Coral Gables Magazine December 2022

Page 1

THE YEAR IN REVIEW GABLES PHILANTHROPY URBAN WILDLIFE

MAGAZINE DECEMBER
Holiday Greetings!
CORAL GABLES
2022
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8 coralgablesmagazine.com December 2022 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Departments EDITOR’S NOTE Coral Gables Unmasked READERS’ LETTERS Readers’ Feedback STREETWISE News from City Hall & the Gables LIVING Best Bets for the Holiday Season BITES La Terrazza, Fiola’s Rooftop Dining PEOPLE Notable Coral Gables Residents THE SEEN The Community Foundation Gala COMMENTARY Insurance Issues with Hurricane Ian DINING GUIDE The Best Gables Dining Experiences CITY LIFE A Festive Lion Rings in the Season 12 71 86 96 14 57 17 84 90 31 31 17 71 “ “THIS IS NOT A MATTER WE SHOULD WAIT A YEAR TO RESOLVE. THIS IS GOOD FOR OUR COMMUNITY AND SHOULD BE DEALT WITH FAST. WE NEED MORE THAN JUST TWO COURTS. ” SILVIA PIÑERA-VAZQUEZ, AT A CITY COMMISSION MEETING SPEAKING ABOUT THE LACK OF PICKLE BALL COURTS. SEE PAGE 26.

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THE YEAR IN REVIEW

The year 2022 was the first full year post-pandemic, with a roaring return to normal life. Restaurants were hopping, workers were returning to the downtown, and schools were in full swing. Here, then, are some of the major events in the Gables that defined the post-pandemic year of 2022.

WILDLIFE IN THE URBAN TROPICS

Coral Gables, easily Miami-Dade’s most sophisticated urban community, is home to a host of wild critters. With such an abundance of species here in the Gables, why not start your own family or neighborhood wildlife inventory today?

THE GIVERS

Home to numerous affluent families and scores of highly successful busi ness leaders, Coral Gables is a city that values the idea of giving back. Its schools teach the ideas of con tributing and volunteering; its social events revolve around raising money for hospitals, scholarships, parks, schools, museums, and community programs of all stripes.

10 coralgablesmagazine.com INSIDE THIS ISSUE
11
Vol 5. Issue
Features
64 70 76 64 70 76
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CEO & PUBLISHER Richard Roffman EDITOR-IN-CHIEF J.P.Faber

Coral Gables Unmasked

he clearest signal that we are post-pandem ic is in the theaters. At the season openers for GableStage and Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, and at the Gables Art Cinema, audiences attended bare-faced – in contrast to last season, when masks were still mandatory.from everyone wearing COVID masks was that the number of flu cases dropped dramatically last winter, and the winter before.

As we wind up 2022 and review the year that is now receding into history, the salient characteristic of the year was as revelatory as it was visually iconic: Everybody stopped wearing masks.

There was a learning curve at first, or at least an acceptance curve. Personally, after nearly two years of donning a daily mask, I suddenly felt naked without one. Leaving the house, I felt like something was absent, like I’d left my keys or wallet behind. Despite finding it annoying for so long, I found myself perversely missing it.

Of course, masks are not entirely gone. Go to any hospital and you’ll still be required to wear one. That makes sense in a facility where germs proliferate, since masks clearly reduce the chance of spreading or receiving an airborne illness. Indeed, one of the unanticipated results

Now the flu is back in full force. And COVID, though no longer as deadly, has spawned variations that will either give you the sniffles or put you on your back for a few days, just like the flu. And our sympathies go out to anyone who is immunocompromised and must wear a mask for protection; like the flu, even mild COVID is potentially life threatening for some.

As for me, I’ll take my chances, just as I’ve always done with the flu. Maybe I’ll get another vaccine, maybe I won’t. But once I got used to it again, my naked face felt emancipated, the experience as refreshing as an ocean breeze. And it sure beats trying to recognize people just by their eyes and forehead – though we all got pretty good at that, too.

EVP / PUBLISHER Gail Scott ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Amy Donner DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Monica Del Carpio-Raucci VP SALES Sherry Adams MANAGING EDITOR Kylie Wang ASSOCIATE EDITOR Gabrielle Lord ART DIRECTOR Jon Braeley EDITOR-AT-LARGE Grace Carricarte SENIOR WRITERS Mike Clary Doreen Hemlock

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Rodolfo

Cover: A Gables home decorated for the holidays. Photo by Alice Goldhagen.
CORAL GABLES MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2022
THE YEAR IN REVIEW GABLES PHILANTHROPY URBAN WILDLIFE 12 coralgablesmagazine.com EDITOR’S NOTE
AT THE GABLES ART CINEMA: NO MASKS REQUIRED.
Holiday Greetings!
Coral Gables Magazine is published month ly by City Regional Media, 1200 Anastasia Ave. Suite 115, Coral Gables FL 33134. Telephone: (305) 995-0995. Copyright 2022 by City Regional Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photograph or illustration without prior written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Send address changes to subscriptions@coralgablesmagazine. com. General mailbox email and letters to editor@coralgablesmagazine.com. WRITERS Andrew
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Each month, we print letters we receive from our readers. We encourage all commentary, including criticism as well as compli ments, and any thoughts about our community. If you are interest ed, please send your thoughts to letters@coralgablesmagazine.com. Letters are edited for brevity.

Bolton’s Battle

Great to see the support that Bonnie Bolton has in the Coral Gables Magazine [Novem ber 2022, “The Power of One,” about the imminent destruction of the Garden of Our Lord in the North Gables]. Bonnie is just like her mother Roxie, who always stood up for what was right! We need an open space much more than another pile of concrete in the City Beautiful!

Former Chair of Planning and Zoning Committee, Coral Gables

Worth Preserving

In reference to Mike Clary’s article, “The Power of One,” developer Sergio Pino states, “I have not received one call from anyone saying one negative thing about the project.” With all due respect, Mr. Pino may not be getting calls, but people are most vehement ly expressing their sentiments online, in

writing, and in person, opposing his plans for the Garden. Mr. Pino should do a quick online search and he will be surprised.

I commend Ms. Bolton for her relentless and selfless advocacy on behalf of the preservation of the Garden of Our Lord and I agree with Professor Joanna Lombard when she compares the Garden to “a valuable heirloom discovered hidden in your grandmother’s closet.” Founded in 1951 by parishioners as a biblical garden and planted with seeds brought back from the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, it is an Eden in the midst of our garden city. It is a memorial garden, and also a meditative space – a place to mourn and remember. A sacred ground. It is fitting it should stand in perpetuity and not fall to indifference or a multi-story condo.

Ms. Bolton’s battle against powerful interests may seem quixotic, but let’s not forget that the parcel where the Garden sits

remains designated as Religious/Institution al land until a zoning change is approved. And miracles do happen.

Names Matter

I always enjoy reading your magazine. In November’s issue you wrote “Holiday Floral Extravaganza at Coral Gables United Church of Christ” [in your Living section]. In fact, it is Coral Gables Congregation al United Church of Christ or Coral Gables Congregational UCC. Once that link is opened [online] you correctly stated the name of the church. However, it is import ant to write the recognizable and correct name of the church [in all references]. Thank you for allowing me to comment.

Member of Coral Gables Congregational UCC

14 coralgablesmagazine.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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17 Streetwise Pickleball is a Smash Hit! Now Find a Court? Page 26

From City Hall

AT ITS NOVEMBER MEETING, THE CORAL GABLES CITY COMMISSION:

VOTED 5-0 TO BAN SMOKING IN ALL PARKS owned and operated by the city. Sponsored by Mayor Vince Lago.

REQUESTED THAT CITY STAFF EXPLORE options for installing solar pan els in the Granada Clubhouse on the edge of the first hole of the Granada Golf Course. The installation is based on a forthcoming grant from the Villagers organization, via a donation from member and historic advocate Sallye Jude. “It’s a long time coming, and we need to set this example,” said Commissioner Rhonda Anderson, who sponsored the item along with Mayor Lago.

VOTED 5-0 TO AMEND THE MASTER LEASE with the Shops at Merrick Park to allow 400 spaces in their parking garages to be used as parking for neighborhood residential developments. Commissioner Michael Mena suggested that any such use be limited to upper floors so as not to interfere with primary parking for shoppers.

VOTED 5-0 TO ACCEPT CHANGES TO THE “PEAFOWL ORDINANCE” previ ously passed by the Commission to control the spread of peacocks. The ordinance required approval by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, which tentatively approved it on the condi tion of making the language about humane removal and relocation a little clearer and entertaining a neutering plan. “I’ve had a lot of res idents call me,” said Mayor Lago, especially from households along the Le Jeune Road border with Coconut Grove, where peacocks have proliferated. “Please do not make the situation worse,” he said. “Do not feed the peafowl, please!” Lago said he had complaints that a resident in the Chinese Village was feeding the wild birds. Now that the ordinance has passed, the city will find the companies that can remove them, said City Manager Peter Iglesias.

LISTENED TO A BRIEF UPDATE ON THE DOVER KOHL STUDY about bicycle lanes in the downtown, particularly on Biltmore Way, Andalusia Avenue, and possibly Valencia Avenue, connecting to the planned Mobility Hub. Public meetings are scheduled for early December to see if there is any opposition from residents. Sponsored by Commis sioner Anderson.

LISTENED TO A DISCUSSION BY MAYOR LAGO about the use of trash pits. Residents can currently use trash pits for green matter and trash bags, which can be left out for an entire week before pickup. Mayor Lago – who prefaced his remarks by saying, “We are not discussing

removing your trash pits” – suggested that trash bags be allowed in pits only the night before pickup. “I want to try to limit the horrific look of these garbage bags,” he said. More importantly, if green mat ter can be kept separate from garbage bags, it can be collected and reprocessed as ash for use in concrete. If this were done, it would save 80 to 85 percent of the current cost of $44 to $47 per ton for green matter disposal. In addition to beautifying city streets and saving money, “It’s the sustainable thing to do,” said the Mayor. Part of the urgency is on the money side, as huge increases in disposal fees by the county are expected this year. So far, the city has not in creased trash collection fees to residents in response to county hikes.

VOTED 5-0 TO SPEND $1.2 MILLION for new city software, recommended by the IT Department and previously authorized by the annual budget.

VOTED 5-0 TO SPEND $2.5 MILLION for new low voltage and fiber optic gear, recommended by the IT Department and previously autho rized by the annual budget.

VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO IMMEDIATELY “wind down” the Business Improvement District (BID) if the organization, which collected fees from property owners to market the area, did not use their remaining funds to fully fund projects they started. In September, the City Commission voted to terminate the BID by the end of the year, after the organization failed to garner more than 50 percent of the votes from property owners required to renew. Attorneys for the BID argued that the City Commission had unfairly shut down the voting period early and then threw out a key number of votes based on technicalities.

Since then, both the BID and the City have wrangled over the fate of an estimated $600,000 in the BID’s bank account. The city wants the BID to use those funds to fulfill their contracts – to cover, for example, the remaining 50 percent ($79,300) due for special lighting on Miracle Mile. The BID says it will use the remaining funds only for advocacy purposes, something Commissioner Ander son called “very vague, very troubling.”

Mayor Lago said the city should pay the balance for all planned events, rather than let them disappear, assuming they met city qual ity standards. But commissioners were visibly annoyed by the BID’s reluctance. “It’s obvious they are not cooperating,” said Commis sioner Mena. “If they don’t do the events, then wind them down…” Even after the city dissolves what is known as a city-sanctioned Section 170 entity, however, the BID will still exist as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The city must then decide whether to sue to acquire its remaining funds. ■

18 coralgablesmagazine.com STREETWISE / POLITICS
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Talk of the Town

At the Town Hall

TWICE A YEAR, THE MAYOR OPENS THE FLOOR TO CITIZEN CONCERNS – AND COMPLAINTS

much of which has been there for upwards of two decades and was only inherited by the current owners – and will require a landscap ing company to remove. The city seemed willing to compromise and extend the allotted time, though no final answer was given.

The Crowning Touch

YEARS IN THE MAKING, THE LOEWS HOTEL OPENS FOR BUSINESS

At Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago’s biannual town hall meeting last month, residents were invited to the Adult Community Center to share their questions and concerns. Mayor Lago and City Man ager Peter Iglesias opened the proceedings with an update on city projects and goals, including the trolley service (soon to add Sun days), the city’s new mobile app, and the push to add and renovate more parks. Other topics included an update on the controversial mobility hub (plans have been completed), the restoration of City Hall (on-going), and the plans for Firehouse 4 on Sunset.

Resident questions were then taken. One Gableite voiced con cern about the historically unenforced restriction on bicycles on the sidewalks of Miracle Mile. The mayor responded by outlining his plan to add 15 new police officers dedicated to the downtown area over the next three years. Another resident brought up long hold times for calls to City Hall, which Mayor Lago seemed surprised by and vowed to fix, saying there is “no excuse” for the lack of communication.

There was also a lively discussion about the lack of benches at bus stops and sidewalks. Attendees were informed that the city spent over $1 million this year on sidewalks, currently replacing and extending the walkways on Ferdinand Street and University Drive. Unfortunately, it seems the lack of bus stop benches will need to be dealt with at a county level, which Mayor Lago said he would address.

Perhaps most controversially, a homeowner who lives on Vene tia Terrace sought clarity on the city’s decision to serve her and her neighbors citations for overgrown shrubbery along their street. The resident said the city gave them only 10 days to clean up the foliage,

“Not many people realize how much work it takes to build a hotel of this size and quality,” said Carlos Beckmann, managing director of Agave Holdings, the company behind The Plaza Coral Gables, the largest development in the city’s history ($700 million). “It’s been six years in the making.”

Beckmann and co-managing director Jose Antonio Perez wel comed a crowd of local notables last month to the official opening of the new Loews Hotel, one of the last elements in The Plaza project, which includes 455,000-square-feet of office space in two towers, 137,000-square-feet of retail, a 200-unit luxury apartment building, and a 242-key Loews Hotel crowned with an Old Spain-style bell tower. All now rise in majestic Mediterranean style on the east side of Ponce Circle.

Beckmann recalled some of the challenges, including the COVID shutdown, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and two hurricanes. (“They missed us, but it was still a little bit scary,” he quipped.) Nonetheless, the hotel opened two weeks ahead of sched ule.

On hand for the ceremonial ribbon cutting was Jonathan Tisch, CEO and chairman of Loews Hotels, along with Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “The Agave family acquired this property in distress,” said Mayor Lago. “And what you see today is a labor of love. Thank you for investing in us.”—JP Faber

20 coralgablesmagazine.com STREETWISE / NEWS
AT THE CEREMONIAL RIBBON CUTTING (L TO R): AGAVE’S JOSE ANTONIO PEREZ; JONATHAN TISCH, CEO OF LOEWS HOTEL;, AGAVE’S CARLOS BECKMANN; CORAL GABLES MAYOR VINCE LAGO; MIAMI MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ; AND ALEX TISCH
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Talk of the Town

The Feel-Good Story of the Month

After working on it for the past two and a half years, Gables resi dent Mae Lynn Wensing, a sophomore at Terra Environmental Re search Academy, is finally ready to present her Eagle Project to the Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption & Protection Center.

Wensing is one of the founding girls of George Merrick Troop 719 and has climbed the Girl Scout ranks over the past four years. For her project, she fundraised to buy 20 Kuranda beds and collected used towels, pet blankets, toys, and other items the shelter needed. As a bonus, she was also able to donate a used washer and dryer.

“I don’t want it to be a one-time thing and that’s it,” says the 16-year-old. “Even though I will have completed Eagle, there’s always more to accomplish.”

Wensing says she wants to continue doing at least one good thing per day, and wants to encourage kids her age to continue donating to the shelter. She is currently looking at colleges with pre-veterinary programs in the hopes of becoming a veterinarian.

—Gabrielle Lord

Tiaras and Treasures

The historic Coral Gables Country Club, now coming back to life as a city-run facility, was the place. The event was a “Tiaras and Treasures” soirée devoted to women’s empowerment. Leveraging the imagery of the uber-popular “Bridgerton” Netflix series, the event last month was hosted by Maria Elena Headpieces and Miami Women Who Rock (MWWR).

Upon arrival, guests were greeted by a real-life horse and carriage decked in 1800s-style class. Dressed in period pieces, guests were serenaded by a string quartet playing songs from the “Bridger ton” soundtrack. The menu included salmon canapes, cucumber tea sandwiches, and blinis with crème fraiche and caviar.

The glamorous occasion was a celebration to kick off the first endowment fund for the organization’s Young Professional Philan thropists. Maria Elena tiaras, worn by celebrities such as Paris Hilton, were sold for the radically reduced rate of $100 prior to the event. Proceeds went to the endowment fund, which goes to chari ties of the organization’s choice.

“We raised money from the sale of tiaras, celebrated a won derful occasion, and embraced the spirit of volunteerism,” said Meghan Maloof Berdellans, president of the Young Professional Philanthropists Circle. Emily Zubi, CEO and founder of MWWR, expounded on the event, saying, “Coming out of the pandemic, it’s about connectivity. Women are so happy to feel valued and be a part of something bigger than themselves.” —Amy Poliakoff ■

22 coralgablesmagazine.com STREETWISE/NEWS
(Continued)
LEVERAGING THE BRIDGERTON BRAND AT THE NEW COUNTRY CLUB

All in the Family

LORRAINE TRAVEL STARTED IN THE GABLES 57 YEARS AGO. TODAY, IT’S THRIVING, A TESTIMO NY TO FAMILY-RUN BUSINESSES REINVENTING THEMSELVES

IN THE GABLES

The story of Jack and Luisa Guiteras is familiar to thousands of families that fled Cuba in the wake of the Castro revolution. With private property headed for confiscation across the island, the couple left Cuba in 1960 with the clothes on their back and whatever they could put in their pockets.

Twelve years earlier, Jack Guiteras had opened a trav el company in the offices of a French shipping company in Havana. The president of that company came from the French region of Lorraine, so Jack named his firm in honor of the man who helped him start. Lorraine Travel was then reborn in Downtown Miami, moving to Le Jeune Road in 1965. In 1977, they finally set tled into a building Jack bought on Alhambra Circle in 1997, where they operate today.

