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Daily updates on what's up in Coconut Grove and beyond including Brickell, Coral Gables and Midtown Miami

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Village Council meets Tuesday

The next Village council meeting is Tuesday, November 25 at the Coconut Grove Elementary School auditorium (3351 Matilda Street), staring at 6 pm.

Agenda:
1. Pledge of Allegiance
2. House Keeping
Roll call & Approve previous months Minutes
Opportunity for Members to add agenda items
Treasury & Budget Update
Presentation:
Meg Daly from Underline (formerly GreenLink)
Discussion Item:
Historic Designation of 3529 St Gaudens Rd / Historic Preservation Committee?
Parks Committee Follow up
Main / Macfarlane / Bike path
King Mango Strut
3. Project updates:
Crime Watch (Thad & Commander Morales)
Trolley Barn/CBA (Linda & Kate)
Playhouse
FPL Expansion Project
Grove 2030
Adjournment
*After Meeting Q/A always welcomed*

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Marine Stadium mess

The dead plan
Sometimes I think it's just best to not do anything than try to do something with all the crooks and scamming that goes with it. Things are never done for the citizens, there's always an ulterior motive.

I've always been pro-Miami Marine Stadium, always felt that the structure should be returned to it's former glory, but it appears now that there are some shady dealings involved with some of the people involved the renovation of the structure.

I wondered why it would take $121 to repair the place, but it seems that the once simple stadium was planned to be a huge marine complex with a 125,00 square foot Expo center and dry dock storage for 280 boats, and things like that. Didn't we just destroy an Expo center that was about that size and being used as a movie studio? Wasn't the reason that it was a big box blocking the waterfront? How would this new Expo center on the waterfront at the Marine Stadium be any different, other than lining pockets of those involved?

Why can't the Marine Stadium be just a stadium? Nothing can ever just be a simple thing -- you know, just be what it's supposed to be, just like referendum elections, other things have to be tacked onto the main thing, i.e. that big SkyMall or whatever it's called planned for downtown.

It seems that some of the partners involved with the Marine Stadium are scammers and they were involved with the City and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium deal. They made such a big show last week that involved Gloria Estefan coming to the stadium on a fancy yacht to announce the grand plans which included having the Miami Boat Show as the first event at the stadium.

The City Commission did something great on Thursday, by killing the whole thing. It's supposed to be back on the table, with a new plan, on January 8, but hard as it is to believe, the Commission saw something shady with the deal. When it's too shady for the City Commission, that's really something to be concerned about. If only they saw something wrong with the Glass House and the Grove Harbour and all the condos and the non-needed street infrastructure work and other shady stuff happening around Coconut Grove.

Friends of Marine Stadium really don't have any money to do the job and someone is going to have to come in with deep pockets, but that's when the corruption starts. That's why it becomes about expo centers and boat storage and hotels and whatever else they can scam in there. That's when it becomes about everything else other than the actual Miami Marine Stadium.

Another 20 year wait for something to be done? Maybe.

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Top chefs a big part of Fine Wine & Spirits Fesitval

 It's not only about the wine and spirits at the Fine Wine & Spirits Festival. Top chefs and restaurants from all over South Florida are an integral part of the upcoming festival at Peacock Park like:
Chef Irie. 
JimmyZ Restaurant, 
Chef Anthony from Exquisite Bites
Embassy Restaurant 
Prohibition Restaurant
Jaguar Restaurant  
Uvaggio Restaurant
Escopazzo
Fuel Food
Empty Plate Catering
Tk’s 
Mofongo 

As well as Chocolate and Desserts
Pacari Chocolates – fine chocolate from Equador
Peterbrook Chocolatiers
Cacao Art Chocolatier 
Tierra Nueva – Chocolates and coffer thins 
Azucar Ice Cream – made in Little Havana 
Eccolopops – cake pops
Aroma Ridge – Rum cakes 
Twice as Nice 

The Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival will take place at Coconut Grove's at Peacock Park located at 2820 McFarlane Road. Tickets can be purchased on line at www.miamifinewineandspiritsfestival.com
Adults $25 online or $35 day of show
Child $10 anytime (Child 3-12 yrs.)
VIP Adult Ticket $59 one day or $69 for a two day pass  – only 250 tickets sold each day
VIP Child Ticket not available

The Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival allows consumers an opportunity to sample, buy, learn about and be entertained by all things related to fine wine and spirits. The event offers seven shows within the show: VIP Pavilion, fine wine & spirits pavilion, culinary, chocolate and dessert pavilions, live cooking demonstrations sponsored by Florida Builders Appliances, live music stage sponsored by Prohibition Restaurant Miami, pairing and tasting seminars. Beer, wine and spirits venders will offer free samples, culinary/chocolate/dessert venders offer samples at the vender discretion. There will be almost 100 booths and 70 companies at the 2 day-long event.

The Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival will take place from 11 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23. To learn more about the Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival please visit miamifinewineandspiritsfestival.com or call 786-558-5234.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Eggs Benedict - 11 ways

If you like Eggs Benedict, you'll love the new "Benedict Maniac" breakfast menu at TK's. There are 11 ways to have Eggs Benedict and they offer it every day of the week.

This along with Nutella shakes, pineapple-orange smoothies and oatmeal, bagels and Belgian waffles and omelets, makes a full breakfast menu.

Some of the Benedicts include:

Bacon Benedict -$8.89
Greek Benedict - $8
Spanish Benedict - $9.90
Crab Cake Benedict - $11
Lox Benecit - $9.90
and there are so many more to choose from.

Check out the Bottomless Mimosas, too ($14) and $5 Bloody Marys - available from 8 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Saturday.

TK's is located at 2901 Florida Avenue. 

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Grove resident is a mechanic who sells cars

What if you bought a new or used car from a mechanic instead of a car dealer? That’s the idea behind Specialty Auto Brokers, a year old enterprise founded by Coconut Grove resident and certified auto mechanic Sacha Kishlar. He’s turned his passion for fixing cars into fixing people up with their dream rides that have been carefully inspected so they’ll run reliably and negotiated a price that fits a client’s budget. 

Specialty Auto Brokers is able to acquire and sell virtually any make, model and production year. They sell considerably below dealer pricing because they don’t have to maintain a large inventory. “People come to us seeking a specific car and trust us to find it for them, then arrange to have it transferred to our location here in Miami,” says Kishlar (at left). “I don’t have interest or sky high floor plans like every other dealership does to finance their inventory or a huge lot and buildings fronting the expressway. That translates into low overhead and considerable savings we pass on to our customers.”

Sacha’s first taste of the car business was as a teenager where he began repairing and servicing his family’s cars and those of neighbors in the Grove and Coral Gables. After graduation from MCA academy in Coconut Grove a few years ago he studied auto mechanics at UTI (Universal Technical Institute) and was employed at local dealerships. He was even at one point the Internet sales manager at a dealership in Ft Lauderdale and knows exactly what goes on behind the scenes. He’d often fix up and sell used cars on the side and worked on vehicles for collectors. As word of mouth spread about his skills and seeing an opportunity in high value used cars, he decided to create an auto brokerage from a mechanics viewpoint.
“I’d experienced the sales tactics at major car dealers first hand and I knew I could offer a better experience,” Sacha recounts. “Specialty Auto Brokerage insures that the job is done right the first time and that there are no surprises like your traditional dealership. By that we mean we know what all of these cars have been through, such as tampering with car systems like odometer rollbacks, and which vehicles might be flood or salvage cars. I have seen it all of what some will do to try and make a quick buck. In addition, based on age and mileage, I know what’s going to happen a year or two out and will suggest what needs to be done to the vehicle and at what cost, which will also determine if that is indeed the right vehicle for you or not. We will always find a solution to meet your needs and requirements so that every buyer will have peace of mind and a reliable car.”
In the first year he’s refurbished and sold dozens of new and pre-owned cars, trucks and utility vehicles including a 1968 Porsche 912, a 2004 tricked out camouflaged Hummer, a rare Toyota Supra, a Nissan GTR, Escalades, a 1969 Camaro SS, a 1971 Mustang and a Mach 1, as well as many BMW’s, Audi’s and Mercedes. One Coconut Grove client has already bought 4 cars from Sacha. as well as many BMW’s, Audi’s and Mercedes. One Grove resident Sacha has known for years bought 4 cars in his first year in business.

You can also have Sacha ship your purchase to any state or internationally. One client had a vintage Porsche shipped to Paris and some are shipped to Latin America. “I work with some great freight companies that understand the logistics and customs issues involved in shipping cars overseas.” Sacha says. “We do it all from crating and insurance to filling out all the documentation, our clients just have to sit back and enjoy the ride in the journey to getting their desired car.” He also delivers cars to private homes or offices - a convenient and popular method.

Sacha offers a free “Car Finder” on his website so that anyone can fill out a form with the kind of car and budget they have.  A day or so later he and his team will present options and a price.  “We have sources for new and used vehicles that you wouldn’t find online.  I’ll also will go to an auction to get the car a client requests,” Sacha explains.  “People are pleased with the savings and the fact they can get what they want without spending hours searching all sorts of websites.”

Specialty Auto Brokers also has financing options and will take a trade in.  You can try the “Car Finder” at specialtyautobrokers.com.  Just click on the Car Finder tab.  In case you do need wheels right away, they have an interesting selection of cars in stock that have been inspected and serviced by their mechanics. Sacha can be reached directly at 786-427-5350.  Specialty Auto Brokers is located at 16300 SW 137th Ave, Miami, FL 33177.

