Articles on this Page
- 04/15/15--21:00: _Sneak Peek: What to...
- 04/16/15--21:00: _The Best of Miami's...
- 04/16/15--21:00: _Mayweather vs. Pacq...
- 03/31/15--21:00: _Quality Meats is No...
- 03/31/15--21:00: _What to Expect at e...
- 03/31/15--21:00: _This Guy Makes the ...
- 03/31/15--21:00: _Adrienne Arsht on R...
- 03/31/15--21:00: _Look Up: The New Ce...
- 03/31/15--21:00: _Why Designer Naeem ...
- 04/01/15--21:00: _Explore the Home of...
- 04/01/15--21:00: _Why Painter Joanne ...
- 04/01/15--21:00: _The Woman Behind Ex...
- 04/01/15--21:00: _Jewelry Designer Al...
- 04/19/15--21:00: _Boxing-Inspired Acc...
- 04/19/15--22:00: _5 Sustainable Resta...
- 04/19/15--23:00: _Q&A: Why Shane Batt...
- 04/20/15--21:00: _Q&A: Alina Villasan...
- 04/20/15--21:00: _Professional Gamble...
- 04/20/15--22:00: _Champagne Happy Hou...
- 04/21/15--21:00: _The Mayweather Diet...
- 04/15/15--21:00: Sneak Peek: What to Expect From the Fight of the Century
- 04/16/15--21:00: The Best of Miami's Spring Cocktail Menus
- 04/16/15--21:00: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in Numbers
- 03/31/15--21:00: Quality Meats is Now Open in Miami; 'Ice Cream' From Argentina
- 03/31/15--21:00: What to Expect at eMerge Americas
- 03/31/15--21:00: This Guy Makes the Honey in Your Tea & Cocktails
- 03/31/15--21:00: Adrienne Arsht on Raising Funds for the Arts
- 03/31/15--21:00: Look Up: The New Ceiling Trend in Miami
- 03/31/15--21:00: Why Designer Naeem Khan Chose Miami
- 04/01/15--21:00: Explore the Home of Artist Julio Larraz
- 04/01/15--21:00: Why Painter Joanne Greenbaum Started Sculpting
- 04/01/15--21:00: The Woman Behind Exile Books
- 04/01/15--21:00: Jewelry Designer Alexis Dawn Geller on Her DJ Ruckus Collab
- 04/19/15--21:00: Boxing-Inspired Accessories to Sport All Season Long
- 04/19/15--22:00: 5 Sustainable Restaurants We Love
- 04/19/15--23:00: Q&A: Why Shane Battier is Miami Heat for Life
- 04/20/15--21:00: Q&A: Alina Villasante on Touring with Oprah & Celebrating Earth Day
- 04/20/15--21:00: Professional Gambler Billy Baxter Won't Tell Us Who to Bet On
- 04/21/15--21:00: The Mayweather Diet: In the Kitchen With His $1,000-a-Plate Chef
Six years of speculation and seemingly never-ending negotiations will be put to rest on May 2, the day that championship boxers Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao finally come face to face inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Drama won’t be in short supply, as both men bring plenty of credentials to the ring—Mayweather remains undefeated after nearly 20 years of professional boxing, and Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight different weight classes—for a match that’s now slated to gross an unprecedented amount of more than $400 million.
Of course, that’s not to say all of the action will take place inside the ring: this is Vegas, after all. Expect all manner of over-the-top revelry to make its way up and down the Strip and beyond. From pre-fight warm- ups to post-fight parties, we’ll be bringing you behind the scenes and into the pit of the Fight of the Century. Stay tuned for even more exclusive content beginning April 17!
Printemps, primavera, spring—however you choose to say it, the season has arrived. While weather in Miami may not change drastically from March to April, many of the city’s bartenders are heralding brand-new recipes for us to sip on for the next few weeks.
The posh cocktail lounge inside the W continually revamps its list of modern drinks based on the seasons and the bartenders’ current obsessions. The Pepper & Pine, created by Alex Emilyanovich of Belarus, mixes reposado tequila, with fresh lime, bitter artichoke, mild yellow peppers, and pineapple. The unexpected mishmash of flavors delivers a delightfully strong punch. W South Beach, 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-938-3000
The undisputed winner of The Rum Line’s spring cocktail menu is the Vote for Pedro, a homage to Napoleon Dynamite’s unlikely hero and Spanish sherry. It’s a sophisticated sipper with high-end Facundo Eximo, Pedro Ximénez sherry (hello, beautiful raisins), and Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters from The Bitter Truth, finished with a flamed orange peel. Need some more kale in your life? Ask for the Dr. Greenthumb (shown above); it’s a thoughtful twist on a margarita with Avion silver tequila, kale and cucumber juice, lime, and matcha green tea powder along with a spice-and-salt rim. Loews Miami Beach, 1601 Collins Ave., 305-695-0110
Edge launched a list of three spring cocktails for connoisseurs to talk about, including the radical Midlife Crisis. It’s a serious cocktail sure to surprise even the most devout bourbon lovers with a blend of the bold Macallan 12, Woodford Reserve, fresh citrus, burnt Chartreuse, and house-made rosemary and elderflower foam. Four Seasons Miami, 1435 Brickell Ave., 305-381-3190
You can now pair chef Kris Wessel’s healthy, regional, gluten-free cuisine with a collection of this season’s stunning cocktails. We have our sights set on the Carrot Twist, which includes locally sourced carrots, ginger, lemongrass, and Rittenhouse Rye. The Oolite Michelada is another standout thanks to Wessel’s use of local sweet and hot peppers, sour oranges, citrus, house-made grenadine, and Wynwood Brewing Company’s crisp La Rubia Blonde Ale. 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., Miami Beach, 305-907-5535
Buns & Buns in South Miami just debuted a handful of sake-based cocktails that promise to keep guests, who typically live far away from the ocean breeze, super cool. The simple Lemon Margarita (shown above) is our pick: sake, dry Dolin Blanc vermouth, and fresh lemon juice. The eatery also offers red or white sangria made with seasonal fruit—strawberries, blackberries, and oranges—by the pitcher. 5748 Sunset Dr., Miami, 786-216-7754
At The Broken Shaker, freshness is always first when it comes time to party. The spring cocktail menu is blooming with invigorating combinations and cheeky names; we love the Bobby and Whitney, featuring ginger- and celery-infused vodka shaken with freshly muddled peaches and lemon juice, as well as the O’Doyle Rules (Billy Madison’s phrase for justifying the most ridiculous behavior) with Bacardi Superior, house-made purple cauliflower syrup, St-Germain, and fresh lime juice shaken with alfalfa sprouts. Party on. Freehand, 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach, 305-531-2727
The latest craze for spring at Brickell’s lively gastropub is an invigorating twist on the Strawberry Colada. This boozy blast introduces Batch’s signature cold brew coffee on tap and combines it with house-infused strawberry shortcake vodka. 30 SW 12 St., Miami, 305-808-5555
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF FACEBOOK.COM/FREEHANDMIAMI (THE BROKEN SHAKER)
We know what they look like in the ring, but how do the two boxing champions match up outside of it? Here, a comparison.
Our April food and drink update straight from the pages of Ocean Drive.
Executive Chef Patrick Rebholz at Quality Meats.
High Steaks: Michael Stillman grew up in a steakhouse. And not just any steakhouse—his father, Alan Stillman, founded the iconic Smith & Wollensky in 1977. Half a century later, the father-son duo are beefing up their meat empire and cutting South Florida into the action with the opening of Quality Meats in the former Bancroft Hotel. “We’ve always loved Miami,” says Michael. “When the time to expand the Quality Meats brand came, it was the obvious choice.” Expect an amplified version of the New York staple, but with a tropical twist. They’ve named Patrick Rebholz from Charleston’s famed Peninsula Grill as executive chef. Here, Rebholz will smoke, cure, brine, braise, and grill their eminent selection of meats. Charcuterie is made in house, veal shanks are portioned for two, and Scotch is infused with citrus hops at this unorthodox interpretation of the archetypal steakhouse. 1501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-340-3333
Helado, an ice cream-gelato hybrid, from Argentine import Freddo.
