sharing and indulging, which is perfect if you’re adventurous with food and drink. Adult beverages are divided into two categories: “Bottomless Brunch Wines” (which includes champagne, cuvee’ and rose’) or “Bottomless Brunch Cocktails” (which is an assorted tasting of their innovative mixed drinks.) I chose the cocktail option because sometimes, a girl just wants to try something new.

The first two drinks to arrive: “Bellini De Guayaba” (made with bubbles, guava and a hint of ginger) & “Bloody Mary-A” (made with top shelf vodka or tequila and rimmed with a yummy mix of aji amarillo salt and pepper.) For an amuse-bouche, I snacked on the “Tortillas Frescas Y Chifles (fresh corn tortillas, plantain chips with a zesty guacamole.)

Along with some fresh oysters (doused in an amazing seaweed and ginger dressing,) I sipped on “Chicano De Pina” (made with pineapple- infused Barsol Queranta pisco) and the refreshing, easy on the eyes “Maca Spritzer” (made with Zamaca maca liqueur, basil, cucumber, yuzu and kalamansi Indi tonic.) Hmmm — this drink was a stand-out and definitely a must-try.

I nibbled on five appetizers (don’t judge me!) starting with an amazing petite salad called “Ensalada Peruana” (made with little gem lettuce, purple potatoes, avocado and cheese.) The rock shrimp was my favorite; on the menu it’s called “Camaron” (seasoned with fresh lime and Peruvian chili peppers.) My photographer fell in love with the “Pan Con Chicharron” (which is a pulled pork sandwich) and my producer was all about the “Rollo De Salmon” (a sushi roll filled with salmon, aji amarillo and cream cheese.) We all thought the “Branzino Criollo” (white fish ceviche) was fresh and fantastic.

The entree part of the brunch menu is divided into two parts; one featuring “premium” dishes, such as lobster and steak, while the other is more of an ode to all things “Peruvian,” which I tried.

It comes with three-to-four main dishes (and sides.) My waiter, Julio (who, by the way, was outstanding, with the personality of a stand-up comedian mixed with a Jewish sensibility,) suggested sharing everything.

I loved the “Pollo Asado A La Peruana” (roasted chicken) and “Arroz Con Pato” (duck risotto,) but my absolute favorite was the “Dorada A La Brasa” (Sea Bream, potato salad and fennel.) Along with the main entrees, I sipped on “Spice Me Up” (made with bubbles, mango, aji limo and vanilla.)

My three sides, which were just as good as the main dishes, were grilled corn, roasted potatoes and wok-fried quinoa with veggies and cashews. The quinoa was amazing and the corn was so tasty, with a great presentation.

For dessert, I tried a tasting of “Coconut Quinoa Pudding,” “Pumpkin Cheesecake with spiced ice cream” and “Chocolate Cremeux.” As if things couldn’t get any better, the last drink arrived: the sweet and charming “Algarrobina in the Tropics” (which is a mind-blowing mix of cold brew coffee, Macchu Pisco Quebranta, carbo syrup, coconut, egg whites and grated dark chocolate.) Stop the presses! This drink was an absolute slice of heaven.

Honestly, it’s hard to pick just one thing that stands out about Coya’s brunch. The creative drinks, fantastic food and chic atmosphere all rolled into one are what makes it one of my favorite things and I’m sure it’ll be yours, too.

Maybe someday I’ll be lucky enough to spend an evening in their private club. A girl can dream, right?

Where:

999 Brickell Avenue
Miami, Florida 33131

When:

Brunch is on Sunday from 12pm-4pm. Recommended seatings 12pm or 2pm. For lunch, dinner or event hours log onto www.coyarestaurant.com/miami for more information.

IG: @coyamiami
FB: Coya Miami
Twitter: @CoyaMiami

Nothing in the world is more expensive than a woman who’s free for the weekend.Anonymous
James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor in Chief: Matthew “A Jewish Sensibility” Auerbach

Special thanks to Marysol Patton of The Patton Group

Herve for the Holidays

Herve for the Holidays

Herve for the Holidays

Herve for the Holidays

Herve for the Holidays

Herve for the Holidays

Herve for the Holidays

Herve for the Holidays

What:

Hot holiday looks from Herve Leger by Max Azria located inside BCBG on South Beach.

Why:

I love the holidays and everything that surrounds them: food, family, festivities and, of course, all the fabulous dresses.

In fact, every Christmas/Hanukah, I relish choosing my favorite fashions for my annual holiday dress blog. Months prior, I shop my way through the Magic City, searching for the perfect fit and style.

