Shireen’s Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

Shireen's Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

Shireen's Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

Shireen's Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

Shireen's Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

Shireen's Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

Shireen's Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

Shireen's Spotlight: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica

What:

Via Verdi 6900 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida 33138

Why:

I immediately fell in love with this rustically romantic new hot spot, with it’s sprawling outdoor patio, ivy covered trellises and charming indoor seating. Not only does Via Verdi have a really great vibe, it has amazing food, too. Which has everything to do with its owners; twin chef brothers, Nicola and Fabrizio Carro and mixologist extraordinaire, Cristiano Vezzoli.

The three Italian-born, fun-loving guys have years of restaurant experience between them and you can totally tell. Upon my arrival, my wish was their command. They want everyone to be happy and enjoy their dining experience. First, I was served a drink called “Caipiwi 69” and yes, it blew my mind. With fresh kiwi, lime, sugar and champagne, I couldn’t stop sipping. Thankfully, there was an “I wanna taste it, too” intervention. Next, a martini called “Bitter,” but how could you be mad at something with aperol, campari, bitters, orange juice and a splash of gin?

While the drinks were tasty, the food was nothing short of mesmerizing. I started with a yummy assaggi platter with fresh cheese, smoked prosciutto, salami and mascarpone/gorgonzola mousse. I really hit my stride, though, with the “Brazino Al Forno” (roasted sea bass with clams, olives, cherry tomatoes and capers.) It was so succulent, clean and fresh, I became an official Via Verdi convert. As if that didn’t do the trick, they served me up some of their amazing Strozzapreti. The lamb ragu, with fresh peas and pecorino flakes is to DIE FOR (all pictured in the blog.) If it was a boy, I would have asked him to marry me.

If you long for romance, go to Via Verdi at night; the twinkling lights surrounding the restaurant give it a Nancy Myers movie set-like atmosphere. If you wanna dine during the day, the patio (draped with fresh greenery) will give you just the right amount of shade to make your day. Monday is a great night to go; they offer 50% off selected plates from their “All Day Menu.”

Where:

Via Verdi is in what’s considered Miami’s Upper East Side off of Biscayne Boulevard and 69th street (east of Little Haiti.) My crew and I giggled with glee when we saw the restaurant’s free parking sign. There’s a parking lot in the back of the building with plenty of spaces to spare (and I went on a Friday night.)

When:

Sunday-Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-12pm

www.viaverdimiami.com
Twitter: @ViaVerdiMiami
IG: @ViaVerdiMiami
FB: Via Verdi Italian Restaurant
Reservations: 786-615-2870 or online

Age and glasses of wine should never be counted.Italian Proverb

Vintage Dress: Hollen & Jen Vintage Showroom
Shoes: Miu Miu
Jewelry: Jill Zaleski – One of a Kind Jewelry

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

Shireen’s Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

Shireen's Spotlight: Aruba Beach Cafe

What:

Aruba Beach Cafe, 1 Commercial Blvd. Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida 33308

Why:

If you like a really great frothy, fruity tropical drink, crispy Coconut Shrimp to die for and Macho Crab Nachos so fantastic, you’ll forget your name when you bite into their gigantic, gooey goodness…well, Aruba Beach Cafe is definitely going to be your new favorite place.

You’ll see me there on any given day, stuffing my face with the aforementioned delights, not to mention downing my share of their killer Margaritas. Believe you me, they’ve mastered the blend; extra salt included.

This fabulously funky seaside eatery is not only a South Florida mainstay, it’s the kind of joint that sinks into your bones and becomes part of your personality. I guess, what I’m trying to say is – it’s not just a restaurant, it’s an experience and for some, a way of life.

Aruba’s laid-back beach attitude, mixed with the sun, surf and sand, is a recipe for sheer happiness. Other stand-out items on their menu include: Caicos Conch Fritters, Twin Cabo Fish Tacos, Seafood Quesadilla, Seafood Fra Diavolo and the Key West Fried Shrimp.

Each and every time I’ve dined there, I’ve had the most amazing, friendly, courteous service. If you decide to go on a weekend, make a day of it. Hang out on the beach and when you get hungry, turn around and Aruba’s will be right behind you. Surf’s up!

Where:

Aruba Beach Cafe is located in the lively little town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. It’s the kind of place that makes you wanna slow down and remember what you love about life. When you walk down the street, you’ll see people enjoying a scoop of ice cream, walking hand-and-hand with a loved one, sipping on a drink at an outdoor restaurant, sitting on one of the city’s bright colored beach benches or just hanging out to watch the sun dance its way til dusk or dawn.

Aruba’s is located off the town’s main cul de sac, right by the famous Anglin’s Fishing Pier. Street parking can be tough on the weekend, but Aruba’s has a pretty well-oiled valet that doesn’t take a thousand years (like when you dine on South Beach.) What’s more, waiting for your car isn’t so bad, because you get to enjoy the view of the bustling, beautiful beachside town.

When:

Mon-Tues 11am-1am, Wed-Sat 11am-2am, Sunday 9am-1am

www.arubabeachcafe.com
Twitter: @arubabeachcafe
FB: Aruba Beach Cafe
reservations: 954-776-0001

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul. Wyland

Shirt/Skirt: Kore Boutique, Miami
Sweater: Arden B, Aventura
Jewelry: L’George Designs & Jill Zaleski
Shoes: Ted Baker

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

A Window to the World

A Window to the World

A Window to the World

A Window to the World

A Window to the World

A Window to the World

A Window to the World

I fell in love in Paris, was awe-inspired to write in Rome, found the true meaning of history in London, was mystified by the magic of Moscow and bewitched by the beauty of Brazil. Ahhhh travel. I love it and if you read my blog on a regular basis, you know my wanderlust doesn’t stop there. A few years ago…

On a whim (while on assignment in Scotland,) I decided to stay. I was nursing a broken heart and took refuge in a small but quaint hotel. My days were spent wandering around the lavish and lush green countryside. I’ll never forget the way the rolling hills danced their way up toward Edinburgh Castle.

