Friday, August 22, 2014
My novel is still available on Amazon. Cheers
Currently working on two new novels: KILLER SMILE, about a serial killer set in South Beach, and ISLAND OF BOSSY WOMEN, the story of a dysfunctional Southern family whose lives are turned upside down but emerge triumphant. With the continuing weekly deadlines of freelance writing projects, I've found it difficult to always find writing time for the two novels that I'm trying to finish so I'm taking a temporary break from this blog. For those new to the blog, please check out the archives, there's years of posts and hundreds of photos. Thanks for all the support.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Robin Williams was a funny man and an incredible dramatic actor. It was sad news to hear of his passing. The first time I encountered Robin Williams was when I worked at the Improv in Los Angeles as a waiter in the late seventies. The comedy club was run and owned by the notorious Budd Friedman who was tough on his employees and always cracking the whip. At the time the Improv was the place for young comedians to be discovered and for headliners to come try out their acts. While working there I saw names like Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David (creator of Seinfeld), Elaine Boosler, Jay Leno (before he had made it big), and the legendary Andy Kaufman (of Taxi). One night Budd Friedman pulled me out of the kitchen and asked me if I had ever seen Robin Williams perform live. I said no because I wasn't sure who Robin was at that point. Mork & Mindy had just come on and I'm not even sure if I had seen the show yet. Budd told me to stand in the back and watch Robin, which was odd in the fact that he wanted us to keep moving and selling drinks. What I saw on that stage was amazing. Lightning fast wit and a multitude of characters that came and went as he bantered with the audience. Unlike so many of the comedians that did the same act every night and studied their material like a holy script, Robin's set was totally improvised and fresh. He chatted with the audience and created stories inspired by the conversations. A true genius like I had never seen. When Robin came offstage, he slid into the kitchen where the waiters would hide or pretend to be picking up a food order. He introduced himself to me and was very friendly.
He was a regular at the Improv, not always as a performer, but it was a hangout. I knew he was married but like other married comedians, he certainly didn't act married. I met his wife who came in several times and she knew me by name. One night she came in looking for Robin and asked me if I had seen him. It happened that it was a night that Robin had not come in and I told her that I hadn't seen him. I also remember the night that Robin had a big table of friends there to watch him, including his wife and their babysitter who he later married. Robin was a very talented man and he was perfectly cast as Mork because he truly seemed to be from another planet and was always searching for a way to get home. I feel honored to have met such a talented man and to have been able to see him perform many times. While I enjoyed his work as a comedian his dramatic work as a film actor was always exceptional. It's sad to think that a man that brought so much laughter to many was so depressed himself.
While working at the Improv my biggest observation about comedians was that they were constantly seeking reassurance and were the most depressing group of people I've ever met. I was able to meet so many talented comedians and became friends with quite a few. The truly great ones had that sadness to them. Like Andy Kaufman who was another genius. Andy was like a child. I remember the day that he locked his keys in his car. He came into the Improv and said. "Cubby, what do I do? I think I need a coat hanger." I went and found him a coat hanger. When I gave it to him he looked at me and said, "What do I do with it?" Andy was a lost soul bur a brilliant performer.
Friday, August 8, 2014
Brickell seems to the breeding ground for a crop of new eateries that are popping up faster than you can find a parking space. Finding a parking space and maneuvering through the frenetic traffic of the Brickell area may be a problem but sometimes a new venue makes it all worthwhile. While I’ve never been a fan of German eateries so to speak, especially since sausages seem to be the main fare. Prost Wurstgrill & Bierhouse, a new offering from the German group who organized the 2012 Oktoberfest at the Miami Circle, has finally opened to the public after enjoying a round of success from the pre-opening World Cup crowds.
Chef Phil Bryant, formerly with Swine Southern Table & Bar, co-hosted the evening and created the menu for the event. Not necessarily a fan of sausage, as I’m a borderline vegetarian, the promise of sausages and such didn’t really thrill but I was pleasantly surprised by the treats that were served that evening. Lots of fish, pork, and chicken, yes, they had a chicken sausage. The General manager explained that you can stuff almost anything into a sausage and they make all the sausages on the premises.
The cocktail of the evening was something called a Hugo, known as “the German Mojito.” This was a tasty and refreshing cocktail made from champagne, mint and elderberry. I enjoyed it so much I turned down the German beer when offered. I was surprised at the variety of sausages offered that I enjoyed, not being a red meat eater I thoroughly the samplings that included: chicken, duck chorizo, venison, and cod & potato (my favorite). They also passed around flatbread covered with sweet peppers, cabbage, onion confit, appenzeller cheese, and a bit of olive oil. My taste buds were jumping and I was enjoying everything offered. Most of my friends know I’m a big fan of desserts so of course I wondered what type of dessert would they be offering. I asked if we would be having a strudel and my guess was correct. When the strudel was served I had no idea it would be served Cuban style, as an apple strudel hand pie that looked like a miniature empanada filled with apple strudel filling and covered with a ginger infused condensed milk glaze.
