Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

Shireen’s Spotlight: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

What:

A leisurely weekend lunch at Izzy’s (owned by my good friend, Chef Jamie DeRosa.)

Why:

On a balmy Saturday afternoon, I snuggled into a corner table at “Izzy’s Fish & Oyster” on South Beach and let the atmosphere consume me. The warm, inviting eatery reminds me of the places I used to frequent in my childhood, especially in northern Maine.

I would spend my summer school breaks there visiting my aunts (my mom’s sisters,) who taught me the New England way of life. Things seemed simpler back then; I remember it like it was yesterday, too: the sun shining on my face, the sand between my toes and fresh seafood for almost every meal.

At lunchtime, I would ride my bike across Islesboro Island (off Penobscot Bay) to the local diner and feast on lobster rolls. If I got lucky, at dinnertime, they’d serve up something called Lobster Newburg. Hmmm…I can still smell it. (It’s a lobster casserole baked with butter cream, cognac, sherry and eggs.)

A lot has changed since then, but at “Izzy’s Fish & Oyster,” owner and chef Jamie DeRosa has managed to bring my childhood memories to life, updating them with a magical foodie flair. From the blue-and-white decor (think Cape Cod) to the dark/twinkly bar (think downtown Boston,) Izzy’s is the kind of place that inspires you to make memories or linger for a long afternoon snack. Matter of fact, I’d love to go back, sit at the bar, drink a cold beer and have a dozen or so oysters on the half shell.

Before I started Spotlight, I was treated to a glass of bubbly, “Chambong-style.” Yep, just like a beer bong, but a champagne bong is way classier (at least that’s what I tell myself.) Deco Drive featured the novelty at Izzy’s a few months ago and I couldn’t wait to try one for myself. It was worth the wait!

(Warning: it’s all about form, people. I tried sipping out of the bong but sometimes, a girl has to let go and guzzle. I mean, YOLO! Plus, sipping a bong is messy and frankly, ridiculous. After bonging…)

Three signature cocktails arrived: “Izzy Fizzy,” “New England Express” and “Where The Figawi.” I loved the whimsical presentation of the “Izzy Fizzy,” complete with a yellow and white straw. The refreshingly unusual drink is made with kava, ginger, mint, lemon, vodka and aperol.

The “New England Express” was pretty and packed a major punch, made with mezcal, honey, lime, basil oil, pineapple and cracked pepper. I love the the play on words with “Where The Figawi”. Okay, stay with me here. You know that traditionally heavy Boston accent?

Think “The Departed” (starring Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Leo DiCaprio) where they were always sayings things like: “Where the F*** are we?” Well, that’s the drink: “Where The Figawi.” Haha! Genius, right? (It’s made with rye, hibiscus, grapefruit, lemon and a white German beer.)

The “Key Lime Stuffed French Toast” (with key lime custard, graham cracker and mint) was the first dish I tried; it was moist and marvelous. It’s perfect if you have a sweet tooth. When you cut it, it oozes yummy goodness. I’d call it an explosion of Florida flavors.

The “New England Clam Chowder” (with potato leeks and oyster crackers) was thick and delicious. In fact, I could eat this meaty soup the rest of my natural born life. In full disclosure, I’m a sucker for a good soup. It’s so hearty, it could easily be a meal.

I’d heard a lot about “Izzy’s Maine Lobster Roll” (served warm or cold) with lobster mayo. It comes with a side of seasoned waffle fries. Hello, lovah… where’ve you been my whole life? It’s a MUST-TRY! The roll is simple and delicious; easily reminding me of my beloved Maine in the summertime .

Last but not least, I enjoyed a preview of what’s to come in the new year at Izzy’s in the form of a “Knuckle Sandwich”(made with swiss cheese, Maine lobster, Florida pickles and parsley. ) This and the lobster roll were my two favorites. The picture (with the sandwich bleeding cheese) doesn’t even do it justice.

I wrapped up Spotlight with a “Classic Whoopie Pie” (complete with marshmallow fluff.) I can’t say I’m surprised at how great Izzy’s is, because Jamie just “gets” it. The award-winning chef doesn’t just know food, he realizes it can evoke emotions, feelings, even memories…that’s just part of what makes him so great at what he does.

What’s more, he created his restaurant after a road trip up the New England coast with his wife, Amy and his daughter (named Izzy,) who was just six-weeks-old at the time. Somewhere in-between baby naps, time with his beautiful wife and a King’s share of seafood, Jamie gave birth to a new idea: a cool crab shack in the heart of the Magic City.

