Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

 Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

 Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

 Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

 Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

 Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

 Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

 Shireen’s Spotlight: Mignonette

What:

An early dinner at one of the best oyster & seafood bars in Miami: Mignonette, the Uptown location.

Why:

I’ve always been a big fan of Danny Serfer…

If you open Uber Eats on my iPhone, his restaurant, “Blue Collar”, is the first thing that pops up. I love that place, including the fact that it’s attached to a somewhat shady hotel. You can’t beat the food, though, it’s freaking genius and when I drive by on the weekends, there’s a line snaking around the building for brunch. It’s got major food moxie and Miami loves it.

Danny’s not only a great chef, he REALLY knows food. Anything that comes out of his kitchen is made with thought-provoking creativity and an innate sensibility. What’s more, he does it without all the snobbery that typically comes along with the “foodie culture” in South Florida.

In other words, he doesn’t look down on people like me who don’t have a full grasp on all the cheeses in the world or where pink peppercorn is grown, which sometimes is in the grassy area of the parking lot at his latest restaurant, Mignonette (the Uptown location.) It’s a special place that reminds me of something you’d see in Brooklyn or even Manhattan’s west side.

The 40’s-style diner car (which has been some sort of greasy spoon since the 80’s) has been easily re-purposed into a seafood lover’s paradise, with tiled floors, cushy booths and a long bar that reaches all the way across the dining room. Its rotating seafood menu is on a nostalgic marquee above the kitchen and features what’s fresh for the day. More specifically, oysters.

From the raw bar, I started #Spotlight with a dozen West Coasters from Washington Sate (served with fresh lemon, cocktail & mignonette sauce.) Though smaller than East Coast oysters, they’re just as tasty. The fluted shells make for a sweeter, plumper meat.

Our server paired the platter with a delicious white wine from France (Sancerre from the Loire valley.) I also tried it with some champagne (Voirin-Jumel Brut.) A girl can never go wrong with bubbly and oysters.

One of the best appetizers at Mignonette Uptown is the Buffalo Scallops. Not only is it beautifully plated (with gorgonzola, crisp chicken skin and hot sauce,) it tastes phenomenal.

It’s the first dish my photographer, James and I, have actually fought over since starting the blog (and we’ve been doing this awhile.) For the record, James doesn’t even like scallops, but apparently, he’s a changed man. #UltimateFoodCompliment

The popular appetizer is perfect when paired with a super-light Muscadet (Domaine Des Trois Toits.) Don’t worry if you don’t know your way around a wine menu; the servers are extremely helpful with suggestions.

If you have more of a savory palette, like I do, Smoked Oysters served with creme fraiche, housemade jalapeño hot sauce and baked saltines won’t disappoint. A sip or two of the 2015 Tabalas Creek, Patelin de Tablas Blanc, will bring out the salty, smoked-filled goodness. 😊

I’ve heard through the “food vine” Mignonette’s Lobster Roll (dripped in drawn butter, served on a Portuguese roll with a heaping pile of fries) is the BEST thing on the menu and for the record, I agree. How good is it? Put it this way, it’s now on my “dead woman walking” food list. I tried it with a Banshee 2016 Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast. Hmmm…Lord have mercy! I can’t wait to go back for more (wine & lobster.)

If you love fresh fish, there’s always a special of the day or you can go with a mainstay like Faroe Island Salmon, served with yummy orzo in a saffron broth. For this dish, we switched to a light Chinon Cabernet.

If you’re more adventurous and like trying a bit of everything, the Fish Stew (Bouillabaisse) is loaded with shrimp, clams, mussels, octopus and white fish. Julia Child would be proud; it was one of the late iconic chef’s favorite plates and tough to make. And good news: you can pair it with pretty much any drink.

Last but not least, you won’t forget to eat your veggies after you taste Mignonette’s famous herbivore dish. You choose four greens and/or starches from a diverse list, creating your own plate geared toward personal taste and/or diet restrictions.

I had beets with blue cheese and hazelnuts, roasted cauliflower, charred sweet potatoes and grilled asparagus. I’m not one to go on about vegetables, but they really are the bomb-dot-com. I prefer meat, but these were surprisingly delicious.

And, drumroll please….

