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Solea, as the tabloids say, in happier times.
Miami Spice is still offering its cheap eats through the end of September, but the latest hotel news in South Beach has us thinking ahead to next year's Spice--when two new restaurants will be in place at two of the most high-profile properties in town.
We were waxing lyrical about The Royal at The Raleighjust last week--and it's only been there since last November--but clearly our love is not enough to prevent change. Miami's most famous chef, Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine, is moving into the Raleigh, probably by the end of the year.
That's huge. But it's not the only restaurant revolving door spinning--the Miami New Times blog Short Order also informs us that Solea is out at W South Beach, and NYC-cool eatery The Dutch is taking its place. Well, isn't this a lot to chew on? (Ha!)
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As you can see from our video tour, the one-bedroom suites at the The Regent Palms Turks & Caicos have full kitchens. Really pretty ones that we wish we had back home.
We didn't cook while here, of course, although we gave that Nespresso machine a good little workout. We imagine some families might cook in these rooms--the hotel even has a gourmet market near the lobby where you can buy easy-peasy ingredients to stock in that huge fridge.
But if you find yourself longing to get use out of that stove and are just too darn lazy to cook yourself, that's OK--the Regent Palms' chef will come to your suite and whip up a meal for you.
Now that Dream South Beach is officially open--fire-eaters and Nicky Hilton at the party officially open--we decided to stop in at the hotel's restaurant, Tudor House, to sample Geoffrey Zakarian's menu.
The first thing we devoured, though, was the decor. We're big fans of the Art Deco period--which is one reason we also love the look of Zakarian's Lambs Club at The Chatwal in New York. Tudor House is less clubby and masculine than Lambs, but the clean lines and airy feel suit Miami Beach. Being hotel nerds, we also love that the Tudor House bar utilizes the former hotel's check-in desk area. (Where they make a mean Moscow Mule and a delightful vodka cocktail called Peggy's Punch.)
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With Miami Spice (a two-month long 'Restaurant Week') on the horizon in Miami, we have food on the brain. To prepare for the food-fest, we've been scoping out some of the city's best hotel restaurants to bring you the inside word on where to book your Spice tables. Today: Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami.
One of Miami's poshest, the restaurant opened in 2000 but has a breath of fresh air in the form of Chef Joel Huff, who joins the hotel after stints at Mandarins in San Francisco and New York, and at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.
Despite serving up seriously high-class dishes like Eggs & Caviar and Sake Marinated Black Cod, Chef Huff is totally down to earth, and happy to talk to guests about his recent move to Miami and his love for surfing. OK, so we were at Azul for a media event, but the restaurant has an open kitchen so you'll always be able to spot him and, really, the guy loves to chat. Trust us, this is one time you won't have to worry about awkward small talk when the chef does his rounds of tables towards the end of the night.
Now that L'Ermitage Beverly Hills has become a Viceroy spot sans the actual Viceroy name, the hotel is revamping its food offerings and just named Joseph Elevado as its new executive chef.
Elevado, a Staten Island native who cooks up Asian-inspired eats, will add new flavor to the hotel's eating options, including the historic lounge to in-room dining and poolside fare. But the big change will be the a new signature restaurant that's set to debut in the fall.
Two months ago, Chef Richard Farnabe, the former personal chef to designer-turned-hotelier Tommy Hilfiger, planted a garden on the roof of the Soho Grand Hotel. No stranger to the world of horticulture (he also keeps a garden at his home in the Hamptons), Farnabe is excited about the fact that, at seventeen stories up, this garden has remained (and hopefully will) absolutely deer-, bird-, and bug-free. And, just like a deer out of the forest, the whole locavore-inspired project seems to have come out of nowhere!
"We didn't have any idea about how to do a rooftop garden. At first, we wanted to do a garden in the parking lot, so we asked the owners about it, and they suggested we do it on the roof because there was more space. This garden was improvised, we didn't research anything. We just started doing it."
Angry Birds FTW! This might be one of our favorite hotel pastry concoctions ever.
The pastry chef at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, Calif. created a special Easter display in honor of Angry Birds, the addictive iPad and iPhone
time-waster app and video game. Considering that this hotel is in the shadow of Palo Alto and Silicon Valley, the Angry Birds were very apropro.
The birds were put out for the hotel restaurant's, Madera, Easter brunch where ducks, chickens, dwarf goats, turkeys, sheeps rabbits and yes, pot-bellied pigs frolicked on the lawn out front. Although the display is made of edible ingredients, guests were not allowed to get the Golden Egg, er, we mean, eat it.
Oh, Dream South Beach, you do love to torture us so. While we weren't quite foolish enough to believe that last April 1 target opening date, we were believing those rumors that busy chef Geoffrey Zakarian was no longer part of the project. The man is pretty busy running the Lambs Club at The Chatwal and The National at The Benjamin, after all.
But, it turns out, Zakarian is the chef for the Dream SoBe's resto--the man himself announced it in a tweet.
While we're not bowled over by the name--Tudor House Miami, a nod to one of the original Deco buildings the hotel is taking over--we are kinda psyched about Zakarian hitting up the beach to cook.
Now that we have a firm opening date and preview rates for the Mondrian Soho, let's move on to other pressing matters: food. More specifically, what can we expect from the hotel's restaurant, Imperial No. 9, which will open on March 1?
We've heard a lot about this restaurant over the past 12 months and are now kicking ourselves for not getting down to Miami during Art Basel, because that's where a group of fabulous types got to preview Imperial No. 9, at a special dinner hosted by chef Sam Talbot, Poppy de Villeneuve and Art + Culture Editions.
The intimate gathering took place poolside at the Mondrian South Beach on December 4 and featured a sneak peek at the tastiness that awaits us in Soho.
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While most folks are focused on Thanksgiving travel and meals, down in Miami the focus is already on Art Basel Miami Beach, the art fair that comes to town from December 2–5.
And all those collectors and scenesters accustomed to the buzzy dining scene in New York will be happy to hear that chef John DeLucie (of The Lion and The Waverly) moves into The Raleigh.
The new restaurant will be called The Royal and should bring some excitement back to the hotel that was dumped by Andre Balazs just over a year ago.
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Now that Top Chef champ Michael Voltaggio has left and the renovations are done, the Langham Huntington, Pasadena will reopen the Dining Room October 22, rechristened as The Royce.
But the restaurant's name isn't the only change diners will see. David Féau, who was executive chef of L.A.'s Cafe Pinot, will be manning the stoves here. And while Féau isn't a tatted-up reality TV star, he does have the cooking cred: He trained under noted chef Guy Savoy and was executive chef of Le Miravile, a Michelin Star-rated restaurant in Paris.
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Todd English at The IC Times Square's Ça Va.
It may still be August, and the city streets bare as the power players party in the Hamptons, but fall is almost upon us—NFL pre-season starts this weekend and we've already noticed some leaves turning. (Ugh!). But to cheer ourselves up about the onset of fall, we turned our minds to food, and the new hotel restaurants we can find refuge in when the temperature dips.
Remember when we were trying to figure out if the good people at Eater NY were right, and that the 'local celebrity chef' helming the restaurant at was indeed David Burke? It is. The hotel hasn't announced it as such, but clues emerged at the recent press preview of the hotel—David Burke-branded cookies in the swag bag, and an updated brochure that said in print, as clear as day, 'Signature restaurant by David Burke'. Here's hoping he replicates the steak-haven of David Burke's Primehouse at The James Chicago.