“At one time, there were 11 members of my family working at the company,” says Jack’s son Greg Guiteras, now CEO of Lorraine Travel. “All five of my siblings were there, along with my aunt and uncle and myself.” Add to that mom, dad, and a cousin or two.

Jack Guiteras, who passed away 11 years ago, was the driving force behind the com pany, says Greg, and he led with fanfare – including chartering the Concord for a trip around the world for two consecutive years, with guests that included William F. Buckley and Frank Borman.

Greg joined the firm in 1988, fresh from Florida State University, ultimately taking the reins. “Oddly enough, I was the one who, through childhood,

spent the least amount of time with my parents,” he says. “Now, I’m only outdone in terms of tenure by my older brother Louis.”

It was the Guiteras chil dren who helped reinvent the business after the advent of the internet, which made it possible for people to book their own flights and accommodations –driving many travel agencies out of business.

“We didn’t fear the inter net,” says Greg. “We actually embraced it.” When corporate business faded away, Lorraine Travel focused on luxury hotels. “Twenty years ago, at the beginning of the internet, we created websites that featured luxury hotels online. Now, it’s 70 percent of our business.” Through its website whatahotel. com, Lorraine now books people all over the globe, from Europe to Korea. “Our doors are open here if someone wants to pop in, but we have very few customers in Coral Gables,” says Greg.

Lorraine’s value proposi tion, beyond the convenience factor that all travel agencies tout, is what Guiteras calls “exclusive complimentary perks” that come as part of their contractual agreements with luxury brands like Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons. “Our prices are identical to the websites. The difference is that when you book with us, you get a free breakfast for two, upgrades for free, free Wi-Fi, and a $100 credit to spend on-property. It’s these perks that make the difference” –as well as the legwork of booking not only the hotel but the “most advantageous” airline prices and

A FAMILY AFFAIR

LEFT: RICHIE MASSA (GREG’S NEPHEW), DIRECTOR OF LUXURY SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER: GREG GUITERAS, CEO

RIGHT: LOUIS GUITERAS, CORPORATE TRAVEL ADVISOR SEATED: LUISA GUITERAS (AKA “MOM”), TREASURER NOT PICTURED: MARIA C. GUITERAS-RODRIGUEZ, TRAVEL ADVISOR

AT ONE TIME THERE WERE 11 MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY WORKING AT THE COMPANY. ALL FIVE OF MY SIBLINGS WERE THERE, ALONG WITH MY AUNT AND UNCLE AND MYSELF. ”

routes at no additional cost. “We also make free changes where it’s possible, and we’re a lot more available than an airline.”

The result is that Lorraine Travel continues to thrive, especially post-pandemic with the explosion in pent-up demand for travel. “Now, every border can be crossed and every country traveled to,” says Greg. And, as for the family business, the third generation is already in place, with Greg’s nephew Richie now on board. ■

24 coralgablesmagazine.com STREETWISE / SMALL BUSINESS

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In a Pickle

Pickleball, anyone? Oh, yes.

Everyone, it seems, wants to play the hottest racket sport in the U.S., and that includes growing numbers of Gables residents. “An explosion,” is how veteran Parks and Recreation Department supervisor Mitchell Zuriarrain describes the surge in interest. “I have never seen demand like this. And what’s cool is that it’s a game that can be played by about everybody.”

If, that is, you can find an available court. Currently, there are only two dedicated pickleball courts in the Gables, both at Salvadore Park Tennis Center. Getting a reservation is not easy. At a recent City Commission meeting, Gables resident Silvia Piñera-Vazquez spoke of her frustration in having to log into the reservation portal promptly at 7 am only to find that both courts were already booked. “This is not a matter we should wait a year to resolve,” she said. “This is good for our community and should be dealt with fast. We need more than just two courts.”

Recognizing that the Gables is late to the pickleball party, city officials are scram bling to create makeshift courts at the Youth Center and even indoors at the Adult Activity Center. Other possibilities include relining tennis courts at the Biltmore Tennis Center and

the Coral Gables Country Club. Longer term, the city’s planned $8 million makeover of Phillips Park will include two pickleball courts. Other potential sites in clude Jaycee Park, Kerdyk Park, and Family Park.

Despite pleas from picklers to quickly create more courts, Zuriarrain says there are no plans to refit any of the 13 tennis courts at Salvadore Park for pickleball. In many cities around the U.S., tensions have flared when tennis courts are converted to pickleball, a game that some tennis players disdain. “We’re taking this very se riously,” Mayor Vince Lago said at an October commission meeting. “This is a priority for the entire commission.” But, he cautioned, “this is going to take time.”

Invented by three friends on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in the mid-1960s, pickleball has recently soared in popularity. The court is smaller than a tennis court, the short-handled paddles are solid wood or composite, and the perforated plastic balls make a satisfying “thwock” sound when struck.

The game is also easier to pick up than tennis, requires less running, and is easier on the joints. And picklers come in all ages. “I’ve had people in their 80s and kids as young as three on the court,” says Brad Mixson, a tennis pro who now spends half his court time tutoring pick

leballers.

Allison Freeland, who works at the University of Mi ami, was introduced to pickle ball during a trip to California seven years ago. Back home, she drew lines on a lightly used tennis court on her property near Matheson Hammock Park, invited friends over, and from there “we all kind of got hooked on it,” she says. Now, the two re surfaced courts at her home are busy most every day. “Good ten nis players at first want to hit the ball hard,” says Freeland, “But pickleball is all about finesse, the dinking. You need patience. It’ a game I can see playing for a long time.” ■

TOP: BRAD MIXSON, TENNIS PRO WITH VISITOR FROM TALLAHASSEE ELAINE RUDD.

ABOVE: NANCY LOWRY AND HER DAUGHTER SHANNON DEARCOS.

26 coralgablesmagazine.com STREETWISE / SPORTS
“It’s a lot of fun, and a lot more exercise than people think.”
PICKLEBALL IS A SMASH HIT. BUT IN THE GABLES, THERE ARE TOO FEW PLACES TO PLAY
I’VE HAD PEOPLE IN THEIR 80S AND KIDS AS YOUNG AS THREE ON THE COURT. IT’S A LOT OF FUN, AND A LOT MORE EXERCISE THAN PEOPLE THINK. ”
Nancy Sanabria Real Estate Advisor 305.785.4491 nancy@sanabriateam.com Not intended to solicit currently listed property. © Compass Florida, LLC. Equal Housing Opportunity. All information furnished regarding property for sale or rent or regarding financing is from sources deemed reliable, but Compass makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy thereof. All property information is presented subject to errors, omissions, price changes, changed property conditions, and withdrawal of the property from the market, without notice. Navigating You Home 1001 San Pedro Ave Gables by the Sea Sale/Lease 100’ Direct Ocean Access 2021 Complete Renovation $9,900,000 / $65,000/M | 8 BD | 8 BA | 5,460 SF 1125 San Pedro Ave Gables by the Sea 100’ Direct Ocean Access 2008 Complete Renovation $6,590,000 | 5 BD | 4.5 BA | 4,092 SF 1627 Brickell Ave, #2301 The Imperial South Brickell’s Finest Living 600 sf wrap-around balcony $1,090,000 | 3 BD | 2.5 BA | 1,792 SF SW 106 Street and 89 Court E Kendall Oversized Half-Acre Lot On Secluded Cul-De-Sac $1,150,000 | 23,020 SF 1071 San Pedro Avenue Gables by the Sea 100’ Direct Ocean Access 2014 New Construction $6,630,000 | 7 BD | 7 BA | 4,449 SF

Facelift Variations

There might be some confusion these days among prospective patients, caused by claims made on social media, that one type of facelift might be better, more effective, or longer lasting. Confusion leads to anxiety and more confusion, which is not helpful. So, let’s focus on what matters when it comes to your face.

Most facelift patients care about safety and want to end up with an aesthetic and natural looking result. They wish to look younger, refreshed but still like themselves - not pulled, not weird, not different, and certainly all with minimal or no unnecessary risk. How a surgeon proposes to accomplish this goal, isn’t really their concern, it is the surgeon’s job and challenge. In aesthetics and plastic surgery there isn’t always one way of doing things. Different approaches and innovations are fundamental to progress. With years of training in plastic surgery and actual facelift experience, capable surgeons will evolve different, personalized techniques and nuances which work best in their hands and optimize their patients’ safety and aesthetic outcomes. Imposing one particular ‘technique’ on every patient isn’t sensible. Patients are different, anatomically, medically, and emotionally, and surgical techniques should allow for these variations.

It is worth noting that your result is created by your plastic surgeon, not a particular technique. Excellent surgeons generally create excellent results, and consistently, with whatever technique they have evolved, and which has proven itself safe and effective in their hands. One particular ‘technique’ applied inappropriately or poorly by a less experienced or less skillful surgeon will not guarantee a happy result. Thus claiming one particular ‘technique’ to be superior to another is really more about marketing and selfpromotion than the patient. With that in mind, let’s briefly review variations in facelifting.

Facelifts started decades ago as a skin-only procedure, sometimes resulting in a pulled or ‘surgical’ appearance. Despite its potential shortcomings, it remains a reasonable option in certain patients.

Anatomic face studies in the 1970’s revealed the presence of a strong support layer below the skin. The difficult to pronounce name given by anatomists to this layer was abbreviated as ‘SMAS’. Plastic surgeons began to add this layer to their previous skin-only facelifts and learned that, when skillfully performed, this new SMAS lift did improve aesthetic outcomes and generally provided longer lasting

results when compared to most skin lifts. Why? Because the tension to lift the face was transferred from the skin to the deeper and stronger SMAS layer. The skin was thus allowed to re-assume its natural function to cover the face, not to lift and hold it up, which really is the job of the deep support (SMAS) layer.

In the late 80’s, early 90’s, some surgeons ventured below the SMAS, and while keeping the skin and SMAS together, lifted it as a single (or composite) unit. Though initially called a ‘composite lift’, the name was soon simplified to the ‘deep plane lift’. But this deeper layer, below the SMAS, is the territory of glands, the muscles of facial expression and their nerves. Careful evaluation and experience with the ‘deep plane lift’ by plastic surgeons, along with live, simultaneous

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... Your plastic surgeon should be experienced and flexible in his/her approach to your anatomic uniqueness
...

comparison operations at scientific meetings of our principal plastic surgery societies (ASPS, ASAPS) unfortunately (or fortunately?) did not demonstrate better or more effective or longer lasting results, despite its potentially increased risks to sensitive deeper structures, which could result in months of patient distress. Most plastic surgeons therefore abandoned this technique a few decades ago.

Despite the ‘deep is dangerous’ concern by experienced plastic surgeons, the ‘deep plane lift’ of the 1990’s remains a technique that some surgeons may prefer and select for their patients. In recent years, however, graduates from ear, nose and throat (ENT or Otolaryngology) training programs, self-designated as ‘facial plastic surgeons’, have engaged in marketing campaigns, especially on social media, to resurrect the ‘deep plane lift’, and claiming it to be superior with regard to result and longevity. Any claims of superiority of the ‘deep plane lift’ are simply opinions, not fact!

Returning to what matters to you, the patient. There is more than one way to get a good or excellent and long-lasting facelift result. Your plastic surgeon should be experienced and flexible in his/her approach to your anatomic uniqueness and select the appropriate technique he/she is most experienced and comfortable with to give you the result you seek, and in the safest way possible!

There is agreement that a modern facelift today should in most patients provide ‘deep support’ with tightening of the strong connective tissue (SMAS) layer in the cheek, along the jawline,

as well as the superficial muscles of the neck (platysma). Yet it is equally important to mobilize and remove lax, sagging skin, particularly in the jowl and neck areas. The combination of ‘deep support’ and skin tightening, when skillfully performed, will provide a smooth jawline (the key feature of youth and beauty!) and a pleasing, refreshed appearance, and with the least amount of risk to deeper structures. The skill required to do so well will vary greatly among surgeons, so research and evaluate your prospective surgeon with care before entrusting your face.

Dr. Baker is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, with decades of experience in facelifting, and a Member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

STEPHAN BAKER, MD, FACS

Plastic Surgery of the Face Breast and Body

Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery 305.381.8837 | www.drbaker.com 3850 Bird Road Suite 702, Miami, FL 33146

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A FINE LINE

Highlights from the Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation November

18, 2022 – February 26, 2023

Do Ho Suh, Toilet, Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA, 2011. Polyester fabric and stainless steel. Collection of the Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation. © Do Ho Suh. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London Photo by Taegsu Jeon A Fine Line: Highlights from the Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation was made possible by the Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation. Additional funding was provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture. The Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, Miami-Dade Mayor, and Board of County Commissioners; the City of Coral Gables; Beaux Arts Miami; and Lowe members.
31 Best Bets: NightGarden is back at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Page 32 Living

Best Bets for December

“A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE MUSICAL”

Actors’ Playhouse is putting a musical twist on the classic Charles Dickens tale this holiday season as three spirits visit Ebenezer Scrooge and try to show him the true meaning of Christmas. This musical adaptation, written especially for family audiences, is play ing at 2 pm every Saturday and Sunday at the Miracle Theatre from December 1 to December 24. Tickets start at $25. actorsplayhouse.org. 280 Miracle Mile. 305.444.9293

Thursday to Sunday, visitors can stroll through the 23-acre gardens, which have been transformed into an illuminated magical fairyland, complete with technicolor flowers and unique sculptures. However, this isn’t just another light show; there are also rainbow-colored pathways, a talking tree, fairy quests, and much more! And if you get hungry, don’t worry; there are plenty of food and beverage op tions from some of Miami’s most popular food trucks. Tickets start at $25 for children and $30 for adults. thenightgarden.com. 10901 Old Cutler Rd. 305.667.1651

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

Santa Claus is coming to town! Stop by Mariposa on the third floor of Neiman Marcus Coral Gables at 8 am on December 11 to celebrate the season with the big man himself. A festive celebration packed with holiday fun, breakfast will include assorted breakfast pastries, brioche French toast with whipped cream, fresh berries, scrambled eggs, Applewood smoked bacon, and more. Tickets for children ages three to 12 are $50; adult tickets are $60. 390 San Lorenzo Ave. 786.999.1000

NIGHTGARDEN

The magical light spectacular, NightGarden, is back at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden until January 3. Every week from

THE VILLAGERS’ HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR

Whether you’re a history buff or just want to know a little more about the City Beautiful, you can’t miss this historic house tour. From 10 am to 4 pm on December 10, members of The Villagers will be on-hand to guide tours and recount the unique stories of Coral Gables’ villages and homes. After a two-year hiatus, the re turn of the tour marks the 37th year that The Villagers have hosted the event. Attendees will drive their own vehicles between proper ties and will receive directions with their purchase of a $50 ticket. coralgables.com/events/villagers-holiday-house-tour.

“MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET CHRISTMAS”

From November 16 to January 1, celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year” with unforgettable performances from Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley. Part of Actors’ Playhouse mainstage season, this show-stopping quartet will

32 coralgablesmagazine.com LIVING / EVENTS
Not intended to solicit currently listed property. © Compass Florida, LLC. Equal Housing Opportunity. All information furnished regarding property for sale or rent or regarding financing is from sources deemed reliable, but Compass makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy thereof. All property information is presented subject to errors, omissions, price changes, changed property conditions, and withdrawal of the property from the market, without notice. O. 305.775.5330 · VERYSPECIALHOMES.COM · 1515 SUNSET DRIVE, CORAL GABLES We hope you feel at home anywhere you are this holiday season. Wishing you and yours the warmest wishes as the year comes to a close. At the core, homes are the backdrop of countless memories. We hope your home is filled with health and laughter these holidays. 25 Years Local Area Expertise 2,400 Satisfied Coral Gables Clients $1.2 Billion in Revenue 1 Singular Perspective SCAN FOR YOUR PROPERTY’S VALUE

ring in the season by singing classic holiday tunes like “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Santa Baby,” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Tickets start at $40. actorsplayhouse.org. 280 Miracle Mile. 305.444.9293 (See review next page).

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS CHANUKAH CELEBRATION

It’s that time of year again! Make sure to head out to Ponce Circle Park on December 18 to partake in the Festival of Lights. This celebration, lasting from 4 pm to 6 pm, features the lighting of the menorah, a fire truck parade, a chocolate gelt drop, and tasty season al treats like latkes. Coral Gables firefighters will be in attendance with a large menorah fastened to their truck while a dreidel mascot hands out chocolate coins. 2800 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

CANDLELIGHT: A TRIBUTE TO TAYLOR SWIFT

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the songs by Taylor Swift that you know all too well. At 6:30 pm on December 8, the Colonnade Hotel Coral Gables is hosting an enchanted multi-sensory musical experience that will feature the Listeso String Quartet’s take on some of Swift’s biggest hits. Tickets start at $37. candlelightexperi ence.com. 180 Aragon Ave.

MERRICK “HOLIDAY” PARK AND PARADE

Get in the spirit at Merrick “Holiday” Park. Opening December 2 with the annual tree lighting in front of City Hall, this seasonal playground will be open to people of all ages to enjoy rides and play around holiday-inspired backdrops. Come out December 10 and 17 at 10 am to grab a cup of hot cocoa, work on holiday crafts, and have your picture taken with Santa (reservations required). On December 11 at 5 pm, the Junior Orange Bowl will be presenting the 74th annual Miracle on the Mile Parade outside the park, complete with floats, performers, and marching bands. 405 Biltmore Way. 305.460.5600

BEST REASON TO LEAVE THE GABLES: TREETOP TREKKING AT JUNGLE ISLAND

There aren’t many things you can’t do in Coral Gables, but a taking a zipline and ropes course through a jungle canopy is one of them. At Treetop Trekking Miami, located inside Jungle Island, partic ipants harness up and navigate through different obstacle courses in the trees above the park, complete with ziplines, Tarzan swings, suspended bridges, and tightrope walks. The Discovery courses are for kids five and up ($45), while the Explorer ($55) and Thrill-Seek er ($65) Treks are for those a little older (nine and up) and looking for a challenge. Bookings are available at miamitreetoptrekking.com from Friday to Monday, 10 am to 4 pm. 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail. 321.277.7310 ■

34 coralgablesmagazine.com LIVING / EVENTS

They’re Back... and Badass as Ever

AN IMPROMPTU JAM SESSION BY FOUR FUTURE ROCK AND

HAS BECOME ONE OF THOSE SHOWBIZ GIFTS THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

On Dec. 4, 1956, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips wanted to record some new tracks with Carl Perkins, whose “Blue Suede Shoes” had been a hit for Perkins and Sun superstar Elvis Presley.