Cold Rush:“It’s not ice cream or gelato—it’s helado,” says Jimena Duran, franchise co-owner of Argentina’s premier and all-natural heladeria, Freddo. It takes a month for the handcrafted ice cream-gelato hybrid—made with milk from grass-fed cows, pure cane sugar, fruits, and raw ingredients—to make its way via boat from Argentina to the Florida location on Lincoln Road. Try the grand dulce de leche—whole almonds, pecans, and golden raisins amid caramel. Want to take it to the next level? Get your helado in panini form. 610 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, 305-604-0065
Run to the Bodega: At Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, a South Beach taqueria with an actual Airstream trailer as its kitchen, chef Bernie Matz serves al-pastor-style tacos with meat sliced from a rotating spit, a plethora of paletas (go for the mango chili), and four secret hot sauce recipes (think garlic serrano and Caribbean lime). But that’s not the only secret—behind the faux bathroom door is a hidden bar that slings tequila cocktails and smoked horchata shots. 1220 16th St., Miami Beach, 305- 763-8627
Bay Club: The folks behind Sunset Harbour’s beloved Lucali pizza have turned the adjoining space into the Bay Club, a bar that channels Lucali’s ingredient-driven philosophy into irresistible cocktails. Have a dose of the Peoria Penicillin—a mix of cantaloupe-infused Scotch, Canton ginger, lemongrass, basil, and lemon juice. “In New York, they used to hang out behind the pizzeria in these little watering holes where it wasn’t about décor, but just about relaxing,” says Cristina Ventura, managing partner and general manager of the Miami offshoots of the Brooklyn original. 1930 Bay Rd., Miami Beach, 305-695-4441
Rum XP Tasting Competition at Rum Renaissance.
Rad Rum: There’s nothing quite like a rum festival to raise your spirits. Back for its seventh year, Rum Renaissance will bring the largest collection of rum makers in the world together under one roof, April 17-19. “You could say our basic premise is to dispel the notion that rum is ordinary and prove that it’s fascinating,” says founder Robert Burr. Fascinated you’ll be with the amount of experts, distillers, and off-the-beaten-path rums (some of which aren’t yet distributed in the States) that you’ll discover during the three days of grand tastings. Miami Airport Convention Center, 777 NW 72nd Ave., Miami
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GARY JAMES (REBHOLZ); COURTESY OF TATU KAARLAS AND MIAMI RUM RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL (RUM)
In its second year, Miami’s eMerge Americas acts as a vibrant rendezvous point for tech-world innovators and global investors.
Founder of eMerge Americas Manuel Medina and Pitbull discuss the impact technology has on Miami during last year’s conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
In the last few years, Miami’s growing technology sector has gained substantial buzz: Tech companies are moving here, start-ups are being incubated, and venture capitalists are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in homegrown companies. Furthering this progress, Cuban-American tech billionaire Manuel Medina, backed by the Knight Foundation, launched eMerge Americas last year, a four-day conference that explores the trends and advancements in the tech realm in areas such as health, finance, education, and urban planning. Medina and eMerge Executive Director Xavier Gonzalez spoke to Ocean Drive about the event’s astonishing success, what to expect when the conference returns May 1 through 5, and Miami’s intensifying IT scene....
Why did you decide to launch eMerge?
Manuel Medina: In 2012, we felt it was the perfect time to help establish Miami as the technology hub of the Americas. There was a significant amount of growth in the Latin American technology market, and the large, established technology companies were beginning to take notice. But there was a void that needed to be filled—[there needed to be] an event that served as a platform to connect the world’s leading technology companies, entrepreneurs, and investors with the key decision makers and innovators from the Americas.
Xavier Gonzalez: We thought eMerge was something that could spark the evolution and the maturation of the technology ecosystem here.
Is this a Miami event, a global event, or both?
MM: This is a global event focused on the Americas that is meant to connect industry leaders from around the world... What we’re trying to do is bring attention to Miami for reasons that transcend beautiful beaches and hot spots.
XG: If you bring entrepreneurs from Latin America to Miami, you connect them with investors from around the world. They all start to think, Miami is really a place I can set up my business, I can expand there, I can grow there.
How did you define success in eMerge’s first year?
XG: We were thinking if we got anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 people for our first event, big home run. We had 6,000 attendees and an additional 3,000 students. We had 400 companies and 150-plus speakers. We also had 115 start-ups that participated in a start-up competition. We had 31 countries represented. We had well over 100 sponsors.
IBM Venture Capital Group’s Claudia Fan Munce, Trident Capital’s Alberto Yépez, and EY Entrepreneur of the Year Bryan Pearce offer pointers on how to fund a company at the right time at the 2014 summit.
What can people expect to see at eMerge?
XG: When you walk in, you will see the latest innovations that are coming from the companies that everyone has heard of—the IBMs and the HPs—but you’ll also see the companies that are the next big thing. This year, we’re also expecting 12 to 15 countries to have pavilions—think of it like Epcot.
You just announced NBC as your media sponsor. How will that play into the event?
XG: The NBC piece is a game-changer, not only about the shows and the interviews but the personalities that are going to be here, the buzz it will bring, and the eyeballs of the world. You’re going to be able to walk in, and there’s going to be a set of NBC and its different properties (MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo) where they’re going to be hosting shows.
Tell us about the simultaneous growth of the Miami tech scene.
XG: You see numerous companies and organizations that are moving into Miami and setting up operations. For instance, the one and only Microsoft Innovation Center in the US opened in Miami, in addition to many others. The next piece that’s very significant is on the investor side—since eMerge Americas, we have seen two new VCs open offices in Miami, specifically to invest in tech.
Why is Miami so appealing to tech and start-up companies?
XG: The growth in terms of the use of technology in Latin America far outpaces any other emerging or mature market. The amount of social media used in Latin America is higher than any other population on the planet. Being based in Miami is like being based in Switzerland—this is neutral. You have the ability to scale the whole region. eMerge Americas takes place May 1-5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr.
Nature enthusiast Ian Wogan gave up a job in the food and beverage industry to focus on his colony of bees.
Ian Wogan at his bee farm.
As a child, Ian Wogan wasn’t allowed to watch any television other than National Geographic. “My parents thought staying inside was a waste of time,” says Wogan as he walks among a series of wooden beehives buzzy enough to make one uncomfortable. Pointing up to a lone wild hive visible against the sun, he squints. “Bees are amazing.”
An all-around caretaker and environmentalist, the Miami native tends a constellation of hundreds of hives from South Beach to Key Biscayne and even Homestead, adding up to well over a million bees that pollinate crops throughout Dade County. First he sells landowners and farmers on the age-old practice, then he trucks bees in from Homestead. “Key Biscayne is one of the best areas because it’s between two huge ecosystems—Biscayne Bay and Crandon.” To combat the current honeybee colony collapse—a phenomenon where worker bees disappear—Wogan places hives near native plants, which require fewer pesticides.
His subsequent sweet delight, branded Garden of Ian, can be found by the Mason jar at local roaster Panther Coffee (2390 NW Second Ave., Miami; 1875 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach), while cocktail bars The Regent Cocktail Club and The Broken Shaker use Wogan’s honey to mix up their handcrafted libations. Out of Garden of Ian’s plethora of flavors, South Florida wildflower is unique to Miami, and an amalgamation of our ecology.
The honey produced by Wogan’s bees goes into dishes and drinks served at some of Miami’s top restaurants and bars.
Wogan’s childhood may have set off his love and appreciation for nature, but it was his environmental science studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara that catapulted it. “Seeing how environmentally responsible they are in California made me want to come back and implement that same awareness here.” He finished his studies at FIU, where he established the school’s first farmers market and was heavily involved in the garden club. This path led him to managing Paradise Farms after graduating.