Pastry Chef Devin Braddock treated James and I to her amazing Valrhona Chocolate Hazelnut Pie, snuggled into something called: Devin’s Magic shell (it’s served with malted ice cream.) It was WOW x2. A close second? Her extra moist Red Velvet Cake. #HeavenInMyMouth

For me, Mignonette Uptown is a no-brainer when it comes to really fresh, high quality seafood served in a laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere. Plus, it’s not every day one gets to break bread (or in this case, crack a shell or shuck an oyster) in a really cool retro diner car and that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Things. Cheers!

Where:

Mignonette (Uptown)
13951 Biscayne Boulevard
North Miami Beach, Florida 33181

When:

Lunch ~ Monday-Sunday 11:30am-3pm
Dinner ~ Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday & Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

*Worth mentioning — Mignonette Uptown’s amazing Happy Hour which is daily 5:30-7pm & 10pm until close. You get 25 percent off all bottles of wine and oysters start at $1 (bar seating only.)

www.mignonettemiami.com

305-705-2159

Be Social
FB: @mignonettemia
IG: @mignonetteuptwn
Twitter: @mignonetteuptwn

If you don’t love life you can’t enjoy an oyster; there is a shock of freshness to it and intimations of the ages of man, some piercing intuition of the sea and all its weeds and breezes. They shiver you for a split second.Eleanor Clark
James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Wardrobe: @bcbgsouthbeach
Clutch: @Dennisham_Designs
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Aw, Shucks” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

Shireen’s Spotlight: Drunken Dragon

What:

Stretching my foodie muscle at one of Miami’s best kept secrets: Drunken Dragon.

Why:

You know the saying: “You can’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, that’s exactly the case at Drunken Dragon. The Korean barbecue hot spot is nestled into one of the most unassuming strip malls I’ve ever seen. There’s no signage, no arrow pointing toward the door, no hint of anything, really. Once you walk in, though, it’s a whole other world.

South Florida foodies like to call it: “Miami’s best kept secret.” I’ve even heard it referred to as an “underground” foodie paradise; think speakeasy back in the Prohibition Era. Instead of imbibing on illegal alcohol, though, you’ll partake in some of the best food you’ve ever tasted. In fact, it’s so good, it SHOULD be a crime!

Round up the lot of ’em, charge ’em with food felonies! The arrest citation should read: “How dare you hide world-class cuisine from us mere mortals?” And don’t even get me started on the bartenders! They’re going down with mixology misdemeanors 😂…

Between the whimsical tiki-inspired drinks, phenomenal food and sultry dark wood decor, I have two words for you: MIND BLOWN (but I digress)…

Before I arrived at Spotlight, someone tipped off the powers-that-be regarding the direct way to my heart (which happens to be through a thick straw with an adult beverage at the end of it.) Ha! Who am I kidding? A straw isn’t even necessary. While I love a stiff drink, I also enjoy creative cocktails (a girl can only drink so many Cosmos) and Drunken Dragon is great at both.

My first sip of the night was a yummy concoction called Cucuzaki, made with sake, gin and elderflower. It was perfectly paired with two starters: Truffle Popcorn and the ever-so-popular, Crispy Bok Choy. Who knew leafy green veggies could taste so good? I especially loved its plum soy sauce.

I had a bonafide liquid love affair with the Mai Tai (made with Appleton Rum.) Not only was it the bomb-dot-com, it reminded me of a cool summer night in Malibu. The drink, originally created in California, is also known for its Polynesian flair. It was my favorite of the night, alongside the Beef Tartar (served with crispy tortillas.) While I’m not a huge fan of raw beef, this dish (made with tenderloin, quail egg and pine nuts) was so unbelievable, I’d go back just to have more. It’s a #MustTry …

The refreshingly frothy, Thai Basil Mule, made with vodka, thai basil and ginger beer was delicious, too. It went great with my Salmon Poke Bowl, which had tons of fresh ingredients: avocado, seaweed, scallions, sesame seeds and black rice. Mixing it just right will be your only job of the night, unless, of course, you go for the classic Korean BBQ.

While I’m not the kind of girl who just happens to wander into my kitchen (unless I’m looking for vodka ) … I decided to give the grilling a go. After all, it was smack dab in the middle of the table and seemed easy enough. Besides, I love trying new things, especially when they involve Skirt Steak with chimichurri & Shrimp.