Phillips brought in the young Jerry Lee Lewis to play piano on the session. And then two other Phillips stars – Presley, whose contract had been sold to RCA to keep Sun Records afloat, and Johnny Cash, who was about to jump ship to Columbia Records – came by the Memphis studio. When the four started jamming, the Sun engineer pressed “record,” and a one-time-only group dubbed the Million Dollar Quartet made a piece of music history.

In 2006 at the Seaside Music Theatre in Daytona Beach, that night and those stars spawned “Million Dollar Quartet,” a piece of musical the ater jam-packed with hits. The show would become a major production at Chicago’s Good man Theatre in 2008, then on Broadway in 2010, followed by Off-Broadway, London, a tour and productions at theaters all over the United States – includ ing two by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables.

With the smash success of those 2016 and 2018 productions at the Miracle Theatre, it’s no surprise that Actors’ Playhouse and artistic director David Arisco would go back to the “Million Dollar” well to kick off the com pany’s 35th anniversary season.

While the new show, “Mil lion Dollar Quartet Christmas,” isn’t precisely a sequel – it takes place on the same night as the

original, because Elvis, Johnny, Carl, and Jerry Lee got together just the one time – it serves up a fresh collection of songs linked by a different story.

The music, as anyone in the delighted Actors’ audience would tell you, is sung and played to a fare-thee-well by talented actor-musicians who have been

part of one or both of the com pany’s “Million Dollar Quartet” productions.

Colin Escott’s new book, however, pales in comparison to his Tony Award-nominated orig inal (he co-wrote the first one with Floyd Mutrux). All the re ally good stuff about these stars –jealousies, betrayals, gossip – was used in “Million Dollar Quartet.” Escott struggled to construct a story not half as compelling, and no amount of finesse on the part of the performers and Arisco can disguise that.

Fortunately, theatergoers

aren’t focused on listening to the characters talk to each other. They want to hear the music, the hits, like Elvis singing “Blue Christmas,” thank you very much. And they do. Led by Arisco and musical director Dominique Scott, who’s repris ing his Carbonell Award-win ning role as Jerry Lee Lewis, the actors deliver the vocal and instrumental goods.

Eddie Clendening, who played Elvis on Broadway and in the first Actors’ production, is back as the King, again with a sultry singer named Dyanne

ABOVE: THE ENTIRE CAST RAISING THE ROOF - FRONT LEFT TO RIGHT: DOMINIQUE SCOTT AS JERRY LEE LEWIS

JEREMY SEVELOVITZ AS CARL PERKINS LINDSEY COREY AS DYANNE SKY SEALS AS JOHNY CASH EDDIE CLENDENING AS ELVIS PRESLEY REAR LEFT TO RIGHT:

JONNY BOWLER ON BASS DAVID SONNEBORN ON DRUMS GREGG WEINER

36 coralgablesmagazine.com LIVING / THEATER
TOP: EDDIE CLENDENING AS ELVIS PRESLEY AND LINDSEY COREY, AS THE SULTRY SINGER, DYANNE. AS SAM PHILLIPS

Nicklaus Children's Hospital has a special place in the hearts of the Kern Family.

We are proud to support South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine, and the world class care they provide for children not just from Miami, but around the world.

During this giving season please join us in supporting Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

Sincerely, Drew Kern Vice Chair Nicklaus Children's Hospital Board Executive Committee, Nicklaus Children's Hospital Foundation Board

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in tow (Lindsey Corey, here a redhead in a fits-like-a-glove red velvet dress). Sky Seals is back as Cash, Jeremy Sevelovitz as Perkins, with David Sonneborn on drums and Jonny Bowler on bass. Gregg Weiner has returned as Phillips, whom he first played at Actors’ in 2018.

Solos, duets, and songs by the cast as a whole flow like spiked eggnog at a company Christmas party. Clendening’s Elvis croons “Don’t Be Cruel,” a yearning “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and a lovely duet with Seals’ Cash on “Silent Night.” Seals sends a happy jolt through the audience with “Ring of Fire,” and Sevelovitz’s Perkins blazes on guitar as he sings “Cotton Top.”

Scott, playing the contro versial rock ‘n’ roll legend who passed away just last month, is a wild man as Lewis, sing ing “Chantilly Lace,” “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” and “Bad Kid,” topping himself during the

concert-style finale.

Corey adds vocal spice with a sultry “Santa Baby” and other tunes, but her mission appears to be slinking around the studio and draping her arm over this musician or that one. Weiner plays Phillips in a pleasant, lowkey way rather than as a music pioneer facing the loss of the stars he helped create. The de sign team, meanwhile, effectively re-creates the “Million Dollar” Sun studio, the period looks of the actors, and the shifting moods of different songs.

In going back to the creative well, “Million Dollar Quartet Christmas” may not deliver as reliably as its predeces sor. But it is a rollicking holiday mood-enhancing experience for music lovers looking for a differ ent way to get into the spirit of the season. ■

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of visual and performing arts news.

“MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET CHRISTMAS” ACTORS’ PLAYHOUSE IN THE BALCONY THEATER MIRACLE THEATRE, 280 MIRACLE MILE 8 PM WED.-SAT., 8 PM, SUN. 3 PM, THROUGH JAN. 1 $40 TO $125 (SENIORS 65+ GET 10 PERCENT OFF WEEKDAYS; STUDENTS WITH VALID STUDENT ID PAY $15 FOR RUSH TICKETS 15 MINUTES BEFORE WEEKDAY PERFORMANCES) FOR INFO: 305.444.9293 OR ACTORSPLAYHOUSE.ORG

Make Coral Gables Your Year-Round Playground

Live, work, and play in Coral Gables. With over 15 years of real estate experience in and around Coral Gables, I can help you navigate all this community has to offer.

Call me if you are looking to leverage today’s evolving real estate market.

JJ Snow Hansen Real Estate Advisor 305.608.8750 jj@jjsnowhansen.com

Not intended to solicit currently listed property. © Compass Florida, LLC. Equal Housing Opportunity. All information furnished regarding property for sale or rent or regarding financing is from sources deemed reliable, but Compass makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy thereof. All property information is presented subject to errors, omissions, price changes, changed property conditions, and withdrawal of the property from the market, without notice.
38 coralgablesmagazine.com
LINDSEY COREY AND SKY SEALS SING AS GREGG WEINER RECORDS

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and environmentally friendly resort operations. Sandals and its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, has partnered with the Netherlands’ AFC Ajax soccer team to launch Future Goals, a program that turns fishing nets sourced from the ocean and recycled plastic waste into soccer goals for children on Curaçao. It’s one of the many projects underway on the island, including beach cleanups and a digital hiking app to make the island’s natural resources more accessible to both visitors and locals alike.

When Sandals ® opened the doors to its first resort over forty years ago, the company’s founder, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, set out to offer allinclusive vacations that were unlike anything the travel industry had ever seen. He did that through constant innovation, and by showing deep love and respect for the Caribbean islands that Sandals calls home. And with his vision of expansion, his son, Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, is creating the next generation of travel by driving new concepts in innovation and sustainability. Nowhere is this more evident than at the newest resort in the brand’s collection: Sandals Royal Curaçao.       With its living, breathing intersection of cultures and a landscape that defies imagination,

Curaçao offers Sandals guests the perfect opportunity to immerse themselves into the island experience, both on and off the resort. Whether getting behind the wheel of a MINI Cooper to explore this Dutch-Caribbean island or experiencing Island Inclusive Dining experiences with the first curated dine-out program—both Sandals firsts—guests can get a real taste of Curaçao.     Perhaps the greatest innovation Sandals has incorporated into every resort is its ethos of sustainability. All resorts are designed to have the lowest possible imprint on the environment, with a commitment to natural resources and social impact, green purchasing practices,

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Brewery Blues

AFTER

A COVID-INDUCED PAUSE, THE MUSIC IS BACK

Titanic Brewery has served the University of Miami community and Coral Gables residents burgers and beer for the last 25 years. It’s consoled the Hurricanes football team (and its fans) through losses, helped them celebrate wins, and even survived the pandem ic – when many of its peers were forced to close their doors, Titanic put tables outside in a shady yard behind the building. During COVID, however, the brewpub was forced to cancel all its live entertainment. Steadily, it has resumed its music nights, and the popular weekly blues sessions are now back.

Every Wednesday from 9 pm to midnight, Titanic Brewery

transforms into a blues club. Suddenly, you’re not in Miami anymore – you’re in a dive bar somewhere in Tennessee or Mississippi. You’re in one of the last-standing breweries that hav en’t been overtaken by hipsters.

The blues jam session is an open-stage event. Anyone with a sense of rhythm and a passion for blues is welcome to take the stage and play – as long as they first find UM professor Chris Cosner. He is the unofficial organizer of the jam session, and when he isn’t teaching calculus and differential equations to his students, you can find him onstage playing blues renditions of Grateful Dead songs.

Cosner has been playing in

the jam since it started more than 20 years ago, and he now runs the event, setting up the equipment and deciding who gets to play next. And while his day job at the university requires extreme pre cision and leaves little room for creativity, one of Cosner’s favorite things about the blues nights is how improvised and imperfect they are.

“Nothing is really re hearsed,” he says. “But everyone plays a similar style of music, so once you start playing, it just kind of flows.”

Kevin Rusk, the owner and founder of Titanic Brewery, echoes Cosner’s remarks. “You never know what’s going to happen,” he says. “Sometimes you’ll get a group of younger kids, maybe five or six. Or you’ll have a four-piece group grow to a nine-piece group with a horn section. It’s just amazing to be in and be a part of.”

UM sophomore Daniel Coppola started playing in the

jam sessions around March 2021 and has gone almost every Wednesday since. While his first live performance at a Titanic jam made him nervous, he says that the sessions have since made him fall in love with performing. “It’s really thrilling being up there, playing for other people, because I love music and it almost feels like I’m speaking through my guitar when I’m playing,” he says.

Titanic also hosts karaoke nights every Sunday from 9 pm to 11 pm, and has various live music performances every Saturday night. Drop by for the jam session and enjoy a freshly brewed beer, a good burger, and an escape into the more underground Gables music scene. ■

TITANIC BREWERY

5813 PONCE DE LEON BLVD. 305.667.2537

11:30 AM TO 11 PM DAILY, TILL MIDNIGHT FRI. & SAT.

40 coralgablesmagazine.com LIVING / LIVE MUSIC
“ ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT THE JAM SESSION IS THAT NOTHING IS REALLY REHEARSED. BUT EVERYONE PLAYS A SIMILAR STYLE OF MUSIC, SO ONCE YOU START PLAYING, IT JUST KIND OF FLOWS.
THE UNOFFICIAL ORGANIZER , UM PROFESSOR CHRIS COSNER, SHOWN LEFT.

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A Love Affair with Language

WHERE ELSE BUT CORAL GABLES WOULD AN ANCIENT SOCIETY TEACH THE TONGUE OF ITALY?

Dante Alighieri was a 13th century poet from Flor ence – you might remember him as the author of “The Divine Comedy” – who is considered by many to be the father of the modern Italian language. Think of him as the Italian Chaucer.

Naturally, then, when a group of Italian scholars got to gether in 1889 to form a society to promote Italian language and culture worldwide, they called themselves the Società Dante Alighieri. Their organization has since spread to more than 60 countries, including to an out post in Coral Gables launched 20 years ago. Today, at that outpost on Aragon Avenue, you can attend classes to learn Italian.

They also teach German, French, and Spanish, but hey – dammi una pausa – Italian is specialità of the house.

The setting at Società Dan te Alighieri is intimate; my small classroom felt like a miniature museum. Art covered the walls, books filled the shelves, and every detail connected to Italy, welcoming you to embrace not only the language you’ve come to learn, but also the civilized Italian way of life. It’s an environment that lends itself to erudition, but it’s the teachers and the commu nity – both global and local – that make it special.

Claudio Pastor, the execu tive director, has been teaching at Dante for 26 years. He greets

every student who walks in by name – a task made easier by class sizes that never exceed 10 people, with an average of six, allowing teachers to curate course work to meet individual students’ needs.

At the first class that I attended, Pastor introduced himself, explained the origin of the Italian language, and reviewed basic greetings like “Mi chiamo…” (My name is…) so each student could introduce themselves in Italian. Pastor is a charismatic man, creating an environment where no student feels uncomfortable, regardless of their inane questions or their (initially) bad pronunciation. Each question is met with a nonjudgmental explanation and each correction is done cordial ly and kindly. His enthusiasm and genuine affection for the language is perfectly mirrored by the way he teaches – one won ders if the methods are different for the German classes.

“To learn a language, you need to love it,” Pastor says. “It has to be a little bit like a love affair with the culture, with the

language, and with the people. That’s the beautiful part of it.”

The long-time teacher asks each student why they want to learn Italian and uses their interests as part of his lessons. Words like “Gucci” are used to learn certain pronunciations – the Italian pronunciation is a little different from the American –and students are encouraged to come up with similar words from their own Italian vocabulary. Can anyone say “Spaghetti carbonara?”

Some students have been at Società Dante Alighieri for decades, and it’s no wonder. They come to learn a language, but they stay for the community – a community that allows them to immerse themselves in the pur est form of Italian culture you can find – outside of Italy, that is. “I love the interactions with our students and our members,” says Pastor. “They are really the soul [of Dante].” ■

42 coralgablesmagazine.com LIVING / EDUCATION
SOCIETÀ DANTE ALIGHIERI 300 ARAGON AVENUE, DANTEMIAMI.ORG CLAUDIO PASTOR, THE EXECUTIVE DI RECTOR OF SOCIETÀ DANTE ALIGHIERI

Experience Matters

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Eye Candy

TESTING OUT THE NEW NATURAL LOOKS FOR BROWS AND LASHES AT MAYRA’S ART BEAUTY

It turns out that the “effortless” look that’s been in vogue as of late, does, in fact, require a bit of effort.

With the explosion of the “clean girl aesthetic,” many are throwing out their thick contour palettes and dark eyeliners and trading them in for liquid blush and clear lip gloss. While you may be rejoicing at the thought of saving the 10, 30, or even 50 minutes it takes you to apply makeup in the morning, wait –there’s actually a lot of behindthe-scenes work involved in creating that chic, effortless look. Treatments like facials, eyelash extensions, and eyebrow micro blading are all part of this now popular trend that embraces natural beauty and declares these rituals “self-care.” To see what all the hoopla was about, I stopped by Mayra’s Art Beauty to test out a few for myself.

This boutique beauty salon tucked inside Zen Hair on Ara gon Avenue offers everything from facials to blowouts to lash lifts. The first service I tried was the eyebrow shaping and henna tint. Although I’ve been getting my eyebrows waxed for 10 years, I’ve never had them profession ally shaped, only cleaned up. So, I’ve been living my whole life thinking I had straight eyebrows. That was until Mayra took hold of them. An eyebrow artist for 25 years, Mayra informed me that I could have an arch if I so wanted. Curious, I agreed. To my surprise, this subtle shift acted almost as a mini eye lift, giving the appearance of more eyelid space. (A small win for my hooded lids!)

Then came the henna. A non-committal cousin of micro

blading, which lasts about a year, henna gives the appearance of full, filled-in eyebrows and only lasts a month – perfect for those of us with commitment issues. As someone who can’t seem to avoid dark eyebrow pencil patches whenever I fill them in myself, I was instantly intrigued. At first, I was taken aback at the intensity of the henna, but it was only dark for a few days before it faded to a natural shade for the remainder of the month.

To top off my eye transfor mation, I also got an eyelash lift and tint. With no maintenance or upkeep required, this treat ment is perfect for someone who wants the appearance of natural ly long, dark, and curly eyelashes without spending the time or money on extensions or mascara. The process took 45 minutes and started with the application of a gummy-like mold on the eyelids. Once in place, my technician lifted each eyelash to the mold, making sure they were properly spread out before applying three liquid solutions: one to curl, one to nourish, and one to tint. Afterwards, I was advised not to wet my lashes for 24 hours, which wasn’t hard considering there was no need for mascara anymore.