Now, Jamie infuses those precious memories into “Izzy’s Fish & Oyster” on a daily basis. For the record, this isn’t just any crab shack; it’s a glamorous one, with great food and an infectious atmosphere — that’s why it’s one of my favorite things. It also happens to be the perfect place to have a special holiday meal. Happy Christmas!

When:

Lunch: Monday-Friday 12pm-4pm.
Dinner: Sunday-Wednesday 6pm-10pm & Thursday-Saturday 6pm-11pm.
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 12pm-4pm.
Happy Hour is everyday 4pm-7pm.

Where:

Izzy’s Fish & Oyster is located South of Fifth on Washington Avenue on South Beach.
423 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139

www.izzysmiami.com
IG: @Izzysmiami
Twitter: @Izzysmiami
FB: Izzy’s Fish & Oyster

I’m living on things that excite me, be they pastry, or lobster or love…Jimmy Buffet
Photography: Life In A Flash (IG: life_in_a_flash)
Photo editing: James Woodley
Styling: Jackie Kay
Clutch by www.lamouge.com
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Whoopie” Auerbach
Special thanks to Jamie DeRosa

Beautifully Bejeweled

Beautifully Bejeweled

Beautifully Bejeweled

Beautifully Bejeweled

Beautifully Bejeweled

Beautifully Bejeweled

Beautifully Bejeweled

Beautifully Bejeweled

What:

Gorgeous “giftable” jewelry by Pandora at the Brickell City Centre downtown Miami.

Why:

Like most women, I LOVE jewelry, but I’ve never really openly admitted it. I’ve always painted myself as more of a shoe and handbag lover and frankly, it’s because of sheer intimidation.

Either the price tag freaks me out or the man who’s buying it (an ex-husband or boyfriend,) was given some sort of relationship ultimatum, was making up for lost time or they were simply trying to tame the beast (me) after some wrong-doing and well, that’s not the kind of jewelry that evokes happy memories.

Luckily, that was then and this is now…

I’m older, wiser and I don’t need a man to buy me jewelry. What’s more, spending a fortune on beautiful diamonds, pearls (or anything in between) seems so passé this day and age; especially with brands like “Pandora,” which I’ve recently fallen head over heels for. Pandora makes me feel “Beautifully Bejeweled” for so many reasons.

The company, which started in 1982 in Denmark, was a family-run jewelry shop that exploded onto the fashion scene with its charm bracelets. It seemed everyone had one! In fact, their bracelets are still more popular than ever.

The more, the better! You know exactly what I’m talking about if you’re a Pandora lover. Its mass appeal, great quality and affordable pricing made the charm bracelet a fabulous fad that has yet to lose its luster.

Fast forward a few decades later and Pandora has quickly grown into a worldwide jewelry powerhouse, creating spectacular pieces that can make a girl feel special without breaking the bank.

More importantly: as times have changed, Pandora has, too, appealing to the modern woman with jewelry she can gift a friend, sister, mother, daughter, even herself.

The line is built around “collecting,” meaning each new piece you add to your existing jewelry wardrobe will easily fit in, creating a cohesive collection.

The company understands social media, too, using Instagram to shower its fan base with ideas of how to modernize and recreate trends of days gone by. For example: “These aren’t your grandmother’s pearls” or “Cuffs worn with high fashion creativity.”

In our busy lives, it’s the little things that make the difference and Pandora has subtly harnessed those nuanced moments. I love gifting myself jewelry for small reasons: finishing an impossible task, celebrating a private milestone or simply because I can. Man, it feels good to write that.

Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight (at 7:30pm & 11:30pm on Channel 7/FOX,) as Shireen’s Favorite Things is invited inside the Pandora Concept store at Brickell City Centre downtown Miami.

We’ll be exploring great gift ideas for the holidays (asymmetrical earrings, pearls, cuffs and much more,) because every girl deserves to be “Beautifully Bejeweled”.

Where:

The Pandora concept store is located on the 3rd level of Brickell City Centre.
701 S. Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33131

Below is a detailed list of each jewelry look I’m wearing in the blog. Happy shopping and of course, Happy Christmas!

First Look/Pandora’s Rose Gold:
Hearts of PANDORA Necklace ($150/each). This versatile PANDORA Rose™ necklace collier features the classic PANDORA logo on one side and a circle of shimmering stones on the other. Forever PANDORA Earrings, in PANDORA Rose ($70). Sparkling Bow Ring ($70). Hearts of PANDORA Ring ($90). My Princess Tiara, PANDORA Rose ($80).