This is a paid advertorial, part of the Groovy Grove Gift Guide program.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

City approves Eating House for Glass House

Rendering by Celano Design Studios

This morning, the City of Miami Commission approved the 25-year lease for The Eating House  to take over the east end of the Glass House in Peacock Park.  Celebrity Chef/Owner Giorgio Rapicavoli and Francesco Balli are bringing the Coral Gables favorite to Coconut Grove with partners - Glasshouse Coconut Grove LLC/Grove Bay Hospitality Group. All Commissioners voted in favor.

The Grove Bay Hospitality Group are developing the Scotty's Landing/Chart House property into Grove Harbour. Not sure if it's a good idea for them to now control the waterfront restaurants, it just adds to the perception that a handful of companies are owning Coconut Grove.


You may be familiar with The Eating House, which is on Ponce de Leon Blvd, right off of SW 8th Street in the Gables, the menu consists of brunch, lunch and dinner. There are things like marinated olives, fried cauliflower, duck breast, lamb, sea scallops, pork cheeks, short ribs, pasta carbonara and so much more. The menu for their Coral Gables location may be seen here. And one of the best things is the Frozen Dirt Cup. The place is famous for The Cap'n Crunch pancakes, part of their weekend brunch. 

Celano Design Studios will take on the job of converting the structure into a garden-style cafe. $1 million is planned for the project.

The goal of the restaurant is to be a lunch-oriented/juice bar spot in the morning, and an “upscale casual” 179-seat restaurant with a full-service bar and a walkup counter for park visitors in the evening.  Renovations will start asap. Many Grovites would prefer a community center to take over the whole Glass House, which was its original intent. Currently the west side is that.

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Rescuing the Sandbar (for tv show)

The tv show "Bar Rescue" has taken over the Sandbar for the weekend, actually, they started setting up Wednesday and tonight, Thursday, they are going to start filming.

They have it set up so that a bunch of customers are in the bar and then the Bar Rescue people come in, you know, Jon Taffer, and they throw the people out and then "rescue the bar," with a lot of yelling and fuss. "Reality" tv. 

So the bar will be remodeled and on Sunday, the new Sandbar will be unveiled. 

So anyway, don't be concerned about the Sandbar being closed, it's all due to the tv show filming. Your fav bar will be back Sunday, all new and shiny. 

Reminds me of Tabatha's Salon Takeover which took over the Allure salon on Main Highway in 2009. 

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Tree lighting, drum circle to highlight FAM Night

Drum circle at Mayfair Promenade in 2012.
FAM Night will be a little extra special this month because it's the night of the Coconut Grove tree lighting ceremony at CocoWalk.

Come out Saturday, December 6 and enjoy the tree lighting at 6:30 pm. But all day there will be lots of fun going on from 2 to 9 pm.

Santa Claus will be arriving at CocoWalk and there will be a bounce house, holiday-inspired arts and crafts, and live performances by local school choirs, ballet dancers, and artists.

And all throughout the Grove, art galleries, boutiques and music will fill the village.

The Drum Circle will be back in their new location, which is actually their old location at the Mayfair Promenade, in front of the music school! 

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Saving an historic Coconut Grove home

There's an old house at 3529 St. Gaudens Road that neighbors are trying to protect from destruction. Neighbors have nominated the 1920s home for Historic Designation with the City of Miami in order to prevent demolition or future physical change to the exterior of the property. There is a hearing with the Historic Preservation Board on Tuesday, December 2 at 3 pm at the Miami City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive).

“We are encouraging Coconut Grove residents and all those who cherish the neighborhood to come and support this nomination” said local historian Dr. Paul George, who will be testifying during the hearing. “In a neighborhood that was once home to Miami’s founders like the Matheson and Burdines families, it is important to preserve these homes for their beauty and historic value.”

Also expected to testify are Historian, Author and Preservationist Arva Moore Parks and Dade Heritage Trust's Becky Matkov. The community has also created a website where supports can get more information: SaveTheGrove.com.

Designed by the prominent Pittsburgh architectural firm, Kiehnel & Elliott, which had offices in Miami and Miami Beach, the 2,733-square-foot Mediterranean style home sits on nearly half an acre on St. Gaudens Road, one of the few streets in Coconut Grove that allows public access to the bay. Neighboring property owners are looking to preserve the historic feel in an area where many historic homes have recently fallen to developers and they are fighting back – hoping to maintain the aesthetic of the neighborhood.

“This home clearly meets the criteria for historic designation,” says Arva Moore Parks, who completed much of the historic documentation. Designed by legendary architect Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel & Elliott, it was built by one of the street’s developer Albert W. Frantz.