At first, I was a little overwhelmed, but after I tried it, I liked it. It was pretty straightforward and, dare I say, fun? It’s great for a first date or a new sizzling foodie adventure.. Plus, there’s something “magically delicious” about food cooked over an open flame.

The cheekiest drink of the night, Voodoo Lady, was presented with major personality. Along with tequila, pineapple & grapefruit, there’s something “hearty” on the backside of the cup, too. ♥️ You’ll wanna grab a pic, it’s perfect to post on social media.

Also impressive, the BFR Meat Board (served with steamed Taiwanese Buns, pickles, lettuces, herbs and 3 sauces: chimichurri, Hoisin and Red dragon.) If you prefer a veggie option, they serve a Shiitake Mushroom version as well. If you think this dish is impressive in the photos, wait ’til you lay eyes on it yourself. Throw in a side of mind-blowing Brussels and your tastebuds will never be the same.

Wrapping up the night, The Ronin (strong enough for a man; pretty enough for a woman.) It’s a Scotch whiskey blend with Earl Grey and a grapefruit twist. My photographer, James, barely let me touch the thing, let alone taste it. He said it was his favorite of the night.

If dessert makes you feel guilty, try the “Matcha Tres Leche” — combining good quality green tea with condensed milk and heavy cream balances out the diet universe or why not just throw caution to the wind and enjoy yourself? Honestly, that’s what Drunken Dragon is all about.

No matter how many foodies claim it or how many magazines dub it a mystery cloaked with a nondescript door, don’t be intimidated. It’s something special everyone should have the opportunity to explore and that’s why Drunken Dragon is one of my Favorite Things. Cheers!

When:

Monday-Thursday: 6-11pm
Friday-Sunday: 6pm-12am

Where:

Drunken Dragon
1424 Alton Road
Miami Beach, Florida 33139

www.drunkendragon.com
305-397-8556

Be Social:
IG: @drunkendragon
FB: @DrunkenDragonMIA
Twitter: @DrunkenDragons

It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.J.R.R. Tolkien
James Woodley Photography
wardrobe: @bcbgsouthbeach
owl clutch: www.macys.com
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “I’m On Vacation” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

What:

An early Sunday evening dinner in the courtyard garden of Louie Bossi on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Why:

The energy inside “Louie Bossi” is infectious, the crowd vibrant and the food fantastic. The sprawling dining area, which is flanked by an open-air kitchen, gives way to a warmly-lit bar, but it’s what’s in back of the restaurant that’s truly special…

With shabby/chic decor, iron rod trimmings and ivy-drenched walls, the covered patio garden has the charm of an Italian piazza with a hint of South Florida flair. That’s where I decided to enjoy my Spotlight experience.

I started with three adult beverages: Pineapple Martini, Aperol Spritz and Bossi Beer.

The martini started sweet (with infused pineapple vodka,) but ended spicy, thanks to well-placed oil chili drops. The spritzer (said in my best Long Island accent) was smooth and refreshing with Prosecco, club soda and Aperol (which is a sweet Italian aperitif.) I also tried a glass of the light and fruity Birra Di Bossi (a basil-orange pilsner.) Hmmm…I love me a good light beer and live for a great martini, but it’s the spritzer I was gaga for — nothing like some icy goodness on a hot summer day.

Warm homemade bread, smelling divine, arrived at the table. It was so soft and good-looking, I think I was actually flirting with it. 😗

Almost everything at “Louie Bossi” is made from scratch; you can totally tell by how each delicious carb melts in your mouth (to think this started as a fashion blog!) There’s nothing like homemade bread and pasta — sorry Prada, you got nada… on this.

As of late, foodies in South Florida can’t get enough of the octopus trend and doing Spotlight means I’ve had it “every which way but loose.” That being said, “Louie Bossi’s” Spanish version, served with fingerling potatoes and cherry tomatoes, is as good as it gets. It’s grilled to perfection, with hints of wood-burning yumminess. I’m told it’s a customer favorite and I can see why.

Talk about impressive: our curated Charcuterie Board was off the charts. Not only was it awe-inspiring to look at, but mixing and matching the cheese, meats and other goodies was a taste bud awakening.

