Shireen’s Spotlight: River Yacht Club

River Yacht Club

River Yacht Club

River Yacht Club

River Yacht Club

River Yacht Club

What:

River Yacht Club, 401 SW 3rd Avenue, Miami, Florida 33130

Why:

River Yacht Club is a celebration of everything that makes Miami so magical: sparkling sunshine, beautiful blue water, over-the-top boats, thought-provoking art, refreshing adult beverages and most importantly, fabulous food.

What’s more, the crowd is just as gorgeous as the restaurant itself; it’s definitely a place to-see-and-be-seen. I dined at the nautical-themed eatery a few weeks ago and while I have to admit it was blazing hot outside (it IS summer in Miami,) I was glassy-eyed over its beauty and would go back in a New York minute.

Extremely thirsty, I started spotlight with a refreshing “All Hands on Deck” (a Brazilian-inspired spirit made with blueberries, lime and sparkling wine.) After I cooled off, though, my temperature shot back up with “The Waterfront” (made with tequilla, watermelon water, fennel, lime and habanero bitters.) Man, it was spi-ce-y, but delicious. It’s definitely a multiple rounds kind-of drink.

While tasting the “Blackberry Smash” (Absolut Elx, lemon, mint, blackberries, and angostura bitters,) my first appetizer arrived: “Green Beans & Avocado Salad” (with roasted red pepper, seaweed and soy dressing.) It was incredibly fresh and healthy. I loved the combination of greens, especially mixed with seaweed.

The “Sea Salt and Pepper Grouper” (served with sweet and sour sauce) was my absolute favorite. It’s basically chunks of grouper flash-fried and seasoned. It’s light, succulent and not at all greasy. My main course, “Colorado Rack of Lamb” (served with sautéed purple cauliflower and fennel,) was beyond delicious. It was cooked to perfection and tasted tender and juicy.

My dessert, “Baba au Rum Sundae” (pineapple infused with jalapeño, vanilla ice cream and rum) was visually awe-inspiring. It’s a stacked glass of love meant to be shared. I gave it my best shot, but my crew had to help me gobble it up. Plus, we wanted to demolish it before the heat did.

River Yacht Club is just incredibly impressive: from its view to the food (and so much more,) it’s just one of the reasons why Miami is called The Magic City — and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

Where:

River Yacht Club is downtown by the Miami River. This part of the Magic City is still up-and-coming, so, if you don’t score a parking place by the restaurant, definitely take advantage of their valet parking. On-site security provides a safe and easy-going atmosphere. Cheers!

When:

Tuesday 6pm-11pm, Wed 12pm-11pm , Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 12pm-12am, Saturday 11am-12am & Sunday 12pm-11pm.

Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk.Sir Francis Chichester
www.riveryachtclub.com
Twitter: @RiverYacht Instagram: @riveryachtclub FB: River Yacht Club

James Woodley Photography
Produced by Shireen Sandoval
Styling: Jackie Kay
Dress by www.HauteGlamBoutique.com
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Flash-Fried & Seasoned” Auerbach

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

What:

A celebration of “Christmas in July” in Venice Beach, Florida; promoting tourism and happiness.

Why:

After my second divorce, I was a mess. I think it was more guilt than anything: I mean, there I was in the prime of my life with two complicated relationships behind me and absolutely nothing to show for it. At least, that’s what I thought at the time.

Even though my career was skyrocketing, I couldn’t get my personal crap together to save my life. I wasn’t just embarrassed, I was going through a roller-coaster of emotions and like any newly-single woman, I was trying to figure out all the “man stuff” going on in my apartment. Like…

How does the security system work? What television remote worked with which cable box? And why only certain music played on my computer, while others needed a pass code that only my ex-husband had (and refused to give me.) Even my iPod was having break-up pains.

When I plugged it into my car to play my favorite tunes (I loved drowning my sorrows in depressing love songs,) it blurted out the most bizarre playlist; consisting of a healthy dose of Christmas music. Yes, it appeared “Santa Claus Was Coming To Town,” despite the fact it was the middle of summer in Miami.

I never managed to figure out the Christmas music mystery and actually grew accustomed to listening to my favorite pop songs interspersed with my favorite holiday classics. It went on that way for months, until I just didn’t notice it anymore. When my friends would ride along in my car, they’d be caught by surprise, laugh and then, of course, sing along. Who doesn’t love a good Christmas Carol?

It became a joke among my closest girlfriends, but strangely, despite the silliness of it all, I noticed songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Let It Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” just had this magical effect on people (no matter the time of year.)