Kiehnel & Elliott introduced the Mediterranean style home to South Florida in 1917 with their design of the John Bindley mansion “El Jardin” in Coconut Grove, which is now Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Additional buildings designed by Kiehnel & Elliott include the Coral Gables Congregational Church, Miami Senior High School, the Seybold Building, the Carlyle Hotel and the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

The petition for Historic Designation was filed on October 29, 2014. All supporters are asked to please attend the hearing at Miami City Hall. For more information, please visit the savethegrove.com website.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Le Bouchon du Grove celebrating 20 years

Le Bouchon du Grove (3430 Main Highway) is celebrating their 20th birthday on Thursday, November 20. Celebrate with burlesque, cabaret, beaujolais and lots of French food.

Reservations are needed for this special night (305-448-6060). There's a full regular dinner menu and Cassoulet - a special casserole from the South of France.

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An interesting way to pay the rent

There's a small business here in the Grove. And every time I am there, they give me my change in bills, without the coins. Yesterday my change due was $3.63 and they asked as usual, "Can we just give you the $3, we don't have any change?" And of course I agreed and let them keep the .63 and then I left a tip on top of that.

I think that if they get a 100 customers a day and keep all the change, they could make $63 a day, which is $1890 a month. Interesting business practice they have. If they do it one more time I won't go back. They have  bank right near them, they need to do what every other business owner does in the morning -- get rolls of coins!


How do they keep the books anyway with all that extra money floating around?

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PopUp Disco coming to The Grove Spot

The PopUp Disco is popping up at The Grove Spot on Saturday, December 6. DJ's will spin favorites from the disco era mixed with classic rock blocks and funk flashbacks - all music from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

The music plays non-stop. This popular event pops up at different venues across South Florida. 

Tickets are $15 and include one well drink. You can purchase the tickets at the door only (cash only). The PopUp Disco is from 8 pm to midnight. 

A portion of the price goes to the Miami Herald's Wish Book. For more info: 305-607-7499 or email Elaine@thepopupdisco.com

The Grove spot is located at 3324 Virginia Street.

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Raising millions in 24 hours on Give Miami Day

Give Miami Day, which is a single day of giving in Miami (created by The Miami Foundation) that encourages philanthropy throughout the city for a 24 hour period. Last year’s event generated $3.2 million in gifts given in just that 24 hours. This year’s event is from midnight November 20 to midnight, November 21, 2014.

So far, over 500 Miami-based non-profit organizations have registered to participate. There is also a block party on Thursday November 20, from 6-9 pm, at the Marlins Park. 

Give Miami Day is a unique, online giving event that provides everyone in the community an opportunity to build a greater Miami through philanthropy. During the 24-hour period you may view online profiles of the listed organizations serving Miami-Dade County and make a charitable gift.

You can search here online and give to organizations doing the work you believe is best for the county, which makes it easy to support the causes you care about. The Miami Foundation, Knight Foundation, and their partners will maximize the community’s generosity by making a bonus gift for every donation between $25 and $10,000 received on November 20. Gifts can be made by using a debit/credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express) or through a donor advised fund at The Miami Foundation. Only Fundholders with funds established prior to Give Miami Day are eligible to give through their Fund. $25 is the minimum gift accepted.

Give Miami Day is an initiative of The Miami Foundation that furthers their mission of increasing philanthropy in Miami and providing opportunities for every Miamian to engage in building a better community.  Established in 1967, the foundation has helped hundreds of people create personal, permanent and powerful legacies by establishing custom, charitable Funds. To learn more about the various ways they can assist you, your family or your business with philanthropic giving, visit miamifoundation.org.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Public invited to La Plume Young Writers ceremony

The Fourth Annual La Plume Young Writers’ Contest is back with entries from over 100 students in grades 3 through 12. They wrote short stories ranging from 1000 words (elementary students) to 4000 words (middle and high school students).

The awards ceremony is Friday, November 21 from 7 to 9 pm at the MCA academy Recital Hall at 2911 Grand Avenue (at the Shoppes of Mayfair). The ceremony is free and open to the public. There will be refreshments and book signings.

Students wrote their stories during the summer on themes drawn on their life experiences and personal knowledge for review by a panel of judges that include published writers, editors, actors, journalists, librarians, educators/professors and artists. The Grand Prize Winner is given a $350 cash prize and has their work published and available for sale online and at the Bookstore in the Grove. Prizes including cash and gift certificates are also given to First Place category winners and those works are also published and available for sale.

The La Plume contest was created by the MCA Academy and the Bookstore in the Grove in 2011 to encourage young writers to express themselves and to provide an opportunity for students to have their work evaluated professionally and published. The first year was so successful that the contest was expanded beyond middle school to include high school and elementary students.

“La Plume was well received by students and teachers last year,” according to Brigitte Kishlar, founder of the La Plume Young Writers Contest. “A wide spectrum of students with different backgrounds and cultures submitted some very original and engaging compositions.”

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners for each level. The Grand Prize winner gets $350 and two one-year passes to Paragon Theaters. 