Prost offers a friendly atmosphere and I’ll bet it’s packed for lunch. The menu is perfect for a quick lunch or even for light tastings for those who enjoy their German beer and ales. If you’re in the neighborhood drop by and sample the menu. Prost is a modern version of a German bar, like what you’d find in Berlin today. Prost Wurstgrill & Bierhouse, 1036 South Miami Ave, Brickell. 786-362-5644 or www.prostmiami.com
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Summers in the Hamptons are always a treat with the parties, the celebrities, the beach scene, and the gossip. Every summer there’s a new hot couple, a group of celebrities that are hotter than last year, and that one party that you must get invited to. Many of you may have already experienced the Hamptons shuffle, guest room to guest room, and some of you may even have houses in the Hamptons (private message me). I’m working on a Summer Travel guide for the Hampton’s and thought I’d share some of my favorite picks for this summer. Hurry, summer is almost over.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re not lucky enough to be the houseguest at some beachfront home or have a summer rental then here’s a tip on a hot place to spend the night.
The scene at the Lodge
THE SURF LODGE
183 S Edgemere St, Montauk, 631-668-1562, www.thesurflodge.com
Built in 1967, this popular lodging spot turns into a party at the drop of a beach towel. See how long it takes you to check out all 19 rooms, all with ocean views.
While some restaurants come and go with each season, the Hamptons has its favorites and usually they’re not only the best but also the hardest to get a reservation.
75 Main St, Southampton, 631-283-7575, www.75main.com
This popular eatery is a favorite of A-listers and celebrities and it’s no wonder as the food is incredible. At night this place offers a nightclub vibe with great music and dancing. My favorite is the Crispy Red Snapper.
NICK & TONI’S
136 N Main St, East Hampton, 631-324-3550, www.nickandtonis.com
Surely you’ve heard of this place since it one of the most poplar places in the Hamptons.
Here you’ll find a great selection of wines, delicious Italian cuisine, and a hot celebrity crowd. Reservations highly recommended.
Could there be any other scene hotter than the Hamptons at night? Every season there’s a new group of hot clubs and promoters. Make sure you’re on the list or you’re out of luck. Of course the famed Lily Pond is long gone but there’s a new party every night.
148 S. Emerson Avenue, Montauk, 631-647-8000, www.thesloppytuna.com
This two-level beachside bar is a favorite of hipsters and models that just want to party. Here you’ll find several party areas and the DJs spin until 4 a.m.
SOUTHAMPTON SOCIAL CLUB
256 Elm Street, Southampton, 631-287-1400, www.southamptonsocialclub.com
Formerly Madam Tong’s space, this garden-like space offers Chef Scott Kampf’s menu and the location for some of the hottest parties of the season. Make sure you’re on the list. Thur – Sat open to all.
125 Tuckahoe Road, Southampton, 917-574-4112, www.southpointenightclub.com
Here’s an upscale place for the fashionistas and trendy hipster with cash. The in-house DJs play hot tunes and it’s always filled with VIPs. If you’re not on the list you better get there early or be ready to flash some cash. Steep cover. Valet parking only.
The Hamptons is all about socializing and shopping. The best shops from NYC open pop-up shops here every summer.
ROUND SWAMP FARM
184 Three Mile Harbor Rd, East Hampton, 631-324-4438, www.roundswampfarm.com
This little country market and bakery is a great one-stop shopping spot for fresh made products (like homemade cookies), local seafood, produce, and other sundries.
662 Montauk Hwy, Montauk, 631-668-1631, www.screamingmimis.com
Like the New York store, this shop if filled with fabulous haute vintage clothing. See celebrities buy designer duds once owned by other celebrities.
Tracy and his fashions
38 Park Pl, East Hampton, 631-329-8213
This Sex-In-The-City style boutique sells a variety of hip colorful dresses but why shop, just go to check out the hot clientele and celebrity shoppers.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Just when I've been thinking I need to cut sugar out of my diet...or at least try again, I get a notice from Serendipity 3 on Lincoln Road that National Banana Split Day is just a week away. I haven't had a banana split in years but I do love bananas and ice cream and this may be the year to celebrate this holiday since I neglected to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year. Stay tuned for actual photos of me eating a banana split and falling over from a sugar overdose.
I'm working on a guide for the Hamptons with a future trip in the planning stages so tomorrow I will share some of my hot finds for this summer including the hot new restaurants, the hip hangout of the summer, and what designers have opened pop-up shops so they can party. If anyone knows of any hot new items that I should know about please share. Thx C.
Designer Yigal Azrouel in his Water Mill boutique
Lincoln Road Morning Walk
Trying to figure out if I'm wasting my time with this blog or not. It's just been a forum for me to rant about things and share some of my great photos. I'm working on so many projects that I could use the extra writing time. I'm really excited about finishing the novel that I started almost 20 years ago called ISLAND OF BOSSY WOMEN. It's about a tight-knit Southern family and a missing father and the humor of a son who returns home to a mother who expects him to make everything right. He returns home to a bizarre situation and a world filled with Southern women - his mother, her 8 nosy sisters, and his own sister who is not exactly his best friend. It's filled with love and humor and it takes me away from the crazy world of South Beach. But back to the blog, this morning I did more research on the Lincoln Road Art Deco Tour that I'm working on and took many photos. Many people don't realize that Lincoln Road was built by Carl Fisher, Father of Miami Beach, to be the Fifth Avenue of the South. When it was finished it was filled with an impressive assortment of stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Taylor, Tiffany's, and Harry Winston. There were four furriers, yes, the wealthy women visiting from up north would come down in the winter and shop for fur, six car dealerships, and six theaters. Lincoln Road is filled with history and I'm having fun researching all the buildings. If anyone has any Lincoln Road stories please share them.
Harry Winston Logo on Lincoln Road