After staring at my new lashes and eyebrows for two months, I was delighted to find that both lasted even longer than I thought they would. My eyebrows stayed full and dark for about six weeks and my lashes are only just now starting to fall back into place eight weeks later. These were some of the most confident weeks of my life, even without a full face of makeup. ■

MAYRA’S ART BEAUTY 300 ARAGON AVE. 305.332.8779

MAYRASARTBEAUTY.COM

44 coralgablesmagazine.com LIVING / BEAUTY REPORT
TOP: THE EYELASH TINT AND LIFT AT MAYRA’S ART BEAUTY TAKES ABOUT 45 MINUTES AND CAN LAST FOR WEEKS.
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La Terrazza, Fiola’s Rooftop Dining Page 52 90-DAY MILK-FED VEAL CHOP IN A SAMBUCA REDUCTION, TOPPED WITH FOIS GRAS AND SHAVED TRUFFLE, AT LA TERRAZZA.
Bites

Quick Bites

AN OYSTER

Gringo’s Oyster Bar is famous for its raw oysters, flown in from New England and West Coast oyster beds. Few places match its happy hour deals for the raw mollusks. Every so often, however, we like to try the fried variety, which is also more palatable for those averse to raw fish. And theirs are darn tasty, especially with a nice remoulade sauce. $14.50 as an appetizer or in a po’boy sandwich. 1549 Sunset Dr. 305.284.9989

AND YOU CAN GRAB A BOOK, TOO

The Books & Books shop on Aragon may not strike you as a go-to place to dine, but its café is among the most charming spots for a light meal – plus, now that the weather is nice, you can sit outside in the courtyard. Their Avocado Greek salad, adding lots of that superfood to the feta, olives, cucumber, tomato, and red onion is a good place to start ($15) and with grilled shrimp added on ($8) it’s a hearty, healthy meal. 265 Aragon Ave. 305.448.9599

PORK ROYALTY

A Caja China is something anyone familiar with traditional Cuban food knows about. It’s a box used to slow cook a whole pig for hours, until the skin is crisp and the meat tender and juicy. Now, Jorgie Ramos, the chef at rooftop restaurant Cebada, is bringing out the family Caja on the first Wednesday of each month. Jorgie, aka “Miami’s Prince of Pork,” will offer specials that include Caja China lechon with harina, pan con lechon, and more. Open for dinner Tues. through Sun. starting at 5 pm. 124 Giralda Ave. 786.409.2287

FROM DOWN UNDER

Threefold Café, the eatery that brought all-day breakfasts to Giralda Plaza, is now serving dinner Wednesday to Sunday, starting at 5 pm. The expanded menu will include dishes like Frenched pork chop, osso bucco, and cabbage steak. Most intriguing is the whole leg of lamb. At $135 for six pounds, it will serve a minimum of four (and surely six) people. You’ll just need to order it 45 minutes ahead of time. The lamb is, of course, grass-fed from Australia, the home of proprietor Nick Sharp. 141 Giralda Ave. 305.704.8007

BEST BARGAIN IN TOWN

Just when you thought inflation had driven all restaurant prices skyhigh, La Casita holds firm with affordable – and delicious – Cuban food. That includes such classics as masas de cerdo (deep fried pork chunks) and vaca frita (skillet fried beef slices), both for just $10.95, and both including two sides (black beans & rice, yucca, plantains, moros, etc.). Plus, it’s a warm and comfortable family-run place. 3805 SW 8th St. 305.448.8224 ■

FROM THE TOP:

GRINGO’S OYSTER BAR: RAW OYSTERS

BOOKS & BOOKS: AVOCADO GREEK SALAD

CEBADA: CAJA CHINA LECHON

THREEFOLD CAFÉ: WHOLE LEG OF LAMB

LA CASITA: VACA FRITA

48 coralgablesmagazine.com BITES

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Straight From the Source

IN A PROPRIETOR’S SEARCH FOR CHEMICAL-FREE FOOD PRODUCTS, SOURCE MARKET WAS BORN

It’s no secret that our fa vorite snacks often come with a litany of ingredients we can’t even pronounce, let alone identify. Chemicals, colors, and hormones are a few additives commonly used to improve the taste, texture, and appearance of food, and while these ingredients aren’t all bad, they can be tricky to navigate in the quest to find healthier food options.

This is the dilemma Jennie Kapoor ran into when starting her health journey, and what triggered her to start a fullblown business to solve it. “I started to realize that it took a lot of effort to really find the source of the food you’re con suming,” she said.

As a result, Kapoor turned to her now-business partner, Joanna Davila, to help her find a shop that carried local goods, supported local artisans, and had fresh produce. When the two couldn’t find a place that checked all of their boxes, they set out to create a store that did. Fittingly, they named it “Source Market.”

“We want to be the source for all things healthy, local, and sustainably created,” Kapoor said. “We want the products to not hide where they’re coming from, to be evident and trans parent. We also want to be the source for the local community to shop for healthy, local foods.”

Before officially opening as a brick-and-mortar store last December, Source Market orig inally launched with an online farm box, a weekly curated box of fresh local produce that could be delivered right to people’s homes. Once the growing season

ended, though, they took a step back to focus on the store, which now sits at the corner of Alham bra Circle and Salzedo Street and is open five days a week, Monday through Friday.

Although Kapoor says she always starts with local products, not everything can be grown in Miami’s harsh climate. In these cases, she finds brands that stick to her sustainability mission. “We do stick to a rigorous criterion for the farms of natural, organic, regenerative practices,” she says. Artisanal brands like Whatsoup, known for its healthy homemade soup, and Nacoooks, which hand-makes fresh choc olate chip cookies, are among those who made the cut.

There are other intrigu ing items you probably won’t find at your local grocery store – Tooaloo’s “Slow Your Roll” sweet maple mix, for example, is comprised of sprouted nuts, chewy super fruits, coconut, and fungi like reishi, ashwaganoha, and mucuna. Likewise, Sun & Swell’s energy bites are made entirely of whole food ingredi ents like dates, cashews, and oats.

Kapoor hopes to expand by adding in a café component with organic coffee, tea, and smooth ies. Unlike your traditional café, however, this one will have a space for customers to prepare meals themselves.

“We’re here to support the community, not only with the aspect of supporting local artisans and farms, but we also the surrounding community of the office buildings, people that live around here, and give them a cool little spot to come and shop,” she said. ■

JENNIE KAPOOR, WHO OPENED SOURCE MARKET WITH PARTNER JOANNA DAVILA.

SOURCE MARKET 275 ALHAMBRA CIR. #130 SOURCEMARKET.MIAMI

50 coralgablesmagazine.com BITES / HEALTHY
“ WE WANT THE PRODUCTS TO NOT HIDE WHERE THEY’RE COMING FROM, TO BE EVIDENT AND TRANSPARENT. WE ALSO WANT TO BE THE SOURCE FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY TO SHOP FOR HEALTHY, LOCAL FOODS. ”

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Rooftop Posh

Whether it’s in a courtyard or sidewalk café, there is something ineffably pleasant about dining outside. The only more elevated experience (pun intended) is to move the feast to a rooftop. La Terrazza, the upstairs sister to Fiola, is about as sublime as such rooftop dining gets.

La Terrazza was first opened as a perk for Fiola mem berships, an add-on privilege for the $5,000 entry fee that included guaranteed seating, meal discounts, private tasting events, and complimentary valet parking. The expansive rooftop offered a sushi bar and grand views over the canopy south of Sunset Drive and the glowing lights of nearby downtown South Miami.

Now, La Terrazza is being reinvented with a selection of Italian foods, curated by Master Chef Fabio Trabocchi and exe cuted by Executive Chef Banner Mendez, who prepares the upstairs meals. It also has a new, retractable rooftop so that mildly inclement weather won’t prevent dining al fresco.

When Fiola opened in 2018, it reset the bar for fine dining in the Gables. That exquisite food, or at least a se

lection of it, is available upstairs at La Terrazza, and could easily be the center of the show. But it’s the overall atmosphere of La Terrazza, exemplary of the new “experiential hospitality,” that makes guests linger.

The roof that hangs over the main dining area – 14-feet with columns painted purple by hidden spotlights – creates an airy, breezy Hall of Olympus feeling. Adjacent is a Pari sian-style pocket park with a half-dozen parterre trees and red fabric umbrellas. The one interior wall is dominated by a large screen with roaring video fireplace, while another side of the main room is bracketed by a long bar. The lighting through out is just right, with individual table lamps and banked floor lighting defining the short walls along the open roof.

There is also live music, which adds a lilting background that does not overpower. On the night we ate there, an electric guitarist somewhere on the San tana-meets-Samba jazz spec trum kept the mood upbeat and the conversation unimpeded.

The quality of the food, as expected, was impeccable. We did not love every dish – we thought the Wagyu beef “sushi”

TOP: ROOFTOP DINING IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT INVIGORATES ALL THE SENSES WITH SPECTAC ULAR PANORAMIC VIEWS OF CORAL GABLES IN AN ECLECTIC ATMOSPHERE

ABOVE: OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL, PASSION 76, BY HUNTER ANGELO

LA TERRAZZA

1515 SUNSET/1500 SAN IGNACIO AVE. 305.912.2639 OR FIOLAMIAMI.COM

FOR MEMBERSHIP: VIP@LATERRAZZAMIAMI.COM

52 coralgablesmagazine.com BITES / FINE DINING
LA TERRAZZA, FIOLA’S ROOFTOP ECHO, OPENS TO THE PUBLIC

went too far against the grain of what sushi is all about – but what we did love was breathtaking. Of the appetizers, the yellowfin tuna crudo was deftly seared at the edge and soft inside, a holdover from the days when sushi ruled this rooftop. The tiger prawn cocktail came with twin sauces that elevated it past any shrimp cocktail we’ve ever tried; one was a tomato compote, the other aioli-based, both infused with Calabrian chile peppers for an edgy, piquant flavor.

The showstoppers here are the fish and meat entrees. There are only two fish choices, the Ora King Salmon ($42) and the Canary Island Branzino ($54). Fiola’s owner, Tom Angelo, will tell you that fish is all about being super fresh. “We buy only high quality, and there is such a difference between okay salmon and great salmon,” he says. While that may be true,

what Chef Mendez does makes a big difference, too. The fish is painted with an Adriatic blend of herbs in oil, like herb butter but less fatty, which lets the skin crisp to a sweet wafer that com pliments the moist morsels of fish that flake apart at the touch of a fork.

The meat also echoes the mantra of quality sourcing. The one-pound Margaret River New York Strip ($135) is an Australian Wagyu of exception al flavor, almost too rich and easily shared by a party of four. The same goes for the 90-day milk fed veal ($145), with a sauce of reduced sambuca and drippings, topped with fois gras and shaved truffle – too rich and juicy for one person to handle.

We had to balance it with the Pappardelle Bolognese ($38), a calmer masterwork of fresh pasta imbedded with beef ragu and wild mushrooms. The sides,

salads, and desserts (including the hazelnut chocolate cake) were equally impressive.

La Terrazza feels like a secret uncovered. The entrance is halfway into the cobblestone paseo that cuts through the 1515 Sunset Drive building, connect ing that main street with quiet San Ignacio behind the impos ing classical edifice the Bacardi family built to house its offices. It was Tom Angelo who convinced Facundo Bacardi to partner with him and bring Washington, D.C.-based Fiola to the Gables. The cherry on top: Angelo’s son Hunter, who worked for Bacardi, now runs the Fiola cocktail pro gram. Our favorite: the Passion 76, a creative take on the classic French 76 cocktail, combining Madagascar vanilla bean-infused Grey Goose vodka, passionfruit, and sparkling wine. It’s a refresh ing twist for this unique rooftop experience. ■

TOP LEFT: YELLOWFIN TUNA CRUDO (HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, SICILIAN CAPERS, CASTELVETRA NO OLIVES, TONNATO SAUCE)

TOP RIGHT: ORA KING SALMON (COOKED WITH ADRIATIC HERBS)

ABOVE LEFT: PAPPARDELLE BO LOGNESE (RAGU BOLOGNESE, FOR AGED MUSHROOMS, PARMIGIANO REGGIANO)

ABOVE RIGHT: FIOLA’S GRAND CHOCOLATE CAKE (CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH HAZELNUT AND PRA LINE FROSTING AND A HAZELNUT CRUST)

53

The New

The Return of John Martin’s

It was a dark day on March 17, 2020, when the city’s oldest pub closed down. John Martin’s was one of the first places you could get a drink in the Gables 30 years ago, and a packed house of patrons downed shots of Jameson and drafts of Guinness in its honor.

Last month, amid great fanfare and a ribbon cutting by the mayor, John Martin’s was born again. Brought back by the Breakwa ter Hospitality Group – the folks behind the Wharf on the Miami River, among others – it’s as bright as the old John Martin’s used to be dark. Gone is the ancient wooden bar, replaced by one made of glowing quartz. Bright tiled floors, large windows facing the street, even a skylight overhead – all speak of an Irish pub from the current century, not the Celtic past. And yet, even for diehards, it works. The place, for lack of a better word, is cheerful. And with all due respect to the previous owners, it has upped the food game. At the old establishment, it was booze first, food a distant second. Yes, they’ve kept some of the Irish classics, like fish and chips and bangers and mash. But kale salad and mushroom spinach flatbread with a side of maple-glazed carrots? Haven’t tried the salad or carrots yet, but the flatbread was almost as good as a pint of their draft lager.

Other Newbies

Take me to the Greek KAIA Greek is the newest Mediterranean restaurant to hit Coral Gables following the success of their culinary comrades TUR Kitchen and Calista. Surprisingly, KAIA may be more expensive than both, however. With a gorgeous, warmly-lit interior featuring an abundance of wood and a bougainvillea plant draped across the bar’s back wall, it’s one of the more beautiful restaurants along Miracle Mile, right up there with John Martin’s newly renovated interior. The price point, however, may put off some patrons. Drinks are all $17 and main courses range from $28 to $58. The best part of KAIA is its dips: hummus, eggplant salad, skordalia, tzaktziki, and spicy feta, all $10 or $11. You can get a trio of them for $20, but be warned: they charge for extra pita bread – and you will need extra pita bread. All in all, it’s a good place to impress a date, but make sure to bring some extra cash.

Another Healthy Choice

Serving seasonal, locally-sourced dishes, this new Gables eatery packs a flavorful punch. The Naked Farmer is the latest addition to pedes trian Giralda Plaza, and the Gables’ newest farm-to-table concept. This one offers quick bowls to-go, as well as full sit-down dinners. The space, with a welcoming green and white cafeteria-like layout, offers indoor and outdoor seating. Similar to nearby Sweetgreen and Rice Mediterranean, The Naked Farmer lets you build your own bowl, consisting of one protein, one base, two sides, and your choice of dressing. With constants like flakey faroe island salmon and charred chicken, as well as seasonal favorites, like mac & cheese and roasted sweet potatoes, this vegetable-based eatery is quickly climbing the ranks of our favorite healthy spots around town – though we’re still trying to get over the image of some farmer hoeing the rows in his birthday suit. ■

THE NAKED FARMER 137 GIRALDA AVE. 305.487.7327

OPEN DAILY 11 AM TO 10 PM OPENS NOON ON SUNDAYS

54 coralgablesmagazine.com BITES / NEW SPOTS
253 MIRACLE MILE OPENS DAILY AT 11:30 AM OPEN TILL 2 AM WEEKNIGHTS, 3 AM FRI. & SAT.
KAIA 232 MIRACLE MILE 786.362.6997 OPENS DAILY AT 5:30 PM OPEN TILL 10 PM WEEKNIGHTS, 11 PM FRI. & SAT.
THE NEW JOHN MARTIN’S STILL SERVES CLASSIC IRISH PUB GRUB

Fall in love with this exquisite Old Cutler garden timeless estate. Neighboring Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, this enchanting estate rests on an impressive 7,419 sf/48,503 sf lot. Its captivating lush grounds and massive oak trees makes you feel in your own private retreat. Fully remodeled, this estate features elegant light-filled living spaces with double height ceilings, spacious living/family rooms, chef’s kitchen, new marble floors, cozy library, temperature-controlled wine cellar and a stylish bar for those who love to entertain guests. The outdoor spaces feature a massive poolside loggia, extensive terraces for entertaining and optional gate access via exclusive Snapper Creek. In addition, this estate offers a 3-car garage with bonus space for potential gym.

FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS EXQUISITE OLD CUTLER TIMELESS GARDEN ESTATE
REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® 786.266.6757 CASTRO.I@EWM.COM ISABEL CASTRO ©2022 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity. OFFERED AT $8,200,000 6 BEDROOMS | 6.5 BATHROOMS | 7,419 ADJ. SF | 48,503 SF LOT | 3-CAR GARAGE | POOL SCAN TO ACCESS PROPERTY SITE 9990OLDCUTLER.COM

Sundays at Orno

The brainchild of Chef Niven Patel and the recipient of his Homestead farm’s freshest ingredients, Orno has been a popular dinner spot since it first opened at the Thesis Hotel. Now, it’s joining the Sunday brunch crowd. With a “New American” menu, Orno’s brunch includes staples like eggs, bacon, and av ocado toast — but also features dishes like coconut yogurt, duck confit hash, and house-smoked bacon pizza. It’s a versatile menu, somewhere between breakfast (try the ricotta pancakes) and lunch (the grilled Wagyu burger).

Of course, no brunch could be complete without bottom less cocktails. Orno has all the classics: bottomless Bellinis and mimosas, Bloody Marys, sangria, etc. On top of that is a robust cocktail menu featuring fruit-in fused refreshers like the 75 Ap ples drink, which comes with a

thin green apple slice floating in a delectably sweet mix of vodka, St. Germaine, rosemary, and cava. Sneaking into the Amer ican brunch scene lately is the chilaquiles dish, a traditionally Mexican breakfast item that’s best described as “fancy nachos.” Chilaquiles is now found at several brunch spots around the Gables (Bachour has its own version, for example), but it’s a dish where Orno, flexing its farm-to-table status, shines. A garden-fresh sunny-side-up egg sits lordly over a mountainous terrain of tortilla chips, covered in salsa verde and garnished with queso fresco and small chunks of avocado. It’s slightly spicy and extremely appetizing – though best to eat with several napkins at hand. This is what Chef Niven Patel does best – locally-sourced ingredients with a bit of a kick. ■ – Kylie Wang

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People Featuring: Nicolas Cabrera Sally L. Baumgartner Simon Cruz

The son of Rafael Cabrera, who served on the Coral Gables City Com mission for 12 years, Gables native Nicolas Cabrera is forging his own path in the city. His latest business venture, Flamingo Fling Productions, currently encompasses the Maker’s Market and the North Ponce Harvest Market. On the last Friday night of each month, Maker’s Market attracts hundreds of visitors to the plaza out side Bay 13 on Alhambra Circle, with an expansive selection of products from more than 30 vendors. The sea sonal North Ponce Harvest Market takes place on Saturday mornings from 8 am until 2 pm on the 100 block of Minorca Avenue.

Nicolas Cabrera

LATEST ACHIEVEMENT

Cabrera says the market events are only the beginning for Flamingo Fling, as the company looks to expand to other areas of the community and “change the dynamic of Coral Gables.” For starters, the company is set to launch Cabrera’s “Young Associ ates” this month, promising to be a social community of young professionals looking to develop and grow their network. Operat ing out of the Coral Gables Museum with several events planned there each month, Cabrera hopes the initiative will not only help young professionals connect with each other, but also with the community.