MCA academy is a private school for students with talents beyond school.  The intense college preparatory curriculum builds confidence and provides an environment leading to success for students whose passions may eventually take them into careers in professional sports, the arts, acting and other non-traditional pursuits.

For more information, please call 305-442-2283 or visit mcaacademy.com.

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Fine wine, spirits, chocolate and live music

The Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival is coming this weekend, November 22 and 23, the event will take place in Peacock Park.

The festival allows consumers an opportunity to sample, buy, learn about and be entertained by all things related to fine wine and spirits. The event offers seven shows within the show: VIP Pavilion, fine wine & spirits pavilion, culinary, chocolate and dessert pavilions, live cooking demonstrations sponsored by Florida Builders Appliances, live music stage sponsored by Prohibition Restaurant Miami, pairing and tasting seminars. Beer, wine and spirits venders will offer free samples, culinary/chocolate/dessert venders offer samples at the vender discretion. There will be almost 100 booths and 80 companies at the 2 day-long event.

A unique feature of this event is the focus on fine wine and spirits with hundreds of brands to sample. In South Florida from November to April over 300 mostly culinary events take place, no other event “dials into” fine wines and spirits like the Miami Fine Wine and Spirits Festival. This is done in part with a full schedule of live cooking demonstrations and seminars featuring both cooking with wine and spirits as well as pairing wines and spirits with certain foods or chocolates. 

Another unique feature of the Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival is CHOCOLATE! Chocolate and dessert companies will be on hand in their own tented pavilion.

For those looking for an “all inclusive” experience the VIP Pavilion is the place. Open both days Saturday and Sunday, from 2:00 to 6:00 pm only. This area offers the VIP: 
Free Valet Parking
VIP only entrance line
Unlimited Beer, Wine & Spirit Samples
Food Tastings
Entrance into the main event and VIP area
Re-entry for both days of show when purchasing a two day pass
Admission to all seminars and live demonstrations
Private restrooms
Music
All under VIP only private tent.

“My goal is to offer consumers a great time, the opportunity to learn about wine and spirits and to do this at a great value” says show founder Mario Pi. “I am excited to be able to offer the South Florida consumer an upscale event that is not at an outrageous price.

Tickets can be purchased on line at miamifinewineandspiritsfestival.com
Adults $25 online or $35 day of show
Child $10 anytime (Child 3-12 yrs.)
VIP Adult Ticket $59 one day or $69 for a two day pass  – only 250 tickets sold each day
VIP Child Ticket not available

The Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday November 22, 2014 and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday November 23, 2014. To learn more about the Miami Fine Wine & Spirits Festival please visit miamifinewineandspiritsfestival.com

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Activist Grace Solares running for District 2 seat

I'm thrilled at the news that local activist Grace Solares has decided to run for District 2 commission seat when Commissioner Sarnoff's seat is up for re-election next November 2015. Sarnoff is termed out.

Grace has always been a true supporter of what's right with the city and has never sold out or put up with over-development plans or other shady deals. It's a bit late for the mass destruction going on in Coconut Grove today due to a select few lining their pockets, but getting in late is better than not. I really feel that our village will have some sort of protection if Grace is becomes our commissioner. If only she could undo the mess that is Coconut Grove today.

She has always been a friend of the Grove, she has tried to stop the Glass House RFP, trying to keep it from being a commercial enterprise. She has fought against Mercy Hospital's expansion plans and the Related Group mess (300 Grove Residences) a few years back, to name a few important Grove issues. She has tried to protect all of District 2, most recently trying to stop the SkyRise Miami project. Here are a bunch of stories I've written over the years regarding Grace Solares.

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Savor the Flavor wine tasting at Vinos

Join Vinos in the Grove on Thursday, November 20, for a phenomenal line up of California wines at their Savor the Flavor wine tasting event: Gundlack Bundschu, Shramsberg Blanc de Blancs, Windgap Trousseau Gris, Emblem Cabernet Sauvignon, and Castello di Bolgheri Superiore hosted by Lisa of Premier Beverages. 

Discounts on bottles for that night only.

Movember photobooth (just because) and men can shave their beard into a stache for charity. Come meet the man behind Conscious Acts of Kindness and partake in the fun.

Cost is $10 per person, all proceeds go to men's health research. The event is from 7 to 8 pm.

Vinos in the Grove is located at 3409 Main Highway. For info: 305-442-8840.

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The 10th annual Mad Hatter Arts Festival

Here's a slide show of this weekend's 10th Annual Mad Hatter Arts Festival.

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Home Sweet Home to assist Glory House of Miami

Be part of A Home Sweet Home event on Wednesday, November 19, to assist Glory House of Miami, a non-profit organization, with the purchase of a long term facility for 18-25 year old female survivors of sex trafficking to “Help Trafficking Survivors Build A New Future.”

There will be local public speakers, entertainers, special guest appearances, a silent auction, and other shopping opportunities.


Enjoy Food, a Glass of Champagne, and a Raffle.