For a long time, Wogan was an eco-friendly arborist and beekeeper by day, while serving chef José Andrés’s culinary wonders to diners at The Bazaar at the SLS South Beach. He’s since given up the job to focus on pollinating South Florida and tree management, but The Bazaar is now a customer, buying his honey. Next up? He’ll be working with 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach. “There are a ton of trees, mangroves, and palms around the area, as well as all of the coastal dune flowers,” he says. “[Bees] go to the nectar and then do a little geometric dance to show the other worker bees where the water sources are as well as the food sources.”
“I love Miami, and as much as there’s been evolution in the natural context of things, there’s still a certain level of catching up,” says Wogan, who has certainly given us a delicious way to do it.
Philanthropist Adrienne Arsht spotlights the advancements in cultural programming that will be funded by this month’s star-studded gala.
Adrienne Arsht in front of the Ziff Ballet Opera House. “Performing arts centers really define how civilized a community is, and it makes it a great city,” she says.
“I think the arts really define us as a civilization, and creativity is the foundation of thought,” says philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, whose eponymous cultural center on Biscayne Boulevard hosts its annual black-tie gala this month. The fête, a centerpiece of the Miami social calendar, helps raise money for arts education and community outreach at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Benefiting from those donations are such cultural initiatives as a six-week children’s summer camp with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company or a program that allows all public-school fifth and seventh-grade students to attend a performance and tour backstage, among other experiences. “The gala really raises money for things that will resonate throughout Miami-Dade County.”
To further connect with the Miami community, the Arsht Center fills its year-long calendar with a diverse array of programming, ranging from performances by Haitian dance company Ayikodans, monthly Sunday morning gospel, an annual flamenco festival, and yearly Jazz Roots program, which most recently featured the sounds of Cuban jazz performers such as Arturo Sandoval, that Arsht declares was “packed to the rafters.” “The programming does relate to every one of the many nationalities in our city,” she says. “The exciting thing in Miami is that, with such a diverse population, our programming reflects that. So, unlike many other cities, we get to experience the music of many different cultures because they all live right here.”
Honorary Chair Adrienne Arsht with Kevin Spacey, who performed at last year’s event.
Arsht’s own involvement with the arts in Miami began when she moved to the Magic City in 1996 to run TotalBank. “I felt that I was really blessed to have spent 10 years in Miami, one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and it felt right for me to give back to that city,” says Arsht, who initially donated $250,000 to what was then the Carnival Center for the water feature in the central plaza that was renamed in her honor. “I was quite sure that the performing arts center was one of the greatest institutions—or had the potential to be one of the greatest institutions—of the community. Performing arts centers really define how civilized a community is, and it makes it a great city.”
In 2007, Arsht sold TotalBank to Banco Popular, and her commitment to the local arts deepened. In 2008, she donated $30 million to Miami’s Performing Arts Center, and has helped steer the growth of what is now the Adrienne Arsht Center alongside President M. John Richard. “I’m known for jumping and developing wings on the way down,” says Arsht of her role in the center of today. “I didn’t know what it should be, specifically. I just knew that there had to be a performing arts center. The acoustics in the concert hall are just terrific; Itzhak Perlman always tells me that it’s one of his favorite places to perform. The American Ballet Theatre performs in the opera house; they feel that the stage is second only to the Metropolitan Opera in size. I didn’t dream of [it being any certain way]; I just knew it had to exist.” The Friday, April 24, gala takes place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 786-468-2020
Stretched, lacquer-finish ceilings are taking Miami rooms to new heights.
Corinne Labastrous at Robert Curran Gallery.
When interior designer Corinne Labastrous and her husband, Dominique, first set eyes on a stretched fabric ceiling in an apartment on the French Riviera, they felt they’d found something that would transform their interiors and contracting business in South Florida. “The minute we saw it, we knew we had to bring it to Miami,” says Labastrous.
With so many midcentury hotels, offices, and restaurants marred with popcorn ceilings or acoustical tiles calling for an upgrade, and hundreds of condos in Miami and the Beach in need of face-lifts, it was clear that the innovative, ultramodern tensile structure could solve a multiplicity of problems in one swift stroke. After searching the States for a similar technology to no avail, the couple contracted with the manufacturer in Europe to license and distribute the product here and launched what they call High Tech Ceiling in 1999. Since then, they’ve transformed myriad hotels, restaurants, and private condos, giving dated environments chic new life with sleek, updated ceiling profiles.
At this Williams Island condo, a lacquer stretch ceiling is enhanced by the surrounded cove lighting.
Made of a thin, film-like synthetic material stretched tightly over a firm frame custom-constructed to perfectly fit any ceiling, the high-tech systems offer much more than just a pretty face-lift. Their films are also eco-friendly, sound and energy efficient, non-allergenic, non-flammable, durable, and waterproof. Because of their antistatic qualities, they resist dust as well, so they’re easy to clean and maintain, too. Installation is quick and easy, and because the new ceilings are placed directly over the old one, there’s no mess with demolition or construction debris. And some of the surfaces in the line can even be used outdoors.
High Tech white lacquer stretch ceilings lighten the ambience at a St. Regis Residences living room.
Among the settings in Miami that have benefited from the ceiling product are the Grand Beach Hotel in Bal Harbour and the B Bar at The Betsy Hotel in South Beach, as well as a slew of private homes and condos in top buildings such as The St. Regis Bal Harbour. “Owners of new developments also want the ceiling not to hide the old one but to make a style statement and give their environment a ‘wow’ effect,” says Labastrous. “Our business has boomed with the high-end high-rises that have been built downtown and on the Beach.”
Available in a matte, satin, lacquer, or translucent finish, the ceilings come in hundreds of colors and patterns. “The most popular finish is the lacquer, which mimics a perfect Chinese lacquer,” Labastrous notes. “Because they’re reflective, they make the ceiling seem higher—when you see the ocean reflected in your ceiling, you quickly forget you’re in an eight-foot-tall room.”
Internationally renowned designer Naeem Khan chooses Miami as his home base to further grow his fashion empire.
Naeem Khan in his New York City showroom, surrounded by some of the elaborately beaded gowns that have won him fans from Beyoncé to First Lady Michelle Obama.
When designer Naeem Khan, who is best known for creating elaborately beaded gowns for women like First Lady Michelle Obama, Lea Michele, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Lopez, decided to move his international production to an American city, he knew exactly where he wanted to go. “Miami will be the perfect place,” says Khan, who plans to relocate his operation to the Magic City in the next two to three years. “What interests me about Miami is that it’s so culturally diverse. You have people from all over the world, and geographically it’s so beautifully located that you have access to the world from here. There is so much art and craft available in Miami because of the Latin culture, in which craftsmen are used to doing things by hand. The weather is amazing, the tax breaks are amazing, and it’s so close to New York that I can be [here] within two and a half hours, so why not?”
Khan struck a deal last year to rent a massive waterfront property owned by the city of Miami at 1175 NW South River Drive, an area that’s currently used mostly for boat building. In exchange for creating many new jobs at his headquarters, the designer will get a deeply reduced rent and tax incentives. To accommodate his operation—which at the moment is divided between New York City, Mumbai, Italy, and France—Khan will erect a bold new building to replace what’s currently on the site. The location is expected to serve as a community magnet as much as a clothing studio, in which more than 100 craftspeople will be based.
“We’re going to build a magical place where the minds of art meet,” he says. “It’s not going to be just a place for my production and design facilities. It is going to be large enough to have conferences, to have dialogues between architecture and fashion, and have the world of art meeting in this place.” Khan is currently in conversation with several architects who are, as he puts it, “of an international standard” (his friends include major players in the field such as Zaha Hadid and Chad Oppenheim).
Models getting ready backstage at the Spring 2015 show in New York.
