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THE FULL-ON EXPERIENCE The Jim & Neesie

Ghee Indian Kitchen

The Surf Club Restaurant

NEW(ISH) & EXCITING Root & Bone

CAFÉ LA TROVA We’re always psyched to try out a restaurant that considers drinks as important as food when it comes to an indulgent experience, and that’s what this joint venture between Michelle Bernstein and cantinero extraordinaire Julio Cabrera does. It’s been written that this is a “love song to Cuba and the American Dream,” and one taste of Chef Raulito Salgado’s preparations—born of Bernstein’s concepts—will transport you straight to the island. cafelatrova.com. Café La Trova

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ROOT & BONE Tuck into mouthwatering delights like smashed sunchoke tostones with buttermilk crème fraiche, caviar and chives, or go lighter with a watermelon and farmer cheese salad tossed with lime, cayenne, Marcona almonds, mint and oil. The dynamic duo of Booth and McInnis never disappoints, and that goes double for this place. rootbone.com

PEZ Dismiss visions of those childhood candy dispensers and think seafood, where Mexican and Mediterranean merge to form a cuisine heavy on oddly named but delicious options, such as Tlayuda OaxaCalifornia, a crunchy tortilla carrying wahoo, sea urchin, black bean spread, guacachile and watercress. pezmiami.com


The hotel has 443 renovated guest rooms and suites (some rooms are modern, with stone floors and granite vanity tops), a lobby-level spa with glass mosaic walls and stone floors in an abstract installation that is more contemporary than the rest of the hotel, a large shopping arcade with hallway walls highlighted by framed historic photos of the original hotel, railway cars that transported guests into town, and early mineral springs brick temples. There are four restaurants, including the extraordinary 1875, a classic steakhouse and bar with a club atmosphere that’s not to be missed. (Be sure and reserve in advance, since it’s packed every night.)

GOLF AND SPECIAL EVENTS The strategic Donald Ross course and showpiece Pete Dye course offer golfers some of the best options in the Midwestern U.S. The Pete Dye has hosted the Senior PGA Championship and the Senior LPGA Championship. This is a newer course attractive to golfers from around the world because of its high elevation points, immaculate fairways and rugged, intense terrain. The course has also been recognized for its 40-mile panoramic views of the Southern Indiana countryside, three manmade lakes, “volcano” bunkers and myriad elevation changes. Nearby, Hagen’s Club House restaurant cooks up casual food and drinks for adults and kids. Because there is so much to do in French Lick, if you go, plan on staying no fewer than three nights, and request services from the pair of hotels’ personal concierge, who will help make decisions and reservations.  At the top of our suggestion list: jazz under the dome, chocolate and wine tastings, food expositions, cooking classes, book signings, high tea served on Saturday, specialty brunches, murder-mystery weekends, photography exhibitions, horseback riding, a visit to the winery, and the Indiana Railway Museum. Bring the family, pets and plenty of comfortable clothing, plus a few dressy outfits for evening soirees. The staff is friendly, there are lavish shows in the casino lounge, concerts by marquee entertainers, and plenty of programs for kids and pets. Spa towns are designed to offer microcosms of healthy living complete with cultural, social and entertainment offerings. With immaculate restorations of both hotels and the surrounding grounds, French Lick brings back the old world combined with the finest in modern innovation.

West Baden Springs hotel 8538 West Baden Ave. West Baden Springs, IN 47469 French Lick Resort & Casino 8670 State Road 56 French Lick, IN 47432 frenchlick.com Call: 888-MY HIDEAWAY or 812-936-9300—for both hotels

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ACE IN THE HOLE In 1996, thanks to an anonymous contribution of $250,000, the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana bought the West Baden Springs hotel. Later that year, Bloomington, Indiana based philanthropists, the late Bill Cook, who died in 2011, and his wife Gayle Cook, made a substantial donation to partially restore both hotels, their grounds, the golf courses and mineral springs buildings. French Lick Springs had functioned as a doddering hotel off and on for years, but West Baden Springs had become a Jesuit College and Northwood University before it closed down and boarded up, making the area around it look like a broken war zone. Then, in 2005, after unsuccessful bids by Donald Trump, and basketball great Larry Bird, who is a French Lick native, CFC Inc., a Cook Group company, and its partner Lauth Property Group, formed a joint venture to buy both the West Baden Springs and the French Lick Springs hotels for $382 million. Their bid to construct a casino on a small, man made waterway--virtually a white riverboat in a moat attached by walkways to the restored French Lick Resort & Casino--won the approvals, making it the 11th casino in Indiana. And for the nearly 3,000 current residents of French Lick and West Baden Springs, this was the first legal gaming establishment in the area’s illustrious history. After Cook bought out Lauth, the company is the sole owner of both Beaux-Arts hotels, and the chandelierfilled casino attached to the French Lick Resort & Casino. It offers about 1200 slots, 32 gaming tables (blackjack, roulette and craps), and several fine dining restaurants, including a cute coffee shop, Las Vegas style.


Profile for Aventura Magazine

Aventura Magazine March 2019  

The Restaurant Issue: Chef Michelle Bernstein's latest hometown homerun • 50 Reasons to eat & drink in Miami • Time Out Market Miami; South...

Aventura Magazine March 2019  

The Restaurant Issue: Chef Michelle Bernstein's latest hometown homerun • 50 Reasons to eat & drink in Miami • Time Out Market Miami; South...