Approximately 27 million men, women, and children are enslaved and trafficked worldwide.  Florida is one of the top destinations for trafficking victims in the United States, along with New York and California. Distressingly, in Miami alone, $235 million dollars are generated through the exploitation of adults, teens, and children held captive in this city.  Children are targeted through deceptive tactics employed by recruiters and the average age of entry is at the tender age of twelve.

“Human Trafficking, the commercial sexual exploitation of another human being, is a despicable crime whose victims inevitably suffer physical and psychological trauma” says State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez-Rundle. And she adds, “Those individuals and community groups that reach out to assist victims of Human Trafficking deserve our support and commendation — Glory House is to be applauded for its determination to see that victims have a sanctuary when they break the chains binding them to their trafficker.”

"The success of this wonderful event will bring us one step closer to our goal of acquiring a permanent long-term safe home for the sex traffic survivors, where their basic needs will be provided for in addition to professional counseling to get them on the road to healing and restoration" comments Betty Lara, Executive Director of Glory House of Miami.  She adds, "community support is an essential component — every ticket purchased will help to make a difference.”
Popular television and radio personality, Rick Sanchez will serve as Master of Ceremonies and among the evening’s talents are: Monique Abbadie, finalist in NBC’s “The Voice”; Jazmin, International Singer with Sono Rec Productions; Rudy Gil, formerly of Secret Society; Louis Amanti, International Jazz singer; Cuban-born Country singer Jackie Arredondo, and more celebrity surprises to come.

The event agenda will include a 15-minute presentation on Human Trafficking, raffles, high-end auction items and raffles.

The event is at La Bodequita Restaurant, 3138 Coral Way, from 6:30 to 9 pm.
The tickets are $25
in advance here, $30 at the door. 

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Vizcaya Ball celebrating 58th year

The Vizcayans are holding the 58th Annual Vizcaya Ball on Saturday, November 22 at 7 pm.

This classic event reflects the beauty and elegance of an extraordinary South Florida cultural icon. The Vizcaya Ball raises funds to preserve and protect Vizcaya Museum and Gardens for the community and future generations to come. The black-tie event will include a stylish cocktail reception, entertainment, a sensational silent auction and much more. Individual tickets from $600 and tables with 10 guests from $6,000. Vizcaya Ball tickets and tables can be purchased online.    

For more information, contact Miriam Barcia at 305-860-8420 or miriam.barcia@vizcaya.org

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Come out to the Mad Hatter Arts Festival - day 2

It's been a beautiful weekend for the Mad Hatter Arts Festival which continues Sunday from 10 to 5 pm at The Barnacle (3485 Main Highway).
The art is in tents out on the big back lawn, but there is plenty spilling out onto Main Highway out front.
I found a nice shady spot and ended up there for a long time, watching some kite flying.

If you don't have a hat, they are for sale - freshly made, right out front on Main Highway.
Milda Bublys with her dad, Algimantas, selling her one-of-a-kind headwear.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Miami Short Film Festival back at CocoWalk

Limitless Creation
The Miami Short Film Festival is back the week of December 5 to 12 at CocoWalk. This is the 13th edition of the festival, which will be at Paragon Grove 13, along with the Miami Beach Cinematheque in South Beach.

The festival will feature over 90 internationally acclaimed short films representing over 35 countries from different genres such as Documentaries, Experimental, Fiction, Animation, Music Videos among other diverse categories. Over 800 films from around the world were submitted.

The Kick-Off event will take place on Friday, December 5 at Paragon Grove 13 starting at 8:00 pm and will include a Red Carpet walk. The rest of the days will comprise of simultaneous daily screenings at 8:00 and 9:00 pm in both the Grove and South Beach venues.

For more information on the different events such as the Kick-Off Party, seminars, award ceremonies and tickets, please visit miamishortfilmfestival.com.

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It's Mad Hatter Weekend in Coconut Grove

The 10th Annual Mad Hatter Arts Festival is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, November 15 and 16 at The Barnacle State Park (inside and out).

Above, Felice Dubin, left, from the Bookstore in the Grove, donates a bunch of colorful hats to Louis Del Borrello, one of the board members at The Barnacle.


Ran into my friend Uta, Grove artist, setting up on Friday for the weekend. She's got one of the first booths as you enter the grounds. Uta is just off a very successful weekend of showing (and selling) art at the Fairchild Gardens Ramble.


Mostly art, there is also live music, some food, games contests and really a lot of fun. A lot of it is out back on the big lawn but it spills out onto Commodore Plaza where you are sure to see lots of people dressed up for the occassion. 

At the end of each day (around 3 pm) there will be a contest for "Maddest Hatter" aka the person with the most outrageous head gear to win prizes from local Coconut Grove businesses.