When the building is completed in a couple of years, all of the company’s creative and production departments will relocate to Miami, although sales, public relations, and the line’s colorful biannual runway shows will remain in New York City. To ensure that newly hired staff can create his handcrafted pieces, artisans from Khan’s facility in Mumbai—where his family has specialized in heavily detailed embroidery for generations—will come to Miami to provide training. Khan is also hoping that a Miami-based university will begin offering a fashion program. “The technique is dying,” he says of the craftsmanship that goes into his precisely made dresses, on which beads that are misplaced or too heavy can throw off a garment’s drape and fit and for which delicate tulle lace is made and applied by hand. “This craft runs in my blood, and I’d like to bring it to America and see it not die. It needs to be maintained.”
An added business perk for Khan is Miami’s proximity to South America, where his popularity is quickly growing, particularly with women looking for one-of-a- kind occasion-wear, including opulent wedding gowns. “Being so close will make it so much easier to do my couture and my high-end glitz and glam,” he says, adding that South Americans “will have access to come and work with me.”
Khan’s love of Miami isn’t new. He and his wife, Ranjana, a jewelry designer, have been spending time here for the past five years, ever since they bought a 50th-floor penthouse triplex apartment in the performing arts district. (He commutes so regularly between South Florida and his downtown Manhattan loft that he says the flight to Miami “is like getting on the bus.”)
The idea to relocate his production and create more US-based jobs was inspired by a visit to the White House at the very end of 2013. “The first lady and the president were asking me these wonderful questions about my business and about my life, and I just felt like I had to do something,” Khan recalls. “It’s very much an emotional thing for me, because of what this country has done for me and how this country has embraced me, with the first lady and movie stars wearing my things, and having a successful business. I want to give back to a country that has given me so much.” Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-993-4620
The historic house of Cuban-born artist Julio Larraz reflects the journey of its owner and the spirit of a man at home in the world.
Julio Larraz in his home in Coral Gables
Glance around the rooms in Julio Larraz’s South Florida home and it’s immediately clear you’re in the abode of a seasoned traveler. A carved Roman angel sits atop a Colombian console in the foyer; a Venetian mirror occupies a corner of the living room. In the dining room, a Bavarian chandelier hangs over the table, while colorful Moroccan rugs cover the floors throughout. “We’ve gathered these things as we moved around the world—New York, then France, then New York again, and Miami for a while, then Italy for several years,” says Larraz, 71, recalling the places in which he’s lived over the past several decades with his wife, local interior designer Pilar Larraz, and three children.
Now, however, Larraz—who is recognized as one of the most notable Latin American artists on the international stage today (the average price for his work hovers around $250,000 per piece)—lives in a stately old home in Coral Gables, where his worldly mix of furnishings and art fit perfectly, like hand in glove. These antiques and curios—from different eras and disparate places—also offer glimpses into the imagination of their owner, as they coalesce here in a dreamlike composition, not unlike one of the artist’s fanciful paintings.
Throughout the house, artworks and antiques from different eras form a dreamlike composition reminiscent of the artist’s own fanciful paintings.
Larraz’s journey around the world began many years ago in Havana, Cuba, where he was born and raised before moving to Washington, DC, with his parents in 1964, when he was just 16 years old. The son of a newspaper publisher, he began to draw at a very early age and later, after moving to New York, he started his career drawing political caricatures for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Vogue magazine, among other publications.
His early illustration work eventually evolved into the paintings he’s become known for and continues to create in his studio—a former farm equipment shed—not far from his home. “The images that take shape in my paintings and sculptures come to me in dreams, sometimes daydreams,” explains Larraz, whose most recent works were shown at a solo exhibition at Art Basel in Miami Beach last year. “I have the ability to see things clearly in my mind, to visualize images of objects and people. The things in my paintings or sculptures, they’re all invented by me.”
Some of his paintings also hang on the walls of his home alongside works by fellow artists, like Sandro Chia, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, and Marino Marini, and together—along with the furnishings and objets—hint at the story of Larraz’s colorful life. A 19th-century Swedish clock and a cowhide-covered Colombian settee, for example, look almost like 3-D extensions of a painting by Larraz hanging in the foyer, while a massive English armoire—a gift from his friend Mikhail Baryshnikov—sits snug in an alcove in the dining room and contrasts with a pair of pre-Colombian frames on an adjacent wall.
In the living room, a red Moroccan rug is offset by splashes of green and blue, including a Calder sculpture suspended from the ceiling.
Even the Mediterranean-style house itself weaves neatly into the visual tale—it was built in 1924 by the brother-in-law of James Deering, owner of the renowned Vizcaya estate, one of Miami’s treasured landmarks. Its travertine floors, terra- cotta tiled roof, and arched window panes dovetail seamlessly with Larraz’s eclectic furnishings and contribute to closing the circle of the artist’s lifelong journey as he now settles nearer to the place of his birth. “It’s as close to living in a house in my home country as I can get,” he says.
For her show at Miami’s Michael Jon Gallery, painter Joanne Greenbaum trades in her canvases for clay.
Untitled, 2014, by Joanne Greenbaum.
Give Joanne Greenbaum credit for refusing to stand still. On the heels of rave reviews for the New York City-based painter’s latest work—wall-size canvases sporting a Technicolor Twombly-esque sea of furiously intertwined lysergic lines—Greenbaum dramatically changed gears.
For her current show at the Little River neighborhood’s Michael Jon Gallery, Greenbaum has set aside painting entirely, instead exhibiting a selection of small sculptures. “Painting is more intellectual and in my head,” she explains, citing the inevitable subconscious pressures that arise from having spent nearly three decades honing her practice, both in and out of academia. “The whole history of painting goes into it; everything I am goes into it. Sculpture is a much more physical, instinctual process. I allow something else to take over.”
To be fair, Greenbaum’s sculptures aren’t entirely divorced from her paintwork. Many have been left purposely unglazed with a bright white surface, onto which she draws and, yes, paints, in styles that evoke her familiar hypnotic looping. If the overall effect remains strikingly raw, almost primordial, credit Greenbaum’s self-taught aesthetic.
When she first enrolled in an advanced sculpture class near her home, in order to access their kiln, “I’d never even touched clay before,” she admits. “I thought I’d just wing it. It was awkward at first, but eventually I figured out how to construct something that wasn’t going to fall apart or blow up. The teacher looked at me like I was nuts: ‘Who is this crazy woman?’ Everybody else was making pots and functional objects, and I’m making stuff that looks like a 5-year-old dreamt it up. But no one ever said anything. I guess that’s just New York!” “Jean-Baptiste Bernadet & Joanne Greenbaum” is on display through April 25 at the Michael Jon Gallery, 255 NE 69th St., Miami, 305-521-8520
Exile Books champions the tome as an art object—and as a community builder.
Amanda Keeley in her roving pop-up, Exile Books, housed here at downtown Miami’s Bas Fisher Invitational.
“I always did art on the side, but I never considered it something you could make a living at,” says Amanda Keeley, chuckling at her earlier naiveté. After all, she’s the woman behind the artist-book-focused roving pop-up, Exile Books, a store whose sales now directly contribute to the bank accounts of scores of creatives. Moreover, she’s become an accomplished artist in her own right with a solo show of book-centered sculpture this fall at the Fredric Snitzer gallery, the top dog among Miami’s art dealers.
Part of her earlier disbelief, Keeley explains, stems from coming of age in Miami in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Whatever adventurous culture was percolating at the time failed to creep out to her suburban home in Kendall. Like so many others at the time, Keeley fled north, but rather than heading for Manhattan, she joined the famed Bradenton, Florida, tennis academy run by Nick Bollettieri, the legendary trainer credited with molding star players from Andre Agassi to Serena and Venus Williams.
“Your whole education is focused around being on the courts eight hours a day,” Keeley recalls of the grueling experience. And while she eventually decided life as a professional tennis player wasn’t her true calling, choosing instead to hang up her racquet and attend the University of Vermont (“I wanted a return to normalcy”), she credits the strict discipline fostered by Bollettieri as key to her present-day approach. In fact, to hear Keeley tell it, art school curriculums could use a little more tennis time: “Working with artists is like herding cats,” she quips.
