|Businesses & Discounts Available with MCS Card To obtain your card click here|
|11 runners||10%||off apparel||Dominique Bistro||Free drink||glass of red, white, or sparkling wine upon arrival|
|1st avenue Bistro & Bakery||10%||off total||Doma Polo Bistro||10%||off total; 15% to domo polo bistro|
|Aficionados Cigars & Liquor||10%||off wines; 7% off spirits; 10% off cigars||Downtown Athletic Club||15%||off total + 3 day complimentary trial pass|
|Aliakim||10%||off all products||Dr. G's Weight Loss & Wellness||55.50%||off the 3 month program (from $1798 to $999) free consultation and free cleanse kit|
|Altamare Restaurant||10%||off total||Educating Hands Massage Supply & New Age Bookstore||10%||off total|
|Amami-United Flavors of the World||10%||off total||el Bajareque||10%||off total|
|Amati Furniture||20%||off with free delivery||El Cartel Colombian Restauarant & Lounge||15%||off total, doesn't apply to alcohol, tax and tip, delivery free|
|Amore Gelato||25%||off purchases, Tuesdays-buy 1, get 1 50% off||El Gato Tuerto||10%||off total|
|Angelina's Coffe & Yogurt||15%||off total||El Señorial||15%||off total|
|Animal Crackers||10%||off products, $5 off grooming||El Vato Tequila & Taco Bar||15%||off total check &1 free margarita|
|Applemint||15%||off total||Electric Avenue||5%||off purchase|
|Bacchus Liquors||15%||off purchases; Tuesdays-buy 1 get 1 50% off||Elwoods Gastro Pub||10%||off food only|
|Baja Fresh||10%||off total||Endlessly Organic-Brickell||15%||off first order, 10% off a large box order|
|Barks & Tales Dog Spa||10%||off total||Eternity Coffee Roasters||10%||off applies to drinks only, free parking|
|Basani's Restaurant||10%||off total||Exhale-core fusion||15%||off therapies only to new exhale members|
|Bayside Cigars||20%||off merchandise excl. cigarettes||Extension king hair salon & shop||10%||off services|
|Bayside Liquor Store||10%||off total||Fado Irish Pub||20%||off total|
|Bayside Sun||20%||off total||Farfalle Designs||20%||off total|
|Bento Sushi & Chinese||15%||off total||Ferli Gelateria-South Beach||15%||off total|
|Bikram Hot Yoga||20%||off all packages||Fight Club||free month||first billed month free|
|Bom Fromage||1 Free Wine||with purchase of sandwich or salad from 5-7||Finnegan's River||20%||off total|
|Boteco Copacabana Restaurante||15%||off total||First Hong Kong Cafe||15%||off 4pm-10pm only|
|Brickell Hot Yoga||10%||off 5 class package||Fitness Maxx||10%||off group exercises + free bag + first timers get 1 free 1-on-1 consulation|
|Brickell Irish Pub||10%||off total||Florida Sculptured Nails & Hair Salon||10%||off a 2 service combo or a $40 minimum. Not applicable Friday or Saturday or after 4pm|
|Brickell Jewelers||55%||off entire purchase + 10% off all repairs of watches and jewelry *free jewelry cleaning||Franck Provost||20%||off total|
|Brickell shoe repair & alterations||10%||off purchase, excluding alterations||Fratelli La Bufala-South Beach||15%||off total|
|Bryan in the kitchen||20%||off total||Front Porch Ocean Drive||50%||off drinks 4-7pm every day (including weekends!)|
|Budare Bistro||15%||off check & 1st glass of wine or beer is free||Frozen Yog||10%||off total|
|Buffettes shoe shine||29%||off shoe shine, does not apply for pick-up & drop off service||Gables Aragon Cuisine||15%||off total|
|Cabañas Restaurant||15%||off total||Gelato Nostro||15%||off total|
|Cafe Nosh||10%||off total||Giardino Gourmet Salad||10%||off total|
|The Cafe @ Books & Books||10%||off total||Giggles Edutainment||10%||off monthly fees for children enrichment activities|
|Capriccio||10%||off total||Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant||10%||off total|
|Capriccio On The River||10%||off total||Gran Inka Peruvian Restaurant||10%||off; excluding promos, sales, & happy hours|
|Casa Cafe-Coral Way||15%||off total||Granny Feelgood's||15%||off between 2-4pm. 10% off always deliveries + take-out|
|Casa Roma||15%||off total||Graziano's||20%||off, cannot be combined with any other promo or sale. Only valid sunday-thursday after 5pm|
|Catch Grill & Bar||30%||off check, free valet parking with purchase of entree||Green is better||10%||off total|
|Catharsis||15%||off total||Greenspoon Healthbar & Grill||10%||off total|