Here’s a list of some of our samplings: three different kinds of salami, Di Parma, Burrata, Pecorino, Robiola, Fontina Vale D’ Astota, figs, almonds, bread sticks and a mix of pickled red peppers, paprika peppers and corn flakes.

I tried two main entrees — the tender and flaky Grilled Bronzino (made with with parsley, chilies and capers.) It came with a side of mind-blowing cauliflower. As a writer, I’ve never used “mind-blowing” and “cauliflower” in the same sentence, but I’m not even joking. It’s crazy good, mixed in some secret pesto sauce.

If you prefer something meatier, try the Ribeye. I got the 24 ounce “sliced for two” (cooked medium.) It came with a side of Cacio E Pepe. Oh, pasta Gods, why do you do this to me? Of course, if you know me, steak and spaghetti are my two favorite foods on earth. So, I was pretty much in hog heaven. I’d be lying if I didn’t go on and on about the pasta. Tossed with pecorino Romano and cracked pepper, it’s love in a bowl. Simple and delicious (served in a heated dish.)

I started screaming: “It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday!” when dessert showed up. Technically, it’s not until next month, but with its celebratory nature, I couldn’t help myself. LOL. 😍

The gigantic plate was jammed-packed with Italian classics: Cannoli with pistachio, Tiramisu, Gelato, Budino Cioccolata (which is like custard or pudding,) cookies and, last but not least, cheesecake with a sparkler to boot. Holy sweets, Batman! The cheesecake was another level of fabulousness. I washed it all down with a Fumoso (a smoky Limoncello made with dry ice.)

When you’re a foodie, falling for “Louie Bossi” is pretty easy: it’s got it all. What I like most is the QUALITY. It’s first class and when you work hard for your money, it feels good spending it on something that’s WORTH IT and that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Things. Cheers!

When:

Monday-Thursday 11:30am-1am
Friday & Saturday 11:30am-2pm
Sunday 10am-1am

Where:

Louie Bossi
1032 E Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale 33301

Be Social:
FB: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria
IG: @louiebossi
Twitter: @LouieBossi

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.Julia Child
James Woodley Photography
Producer/Styling: Jackie Kay
Body Suit: Lilac & Lilies Boutique, Skirt: Hollen & Jen Vintage,
Necklace: BCGB South Beach, Purse: Koko & Palenki Aventura
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Shabby/chic” Auerbach

The 12 Minute Escape

The 12 Minute Escape

The 12 Minute Escape

The 12 Minute Escape

The 12 Minute Escape

The 12 Minute Escape

The 12 Minute Escape

What:

A new rest & relaxation treatment called “Timeless Capsule” at Ritz-Carlton, South Beach and yes, it only takes 12 minutes. The question is: does it really work?

Why:

My daily life is crazy. It goes something like this…

Alarm, iPhone, computer, coffee, eat, work-out, shower, sit in traffic, get to work, hair, make-up, meet early writing deadlines, live television, eat, meet late writing deadlines, live television, drive home, sleep, repeat.

In between those moments — there are blogs to be written, pictures to be taken, social media postings to be tended to, a boyfriend to spend time with, a dog to be loved and a life to be lived. Who has time for rest & relaxation?

Well, according to the good folks over at Ritz-Carlton, South Beach (who’ve just given their spa a gorgeous renovation,) I actually DO have time.

Maybe not a lot of it, but just enough to give myself a much-needed break during one of my hectic days.

It’s called: “Timeless Capsule” and it only takes 12 minutes.

It’s a specialized seating area of the spa featuring two massage chairs.

One is called “Fusion + Studio” — the other — “ZG Recliner.”

I chose the recliner because it reminded me of something you would see on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, plus it promised a zero gravity-like effect. I always wanted to be a stylish astronaut.

BTW, during your quick beauty fix there’s no disrobing, sticky oils or excess creams that usually leave you looking like a hot mess.

Instead, you just wear your work clothes and have a seat. Once you’ve reclined (under the watchful eye of a therapist,) your scalp or neck and feet are rubbed into submission and the “ZG Recliner” does, in fact, suspend you into a neutral position.

During my time in the pod area, the pain I usually feel in my lower back, hips and knees grew weaker until it eventually subsided and before I knew it, I was surprisingly relaxed. It was H-E-A-V-E-N.