WHAT HE SAYS

“I try very hard to be very hands on,” says the busy entrepreneur. “[We’re] establishing relationships with influential people in our community, and also giving these ven dors the opportunity to demonstrate their products,” Cabrera says, talking about his two Coral Gables-based markets. “We want everybody to feel invited and welcome here. We have a lot of ideas, but what we’re really trying to do is create a more enthusiastic, immersive, and engaging Coral Gables…. I’ve always been there. I’ve always been in volved. I’ve always had this passion for it.” ■

58 coralgablesmagazine.com PEOPLE
CEO & CO-FOUNDER, FLAMINGO FLING PRODUCTIONS
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Sally L. Baumgartner has been a res ident of Coral Gables for 63 years, during which time she has served in numerous civic organizations – in ad dition to her “day jobs” as a market researcher and property manager. (She also attended Coral Gables High School and the University of Miami.) In the past, she worked as a market research assistant for the Miami Her ald and a project director for Strategy Research Corp. She has also served as president of the Merrick Festival, a trustee of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, president of the Rota ry Club of Coral Gables, and director of the Junior Orange Bowl Commit tee.

Sally L. Baumgartner

LATEST ACHIEVEMENT

The founder of the famed Merrick Festival Caroling Competition that takes place at the end of each November, Baumgartner has just finished putting together its 36th annual iteration. This year’s week-long sing ing competition brought 30 choruses from Miami-Dade high schools to the steps of the 550 Building on Biltmore Way. Students competed for cash prizes that went to their respective music departments. In addition, Baumgartner was instrumental in helping produce this year’s Chili Cookoff for the Rotary Club, which took place at the end of October in Ponce Circle.

WHAT SHE SAYS

What’s great about the Caroling Competi tion, says Baumgartner, is that students “love it because they don’t get opportunities to perform. Everything [they do] is schoolbased so they don’t have an audience wide enough to hear them… doing this has been so rewarding and so full of stories.” One of her favorites is about a student who won the first “soloist” prize at the competition in 2016. She is now in a starring role as Rapunzel in the Broadway musical “Into the Woods,” for which she was nominated for a Grammy. “The talent these kids have is so amazing. And they really have a good time. One teacher told me that her kids don’t become a choir until they sing in the competition…. That kind of stuff makes it all worthwhile.” ■

60 coralgablesmagazine.com PEOPLE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MERRICK FESTIVAL CAROLING COMPETITION; GENERAL PROPERTY MANAGER
“I’VE HAD SPONSORS WITH US THE WHOLE 35 YEARS. IT’S NOT JUST ME; EVERYBODY REALLY GETS OFF ON IT [THE ANNUAL CAROLING COMPETITION].”

MIRACLES.

THIS SEASON’S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER GIFT.

The holidays are the time for miracles, but here at Jackson Health System they happen every day, all year long. Your donation to our Miracle Fund helps patients get what they want and need most: health. Even when the odds are against them.

At 19 weeks pregnant, Yelsi Consuelo Sosa learned that her baby’s heart had not formed properly and was leaking. She was told he may not survive. “My world was falling apart,” she said. A team of pediatric cardiologists at the UHealth Jackson Children’s Care Congenital Heart Center at Holtz Children’s Hospital began closely monitoring Sosa’s pregnancy. Following an emergency C-section, the baby, David Sosa, underwent several procedures — and Sosa never lost faith in the medical team treating her son. After months of treatment, David was able to go home. Sosa cherishes every moment with him. “Thank you God to all the Jackson doctors — they were able to be there and save his life.”

Sometimes a doctor needs a doctor. And that was the case after Lloyd Henry, MD, a talented surgeon, collapsed while performing surgery due to a tear in his aorta and a leaking valve. Flown from St. Croix to Miami to receive medical care at Jackson, he was met by Romualdo Segurola, MD, FACS, Jackson Health System’s chief of cardiac surgery and director of the Jackson Heart Institute, who performed multiple surgeries before Dr. Henry could return back home safely. Now, back to treating his own patients, Dr. Henry offers this diagnosis: “Jackson is like the major leagues.”

Elementary school teacher Tyra Starnes was shocked to learn she had chronic kidney disease. Until then, a healthy 25-yearold. But as the disease progressed, she found herself at the Miami Transplant Institute and then on the national organ transplant waiting list. Loved ones stepped up hoping to be a donor - and one was the perfect match: her great-aunt and godmother, Lesley Anderson. “I was meant to be her donor,” said Anderson. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” The kidney transplant surgeries at Jackson Memorial Hospital were a success. Every year on their transplant anniversary, Starnes and Anderson plan to celebrate together.

This holiday you can make a miracle. Donate today by calling 305-585-GIVE (4483), text “JACKSON” to 91999 or scan the QR code below.

CH 3178 – a copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the division of consumer services by calling toll-free, 1-800-435-7352. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.

Simon Cruz has spent 38 years in banking, ranging from community in stitutions to international lending. His career in international banking started with Chase Manhattan Bank, where he worked in New York, Brazil, and Barbados. He moved to Florida in the mid ’80s and continued working for Chase in their South Florida Commer cial Real Estate division. He oversaw real estate lending for Ocean Bank in the early ’90s, where he helped revi talize Miami Beach by financing the Delano South Beach Hotel, the Ra leigh Hotel, the Van Dyke Cafe, and other art deco properties. After stints running Millennium Capital and Plus International Bank, in 2010 Cruz be came president and CEO of the Bank of Coral Gables, and since 2011 has been president and CEO of Intercred it Bank.

Simon Cruz

LATEST ACHIEVEMENT

Simon was recently elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the American Bankers Association (ABA). He has served in various roles at the ABA for the last six years, previously as an ABA Community Bankers Council member. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Bankers Association and the Florida Export Finance Corporation. Under his direction, Intercredit Bank has grown in the last two years from $373 million to $520 million in assets, following its purchase by Ecuadorian businessman and banker Dr. Fidel Egas. Plans are to grow the bank to between $1 billion and $2 billion in assets.

WHAT HE SAYS

“We are unique in the sense that we are a community bank, but we are comfortable dealing with Latin America,” he says. “We fill a niche in the community with small businesses and small real estate investors…. We are able to fill that niche for the smaller investor with everything from $500,000 to $8 million loans, and anything in between.” On the other hand, says Cruz, “We define ourselves as a community bank with a twist because we do a lot of trade finance in Latin America… We also specialize in non-resi dent aliens who are coming here – the Latin American buyer who wants a home here in the U.S.” ■

62 coralgablesmagazine.com PEOPLE
PRESIDENT & CEO OF CORAL GABLES-BASED INTERCREDIT BANK
“AT THE DIRECTOR LEVEL [OF THE ABA] YOU SEE WHAT THE ISSUES ARE ABOUT AND HELP SHAPE POLICIES – OR RESPONSES TO POLI CIES THAT ARE COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON.”

2 2 2 0 The Year in Review

The year 2022 was a tumultuous one, with a major mid-term election, snarling inflation, and dramatic increases in the cost to rent or buy a home. But it was also the first full year post-pandemic, with a roaring return to normal life. Restaurants were hopping, workers were returning to the downtown, and schools were in full swing. Here, then, are some of the major events in the Gables that defined the post-pandemic year of 2022.

JANUARY

FREE RIDES ABIDE

The City Commission votes to extend the Freebee service for another year, at a cost of $483,000. Freebee provides free electric vehicle rides within the downtown, on request from a mobile app. The service is designed to reduce car traffic.

YES TO THE STREET-SIDE CAFÉ

Even with COVID in recession, the City decides to allow restau rants to continue with outdoor seating on adjacent street spaces.

LET THERE BE MANGROVES

The Coral Gables Garden Club, with help from the city’s Keep Cor al Gables Beautiful team, launches the Red Mangrove Propagation Project, planting 1,300 mangroves in 20 “pools” of dirt behind Boy Scout Troop 7’s clubhouse on the Granada Golf Course.

PARENTS STOP THE WAWA

A judge rules that the zoning granted by the city to a Wawa gas station/convenience store to be built across the street from Carver Elementary School was ‘blatantly illegal,’ and puts a halt to the development that parents opposed.

BURGER BOB’S SHUTS DOWN

FEBRUARY

64 coralgablesmagazine.com
The iconic neighborhood eatery on the first hole of the Granada Golf Course closes after nearly 30 years of serving simple diner food. No more $5 hamburgers in the Gables, as Bob Maguire, 85, retires. THE BURGER BASH IS BACK Burgerlicious, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce’s annual fundraiser that pits burger flippers against each other in a compe tition for Best in Bun, returns post-COVID. First place goes to PINCHO, the Gables-based minichain.

THE SLAP HEARD ROUND THE WORLD

Coral Gables makes the national news when a disgruntled lobbyist slaps Miami City Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla on the back of the head as he exits Morton’s The Steakhouse on Ponce at Miracle Mile.

KEEPING IT GREEN

The city’s new Public Safety and Trolley Maintenance buildings both win LEED Silver designation by the U.S. Green Building Council. This means the buildings use energy and water more effi ciently, along with other benchmarks of sustainability.

JUST IN CASE

In its ongoing effort to make sure that police interactions with civilians never get out of control, the city votes to spend $400,000 in matching funds for police body cameras.

MARCH

THE KITCHEN TOUR

For the first time since 2019, ticket holders were once again allowed inside the homes of local residents as the Coral Gables Community Foundation resumed its annual Tour of Kitchens (2020 was can celled, 2021 was held outdoors). The 13th annual tour raises money for student scholarships.

THE TRASH TOUR

Mayor Vince Lago continues his campaign to clean up the city’s commercial areas by organizing a trolley tour of public sites for city officials, private sector leaders, and members of the media to show them what needs to be done.

THE MUSEUM REBORN

AND THE SURVEY SAYS

In a rare survey of public opinion in the Gables, national polling company POLCO concludes that most citizens are happy with safety, the natural environment, and the economic well-being of the city, while also unhappy with traffic, over-development, and infrastructure.

APRIL

BACK TO BASICS

The city takes control of the Coral Gables Country Club from Canadian company Liberty Entertainment, which it accused of mismanagement and allowing the historic property to deteriorate. The city announces plans to refurbish the buildings and open the club to affordable memberships for 2,000 residents.

NO TO NEW YOUTH CENTER

After rejecting a comprehensive $160 million plan to upgrade the city’s entire park system, the City Commission then refused to au thorize a public referendum for a new $60 million Youth Center and adjacent Phillips Park. The plan would have required additional taxes.

65
The Coral Gables Museum hires a new director, Elvis Fuentes, and moves decisively in the direction of exhibiting more fine art, launch ing the first major retrospective of Cuban artist Julio Larraz.

A NEW HOME FOR THE ARTS

The city’s newest cultural platform, The Sanctuary of the Arts, officially opens in its home in the First Church of Christ Scientist campus across from City Hall. The venue features music, dance, and other performing arts.

HOUSING PRICES SPIKE

New figures reveal that housing prices in Coral Gables have soared. The average sale price for a single-family home jumps from $1.9 million in early 2021 to $2.8 million. The median price rose from $1.15 million to $1.8 million.

MAY

THE PASSING OF AN ICON

Nino Pernetti, the beloved owner of the city’s de-facto power lunch and dinner restaurant Caffe Abbracci, passes away after an 18-month battle with COVID and cancer. Pernetti had run Ab bracci for 30 years. The city later decides to name the street in front of Abbracci for Pernetti.

IN SEARCH OF RUNNING ROOM

After numerous citizen complaints that the city has no parks where dogs can run off-leash, funds are approved to construct a new enclo sure for large dogs to run off-leash at Salvadore Park.

LEAVE IT IN MY BACK YARD

After intense resistance from the residents of Kings Bay, the city rejects a $3 million grant toward converting backyard septic tanks to sewer connections. Residents felt that it would be too disruptive and could cost them money, despite rising ground water levels that could pollute Biscayne Bay.

JUNE

MONEY FROM TALLAHASSEE

The Florida legislature approves a record $3.5 million for projects in Coral Gables, of which $2.525 million survives Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto (he kills $975,000 for the proposed Mobility Hub). Among the approved allocations were $750,000 for the restoration of the histor ic Gondola Building and $500,000 for the city’s stormwater system.

THE PEACOCK PUSHBACK

Fearing an invasion of the lovely but raucous wild peacock, droves of which have filled the streets of Coconut Grove, the city votes to al low residents to hire trappers to remove the birds from their property.

FAIRCHILD VOTED THE BEST

The USA Today “10 Best” travel guide, a reader’s choice awards list, votes Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden as the best botanic garden in the nation. Something about “the warm climate of Coral Gables” that allows tropical plants to grow all year outdoors. Plus, those exotic conservatory butterflies.

A WIN FOR AUTISTIC KIDS

After years of lobbying by parents and health care activists, the Miami-Dade County school system adds a self-contained autism program at Ponce de Leon Middle School for the 2022-2023 school year. Previously, parents of middle school aged children with autism had to enroll in private academies or leave the Gables.

JULY

EVEN A PARK NEARBY

The city commission votes to allow developers to build taller build ings so long as they give the city a park of no less than 5,000 square feet within 1,000 feet of the proposed building.

66 coralgablesmagazine.com

THE SHIFTING SKYLINE

The city votes to approve a 16-story luxury high-rise at 1505 Ponce, after the developer agrees to save one historic building on-site and create a substantial park for dogs to run off-leash. The Commission earlier approved a building of similar height and density at Salzedo Street and Almeria Avenue in exchange for a park across the street, but turned down a luxury condo on Ponce Circle since it was twice the approved zoning height.

LE PARC CAFÉ REOPENS

AUGUST

After being closed since April, the former Liberty Café reopens at the Coral Gables Country Club as a pricey French café. Not every one is happy – but they do still have gelato.

LITTLE GABLES ON THE BLOCK

After failing three years ago, the city votes to re-open efforts to annex Little Gables, a pocket of county land surrounded on three sides by Coral Gables.

TIME TO GO UNDERGROUND

The city accepts a proposal from Florida Power & Light to take powerlines underground over the next decade, beginning with res idential wires to poles. The proposal will save the city an estimated $240 million to help avoid hurricane-induced power outages.

RETURN OF THE NATIVES

The restoration of the native flora in Camp Mahachee gets fully un derway. One and a half acres of the 11-acre camp (close to Mathe son Hammock) will be cleared of alien species in order to replace them with 2,000 native hardwood trees.

BYE-BYE STREETSIDE DINING

With the pandemic rapidly waning, the city ends its policy of al lowing restaurants to extend outdoor seating into streets and public right-of-ways.

CITY SHUTS DOWN THE BID

After 25 years of promoting merchants in the downtown, the Busi ness Improvement District is shut down after city commissioners decide that not enough votes were collected from property owners to continue.

EYES IN THE SKY

The city’s police department begins implementation of its new drone force, to operate from the Public Safety Building roof during emergencies. Police Chief Ed Hudak says it will be like having a helicopter without the hefty price tag.

METAL ROOFS UP, FOOD TRUCK DOWN

So long as the property is not historic, or in a historic district, residents can now install metal rather than tile roofs. They may no longer, however, allow food trucks anywhere in the city for more than 15 minutes unless it’s at a school or church.

67
SEPTEMBER

A NEW WEBSITE

The city unveils a new website that uses the same technology as Tesla and NASA, including AI feedback that allows the system to evolve with user input. Unlike the previous city website, the new one is clear, clean, and easy to use. Finally, a smart website for a smart city.

OCTOBER

A PARK IS DEDICATED

The Lamar Louise Curry Park, on De Soto Boulevard across the street from the Venetian Pool, is officially opened. The park was a project of the Coral Gables Garden Club using a donation of $200,000 from the will of long-time club member and local teacher Ms. Curry.

POLES BE GONE

The City Commission votes to remove the artistically painted gon dola poles on downtown city streets to make the sidewalks easier to navigate for pedestrians. The poles, which are the property of various individuals and businesses, will be moved to city storage on 72nd Avenue for retrieval by their owners.

GOING TO THE DOGS

October becomes canine month in the city, starting with Paws in the Pool at the Venetian Pool, and finishing with the Halloween dog costume contest at the Coral Gables Museum. Other events in clude “Dog Dates Strolls” at Fairchild, a dog day at Bay 13’s Maker’s Market, and a dog adoption event at Infiniti of Coral Gables.

RECYCLING DAY BREAKS RECORDS

The city’s bi-annual recycling day at City Hall collects 10,074 pounds of discarded electronics, 2,400 pounds of gently used cloth ing for Camillus House, and several tons of hazardous waste.

NOVEMBER

CAROLING RETURNS

Starting on the last day of November, 30 high school choruses from across Miami-Dade return to the 550 Building on Biltmore Way to sing their hearts out for cash prizes for their school’s music departments.

LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT

The annual tree lighting ceremony takes place at Merrick Park, in which the 50-foot tree is tree is lit up by Santa Claus with a little help from Mayor Vince Lago and TV anchor Belkys Nerey of 7 News.

68 coralgablesmagazine.com

Happy Holidays

OUR FAMILY TO YOURS
FROM
CONTACT US THE LUXURY PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS
WISHING YOU A NEW YEAR FULL OF PEACE AND JOY

LOEWS OPENS

The first new major hotel in Coral Gables opens at The Plaza Coral Gables. The new hotel, with 242 rooms, anchors the acre-sized open space of The Plaza on Ponce Circle.

GOODBYE COMMISSIONER FORS

Jorge Fors Jr., who was elected to his first term as a city commis sioner in 2020, resigns from his seat to run for a position on the Board of County Commissioners. He loses to Kevin Cabrera in a runoff and leaves the Coral Gables commission, as required by law.

DECEMBER

JUNIOR ORANGE BOWL PARADE

The iconic Junior Orange Bowl parade returns for its second live appearance since the pandemic shut it down, drawing thousands of cheering residents along Miracle Mile and Ponce de Leon Blvd.