|Chanchamayo||15%||off total||Grimpa Steakhouse||10%||off; not valid for happy hour or with any other discount or promo and holidays|
|Cheeseburger Baby||10%||off total||Gulf discount liquors and wine merchants||10%||off total|
|Cittadeli||10%||off total||Gusto Vino & Caffe||15%||off total|
|City Crossfit||20%||off monthly membership||H Q Dontics||30%||off hygiene & preventive services which include consultation & professional teeth cleaning/polishing|
|CJ Urban Wear||15%||off total||Hair Salon||20%||off all services including hair feather extension|
|Clos Bistro & Cafe||15%||off total||Hairdragon Salon||20%||off total|
|Coco Cigars||20%||off total||Harmony Salon||20%||off all services. Buy 1 get 2nd 1/2 off all products-2nd product to be of equal or lesser value|
|Como Se Llama? Deliciosa!||10%||off total||Hashem Beauty Salon-Downtown||15%||off any full service|
|Confucio Express||10%||off total||The Hoxton||10%||off total|
|D'Salon||10%||off total||Hurricane Grill & Wings||15%||off total|
|De Luca Food and Wine||15%||off total||IbellaV||20%||off total|
|Jean LA Frite||20%||off total||Iris Haircutting Team||20%||off Wednesdays & Thursdays only|
|Jeronimo's Bar||10%||off total||mySpa at the Intercontinental||30%||off full service|
|Jimmy'z Kitchen||10%||off total||New York Bagel Deli||20%||off total|
|Joey's Restaurant||10%||off total||Next Level||20%||off first time visit. 50% off Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday|
|Jr. Sports||15%||off total||Novecento Restaurant||15%||off total plus one guest|
|Kariza Designs||30%||off total||Nu Image Medical||50%||off services; 30% off cosmetic injections|
|Klinit Cleaners||20%||off dry cleaning only||Nue Studio Miami||20%||off total|
|Kokoriko||15%||off dine in only||Obba Sushi||10%||off total|
|Kool and Kute||15%||off all services||One Stop Dry Cleaning||15%||off total|
|La Estacion Cafe||10%||off total||Oriental Bakery & Grocery||10%||off total|
|La Licuadora||10%||off total||Orlo Swimwear||20%||off total|
|La Loggia||20%||off discount per couple for lunch and 25% off per couple for dinner, 25% student discount||Oxxo Care Cleaners||15%||off total; excludes leather, suede, wedding gowns, rugs & alterations|
|LA Sweets||20%||off total||Ozzi Sushi||20%||off food only and dinner only|
|La Ventana Restaurant||20%||off total||Peak Physique & Performance||10%||off single sessions *packages excluded|
|Laguna Seafood Restaurant||10%||off total||Pega Grill||10%||off *no delivery fee valid only between 2-4pm m-f & all day saturday|
|Largo Bar & Grill||15%||off discount per couple for lunch and 25% off per couple for dinner, 25% student discount||Pier 94 Ceviche Bar||10%||off total|
|Le Koke||10%||off total||Piola Pizza||15%||off total|
|Lil Anthony's||20%||off total||Pistou Bistro||10%||off total|
|LIttle Big Store||15%||off regularly priced items||Pizza Bar||20%||off total check*deliveries applies to pies & discount must be stated over phone while ordering|
|LIttle Lotus||15%||off total||Pizza n Shake||15%||off total|
|Lou Lou Le Petit Bistro||15%||off total||Pizza Rustica Downtown||10%||off total|
|Lucchino's Salon||15%||off colorings, highlights, keratin treatments, massages, facials, & full body waxes. 10% off all products||Precision Barber Club||10%||off total|
|MacDonald Cleaners||20%||off; minimum $30 total||Primp Salon & Hair Extension Boutique||20%||off total|
|Magic Star Inc.||15%||off all merchandise *souvenirs not included||Pub One||10%||off all drinks|
|Maje Cafe||10%||off total||Revival||20%||off total|
|Manhattan Cafe & Market||10%||off total||Rik Rak Salon, Boutique, Bar||20%||off services + $200 off extensions (cut & style included)|
|Martini 28 Restaurant and Lounge||20%||off between 2-4pm||Roberto Giordano USA||15%||off all treatments-for men, 50% off first cut|
|Massage by Design||20%||off total||Roho Cuban Coffee||10%||off total|
|Maya Hatcha||10%||off regularly priced items||Room Service||10%||off total|
|McAllister Spa-South Beach||10%||off total||Rouge||20%||off total for food only until 8pm|
|Miami Chophouse Bistro and Lounge||10%||off total||Roy Teeluck||20%||off total|
