Tag Archives: laguiole

Let There Be Wine & Food

by Cyn. Zarco

Every year mobs of foodies and wine lovers from all over the world queue up on the sands of South Beach to, well, what else — eat, drink and be merry con celeb chefs at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. This year the weather was cooking, too. How hot was it? So hot it warmed the Badia olive oil samples in my goodie bag. Thank god for the occasional sea breeze and barrels of cold Evian and chilled Illy cappucinos, or I’d have had a fainting spell while jostling in line for a dollop of paella. Please, sir, can I have some more, sir?

Tickets were pricey, yes, but, bone up — money went to a good cause — students of FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.Here’s looking forward to good service! Buon appetito!

Clockwise from top left: The Meatball Truck: mangiamiami.com; A Fish Named Avalon; Chef Bobby Flay dishes at Hotel Victor.


Catching up with girlfriend-Entourage actress/chefinista Debi Mazar at the Hotel Victor en route to an industry food seminar with her Cooking Channel “Extra Virgin” hubby Gabriele Corcos. Debi started out in sales at Patricia Field in New York and is featured in my ’80s street-fashion book, Wild Style.

Extra Virgin: Debi Mazar at Hotel Victor

Drinking/Giving: Talking to co-owner Nicole Rosalina from “Trucks on the Beach” sponsor, Cultivate Wines  about their unique philanthropy concept while she stocked the coolest wine bar on wheels. On site via online submission and voting, Cultivate gives 10% of sales (app. $100,000/quarter) to non-profits supporting education and basic human needs. Not an actual winery, they cull the finest eco-friendly wines from vintners all over the world, package then sell online.

Accompaniment: How about a marble-horn Laguiole Sommelier Corkscrew and a set of  Salviati crystal wine glasses for the table?

Photos: ©cyn.zarco2012

¡Feliz Año Nuevo Fiesta!


Omar Hernandez

In South Beach people know Omar Hernandez as the Raleigh Hotel’s handsome Ambience Director during the glam days of Andre Balazs. In New York, he’s known as the hot restaurant consultant who created last year’s club prive´ hubbub that was The Lion.

I caught up with Omar on a crazy prep day for Hotel Americano‘s private dinner party on a five-bedroom uberyacht at the Miami Beach Marina — Mr. D. We hopped and shopped from Sweden (Ikea) to Japan (79th St. Sushi Deli) to Midtown (Jimmy’z Kitchen) to Little Haiti (Dollar Store) and Joe’s Stone Crabs for treats and props. During a cafe con leche break at our secret Cuban boite, I asked him to plan a Babalu New Year’s Eve dinner for 12.
Cocktails around the punch bowl at 8; sitdown dinner family-style at 9:30, he said. No stragglers. No rushing around in the kitchen before midnight. What to serve: Fish and fowl — perfectly roasted Cornish hens and Bacalao. Implementation: Laguiolesteak knives by Jean-Michelle Wilmotte – Oh, what beautiful surgery. Which champagne to pour in those gorgeous Salviati flutes: Ruinart Blanc du Blanc (“Like Krug without the fuss.”)

Laguiole Knives, Fornasetti Plates, Salviati Crystalware, Iittala Kivi Votives

The table: Dress it up with Fornasetti’s stunning black-and-white, geometric plates and serving dishes. Then dot the night with just the right number of votives in Iittala candleholders for sultry visibility. Flip on the flat screen to watch the countdown in Times Square, but cut the sound, please. Plug in Jambox. (One is enough.) Fill the room with Hotel Costes Number 14 Eurolounge sounds, their latest. Kick back. Enjoy.

Hotel Costes CD 12 & 14, Jawbone Jambox

After coco flan dessert, put those silly party hats on. Give each guest 12 grapes to eat for good luck, one per chime of midnight. (A Latin tradition). Fill each glass full of champagne. Stand next to the one you love.


46 oz. Organic Pineapple Juice
28 oz. Club Soda
6 oz. Organic Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate

1 Lemon Sliced
Fresh Raspberries & Blueberries
1 bottle of Champagne
Combine liquids in your Salviati Graffiati holiday punch bowl.
Slice lemon. Drop in berries. Watch them float.
Ladle lovingly into Salviati tumblers. Enjoy!