MAYOR’S BALL

The first annual Mayor’s Ball takes place at the Loews Hotel. The event will donate all proceeds to the fight against cancer. ■

70 coralgablesmagazine.com
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Wildlife IN THE URBAN TROPICS

Coyotes. Yep, we’ve got those. There have been many legitimate sightings in the southern part of Coral Gables near the USDA fa cilities off Old Cutler. Peacocks. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we’ve got plenty to share. Iguanas. As anyone living near a mangrove can tell you, they fall out of the trees if the temps drop low enough. In the meantime, they run wild pretty much anywhere there is water. Crocodiles. Check. Reportedly more docile than alligators, the American Crocodile can average 15 to 17-feet-long. They are a threatened species and protected, appearing in Deering Bay Golf Course and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, among other locales (some dozen or so have been tagged). Keep your distance. Foxes. They can be seen throughout the Gables, and after almost being eradicated by the spread of canine distemper a few years ago, they seem to have made a comeback. And just look into the bay, lagoons, and waterways to see manatees, wild dolphins, spot ted rays, and sharks, just to name a few of our water-dwelling neighbors. Coral Gables, easily Miami-Dade’s most sophisticated urban commu nity, is also home to a host

72 coralgablesmagazine.com
THE ANHINGA BIRD SPEARING ITS PREY

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN IN CORAL GABLES. WE ARE SURROUNDED

of wild critters. Probably our most unique wildlife is the Florida Bonneted Bat, a rare and endangered species first found in Coral Gables 25 years ago. Its favorite habitat around the Granada golf course was carefully monitored and protected, and today, the bat has been seen in other areas of Miami-Dade and across the state from Naples to Central Florida. However, today, spotting one here is a rare event.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Con servation Commission (FWC) protects and manages 575 species of wildlife and 700 species of salt and freshwater fish through out Florida. Ricardo Zambrano, a FWC regional biologist, said spotting the rare bat would have to be his top wildlife sighting. “It was in response to the public that this colony of endangered bats was first identi fied,” says Zambrano.

And did someone mention snakes? Native species like the Yellow Rat Snake have still managed to survive, while invasive species of constrictors have come in from the Everglades and breached the Gables’ bound aries. An otter was an unusual sight on the Deering Bay Country Club Golf Course where residents participated in a wildlife inventory a few years ago, identifying more than 50 types of birds, 10 mammals, and 12 varieties of reptiles. Another rare sighting reported was the strikingly beautiful Roseate Spoonbill.

Blue Land Crabs used to surge across

Old Cutler not too many years ago. Now, residents are lucky to spot a crab scurrying into one of their three to five-feet-deep burrows. Florida’s largest semi-terrestrial crabs are now protected by the FWC and require a license to catch.

When people think of tur tles in South Florida, they often think of large sea-going turtles like Loggerheads and Leather backs that nest annually on near by Atlantic coast beaches. But along the waterways, lakes, and ponds of Coral Gables, you can find many types of shy land turtles. One of the most distinctive is the Florida Softshell Turtle with its conical pointed snout. They are protected from capture or sale, and, just like snapping turtles, they can TOP

73
BY WILDLIFE.
LEFT: GREAT WHITE HERON TOP RIGHT: IGUANA ON ROCK CENTER: RED-MASKED PARAKEETS BOTTOM: CROCODILE BY DON ELLIOT

bite, so don’t get too close.

Tropical birds are abundant, with transient populations like Wood Storks passing through and invasive species like Egyptian Geese and Red-Masked Parakeets in residence year-round. The parakeets, originally from Ecuador and Northern Peru, were originally brought in as pets during the mid-1980s and have since evolved into an established invasive species.

The Egyptian Goose is really a shelduck – a cross between a goose and a duck. Although considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians in their native Nile Valley, many in South Florida consider them a nuisance. They mate for life and raise their broods together, becoming aggressive and very vocal when protecting their chicks.

“The invasive species of birds have not been a problem for native wildlife,” says Zam brano. He also cautioned that all animals will generally avoid humans and, “if you see any,

remember we are living in shared territory.

Of course, any sick animal is a problem and should be avoided and reported to FWC.”

Native herons, egrets, ibis, anhinga, stilts, osprey, hawks, pelicans, and more can be seen throughout the Gables, and have established rookeries along the area’s mangrove shoreline. Getting out on a kayak is a great way to explore their habitat. While some of these birds do prey on other avian species, most dine on local fish.

One unusual catch for this Great Blue Heron is the Walking Catfish. Native to Asia, the Walking Catfish is another invasive species and is illegal to own, buy, sell, or transport without a permit. This fish can breathe air and wiggle their 12 to 20-inchlong bodies across land to get from one pond to another, ergo the moniker “walking.”

With such an abundance of species here in the Gables, why not start your own family or neighborhood wildlife inventory today? ■

BOTTOM:

RESOURCES:

To report concerns about crocodiles or alligators, call: 899-FWC-GATOR (866392-4286)

To report sick, injured, or dead wildlife contact: https://myfwc.com/contact/ incident-reporting/ Injured birds or mammals can also be dropped off 24 hours a day at Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, located at 1279 NE 79th St. Scores of Gables residents have done so. www.pelicanharbor.org

74 coralgablesmagazine.com
TOP RIGHT: FLORIDA SOFTSHELL TURTLE BY KAREN F. BUCHSBAUM TOP LEFT: GREAT BLUE HERON WITH WALKING CATFISH BY DON ELLIOT TRI COLORED HERON.BY DON ELLIOTT

Give this season’s most sought-a er gi

student scholarships

Students come to the University of Miami from all over the world, bringing with them boundless potential, intellectual curiosity, and a deep desire to learn.

At the University, we attract the best and brightest students, scholars, artists, innovators, and healers. Recruiting a vibrant community of dreamers and doers largely depends on the ability to provide the necessary scholarship support.

This season, consider giving a gift that extends well beyond the holidays. With the right planned gift, you can leave your legacy, protect your loved ones, and open educational doors for many talented students.

For more information on how you can leave a legacy that shines ever brighter, contact Kyle Paige, executive director, Of ce of Estate and Gift Planning, at 305-284-2914 or at kpaige@miami.edu. Visit us at miami.edu/plannedgiving.

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From Key West to East Ridge

For Lauren Pazo, Community Outreach Marketing, joining the team at East Ridge at Cutler Bay felt like coming home.

Nestled in 76 lush acres, tucked away from the noise, traffic and hustle of Miami, East Ridge at Cutler Bay is a natural oasis for those looking for something different in senior living.

An inviting alternative to high-rise, apartmentstyle living, East Ridge features expansive grounds dotted with pastel-hued, one-story villas and comfortable condos that exude a laid-back Key West lifestyle. Residents live connected to nature, surrounded by palm and fruit trees, beautiful flowers, and even a little wildlife.

This distinctive island feel is what brought Key West native Lauren Pazo to join the East Ridge team. A self-described “conch” born and raised, she instantly felt a connection to the community, saying, “I felt like I was home.”

A Natural Move

A health care marketing professional with experience working in both home health and hospice, Lauren joined East Ridge in September in the role of Community Outreach Marketing. “I’ve spent my career working in health care and with seniors. I wanted to explore new opportunities and new ways to serve them,” says Lauren. “In this role, I feel like I can help residents at East Ridge really enjoy life.”

She had just moved to the area from Key West when the position at East Ridge became available. “I was just drawn to East Ridge,” she says. “The feel of the community, the colors, the nature. I felt like I was back in Key West.”

During her first visit to East Ridge, she was surprised by just how familiar everything felt. “I walked into Three Palms, the health services

center at East Ridge, and reflections of Key West were everywhere. Even a historical photo of the Dry Tortugas, my favorite national park!”

center at East Ridge, and reflections of Key West were everywhere. Even a historical photo of the Dry Tortugas, my favorite national park!”

The feeling continued as she toured the community. “The independent living villas capture the lifestyle of the original conch homes in historic Key West – even down to the wooden doors with glass windows,” Lauren says. Even the wildlife felt familiar. “In Key West, there are roosters roaming freely everywhere,” she laughs, continuing, “At East Ridge, we have some peacocks.”

The feeling continued as she toured the community. “The independent living villas capture the lifestyle of the original conch homes in historic Key West – even down to the wooden doors with glass windows,” Lauren says. Even the wildlife felt familiar. “In Key West, there are roosters roaming freely everywhere,” she laughs, continuing, “At East Ridge, we have some peacocks.”

Making Connections

Making Connections

In her role in Community Outreach Marketing, Lauren builds relationships with area chambers of commerce, hospitals, social workers, case managers and others, promoting East Ridge at Cutler Bay as a resource for the seniors they serve.

In her role in Community Outreach Marketing, Lauren builds relationships with area chambers of commerce, hospitals, social workers, case managers and others, promoting East Ridge at Cutler Bay as a resource for the seniors they serve.

“I enjoy meeting professional colleagues and going out into the community to tell them about East Ridge,” says Lauren. “As Miami’s first Life Plan Community, East Ridge provides advantages, options and security that people deserve to know about.”

According to Lauren, one of the most surprising things she has found in her first months on the job is the preconceived notion people have about living in a community like East Ridge. “Most people have the misconception that once they move here, they lose the ability to make their own decisions,” she laughs. “Not true! Not only do our residents come and go as they please, but we host so many off-site events and activities to engage in.”

“I enjoy meeting professional colleagues and going out into the community to tell them about East Ridge,” says Lauren. “As Miami’s first Life Plan Community, East Ridge provides advantages, options and security that people deserve to know about.”

A Life Plan Community, East Ridge offers independent living plus access to a full continuum of on-site care, including assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. Seniors enjoy the privacy of the maintenance-free residence of their choice; resort-quality amenities, including a fitness center and outdoor pool; dining options; transportation; a full calendar of activities and programs; and more. They can live the independent, active lifestyle they want today, knowing that if their health care needs change, the support and care they need will always be readily available at our community.

A Life Plan Community, East Ridge offers independent living plus access to a full continuum of on-site care, including assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. Seniors enjoy the privacy of the maintenance-free residence of their choice; resort-quality amenities, including a fitness center and outdoor pool; dining options; transportation; a full calendar of activities and programs; and more. They can live the independent, active lifestyle they want today, knowing that if their health care needs change, the support and care they need will always be readily available at our community.

Changing Perspectives

Changing Perspectives

While Lauren’s role is primarily outreach, she is involved in coordinating on-site marketing events, too. “The events are so much fun for residents, prospects and referral sources,” she says. “They really showcase just how active and inviting life is here.”

According to Lauren, one of the most surprising things she has found in her first months on the job is the preconceived notion people have about living in a community like East Ridge. “Most people have the misconception that once they move here, they lose the ability to make their own decisions,” she laughs. “Not true! Not only do our residents come and go as they please, but we host so many off-site events and activities to engage in.”

Some of the most recent examples of those include a trip to the zoo and an upcoming art exhibition. The original artwork of East Ridge residents will be displayed for the month of March 2023 at Cauley Square. Bottom line: “Residents really enjoy life here,” says Lauren. “There’s a lot of fun to be had.”

Some of the most recent examples of those include a trip to the zoo and an upcoming art exhibition. The original artwork of East Ridge residents will be displayed for the month of March 2023 at Cauley Square. Bottom line: “Residents really enjoy life here,” says Lauren. “There’s a lot of fun to be had.”

About East Ridge at Cutler Bay

About East Ridge at Cutler Bay

Located at 19301 SW 87th Avenue in Cutler Bay, Florida, East Ridge at Cutler Bay is a nonprofit Life Plan Community, south of the city of Miami in Miami-Dade County. East Ridge is a community that loves all people, embracing those of all races, genders, ages, colors, religions, beliefs and sexual orientations. The community is inclusive, drawing people with a variety of backgrounds, skills and views. East Ridge celebrates diversity every day among residents, associates and first responders. It’s a joyful community where everyone is welcome.

While Lauren’s role is primarily outreach, she is involved in coordinating on-site marketing events, too. “The events are so much fun for residents, prospects and referral sources,” she says. “They really showcase just how active and inviting life is here.”

Located at 19301 SW 87th Avenue in Cutler Bay, Florida, East Ridge at Cutler Bay is a nonprofit Life Plan Community, south of the city of Miami in Miami-Dade County. East Ridge is a community that loves all people, embracing those of all races, genders, ages, colors, religions, beliefs and sexual orientations. The community is inclusive, drawing people with a variety of backgrounds, skills and views. East Ridge celebrates diversity every day among residents, associates and first responders. It’s a joyful community where everyone is welcome.

take a closer look inside!

take a closer look inside!

Scan the QR code with your smartphone for a virtual tour. Call today! 305-290-1941

Scan the QR code with your smartphone for a virtual tour. Call today!

305-290-1941

Assisted Living Facility License #6091 | COA #88019
Assisted Living Facility License #6091 | COA #88019

Givers The

Philanthropy is part of the DNA of Coral Gables. Home to numerous affluent families and scores of highly successful business leaders, it’s a city that values the idea of giving back. Its schools teach the ideas of contributing and vol unteering; its social events revolve around raising money for hospitals, scholarships, parks, schools, museums, and community programs of all stripes.

Part of the reason why so many philanthropic individuals and organizations call Coral Gables home is the city’s strong sense of community. The Gables is that rare municipality where people cherish their membership, where residents have a palpable sense of pride. The reality is that almost everyone here has probably given something to the city, whether it’s a few hours of volunteering on a Saturday morning to help clean a city park or donating part of one’s fortune to help those less fortunate realize educational opportunities, overcome handicaps, or gain access to critical healthcare.

When most people think of philanthropy, they think of dollars and cents, the size of the check and the goals of fundraising. But giving is not just about dollar signs. Giving is work. It’s the time and effort you donate, not just the money you give.

Each year we feature a selection of Gableites who have been exemplary in giving back to the community, names such as Trish and Dan Bell, Ed and Carol Williamson, Thomas and Norma Jean Abraham, Chuck and Sue Cobb, David Evensky, Aaron and Dorothy Podhurst, Ana ViegaMilton, David Lawrence, Adam Carlin, and many others. They have not only been generous with personal donations, but active in foun dations where they work to raise awareness as well as additional dollars. These are Gableites who see a need for something and get it done, residents who take up service projects for no other reason than to help their neighbors, the givers who want future generations to have more than they did.

“Coral Gables residents have a deep sense of pride and appreciation for our shared community,” says Mary Snow, the President & CEO of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. “We are extremely lucky to have people who live in our city who love where they live and the values we stand for, and those include sharing our good fortune with those less forutnate.”

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Allen & June Morris

For Allen and June Morris, giving doesn’t just mean dollar signs – it’s also time and effort. The philanthropic couple actually first met at a charity gala for the Coral Ga bles Community Foundation. They’ve been together ever since, donating to causes close to their hearts, attending and hosting chari ty events, and serving on community boards. Their list of philanthropic accomplishments is a long one, replete with organizations both near and far.

Both are involved with global and national nonprofits like the United Way and the Boys & Girls Club of America, but also work with organizations in Miami and Coral Gables, such as the Orange Bowl Committee and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. Specifically in the Gables, they are involved with the Garden Club, the Coral Gables Museum, Actors’ Playhouse, Coral Gables High School, and local youth and campus ministries like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at University of Miami, among others. They sponsor the Garden Club’s annual photography contest as well as programs at the museum, where June serves as a board member. They’re ongoing spon sors of Actors’ Playhouse at Miracle Theatre, they provide pre-game meals to high school football players (one of Allen’s projects), and, four years ago, June started Friends of Ga bles High, a nonprofit that has raised close to $300,000 for the school.

“I grew up in a family that emphasized civic responsibility,” long-time philanthro pist June said, echoing Allen’s comment that their philanthropy is “a family tradition.” In fact, June – the daughter of the first female mayor of Coral Gables, Dorothy Thomson – was only a young teenager when she first began a service project beautifying a historic home in Coral Gables. It’s now known as the Merrick House, one of the Gables’ most iconic buildings.

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FOCUS: COMMUNITY
“I GREW UP IN A FAMILY THAT EMPHASIZED CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY.”

Tony & Marielena Villamil

CHILDREN IN NEED

There is a never-ending supply of hon orable causes to dedicate philanthropic work to, but what could be more noble than the pursuit of a better life, not for yourself, but for the next generation? As Tony and Marielena Villamil say, “children are the future.”

The couple have been giving back for the last 20 years with a focus on the world’s youth: their health, education, and com munities. They are involved with multiple charities, including the American Red Cross, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the Coral Gables Community Foundation, where Marielena served as a board member for 10 years. They have a personal endowment fund with the Community Foundation where they dedi cate money to local causes like the Chapman Partnership, which aims to solve family homelessness in Miami, and Friends of South Florida Music, which provides early childhood music education for underserved communities in South Florida. Everything comes back to helping the next generation.

“Children are innocent people,” Tony says, “and they need support and growth. That’s why we give.” Adds Marielena, “It’s [a cause] close to our hearts because we have kids and grandkids and we feel that they need people to help them, especially if they don’t have easy lives.”

Tony is a nationally recognized business economist and has worked as a policymak er for both federal and state governments. Marielena is a former educator at MiamiDade College. Through their work, they have each seen the urgency of helping future generations. “We’ve been exposed to the needs of the community and the need for children to grow up healthy and contribute later to our community development,” Tony says. “My background in public service at both the national and state level is tied to seeing the needs that exist in communities for children to grow and become productive and happy citizens.”

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FOCUS:
“CHILDREN ARE INNOCENT PEOPLE, AND THEY NEED SUPPORT AND GROWTH. THAT’S WHY WE GIVE.”

Ziyad ‘Zach’ & Chirine Mneimneh

FOCUS: ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES

“It takes a village,” so the saying goes.

Few know this better than Chirine and Ziyad ‘Zach’ Mneimneh, who learned the true meaning of the phrase two decades ago when their youngest son, Tarek, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. “What we went through was difficult and we appreciated every small support,” Chirine says, adding that “support is not always money. [It’s] emotional support, acceptance.”