It’s a lesson learned first-hand following her 1995 graduation and subsequent MFA at New York’s Parsons The New School for Design. Immersing herself in that city’s art scene, she eventually became a manager at Printed Matter, an artist’s bookstore dedicated to popularizing the book as art object. Later, she worked as a personal assistant to Yoko Ono, managing her extensive archives as both an early Fluxus artist and as a playful conceptualist in tandem with John Lennon.
Working for Ono was instructive—she says Ono’s avant-garde sensibility happily coexists with her business savvy. But by late 2013, Keeley found herself, like so many other New Yorkers, intrigued by the buzz surrounding Miami. “I never thought I would move back. There was a lot I really didn’t like about Miami growing up here,” she admits. “It was very shallow.”
Rather than being eclipsed by the digital era, “Print takes us back to a reality where we’re talking to one another,” she says.
But that was then. “Seeing all the energy now, there really is an artistic renaissance happening!” Yet there was still one gaping hole: “To think of ourselves as an arts and culture mecca, but not to have an artist’s bookstore, or anything like Printed Matter, seemed like a shame.” And also an opportunity.
Thus was born Exile Books, its name an homage to Miami’s defining demographic, to Keeley’s own idyllic vision of rootless cosmopolitans tethered only to their creativity, and not least, to the store’s nomadic nature, moving from spot to spot around town; hosts so far have included Locust Projects, Books & Books, and the Bas Fisher Invitational. It’s a novel business plan that avoids the draining expense of maintaining a brick-and-mortar storefront while capitalizing on the art-minded audiences already frequenting its temporary homes.
Sales are only part of the equation, though. Keeley aims for Exile Books to become “a space dedicated to print culture and creating a community.” In fact, rather than being eclipsed by the digital era, she insists old-fashioned ink-on-paper is all the more vital: “For a younger generation raised on the Internet, they’re being turned off by having communication only be on and via a computer. There’s a huge resurgence of interest in having something you can physically hold, along with the immediacy of contact. That’s what’s happening with the exchange of zines.”
Accordingly, Exile Books’ next roost is at the National YoungArts Foundation, featuring an exhibition of seminal fanzines curated by the University of Miami’s head of Special Collections, Cristina Favretto, all drawn from that school’s extensive library holdings. There will also be a zine fair, as well as zine-making workshops, each aimed at bringing writers and their readers face to face. “Having a space that dedicates itself to books allows people to truly connect instead of just being Facebook friends,” Keeley says. “It’s not anonymous like so much of the Internet, where people don’t take responsibility for what they’re saying. Print takes us back to a reality where we’re talking to one another.” Exile Books opens on April 10 at the National Young Arts Foundation, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Miami jewelry designer Alexis Dawn Geller’s Roxhouse collection melds natural stones and vintage-inspired mixed metals.
Alexis Dawn Geller wearing some pieces from her Roxhouse jewelry line.
With a newly unveiled collection, a high-profile men’s collaboration, and a growing A-list fan base, jewelry designer Alexis Dawn Geller is making a statement with Roxhouse, her strong yet sexy unisex pieces with an au naturel appeal.
You’ve only been designing for less than a year. How did Roxhouse come about?
I’ve been in the social work field for 10 years, working with people in the most difficult times of their life. Every day, I would come home and make jewelry—that was my escape. I did start noticing that everybody loved my pieces, and I started giving them as gifts—it had nothing to do with making money. I’m honored my friends want to wear Roxhouse, and I just want to help decorate people.
Describe your love affair with jewelry.
Jewelry is, in my opinion, the most important part of the wardrobe. The stones that I use and the pieces that I end up creating have so much energy to them and so much focus that everything else takes a backseat.
Roxhouse Get Funked bracelet ($145) made from vinyl records with a druzy gemstone.
What trends in jewelry are you seeing now?
Vintage bronze and antique brass are my two most popular [metals]. I see people’s tastes are going toward that. It’s in between gold and silver. Guys are becoming more comfortable with that.
Talk about the inspiration for your current collection.
I’m using new white druzies. Druzy is my favorite stone—it’s crystallizations that can form on any stone, so it has a lot of different varieties. I have ones that look like mountains, icicles, and snow. I kind of work backwards: I create [a piece] every single night, and once I have [a grouping], I start informing the collections.
Ashlee Simpson, Evan Ross, Quincy Jones, and Matisyahu all have Roxhouse pieces. DJ Ruckus is also a fan—so much so that he’s doing a Ruckus for Roxhouse collaboration for spring. How did this partnership come about?
I ran into him at Drunken Dragon with a mutual friend of ours and gave him the piece I was wearing that night. And he just looked so flattered—he put it right on. It was such a compliment. I have a lot of respect for him because even though he’s so in the scene, he still has a certain class to him. He’ll have final approval on what he wants to stamp as Ruckus for Roxhouse. Unknwn, Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305-937-2103; Blush Boutique, 1935 West Ave., #103, Miami Beach, 305-531-3050
The Mayweather and Pacquiao match has spilled over to the fashion world. Here, the coolest and most luxurious pieces inspired by the ring.
Manila boxing gloves, Elizabeth Weinstock ($1,450). elizabethweinstock.com
Limited Edition Punching Trunk, Karl Lagerfeld and Louis Vuitton (price available upon request). louisvuitton.com
Reversible Boxing jacket, Polo Ralph Lauren ($495). ralphlauren.com
Kiki robe, Agent Provocateur ($990). agentprovocateur.com
Stainless steel and walnut Loft Dumbell set, Hock Design ($3,875). hockdesign.com
Large multi-buckle Lion Head belt, Anthony Vaccarello x Versus Versace ($525). versace.com
Quilted Bree sneaker, DKNY ($185). dkny.com
A handful of Miami restaurants prove that organic, local, and farm-to-table fare is more than a fad—it's a way of life.
If Executive Chef Julie Frans can’t be found in the kitchen, chances are she’s with her “baby”: a secret organic garden at The Palms Hotel & Spa growing everything from shishito peppers and kale to tomatoes and holy basil (India’s most sacred plant). “This is where I come for inspiration,” she says. From “beyond organic” Strauss grass-fed American beef to Amazonian paiche (an exotic freshwater fish) caught by conscientious fishermen in Peru, and even local links from Proper Sausages, Essensia’s offerings all have one thing in common: They are salubrious. “Just like with our bodies, energy flows through food, too.” The Palms Hotel & Spa, 3025 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-908-5458
For restaurateurs to forgo a freezer in the kitchen is a risky move, but at 27 (The Broken Shaker’s culinary offspring), Bar Lab guys Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi don’t need one. “I know a lot of people say they do local, but we don’t [just] say—we do,” says Zvi. The staff pluck herbs straight from the rooftop or The Broken Shaker garden before mixing them into cocktails, or sprinkling them, along with Florida citrus, onto the whole fried daily catch of the day. Says Zvi, “Today we got sea urchin and octopus that came in from Little River Farms, but it won’t be available tomorrow.” Florida middleneck clams swimming in a chorizo broth, however, are a sure thing every night. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach, 305-531-2727
Don’t want to take a trek down to Homestead to get your dose of fresh heirloom tomatoes from Teena’s Pride? Pick some up at Cafe 221 (formerly the Filling Station) in downtown. In addition to produce to go, the all-organic bistro proffers java from Panther Coffee, fresh juice, and Zak the Baker sandwiches or toasts (try the roasted red peppers with artichokes and feta). “In France, farm-to-table isn’t something people say, it’s all there is,” says owner Carène Zaragoza, who moved from her home country with her husband, Jean, just a year ago. “We thought Miami was a good place to bring that type of food.” 221 NW First Ave., Miami, 786-536-2268
Choices Café creator Alex Cuevas believes that you are what you eat. “People are too busy to think about food and where it comes from,” he says. But he started thinking about it as a child: His father was a butcher in Mexico, which led him to become a vegetarian at the age of 10 and, decades later, to open Miami’s first fully vegan eatery. Here, the chorizo is made of soy, the produce is 95 percent organic, and the cheesecake is dairy free. Bite into La Pixsa, Choices’ version of pizza made with a gluten-free tortilla and topped with cashew cheese, black beans, walnut paté, carrots, onions, and either pesto or chipotle mayo. “We make choices every day,” says Cuevas. “Why not make good ones?” 2626 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, 786-534-5806
From the selection of rare craft brews to the hormone-free beef ground in-house daily, Wynwood’s hippest burger and beer joint keeps it as local and clean as possible. “Everything is made from scratch every single day—even the ketchup,” says owner Matt Kuscher, who abandoned a life of corporate stability (he was the general manager of Houston’s) to spread his dogma of fresh, local, and clean. It’s a feat Kuscher has accomplished, in part, by Kush being the first restaurant in Miami-Dade County to purchase clean energy from windmills. Start your meal with the Florida alligator bites and finish with a slice of fresh Key lime pie. 2003 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-576-4500
Almost a year into his retirement from the NBA, Shane Battier is still rooting for the Miami Heat and helping underserved kids get to college.