From last year, this is Liz Gibson,the Queen of Hearts and Audrey Scott, the Mad Hatter. 
On Saturday at 7 pm, there will be an outdoor picnic-style viewing of the Original Disney classic "Alice in Wonderland" movie projected on the big screen out back.

There will be plenty of arts and crafts and you will also be able to make your own creation at the free Chalk It Up event at the parking lot next to GreenStreet on Commodore Plaza. They will provide you with a space and some chalks and you supply the creativity.

Get a funky hat, dress up and join in both days from 10 am to 5 pm.

Friday, as tents we up, artist lugufelo has already displayed some of his colorful installations on the back lawn, ready for a big weekend.


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Friday, November 14, 2014

"Lost Art of Letter Writing" at Vizcaya

Reserve your spot for the "Lost Art of Letter Writing" this Saturday, Nov 15. The event is at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens at 10 am.

James Deering detailed every decision he made about Vizcaya's construction, kept records of every purchase, he wrote letters to friends and notes to staff. From these, we know lots about the kind of man James Deering was.

With the "lost art of letter writing," they're taking some Saturday morning time to slow down, think about what it means to write a letter; talk about how it feels to receive a letter; and start reflecting about how people will know what they know about us in the future.

Vizcaya is located at 3251 S. Miami Avenue.

The cost is $25 for Vizcaya members and $30 for non-members. You may purchase tickets at eventbrite here

For info: 305-860-8423

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Free boot camp starts Saturday in Peacock Park

There's a new boot camp starting this Saturday, November 15 at Peacock Park. Staring at 9 am, Fitness Together (FT) Miami will offer the free program which is perfect for all age groups and workout levels. FT's staff of certified personal trainers, all of whom hold national certifications, degrees in related fields and extensive experience in the fitness industry. The boot camp guarantees residents of Coconut Grove, tourists and anyone interested in improving their health and fitness, an enjoyable, cardiovascular and toning workout. 

"The boot camp will be held every Saturday, as a fun, cost effective means of getting fit," says Gabe Lamas, owner of Fitness Together, shown here.

Andrea Finessi and Fernando Arias of FT will be runing the bootcamp this Saturday. Andrea Finessi, a pre-med student who hails from Italy, runs FT’s Coconut Grove location and has 10 years of experience training others and helping them get in the best shape of their lives. All his clients can attest to how his enthusiasm and knowledge makes exercise fun. Fernando Arias, born and raised in Miami earned his M.B.A. at Nova Southeastern University and is now in charge of FT’s South Miami facility. His extensive experience in athletic training provides a great crossover to boot camps, turning working out into fun and fit games. 

Fitness Together Miami has been in business for almost seven years and provides one on one, private personal training.

Stop by Peacock Park at 9 am Saturday and also check out the FT facilities at 3333 Rice Street, unit 101. For more info: 305-648-2202.

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Mad Hatter artist: Peter Johan Studl

The Mad Hatter Arts Festival is November 15 and 16 at The Barnacle. We'll be profiling some of the artists who are participating this year.


Peter Johann Studl owns the EJ ALPS art studio on Bird Avenue. This is Peter's first Mad Hatter Arts Festival, he is ready with a great hat that he usually wears around town and of course he has a lot of his art ready to go, too, which consists of anything interesting that can be painted on canva or paper.

It's really great to see so many people joining the festival this year who have not participate in this type of event before. "In my entire life, I have never participated in any other art
festival. I am pleased as punch that the Mad Hatter will be my first. I will be selling many works to make room for a whole bunch more I want to make. There is much joy in the making, although my process can be very demanding. I need lots of fresh air and loud music," says Peter.

Peter says that "Artists, like great specialty restaurants, need only to impact a small group, but powerfully and passionately. I once was showing a friend some works at Panther Coffee in Wynwood and many people came up, on their own, and expressed how beautiful the works looked, out of the blue. A business acquaintance once saw a piece and I could feel her love for it surge.  I sold it to her for a song. She will treasure it forever and sing its praises. I just gave a piece to my auto mechanic because he and his family do not know this kind of art. He beamed. He will keep this original art for a lifetime in his home, maybe his garage. I want my art to get in front of people, many people."
Peter Johan Studl

Peter is a former immigrant kid, corporate finance CEO, real estate developer, investor, lawyer, hotel and restaurant owner; now, a true starving artist (really), but thriving off the energy of the arts. "My youngest children are creative as all get-out. They have taught me how to make real art," he says

His art is uniquely one-of-a-kind in the world, often combing original and vintage images with an amazing blazing technique, or generating insanely deep, rich and dark detailed abstracts that decorators think should be more colorful. He learned the secrets leading to his Bellezza Stratificato art by combing the wisdom of a brilliant 16th century monk who only spoke in colorful song and intense brushstrokes while hiding in the hills outside Florence where such methods of gilding and beautiful layering have been guarded for centuries.

