Shireen’s Spotlight: The Ice Plant

Shireen's Spotlight: The Ice Plant

Shireen's Spotlight: The Ice Plant

What:

The Ice Plant, 110 Riberia Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084

Why:

When you walk through the doors of this old, rustically charming restaurant you can’t help but be impressed. The two-story historic haunt, which was originally built in the 1920’s and used as an ice plant, still looks and feels very much like an old factory.

It even has its original bridge crane on rails placed above the bar, which was used to move huge blocks of ice that were eventually broken down and sold to local customers and shrimping boats in the area (back in the day.) With that being said, The Ice Plant is all about the art and craft of mixing exceptional cocktails: using fresh house-pressed juices, an assortment of bitters, homemade syrups and handcrafted ice cubes made from purified water (they even use a 300 pound block of ice to chip from.)

I started my evening off by tasting three of the bars most highly recommended cocktails. “The Psychedelic Fur” (made with rum, strawberry, fernet, ginger, bitters and cucumber,) was lovely and light with just the right amount of fizz. The prettiest and by far the iciest drink, which reminded me of a snow cone, was “The Moon And Antarctica” (made with St. Augustine New World Gin, rum, horchata, lemon and lime.) Last but not least, the classic “Florida Mule” (served with St. Augustine Vodka, ginger, lime, soda and mint.) Choosing a favorite is nearly impossible, but if someone were holding an icepick to my head I’d go with the “Florida Mule.”

After sipping on three drinks, I stayed in a bar kind of mood; opting to start my dinner off with a few fun snacks. I’m still dreaming about the sinful “Devils On Horseback” (bacon wrapped dates with buttermilk blue cheese puree.) The Blue Crab Beignets were just as sumptuous (battered with Rouille and green tomato chow chow.)

After my snacks, I had one small plate (appetizer) before my main course. I asked my friendly waiter, Guillermo (who had just started that day and was excellent,) to bring me something photogenic. I have a weakness for pretty food. This is a fashion blog after all. He recommended the “Pickled GA White Shrimp” and believe you me, it doesn’t get any better than tangy shrimp (piled on top of grilled sourdough bread with peppers, celery hearts and aioli.)

I was starting to think this place was too good to be true, especially after spotting “Ricotta Gnocchi” on the menu (made with lamb ragu, fino verde and parmesan.) I’ve always heard the true test of how great a restaurant is depends on whether or not they can cook a killer gnocchi. Be still my heart! Even though I was told to get the burger, I happily had my heart set on a dish of gnocchi and boy, was I glad I did. It was soft, fluffy and fantastic. (This was my second spotlight of the day, so I opted out of desert.) The Ice Plant, a place where history and the here and now combine; making life undeniably different and delicious…that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

Where:

The Ice Plant is located downtown St. Augustine, which is one of the oldest, most charming cities in the country. When I long to get away from Miami, I tend to drive south to The Keys, but now that I’ve experienced the “Old City,” I can’t wait to go back. It’s a great escape and extremely low-key.

I stumbled onto The Ice Plant while doing research for a blog on the Casa Monica Hotel (also located in downtown St. Augustine.) This unique gem of a restaurant sits tall and proud on Riberia street and is easily walkable if your exploring the heart of the city.

They have straightforward parking, but keep in mind this is probably the hottest spot in town and sometimes getting a place (if you’re there on a Friday or Saturday) can be a bit tricky. An overflow lot is set up in the back of the plant to accommodate busy nights. Also, once you’re inside be prepared to wait it out because it’s first come, first serve. If you have bad timing and find yourself on a long waiting list: trust me…it’s totally worth it.

When:

Tuesday-Saturday 11:30am-2:00am, Sunday-Monday 11:30am-Midnight
Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm Monday-Friday. Dinner 5pm-10pm 7 days a week.

Reservations not accepted
www.iceplantbar.com
Instagram: @IcePlantBar
Twitter: @IcePlantBar
Facebook: The Ice Plant Bar
904-829-6553

(Pictures of the St. Augustine Distillery, which is also housed inside The Ice Plant, are pictured in the blog.)

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.Marcel Proust

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Writer & Producer: Shireen Sandoval
Photographer: James Woodley

Wardrobe & Jewelry: www.MagentaCouture.com
Shoes: www.YSL.com
Hair/Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Assist: Jackie Kay

The Hightower Effect

The Hightower Effect

The Hightower Effect

The Hightower Effect

The Hightower Effect

The Hightower Effect

The Hightower Effect

The Hightower Effect

They say there are no such things as coincidences in life. The day an old man by the name of Pepe fell off the Bal Harbour jetty and I just happened to see him was proof enough for me that saying was true. I was definitely in the right place at the right time. At least, it seemed that way.