Most of the time, I end up wearing something that helps convey where I am in life and what’s ahead for the new year. Yup, I’m definitely one of those women who believes your wardrobe says a lot about where you are in life.

For my last holiday dress blog, I tried harnessing my sexy side with Hot Miami Styles, in hopes of ringing in 2016 with a va-va-voom vibe.

I was aiming to feel alive again after a painful knee injury that required surgery and extensive physical therapy, not to mention a mini-relapse from a major neurological illness I suffered a few years ago. With that being said…

Now, I’m in a totally different place, with a more positive frame of mind and a healthier body. Since the bad mojo is behind me, my life has blossomed into something new, interesting and well, I haven’t figured it all out yet. I just know that I’m changing…

My fashion taste is, too. I’ve left behind a lot of the fuss, like my fluffy skirts and eccentric shirts (that I used to hide behind,) opting instead for the simple, sleek and sophisticated. That’s why “Herve for the Holidays” makes complete sense to me.

I’ve always been a big fan of Herve Leger by Max Azria and its famous bandage dress, but for years, I was intimated by the body-conscious appeal of the line, until I tried one on a few weeks ago.

Their “second skin” concept isn’t what I expected. Sure, it’s about highlighting the good, but it’s also about diminishing the bad. “Think of it as one big pair of Spanx,” said the person who talked me into trying one on for size (she knows who she is!)

The dresses are made of such quality material (a meaty blend of rayon, nylon and spandex,) it’s impossible not to have coy confidence when wearing one. What’s more, they’ve expanded their line to include styles with longer hems, more fashion-forward silhouettes and gorgeous textures.

The bandage dress isn’t just a seasonal investment, it’s a killer classic that’ll complement your closet for years to come and that’s why “Herve for the Holidays” is one of my favorite things. Happy shopping, fashionistas and enjoy your turkey day!

When:

Monday-Wednesday 10am-10pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-12am & Sunday 11am-11pm.

Where:

Lincoln Road Mall, 744 Lincoln Road, Miami Florida 33139 (on the corner of Lincoln and Meridian.)

IG: @bcbgsouthbeach
www.bcbg.com www.herveleger.com

Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.Anonymous
James Woodley Photography
Styling by Jackie Kay
(All holiday looks, shoes and jewelry provided by BCBG/Herve Leger on South Beach)
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Va-va-voom” Auerbach

special thanks to Marina of BCBG/Herve Leger

Shireen’s Spotlight: Sriracha House

Shireen’s Spotlight: Sriracha House

Shireen’s Spotlight: Sriracha House

Shireen’s Spotlight: Sriracha House

Shireen’s Spotlight: Sriracha House

Shireen’s Spotlight: Sriracha House

Shireen’s Spotlight: Sriracha House

What:

Deliciously healthy Southeast Asian urban street-food with a modern flair by Sriracha House on Miami Beach.

Why:

My closest friends and I have a secret obsession: Sriracha all day, everyday! I literally put the stuff on EVERYTHING. Perhaps it’s my Southwestern upbringing or maybe I’m just a fiery kind of female. Either way, imagine my sheer delight when I found a place named after my favorite hot sauce. How cool is that?

“Sriracha House” on Miami Beach is a laid-back, totally hip and surprisingly healthy Southeast Asian-inspired eatery. It’s all about building your own WOK. Not only do you get to choose your own ingredients, they’re cooked right in front of you (perfect for people who have dietary restrictions or if you’re watching your waistline.)

The menu is split into five parts: noodles & rice, protein add-on’s, crunchy toppings, sauces and top-off’s (like crispy garlic and onions, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and roasted peanuts). I’ll get to the yummy WOK situation in a minute, but first…

I started Spotlight with the uber-yummy “Schezuan Chicken Wings” (which are sweet and spicy, with an amazing crunch.) I washed it all down with a tasting of three Florida beers: “La Rubia Blonde Ale” from the Wynwood Brewing Company, “Native Lager” from Native Lager Brewing Company and my favorite, “Floridian,” from Funky Buddha Brewery. I love that “Sriracha House” supports local businesses. Now, on to some WOK-a-licious goodness…

I chose “The Vegetarian” for my first WOK (made with Bok Choy, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, carrots, bean sprouts, and white cabbage.) I added vegan chicken for protein, shiitake mushrooms for crunch and “Thai Peanut” sauce (a creamy blend of roasted peanuts, ginger, garlic and fresh thai chilies.)

The basis for my second WOK was “The Glass Noodle” (which are wheat & gluten free.) I added chicken breast for protein, shiitake mushroom, broccoli, and edamame for crunch and “Sriracha House Spicy Hot Chili” for my sauce (made with fiery chillies, garlic, coconut milk and lemongrass.)