The Mad Hatter Arts Festival is at The Barnacle, 3485 Main Highway - inside on the great lawn and out around the entrance on the sidewalks of Coconut Grove. The Festival is 10 am to 5 pm both days. Come out and enjoy art, music and lots of dress-up.

Here are the other Mad Hatter artists we featured this month:

Richard Bello
Milda Bublys

Patricia Knight

lugufelo
Adrian Molina
Eileen Seitz

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pop-up art show to promote Miami Marine Stadium

Dabs Mayla
This is something cool happening during Art Basel Week which supports a special cause - the restoration of Miami Marine Stadium, where top street artist from around the world will do their thing at Miami Marine Stadium in a special pop-up exhibition.

Hosted by the Art | History Mural Project, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, the exhibition is free and open to the public. Families are encouraged to attend, as children in attendance will be invited to assist in the creation of six large-scale murals.


Elbow Toe art, shot by Logan Hicks
This special pop-up event will feature the work of renowned local, national, and international street artists who created site-specific work at Miami Marine Stadium. Proceeds from the sale of these one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces will help fund the stadium’s restoration. At the opening reception, children from the community will participate in the production of six murals. There will also be a special area where children can create murals throughout the exhibition. All murals produced for the Art | History Mural Project are partially underwritten by Liquitex Artist Materials.

While the event is for Miami Marine Stadium, the actual event is being held at 5 NW 36 Street (at North Miami Avenue in Midtown). In the news this week was the fact that the Miami International Boat Show is moving to Miami Marine Stadium in 2016 for a year or more. This of course is great news for the stadium, bringing it back to life with such a major event.


Tatiana Suarez art, shot by Elisabetta Riccio
The opening reception for the Art | History Mural Project’s pop-up exhibition space will be held Monday, December 1, from 6 to 10 pm. The opening reception is invitation only. RSVP to rsvp@arthistory2014.com. The exhibition will remain open throughout Art Basel, Saturday, December 1-Sunday, December 7, from 10 am to 10 pm.

Artists include: Ron English, Doze Green, Risk, Tristan Eaton, Logan Hicks, Crash, Risk, Reinier Gamboa, The London Police, Rone, Evoca 1, , Hoxxoh Elbow Toe, Stinkfish Axel Void, Tatiana Suarez, Astrk, Pixel Pancho, Joe Iurato, Ian Kuali’l, Luis Berros, Jose Mertz.

An explainer reel documenting the Art | History Mural Project and the murals created at Miami Marine Stadium can be streamed here: http://vimeo.com/109771373

HoxxoH

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"Create Your Plate" now featured at TK's

Have your steak – and eat your pasta, too. Now, TK’s at Villa Mayfair gives you, the ability to combine, contrast, and “create your plate.”

“Create Your Plate," is a new dining option designed for folks who prefer to mix and match their meals. It's all about choice.

Available during dinner only, “Create Your Plate” focuses on two perennial favorites – steak and pasta. Guests can select from a melt-in-your-mouth 8 oz. petit filet ($36), a spectacular 16 oz. bone-in Cowboy Ribeye ($38), a totally tender, absolutely fabulous 14 oz. New York Strip ($29), or a perfectly grilled 12 oz. Skirt Steak ($26). TK’s also offers an exquisitely delicate, freshly grilled sautéed or deep fried Catch of the Day for fish fans. 

TK’s uses Seminole Pride Beef. Their Angus-bred cattle are non-hormone treated, antibiotic free, and grass and corn fed. Each is served with a choice of lip-smackingly delicious sauces including TK’s steak sauce, BBQ sauce, chimichurri, or compound butter.

Next, instead of the typical, same-old French fries, mashed or baked potatoes (although TK’s offers outstanding Tator Tots ’n Brie), select a side of house-made pastas. All-original recipes include umamirich Porcini Mushroom (porcini ravioli in a garlic butter sauce with a touch of red wine and truffle oil,$8); luscious Lobster Ravioli (sundried tomato ravioli stuffed with lobster in a creamy sauce with diced cherry tomatoes, $11); simply scrumptious Brown Pappardelle (pappardelle tossed in a brown butter sauce with green peas, garlic and black pepper garnished with parmesan cheese topped with a housemade béchamel sauce, $5); oozing with gooey goodness, Four Cheese Lasagna (three layers of fresh pasta filled with blue cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, $6) is sure to satisfy; and squid-ink laced tagliatelle makes Black Alfredo Pasta (black tagliatelle pasta in a delicious creamy Alfredo sauce topped with parmesan cheese and basil, $6) a tasty twist on a classic.

 All pastas are presented in a side serving size and no matter which guests select, partner perfectly with their protein of choice. Generously portioned and absolutely scrumptious, come back to TK’s and try all the different combinations ¾ that’s a total of 100 options ¾ choice has never tasted so good.

TK's at Villa Mayfair is located at 2901 Florida Avenue, for more info: 305-774-1500.

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