From Europa, with Love

by Greg Melvin & Paolo Ambu


When our flight arrived late at Charles De Gaulle Aeroport, the first domino fell. We missed our French connection to Milan and had to scramble a plan to get to Switzerland in time for Werner’s birthday dinner in Zug. We jumped on a train to Gare du Nord station in Paris to connect to Zurich, only to find out a half hour later, no train scheduled could get us there in time. We rented a car. Our 7-hour sojourn into Zurich was demanding, so we took turns at the wheel. To stay awake, we spritzed our faces with, what else, Evian Spray! We don’t know if it was the altitude or jet lag that hit us (tres fatigue´), but we just could not stop giggling. There we were, driving through the entire French menu, word by word — Bourgogne, for starters, then Dijon, then Brie. It made us hungry. Worse, driving through an endless panorama of vineyards was teasing our palate. Too bad we were in such a big hurry. We could have hopped from vigneron to vigneron brandishing our Laguiole  pink Flouro Acrylic sommelier knife and sipping vino. Next time we’ll pack a designated driver.

Laguiole sommelier knife - Designer: Jean Michele Wilmotte

Finally, we arrived in Zug. Set against the Wildspitz mountains, it’s one of the most picturesque places we’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen plenty. Tina Turner (and her low-tax bank account) live there, as do many multinational corporations, and, of course, other uber-rich and famous — Roger Moore, Phil Collins, even… Shania Twain.

Paolo & Greg overlooking Lake Zug

Here we are on the terrace fronting Lake Zug. We look rejuvenated because Jao Serious Moisture Facial rescued us from the dry Alpine air of Heidi-Ville. Buon Anniversario, Werner!

Oh, Heidi! Your skin is like cream cheese!


Next stop, Milano. Spring Fashion Week 2011 was full on. So was our home away from home — Maison Moschino. It did not disappoint. With the architectural bones of Milan’s first train station, our hotel wonderland was as surreal and fantastic as its namesake. We loved our conceptual Bee room. The better to Babalu buzz-z-z-z in. Molto grazie, Franco Moschino! Zsa Zsa Boom!

Buon giorno!

The next day we windowshopped on our way to “work” — peruse the merchandise at the Milan trade shows. Afterward we stopped at one of our favorite boutiques, 10 Corso Como. Like Babalu Miami at The Mews, it too has a cobblestone path to the entrance. Inside we spied Bruce Weber & Nan Bushenjoying lunch al fresco on a sunny afternoon.  We both flashed back to his Haiti show last year at MOCA when Cyn. dragged us thru the madding crowd to meet him.

Spotted at 10 Corso Como -- Bruce Weber

One day we rented bikes at Bikemi.it to see the town. Miami Beach’s version — decobike.com. The exercise made us hungry. In Italy, all roads lead to pizza. You have to try the pie at Fratelli la Bufala at Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the Lincoln Road of Milan. But, get your own pizza — no sharing here. Paolo, the expert (he’s from Sardegna), says it’s the best he’s ever had! And, that’s a lot of pizza! Later that night, exhausted from shopping, we found another place that reminded us of home — Miami Lounge, just around the corner from Maison Moschino at Porta Garibaldi. Twist our arm — we stopped in for a drink.

Next day we thought we’d tour the newly redone, rationalist architectural masterpiece, Villa Necchi. We needed inspiration for our upcoming kitchen renovation. The Villa, much like Miami’s Villa Vizcaya, is an oasis in the center of town. Designed by architect Piero Portaluppi in 1932 for the Necchi industrial family, it was the location for the movie, “I Am Love,” starring Tilda Swindon. See the movie; ditch the tour — brutally boring! But, you can smell like a svelte film star with a spritz of E’tat Libre d’OrangeLike This” parfum created by Tilda herself. Sold where else? At Babalu Miami’s fab Perfume Bar.

Paolo reenacts a scene from "I Am Love."

%d bloggers like this: