Years after the presidential election debacle of 2000, when Florida’s dimpled/hanging/pregnant chads and other electoral adventures kept the world on edge for 35 days before George W. Bush was declared the winner, we still can’t get our act together.
The chad-intensive punch cards are long gone, replaced by a variety of somewhat functional electronic voting systems (touchscreen machines, optical-scan voting). But recently, we’ve had ballots so complex—11 proposed state constitutional amendments to mull over in 2012!—that voters needed 40 minutes to figure them out, earning us the superlative of the state with the worst voting wait time. We’ve had laws and rules imposed (and challenged) making it harder to register, to vote early, to vote by absentee ballot, to get voting rights restored and—we are not making this up—to use bathrooms at polling places. And this summer a judge ruled that Florida legislators so blatantly gerrymandered some congressional districts that they had to take another crack at it—less than a month before the primaries.
The neo-traditionalist Miami-beach designer fashions pearl pieces that are part of the city's cool-girl code. Ring, $470; nektardestagni.com.
The Florida blue blood (his grandfather was former governor LeRoy Collins) now designs fine jewelry and splits his time between Coral Gables and New York. Necklace, $26,875; johnbrevard.com.
It’s only omakase (chef’s choice) at Kevin Cory’s two Japanese gems in downtown Miami, the eight-seat NAOE and 16-seat N by NAOE, where dining-time options are few and the reservations don’t come easy. The 41-year-old, Miami-born chef (above) personally helms the Aritsugu knives—which were passed down from his chef uncle—six days a week for all four reservation slots: “If I’m off, we close,” he says.
NAOE’s tagline—“It’s not fresh…it’s alive”—is meant to convey how just-off-the-boat his fish really is, whether it arrives overnight from Japan’s Tsukiji fish market or either U.S. coast, or is sourced from local Florida fishermen. Depending on the product availability and Cory’s whim, bento boxes might include a broiled blackbelly rosefish caught in 1,000-foot-deep waters off Miami, with organic trumpet mushrooms and fresh wasabi flowers, and homemade yuca tofu with jyunsai and sea urchin roe from Hokkaido; the nigiri sushi could be anything from local Spanish mackerel pickled in koji to the insides of a sea cucumber.
Desserts are often fruits, sponge cake and ice cream. Sake is from Nakamura Shuzou brewery, which Cory’s relatives founded in 1818. “We want our guests to leave believing we respectfully and joyfully represented Japan,” Cory says. “When NAOE first opened, a Japanese couple came in, and as I served the bento, the lady actually started crying with a big smile. Sincere happiness is the highest compliment.” At 661 Brickell Key Dr.; 305-947-6263; naoemiami.com.
Former model and Parsons grad Ivana Berendika has taken her talents to design with a collection of modern, architectural pieces that she creates at her Miami Beach studio. Bracelt, $300; armedelamour.com.
Whenever architect Zaha Hadid comes to Miami, which is a good amount these days, she makes sure to hit the town with Iran Issa-Khan, a Tehran-born photographer and society mainstay. “I don’t think of Miami without Iran,” says Hadid, who wrote the foreword to Iran’s latest, self-titled book of photographs, published by Whitehaus.
Issa-Khan left her home country with her family ahead of the 1979 revolution and established herself in the decades that followed as a portrait and fashion photographer for such publications as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. In the last ten years, however, she has shifted her focus to natural forms, especially the sensuous curves and spirals of plants and sea life that can hardly be improved upon.
“Coming from the earth or the sea, where no human beings had touched it, everything was real,” says Issa-Khan. “After having shot fashion for so many years, where everything was so fake, I fell in love with it.”
When an organization has spent 50 years preserving cultural, architectural and artistic heritage around the globe, it can take more than 12 months to properly celebrate its achievements. With this spirit in mind, and in celebration of its forthcoming milestone anniversary of 2015, the World Monuments Fund is hosting a pair of events on Wednesday, October 22, that promise to be as lively as the 603 projects the organization has supported since its inception.
The evening begins with the Hadrian Gala at The Pierre. There, performances from The Peter Duchin Orchestra will weave together a cocktail hour, seated dinner and a ceremony honoring this year’s Hadrian Award winners: interior designer Mica Ertegün and contemporary artist Ellsworth Kelly.