My third WOK was designed by my bestie, Jackie Kay; using “Egg Noodles,” shrimp for protein, pineapple, water chestnuts, “Japanese Teriyaki” sauce; topped off with crispy onions and fresh cilantro. BTW, after each WOK was cooked to perfection, I added a heaping helping of Sriracha. Feel the burn baby!

I chose dessert in the form of Bubble Tea which, believe it or not, I’ve never tried until now. Wow! Have I been missing out. I sipped on Golden Milk, Mango and Lycée complete with tapioca pearls. Those are the little bubbles at the bottom of the drink: when you sip em’ up through a fat straw, they pop open in your mouth with yummy goodness. It reminds me of an emulsion. (I kind-of sound like a foodie. Ha! I guess a food blog will do that to you.)

Did I mention there’s a hot sauce wall? Yup, a wall of different kinds of Sriracha to light your world on fire or just flavor up your food. If you love healthy, delicious eats in a hip, laid-back atmosphere (with late, late night hours,) “Sriracha House” is a must-try and it’s definitely one of my favorite things!

When:

Monday-Thursday: 11am-4am, Friday-Saturday: 11am-5am & Sunday 12pm-4am.

Where:

1502 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida, 33139 (between Lincoln and Espanola Way). Street parking is always tough on the beach, but there’s a parking garage across the street.

www.srirachahouse.com
FB: Sriracha House – Miami Beach, IG: @srirachahouse, Twitter: @SrirachaHouse

Dig your well before you’re thirsty.Asian-Indian Proverb
James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor in Chief: Matthew “Tapioca Pearl” Auerbach

special thanks to Jessica & Emilio!

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

Vintage Camo

What:

Vintage camouflage jackets re-imagined with eye-catching patches, bedazzled emblems and beautiful broaches by Josie Bruno Vintage.

Why:

I went through this crazy phase in high school: I would only wear black. Think goth-meets-alternative rock with a Madonna-esque edge. When I grew tired of being monochromatic, I would throw on one of my dad’s old military jackets. There was just something really special about them.

I loved the texture, camouflage material and smell. Eventually, one of his jackets became my own uniform of sorts, helping me feel more self-confident through my awkward teen years. Looking back on it now (at least the old photos,) I was definitely onto something fashion wise. I just didn’t know it at the time.

Fast forward a few decades later: military-chic has become a fashion mainstay, but for me, it still can’t compete with my dad’s old military jacket. That’s why, when I heard about what “Josie Bruno Vintage” was doing, I had to feature them on the blog.

Patti Bruno Rivero is the mastermind behind the company (which is named after her mother) that creates one-of-a-kind camo and denim jackets. She designs what I like to call ‘modern day charm bracelets.’ Meaning, she takes everything you love and adore and sews them into a creative, eye-catching piece of clothing.

Patti can attach patches, broaches, pins, lace and just about anything else your heart desires. The best part? All of her work is rooted in vintage and she doesn’t alter the jackets in any way. They’re kept completely intact, as an ode to the soldiers who wore them.

Instead, she re-purposes them; giving new life and a fresh perspective on an already intriguing garment. When it comes to what you can put on the jacket, Patti says: “It’s all about the placement.” She doesn’t overdo it, striking the perfect balance between bedazzle and understated beauty.

If you’re not into something custom-made, you can shop off her racks and still find something special. Although she reuses certain themes, nothing is ever duplicated. That’s definitely refreshing, given the fact we’re in a time where finding something unique to wear is almost impossible.

Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight at 7:30pm & 11:30pm on Channel 7 (WSVN) as we go behind the scenes with “Josie Bruno Vintage” and see first-hand how “Vintage Camo,” is created. It’s definitely one of my Favorite Things and I’m almost positive it’ll be one of yours, too. Happy Shopping!

Where:

www.josiebrunovintage.com or shop the looks and more on instagram: @Josiebruno459

Camouflage is a game we all like to play, but our secrets are as surely revealed by what we want to seem to be as by what we want to conceal.J Russel Lynes
James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Jackets chosen by Patti
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor in Chief: Matthew “Re-Imagined” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Perricone’s Market Place & Cafe

Shireen’s Spotlight: Perricone’s Market Place & Cafe

Shireen’s Spotlight: Perricone’s Market Place & Cafe

Shireen’s Spotlight: Perricone’s Market Place & Cafe

Shireen’s Spotlight: Perricone’s Market Place & Cafe

Shireen’s Spotlight: Perricone’s Market Place & Cafe

Shireen’s Spotlight: Perricone’s Market Place & Cafe

What:

Celebrating 20 years of great Italian food at Perricone’s downtown Miami.

