Report From Art Basel: Chatting w/ Vik Muniz About Japanese Bonsai and The Artistic Fantasy Land

 

 

Kicking off the 2019 Art Basel Miami Beach was the star studded Ruinart champagne sunset fete, which celebrated Vik Muniz’s art series Shared Roots, the inspiration behind an evening that brought together high culture and sublime gastronomy.

The centerpiece of the evening was the launch of the Vik Muniz x Ruinart Champagne Leaf limited-edition prints, 100% of sales of which went to benefit Imazon, a Brazilian nonprofit dedicated to Amazon rainforest conservation. As the sun set, guests were treated to a delectable Mocequa fish stew by the legendary Chef Daniel Boulud, inspired by the artist’s Brazilian heritage and crafted to pair with both Ruinart’s beloved Blanc de Blancs, and the debut of the house’s first ever rosé.

 

 

Joan Smalls, Karolina Kurkova, Shea Marie, Caroline Vreeland, punk-architect Peter Marino, Gaia Matisse, Hank Willis Thomas, Aureta Thomollari, Marion Guggenheim, Jennifer Lopez and Olivia Perez mixed with the culture cognoscenti and art-world insiders within the lush Miami Beach Botanical Garden, as DJ (and fashion designer) Timo Weiland set the mood with a typically smart set of tunes.

As a sculptor and photographer, Muniz is passionate about understanding his subject – so for this project he took lessons on tree drawing at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

“The other student was a Japanese Bonsai artist and theatrical performer,” he recalls, “and she had this thing about what trees felt, and would emulate the trees with long arms.”

 

 

“When you see something up close with so much attention to particular detail,” he continues, “it becomes a mirror for the entire universe. This is an essential element to how trees behave. When you draw a live tree with a pencil, I realized you are also drawing a dead tree. So I decided to make a drawing out of pieces of a dead tree. A tree in itself is a narrative, vines go places and they are a portrait of what they are looking for.”

He proffers that art can function as a tool, or instrument, for bettering our relationship with the teetering environment – and that artists veritably help us connect with our senses for deeper engagement.

“When you have this kind of collaboration,” he reckons, “you recontextualize the meaning for people who work in the wine industry. You give them a different perspective on what they are working with. Being around Ruinart connected me to something I wanted to work with for a long time: trees.”

 

Yet he emphasizes that he does not wish to make his art blatantly political – hoping instead that it will inspire viewers to actually think for themselves.

“Artists live in a fantasy land that doesn’t reflect the realities of everyday,” he observes. “So we challenge people to think differently and see things in a different way.”

Muniz’s beautiful and textural Leaf prints can be purchased for $5,000 on Clos19.com, with just a total of 30 available for sale.

 

Dom Pérignon + Lenny Kravitz: This Was Our Fave Art Basel Party

 

 

For experienced “Baselers,” Art Basel Miami Beach is not really just about the art itself, but also, of course, about the lavish and extravagantly-spent-on parties that take place before the fair actually opens to the public. Our pick for the best of them all this year was Dom Pérignon pairing up with Creative Director Lenny Kravitz to recreate The Last Supper (you know, that Da Vinci painting?) at Alan Faena’s gorgeous waterfront home, to celebrate the release of Lenny’s limited edition Dom Pérignon collection – including the Vintage 2008 and Rosé 2006.

 

 

Following Lenny’s ‘Power of Inspiration’ photo exhibition in NYC, which enlightened how inspiration is the catalyst and also the magnet for drawing together the exceptional and the very talented together, this extravagant evening brought that very spirit to life. Lenny and Mr. Faena hosted several of their closest friends for an intimate dinner, whipped up by Chef Francis Mallmann (who counts Gwyneth and Katy Perry amongst his fans), followed by a larger VIP party where the cognoscenti from the art, entertainment and fashion worlds sipped and schmoozed.

We spotted Paris Hilton, Luka Sabbat, Rosario Dawson, Tommy Hilfiger, Sean Penn, Mario Sorrenti, Caroline Vreeland, Leonard Blavatnik, Timo Weiland, Yves Behar, and Caroline Daur and so many more, all grooving ’til the wee hours to a set by everyone’s favorite superstar DJ Diplo.