For whatever reason, my usual Saturday morning run was delayed by at least three hours: I had overslept, meandered around my apartment tidying up for too long and afterward spent way too much time on social media. I thought I was procrastinating, stalling, feeling uninspired to exercise, but looking back at it now, I’m not so sure.

Finally, when the mood struck or at least when I was about to run out of ME time, (because I was hosting two events for Deco Drive that evening,) I tugged on my sneakers and headed for the walking path behind my condo. I cherished my time sweating it out on the beach. It’s one of the few pleasures in life I get absolutely lost in.

I love the way the ocean sounds, how the wind feels and the air tastes; thick with salt and humidity. When I jog, I listen to my favorite music and let the beat guide me, syncing my breathing and steps together until I eventually find my pace. On this particular day, though, I ran with such strength and determination it actually surprised me. It was as if someone or something was willing me forward, almost carrying me to my destination.

Earlier that morning, I was feeling tired from too much wine the night before. I was a little down because a blog I had been working on fell through. Usually, those things would slow down my running, but they didn’t. Instead, I was quick, light and strong. I ran three miles so effortlessly (from Surfside to Bal Harbour,) I couldn’t help but smile as I neared the jetty. It was a big accomplishment for me.

Before my bout with GBS (Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome) I used to be an avid runner, but battling my illness had left my body so weak and so frail it would take years before I could exercise again. After intense physical therapy, I worked my way up to walking on the path, then a light jog and now this: a spirited run. It was a true milestone that made me extremely proud and genuinely happy.

To celebrate my accomplishment (even though I didn’t have much time,) I allowed myself the privilege of walking to the end of the jetty to enjoy the view and breathe in the fresh sea air. If you’re familiar with the area, you know how exquisite it is. For me, it’s not only one of the most beautiful spots in Miami; it’s one of the most breathtaking views in the world.

It’s where the bay and the ocean merge together and the large concrete pier, known as the jetty, snakes its way out into the water, allowing tourists, locals and seasoned fishermen to take advantage of the surroundings. On the north side of the jetty the ever-changing (usually moody) waves crash endlessly against dozens of dark, heavy rocks. On the south side, the beach is pretty, pristine and dazzles with white sand and crystal blue water. Just before the beach, outlining the entire area, is a thick patch of tall wheat-colored, wild brush. It gives the shoreline a Hamptons-esque kind of feel.

As I blissfully made my way down the concrete path, suddenly (and for no apparent reason,) I grew anxious and worried. Then as if someone whispered a warning in my ear, I stopped to turn around. What happened next seemed to unfold in slow motion. Just as I looked over my right shoulder, an older gentleman, who was standing on the very edge of the south side of the jetty (right by the brush,) started to lose his balance. His body twisted strangely and he fell so unbelievably quick and hard it took my breath away.

Read the rest of the blog at www.wsvn.com or shop the looks from the credits listed below.

Shoes: www.HeatherHightowerMiami.com
Twitter: @HeelzStayHigh
Instagram: @Heather_HightowerMiami
FB: Heather Hightower Miami

Wardrobe and accessories www.HauteGlamBoutique.com
Twitter: @HauteGlamBtq
Instagram: @HauteGlamBoutique
Facebook: Haute Glam Boutique

Twitter: @ShireenSandoval
IG: @ShireenSandoval
ssandoval@wsvn.com
www.shireensandoval.com

Photographer: James Woodley
Twitter: @BritFloridian
IG: @BritFloridian
www.James-Woodley.com

Hair & Make-up: Odette Hernandez
Twitter: @Odettehernandz
IG: @O.D.E.T.T

Styling & Assist: Jackie Kay
Blog ideas: jackie211@yahoo.com

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
MattAuerbach@yahoo.com

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

A Candy Bag

When I asked designer Candy Woolley how many purses she owned from her luxury handbag line, her answer shocked me. In fact, at first I didn’t believe her. “Just one,” she mused as I aggressively quizzed her during our recent “Shireen’s Favorite Things” fashion photo shoot. “How is that possible?” I asked in disbelief.

Of course, the question was coming from a raging fashion addict who’s motto is: “you can never have too many purses or pairs of shoes.” What’s more, it’s no secret that when it comes to high heels and beautiful bags, moderation is not my strong suit.

Candy, however, explained that she only carries her trusty cowhide travel tote for a simple reason. When she first started out as a young designer, almost everything she made, loved and therefore got attached to, would literally be negotiated right out of her hands; women simply wanted what she was wearing.

Eager to make a sale, she would immediately dump out the contents of her purse right in the middle of wherever she happened to be at the time and viola, a happy customer would make off with “A Candy Bag.”

That experience, which luckily happened over and over again, would not only teach her NOT to become too enamored with her own designs, it would also signify that she was really onto something: a booming bag business.

