Monthly Archives: September 2010

Get a taste of what Miami has to offer

Looking for a delicious meal that is sure to impress your date? Miami Spice is an annual restaurant promotion that takes place weekdays from August 1 to September 30. During these two months, Miami locals and visitors alike can enjoy three-course meals in some of Miami’s top restaurants for a lunch price of $22 or a dinner price of $35.

For some, that price-per-person may seem costly, but mind you that most of these restaurants serve entrees that are in the $20 range. This means that, for lunch, you would be getting an incredibly unique and delicious meal for the price of one plate.

I love going out to eat, and once I find a restaurant that suits my gastronomical fancy, I want to eat there as often as I can, even though my wallet is only so big. Miami Spice is a chance to experience a wide array of flavors from different ethnic cuisines, ranging from Spanish to Argentinean to Japanese.

One restaurant that I had been drooling over was Meat Market. Located on Lincoln Road, Meat Market oozes luxury with its Angus rib eye and perfectly broiled soufflés. The restaurant only offers the fixed-price menu for dinner, but your meal can include the likes of an Alaskan crab tail to start, Harris Ranch short ribs as a main course, and a milk chocolate panna cotta for dessert. So shell out that Benjamin Franklin and invite a lucky guest to dine at Meat Market this week.

On the other hand, some restaurants offer small-portioned meals that are not worth the price. Some of my favorite restaurants might be participating in Miami Spice, but their regular menu is much more worthwhile. These include: Graziano’s in both Brickell and Coral Gables, Novecento, Sugarcane (probably my favorite restaurant at the moment), Sushi Samba, China Grill, and Red Koi. The $35 dinner is supposed to mean a discount of 25-60%, but in reality the restaurant “discounts” the portion as well, so for example, Sugarcane’s regular menu offers small, tapas style plates from $5 to around $15, making personal selection much more worthwhile than a three-course meal.

A $50 dinner is an extravagance for most during this economy, but take your special someone on a romantic date night that will be hard to top before Miami Spice is gone.

P.S.  If you miss out on Miami Spice, make sure to dine at Sugarcane one of these days anyhow. The goat cheese croquets, Kobe beef sliders, raw jumbo shrimp, and torrejas (a type of French toast that is soaked in buttermilk and eggs for 24 hours, then pan seared and cooked in the oven with caramelized apples) are must haves!

“Get over it, it’s a show dude,”

Said one teenage girl to a guy complaining next to her as she attempted to enter the mosh pit created in front of the stage last Saturday at Grand Central.

The downtown club was packed with sweat-dripping, head-nodding, alcohol downing Crystal Castles fans.  What could possibly be missing? A little sobriety and personal space would have been nice.

Tickets were initially sold online for $25. The hype over the experimental electronic, punk duo from Toronto, Ontario grew to unforeseen levels, the event tickets were sold out in participating stores (Uncle Sams is one) and online a week before. Grand Central, although large for a Poplife club, has its limits. But those in charge of the event ignored maximum capacity and decided to reopen admission for a whopping $45.

It was hard to breathe, it was impossible to walk, and dancing basically turned into moshing. The sweat that stuck to everyone’s clothes (or the skin of shirtless men) was unbearable, and I’m not even going to begin describing the smell or the feeling of a stranger’s arm or back rubbing against yours.

What made the audience even worse was the lack of consciousness. The crowd ranged from teens to mid-20s. The older people were drunk and the younger were popping pills. People were on the floor, amazed at how it felt to touch one another. Others were being mind-controlled behind their sunglasses by the green and yellow flashing lights.

While Crystal Castles, consisting of producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass, did perform at ULTRA Music Festival in 2009, this was not ULTRA and the duo is not rave music. Even though I’m sure Glass was enjoying every minute of the scene below her, being a notorious drunk on stage. At least she sobered up a little from their last visit to Miami because that show was more of a cry for help than a musical performance.

Not to say that Glass failed to entertain this time around. Her vocals were still inaudible for the most part, her body drenched from bouncing around, yet she kept banging on the drums or banging her head, and she even crowd surfed. Fan favorites Baptism, Celestica, Empathy, and Intimate and Alice Practice, from their first album, were all somewhat altered live, but still widely entertaining and dance-inducing.

The show lasted until around 2:30 am. After that all the drunk drivers were released to wreak havoc on the streets of Miami. It was definitely a night to remember, although for the majority, that may prove to be difficult.

Go Canes?

The minds of University of Miami students were on one thing Thursday: football. Then again, maybe not every single student…

Although it might have seemed as if all UM classes were checkerboards of orange and green, there were some students that donned their everyday clothes and had other things to worry about.

You are not alone!

In fact, in one specific lecture hall of about 80 students, more than 20 seemed uninterested in the game that evening. Does that make them lacking in school spirit? While some tailgating junkies may think being indifferent about your university’s football team is taboo, why should students who have never been fascinated by the sport all of a sudden act as if it’s the most exciting thing once they enter college?

There’s no need to fake your love. It’s okay to not like football and it’s completely acceptable not to skip your afternoon class to chug a few beers, splatter on some face paint and go scream until you sound like a pre-pubescent boy.

Let’s say you don’t like football, in fact: you don’t even know the difference between a pass and a kickoff, and when someone uses the acronym QB you think they just mispronounced QT (aka cutie). Don’t sweat it. There are others like you out there, and you won’t be chastised for not dressing up and getting pumped for the game.

Plus, it’s not like the Miami Hurricanes are number one (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/04/college-football-rankings-2010_n_703646.html#s133600).  So unless your team is the Alabama Crimson Tide, winners of the national championship last year, don’t knock yourself down for not dying your hair half orange and half green for every game that comes along.

There are plenty of other things to do, especially in Miami. For one, you can take this opportunity to go eat out somewhere that would usually be packed with fellow Canes. If you feel somewhat guilty about not being school-spirited, go to Stir Moon (http://stirmoon.com/) and get the Miami Hurricane Roll. Invite a friend to go shopping or to a movie. If people you know wish they could go to the game, invite them over and have a get together at your place: have the game playing in the background for those who want to see it and start up a separate conversation near the chip bowl for those who don’t. If the day’s nice, take a beach trip or go to a nearby pool. The list of Plan B’s is infinite, but the important thing is to find something YOU like.

The truth is, not everyone likes football and even though you might feel left out of the loop, there are plenty of others who would love to be out of that loop with you. College is a time to find yourself, to become an independent adult, so make your own decision because you only get four years in here anyway!

P.S. Just in case you don’t know the correct terminology and want to go to your first game before you graduate, here’s a website to skim over: http://www.firstbasesports.com/football_glossary.html