 

Beauty at the End of the Earth: Three Days in Finnish Lapland

Image by Markus Kiili 

 

We recently had the privilege of following none other than Carly Rae Jepsen to Finland, for a unique and unforgettable performance. Whilst there, she and we all fell in love with the peaceful landscape of the fabled Lapland.

Located above the Arctic Circle, the unspoiled wilderness that is the Finnish Lapland is decidedly remote and silent, yet is abuzz with visitors once winter arrives. In summer and autumn, it offers long days lit by the midnight sun, with a temperate climate, actually making it a year round destination. Over 70% of Finland is covered by forestry, with nature at one’s beckon – the world’s cleanest air making it the perfect life reset and recharge.

Here’s what we loved.

 

Levi

Levi is the largest ski and recreational resort in Finland, and lies 170 km north of the Arctic Circle. We soaked up the majestic scenery of the mountains and lakes, as we hiked through the forest and foraged for wild superfoods – that could at any time include cloudberries, lingonberries, chanterelles and porcini mushrooms – which are all free for the taking.
During the summer there are 45 days of 24 hour daylight, which culminates in a crescendo of golden hues of yellow, red and caramel in autumn. The Aurora Borealis Northern Lights show starts around mid-August and lasts through early April, and can be witnessed on any clear night. The dancing cosmic display is as dramatic and breathtaking as it is unpredictable.
We stayed at the luxurious Levi Spirit, designed as sprawling log cabin villas, with a modern Nordic decor and luxuriously appointed amenities. Situated in the middle of a forest, we appreciated how the floor to ceiling windows virtually brought nature indoors, especially as you’re cozying up by the fireplace or indulging in your ensuite hot and steamy Finnish sauna or jacuzzi – which tops out at over 110 degrees celsius.
The restaurant served Lappish and international fare with a view, specifically a 360 degrees one of the surrounding fells and plains of Lapland.

 

 

Yllas

Consisting of two authentic Lappish villages surrounded by seven fells, Yllas is a gateway to one of Finland’s most famous national parks, Pallas-Yllastunturi. We explored the park by hiking and following the trail alongside the waterfall, where it’s not uncommon to see reindeer strolling along beside you. We ended the day with an authentic Finnish sauna experience, followed by a quick frigid dip in Lake Akaslompolo, for the ultimate hot/cold experience.
Perfectly located at the base of one of the gondola lifts in Yllasjarvi is the Lapland Hotels’ Saga, which offers magnificent and changing views of the landscape depending on the time of day and year from its vantage point of 1000 feet above sea level. Our room featured contemporary Finnish decor, with a private balcony overlooking the slopes, and we warmed up from the outdoors by the fireplace. There are also spa and sauna facilities on site.
We tasted traditional Sami and Lappish dishes at the cozy Restaurant Rouhe, which uses locally sourced ingredients for a seasonally changing menu. Some of the local specialties included sautéed reindeer with lingonberries, braised lamb shank in a rich blackcurrent sauce, and oven roasted arctic char and pike perch.

 

 

Ruka

Ruka is a stunningly beautiful ski resort – but it was very much about where we were staying. Indeed, Rukan Salonki Chalets offers charming lakeside log cabins in the middle of Lappish nature, with decor created from locally sourced materials, embodying the spirit of Lapland, with the comforts of home and a few luxurious touches. Naturally, each chalet also came equipped with an ensuite sauna.
Perhaps our favorite meal of the trip, the fine dining spot Restaurant Rukan Kuksa offered a seasonally shifting menu created from the wild food and ingredients harvested around the Lapland. The atmosphere was chic but cozy.
But we couldn’t leave the Lapland without a Forest Yoga session with MyTrail, meditating atop a peak bathed in the warm light of the sunset under a canopy of birch trees. The majestic scenery of the verdant valley and rivers below made it a truly unforgettable experience.

 

 

Getting There by Finnair 

The most convenient and luxurious way to travel to the Lapland from the US is via Finnair, which offers daily direct flights to Helsinki from JFK, with easy connections to destinations in the Lapland. Their Nordic Business Class represents all the best of that legendary Scandinavian hospitality (i.e. a lovely staff), with flat reclining seats, signature menus created by top Finnish chefs, a signature Finnish cocktail program (no more dull airplane vodka tonics), and, our favorite, the very fashionable Marimekko designed amenities kit.

 

 

BlackBook Interview: Following Carly Rae Jepsen to Finland

 

 

Taking cues and inspiration from nature’s soundscape, beloved singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen traveled to Lapland, Finland – with the support of House of Lapland, Finnair and Visit Finland – to record the fan favorite track “The Sound (Live in Lapland, Finland),” from her fourth and latest album, Dedicated. Filmed and recorded completely outdoors on a remote lakeside jetty in Lapland’s Ruka-Kuusamo region, the performance was stripped of the electronic elements and recorded with organic and tranquil instrumentation.

Says the Canadian Carly of her love of Lapland: “Nature is a part of my childhood and my very best memories. Here in Lapland I’ve been amazed by how the quiet space allows for ideas to float into my head. It has been unlike anything I have ever experienced.”

Lapland is perhaps best known as “the home of Santa Claus,” and for the Northern Lights – but Jepsen’s video also showcases a different side of it, including the striking “midnight sun.”

BlackBook followed her there, to chat about the album, ongoing tour, and her newfound Scandinavian love.

 

 

How did you choose the Finnish Lapland for this project?

It was my first time in Finland, and I got a call to see if I’d like to explore the Lapland. I felt like it was a magical opportunity that happened to fall into my life! Honestly, my road manager thought I was going to be too tired – but nothing was going to stop me from [doing] this. It’s been the best decision, we’re having a blast.

Weren’t you homesick?

Going home isn’t necessarily the thing you want to do. You want to have a vacation for yourself, and this reminds me very much of Canada – but slightly different, especially the trees and the people. It’s been exactly what the doctor ordered. We did a Finnish sauna in the middle of a lake, and I got to try different foods like reindeer. It’s always fun to immerse yourself in a completely different culture, which helps you grow and is healthy for your brain.
We set up on the wharf where the sun was setting and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. We were done for the day, and I can tell my group was having a fantastic time when all we wanted to do was stay on the wharf, play games and take pictures. I love finding that joy with the people I travel with, because it’s just so vital if you are going to have this type of lifestyle and have your band members be your friends and family.

You’ve talked about your early days in Vancouver, playing in small clubs and working in a coffee shop, as some of the happiest days of your life. Could you tell us more about that? And how has that journey shaped your career?

I would say that those days were the happiest, as I developed my artistry out of college and took the path less travelled. It’s where I learned how to hustle and I worked hard for it, which is something I pride myself on. I really enjoy songwriting too, and I tend to overwrite until I find something that is really right; it ends up being 200 songs that I edit down to 15, which is what happened for my latest album.
But I would say this tour has been the most joyful experience so far.

Tell us about your new album Dedicated, and what it means at this moment in your career. 

I had a couple of different working titles until I landed on this one. There was actually a song that didn’t make it that was called “Dedicated,” which wrapped up a lot of what I had been writing about. I understand what that word meant to me in life, and I think if I am dedicated, it’s to this project. And it’s also to the meaning of love, holding out for that right person…

 

Is there a “right” person in your life right now?

Right now I am newly single. But I still have so much love for the boy.

It’s been eight years since you had your first hit. How has fame affected you?

When “Call Me Maybe” came out, it was Top 9 on iTunes in Canada and I was like, “Let’s throw a party, this is amazing.” The fact that it took off beyond that is still a gift of my life. I learned that there were many things that I thought I was going to love that I didn’t about the fame game. One of which is that I wanted the focus to be more on the artistry rather than the celebrity. I was pretty sure after “Call Me Maybe” that the best decision was to slow down a little bit and take my time, I wanted to figure out what kind of pop music was really authentic to me. I’m really glad we took our time with it.

Were there any songs that you’ve written that you expected to really take off and didn’t?

I don’t think I’ve ever had any expectations for what songs do in the world. Trying to chase the success of “Call Me Maybe” was never an intention of mine. First of all, I didn’t think it was possible; second of all, I just felt an empty happiness forgetting why I got into those coffee shops in the first place, which is using songwriting as a way to communicate and interact. As long as we keep finding the people we do connect with, that’s all that matters to me.

What other singers have inspired you?

Cyndi Lauper I find really inspiring. I’ve also had a Phoebe Bridges song on loop in my head this entire trip, and her lyrics are on a Joni Mitchell level for our era. I’ve always thought the types of careers that are attractive to me are like the James Taylors of the world, which was the first concert I’d ever been to.

 

 

How would you describe your personal style?

Playful, I don’t really have one set look I go for. I think on stage I get to be the extreme version of my theatrical side. But day to day when I’m home, it’s anything I want to wear, whatever I’m in the mood for that day. I love clothes and fashion, but I think if you don’t get to play, what’s the point?

Do you have a personal stylist?

Hayley Atkin is a stylist I’ve worked with for five years. She is like me but a tiny bit braver.

What are your next projects after the tour?

I’m just thinking day to day now, because we are literally going until March, Japan, China, Australia and then we hit Europe again. I think if we get through the tour I can have a long sleeping beauty sleep and then we will be ready to answer. Maybe I will move to New York afterwards for a couple of months. New York has always been my city for rejuvenating after a heartbreak. So I’m going to let the city romance me. Every time I’m there I feel like songs come easy to me.

Where in New York would you live?

In Soho, that’s where I landed first when I was performing in Cinderella. Jack has been trying to convince me to move to Brooklyn and I have also tried Greenwich Village. I think Soho is where my heart will take me. Some friends of mine are talking about how we can bring a pop musical to fruition. This is a ten year plan, and who knows if it will happen…but maybe New York will get me one step closer.

 

 

 

 

Report From Aloft Live: Troye Sivan’s Insider Guide to Perth, Australia

 

 

Until recently, Perth lurked in the shadows of sister cities Sydney and Melbourne, due to its remote position on the West coast of Australia – though it is naturally blessed with over 270 days of sunshine a year, refreshingly fresh air, beautiful beaches and a significantly laid back lifestyle. In recent years it has experienced an economic and cultural boom, however, and with that the emergence of hip, burgeoning neighborhoods outside the city center.

Recently we had the chance to experience Perth through the eyes of Australian pop sensation Troye Sivan, as he returned home as part of the Live at Aloft Homecoming Tour, giving an intimate concert on the rooftop of the Aloft Perth hotel.

“Being able to return home and connect with my fans in Australia is always a really special experience for me,” he enthused. “And being in my hometown of Perth, where my musical journey began, is truly magical.”

 

Aloft Perth

 

The Homecoming is part of Aloft Hotels‘ continuing efforts to cultivate a dynamic music program, pivoting between established and relatively unknown artists. In conjunction with Universal Music Group, the eight stop tour takes artists back to the places they came from, and gives the fans that supported them from the beginning a chance to see their hometown heroes in a genuinely intimate setting.

Sivan continued, “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of Aloft’s Homecoming Tour and share my music with both the community that shaped me and with the music-loving travelers staying at Aloft.”

Hoping to get to know his home city a little better, we asked him to give us the real 411 on Perth.

 

Northbridge

What was formerly considered the skid row of Perth, Northbridge has undergone a major makeover and has become the center of Perth’s vibrant nightlife scene. Just north of the Central Business District, the area still maintains a gritty feel, but the graffiti has now morphed into Instagrammable street art, which decorates the concrete buildings that are now home to galleries, independent boutiques, bars, nightclubs, outdoor cafes and restaurants.
As the neighborhood borders Chinatown, Northbridge is considered to be Perth’s melting pot, where you can find different cuisines from around the world, such as Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Indian, Lebanese, Greek, Japanese, Italian, and Mexican. As you pass through CBD to Northbridge, stop by Perth’s newest outdoor cultural and retail plaza, Yagan Square, also the hub of the recent Perth Fashion Festival – which attracted Australia’s top designers and newcomers from around the world.

 

 

 

Brunch in Leederville and Mount Lawley

One of the favorite weekend pastimes of Perth is brunch. And two of its coolest neighborhoods, Leederville and Mt. Lawley, are home to five of the city’s best brunch spots. The Eat the Street Brunch on Beaufort tour takes you to all of them, sampling local delicacies and meeting with the chefs and restaurant owners.

