Velvet underground: Feb 20-26
Oscar, Conrad and Phillipe -- they all want to entertain you.
By Lesley Abravanel
For foodie fans, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival turns South Beach into a massive red carpet of star chef sightings this weekend. But it's also Oscar weekend -- and we have our very own official party, Oscar Night America Sobe Style, which benefits the Miami Beach Film Society and Cinematheque. The Sunday night party will be hosted by star chef Bobby Flay and wife/actress Stephanie March (Law & Order: SVU) with a celeb-by-proxy appearance by Hugh Jackman, who autographed commemorative bottles of Moet & Chandon. The party will take place at the Paris Theatre, kicking off at 6:30 with red carpet pomp and circumstance. The live telecast of the 81st annual Academy Awards begins at 8, and will be featured on big screens. With a menu directed by Flay, Godiva treats -- and did we mention the free-flowing Moet? -- some would say the $200 per person ticket is a worthy investment.
The Conrad Miami celebrates the first anniversary of its lofty restaurant and lounge, Level 25, with a week-long bash starting Monday. Among the highlights: $6 raspberry mojitos and Brickelltini cocktails Monday; cooking demos of Spanish tapas by chef Michael Gilligan at 6 and 8 p.m. Tuesday featuring $5 Spanish wines by the glass and three tapas for $25; and a champagne, caviar and oyster orgy on Thursday night. The event culminates Feb. 27 with a five-course grand tasting event for $75 per person.
For those who can't consume enough foodstuffs, consider the South Beach Wine & Food after-hours parties, when the chefs cut loose and mingle like normal folk, albeit a bit tipsier. We hear the official after-hours spot this year is Philippe at the Gansevoort South, which, according to an insider, "Will be keeping the party going well after the sun goes down'' and the cooktops cool off. Cooling off on Brickell are prices, and not just on condos. The Capital Grille is offering a five-course Italian fare dinner for $49 per person from Monday through April 5 in honor of the U.S. debut of Tuscan winemaker Castello Banfi's 2005 Belner O Sangiovese di Montalcino. Among the dinner items: black truffle mac 'n' cheese and, of course, meat!
And while mac 'n' cheese goes together like Laverne and Shirley, some say that opera mixed with soulful house beats may be an odd match. Not so, say the aural geniuses at the New World Symphony led by Michael Tilson Thomas. The Friends of the Symphony is throwing a party Saturday after the symphony performs the music of Charles Ives. Following the concert at the Lincoln Theatre, the hip friends group will move over to Blade at the Fontainebleau for hors d'oeuvres, Chopin cocktails and Rebeka Diaz singing sultry opera to the back beat of DJ Induce. Tickets are $75 for nonmembers and include the concert. Show starts at 7:30 and the party begins at 10. Call 305-673-3330 and ask for the Friends Package.
Finally, for those who use the word cinema instead of the movies, consider CineVisun and Transit Lounge's new Silver Screen Sundays, taking place every week at 7 p.m. with screenings on the lounge's patio as well as discussions with film directors. Also available, vodka specials, hot dogs, popcorn and candy. Admission is free. And for those aspiring Spielbergs, CineVisun is actually looking for movies to showcase on Sundays -- shorts, features, documentaries or animated works. If you've got more than a silly YouTube clip, contact or call 305-331-4896.