Candy, who’s a very pretty, affable brunette, has an undeniable God given talent. She can design a purse just as good, if not better, than some of the best high-end bag designers in the business. She probably inherited her artistic gifts from her parents, who are third generation tailors.

Growing up, Candy was always surrounded by fabrics, textures, patterns and fashion. She learned to sew when she was just thirteen and quality was something her parents instilled in her from a very early age. They also taught Candy business acumen by openly sharing client conversations, where she quickly learned about sourcing fabrics and materials.

Read the rest of the blog at www.WSVN.com or shop the purses at www.candywoolley.com or wardrobe www.dominiquecoralgables.com.

Purses by Candy Woolley
Instagram: @candywoolleyhandbags
Twitter: @candywoolley
FB: Candy Woolley Accessories

Wardrobe by Dominique Boutique
Instagram: @DominiqueBoutique
Twitter: @Dominiqueok
FB: Dominique Boutique

Twitter: @ShireenSandoval
IG: @ShireenSandoval
ssandoval@wsvn.com
www.shireensandoval.com

Photographer: James Woodley
Twitter: @BritFloridian
IG: @BritFloridian
www.James-Woodley.com

Hair & Make-up: Odette Hernandez
Twitter: @Odettehernandz
IG: @O.D.E.T.T

Styling & Assist: Jackie Kay
Blog ideas: jackie211@yahoo.com

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
MattAuerbach@yahoo.com

Shireen’s Weekend: Kid Idol

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

 

I had an amazing weekend filled with such excitement and inspiration, I wanted to share it in lieu of my usual “Shireen’s Top 3.” In honor of the American Idol finale (which is being held this Tuesday and Wednesday on WSVN,) I spent Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park judging #KidIdol (sponsored by Joe Dimaggio Children’s Hospital) alongside Channel 7 Meteorologist, Karlene Chavis and Shelby Rushin a.k.a the Midday Chic on 99 Jamz.

The event showcased seven of South Florida’s brightest young stars who shared their voices and great personalities, in hopes of winning a free trip to Los  Angeles, California, to watch the Idol finale live in person! By the way, I’m totally jealous and wish I could go along for the ride, as I’ve been to the singing extravaganza a handful of times and it does NOT disappoint.

The contestants sang songs from artists like Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Adele and Sam Smith. At first, I thought it would be a fun afternoon of complimenting kids, but boy, was I wrong. These youngsters were so gifted, interesting and talented, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. What a gift it is to be able to sing and share it with the world! Or at least friends, family and patrons of the shopping center. Hey, everyone has to start somewhere.

As each youngster performed, I couldn’t help but be swept away by the beauty of youth. Not so much aesthetically speaking, although that’s always nice, too; but mainly the sheer hope, bewilderment and joy that a young spirit brings. I wasn’t just impressed by their poise, but also by their promising futures. Unfortunately, at the end of the contest, only one could come out on top, although, really, they’re all winners to me. The cute and undeniably sassy Joanna Martinez, who sang “I’m On The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga, took home the #KidIdol trophy. Congrats to everyone who participated and keep on singing and sharing your talents!

For the latest and greatest on all things Idol check-out www.WSVN.com or www.AmericanIdol.com.  (Scroll down to my second event.)

Shireen’s Weekend: One Split Second

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

On a hot and steamy Saturday night, the movers and shakers of the Magic City gathered in downtown Miami at the Grand Central to celebrate #OneSplitSecond, an event benefiting the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. I was honored to host the fun, high-spirited gathering alongside Alan T. Brown and Alan Roth to raise money to find a cure for spinal cord injuries,

This event is very near and dear to my heart, as I suffered a spinal cord injury four years ago. Not in the traditional sense; mine was a virus that devoured my body (more specifically, my spine.) Because of the courage and forethought of Mr. Reeve, I was able to receive a life-saving drug called Intravenous Immunoglobulin. I eventually recovered and healed. The fight continues, though, to help educate, rehabilitate and cure those who are not as lucky as myself.

Along with an art auction, raffle tickets, great food and drinks, “Nahko and Medicine For The People” performed. Being around so many people who care and have the same charitable interests isn’t just powerful, it can be life-changing, as well. I’m always so honored to be included among this generous and loving group of people. For more information on how you can help, please visitwww.christopherreeve.org.