It'll be a full year this June since Shane Battier retired from the NBA. "It’s been an interesting year—I didn’t really know what to expect," says the former Miami Heat forward who helped the team win two championships in 2012 and 2013. "For the first time in my life I didn’t have practice time or game time or to go lift weights. It was a very different year for me—a very unfamiliar year compared to the last 20 years of my life."
So what does a star basketball player do with all of this unheard-of free time? Surprisingly, he's not playing much basketball (he'll rebound for his 6-year-old son—more on that below) but he has found his way back to the court; this summer Battier landed a gig with ESPN as a men's college basketball analyst. He also has more time to help underserved kids through The Battier Take Charge Foundation, which was established to provide children and teens with the support they need to further their education. Battier concedes, "Change is good. [This year] was a chance to stretch myself and I felt I grew from the experience."
Last week, Battier and his wife, Heidi, joined David Yurman at the jeweler's boutique at Bal Harbour Shops to launch the Men’s Faceted Metal Collection and raise funds for the Battier Take Charge Foundation (a portion of the evening's proceeds went to the organization). We chatted with Battier right before the event and found out why he wants to send kids to college, his favorite place to watch basketball in Miami, and what it really takes to be a pro ball player.
How did you get involved with ESPN?
SHANE BATTIER: When I knew that last year would be my last year, I started putting out feelers. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after retirement but I knew that I wanted to stay involved with basketball, and I thought that being a person in the media would give me a great chance to stay connected to the game I love and know without the wear and tear of actually playing.
When did you decide to launch your foundation and how did you choose the cause?
SB: The cause is something very near and dear to our hearts. My wife Heidi and I are very strong proponents of higher education and education in general. Heidi was a schoolteacher when we lived in Memphis for many years and as college graduates, we always felt that the best chance for someone to unlock their potential was through college education. We started this iteration, the idea of the Battier Take Charge Foundation, about 5 years ago. We made it our mission to find some really great kids, who don’t have the means but they have all of the attributes of someone who will be successful, and help them on their journey. We believe in supplying opportunity and that’s why we work so hard trying to raise funds and raise awareness and give a special group of kids the opportunity to unlock some amazing potential.
As a sports star, do you feel a responsibility to give back or is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
SB: I feel a responsibility as a citizen of our community and a citizen of our country and a citizen of our world. I think we all have a responsibility to give back in our own way and make the place where we live a better place. We had an awesome platform through basketball to really raise a lot of money and awareness and do something big and we were able to do that through the Battier Take Charge Foundation. There are 13 kids in our program now, and we’ve graduated three kids already. So did I feel responsibility? Yes, but not just as a basketball player.
What made you partner with David Yurman and how did this event come about?
SB: We’re very fortunate to live in a community that is so philanthropic and there are so many great individuals, but also corporations and companies that have philanthropic beliefs and David Yurman is one such company. They approached us and said that they believe in our mission and they want to help us identify and help send some great South Florida kids to college. Any time someone shares our mission and our beliefs strongly, that’s a company that we want to partner with. See photos from the event >>
Shane and Heidi Battier at David Yurman Bal Harbor Shops.
Where is home now?
SB: We are Miami residents and we’ve enjoyed living here—we don’t see any reason to leave.
What are your favorite spots in town?
SB: Aw man, there are so many great restaurants. My favorite restaurant is MC Kitchen in Midtown. I love to go to Prime 112—I never have a bad meal there. Graziano’s is fantastic. I love Mandolin in Midtown. I could go on and on for days.
Where do you go to watch basketball?
SB: I go to Batch in downtown Brickell. When there are multiple games on, they have the most TVs, so I’d say that’s my spot.
The Heat just missed the playoffs—what’s your outlook for next year?
SB: I’m really excited for the Heat next year. I think they had an amazingly tough year with injuries and adversity, but they made a blockbuster trade to get Goran Dragić this year. And all of a sudden you get a healthy Chris Bosh coming back, a healthy Josh McRoberts who didn’t even play a game this year, you get Hassan Whiteside for right side, and of course you have D-Wade. That’s a formidable team. That’s a playoff team. That’s a team that can play at the highest level. If we stay healthy next year, we’re in serious business.
And your college team was just named the national champs. Were you watching? How did it feel to see them accomplish that?
SB: It was amazing. I was in the house that Monday night to see Duke win the championship. I’m so happy for Coach K[rzyzewski]. That’s someone that means so much to me and has taught me so much, not just about basketball but about life. I’m just so proud of my school. It reprehended Duke University with class and with excellence, and it’s a testament to Coach K and his longevity. It was a heck of a party, too, Monday night.
How did you celebrate?
SB: I was with a bunch of my college teammates and guys that I played with and—I didn’t get much sleep, let’s put it that way.
Athletic abilities aside, what qualities do you think make a basketball player successful?
SB: I think being a great basketball player starts with passion. You have to love the game. It’s a game that takes work to become proficient at and if you don’t love it you’re never going to put your heart and your soul into your work. You have to have the awareness and you have to have the fortitude because so many times it doesn’t go my way. If you’re not strong mentally, you’re never going to make it either. I think those are three essential trades you have to have to become a successful basketball player.
Now that you’re retired, how often do you play basketball?
SB: I haven't played basketball since game 5 of the NBA finals last year. I shoot around with my son. My son is going to be a much better basketball player than I ever was. He’s 6 years old and he’s a pretty good player, so I like to rebound for him and shoot around with him a little bit. But I haven’t played competitively. I haven’t done that in about a year.
What’s next for you? What do you see in your future?
SB: That’s an excellent question. I ask myself every single day. I finally get a chance to meet so many amazing people who are doing amazing things. I’m interested in how technology intersects with sports, with media, with entertainment. I would love to invest in different companies and learn about business. My bucket list is super long; I want to learn Spanish, I want to learn to how to deep-sea fish, I want to learn to kitesurf. I have all these things that I want to do and I’m hoping now that college basketball season is done, I’ll have a little more time to pursue. You’ll never have to worry about me getting bored.
Are you Miami Heat for life?
SB: I am a Miami Heat for life. Whether they like it or not, they’re stuck with me.
We caught up with the founder of Peace Love World to talk about how she incorporates sustainable practices into her everyday routine and what it's like to work with Oprah.
When Alina Villasante started hosting parties in her living room for the sake of getting friends together to distribute her trademark graphic tees, little did she know that her conceptions and attitudes would parachute into Peace Love World, a million-dollar, Miami-based business of positive energy—not to mention catch the attention of Oprah and Pharrell Williams. Last year, Villasante got to collaborate with both superstars; she created the exclusive Peace Love Oprah collection sold to attendees of Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend tour, and worked with Pharrell to design a limited-edition collection of T-shirts.