 

 

Fave Restaurants

Embodying a breezy, 1970s-Los Angeles vibe is Henry Summer, an urban indoor/outdoor cocktail and wine bar that always feels like summer. Bask in the sun amidst a lush décor of plants and colorful furniture, with a farm to table menu that changes seasonally, featuring classic Australian grilled specialties or delicious veggie packed salads. It’s a perfect spot to grab a rosé, sangria, wine spritzer, or mojito to get into the spirit of summer. (N.B. Australian summer runs from December 1 through the end of February.)
Load up on carbs before a late night on the town at the hidden gem Francoforte Spaghetti Bar, known for serving Perth’s best pasta paired with organic wines. For an ‘only in Australia’ experience try the kangaroo bolognese. Though the menu is small, there are plenty of other more traditional yet delicious Italian options such as an eggplant sugo, kale pesto and guanciale carbonara.

 

Henry Summer

 

Fave Nightclub

For a glam, over the top night out I head to Connections, Perth’s premiere gay and lesbian club, beginning the evening watching their extravagant drag queen cabaret show. The real party gets going after midnight, when the upper floors open to a dance club as well as an open air rooftop terrace with plenty of potent cocktails to fuel the night.

 

Rottnest Island

A protected island off the coast of Perth that is only accessible by ferry, Rottnest is a beautiful unspoiled nature reserve, home to the smallest and most adorable marsupial in Australia: the quokka. Thanks to Instagram and celebrity selfies with this cute creature, the island has seen a major spike in visitors, as tourists follow them around the island to take the perfect #quokkaselfie. Explore the coastline by boat and witness whales and dolphins swimming in the ocean in their annual southward trek to warmer waters.

 

Aloft Perth

For cool, loft style living, the design oriented Aloft Perth is the surely city’s best choice. Stylish guest rooms are decorated with well-chosen contemporary art and bright pops of color, and feature panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the cityscape and the Swan River. Works by Western Australian artists adorn the hallways, embodying the unique landscape and cultural perspective of the region.
The seasonally driven Springs Kitchen has indoor and outdoor seating areas for casual all day dining – followed by drinks at the stylish XYZ bar, which also serves a light bar menu along with creative cocktails, against a backdrop of intimate live music performances.

 

 

The Aloft Live Music Series

The best thing about the Aloft’s live music events are that the performances are free and open to everyone; those looking to attend Live at Aloft Hotels Homecoming Tour should RSVP to alofthotels.com/homecomingtour. Obviously capacity is limited, RSVP does not guarantee entry, and attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. However, a Marriott Bonvoy credit card gives one VIP access to cut-the-line, plus attend meet & greet events with the talent.

 

Dua Lipa Stars With an Eagle in New YSL Beauté ‘Libre’ Campaign

 

 

Dua Lipa is free to do what she wants. And smell beautiful doing it.

Indeed, the model turned songstress was been tapped by YSL Beauté as the brand ambassador for their latest fragrance, Libre, which is French for “free.” And as someone who has a rocked a few memorably androgynous looks, advocating a scent that walks the line between masculine and feminine seems perfectly reasonable. Her utterly modern take on classic beauty does genuinely seem to embody the Libre ethos.

Proof of YSL’s enthusiasm for the collaboration was the splashy NYFW party we attended for the launch – for which the Classic Car Club on the Hudson River was transformed into a seductive playground, with an interactive Freedom Wall, where we were given the opportunity to film our own Freedom Manifesto (we’ll spare you the result). DJ Caroline Polachek and free-flowing champagne entertained the considerable style/culture cognoscenti, including Anwar Hadid, Diplo, Mark Ronson, Zara Larsson, Elsa Hosk, Lauren Wasser and Halima Aden.

The campaign itself shows Dua Lipa communing with a majestic looking eagle, while an update of the The Stones’ classic “I’m Free” provides the musical backdrop. Here’s what it looks like.