|Miami Fitness Store||10%||off total||Royal Crown Fashion||25%||off total|
|Miami Skin Boutique||15%||off all treatments||Sedici Cafe Grill||20%||off total|
|Midtown Smoke Shop||10%||off total||Segafredo Brickell||10%||off total|
|Mikan Japanese Restaurant||15%||off total check, applies to dine-in & take out only; happy hour (40%-50% off)||Segway experience||10%||off rentals|
|Mixtura Collins||10%||off total||Shiva Dry Cleaners||25%||off for drop in only-15% off for pickup and delivery only|
|Milani Gelateria||10%||off total||SoBe Funride||20%||off rentals|
|Mmmm Cupcakes||free shot||purchase of one dozen regular cupcakes and you recieve one free cupcake cocktail shot||Sobe Pole Dance Studio||20%||off your first class|
|Mogra||25%||off regularly priced items||Soi Asian Bistro||10%||off total|
|Mojito Bar||25%||off all drinks||Sparky's Roadside Barbecue||10%||off total|
|MomoCha TeaHouse||20%||off a large drink||Spoon Cuisine||15%||off total|
|MPP-M Propiedad Privada||10%||off total||Star Dog||10%||off most food brands, accessories & supplements-Free delivery (Brickell, Downtown, Coral Gables)|
|Mr. Moe's||15%||off total||Studio D||15%||off Tuesday-Friday *Products not included|
|Mulata Brasil||15%||off total||SuViche||10%||off total|
|Muscle Maker Grill||15%||off total||Sweet Point Bakery and Cafe||10%||off total|
|Tapas y Tintos||15%||off total||Trini in Private-Brickell||10%||off hair, nail, skin & spa services *25% off when you refer a friend|
|Taudrey-Brickell||25%||off total||Tutto Pasta||10%||off Monday-Thursday|
|The Dry Cleaning Courier||20%||off any order-minimum of $30 *Pick-up and delivery only.||Tutto Pizza||10%||off Monday-Thursday|
|The Epicure Florist||10%||off total||Uni K Wax||10%||off any single service|
|The Filling Station & Garage Bar||15%||off excluding Happy Hour||Upper Kutz||30%||off haircuts only|
|The Juicery Bar||10%||off natural detox program; applies to 3-day or 5-day program||Vellisimo Center||15%||off any service|
|The Lost and Found Salon||20%||off *18% gratuity added to total before discount||Village Humidor||20%||off cigars only|
|The Munchies||10%||off total||Villa Azur||10%||off total|
|The Smoothy Shop||15%||off *must buy a smoothie shop food or beverage||Vittrina||15%||off total|
|Sports Club/LA||10%||off spa services-free 5-day all-access guest pass (first time guests only)-waxing excluded.||Wall Street Restaurant & Lounge||10%||off total & free mojito upon arrival|
|Toni & Guy Hairdressing||15%||off all services||Waves Salon||20%||off total|
|Tony Chan's Water Club||10%||off total||Waxy O'Connor's||15%||off total|
|Toscana Divino||10%||off total||YV Bridal Hair + Makeup||20%||off total|
|Total Nutrition||15%||off all products + monthly promo||Zen Sushi Lounge||15%||off food & free saketini|
|Taxstation||10%||off total||Zesto Pizza & Subs||15%||off total|
|T.O. Cutz||15%||off total||Zuccero-Brickell||10%||off Monday-Thursday|
To obtain your card click here
Miami Events Calendar
for all events in Downtown, Brickell, Midtown, South Beach, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove
Miami Events Calendar
for all events in Downtown, Brickell, Midtown, South Beach, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove
Want to see what it feels like to be walking on the moon without leaving Earth? You can do it when you take part in the new Sea Trek Reef Encounter at the Miami Seaquarium. The helmet-diving experience gives guests a chance to become one with the park’s 300,000-gallon reef aquarium, while moving in ethereal slow motion in a near zero-gravity diving system. Guests are submerged in a surreal underwater paradise with colorful tropical fish, large groupers, cobia, stingrays, lobsters and moray eels. The program is called Sea Trekking and can be experienced by non-divers ages 10 and above with no certification or swimming skills necessary. Seaquarium officials insist if you can walk and breathe, you can Sea Trek. Unlike deep-sea diving, a participant’s entire head stays dry throughout the experience. Sea Trekkers can dip as deep as 15 feet under the surface. The Sea Trek Reef Encounter costs $99 plus tax, which includes same-day admission to the park. Call (305) 361-5705, ext. 225.
