Last night revelers and burlesque connoisseurs from all over the city headed down to the Meatpacking District for the one year anniversary of the French eatery, Brasserie Beaumarchais’ weekly night of burlesque, Nuit Blanche. The glamorous atmosphere of Beaumarchais on a Wednesday evening is an exciting, eye candy-filled way to finish out Hump Day. With flowing bottles of champagne, French fare, and alluring burlesque performances by New York nightlife sensation, Dances of Vice this is one dinner party that is not to be missed. The dancers, described as being a “decadent menagerie of illustriously costumed dancers” change weekly, in accordance to a weekly theme with a sultry tone, to entertain and titillate diners and bar patrons. Past themes of Nuit Blanche includes Film Noir, Pretty in Plumes, and Moonglow.
For those of you New Yorkers who are all about the downtown nightlife scene, it might be time to rethink your location. The Upper West Side welcomed the French bistro and lounge, Cafe Tallulah, in January and it is one spot you need to check out. The main floor is comprised of a fine dining area and the UWS's longest bar made of zinc, which plays homage to old Penn Station. Additionally, during the summer the windowed walls open up to create outside sidewalk seating.
After sufficiently stuffing your belly, head to the sophisticated lounge downstairs, which is open Thursday through Saturday from 8pm-2am. Award winning mixologist, Dushan Zaric, of Employees Only and Macao Trading Company, created the the innovative cocktail menu, while Tom Gannon serves as the wine director for the venue. Between the pair, you can sip on the drink of your dreams whether you're at the bar upstairs, pairing libations with your dinner, or downstairs in the lounge. The lounge can be best described as cosmopolitan, with vintage seating, exposed brick, and even a pool table.
If you’re a gin drinker and love tennis, then there is little reason for you not to attend tomorrow’s Bombay Sapphire Happy Hour at perhaps Miami’s best and most elegant restaurant, db Bistro Moderne. Celebrating the start of this year’s Sony Open Tennis Tournament, Chef Daniel Boulud’s outpost of his famed NYC restaurant will be offering half priced cocktails and exquisite bar bites. Gin lovers will also sample and learn how to make perfect gin cocktails from Bombay Sapphire’s mixologists, and DJ Michael Sarysz will be present to add a little rhythm to the ambience. Tennis fans will also get the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Sony Open as they are raffled out every half hour.
There is that moment in every gourmand’s life when he or she has that first great meal - that meal that demonstrates not only just how good food can be but how cuisine truly is art. For me, that happened on my first trip to New York City when I was in high school with a dinner at Chef Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne. For a Miami boy, that meal was far better than anything I’d had in my hometown, and the experience raised my standards when it came to fine dining. Miami’s food scene has grown up considerably in the last 10 years, and while we have yet to see any local chefs receive a Michelin star, it is comforting to know that Michelin-starred chefs consider Miami a fitting locale to open a restaurant as they expand their empires. Ten years after that first taste of haute cuisine in NYC, I was ready to revisit db Bistro Moderne, but this time it would be on my own turf.
Recently there has been an increase in the number of eateries focusing on healthy, clean-eating dishes, as more and more people are forming dietary restrictions and adapting a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. With so many health-conscious eateries around the city, you no longer need to settle for tofu, bland veggie burgers, and "facon" to have a healthy, satisfying meal. Opening right before Hurricane Sandy, Table Verte in the East Village offers diners of all kinds, an approachable, flavorful meal consisting of market-fresh vegetable dishes using French culinary techniques. Even the most carnivorous meat-eater you know won’t be looking around for a burger after a dinner at Table Verte.
Midtown Miami, besides offering nearby residents much needed retail venues like Target, Home Goods, and Petsmart, has come to be one of the most exciting dining districts in Miami right now. It seems as if almost every restaurant that has opened its doors in Midtown has offered locals and visitors, alike, nothing short of delicious food whether it’s at Sugarcane, Sakaya Kitchen, Mercadito, 100 Montaditos, or several ofthe other newer restaurants that seem to be sprouting like mushrooms after a rainstorm. It goes without saying, then, that any restaurateur who’s really serious about food would be looking to have a spot among Midtown Miami’s roster of great eateries, which is exactly what George-Eric Farge has done. The gregarious French owner of George’s in South Miami and Coconut Grove is opening the doors to his newest venture, George’s Kitchen, today in Midtown, and he promises to make it not only an unparalleled dining destination, but also a mecca of nightlife for the area.
For some reason, it seems as if time really flew between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, which means that most of us have been scrambling to get our greeting cards and presents in order, as well as trying to keep track of the various holiday functions we feel obliged to attend. When your main preoccupation is trying to find just one good gift for your mom and realizing that you haven’t sent anything to your in-laws while they sent you a box of presents, the last thing on your mind is planning a Christmas (or Noche Buena) feast. Sure, you can do what I do and round up a selection of charcuterie and cheeses from Graziano’s and Epicure to nibble at throughout the holiday - or visit a Blue Sky for your lechón - but with so many fabulous restaurants offering such wonderful Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners, it’s hard not to take the easy way out and leave the preparations to the gourmet chefs. If you’re finding yourself in Miami without dinner plans this Christmas, let Joonbug outline a few suggestions for you:
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.
There is no questioning the strong bond that exists between New York City and South Florida. While Miami definitely has a certain Latin flair to it, long before we were all eating pastelitos and recharging with a thimble of cafecito, South Floridians were enjoying bagels and reuben sandwiches at delis strewn throughout our tropical paradise that catered to homesick New Yorkers seeking respite from the frigid temperatures and of The Big Apple. New Yorkers continue to flee to South Florida for what appears to them as being nonexistent winters (South Florida natives would disagree), and much of NYC’s culinary culture has become part of South Florida’s local flavor as we welcome more and more chefs from New York. We love the fact that Jean Georges Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud have made their way down to the 305, and the MiMo district has become infatuated with Daniel Serfer’s Blue Collar restaurant, but the newest New Yorker to look out for is Chef Steve Zobel at his new restaurant d.b.a./cafe in Fort Lauderdale opening later in October.