 

NYFW: Karen Elson, Kate Moss and Emily Ratajkowski at The Daily Front Row’s 7th Annual Fashion Media Awards

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Karen Elson and Tomo Koizumi attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

To get New York Fashion Week on its way, the Daily Front Row kicked off the festivities with their star studded annual Fashion Media Awards Thursday night, this year held at the Rainbow Room. Think of it as the Golden Globes of the fashion world, with celebs, influencers, and style icons turning out to take center stage as presenters, recipients and, in some cases, just very well-dressed supporters.

Amongst the A-listers honored were Kate Moss, who was naturally given the Style Icon award, Spiderman star Zendaya as the Fashion Force, Emily Ratajkowski as a Fashion Entrepreneur, Frederic Fekkai as the Beauty Innovator, Edward Enninful from British Vogue, and Halima Aden, who was recognized as a Breakthrough Model and activist.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Adut Akeck, Kate Moss and Cecilia Bonstrom attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

Host Graham Norton bestowed the best of his riotously witty Brit humor, as he led the ceremony which also honored Zoey Grossman, Tomo Koizumi, Michael Mente and Sasha Siem as they thanked their considerable peers and presenters, which included Tommy Hilfiger, Karen Elson, Yara Shahidi, Jordan Barrett, Ashley Graham, Tan France, Candice Swanepoel, Stephen Gan, Christian Louboutin, Sailor Brinkley Cook, Alexander Lundaqvist, and Vanessa Williams.

But rather than making a fuss over the extravagant attire and styles, this year the honorees focused more on the social change they hope to engender.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

The Pose’s Indya Moore, who was the first transgender to grace the cover of ELLE, took the award for Cover of the Year. Using her fashion prowess as a tribute to make an impactful social statement, Moore wore custom designed “Keepsake” earrings with photos of 16 transgender black women who have been murdered in hate crimes. She thanked Lady Gaga and Ryan Murphy for making a positive impact on her life when living in a group home.

“Trans people deserve safety, acknowledgement and respect,” Moore insisted. “Not just when we are on the covers of magazines, but when we are poor and when we are on the streets.”

It was a particularly poignant moment, considering transgender rights are once again tragically under assault.

 

Above Images
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Christian Louboutin and Maye Musk attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: (L-R) Emily Ratajkowski, Kathy Ireland, Raissa Gerona, Halima Aden, Candice Swanepoel, Zoey Grossman, and Indya Moore attend The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.)

 

Dock to Dish: Sampling the Sustainable Delights at Montauk’s New Showfish

 

 

It’s the same every Hamptons season: you’ve barely recovered from your Memorial Day hangover, and suddenly it’s August. And wouldn’t you know, we’d yet to set foot in Showfish, the buzzy new eatery in the stylishly renovated Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina.

We quickly remedied that situation, and learned just what all that buzz was about. Epitomizing the joys of laidback summer dining, the Montauk restaurant is the latest to follow the principles of Dock to Dish, a program recognized by the United Nations in 2017 for its innovative approach to sustaining our troubled oceans.

Indeed, Showfish offers up some of the freshest seafood all caught by local fisherman in the Long Island Sound, and prepared with vegetables sourced from local farms. The seasonally focused menu was created by Chef Jeremy Blutstein, who had won heaps of praise for his stint at Bridgehampton’s perpetually trendy Almond bistro.

 

 

But here, he is decisively elevating seafood shack classics to a whole new level of sophistication.

“As an East End native,” he explains, “it’s incredibly rewarding to utilize my longstanding relationships with the community’s top farmers, fishermen, bay men and artisans and put my knowledge of sustainable practices to use with local products. We really want our diners to experience the best of the region and to provide the opportunity to enjoy local produce and seafood in ways they haven’t before.”

The name Showfish is actually a reference to the sprawling nine-foot seafood display and lobster tank where diners can select their catch of the day.

 

 

Though we were tempted by the fruits de mer raw bar tower, we started with smaller shareable plates: the slightly cured Montauk fluke crudo, tuna crudo and scallop carpaccio. We then moved on to vegetarian options found on the From the Farm section of the menu, including Sagaponack Foster Farm spring asparagus and Quail Hill Farm warm carrot salad.

Chef Blutstein’s entrees, an innovative mix of the fresh and the cured, included some genuine showstoppers. Standouts were the house dry-aged bone-in tuna ribeye, tagliatelle with Maine uni butter and Calabrian chili, and, our fave, seared scallops with house-cured duck prosciutto.