AMELIA ISLAND: Half-price tickets to chamber music festival for hotel/inn guests
Planning to stay at an Amelia Island hotel, condo, inn or resort during the 11th Annual Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival? Here’s music to your ears. The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival is offering a 50 percent discount on concert tickets for visitors staying at any of the above between May 13 and June 8. A showcase of world-class artists performing classical music in intimate and historic settings around Amelia Island, the festival lineup includes cellist Lynn Harrell, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and pianist Natasha Paremski. To buy discounted tickets, call the AICMF box office at (904) 261-1779 and have a valid confirmation number from a local accommodator for your stay during the festival. Performances include Chopin in Paris (May 18), Songs on a Summer Night (May 25), Pictures at an Exhibition (May 31), and many more. The festival offers four free concerts, including the Concert in the Park: String Cheese Fling on May 13; McDuffie Center Showcase on May 19; Family Concert on May 26; and Beth Newdome Fellowship Artists Showcase on June 1. Other AICMF highlights include three informal Beer and G Strings performances, and French Cabaret.
VENICE: Theater package at Best Western; Dinner and a play, anyone?
The Best Western Plus Ambassador Suites on the edge of this west coast Florida city has just the ticket. The theater package, available through April 30, includes two nights’ accommodations, two tickets to the Venice Theatre, and a $50 dinner voucher for one of the area’s restaurants. Cost: $333.98. Free breakfast each day is provided at the hotel. Call (941) 480-9898 or visit bestwesternflorida.com.
ST. PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER: Surfing dolphin video an online hit
Dolphins are a familiar sight in the Gulf of Mexico, but when a video of two dolphins surfing and frolicking alongside a teenage wake-skater surfaced earlier this year, the world took notice. The clip, which was taken off the coast of St. Pete Beach and sent to Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC), has received more than a million online views. Media outlets picked up the story, too, including ESPN, ABCNews.com and World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer. Not a wake-skater yourself? Not to worry. You can always find dolphins at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater. Call (727) 441-1790 or visit www.seewinter.com.
FORT LAUDERDALE: Riverside Hotel celebrates 75th birthday
The historic Riverside Hotel is celebrating its 75th anniversary and offers guests a special deal for the occasion. The hotel was opened in 1936 by the Wells family, who also developed Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale’s tony main street. It’s the only hotel on Las Olas and mixes Caribbean style with Old Florida charm. The anniversary package, offered for stays on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, includes a complimentary 1936 Anniversary Cocktail upon arrival for two people; a $75 food-and-beverage credit to hotel bill to be used for Indigo restaurant, Preston’s Wine & Martini Lounge in the main lobby and the Golden Lyon Vintage Pub; and a limited-edition Riverside Hotel Anniversary Globe.
Source: Palm Beach Post
Miami is, by definition, an extremely romantic city. Palm trees sway in the balmy breeze, lightly scented by the nearby ocean. So it comes as no surprise that a multitude of restaurants take advantage of Miami's sexy vibe -- adding candles, moonlight, and plenty of champagne and oysters for good measure.
Here's a list of ten of the most unabashedly romantic spots to take your wife, your girlfriend, your husband, your boyfriend, or any combination thereof.
10. Romeo's Café
The two-and-a-half-hour dinner at Romeo's Café is a romance with food itself. There are no menus at this intimate 28-seat restaurant, because chef/owner Romeo Majano custom-prepares a four-course ($60) or six-course ($90) dinner based on your dietary restrictions -- and his intuition. The resultant dinner is indulgent, lavish, and will make your date feel like royalty. Which, if you've ever seen a Disney movie, is very romantic.
9. Area 31
Way above the bustle of downtown Miami, Area 31's outdoor terrace offers nothing but gorgeous views of Biscayne Bay and Miami Beach to the east. At night, ships and condos are turned into a display of firefly-like pinpoints of light, twinkling in the distance. If you want to up the ante, the restaurant offers several private dining rooms, cabanas, and casitas where executive chef E. Michael Reidt will prepare a menu featuring sustainable seafood and farm-fresh local produce.
What's more romantic than a view of the full moon over Miami? We're thinking not much. Which is why Juvia makes our list. Gorgeous views, vertical gardens filled with pink blooms, and white furnishings that complement rather than compete with the atmosphere. The menu is a jumble of Asian, South American, and French cuisines, and the service can be spotty. Just order some cocktails and gaze adoringly into each other's eyes. The restaurant, your date, and the scenery are all beautiful -- that's all that counts.