One thing is certain: Peace Love World is not just about the clothes. Miamians and celebrities (like Mila Kunis) alike are drawn to Villasante's philosophy of inspiring women to give back while looking and feeling comfortably chic. With Earth Day upon us, we asked the entrepreneur to tell us what's next and share her tips for going green:
Congrats on the continued growth of Peace Love World. What are some new projects you're working on?
ALINA VILLASANTE: Peace Love World is in its sixth year, and 2014 was one of the most exciting since we started. I got to work with two of my favorite people, Pharrell and Oprah. Going on tour with Oprah was such an inspiring, fulfilling experience, [and] one of the best in my life.
In 2015, we’re continuing to grow in a few directions. We also launched our NBA collection for the fashionable female sports fan. I’m so excited about the new designs we have created for all 30 NBA teams. In spring 2015, I debuted my first namesake collection, the Alina Villasante Collection. It’s a representation of how far I've come as a designer, and at the same time, a response to demand from our customers. It’s the silk blazer you layer over your favorite Peace Love World tee, for example, with your favorite jeans and stilettos, and a fabulous purse.
Not only do you promote a message of love and peace through fashion, but it's also a way of life for you. What are some ways that you spread love and positivity in your day-to-day life?
AV: It’s no secret I love a good mantra—I created a brand to put all positive affirmations I love on clothes. I really believe in the meaning of one of my favorite sayings, “Love is not something you look for, love is something you become.” The whole world is searching for love, for something that they must become themselves first: love attracts love. Giving back is something I take as a personal responsibility; it's an outlet for me emotionally and a driving force behind Peace Love World. I choose to give back in creative ways to causes that are close to my heart, like Haiti relief, autism, and childhood and women’s cancers [and] I make myself available for speeches and events to support them whenever possible. To be able to have fun while doing good is a gift.
Oprah and Alina Villasante.
Earth Day is around the corner—is there anything you do to make sure you and your family are more eco-friendly?
AV: Caring for your environment is just as important as caring for the people around you, and little things can make big differences. It may sound cliché but we try to be mindful and not wasteful. At the office, I ask everyone to think before they print; almost everyone has a PLW water bottle to refill and help eliminate plastic waste—and all of our cardboard packaging is recycled.
What are some tips you have for going green?
AV: Set a goal that’s realistic. For example, bring reusable bags to the grocery store or even shopping. We have reusable shopper totes that we like to give as often as possible rather than paper shopping bags.
Do you have any special plans for Earth Day?
AV: My favorite place to be is at home with my family. I love sitting on the dock looking out at the water and the city, enjoying the sunset. It’s a great place to reflect on everything we are blessed with, so that’s probably where I will be.
When you aren't designing, what are some of your go-to spots in Miami for good food and drinks?
AV: I love going to Soho House because the food is great and I love walking along the beach; it’s what keeps me grounded. I love Pubbelly for sushi, IceBox for a healthy lunch, and I always stock up on JugoFresh when I go to our Miami Beach store. It’s [also] always nice to sit outside at Nespresso for a coffee before a good movie.
Find the nearest Peace Love World boutique here.
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA PEACELOVEWORLD.COM (OPRAH AND VILLASANTE)
Bettor Billy Baxter recounts his most memorable bets on the boxing ring.
Billy Baxter has never taken a punch in the ring. But he has made plenty of money from boxing. Having gambled on sports for more than 50 years, 74-year-old Baxter ranks among the most astute boxing bettors in Las Vegas. Beyond that, he managed Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s uncle, Roger, for much of the fighter’s 18-year-long career. It was a good run for Baxter, but not nearly as good a run as Floyd would have been. “Floyd’s daddy was in prison, he called me up and said, ‘Since you did such a good job with Roger, maybe you’d want to manage Little Floyd,’” remembers Baxter. “I told him that I was getting out of the boxing business and would pass. Had I said yes, maybe I would be managing Floyd Mayweather right now.”
Gargantuan paydays aside, Baxter points out that the undefeated Mayweather has been good to him. “I’ve never lost money betting on Floyd and neither has anybody else,” he says, rebuffing a request for a tip on the upcoming fight. “At the moment, I am keeping my pick for this one a secret.”
Here are three boxing tales that Baxter happily chats about.
In the Blood
“Floyd’s uncle, Roger, was a great fighter. I used to go the old policeman’s gym, downtown, to check out the boxers and see who I liked for betting purposes. Everybody trained there. One day I saw this kid who looked very good. I asked who he was. He turned out to be Roger Mayweather. He had no manager but was looking for one. So I signed him up. By his 13th match, we were fighting at the Atlantic City Convention Hall and he won his first title. I managed him to the point where he lost his title and I thought it was time for Roger to give up on boxing.”
“Back in the old days there used to be weekly club fights at the old Silver Slipper. My friend Tommy Fisher and I used to bet $300 on every fight. We’d take turns setting odds for each match and the other guy could take the odds or lay them. The fights lasted four rounds and we would set the odds after the first round. This one fight came up and it was Tommy’s turn to make the price. The losing fighter was just getting killed. He had a bloody nose and it didn’t even look like he would get up. Tommy wasn’t thinking and he gave 300-to-1 odds on him winning. I immediately took the odds–it would be $90,000 if my man won. The second round was close, the third round went to my guy, and Tommy panicked about potentially losing $90,000 on a $300 wager. He gave me $20,000 to call off the bet. Then his guy wound up winning the fight.”
"I bet a famous bookie $75,000 that the Wilfred Benitez vs. Sugar Ray Leonard fight, at Caesars Palace, would go the distance. In Las Vegas, when there are 10 seconds left in a round, the ring-post lights would go on. There was a rule that if you got knocked out with 10-seconds [or less] to go in a fight, it didn’t count as a knock-out. Leonard was getting to Benitez, but, toward the end of the fight, I remember seeing those lights go on. I stood up and shouted, ‘I win it! I win it!’ Then, with six seconds remaining, the ref stepped in and stopped the fight. I guess the ref thought that Benitez had had enough. He found the only possible way for me to lose my bet on that fight: for him to stop it. That was cold blooded. If Benitez got knocked out and never moved again, I would have won my bet. But the ref had to stop the fight and cost me $75,000.”
In this week's food and drink news, get the scoop on the return of Michelle Bernstein's Sra. Martinez and more.
Champagne Happy Hour at Seaspice
End the week on a bubbly note at Seaspice's new Moët & Chandon sunset happy hour. It kicks off this Friday, April 24 from 4-7 p.m. with raw bar and bar food specials like Alaskan king crab, octopus, and pata negra Iberian ham croquettes. Order a bottle of Champagne and officially welcome the weekend. (Available Tuesday-Friday.) 422 NW North River Dr., Miami, 305-440-4200
Sra. Martinez Returns at 1930s House
If you still miss Michelle Bernstein's Sra. Martinez, now's your chance to try it one last time. The Spanish tapas spot is back for a limited engagement at 1930s House at Thompson Miami Beach. Swing by for live Cuban music or old-school hip-hop (depending on the day and the time of night) and a selection of Sra. Martinez-inspired favorites like lardo-wrapped figs and hogfish carpaccio. Enjoy it before it's all over, though no end date has been set yet. 4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-605-4041
Spring Harvest Festival in Downtown Miami
What better way to celebrate Earth Month than by hitting up a harvest festival? The Spring Harvest Festival takes over the Arts + Entertainment District of Downtown Miami this Sunday, April 26 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. While you're sampling local organic honey from Keez Beez or bread from Zak The Baker, you can also learn how to grow your own garden at the Florida master gardener-led workshop. 14th Street & North Miami Avenue
Mignonette & NIU Kitchen Dinner Collab
Chef Daniel Serfer's Edgewater eatery Mignonette will team up with another newcomer on the Miami food scene, Catalan-style NIU Kitchen, for an intimate 10-course tasting menu on April 27. The 40-seat dinner starts with passed hors d'oeuvres at 7 p.m., followed by the Migniukitchenette experience—a Spanish wine-fueled feast that showcases new dishes from both chefs such as crudos, seafood, and protein with haute options like raw shrimp tartar and lamb braciole. 210 NE 18th St., Miami, 305-374-4635; Reservation required
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s personal chef, Quiana Jeffries, is giving us the dish on what she’s cooking for the champion boxer in preparation for his May 2 match against Manny Pacquiao. Plus: Three Vegas eateries that’ll have you dining like Mayweather in no time.