After 20 years, the couple is finally in a position to give back to the village that ac cepted and helped raise their son. Last year, they established the Mneimneh Foundation to help adults with disabilities.

While they’re still in the early stages of that project, they’ve been doing philan thropic work for the last eight years with local nonprofits, including the Coral Gables Community Foundation and Casa Familia, a Miami-based organization dedicated to creating affordable housing communities for adults with disabilities. Since Tarek’s diagnosis, they have worked extensively with University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Autism and Related Diseases (UM-NSU CARD) and were hon ored this year for “their 18 years of inspired leadership, generosity, and service to [the] community.”

Their eldest son, Waleed, now 25, has also been raised as a giver. Over his four years of high school, he raised $100,000 for UM-NSU CARD through a tennis tour nament charity event. The Ace for Autism tournament was held at the Biltmore each year and earned Waleed a Silver Knight Award. The Mneimnehs are eager to restart the program as they get their family founda tion off the ground.

“It was a village who helped us,” Ziyad says. “A whole village; different people in different organizations. We were lucky. Giv ing back is just a natural impulse.”

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“WHAT WE WENT THROUGH WAS DIFFICULT AND WE APPRECIATED EVERY SMALL SUPPORT.”

Top producer Mauricio J. Barba has been a mainstay in Miami’s uber competitive high-end real estate market since 1994. Respected in his native community by clients and colleagues alike; he has logged top honors for elite performance in his field. Mauricio is connected worldwide but specializes in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, Brickell, Village of Pinecrest, South Miami, Palmetto Bay/Falls area and the Beaches. His expertise is demonstrated through his ability to facilitate trouble-free transactions winning him clients for life who also become friends.

Mauricio enters every room with confidence and professional approachability. But more importantly he is prepared and precise, saving you time and effort. Clients rely on him to deliver and he takes the responsibility very seriously. “People trust me with their single largest asset. It’s a role that drives me to push for excellence every day. I give 110% because my success is their success.”

Not intended to solicit currently listed property. © Compass Florida, LLC. Equal Housing Opportunity. All information furnished regarding property for sale or rent or regarding financing is from sources deemed reliable, but Compass makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy thereof. All property information is presented subject to errors, omissions, price changes, changed property conditions, and withdrawal of the property from the market, without notice.
305.439.8311 mauricio@miamisignaturehomes.com MiamiSignatureHomes.com

Ray Corral & Alina Meledina

FOCUS: CORAL GABLES

Ray Corral and partner Alina Meledina are only in their 30s, but philanthropy is already a high priority for the young couple. They’ve been donating to the Coral Gables Community Foundation (CGCF) for the last four and a half years and have only increased the size of their donations as time goes on. This year, they outdid themselves by pledging a whopping $100,000 to the Foundation. “They do a really good job of distributing the money, and we basically leave it up to them,” Corral says. “We feel they’ll put the money where it’s needed.”

Corral, the founder and owner of Mosaicist, Inc., a Miami-based company that designs and installs mosaics for walls and pools, hopes that young people will see the donations he and Meledina make and feel inspired. “It’s important to actually bring awareness to the younger generation in Coral Gables,” he says. “You don’t have to spend your money at a nightclub – you can have a better quality of life within your own neighborhood [by donating].” He also highly recommends the CGCF for younger philanthropists. “We joined some different organizations, and we just didn’t relate to them. The Foundation got us around a bit of a younger crowd. It’s more fun. And it’s more fulfilling.”

This latest donation isn’t the only time Corral and Meledina have been in the news for philanthropy. During the pandemic, the couple started what is now known as “The Orchid Project.” Residents in the neighbor hoods planted thousands of dollars’ worth of orchids in the oak trees lining Country Club Prado, only to find that someone was stealing the pricey blooms. Corral and Mele dina stepped up to replace $2,000 worth of pilfered flowers and the perpetrator was eventually caught.

For these two, philanthropy is all about the neighborhood. ■

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“...YOU CAN HAVE A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE WITHIN YOUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD [BY DONATING].”

Q&A

with the Foundation Chair

For the last 30 years, the Coral Gables Community Foundation has raised money for college scholarships and local charities through signature events such as the Tour of Kitchens and its annual Gala. For the past year, Venny Torre, the principal of Torre Companies, has served as the Founda tion’s chair. With another year left in his two-year volunteer term, we asked him about his priorities as chair. (Illustration by Carlos Garcia-Barbon)

What surprised you as chair?

One of the things I began to understand was where we were in the life of the Foundation... We had gotten to a very successful place, but it became clear to me that not enough people understood who we are and what we do. I realized early on that we needed to be better recognized and better understood.

How did you deal with that challenge?

We needed to do a self-study – a look in the mirror – so that we understood what was important to us, why we matter, what we are good at, and how to keep growing. We needed to do a strategic study, with a professional, and a survey of the community. That was done over three months [July-September], and we arrived at five goals for us to pursue for the next life of the Foundation.

What are those goals?

One of them is to become more well-known… That challenge needs to be addressed through a bunch of mass media marketing –all sorts of efforts [to reach] those folks that don’t know what we do.

What don’t they know?

One example is donor-advised funds. We manage 90 donor-advised funds [but] people don’t know that it’s one of our greatest strengths. You don’t need [to create] a foundation, you can do your charitable giving through us.We have this great office that does this great job, but people don’t know that.

What other goals were suggested?

That we need to grow and improve our board… In my view, the board needs to be where everyone strives to be, meaning that it’s a privilege to be there, an ambitious goal for someone to say, “I want to be on the board of the Foundation...” I want being on the board to be like wearing the green jacket when you’ve won the masters – an honor.

[Another goal is] doubling down on events… As a founda tion, we do something that no other foundation does, which is run events. A lot of the foundations out there have no events. Zero. We have the Tour of Kitchens, extremely successful. We have the Gala,

extremely successful. We just did the Wine Auction, extremely suc cessful. Those take up a lot of time, [but they are] the largest source of income for us… so we are going to continue to do them, and we have more events coming.

What about the last two goals?

We need to enlarge the employee base in our office. We have been running this show for 30 years with two people, and you can’t run and grow an organization [like that]. We’ve now made it four, hiring two people during my tenure.

The fifth point is to grow the financial strength of the organiza tion. Right now, we manage about $7 million in funds. We want to get to $50 million. There are foundations that manage $100 million, $200 million; we only want to get to $50 million in donor advised funds.

What about the foundation’s charities?

This year we had $400,000 in giving, the best we have every done. We gave about $100,000 to local charities and about $300,000 in scholarships [for college-bound students] …. This past year, every student that applied received a scholarship of some kind. The small est scholarship was a $500 gift, the higher ones were $10,000 to go to colleges where they had been accepted.

And your message to the Gables?

I think the Foundation should be seen as the conscience of the community, in terms of charitable giving. And we would like to have the folks that want to continue to be philanthropic in Coral Gables to see us as the best vehicle to achieve their goals. ■

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On the Road Again

After two years of virtual events, the Coral Gables Community Foun dation’s charity ball came back to life at the Biltmore Hotel with 400 guests. The annual event, which takes place each October, raised more than $500,000 for community grant and scholarship programs the Foundation supports. Each ball is themed, and this year’s “The Road to Rio: A Gala from Ipanema” carried on the tradition. The event also honors distinguished community leaders. This year’s honorees, among others, included John S. and James L. Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen, who received the Legacy Award, the Foundation’s highest accolade; UM Frost School of Music Dean Shelton Berg, who received the Education Award presented by Trish and Dan Bell; Jose Antonio Perez Helguera and Carlos Beckmann, who received the Landmark Award for The Plaza Coral Gables; and the family of beloved Nino Pernetti, who accepted the Gables Beau tiful Award, presented by Ray Corral and Mosaicist, on his behalf. “This was no doubt one of the most spectacular and enjoyable galas we have ever had. Emerging from two years of successful in-home events, neighbors were excited to see each other in person,” said Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, who co-chaired the event with Lauren Harrison Brown.

1. Matthew Meehan, Alina Meledina, Jack Lowell, and Weston Lyons.

2. Gala Committee Co-Chair Sissy DeMaria-Koehne (left) with Landmark Award Honorees Jose Antonio Perez Helguera and Carlos Beckmann, Foundation President & CEO Mary Snow, and Gala Committee Co-Chair Lauren Harrison Brown.

3. Presenting Sponsors Trish and Dan Bell with Community Award Honoree Frost School of Music Dean Shelton Berg.

4. Daughters Tatiana & Katerina Pernetti (left) accepting the Gables Beautiful Award on behalf of their father, Nino Pernetti, with Award Sponsors Alina Meledina and Ray Corral of Mosaicist.

5. Community Foundation Board Chair Venny Torre with wife Coco Torre.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 86 coralgablesmagazine.com THE SEEN
THE CORAL GABLES COMMUNITY FOUNDATION’S ANNUAL GALA

After the Storm

Hurricane Ian struck Florida as one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, leaving much of southwest Florida unrecog nizable. While we are left assessing and sympathizing with the catastrophe from afar, we cannot help but think about the insurance implications. Florida’s already fragile homeowner’s insurance market could be on the brink of collapse. With Hurricane Ian pushing even more insurance carriers into insolvency, what does this mean for fu ture homeowners’ insurance policies and carriers willing to stomach the risk? How will premiums be affected?

Despite Ian being the first hurricane since 2018’s Michael to make landfall, we have witnessed 20 insurance carriers writing policies in Florida go out of business in the last couple of years. Today, only 30 regional Florida insurers remain to continue to write policies, with another 30 on the Florida Officer of Insurance Regulation’s watch list due to their financial instability. Picking up the slack, the state-run and taxpayer-subsidized Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has more than doubled the number of its policies, which stands at roughly 1.06 million. This is a resounding number of policyholders with a single carrier that primarily writes Florida-based policies. And if citizens cannot pay their claims, Floridians are left paying the tab.

A vital issue for the Florida insurance market is reinsurance, which provides backup coverage for insurance carriers. It is crucial in Florida, which depends heavily on Florida-based insurers rather than larger national companies offering a more diversified risk pool. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of a policyholder’s premium typi cally covers the reinsurance cost. Even before this year’s hurricane season, reinsurers were raising their rates. After Hurricane Ian, their pricing is only going to increase.

With damages estimated at over $150 billion, this year will be another record-breaking year for Florida’s insurers, and not in a good way. Who’s going to be left paying the bill? Most of us were already sticker-shocked by this year’s homeowner’s policy renew al. Now, we will likely see another premium rate hike of over 40 percent.

Michael J. Unger is a Vice President and Investment Officer at Coral Gables Trust, which helps clients man age risk, including protecting their homes.

Ian also revealed that many homeowners believed that their homeowners’ insurance policy covered them in the event of flooding. Unfortunately, regular homeowners’ insurance policies typically do not pay for damage caused by flooding, which is why the Federal Emergen cy Management Agency (FEMA) offers flood insurance. With flood insurance average premiums beginning at $1,000 a year and quickly rising from there, it can be a tough pill for homeowners to swallow.

FEMA does offer limited emergency assistance to homeowners without insurance, such as paying for temporary housing in a hotel or making basic repairs to make a house habitable. Typically, the extent of the aid is limited to less than $40,000, which is unfortunately only a fraction of what the cost of rebuilding a home could be.

With home insurance premiums outpacing inflation, we need to ensure we are getting the most out of our policies. While Florida continues to win new residents from other states across the nation each year, there are fewer insurance carriers writing policies here. There must be a better solution for Florida’s dire insurance market; unfortunately, it will only be resolved with state policymakers’ proper support. As Alex Sanchez, CEO of the Florida Banker’s Associa tion, recently remarked, “We strongly urge Florida’s policymakers to take the necessary steps to bring real reform to our property insurance market.”

The inconvenient truth is that we are one Category 5 hurri cane away from a system collapse. In the meantime, all we can do is diversify our risk between insurance carriers for homeowners, wind/ hurricane, and flood. ■

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COMMENTARY BY MICHAEL
UNGER
J.
“ While Florida continues to win new residents from other states across the nation each year, there are fewer insurance carriers writing policies here... ”
THE

Dec 2022 December Dining Guide

50 TOP RESTAURANTS IN CORAL GABLES

The holidays are here, and what better way to celebrate than by dining in one of Coral Gables many fine dining establishments. What follows is our list of the best of the tried and true, and the best of the innovative and new. We dine at all locations anony mously, and we list only the places where we love to eat.

$ ............ Under $25

$$ .......... $25-$40

$$$ ........ $35-$75

$$$$ ...... $70-$100+

Prices are per person for appetizer and entrée, without tax, tip or drinks. Prices are approximations.

AMERICAN

Bachour

Maybe it was the lure of pastries by world-renowned chef Antonio Bachour, but this airy, industrial chic spot has become the new power breakfast place in town, with amazingly good eggs benedict and challah French toast. Also open for lunch and an early dinner, with great Greek salad and roast chicken breast. $$ 2020 Salzedo St. 305.203.0552

Cebada Rooftop & Raw Bar

It’s hard to pigeonhole this new rooftop restaurant by Chef Jorge Ramos (fresh from his acclaimed Barley restaurant in Dadeland). He calls it “contemporary American with a Latin overlay” which means roast bone marrow with salsa verde and baby back ribs with pimiento marmalade. A good raw bar, a great view. $$-$$$ 124 Giralda Ave. 786.409.2287

Doc B’s Restaurant + Bar

Doc B’s Restaurant + Bar serves crave-able American fare dishes made from scratch daily. Offering brunch, lunch, dinner, and a solid happy hour, signature dishes include the Wok Out Bowls. But our favorites are the candied bacon, the grilled artichokes and the Southern fried chicken. $$ 301 Miracle Mile 786.864.1220

The Globe

The Globe is a Gables icon, and one of the coolest places to eat in the city – assuming you like a smart, Euro-style bistro. Decorated with classic paintings (and globes over

their old-world bar), the menu is mostly American dishes – salads, burgers, fish, steaks, etc. – perfected over the years. Best conch fritters. $$ 377 Alhambra Circle 305.445.3555

Hillstone

There are very few restaurants in the Gables where clients will wait in a line outside. Hillstone is one of them. A power lunch spot, a happy hour singles anchor, and a family restaurant at night, the food and service are consistently top notch, with an elegant interior that is both comfortable and sophisticated at the same time. $$$ 201 Miracle Mile 305.529.0141

Lion & The Rambler

At the newly opened Lion and the Rambler, everything is made from scratch, from the creme fraiche down to the finishing salts, which are extracted from Miami seawater and hand-delivered to the restaurant by a local fisherman. The inventive restaurant serves up a nine-course tasting menu as much inspired by the three-Michelin-star Denmark restaurant Noma as the humble Cool Ranch Dorito. Try an infladita and see what we mean. $$-$$$ 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.603.7612

Orno

Located in the same building as Mamey (Thesis Hotel), Orno is Chef Niven Patel’s latest creation, focusing on “New American” cuisine with a focus on farm-to-table local produce. An eclectic menu lets Patel stretch his culinary imagination, using a wood-burning oven and a wood-burning grill. Be prepared for new and fascinating flavors. $$$ 1350 S. Dixie Highway (Thēsis Hotel) 305.667.6766

Seasons 52

The restaurant for healthy eaters who enjoy quality as well. The menu, changing four times a year with each season, is always full of inventive treatments for fresh veggies, soups and salads. Their fish and meat dish es are great values, and the flatbread

menu is a nice touch. It’s a chain, but we forgive them. $$ 321 Miracle Mile 305.442.8552

Tap 42

Tap 42 is big, noisy, and fun, with a huge island bar and lots of booths. Reliably good ribs, steaks and burgers, plus shines in the sides (roasted Brussels sprouts with maple mustard, truffle mac & cheese with parmesan crust). Nice random Asian dishes (grilled salmon Zen bowl, Asian coleslaw). $$-$$$ 301 Giralda Ave. 786.391.1566

Vinya Table

A wine lover’s retreat and former pop-up, Vinya is a full restaurant with seafood, pasta, charcuterie, and a 42 oz tomahawk steak, among other meats. But if you’re not looking at the wine list first, you might be in the wrong place. Categorized by region, rarity, price, flavor profile, winemak ing, and varietal, Vinya has wines for every kind of sommelier wannabe and then some. And they have food to go with your wine too! $$-$$$ 266 Miracle Mile. 305.203.4229

Yard House

A cavernous space with huge screens for sports fans, oversized paintings, classic rock in the background and large booths, all making for a com fortable space in which to pick and choose from an immense and reli able menu of American classics with Asian dishes interspersed. Literally something for everyone. $$ 320 San Lorenzo Ave. 305.447.9273

ASIAN

Crudos Fusion Art

For art lovers and foodies alike, Cru dos blends both into an Asian fusion dining experience complete with sushi rolls and a variety of mojitos (available for the amateur bartend er in “Do it Yourself” kits). The new Coral Gables spot is Crudos Fusion Art’s fourth location under Executive Chef-Partner Edixon Hernandez and includes a Japanese highball whiskey lounge, Aka, on the second floor. Try the POP sushi

roll for something different — pop rocks included –in this “immersive experience.” $$-$$$ 2415 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.392.0054

Ichimi

This off-Mile eatery has developed a cult following, with diners content to wait and stand and stare, just for the opportunity to eat Ichimi’s Japanese noodles and rice bowls. And the wait is worth it. Delicious, rich and faraway flavors in dishes you can’t find just anywhere, in a raw, cool space. $-$$ 2330 Salzedo St. 305.960.7016

Izakaya

Located across the street from the Colonnade building, this tiny, bustling Japanese restaurant serves a great bento box – along with an impressive array of daily specials that are posted on the wall in chalk. Super popular lunch spot, for good reason. $$ 159 Aragon Ave. 305.445.2584

Khaosan Road

Formerly Bangkok, Bangkok, this Giralda Plaza mainstay – with plenty of outdoor tables – has reinvented itself as the new home for Thai street food. Think you know Thai food? Be prepared for new and delicious tastes. $$

157 Giralda Plaza 305.444.2397

Miss Saigon

Repeatedly voted the best Viet namese restaurant in Miami by the readers of New Times, Miss Saigon serves the kind of vegetable-rich food that makes you feel light and clean afterwards. Excellent seafood choices, and any of their crispy rolls or dump lings make great starters. their clear, hearty soups – what they call Pho –are the big winners here. $$ 148 Giralda Ave. 305.446.8006.

