This Week’s Miami Happenings: Cecconi’s, Brothers Beckett, Serafina Brunch

NOW:  Cecconi’s Adopts Mixology Pairings
If coupling lamb chops with Shiraz feels too old school, head on down to Ceccioni’s at the Soho Beach House Miami for some mind-boggling mixology pairings on executive chef Sergio Sigala’s new, customizable spring menu. You’ll find yourself sipping on reposado tequila with Aperol and grapefruit peel served with hamachi crudo and a gingery gin concoction that tastes nothing like it sounds when paired with bufala mozzarella. Best part: the face time with the mixologists, who are as generous with shoptalk as they are with alcohol.

Mixology parings are now available at Cecconi’s Miami Beach (4385 Collins Ave., South Beach). For details, check out the listing in BlackBook Guides.

WEDNESDAY: Sibling Satire At The Arsht Center
Supporting the performing arts is belly-hurting hilarious thanks to Brothers Beckett, a cheeky play penned by a local playwright about friendship, family, and slacker siblings, laced with sharp banter and dark humor.

Brothers Beckett is playing at The Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Downtown) through Sunday, March 24. For ticket information, visit the official website.

EVERY WEEKEND: Brunch Debuts At Serafina
The latest NYC culinary transport is rolling out its brunch menu. Serafina’s chef Marco Zuccala will be serving up Italian dishes, such as egg white frittatas and lemon ricotta pancakes, which will go deliciously with those bottomless Bellinis.

Serafina is open now (1111 Collins Ave., South Beach). For details, check out the listing in BlackBook Guides.

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A Delectable Experience at Art Basel Miami Beach, Courtesy of Jennifer Rubell

At Art Basel Miami Beach this year, there were many contenders for top culinary attraction. The Dutch’s new Miami outpost was a major draw, booking up well in advance by New Yorkers eager to get their hands on their favorite little oyster sandwiches. Cecconi’s at the Soho Beach House was crammed with brunch-going scenesters sipping bloody mary’s and basking on the olive tree lined terrace. Pubbelly and Yardbird earned the foodies’ attention, while classics such as Mr. Chow and Casa Tua remained packed throughout the event. But the real draw for food-loving art-goers was Jennifer Rubell’s 11th annual breakfast installation at the Rubell Family Collection.

I arrived to find a fascinating two-part installation, each side exploring the creations of life, art, and food. The first was an incubation gallery where yogurt was being made and served by sterile and expressionless women in nurse uniforms. The second was an observation gallery where both gallery-goers and local bees feasted on honey being dripped from the ceiling. Spectators were encouraged to scoop up spoonfuls of the honey to mix with yogurt for a sumptuous breakfast.

Rubell, yet again, created a successful conversation starter that infuses food, art, and social gatherings to create a consumable sensory experience. Beckoning onlookers to participate and engage, Rubell’s large-scale installations form a shared experience, where gallery goers can eat, touch, and deconstruct the piece’s edible goods, breaking the traditional boundaries of art. Rubell’s past projects have included constructing a gargantuan size piñata of Andy Warhol’s head for Icons at the Brooklyn Museum’s 2010 Brooklyn Ball, creating a performance piece called The de Pury Diptych at London’s Saatchi Gallery – which involved thousands of edible props–and producing an installation at the former Dia Center for the Arts called Creation, wherein Rubell pulled from biblical inspirations to create an enthralling installation involving honey being dripped onto a ton of ribs (she must have a thing for honey).

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As with most provocative artists, Rubell’s craft is difficult to define. Performance, installation, and food artist don’t quite suffice in describing her dexterity. In addition to working as a vegetable butcher at Mario Batali’s Eataly, producing wine in Puyloubier, Provence, and raising her daughter, Stevie, the Harvard grad is a seasoned hostess. Her book Real Life Entertaining was published by HarperCollins in 2006. As the niece of Steve Rubell, famed co-owner of Studio 54, Rubell has been surrounded by artful and creative minds from an early age. She learned her love of entertaining from her famous uncle as well as her art-collecting parents, Don and Mera, whose legendary Whitney Biennial parties were frequented by the likes of Liza Minnelli, Ryan O’Neal, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol.

While restaurants in Miami’s dining scene come and go, Rubell’s bona fide expertise in hosting social gatherings has led her breakfast installations to remain a hit for 11 years and counting. Make sure to check out what artful and edible treats she conjures up for 2012.

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Industry Insiders: Mazdack Rassi, the Milk Man

Mazdack Rassi, founder and creative director of Milk Studios, talks about Milk’s big plans for expansion on the West Coast. The new studios will open on May 1, with soft openings between May and June. The facility will be fully operational in June.

When did you hit it big with Milk? We came up with it ten years ago. We started basically as a rental facility, and over the last five years, we expanded more into a proper media company where we do more creative things, create more content, and are more involved in the creative process. Our goal was never to sort of be a space that was for rent or a rental mentality, but more of like to create a creative space and a crossroads for film, fashion, television, and art. We’re about seven divisions now.

Why the need for another huge Milk Studios in Los Angeles? In the last three to four years, there’s been a big trend in our business in New York where we’re working more with celebrities than with models. The main reason is because they’ve sort of started taking over the magazines. Today, to think about a major magazine with a model on the cover is something that’s so outdated. In the last two years, what’s been happening with our campaigns is that more and more celebrities are encroaching on that business, and they’re all here in Hollywood. The greatest modeling agency in the world is now Hollywood. And it’s not a trend — its something that’s going to stay. Celebrities and their agents are much more open to doing high fashion, covers, and campaigns than they were five years ago.

How does the new space compare to the 80,000 square feet of Milk Studios in the Meatpacking District? We took over the Technicolor studios in Hollywood, which were originally built in 1947. It was part of Paramount Studios, and we’re completely retrofitting it and modernizing it. We took it down to its concrete shell, and now we’re rebuilding from scratch. There are some parts that are original — like the soundstage — and we’re restoring these things back to their original glory. We get very involved in the community and our surroundings. This area reminds us of the Meatpacking District ten years ago.

Who have been some of your favorite clients to work with in New York? So many people. From doing an exhibition with Mike Figgis, who is the award-winning director of Leaving Las Vegas, to having Terry Richardson doing a shoot in our studios. He is always incredible and unique. It’s also amazing working with young photographers like Alexi Lubomirski. Watching people grow into these wonderful positions is a great gift. When we started at Milk, we didn’t know who the big photographers were. We just knew all the assistants. They were the same age as us, and we had the same sort of ideas. Those kids now have come to a point where they’re in charge, and they choose Milk as their home and their hub. We feed of that energy.

What are some of your favorite places to go to in New York? My favorite bar in the city is Rose Bar. One of my favorite places to eat is Macelleria in the Meatpacking. And another bar would be the Brass Monkey.

What about LA? The best breakfast is at the Beverly Hills Hotel at the counter downstairs. I think that’s in the basement. Then there’s this amazing restaurant I went to last night, and I would definitely go there again, called Cecconi’s. The bar I like most here is Winston’s.