The revelry continues at the fourth annual After Party—silent auctions, cocktails, canapés and music by DJ Big Data—at Phillips auction house. Organized by steering and benefit committees and a handful of co-chairs, including tastemakers Vogue editor Mieke ten Have Graham, model Amy Lemons-Sutton and actress Jeanne Marie Tripplehorn, the event guarantees a vibrant, youthful crowd.
“It’s important to involve young people in the ongoing preservation of our historical and architectural sites,” explains Aurora Kessler, a steering committee member of the organization’s Moai Circle, a community of young professionals who share an interest in world heritage conservation. “People have different experiences based on their involvements with various parts of the world, but everyone has a sense of appreciation for great beauty, artistic achievement and cultural relevance.”
Hadrian Gala begins at 7 p.m.; tickets start at $1,500; The Pierre, 2 E. 61st St.; wmf.org/hadrian-award. After Party begins at 8:30 p.m.; tickets start at $100; Phillips, 450 Park Ave.; wmf.org/2014AfterParty.
Forget pop-ups: The latest culinary trend among chefs is to lock the doors of their own top kitchens and temporarily take the helm of other noteworthy restaurants.
Alinea’s Grant Achatz brought his famed molecular gastronomy to Eleven Madison Park for five nights in 2012, and René Redzepi of the Copenhagen-based Noma is heading to the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo early next year to try his hand at Japanese cooking. Another such high-profile residency will come to fruition on October 22 and 23, when Michelin three-star chef Christian Bau will close his nine-table boîte, Schloss Berg, in southwest Germany, to cook alongside Matthew Kirkley, executive chef at the upscale seafood-focused L2O in Chicago.
The duo’s collaborative, ten-course dinner reflects their mutual passion for cooking crustaceans: Bau’s dishes include a blue lobster with orange confit and umami foam and U.S. prime beef with eggplant, mushrooms and onions; while Kirkely will present creations like crab chip seasoned with Old Bay and marine cider vinegar and pigeon with red cabbage. Expect clever wine pairings, like single-vineyard Rieslings, with every course, each selected by the restaurants’ respective sommeliers.
The experience is an anomaly for both Bau and Kirkely, who rarely do collaborative dinners. “I started talking to [Bau] after finishing the most incredible four-hour dinner,” recalls Kirkley of the evening he spent at Schloss Berg this past January. “We drank German beer and hatched this plan to cook together.”
Nearly a year later, their shared fancy now takes shape on your plate. $350 a person with wine but without tax and gratuity; 2300 N. Lincoln Park West; 773-868-0002; l2orestaurant.com.
It’s no longer news that guests desire more from their travels than the experience of passive, arm-chair sightseeing. Though eating your way through a country might be one way to sample its native cuisine, savvy vacationers know the chance to cook it alongside local chefs can be far more rewarding. The same goes for learning to play a locale’s national sport or pastime instead of simply witnessing it from the stands; or, seeing the countryside in style.
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is the latest to adopt the approach, giving their guests the chance to savor their surrounds behind the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, McLaren MP4-12C and Porsche 911 Turbo in the brand-new Waldorf Astoria Driving Experiences.
From now until December, guests can drive all three supercars on some of America’s most enthralling routes. Consider the winding roads through alpine forests near the hotel’s property in Palm Springs, California (October 15–20), or a ride alongside striking desert rock formations around Scottsdale, Arizona (December 2–7). Each leg of the journey, get pro tips from world-class race champion Didier Theys, who leads the three-hour, 100-mile sessions held morning, noon and early evening.
“While some still prefer to sit poolside and indulge in a recent best seller,” says Stuart Foster, vice president of marketing and the mind behind the initiative, “we’re finding that many of our guests are excited about booking high-end and bespoke experiences that connect them to the destination.”
Looking for an adventure beyond your own borders? Berlin, Rome, Edinburgh and other European stops are in the works for 2015. $1,000 per couple (does not include accommodations); 800-925-3673; waldorfastoria.com/drivingexperiences.