Even though Bing Crosby couldn’t technically make it a “White Christmas” in the Magic City, his infectious tone, soothing voice and jolly spirit made my summer a little bit better. More importantly, the entire situation helped me find the humor in what was one of the saddest times of my life.

It also (by strange coincidence) introduced me to Venice Beach, a quaint little seaside town on the west coast of Florida. It was a place said to share my same affinity for all things December 25th.

I found out about it one night when I was driving home from dinner with one of my biffles, Jackie. While she was singing along to a stirring rendition of “Silent Night” by Mariah Carey, she giggled in-between lyrics and blurted out loudly over the music: “This reminds me of Christmas In July in Venice. I think you’d love it.”

She was right. I loved the idea of it. She explained that the entire downtown area of Venice gussied itself up and turned on its best holiday charm EVERY JULY. The mini-festival was created to promote tourism and bolster the slow summer economy with special sales and holiday discounts offered by almost every merchant. So…

When the timing was right – last week, to be exact – I drove three hours west and found Venice celebrating “Christmas In July” (which is one weekend each month; I checked www.visitvenicefl.org to pinpoint the exact day.) Coincidentally, when I arrived, I parked on Miami Avenue (I had a good laugh over that; I mean, what were the chances?) After hopping out of the car, I quickly ran into Santa Claus. He was making the rounds in his usual furry red outfit, adding his own tropical flair.

You can’t blame the guy for wearing shorts and sunglasses, it was blistering out. I spent the next few hours walking around downtown — exploring, shopping and talking to the warm and welcoming people of Venice. I even stopped for a refreshing glass of white wine where a one-man-band performed some of my favorite Christmas carols. As I sang along, a holiday trolley zipped by. During my visit…

I bought a lot of wonderful things for some crazy good prices: home decor, jewelry, a pair of sassy sunglasses and some original art work from a store called Tangi & Jess (which turned out to be my absolute favorite place.) I liked Downtown Island Way Boutique a lot, too. Other stores worth mentioning: Cleopatra’s Bath & Body, Sandy’s Designer Clothing and Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel.

After a day of shopping, I was beyond starving and headed to the highly recommended Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant. I loved its view of the Gulf of Mexico; the fact that it was so close to a jetty made it even better because after some amazingly fresh seafood, I was able to watch the sunset. That’s the thing about Miami: we have fabulous sunrises, but getting to see a sunset in all its glory is tough, unless of course, you’re perched up high above the city. Still, it lacks a certain sense of intimacy. That evening…

The sunset over Venice Beach was nothing short of spectacular. At first the sky was hazy, but eventually gave way to the most magnificent pinks, blues and purples. Just before the sun slipped below the horizon, a warm amber color with slices of bright orange and whispy whites filled the sky. Wow! Talk about showing off…

After an amazing day, I jumped in the car and headed back to Miami with a gigantic grin on my face. It may sound corny, but the concept behind “Christmas In July” is a great way to live your life. You don’t really need a special day to spread love and holiday cheer. It should really be a daily practice.

With all the craziness going on in the world today, sometimes it’s the little things that mean so much: listening to a holiday tune a few months early, supporting your local businesses during the slow summer months or just realizing that each day is the true gift we’ve all been given and that’s why “Christmas In July” is one of my favorite things.

Where:

Downtown Venice Beach, Florida www.VisitVeniceFL.org or follow them on Instagram: @MyVeniceFL

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more.Dr. Seuss

Dresses & accessories provided by www.lalacouture.com, IG: @lalacouturegirl Twitter: @LaLaCoutureGirl, FB: LaLa Couture Boutique

James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Wardrobe: LaLa Couture Boutique
Editor: Matthew “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Editor” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Kone Sushi

Shireen's Spotlight: Kone Sushi

Shireen's Spotlight: Kone Sushi

Shireen's Spotlight: Kone Sushi

Shireen's Spotlight: Kone Sushi

Shireen's Spotlight: Kone Sushi

What:

Kone Sushi, 247 SE. 1st Street, Miami, Florida 33131

Why:

KONE is no ordinary sushi restaurant; it’s Japanese food fused with a Brazilian flair. If that sounds adventurous, well, it is, but it’s an adventure totally worth taking. For me, KONE was and is nothing short of spectacular. In fact, your tastebuds will never be the same, especially if you love fresh fish and food with a kick.

The place itself is sleek, modern and no-nonsense. Their red and black Japanese-inspired decor is highlighted with rich dark woods and the main dining area is flanked by two working bars (one for sushi, the other for adult beverages).