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” – Rumi

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Writer: Shireen Sandoval
Photographer: James Woodley 

Kid Idol wardrobe: Hollen & Jen Vintage Showroom
One Split Second wardrobe: Kore Boutique

Twitter: @ShireenSandoval
IG: @ShireenSandoval
ssandoval@wsvn.com
www.shireensandoval.com

Shireen’s Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: The District Miami

What:

The District Miami, 190 NE 46th Street, Miami, Florida 33137

Why:

With sultry amber lighting, beautiful contemporary artwork and interesting Pan-American cuisine, The District Miami is one of the most sophisticated restaurants the Magic City has to offer. From the moment I walked in the door, I felt cozy, comfortable and connected. Feeling at home…

I bee-lined it to the bar: its exposed brick and stucco-colored wood walls made it incredibly warm and inviting. Because I went on a “Frid-Yay,” I was itching to start the weekend off right, which for me means something strong and something spicy. The El Limo (with tequila, grapefruit pure, lime and aji limo) definitely did the trick. It went down super-fast and super-easy.

While waiting for another round, the bar served up a plate of mini Lobster Tacos (with aji amarillo, escabeche, pickled cabbage and crispy shallots.) It may have been a small portion, but it was BIG on flavor; I loved it. Matter-of-fact, I didn’t think things could get any better, until I wrapped my hands around the Buenavista Basil Julep (with whiskey, bruised basil, lime and honey syrup.) This bold and beautiful drink, served with a mini mountain of crushed ice, is a definite must-try.

Actually, most drinks at The District Miami are worth trying because of their fabulous Monday through Friday Happy Hour. With half price drinks and affordable menu items, you get quantity and quality. If I can’t get there during the week, though, I really like their affordable bottomless mimosa weekend brunch special (for more info, see the *When” part of the blog.)

I started the sit-down part of my meal with the Colorado Lamb Tartare appetizer (with toasted pine nuts, mustard oil, shallots, capers and a quail egg.) Honestly, I’m not a big raw meat fan, but I would definitely eat this again. The taste was fresh, rich and wonderful. I washed it down with The District Passion (with light rum, passion fruit puree, muddled raspberries, lime juice and aji amarillo.) This drink was freaking fan-tab-u-lous! It’s sweet, tangy and spicy all at once! Mmmmm…

For dinner, I tasted three dishes all while sipping on the yummiest Lycheetini (made with vodka, lychee puree, fresh watermelon, St. Germain, lime and mint.) The Lamb Duo which, by the way, was my absolute favorite, totally knocked my socks off. It was beautifully plated, had a generous portion and was unbelievably succulent (made with smoked pomegranate BBQ lamb ribs, pickled purple cabbage, a grilled half lamb rack, sweet potato puree and butternut pumpkin salad.)

The Branzino (with malanga foundue, artichoke escabeche and clam mojo) reminded me of a Scandinavian dish: clean and creamy. The Caribbean Cobia (with Caribbean-jerk adobo rub, blue potato goat cheese mash and hearts of palm escabeche) was a spirited spicy dish with amazing mash! I’d never had taters look so blue and taste even better. Just when I thought I couldn’t eat anymore…

Out came the most amazing gooey concoction. I whispered “hello lover” to the 4-Leches Parfait (with macadamia nuts, vanilla caramelized pineapples and Italian merengue.) I sucked it down like I had never eaten before. Last but definitely not least, came the sinful and sexy Black Magic (with semi-sweet chocolate mousse, homemade marshmallows, chocolate ganache, sweet potato vanilla bean drizzle, sweet potato vanilla bean drizzle, pistachio cookie and vanilla ice cream.) Okay, I can die now.

Where:

The District Miami is located on the outskirts of Miami’s Design District in the Buena Vista neighborhood. The restaurant actually used to be a house, but was remodeled and restored into this beautiful eatery. With that being said: its location has limited parking, because you’re basically surrounded by other houses. The good news, though: they provide a very affordable and efficient valet.

When:

First things first, Happy Hour! Monday-Friday 5pm-7pm with a fun bar menu featuring $5 to $7 dollar dishes and HALF OFF all cocktails. The District Miami also hosts “Wine Down Wednesdays” with 1/2 off wine bottles under $100 bucks.

Dinner is Sunday-Thursday 5pm-11pm, Friday-Saturday 5pm-12pm. Brunch is amazing, too! I love their $14 dollar bottomless mimosas on Saturday & Sunday from 10am-4:30pm. Lunch is Monday-Friday 12pm-4:30pm.

Reservations: www.TheDistrictMiami.com
Twitter: @DistrictMiami
IG: @TheDistrictMiami
FB: The District Miami

It’s absolutely unfair for women to say that guys only want one thing: sex. We also want food.Jarod Kintz

Shirt: Koko & Palenki
Belt: @KoreBoutique (Instagram)
Vintage St. John pants: Hollen & Jen Vintage Showroom
Shoes: BCBG
Purse: JustFab

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Producer: Jessie Rosario
Writer: Shireen Sandoval
Photographer: James Woodley

Specials thanks: TARA Ink. Public Relations