Quiana Jeffries is living the kind of fairy tale that can only be possible in the age of social media. Personally hired by Floyd Mayweather Jr. after the boxer’s camp saw images of the various culinary creations she had posted on Instagram, the L.A.-raised chef relocated to Vegas last summer and has been cooking for Mayweather on a $1,000-a-plate basis since July (a number she says was decided by Mayweather). We checked in with Jeffries, known as Chef Q, to find out what she’s been serving the undefeated champion as he readies for his May 2 bout against Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
It’s 1 p.m. Have you cooked anything yet today?
QUIANA JEFFRIES: I’ve cooked twice already. I made breakfast—[Floyd] had broccoli, country potatoes, and a turkey kielbasa sausage with barbecue sauce. I also made him teriyaki chicken with pineapple pico de gallo and vegetables.
You’re a recent Vegas transplant, but how did you first get into cooking professionally?
QJ: I got into cooking from my great-grandmother. She was big on cooking—she was the type of great-grandmother who would cook for the family all the time, and she’s from Louisiana, so everything that she was making was from a Southern or Creole background. Very old-school. I never saw her look at a cookbook. Everything she did was off the top of her head and that’s how she taught me.
I was into sports my whole life, so cooking didn’t become my passion until after I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena in 2003. Culinary school didn’t teach me how to cook; it just gave me a broader base and taught me how to fix things if I made a mistake.
I went to school because I wanted to be a personal or private chef. I never wanted to work in a restaurant and I never wanted to work in hotels because I feel like I’m more of a personal, one-on-one chef. To me, cooking in restaurants isn’t as intimate. I like to connect with who I’m cooking for. But when I graduated from college, I went to cook for different hotels, shelters, and restaurants, just to see the flow of things and how things work in different environments.
Floyd eventually connected with you through Instagram. How exactly did that come about?
QJ: I was working for a catering company last year and I just got tired. I got tired of making everybody else money that I could basically just make myself, so I quit my job last June and started focusing more on my own catering. Someone from Instagram that I’d never met before followed me and liked my pictures of the things that I cook and they introduced me to a celebrity life coach named Tony Gaskins. He had me come cook for him for a weekend and during that weekend he started posting pictures of what I made on his Instagram. Floyd’s assistant follows Tony [on Instagram] and was seeing my pictures and at the time they were looking for a chef, so they contacted me one day and told me to come down to Vegas because Floyd wanted to hire me for two months. I came down here from L.A. with my clothes and shoes and never left—his training camp started in July, so I started working for him then. It was only supposed to be for eight weeks, but he says he’s never letting me go.
Did Floyd make you cook for him before he hired you?
QJ: Nope. When he first met me, the first thing he said was that I look young—you know, “How do you have the ability to do what you do cooking-wise when you look so young?” He didn’t believe that I’m 32. He was like, “But you have such a baby face!” People say I look young, but I make them feel like a grandmother is cooking for them because my food is comforting.
When I first came out to Vegas, it was about 4 in the morning. Floyd said, “OK, make me breakfast.” So I made him breakfast—it was [him] and his kids and his assistant. He talks a lot of trash, so he was saying: “You’re kind of an amateur chef. It’s pretty good, but the other chef’s food was better.” In a week, he’d changed his mind: “You’re not an amateur chef; you’re a pro chef.”
Is there a plan or schedule made in advance for what you’re going to cook for him, or is it pretty spontaneous?
QJ: He doesn’t tell me anything. I never know when I’m going to cook or what I’m going to cook until he calls. Like today—he may decide to eat out later on, after his training. He may not need me, but I won’t know that. I don’t have a set schedule. I’m available to him 24/7, so he can call me whenever he wants.
I pretty much know what he likes and doesn’t like, so I stick to those things. He’s a very simple guy. He may ask for a lot, but he’s not difficult: “Oh, I want caviar and octopus.”
What are some of his favorite dishes for you to cook?
QJ: I’d definitely say tacos or spaghetti. He likes everything to be organic, so he eats a lot of different organic meats. He loves Caribbean food, so I usually make him oxtails—he eats oxtails once every few weeks—and he loves gumbo. I make that at least once a week. He also loves fried chicken and steak.
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Does he ever have cheat days?
QJ: He eats fast food, but he’s cut it out a lot during his training camp. Fatburger is his spot. During his last training camp, we were going to Fatburger at least once or twice a week, but we haven’t been going as much during this training camp. He’ll even eat a Big Mac here and there. He’s really not a difficult person—he eats normal, regular food, like Top Ramen.
Is there anything you usually make for him right before or after he trains?
QJ: I juice for him a lot. Everything that he eats is something that he knows is going to rebuild his system. He’s at a level where he knows his body, so he knows what his body can take and what to eat. He knows what his body needs more than what I’d be able to tell him. Juicing is a good way for him to get more nutrients in his body at one time. I can give him a quart of juice and it’ll have four apples, four pears, a whole pineapple, and some spinach. He drinks a lot of his nutrients and vitamins to replenish his body—actually, the main thing he asks for is juice.
What do you like to cook for yourself?
QJ: I eat out more than anything. By the time that I get home, I don’t even want to cook. I also end up eating whatever I’m cooking at his house, but if I’m off, I have to get back in the mood to cook. I love to make a breakfast fried rice with maple sausage, rice, and some egg. For dinner, I love a good steak and potatoes with broccoli—things that don’t take very much time to cook. I wouldn’t be about to make myself some oxtail.
You’re working on a cookbook right now, but what else do you see yourself doing after this particular fight is over? Do you want to continue cooking for celebrities?
QJ: I’ve been working on something for years, but I’m taking my time with it. I want it to not be just a cookbook. I want it to be something positive that you read when you’re having a bad day. Something that’s funny and inspirational, not just a basic, boring cookbook—it definitely has to have some personality to it.
I can honestly say I do see myself continuing to cook for celebrities, and not even just for celebrities, but also for anybody who’s willing to know my worth. For years, I’ve been taken advantage of in terms of my worth and my ability to be creative in the kitchen. I’m big on being positive and inspirational—I didn’t have a hard life coming up, but I know that a lot of people are inspired by me because I’m just a regular girl.
Where Does Mayweather Go Out to Eat?
Even without your own Chef Q, you can still eat like Floyd Mayweather Jr. at some of his favorite Vegas restaurants:
In March, Mayweather commented that he’d like Gordon Ramsay to cook for him personally at the celebrity chef’s Caesars Palace restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, after the boxer’s fight with Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Whether or not that’ll actually happen is still up for debate, but in the meantime, you can get a taste of the good life at Ramsay’s Caesars restaurant, or one of his other two outposts at Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood. 3570 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 877-346-4642
According to Chef Q, one of the restaurants that Mayweather frequents most often is locals’ best-kept secret Musashi Japanese Steakhouse, which Jeffries describes as “a Benihana-type place where they cook on a grill in front of you.” 3900 Paradise Rd., Ste. W, 702-735-4744
He famously brawled with rapper T.I. at the Strip-facing Fatburger in May 2014, but if anything has stopped Mayweather from regularly visiting the fast-food chain, it’s his rigorous training regimen. The restaurant recently returned the boxer’s admiration by debuting the Floydburger, a sandwich made with all-organic beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, relish, and special sauce. 3763 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-736-4733
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA INSTAGRAM.COM/CHEFISM