Second Look/Pandora’s Midnight Blue:
Patterns of Frost, Multi-Colored Crystal Earrings ($75). Patterns of Frost, Multi-Colored Crystal Necklace Pendant ($60). PANDORA ESSENCE COLLECTION Bangle Bracelet ($60). Twinkling Forever Bangle Bracelet ($100). Sterling Silver w/ 14K Gold Clasp Bracelet ($325).

Third Look/Gold/Oxidized/Leather:
Right hand: Entwined Bracelet ($125). 14K Gold Bangle w/ Signature Clasp ($1,295). Timeless Elegance bangle ($100). Left Hand: Oxidized Sterling Silver Barrel Clasp Bracelet ($65). Champagne colored double leather bracelet ($45). Radiant Elegance, 14K Gold Earrings ($200). Lace Botanique Dangle ($150).

IG: @pandorabrickellcitycentre
FB: Pandora Brickell City Centre
www.pandora.net/en-us

Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.Epictetus
Photographer / Tracy Mendy
www.themendyhouse.com
Wardrobe styling: Jackie Kay
dress provided by www.bcbg.com on Lincoln Road, South Beach
Jewelry styling: Pandora located inside Brickell City Centre
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Not your grandmother’s editor” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

Shireen’s Spotlight: B Square Burgers + Booze

What:

Friday night at the hottest new place on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale for some Burgers + Booze.

Why:

I showed up at “B Square Burgers + Booze” late on a Friday night; per usual, Miami traffic had gotten the best of me, but as I made my way down Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, the warmly lit “ready for the holidays” avenue eased my nerves and my stress started to dissipate.

My first glimpse of the place was from the car window. Really, I couldn’t miss it because of the sea of people surrounding the restaurant. The bustling bar easily overflowed onto the front patio and wrapped its way around the west side of the building.

As I made my way through the crowd, everyone seemed to be in good spirits; it was the beginning of the weekend, after all. BSQ’d (for short) isn’t just a gourmet burger bar, it also prides itself on serving contemporary American Cuisine, which means eating healthy or sophisticated is just as easy as devouring the decadent.

The decor is a mix of “industrial chic meets modern sensibility” and its laid-back vibe is paired with positive energy. I especially liked some of their catchy sayings written on one of their mirrored walls: “B-Original,” “B-Positive,” “B-Humble” and “B-Inspired” (just to name a few.)

After sitting down in a big, comfy booth, I started Spotlight with the Vegas Martini and Cucumber Gimlet. Holy poor, Batman! Both drinks were strong and tasty. The Vegas (made with Ciroc Peach Vodka, Beet & Ginger infused simple syrup and fresh lemon juice,) reminded me of the kind of cocktail Cookie Lyon would drink from the hit FOX-TV show, “Empire.”

(Camera fades into a shot of music mogul, Cookie Lyon, wearing a Roberto Cavalli suit, sitting at her gold-adorned, Donald Trump-like desk, elegantly sipping on her “Vegas Martini” while signing a multi-million dollar recording deal. The rich, red color of the drink matches her burgundy lips, which happened to be slathered in the latest YSL must-have lip color. After a gentle sip, she smiles coyly and slowly licks the drink’s sugary rim, knowing she’s about to make music history. Fade to black.)

The Cucumber Gimlet, on the other hand, is more like, say, something a jaded entertainment reporter would drink. While she loves her job, she constantly has to “work it like the rent is due” to keep up with the burning demands of her career. At the end of a long day, she doesn’t take the easy way out (a glass of Chardonnay,) she opts for a “Cucumber Gimlet” (made with Nolet’s Gin, simple syrup, fresh lime juice and cucumber.) Because even though it’s strong enough for a man, it’s made for a woman, too.

After a bit of daydreaming — okay a lot — two appetizers arrived: Szechuan-Style Shrimp & Calamari and Tommy’s Turkey Meatballs. Both plates were food-generous and I’m pretty sure the secret is in the sauce. The marinara on the meatballs was excellent and the Szechuan sauce was good enough to drink.

For my main course, I decided to go for a burger (when in Rome.) You can either fill out a nifty, make-it your-own-way burger sheet, or go for one of the many amazing suggestions on the menu. Since I’m a ranch girl from New Mexico, I went with the “Tex-Mex” (made with roasted poblano peppers, bacon, pepper jack cheese and green chili sauce.)