7. Cioppino at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne
Voted 2011's best expensive Italian restaurant, Cioppino is going to cost you. But that's the price you pay for the fresh seafood stew ($38) for which the restaurant is named. Which is nothing compared to the porterhouse steak, which will set you back $68. But can you really put a price on a gorgeous, exclusive setting and an after-dinner walk on a secluded moonlit beach? We didn't think so.
6. The Villa by Barton G.
Everyone has a different version of romance. Some think it's a simple picnic on the beach. Others think it's gilded opulence in the framework of a Mediterranean villa filled with intricate mosaic-tiled rooms, fountains, and a lush courtyard. Which describes the Villa by Barton G. exactly. Versace-designed china, robin's-egg-blue linens, and the colors of gold -- and money -- are everywhere. A $75 chef's tasting menu is the best bet, which includes snapper ceviche, a duck confit crêpe, rack of lamb, and key lime fantasy for dessert. Then you can really rack up the bucks by selecting one of more than 600 wines by the bottle. If your evening is really successful, suites at the villa run anywhere from $900 to $2,500. Now that's romantic.
We suggest beginning a romantic dinner at Cecconi's at Soho Beach House with a little role play. You walk into the restaurant courtyard, strung with what seems like millions of little white lights, and pass dozens of beautiful people as you make your way to the bar. You spot a gorgeous person nursing a drink. You saunter over and strike up a conversation. Sparks fly as you invite your crush to dine with you alfresco, the sounds of the surf in the distance. You laugh over a branzino ($38) or, perhaps, a pizza decorated with speck, fontina, and mushrooms ($20). The night goes so well that you wind up leaving together. (Of course you do -- you both arrived in the same car. You've been together for a dozen years.)
4. Villa Mayfair Restaurant & Lounge
Everything about Villa Mayfair is romantic. An ice palace of white and mirrors, this restaurant/lounge invites you to embrace and revel in all that is romantic. Start with oysters (which are both romantic and sexy) before your three-course dinner ($118). Unless you like loud music, have dinner early, because the music begins jazzy but turns house-like after 10 p.m.
3. Villa Azur
If you can't afford a weekend on the French Riviera, this is a pretty reasonable facsimile. Everything about Villa Azur is tinged with the romance of a weekend in France. A combination lounge/library area complete with ultra-mod fireplaces opens onto a patio courtyard resplendent with the lyrical sound of people conversing in French. They could be discussing their bunions for all we know, but if it's in the language of love, it sounds like foreplay to us. Start with a selection of oysters ($2 to $3 each) before sharing châteaubriand (32 oz.), served with béarnaise sauce and foie gras sauce, and soon you'll be crooning "Je t'aime" to your dining companion.
2. Red Fish Grill
We live in one of the most gorgeous areas of the world, yet there are so few romantic spots directly on the beach. Red Fish Grill is so close to the water you might feel compelled to roll up your pants legs to avoid the tide. Housed in a keystone structure, part of the Matheson Hammock beach pavilion built in the 1940s, the restaurant is perfect for watching the moon's reflection play on the waters of Biscayne Bay as you dine on pan-seared red snapper ($32) and Caribbean jerk mahi-mahi ($26).
1. Casa Tua
There are no signs outside Casa Tua, and if you haven't been there before, you might think you're about to trespass in someone's fabulous Mediterranean-style home. You're half right. This is a home -- your home for the evening (which is what Casa Tua literally translates to). The romance, however, lies in the courtyard, lit by lanterns everywhere -- in the trees, on the floor, on your table. They cast a soft glow on the evening much the same way a romance film makes everything all soft and fuzzy. The cuisine is reminiscent of a restaurant on the Amalfi Coast. Plates are small, but you have other things on your mind after dinner than lapsing into a food coma, don't you?
Source: Miami New Times
To enter Bianca, the Delano Hotel restaurant that arrived at January's end, is to step back in time to South Beach during the heady '90s. In those days, fine-dining establishments could charge what they wanted for whatever fussed-up fusion cuisine they felt like serving. They could provide negligent service and give off the sort of pretentious, condescending attitude for which SoBe came to be known. Blue Door at the Delano was one such place, but to compare that Claude Troisgros conception to Bianca is unfair — not just because the Las Vegas-based Light Group took over the Delano's eatery from China Grill Management last year, but also because Blue Door had great cuisine.
Somebody forgot to slip Bianca the news that dining in SoBe — and the rest of Miami-Dade — isn't the same as it used to be. We're over the overpricing, overhyping, and overbearing snootiness. We now have not only quality high-end establishments that care about locals, but also a stable of affordable neighborhood restaurants that dole out delectable chef-driven fare. In other words, we don't have to take it anymore.