At the top, they elegantly intertwined (like long-lost lovers,) crescendoing into a perfect blend of old world charm and modern day sophistication. My respite, to the country known for its spirited people, music, whiskey, beer and the very first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, was experiencing a particularly cold Spring that year.

I, however, managed to find warmth by shopping along the Royal Mile and wandering in and out of pubs on Princes Street. I found joy in watching the many buskers, especially the bagpipers dressed in full regalia, playing slow and stately songs. I’m sure the endless pints of Guinness, large plates of fish and chips and the occasional hearty helping of Haggis helped, too. Yes, I really did like Haggis (and yes, I know it’s made from sheep stomach.)

Eventually, I returned home, just in time for work to send me to “The Land Down Under.” My job, once I got around the globe, was to seek out the much talked about surf, sun and sand the Aussies are so famous for basking in. The Golden Coast didn’t disappoint. Each morning, I was greeted with the most amazing yellowy sunrise, speckled with warm chunks of amber and light orange wispy clouds.

Read the rest of my feature on Bagghy at www.WSVN.com or shop the look at www.BAGGHY.com & www.BAGGHY.us.

IG: @BagghyUSA
Twitter: @BagghyUSA
FB: Bagghy Miami USA

Blog wardrobe provided by www.kokopalenki.com

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

Assist: Jackie Kay
Blog ideas: Jackiekay211@yahoo.com

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
MattAuerbach@yahoo.com

Shireen’s Spotlight: The Greek Place

Shireen's Spotlight: The Greek Place

Shireen's Spotlight: The Greek Place

Shireen's Spotlight: The Greek Place

Shireen's Spotlight: The Greek Place

Shireen's Spotlight: The Greek Place

Shireen's Spotlight: The Greek Place

What:

The Greek Place, 9561 Harding Avenue, Surfside, FL. 33154

Why:

Fresh food, wonderful people and an unpretentious atmosphere: “The Greek Place” in Surfside is truly one of my favorite things and my absolute go-to neighborhood hang-out.

I first discovered the hidden jewel about ten years ago, while I was out and about running my usual errands. When I walked in, I was greeted with a friendly “hello” and made to feel right at home despite being alone. The food was incredibly fresh and the atmosphere was totally laid back and relaxing. I immediately became a regular and yes, just like the television show “Cheers,” it’s a place where everyone knows your name.

These days, when I have a brief respite from my crazy-hectic schedule, I make my way to “The Greek Place” and just chill at their basic bar. I’ll sit there for hours before I order their amazing signature “Greek Salad,” with grilled shrimp, a healthy helping of Tzatziki with pita bread (when I’m counting calories, I dip with cucumbers instead) and a glass of their yummy house red wine.

Some of their other stand-out dishes include “Octopus Salad” (it’s tangy and beyond tasty) and the “Lamb Chops” fall off the bone and marvelously melt in your mouth. If you get really lucky, the daily special will be a “Greek Beef Stew” that’s to die for. It’s succulent, flavorful and boasts secret Greek ingredients.

Even though I’m not really a dessert person, when I’m at “The Greek Place,” their Baklava Cheesecake is a must-have. It’s probably the only sweet treat I truly enjoy. My mouth is watering just writing about it! I guess I know where I’m going tonight.

Where:

The Greek Place is in the quaint little seaside town of Surfside right on Harding Avenue (which is one of the main roads that runs through North Miami Beach.) Surfside has a lot of nice shops and restaurants worth visiting. “The Greek Place” is located on the east side of Harding (which is opposite the popular and always busy Starbucks.) You can park curbside or find one of the many pay to park lots around town. Every lot nearby is within walking distance.

When:

Monday-Saturday 11:00am-8:00pm.

Website: www.greekplacesurfside.com (under construction)
Takeaway: 305-866-9628
IG: @TheGreekPlaceSurfside
Twitter: @The_Greek_Place
FB: The Greek Place

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. Virginia Woolf

Dress: Vintage Betsey Johnson
Boots: Valentino (Red) www.Kokopalenki.com
Coat: Bebe
Purse: BCBG

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

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

Valentine's Day, Love, Feb 14th, Saturday, Heart, Chocolates, Fashion, Flowers, Roses, James Woodley Photography, #jamesWphoto, www.james-woodley.com

 

Valentine's Day, Love, Feb 14th, Saturday, Heart, Chocolates, Fashion, Flowers, Roses, James Woodley Photography, #jamesWphoto, www.james-woodley.com

 

Valentine's Day, Love, Feb 14th, Saturday, Heart, Chocolates, Fashion, Flowers, Roses, James Woodley Photography, #jamesWphoto, www.james-woodley.com

 

Valentine's Day, Love, Feb 14th, Saturday, Heart, Chocolates, Fashion, Flowers, Roses, James Woodley Photography, #jamesWphoto, www.james-woodley.com

 

From all of us at Shireen’s Favorite Things; wishing you Fashion, Love and all that Jazz!

 

Red Body Suit:  Kore Boutique, Miami
Jeans:  Colbert, NYC
Shoes:  Just Fab
Earrings:  Vintage – C. Madeleine’s
Hat:  Bebe

 

Photos by James Woodley Photography