Moon Thai & Japanese

Can’t decide between Japanese or Thai food? No problem. Here, you can have a Japanese house salad or miso soup as an appetizer and pad thai as an entrée. Truly the best of

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FONTANA

both worlds. Comfy booths inside and umbrella-covered outdoor tables. Great duck. Across the street from UM’s campus. $-$$ 1118 S. Dixie Hwy. 305.668.9890

Namaste

Hidden on a side street off Ponce, the last standing Indian restaurant in the Gables is small and humble (“namaste” means “I bow to you”) yet superb in its rendering of classic Indian dishes, from tandoris to biryanis. Our favorite is the mango curry chicken, followed by the chef’s special black pepper shrimp. $$ 221 Navarre Ave. 786.534.2161

Sawa

Delicious take on Japanese flavors served in parallel with Lebanese Mediterranean, Sawa offers seating inside or outside at Merrick Park. A vast selection of sushi rolls and tapas that range from chicken yakitori to octopus ceviche, along with super fresh Middle Eastern comfort food. World’s best lamb chops. Also has a doggy menu. $$$ 360 San Lorenzo Ave. (Shops at Merrick Park) 305.447.6555

Sushi Sake

Just one block south of Sushi Maki, Sushi Sake is the latest contestant in the battle for sushi fans, with an up scale edge and a menu that stretches past sushi, sashimi, and handrolls to hibachi, katsu, and noodle dishes. A full bar gives them happy hour honors (weekdays 4-6 pm) with half off drinks, appetizers, and Thai donuts. $$-$$$ 202 Miracle Mile. 786.636.8125

Zitz Sum

Brought to you by Chef Pablo Zitzmann of No Name Chinese fame, this “pop up” restaurant off the huge lobby of the 396 Building feels like it’s here to stay. The result of a year-long pandemic dive into dim sum by Zitzmann, the dumplings (dinner only), hand-rolled daily, are superb. Other menu items are highly inventive and flavorful. $$-$$$ 396 Alhambra Circle. 786.409.6920

FRENCH

Brasserie Central

Secretly owned by Pascal’s on Ponce fame, the restaurant is half inside half in the courtyard of the Shops. A typical French bistro with wonderful onion soup, fresh bread and superb paté. Everything on the menu is fresh, French, and all you would expect from Pascal. Lots of little French touches. $$-$$$ Shops at Merrick Park. 786.536.9388

Chocolate Fashion

This restaurant and bakery is a

breakfast and lunch hotspot. Lunch is a steal with most sandwiches priced around $11, with a side salad and cornichons – those mini pickles the French are famous for. Don’t for get the French pastries and desserts, ready to go. $-$$ 248 Andalusia Ave. 305.461.3200

Frenchie’s Diner

It looks like an all-American diner (which it once was) but this is pure French cooking in a small but comfy setting. Frenchie himself is usually there. Some items on the menu can get pricey (filet mignon, $34) but the onion soup ($9) and escargots ($11) are great values, and the croque monsieur ($14) for lunch is a meal unto itself. $$$ 2618 Galiano St. 305.442.4554

Gustave

Launched by a couple of friends with a track record in Paris, Gus tave’s a light-filled, lovely addition to the local French cuisine scene. With a good selection of baked goods, this is a Paris-style café with good coffee and solid fare. Good to know where you can get a croque monsieur for lunch and boeuf bour guignon for dinner $$-$$$ 366 Miracle Mile. 305.640.5675

Pascal’s on Ponce

Elegant, quaint, and delicious, the home and culinary canvas of owner-chef Pascal Oudin, who brings authentic French cuisine to the heart of the city. Oudin excels in seafood, soufflés, and foie gras. Try the diver sea scallops and tomato tartin. $$$-$$$$ 2611 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.444.2024

ITALIAN

Bugatti

Bugatti prides itself on its pasta – and for good reason, since the restaurant started as a pasta factory. The décor is simple and contem porary, with lots of booths, abd the service is crisp and superb. The dinner menu is straightforward, with pasta dishes mostly under $20 and entrees mostly under $30. And as many dessert listings (12) as pasta choices. $$

2504 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.441.2545

Caffe Abbracci

A Gables icon, Nino Pernetti’s Italian restaurant is both a power lunch favorite for the business elite and a cozy evening gathering place for families and couples. Abbracci is quiet and elegant, and the food is so consistently good that Pernetti had to publish his own cookbook. $$$ 318 Aragon Ave. 305.441.0700

Fiola

Brought to you by Washington, D.C. chef Fabio Trabocchi, this is fine dining at its finest. From the place settings to the artwork to the innovative cuisine, Fiola offers an exquisite dining experience. Among their must-try dishes are the porcini mushroom soup, sea scallops ceviche, and the signature lobster ravioli. Beautiful presentations. $$$$ 1500 San Ignacio Ave. 305.912.2639

Fontana

The ambiance is as elegant as it comes: the Biltmore’s famed foun tain courtyard. You can sit under the stars, in a covered archway, or inside to enjoy classic Italian dishes. Fresh ingredients, from the salads to the pasta that is made daily. Excellent seafood, pastas cooked perfectly. One of the most romantic restau rants in the Gables. $$$ 1200 Anastasia Ave. (Biltmore Hotel) 305.913.3200

Fugato

They will tell you they serve “conti nental” fusion cuisine, and yes there is a touch of French and Spanish cooking here. But the chicken Florentine, Ravioli aragosta, ravioli zucca, golden calamari and veal os sobuco say otherwise. Well prepared dishes in an intimate setting make this a romantic choice. $$$-$$$$ 325 Alcazar Ave. 786.420.2910

Fratellino

Small, family run, with a fanatically loyal fan base, brilliant Italian com fort food. The long narrow set up with tile floors, wooden chairs and tablecloths makes it feel like New York’s Little Italy. Their calamari, in any variation, is superb, as is the fet tuccine with prosciutto, mushrooms and green peas. $$$ 264 Miracle Mile 786.452.0068

Luca Osteria

The latest place by local celebrity chef Giorgio Rapicavoli (the Eating House), Luca Osteria became an overnight, reservations-only hit for dinner on Giralda Plaza. His inventive take on classic Italian food is fresh and new; the Pasta al Limone and mortadella toast with fig balsamic are just the beginning. Great Italian cocktails. $$-$$$$ 116 Giralda Ave. 305.381.5097

Opera

Chef Consiglio, along with part ner-chef Gianluca Canna, makes a point of offering an array of dishes that include veal ossobuco, 10 vari eties of pizza, fresh “al dente” pastas and starters, including a wickedly delicious plate of truffle oil-laced prosciutto with baby artichokes ($16). But for us, the trip is worth it

just for the branzino. $$ 130 Miracle Mile. 786.391.1276

Zucca

Located at the elegant St. Michel hotel, this is a star in the galaxy of Italian eateries in the Gables. Dis tinctly northern Italian, with recipes that chef Manuel Garcia developed in a career that included the leg endary Casa Tua on Miami Beach. Lovely outdoor seating, modern Italian design inside, sophisticated, with great service. $$$-$$$$ 162 Alcazar Ave. 786.580.3731

LATIN AMERICAN & CARIBBEAN

Aromas del Peru

Yes, they serve a dozen types of ceviche here. But it’s the breadth of the menu that impresses, with traditional soups, grilled meats, wok stir fries, and signature dishes such as aji de gallina (shredded chicken in yellow pepper sauce) and seco de res (beef stewed in beer and cilantro, with vegetables). Good service, good prices, nice ambiance. $$ 1930 Ponce de León Blvd. 305.476.5886

Ecléctico

Brought to you by the folks at nearby Sawa restaurant, Eclectico is an open, airy Latin-fusion restaurant that serves “light” and inventive variations on Latin American small plates with a Mexican overlay – and a truly awesome selection of mescal and taquilla. A new and fun place for dinner. $$ 320 San Lorenzo Ave. 786.615.5735

Graziano’s

This large, popular Gables mainstay is true Argentine. A deep selection of Argentine wines (which line several walls) go with beef slowly roasted over a quebracho wood fire, old school style. They have seafood and pasta, empanadas, and salads, but come here for the meat, a carni vore’s delight. $$$

394 Giralda Ave. 305.774.3599

Mamey

Chef Niven Patel, who is fast gain ing a national reputation, hits it out of the park with this restaurant, heir to the creative Caribbean cuisine of Ortanique, but with its own unique and refreshing overlay of Polynesian, Thai and Indian gastronomy. If your taste buds seek a new adventure, this is the place. $$$

1350 S. Dixie Highway (Thēsis Hotel) 305.667.5611

Talavera Cocina Mexicana

Recently renovated, this a pleasant place to dine, but it’s the authen tic fare that shines. The place for

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The Collection vs Porsche

Mexicans homesick for cooking that’s not Tex-Mex. The chicken mole poblano is a winner at $20, and their huarache grill – masa flatbreads that are really haute tacos – are great at $17. $$

2299 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.444.2955

MEDITERRANEAN

Calista Greek Seafood Taverna

There aren’t many pure Greek restaurants in Coral Gables—Medi terranean is a better bet—but Calista is aiming to change that, serving up authentic Greek dishes with fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers’ markets. Their specialty dish is the Moussaka, an eggplant or potato-based dish reminiscent of a lasagna that is commonly served in Egypt, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Also excellent spinach and feta phyllo pie. $$

150 Giralda Ave. 786.310.7660

TUR Kitchen

This relative newcomer to the Gables has a wonderfully inventive menu of Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Christian plates beautiful dish es that combine the flavors of Tur key, Greece, Lebanon, and Egypt.

Amazing stuffed Turkish pide bread, stunning braised goat with gnocchi. Elegant seating under arches along Giralda. $$$-$$$$ 259 Giralda Ave. 786.483.8014

Sawa

While the menu has a huge selec tion of well-crafted Japanese sushi and rolls (plus yakitori and dump lings), for us the play here is their parallel Lebanese menu, with freshly made baba ganoush, falafel, tabouli, lamb lollipops, kefta, kibbe, kebabs, etc. Also, good burgers, salads, pasta, fish and duck, but who does baklava better? No one. $$-$$$ 360 San Lorenzo Ave. 305.447.6555

SEAFOOD

Gringo’s Oyster Bar

A great selection of oysters at this neighborhood favorite. And they change sources twice weekly – like malpeques from Canada, or wellf leets from Main, or steamboats from Washington state. Also, great lobster rolls, crab cakes and conch ceviche. Specials include Lobster Tuesdays and a daily oyster happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. when prices drop in half. $$ 1549 Sunset Dr. 305.284.9989

MesaMar

Some of the best – if not THE best – seafood in the Gables with inventive fusions between Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. Their fish is caught daily in local waters and brought to your table for inspection. Their whole fried fish is a marvel. Also, make sure to try the lobster tacos. $$$ 264 Giralda Ave. 305.640.8448

Redfish Grill

The only waterfront restaurant in the Gables, Redfish was reborn last year after being closed for years from hurricane damage. The menu presents a stellar display of gourmet seafood, although we’re not sure yet what changes will be made now that Chef Adrianne has departed. $$$$ 9610 Old Cutler Rd. 305.668.8788

Sea Grill

T he Collection is taking on Porsche. The high-end Ga bles car dealership on Bird Road is suing Porsche for $300 million, alleging that the German car manufacturer attempted to coerce it into building a standalone deal ership by withholding inventory allocations. The pricy lawsuit deals primarily with the Florida Dealer Protection Act, which prohibits manufacturers from forcing dealerships into open ing exclusive brand stores. The Collection claims that Porsche wanted it to build a location ex clusively for their brand in either Kendall or Cutler Bay, which they refused to do on the grounds that these “remote, suburban locations” would have “relatively zero market for Porsches.”

In response, Porsche withheld inventory in the form of pool cars (vehicles designated for use by employees for work duties) from the dealership. Supposedly, this reticence could end up costing The Collection

Sea Grill is a popular weekend desti nation for lovers of Mediterranean seafood. A large, brightly lit and futuristic space with lots of energy, it serves fish that is caught in the Aegean Sea and flown to the Gables. Their octopus, which takes two days to prepare, is simply the best. Lots of outdoor seating. $$$ 4250 Salzedo St. (Shops at Merrick Park) 305.447.3990

Bellmónt

SPANISH

over $100 million in damages since the allocation of these ve hicles is directly related to sales. Since the conflict began, the dealership has dropped down the list of American Porsche dealers from third in 2018 to 32nd as of June this year.

Modern décor meets traditional Spanish dishes. Their house specialty is the roast suckling pig. If you want the whole pig ($230 for 4) you need to order four hours in advance. If it’s just you ($49), you’ll need to wait just 50 minutes. As for the rest: authentic Spanish cuisine, with great seafood dishes, fantastic paella. $$$ 339 Miracle Mile 786.502.4684

Bulla Gastrobar

As valued for its cocktails as for its tapas, Bulla is also something Coral Gables needs – an informal, smart neighborhood hangout with a young, boisterous vibe. Great “small plates” and refreshing sangria. Yes, it is a national chain, but it still feels local. $$ 2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.441.0107

La Taberna Giralda

Routinely rated among the top tapas places in South Florida, La Taberna brings the added twist of a chef from Galicia, who puts his own regional spin on the dishes. It’s a small place with a neighborhood vibe, orange walls, string lights and live flamenco on the weekends ($5 cover), so

Porsche Cars North America COO Joe Lawrence, meanwhile, claims that this “death spiral,” as it is named in the lawsuit, is unrelated, and stems from the brand’s expan sion in the U.S. and a nation wide decrease in sales. In a letter within the lawsuit documents, Lawrence also claimed that The Collection’s decision not to build a standalone Porsche lo cation demonstrates its “unwill ingness to meaningfully engage in best business practices and promote the Porsche brand.” He continues, “As a result, it should come as no surprise that we con tinue to withhold discretionary assignment of pool cars to The Collection.” ■

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reservations are a must. Great lunch specials. $$ 254 Giralda Avenue 786.362.5677

Las Tapas Coral Gables

Intimate setting in the space previ ously occupied by Mynt, Las Tapas is the newest entry in the category of fine Spanish cuisine. Fish flown in from the Atlantic and Mediterra nean, with a special focus on dishes from Galicia in the northwest and Barcelona on the east. $$$-$$$$ 276 Alhambra Circle. 305.381.0636

STEAK

Christy’s

Touted as Coral Gables oldest steakhouse, Christy’s was long the power lunch go-to – until it stopped serving lunch except on Fridays. Still, its aged steaks are consistently excellent, as are the seafood entrees. Their classic Caesar salad is still the best in town, and the jumbo shrimp cocktail is a house specialty. $$$ 3101 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.446.1400

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse

Fantastic, aged steaks, a seafood tower that won’t quit, and a wine cellar that appears to have no end of depth. A place for special celebra

tions. Recently redecorated, but the open kitchen with its copper “sash” across the top still gives the main dining room a warm glow. Good menu at the bar. $$$-$$$$ 2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.569.7995

Fogo de Chao

At Fogo de Chao, meat reigns supreme. Try the “churrasco expe rience” ($61) and let expert gaucho chefs keep the finely cut slabs com ing, from beef ribeye to flank steak to lamb pincanha. If you’re a Wagyu fan, this is the place to be. The interior is as grand as the experience, which is a show in itself, Brazilian style. Great cocktails in the upstairs lounge for before or after. $$$-$$$$ 2801 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 786.297.8788

Morton’s The Steakhouse

Morton’s in the Gables is not just another Morton’s. Its setting in the Colonnades gives it a unique ele gance, with outdoor seating under the arches. Dependable quality, primeaged beef, and excellent salads. Good place to take that important client. Great bar food with filet mignon sandwiches or short rib tacos. $$$ 2333 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.442.1662

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

The youngest entry among Coral Gables steak houses, Perry’s is a Tex as chain that gets its beef from the heart of the Lone Star State. Great outdoor space with fire pit and a huge interior with its own piano bar. The entrees are all carefully concoct ed, including excellent reduction sauces for the finer cuts and their famous five-finger giant pork chop that is carved at the table and can feed two. $$$$ 4251 Salzedo St. (Shops at Merrick Park) 786.703.9094

PUBS & CAFÉS

Bay 13 Brewery and Kitchen

The cuisine is largely Australian pub food – salmon Rangoon, chicken skewers, meat pies, fish & chips –the setting is spectacular, and the beer unbeatable at this newest hot spot. You can sit inside by the vast beer tankards, or outside with a fine view of the Alhambra fountain. $$ 65 Alhambra Plaza. 786.452.0935

Fritz and Franz Bierhaus

Be transported from Coral Gables to Oktoberfest. Enjoy German comfort food like Weisswurst and Heringsschmaus. Our favorite is the currywurst. Naturally, you must

order a beer, but here you can have it served in a giant glass boot. $$ 60 Merrick Way 305.774.1883

Sports Grill

A go-to spot for any major sporting event, but also a popular destination for any given night of the week. You don’t even need to look at the menu: the pub is home to the Spe cial Grilled wings, dipped in their signature sauce, then charbroiled and lightly covered in a secret sauce. $ 1559 Sunset Dr. 305.668.0396

Threefold Café

You have to love a place that is dedicated to breakfast all day long. But who needs dinner when you can get shrimp tacos for breakfast, along with salmon scrambled eggs, chicken parma, and that Millenial favorite, smashed avocado toast? The brainchild of Australian Nick Sharp, Threefold is also popular for Sunday brunch. And the coffee is some of the best around. $$ 141 Giralda Ave. 305.704.8007 ■

94 coralgablesmagazine.com DINING GUIDE

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The Lion in Winter

Carolers are coming to the steps of the 550 Biltmore Way building this month, where they will be nobly watched over by the twin cast-iron lions who guard the building’s entrance. Photo by Sally Baumgartner.

96 coralgablesmagazine.com CITY LIFE
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