Why:

When I first moved to Miami over a decade ago (as a young whippersnapper entertainment reporter,) Perricone’s was one of the first places I went with my co-workers from Deco Drive. Just like most new converts to the Magic City, I fell madly in love; the pasta was yummy and the ambiance was an intriguing mix of “garden oasis meets classic New York City steak house:” dark wood, twinkling lights and a bustling bar.

Mind you, it was all smack-dab in the middle of skyscraper central — downtown Miami. It was, and still is, paradise in the heart of a concrete jungle; more specifically, Brickell. Fast forward to 2016 and the eatery is celebrating 20 years of mouth-watering business. When I first heard about Perricone’s big birthday, two things came to mind: WOW, am I getting old; and I’ve gotta feature them on Spotlight. I’ve often wondered…

HOW in the world they’ve kept a great thing going for so long? Not only is Perricone’s a South Florida institution, they’ve also managed to grow and evolve without changing the original “je ne sais quoi” that’s made them so famous. Not an easy task in a town where restaurants come and go faster than the ebb and flow of tourists.

Since my very first visit all those years ago, a lot has changed. They’ve added a Market Place where you can shop for authentic, hand-crafted Italian delicacies: meats, cheeses, desserts, breads and wine. If you live downtown, I’m sure you know about it. They’ve also expanded their outdoor dining area, making the most of their lush, tropical landscape with a large open-air tent (that connects to the main dining room.) It easily transforms into an air-conditioned haven or an outdoor, cool weather hot spot.

That’s where I dined last Friday night on a beautiful Miami evening. I started Spotlight with three yummy drinks: “Sour Apple Martini,” “Classic Mojito” and “Frozen Moscow Mule.” All three drinks were yummy, but the Moscow Mule, which I’m told is a customer favorite, was smooth, well-blended and deliciously strong (made using a Kelvin Slush Machine.)

After drinking up the majority of my adult slushy, two appetizers arrived: “Baked Brie en Croute” and “Mussels Steamed in White Wine.” The brie (which is a whole baked brie wrapped in a crispy puff pastry, drizzled with warm apricot glaze and served with fresh fruit and crackers,) was spectacular and the mussels were just as delicious; light and succulent.

For dinner, I tried a little bit of everything, starting with the scrumptious “Grandma Jennie’s Classic Meatballs” with their signature Pomodoro Sauce and the “Catch of the Day,” which happened to be an amazing “Parmesan-Crusted Grilled Bronzino.” While I love meat and fish, my absolute true love is pasta. I could eat it every natural-born day of my life. With that being said…

I tried the “Penne with Grilled Chicken” (with olives, sun dried tomatoes, basil and feta). I especially loved the fact that it’s served in a garlic/extra virgin olive oil. Even though pasta can be hearty, it doesn’t have to taste or leave you feeling that way and this dish is the perfect example. My favorite pasta and dish (for that matter) of the evening was “Fiocchi Gorgonzola” (purse-shaped pasta stuffed with fresh pear and four cheeses, served with a walnut Gorgonzola sauce.) It was absolutely to-die-for. It’s on the rich side, but you won’t regret it if you try it.

For dessert, I savored Perricone’s signature “Chocolate House Cake” (made with rich, bittersweet chocolate mousse and chocolate cake, drizzled with white chocolate hazelnut crunch, with chocolate ganache frosting.) This is the perfect plate to share, but there are so many good desserts to choose from, I’d order a couple and play a game of round-robin tasting.

Besides all the usual favorites on the menu, Perricone’s isn’t afraid of stretching its food muscle, too; always coming up with the new and exciting. That’s one of the many reasons I love eating there. The incredible service, inviting environment and warm energy is top notch and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

When:

Dinner Hours are Sunday – Thursday 4pm-11pm, Friday & Saturday 4pm-11:30pm.
(for Market, Lunch and Brunch hours check-out www.perricones.com).

Where:

Brickell 15 SE 10th Street, Miami, Florida 33131. Your best bet is to use their valet. It’s fast and efficient and parking downtown can be pretty difficult these days or better yet, cab or uber it.

IG: @perricones, Twitter: @perricones, FB: Perricone’s Marketplace & Cafe

Life is a combination of magic and pasta.Federico Fellini
James Woodley Photography
wardrobe: www.anntaylor.com
Hair: Odett Hernandez, Make-Up; Javier Lucero
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Je ne sais quoi” Auerbach