For the record, their drinks aren’t just pretty, they’re blended to perfection. I started Spotlight with two of their homemade Sakerinhas, which is Gekkeikan Sake, fresh fruit and sugar (pictured are the Strawberry and Lychee). I also tried the Berry Bliss (it tasted like a yummy red wine spritzer) and the Sobe Saketini (reminded me of a cosmo, but lighter and smoother).

The Rock Shrimp appetizer was the first food to arrive at the table and it was one of my favorites (made with shrimp tempura, spicy sauce, massago and scallions). The Ceviche Sampler was just as impressive with yellowtail, octopus and shrimp (mixed with onions, mango, cilantro and a spicy house sauce).

There was a Hawaiian portion of the ceviche, too (salmon and tuna cubes soaked in sesame oil, soy sauce, red onions, scallions and pineapple). If you prefer less fuss and more straightforward fish, the Jo Jo Trio (three pieces of sashimi: salmon, tuna and yellowtail) is fresh and delightful. For my main course…

I started with the Pure Protein roll, which is great if you’re watching your waist. It’s a roll with NO RICE (it has salmon, tuna, shrimp and kani rolled in soy paper). The Maguro Tataki (lightly seared tuna with sesame seeds and yuzu house sauce), was tasty, but the Salmon Special was a surefire stand-out (made with thinly sliced salmon, sesame seeds, jalapeño and ponzu sauce). For my last main, I pledged my heart to the Love Park (a warm tempura roll made with salmon, kani, cream cheese, avocado and scallions).

For dessert, I tried Kone’s signature SingleBites (mini waffle cones filled with ooey-gooey goodness served with ice cream). You can get an order of 3 or 6; you just have to pick your own fabulous filling. I liked the fudge, Nutella and grated coconut and caramel. This dessert alone is worth the trip to KONE. It’s one of the most fabulous sweets I’ve ever tasted.

The fresh fish, creative combinations and exceptional quality of the food makes KONE Sushi one of my NEW favorite things. I can’t wait to go back. Cheers!

Where:

KONE is in downtown Miami on a busy block, but there’s a parking garage conveniently across the street. I parked on the fifth floor, took the elevator back to ground level and walked across the street to KONE. The night I went, the parking was 10-bucks (because there was an event), on a normal night it could cost a little more. When I go back, I’ll definitely Uber.

When:

Monday-Thursday 11:30am-11pm, Friday 11:30am-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am & Sunday 5pm-10pm.

Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.Miyamoto Musashi

www.KoneSushi.com
Twitter: @KoneMiami IG: @konemiami FB: Kone Miami

*Kone Sushi is the official sushi provider of AAA & Miami Heat Flagships, Dewars Lounge and Suites.

James Woodley Photography
Producing: Jessie Rosario & Shireen Sandoval
Styling: Jackie Kay
Wardrobe by Ted Baker, Fuzzy purse by BCBG, Shoes from Koko & Palenki
Editor: Matthew “Ooey-Gooey” Auerbach

A Savage Summer

A Savage Summer

A Savage Summer

A Savage Summer

A Savage Summer

A Savage Summer

A Savage Summer

What:

Aristocrazy featuring The Savage Collection.

Why:

Yup. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a heatwave in South Florida and considering how much I’ve droned on about the scorching temperatures in my last couple of blogs, you can only imagine how thrilled I am. NOT. I’ve dubbed the unrelenting sweat fest: “A Savage Summer”…

I can’t take complete credit for the sassy branding. The idea came to me when I stumbled upon “The Savage Collection” by Aristocrazy (a jewelry line from Spain). The pieces are big, bold and eccentric. They’re perfect for this time of year, when you need your clothing to be easy and effortless; allowing your accessories to do the talking.

From snakes and alligators to eagles, there’s something for every fashionista who likes walking on the wild side. The quality is insanely good, too, and that doesn’t happen by chance. The company (which has been in the jewelry biz for 70 years), has made it their mission to produce high-end, high-quality sleek and sophisticated baubles, but that’s not all…

Over the last several years, they’ve branched out with a more urban-driven line. The name “Aristocrazy” is a play on “Aristocratic” — meaning, they’ve mixed decades of proven class with cool, creative and affordable. It’s not just one of my favorite things: they’ve made a name for themselves in Hollywood, too…

They’ve designed jewelry for actors on “Game Of Thrones” (currently my favorite obsession on television). More specifically, hand-crafting rings for what’s called the Four Thrones. Translation: for kings and queens of fantasy land. When modeling the pieces for the blog, I felt like a mix of fairy tail nymph and medieval royalty with a hint of rap star like-ability and that’s not something you hear a girl say everyday.

Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight (7:30 & 11:30pm) as we take you inside Aristocrazy and talk to the brand’s Creative Director about why they chose Miami as a place to expand their head-turning line and if you’re not about the big and the bold, well, good news: they have something for everyone and that’s why “A Savage Summer” is one of my favorite things.

Where:

Aristocrazy inside the Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd. Aventura, Florida 33180 or shop the looks on-line www.aristocrazy.com.

Twitter: @aristocrazy, IG: @aristocrazy, FB: Aristocrazy

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.Diane Ackerman
Wardrobe provided by www.HauteGlamBoutique.com
Twitter: @HauteGlamBtq IG: @hauteglamboutique, FB: Haute Glam Btq

James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Jewelry: Aristocrazy
Wardrobe: Haute Glam Boutique
Produced by Shireen Sandoval & Odette Burton
Editor: Matthew “Big, Bold & Eccentric” Auerbach

Special Thanks to Priscilla Burgos of CARMA Public Relations

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bull Market American Bar & Kitchen

Shireen's Spotlight: Bull Market American Bar & Kitchen

Shireen's Spotlight: Bull Market American Bar & Kitchen

Shireen's Spotlight: Bull Market American Bar & Kitchen

Shireen's Spotlight: Bull Market American Bar & Kitchen

Shireen's Spotlight: Bull Market American Bar & Kitchen

What:

New brunch menu items at Bull Market, 210 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33301

Why:

“Bull Market” is the perfect kind of place to spend a lazy weekend afternoon; eating, drinking and just having a good time with friends. Besides being voted “Best Brunch” by New Times (in 2015), they’ve recently updated their brunch menu, providing good eats for a great price. Here are some of the mouth-watering reasons you should check it out…

They have a killer Bloody Mary bar (you make your own drink – just the way you want it). I take mine extra spicy with olives, bacon and cheese. Their Grilled Cheese Flights is a modern day twist on a traditional favorite and who needs a lot of money when you can munch on the “Millionaire Burger?” Okay, maybe you’ll need a few dollars to pay for it, but MAN, it’s mind-blowing.

I started Spotlight with three drinks: a tasty (and majorly stacked) Bloody Mary, a refreshing Mimosa and one of their famed cheeky drinks called: “The Panty Dropper” (made with Nolet’s cucumber gin, house made strawberry lemonade and basil).

Haha! I totally get it now. The drink goes down so easily, after a few rounds you’ll be doing waaaay more than just dropping your panties. More like dancing on the table and, perhaps, even scribbling your phone number on the bathroom wall. Bring a designated driver, so you can enjoy it. On the food side…

The Lobster Eggs Benedict was creamy and delicious (with Maine Lobster, freshly poached eggs, served on a toasted English Muffin). The aforementioned Millionaire Burger (Angus beef, maytag blue cheese, port wine sauce, grilled mushrooms and crunch onion frizzles) was my absolute fav thing on the menu, but the Grilled Cheese Flights (mini grilled cheese sandwiches served with shots of roasted tomato basil) were a close second. Yup, just like mom used to make, but way better. Don’t tell her I said that.

What’s weekend brunching without a heaping helping of French Toast? I had BM’s hand-dipped challah bread, coated in Captain Crunch cereal and topped with a house-made berry glaze. This plate is perfect if you’re a sweets-eater or you’re just looking to balance out something salty. I love ordering two dishes with my boo. He gets sugary, I get savory and we share. It’s the best of both worlds.

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with Bull Balls (doughnut holes served with caramel/chocolate dipping sauces and shots of milk). This is the bomb-dot-com and when mine arrived at the table, they were so fresh, they literally melted in my mouth. Nothing like some fried dough to end a great brunch.

Bull Market has a really cool, laid-back atmosphere, highlighted by a rustic bar look. It reminds me a little of the hipster bars/restaurants in Austin, Texas. Lucky for me, though, it’s in South Florida and serves up amazingly creative food, along with some traditional favorites and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

Where:

Bull Market is located downtown Fort Lauderdale in an area known as Riverfront. It’s busy on the weekend, but street and lot parking are plentiful. I love making a day of it, because the restaurant is a block or so away from the IMAX Theatre. Brunch and a matinee? Now you’re talking. Cheers!

When:

Monday-Sunday 11am-2am, Brunch Saturday & Sunday 11am-3pm

A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends.Warren Buffet

www.bullmarket.com
Twitter: @BullMarketFL
IG: @bullmarketfl
FB: Bull Market @bullmarketfl

James Woodley Photography
Styling/Producing: Jackie Kay
Wardrobe: www.TedBaker.com
Fox Purse: www.V73.com
Editor: Matthew ” Bull Balls” Auerbach