It’s that time of year again: the 14th annual Miami Spice restaurant program, presented by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30.
The 2015 program offers dining discounts at almost 200 restaurants (including 53 new ones) with three-course meals for $23 (lunch) and $39 (dinner), excluding tax and gratuity.
An inaugural kick-off event, South of Spice, was held July 28. Sponsored by Brown Harris Stevens Zilbert, C1 Management and RS Consulting, the sold-out evening provided ticket holders with a sneak peak and sampling of Spice menus from South of Fifth eateries including Red, the Steakhouse, Tongue & Cheek, The Local House, Smith & Wollensky, Fogo de Chao, Cibo Wine Bar, Tiramisu and Red Ginger.
Attendees, ferried from location to location via air conditioned coach buses, enjoyed light bites, wine, cocktails by area mixologists and a showcase of local artists including Lebo, New York Times bestselling author (and South of Fifth resident) Gerald Posner, and TV producer/artist Gustavo Tonelli.
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A portion of the South of Spice proceeds benefitted Community Initiatives Foundation and its EAT SMART initiatives to create healthy food programs for inner city kids of Miami-Dade.
“Events like this are important in order to give back to the community and really get to know the businesses and residents that interact on a daily basis. What better way to bring people together than food and drink?” said Mark Zilbert.
Zilbert, who lives in Murano Grande (South of 5th), was recently named president of Brown Harris Stevens Zilbert following the acquisition of his Miami Beach-based Zilbert International Realty by New-York based Brown Harris Stevens on June 24.
Lots of new Miami Beach additions to this year’s Miami Spice roster, including Bistro Bagatelle, Quality Meats, Beachcraft, Izzy’s Fish & Oyster Bar, Market at the Edition, Seagrape, KLIMA Restaurant & Bar and Stripsteak at the Fontainebleau.
For a complete list of participating Miami Spice restaurants, visit: iLoveMiamiSpice.com.
La Moderna opens in Sunset Harbour
Imported from Rome, La Moderna bar and restaurant opened June 25 at 1874 Bay Rd. in Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbour Shops.
The new location strives to capture the spirit and energy of La Moderna’s original location in the once-working class, now fashionable Testaccio neighborhood of Rome.
“We look forward to delivering a truly unique experience to the Miami market with our skillfully crafted interpretation of modern Italian cooking, quality libations and refined atmosphere,” says owner Luca D’Angelo.
The 52-year old — who spends his time between Miami, Rome and Milan — also owns/operates Fratelli La Bufala, 437 Washington Ave., since 2005. General Manager of both restaurants is Larry Mele. La Moderna Executive Mixologist is Rusty Cerven of London.
The restaurant offers classic Italian dishes with a modern twist, an “Italian Bites” bar menu, crafted cocktails (including eight signature drinks inspired by movies, art and pop culture) and pizza (kneaded on Carrera marble and baked in a handmade brick oven).
The interior space, a contemporary interpretation of a mechanical workshop, was designed by Italian architect Roberto Liorni. It features an oversize copper bar facing a bank of windows. The whimsical art of Spanish illustrator Maria Corte adorns the menus and walls. The name La Moderna refers to the boom in manufacturing, innovation and optimism, which occurred in Italy after World War II.
La Moderna is currently open for lunch and dinner daily from 11:30 am. A brunch and happy hour are in the works. For details, visit www.lamoderna-miami.com or call 786-717-7274.
Helping a friend in need
Industry partners, friends and family of DeAnne Connolly Graham have joined forces to host a fundraiser in her honor 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Smith and Wollensky, One Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.
An entrepreneur who runs Miramar-based ROI Media Consultants, Connolly Graham was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is preparing to undergo treatment at Sylvester Cancer Center.
Friends of DeAnne, along with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA) and Miami-Dade County Public School’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT) are hosting the event, which will include a cocktail reception and silent auction.
Admission cost is $25. One hundred percent of the evening’s proceeds will go toward expenses for DeAnne’s care. Organizers say they hope to raise $10,000.
“I am overwhelmed with the enormous amount of love and support I’ve received from my industry friends. I feel that on many levels my diagnosis has been a blessing and definitely a wake-up call for a healthier lifestyle,” said Connolly Graham, 59.
To attend or donate (cash or auction items), call Lynne Hernandez, 305-710-3962 or online at http://hrld.us/1eAT1bP.
Beach Buzz appears every other Sunday, and focuses on people and businesses throughout the Beaches, Aventura and Miami. To reach Debra K. Leibowitz, call 305-531-7887 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or become a fan of her Beach Buzz page on Facebook.