Tonight on Deco Drive, we’re featuring the “Fusion + Studio” chair as well, which uses sight, sound, touch and smell to relax you. Don’t miss the show at 7:30 & 11:30pm as we get totally zen (in no time at all.)

Life is busy, I get it, but taking time for yourself is as important as all the other stuff, even if it means squeezing in “The 12 Minute Escape” and yes, it works; that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Things.

Where:

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
One Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, Florida 33139

www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/miami/south-beach

Be Social

FB: @ritzcarltonsouthbeach
IG: @ritzcarlton #SouthBeach
Twitter: @RitzCarlton #SouthBeach

A woman’s beauty is not a gift to man – only a bribe.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photographer: James Woodley Photography
dress: @bcbgsouthbeach
jewelry: @yvonnerose.shop
purse: @stevemadden
Styling: Jackie Kay
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Recliner” Auerbach

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

A Stylish SoFlo Soiree

What:

A fashionable gathering at The Betsy Hotel celebrating Ready-To-Wear Fall/Winter Trends 2017 with Fashion Group International of South Florida.

Why:

I’m always inspired by the world around me, especially stylish people and the chance to spend the afternoon with “Fashion Group International of South Florida” (A.K.A the movers and shakers of Miami fashion,) was no different.

The organization, which is a global, non-profit, professional group, is made up of people who help one another turn their stylish dreams into a fashionable reality. FGI also gives its members access to people who have insight into what’s going on in the fashionable world around them.

Enter: Shireen’s Favorite Things & Deco Drive TV.

As a Television Host/Fashion Reporter & Blogger, I was invited to take part in a special Q&A , alongside my stylist, Jackie Kay, about what’s going on in the world of Miami Fashion.

For about an hour (which was moderated by the amazing Tara Gilani, also known as the Trend Tracker,) we talked about clothing, accessories, shoes, social media, red carpets, movies, movie stars, TV shows, TV stars, politics and art, and how all of these topics shape the world around us and, in turn, produce fashion that’s more fluid, open, textured and incredibly provocative.

That’s exactly what the Ready-To-Wear Fall/Winter 2017 Trend slide presentation expressed, too. When the group gets together, they view Haute Couture slide shows of the latest and greatest runway fashions from Milan, Paris, New York City, just to name a few.

In television, we tend to talk AT people, giving them all important information. I can’t help but wonder, though, if sometimes we’re truly listening. These days, information comes at a breakneck speed and having a conversation isn’t always the way we go about journalism, but the Q&A at the event was exactly that — a conversation.

And something I appreciated and learned from. Despite having strong opinions, I respect what others say; it opens up a much-needed dialogue in my mind about the all important ideas of what others think and feel.

Fashion isn’t just about what you put ON your body, it’s about the emotions it inspires, hence the “lifestyle” aspect of how designers promote themselves in this day and age.

Each blog I write is inspired by a happening in my life, but this one was also inspired by the look I chose to wear.

I saw the dress about a month ago on BCBG’s (South Beach) Instagram page. I fell in love with its romantic personality and boho sensuality.

With the help of my good friend Marina (who helps style me for BCBG,) we put together this special look and I knew I wanted to wear it to “A Stylish SoFlo Soiree”.

In a world where everything is changing at a rapid pace and what we feel, think and do about it actually matters, it’s nice to enjoy an afternoon with like-minded people who want more than just a nice outfit but also, a meaningful display of artistic expression…

And that’s why “A Stylish Soflo Soiree” is one of my favorite things.

Where:

Learn more about Fashion Group International at www.southflorida.fgi.org.

Be Social:
Twitter: @FGISouthFlorida
IG: @fgisouthflorida
FB: Fashion Group International, South Florida

Shot on location at www.betsyhotel.com
IG: @thebetsyhotel FB: @thebetsyhotel Twitter: @TheBetsyHotel

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.Robin Williams
Photographer: James Woodley Photography
dress, jewelry, belt, bag & shoes by BCBG South Beach @BCBGSouthBeach
Styling: Shireen & Marina
Grooming: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew (“Mover & Shaker”) Auerbach

special thanks to Marina of BCBG/Herve Leger & Tara Gilani