Something you don’t often see out East, the cocktail program at Showfish Bar mirrors the restaurant’s values on sustainability and localism. Unused strawberry stems from the 1 Tequila 2 Tequila strawberry margarita are refashioned to create a strawberry vinegar used in dishes or in mocktails. Leftover fruit is also utilized in house-infused spirits and syrups such as the habanero herradura tequila and cucumber vodka.

 

 

Other potent tipples on the drinks menu included the Shaolin Sour, featuring Bombay sapphire, lemon verbena, matcha green tea, lemon and black sesame, and the Caffe Shakerato, Showfish’s excellent signature espresso martini.

Though the interiors exhibit an inviting, breezy-chic (rattan chairs, natural woods, parquet floors, curved white banquettes), we highly recommend dining alfresco, under the stars and twinkling lights, on the porch overlooking the marina. Oh, and Gurney’s has played host to the likes of Naomi Watts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz – so here everything on the Dock to Dish menu comes with a side of superb people watching.

 

BlackBook Rooms w/ a View: W South Beach Hotel, Miami

 

 

It’s no secret that things change in the blink of an eye in trend obsessed Miami. But a decade after its debut, the W South Beach still finds itself at the epicenter of the scene during everything from Swim Week to Art Basel. At any give time, supermodels, contemporary art stars, glamour hunters, and the media cognoscenti will still be descending on this significantly design driven hotspot hotel.

We checked in during Miami Swim, while the W SoBe was playing host to some of the most anticipated shows of the season, as well as all manner of star power parties, beachside soirees, model-led fitness classes and even a few enlightening wellness conversations. We enjoyed a bit of genuine South Beach living in our Wonderful Studio Suite, where the ocean views were, must say, truly and absolutely wonderful.

Here’s what we loved.

 

The Location

Sitting just across the street from Collins Park (at 22nd and Collins), this gleaming glass beacon lords over South Beach, commanding unobstructed prime oceanfront views, and easy beach access. It’s not just a hotel, but a full-service resort – so outside of our scheduled meetings and parties, we hardly felt the need to leave the premises. But it’s also within walking distance of all the Downtown, all-night nightlife.

 

 

The Rooms

The Wonderful Studio Suite, is, we can confirm, exactly that. Feeling more like a lofty studio apartment than a hotel room, it’s got a home-away-from-home vibe, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a stark modern design that make the generous living space, from the wet bar to the sitting areas, feel even bigger.
Generous closets and a sprawling dressing space adjacent to the marble bathroom was great for our quick outfit changes. But after all the parties, we slept like an all grownup baby on the signature Heavenly Bed, topped with comfy Egyptian cotton sheets. When we weren’t out schmoozing, we spent a lot of time on the private glass balcony taking in the life-affirming, panoramic ocean views.

 

 

The Beach or The Pool

We soaked in the blazing South Florida sunshine at the lush, outdoor pool area, surrounded by poolside cabanas, and shaded by sweeping palm trees. But the beach is so close it takes little effort to find yourself dipping toes in sand on a pink and white striped chaise lounger…or floating in the cool, turquoise waters of the Atlantic.
A couple of times, we were craving daytime cocktails and a little light lunch fare; and, as happened, the beach and pool areas were fully serviced by the Wet Bar & Grille. So without even leaving our chairs, we were soon drinking rosé sangria and their signature Watermelon Krush cocktails and Skinny Wet Margaritas. When paired with a brick oven pizza and buttered lobster rolls, it was seriously winning.

 

 

The Restaurants

With its white brick walls, pendant lamps and all around artful atmosphere, we found The Restaurant at W South Beach a cool place to indulge in the daily happy hour of half price oysters and bubbles. But if you tend towards a bit of celeb-spotting/people-watching, the scene at haute Chinese eatery Mr. Chow is one of Miami’s best – as is the specialty Velvet Chicken.
But most nights we could be found prepping for an evening on the town, or grabbing a cultivated nightcap in the W’s signature Living Room Bar. There amongst the furry chairs and zebra pillows, impressive DJ talent could be counted on to rock us well into the morning.