At least Bianca's space is welcoming. The walk to the restaurant, through the updated but still sexily stylized Delano lobby, has always been an eye-opening treat. The lounge that buffers indoor and outdoor seating sections has been comfortably remodeled; the dining room interior, warmly dressed in cream and taupe, is likewise cozier. The outdoor veranda, generally the preferred seating area, remains as breezily inviting as ever.
Bianca's executive chef is Brian Massie, but the menu appears to have been written by a focus group — worse, a focus group of conservative diners who haven't been out of the house much lately. Starters are salmon carpaccio; burrata and prosciutto; "12 hour" meatballs; and grilled langoustine, octopus, or sardines. The last dish comes garnished with shaved fennel, apple, and Sicilian olives, one of the few creative matchups.
Our waiter could barely conceal his contempt at my decision to split the grilled octopus as a light bite before our second course of pasta. "It's very little," he curtly informed, which is not necessarily what one wants to hear when ordering a $26 appetizer. The slender tentacle arrived sliced into one-inch sections, coated with a sweet balsamic glaze atop seven warmed, shallot-dappled petite tomato halves. The sweetness is unconventional, and perhaps too unsavory for some palates, but it plays well enough against the aggressive char of the octopus.
Salmon carpaccio brings papery rounds of the coral-colored fish centered by lightly dressed petite frisée leaves, with thin baguette slices brushed with olive oil on the side. Capers dot the salmon, but the descriptive promise of "preserved lemon" evidently refers to a regular lemon half in a gauze wrap. It's a pretty standard presentation, though it was served ice-cold (instead of room temperature) and could have used a drizzle of quality olive oil.
Spaghetti pomodoro, pappardelle Bolognese, linguine with clams, and rustic spaghetti carbonara run $27 to $37; truffle tagliatelle with truffles and cream goes for $58. Pomodoro is emblematic of elemental Italian cooking that relies on just a few ingredients. The version created by Scott Conant, executive chef of Scarpetta in New York City and Miami Beach, is one of this town's most talked-about dishes; Conant understands that the simpler the composition, the more vital the execution becomes. Bianca's rendition, with "San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and pecorino cheese," contained too much heat from red pepper, too strong a tomato-paste taste, and so jarring an amount of salt as to render the other criticisms irrelevant. The staff couldn't fill our water glasses fast enough — so they didn't try.
Roast chicken is another basic food, and one that quite a few chefs are trying their hand at these days. Again, elevating this comfort item to exquisiteness depends on doing it just right — something a diner might expect when shelling out $36 for half a chicken. Bianca produced a fresh, moist bird with agreeable flavor (and preserved lemon), and escarole beneath was adeptly sautéed with garlic. The skin, however, was not close to crisp, and though rosemary appeared in the menu description, it did not show up on the chicken. Still, this would be a very satisfying plate of food at half the price.
The other four entrées (there are no specials) are veal chop with parsnip purée, pancetta, and Brussels sprouts ($58); steamed snapper with (another) cherry tomato salad ($39); salt-roasted branzino with Tuscan potatoes ($56); and sirloin bistecca with "crispy truffle potatoes" ($46, but only $44 if you get it at lunch). The steak was a thick, well-marbled, off-the-bone strip — darkly seared, assertively seasoned, juicy medium-rare, and very tasty. The truffle potatoes were neatly hand-cut french fries, greasy rather than crisp — partly from truffle oil, partly from the frying process.
The wine list, incidentally, is short and mundane, but whatever it lacks in evocative labels is compensated for by vigorous markups.
Some of the à la carte vegetable sides are culled from local farms, including heirloom carrots with raisins and pine nuts; organic spinach with black truffle cream; and spaghetti squash with garlic, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese ($11 each).
We waited for main course plates to be removed from the table. We waited some more, and then some more. It wasn't as though there weren't enough staff. On the contrary: At one point, while our empty dishes sat, five workers chatted at a nearby station and two others, perhaps managers, stood near the same spot and surveyed the room — except their gazes were grazing beyond the tables, as if scanning the horizon for someone who mattered, someone like Donald Trump.
Perusing the dessert selection elicits a feeling that the Bianca team isn't even trying. It's not just that tiramisu, vanilla panna cotta, New York cheesecake, and gelato/sorbet ($12 each) are choices one sees at a routine restaurant, but they're so pedestrian as to likewise resemble items in the refrigerated section at Walgreens.
A plate of dolcetti misti, however, turned out to be a highlight of the meal. The large board of mini-Italian pastries takes up much of the table and includes a trio of fresh beignet spheres with chocolate dipping sauce; a duo of cannoli; a decadent dome of chocolate ganache; almond cake topped with fruit; a couple of chocolate-coated biscotti; and a white-chocolate-coated profiterole. It's a $14 dessert that is obviously portioned for at least two people, which makes it one of the better deals here — although it would help if the waiter would mention it's meant to be shared.
Our dinner began well too, with crisp-crusted minibaguettes and soft, wheaty slices of crusty country bread. What it did not begin with was an amuse-bouche, and at evening's end there were no petits fours, nor a goodbye or any other acknowledgment that we'd just plunked down hundreds of dollars. The staff, perhaps, was too busy resetting our table for the next suckers.
Source : Miami New Times
Sam Nazarian, the Los Angeles restaurant and hotel owner, plans to open a Hyde nightclub at the Miami Heat’s AmericanAirlines Arena as sports venues expand their entertainment offerings.
Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group LLC, owner of Katsuya restaurants and the luxury-lodging chain SLS, expects to open the club in partnership with the Heat Group in time for the next National Basketball Association season. The club will feature multiple bars, lounge areas, flat-screen televisions and a private dining room.
SBE, which received a $35 million infusion from billionaire Thomas J. Barrack Jr.’s Colony Capital LLC last year, is in talks with other arenas as more sports venues seek to increase revenue by broadening their appeal. The new $634 million Marlins Park baseball stadium, also in Miami, has a nightclub called the Clevelander and two 450-gallon aquariums embedded in the walls behind home plate.
“Arenas want to bring in the next level of experience, such as a nightlife component,” Nazarian, founder and chief executive officer of SBE, said in an interview. “Old arenas like Madison Square Garden
The 5,000-square-foot (465-square-meter) club will have its own entrance and accommodate 200 people, Nazarian said. Admission would be free for game- and concert-goers, and patrons without event tickets would be charged a fee, he said. The venue may be rented for special occasions when the arena is dark.
“In one respect, Hyde will be a new amenity for our best customers,” said Eric Woolworth, president of business operations for the Miami Heat. “It adds a hip quotient and panache, and it’s also another space we can market for parties and private events.”
Nazarian, whose company operates four Hyde lounges in the U.S., expects to have deals to provide nightclubs or food and beverage services at as many as 15 sports venues by 2016 and has created a new unit, called SBELive, to lead the effort, he said. The company is in talks with New York’s Madison Square Garden, Cowboys Stadium in Dallas and Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, among other sports facilities, he said.
“Not every arena is like Staples Center, with 270 events a year,” said Nazarian, who opened the Hyde club at that Los Angeles arena in 2008. “Some only have 30 to 50 true events a year. They want to maximize their business.”
SBE is also negotiating with the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Major League Baseball team’s new owners -- a group led by Guggenheim Partners LLC Chief Executive Officer Mark Walter and former Los Angeles Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. --consider transforming the stadium’s surrounding property to generate additional revenue, Nazarian said.
The company’s ambitions may be hampered because many new venues incorporated upgraded food and entertainment options into their design, using such vendors as Stamford, Connecticut-based Centerplate Inc. and Aramark Corp. of Philadelphia, said Richard Krezwick, general manager of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Offerings at the arena, home to the National Hockey League’s Devils and NBA’s Nets, include a fine-dining restaurant and private-membership club, he said.
“For independent club and food and beverage operators, the issue may be what already exists,” Krezwick said.
Space limitations, such as at the AmericanAirlines Arena, may also cramp SBE’s expansion plans, said Woolworth, the Miami Heat executive.
“I don’t know if we can ever have any of their restaurants at the arena,” he said.
SBE, which has a 50 percent investment and revenue stake in the Miami Heat venture, expects an increase in demand from game- goers to aid future growth.
“People want to connect when they go to a game or a concert but there’s no place for them to intermingle,” Nazarian said. “With Hyde,” he said, “it gives people a chance to stay.”
Source: Bloomberg Business week
Two Cuban actors starring in a film about defectors have disappeared en route from Cuba to a showing at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
Javier Nunez Florian and Analin de la Rua de la Torre, both 20, who star in the film Una Noche, disappeared at Miami airport.
Though their fate is unknown, the pair are assumed to have defected.
The film depicts three Cuban teenagers trying to escape the poverty of their homeland to begin a new life in Miami.
The film's producer, Havana-based Sandy Perez Aguila, said that he last saw the pair at Miami airport during a stopover en route to New York.
They failed to turned up at the departure gate but he was unable to report them officially missing until they had been gone for 24 hours.
Mr Aguila told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that when he arrived in New York, he opened their suitcases and found them empty.
"It was very strange," he said. "We had no conversation about defection on the plane from Havana, or at any other time. They were just excited to come to New York for the premiere."
