WEEKEND PICKS
It's All in the Name with OSC

I was recently asked to find a place where Miamians can unite in harmony and celebrate who we are. Although we're often referred to as the City that Never Sleeps...we're more than that. We're also the city that inspires and creates. We hold some of the most eccentric artists out there. With that said, I introduce...the OPEN STAGE CLUB.


Definitely a mix of the traditional bar and the modern eclectic venue, this place has raised the standards for the Miami bar and live entertainment altogether. There's always something new at the OSC. You can step into the past on Mondays while listening to Sinatra ballads. You can laugh on Open Mic Wednesdays and listen to newly featured artists every week.

BEST OF
A visit to El Carajo

Dirty words can be good sometimes...that is, when they have another meaning. To most who grew up speaking Spanish (myself included), one hears the word “carajo” (meaning crap or hell) used as a cursing exclamation, as in the phrase popular among my Cuban breed “Vete pa’l carajo!” (Go to hell). It's a risk when a business, moreover a restaurant where the last thing you want to taste is crap, appropriates the word as its own. But in this instance El Carajo, a Miami Spanish tapas and wine spot, the word grabs our off-put attention and then wafts it under our noses so we can wake up and smell the roses - the roses of meaning. The restaurant’s “carajo” refers to the lookout basket at the top of a Spanish ship's mast.

DAILY BITES
New Chef at The Biltmore

There are few places as exciting to be right now than Miami, which seems to finally be coming of age as a respectable city with a vibrant cultural scene and an identity that, while still not fully developed, is without a doubt one of a kind. Miami seems to be an almost blank canvas of creative possibilities, and the enthusiasm of its native sons and daughters can be witnessed in its art galleries, bars, clubs, boutiques, and eateries. Nearly every week there seems to be new construction or a repurposing of an old site, and this ever-changing Miami that we live in now can sometimes make one yearn for a sense of tradition and history, which can sometimes be hard to find amidst all that is so gleamingly new. Nevertheless, there has always been that tower of opulence in Coral Gables that has always represented a much more elegant time in our city’s history better known as The Biltmore.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Miami Spice Chefs To Offer Free Cooking Demos

Miami's most anticipated event of the year has arrived for South Florida's bargain-hunting foodies. From August through the end of September, Miami Spice presents a bounty of Dade County's best restaurants offering specially priced prix-fixe dinners at usually a fraction of what it usually costs to dine at some of these restaurants. I'm sure that most of you already have your Miami Spice to-do lists. Beginning this evening, however, a handful of the chefs participating in Miami Spice will be offering free cooking demonstrations of their creations to aid you in making your final selections. After all, seeing a chef in the process of creating a dish is a much better deciding factor than a mere menu description when it comes to choosing a restaurant to visit this August and September. If you're Miami Spice itinerary is already fixed, then the cooking demonstrations will be an excellent opportunity to meet some of your favorite local chefs and perhaps get some tips on how to create your favorite dishes at home. Culinary demonstrations will be taking place throughout August and September at Whole Foods Market in Coral Gables and Bloomingdale's and Macy's in Aventura Mall and will occur on the following dates and times:

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Food Truck Summer Cook Off

Back again this summer is Whole Foods' $20/20 Minute Fill The Grill Challenge. Last year's battle featured some of Miami's top fine dining chef, but this year the competition pays homage to The 305's most popular food truck chefs. The same rules apply this year as they did last summer: each chef has twenty dollars and twenty minutes to shop for ingredients within Whole Foods Market, and then an additional twenty minutes to prepare a meal using only a grill. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who will award points on taste, creativity, and affordability - the dishes, after all, need to be something that can be recreated on someone's home grill.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Shake Shack To Open Biggest Location Ever

Fans of Shake Shack in the Miami area are in for a really BIG treat. On Sunday at 11am, the world’s largest Shake Shack will open in Coral Gables.

Perfectly situated on Dixie Highway across from the University of Miami, the location will undoubtedly attract herds of college students in addition to local burger fans. According to UrbanDaddy, the restaurant will feature eight flat screen TV’s, as well as specials suited for the southern location. One that sounds extra delicious is the Cookie Cabana, a frozen treat consisting of vanilla custard and Cuban-style sugar cookies.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Wine Walk & Shop On The Mile

The United Way, in partnership with The Business Improvement District of Coral Gables, will be putting on its 18th annual Wine Walk & Shop on the Mile event tomorrow, July 10th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. For $35, attendees will participate in a sort of chic "wine crawl" with 8 Coral Gables retailers offering light, refreshing wines and small bites, as well as discounts on merchandise. The event sarts off at Seasons 52, where guests will be given wine-tasting glasses, a detailed program of the event's participating businesses, and a gift bag with goodies and discounts from local vendors. The evening culminates at Wolfe's Wine Shoppe, known for carrying only exclusive European small-production wines, where "Wine Walk & Shoppers" will receive a special 15-20% discount on bottles of wine.