Instead of being traditional, I went with a side of sweet potato fries. They definitely nailed the green chili taste and the fries were ridiculously good. I can’t wait to go back and try more burgers! The menu features a creative variety: Nacho Mama, Ahi Tuna, McDuck, I Don’t Eat Meat and Short Rib, to name a few.

For dessert, it was double the pleasure with “Johnnie’s Apple Tart” served with vanilla gelato and my absolute favorite thing of the night, the “Strawberry Shortcake Matcha Boozy Shake.” The ingredients are a restaurant secret, but it tasted like I was actually drinking a strawberry shortcake spiked with vodka! For the record, I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, but the bartender assured me it was in there. If you’re not a drinker, you can get a virgin shake, too.

From the lively atmosphere, creative cocktails and mouth-watering burgers, B Square Burgers + Booze is one of my new favorite hang-out’s. I’ll meet you there, say, Friday night? Cheers!

Where:

1021 E. Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

When:

Monday – Sunday 11:30am – 12am. Happy Hour is Monday – Friday 4pm – 7pm. Weekend Bruch is 10am – 3pm.

www.bsquareburger.com
IG: @bsquareburgers
Twitter: @BSquareBurgers
FB: B Square Burgers + Booze

She was starting to feel a little like a hamburger at a dieters’ convention. Nobody was likely to snack on her, but absolutely everybody noticed she was edible.Rachel Caine
James Woodley Photography
Produced by Jackie Kay
Styling: Elyze Held / wardrobe provided by stylemafia.us
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Matcha” Auerbach

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

The BOX Bag

What:

Yummy python BOX purses by designer, Ximena Kavalekas.

Why:

The first time I saw “The BOX Bag” by purse designer, Ximena Kavalekas, I was truly smitten. Not only was it petite and pretty, it was made out of the most exquisite python skin I’d ever seen. Its shape is a return to old school glamour, leaving behind the “bigger is better” attitude that’s consumed pocket book fashions over the last decade.

While the bags themselves are intoxicating, they’re nothing compared to the designer herself. Ximena, who burst onto the Miami fashion scene about a year ago, is a complete ray of sunshine, lighting up any space she inhabits.

The first time we met at her private showroom downtown Miami (where I was interviewing her for Deco Drive,) I was taken with her spectacular smile, larger-than-life personality and her ability to make everyone around her feel important. It doesn’t hurt that she’s a dead ringer for superstar Jennifer Lopez (even prettier, perhaps.)

With that being said, somehow Ximena has managed to inject those aforementioned special qualities into her luxury purse line and it seems everyone is taking notice. Not only is she draping the Magic City’s fashion elite with different styles of “The BOX Bag” — she’s also working her way into the most glamorous stores in the country.

At the end of the week, Bergdorf Goodman in New York City is hosting a trunk show in her honor, where Ximena will visit with holiday shoppers, introducing her exclusive line to yet another sophisticated fashion audience.

It doesn’t seem to get much better than that, except for the fact that actresses like Sofia Vergara (who stars in the hit TV show, “Modern Family,”) regularly posts her favorite Ximena BOX Bag on her Instagram (Vergara has a cool 10.9 million followers.)

While Ximena’s line has the hype of novice newness, her knowledge, designing experience and hard-won wisdom is anything but. She went to fashion school in Italy and has worked in the luxury accessory business for decades.

During our interview, Ximena easily shares her ups-&-downs in the fashion industry and as she reflects upon her journey, she says she realizes now it’s always been about finding what she calls: “A unique and different idea.” It seems now that’s she’s found it, there’s no stopping her.

All Ximena Kavalekas handbags are exquisitely handmade; the colors and textures are supple and sophisticated and the linings are luxurious. What’s more, all of her python skins are procured humanely with the backing of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.

If you’re looking for chic glamour, with an unexpected structured twist, you’ll definitely find it in “The BOX Bag” and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things. Happy Shopping!

Where:

You can shop “The BOX Bag” at www.ximenakavalekas.com or make an appointment to visit Ximena’s private showroom, located inside District 900, which is referred to as ‘The Fashion Workspace of Miami’.

Ximena Kavalekas
District 900
990 Biscayne Boulevard
4th Floor
Miami, Florida 33132

IG: @ximenakavalekas

I’m thinking balls are to men, what purses are to women. It’s just a little bag but we’d feel naked in public without it.Sarah Jessica Parker
James Woodley Photography
Styling by Jackie Kay
Purses designed by Ximena Kavalekas
wardrobe provided by www.vchicstore.com
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Unique and Different” Auerbach

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