Director Lucy Mulloy said she was disappointed that the actors could not attend the film's premiere last Thursday.
"I wish they could have been here in New York City to enjoy the Tribeca Film Festival," she said.
"Though they've made difficult choices about what to do at present, I wish them the very best in all their endeavours and I hope I will get to see them again soon."
"I would love to know that they are well," she added.
The actors previously attended the Berlin Film Festival in Germany for several days.
Directorio Democratico Cubano, a US exile group, declined to comment, saying they were not directly related to the case.
Several Cuban athletes and artists have defected to pursue careers outside their home country.
In 2005, Cuban ballet dancer Rolando Sarabia crossed the border into the US. In 2008 seven members of Cuba's Olympic soccer team defected in Florida after a game with the US.
Last year, five members of the National Ballet of Cuba on tour in Canada decided to remain in the country after performing there.
Source: BBC News
The US president has described US Secret Service agents caught up in the Colombia sex scandal as "knuckleheads".
Speaking at a recording of an NBC chat show Mr Obama said the vast majority of Secret Service agents performed their duties with no hint of controversy.
He described the country's Secret Service agents as "incredible".
A total of eight agents have resigned after being involved in a night with alleged prostitutes while working in Colombia for a pan-American summit.
Two other agents will face administrative action after being cleared of serious misconduct and one has had security clearance revoked.
'Will not hesitate'
"These guys are incredible. They protect me. They protect Michelle. They protect the girls. They protect our officials all around the world," Mr Obama said while recording the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon television show.
"A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. What these guys were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there any more."
In a statement, the US Secret Service said the latest measures meant that all 12 of the agents involved in the night out in Cartagena, Colombia, had now been disciplined.
"At this point, all 12 have either been cleared of serious misconduct, resigned, retired, been notified of personnel actions to permanently revoke their security clearances, or have been proposed for permanent removal for cause," the agency said.
"The Secret Service is committed to conducting a full, thorough and fair investigation in this matter, and will not hesitate to take appropriate action should any additional information come to light."
As well as the Secret Service men, who were in Colombia as part of an advance team preparing for Mr Obama's visit to the Summit of the Americas, 12 members of the US military are also under investigation.
The White House has probed the actions of its own team in Cartagena and concluded that its own staff were not involved in the night of debauchery.
Twenty women believed to be prostitutes were discovered with American agents or troops at the beachfront Hotel Caribe after one of the men allegedly refused to pay a previously agreed price for sex, sparking a row.
On Tuesday, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that three US marines and a state department employee had also been punished after an incident involving a Brazilian prostitute in Brazil.
"Those who have been involved are no longer in this country and were severely punished," Mr Panetta said while on a visit to Brasilia.
The woman alleged that in December she broke her collar bone after being pushed from a car by the group of Americans with whom she had left a Brasilia nightclub after a dispute over payment.
Source: BBC News
Director Peter Jackson has unveiled 10 minutes of footage of The Hobbit to a mixed reaction at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas.
The prequel to his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, starring British actor Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, is due out in cinemas in December.
The new film has been shot at a rate of 48 frames per second, compared with the industry standard of 24 frames.
However some attendees claimed the scenes looked like low-budget TV.
In a video introduction, Jackson told the audience that using 48 frames per second produced a smoother image.
"The movement feels more real - it's much more gentle on the eyes," he said.
The footage included scenes featuring Bilbo Baggins lost in Gollum's cave, trolls engaged in battle and Sir Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom reprising their roles as Gandalf and Legolas.
Jackson said the new approach would take time to adjust to and some attendees agreed, branding the footage as a failure in digital technology.
The Los Angeles Times said the footage was "hyper-realistic": "An opening aerial shot of dramatic rocky mountains appeared clearer than the images in most nature documentaries.
"But the effect was different when applied to scenes with actors dressed in period costume, whose every move - and pore - was crystal clear," it added.
One projectionist told the newspaper it "looked like a made-for-TV movie".
"It was too accurate - too clear. The contrast ratio isn't there yet - everything looked either too bright or black," they said.
However the Associated Press reported the footage was "vivid, with grass blades, facial lines and soaring mountains appearing luminous and pronounced. The actors looked almost touchable, as if they were performing live on stage".
Other digital pioneers are making the same push for higher film speeds.
Avatar creator James Cameron has promised to shoot the sequel to his science-fiction blockbuster at 48 or 60 frames per second.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first chapter in Jackson's two-part adaptation of JRR Tolkien's fantasy classic.
The two films were shot back-to-back in 3D, with the second part, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, due in cinemas in December 2013.
Source: BBC News
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