Friday, February 27, 2009

A Cuban Feast Finally Released

As some of you may recall, our house was photographed for a piece in Cottage Living magazine early last year and scheduled for release in January 2009. I posted a little about it back in April, so you can catch up here and here. In November, we heard the news that Cottage Living was being closed and December 2008 would be the last issue - one issue before ours! Dejected, I called the Food Editor, Kim Sunee, with whom I had originally proposed the entire idea and who came to our house for the two day shoot. At the time, Kim was uncertain as to what would happen with the piece, but she was optimistic that since it was already shot and produced, one of the sister publications would likely pick it up - but which publication and when were up in the air.

Then out of nowhere, one of our clients called two days ago congratulating us on the piece. Wow. That was fast. And so here it is in the March 2009 issue of Coastal Living magazine (you can click on the pictures to enlarge).

My original hope when I pitched the idea to Kim was to have our house as the main focal point since we had gone through a significant renovation of our 1926 bungalow. But Kim was the Food Editor, and while she thought our renovation sounded interesting, she needed something with a culinary twist. So I threw my uncle, the chef, in the fire. And hoped he'd play along.
My husband then encouraged Kim with the fact that my family is Cuban and wouldn't it be fun to come to Miami during the winter and have a big fat Cuban feast! Luckily, she was intrigued, it fit the culinary twist and we were on our way.
Luckily Chef Roly was on board and willing to re-create some of his favorite dishes and provide the recipes. The feature looks great and if you look carefully at the pictures you'll notice all the food is served and styled on our antique dishes. For example, the following picture has the fried calamari in a lavender colored transferware on faience dish from Creil et Montereau, circa 1870 (set available at Alhambra Antiques). Lower down is the calamari cocktail in a vintage shell (from a set of 12), and a pair of sterling silver antique forks. The dessert shot also has a great Sarreguemines majolica platter and a vermeil cake server. The last page has an entertaining shot of D. and me on a scooter. Kim had joked about how she imagined us riding around Coral Gables in a Vespa, and it became a reality thanks to a rental on South Beach. Now D. wants one for himself! Pretty soon, I may have to oblige.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dancing through Vizcaya

It was almost like dancing through Italy on Tuesday at the Vizcayan's Preservation Luncheon. I got to wear one of my hats from Lyon and one of my vintage necklaces…how fun! To give myself an additional treat I also got my makeup done. So, feeling like a million bucks, I drove away in our black limousine (aka the mini-van) up the scenic and historic Bayshore Drive to Vizcaya. I had a wonderful time sipping champagne and eating lobster! I felt like I had boarded a plane, flown through time and place, and arrived at this carefree moment, however brief it was. I even sat with some French and Italian speakers and got the opportunity to practice a little of both. My only complaint is that I didn’t win the Ferragamo bag and shoes that were raffled off. I don’t think I’ve ever won anything in a raffle. The odds seem to be against me, maybe this means I’m due soon and will shortly win the lottery. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I was quite impressed with the attendance and lovely selection of hats at the event. My favorite hat belonged to Kira Flanzraich, who was wearing a hat especially made for her that resembled the onion domes of the Kremlin, in honor of her Russian heritage.

Fantastic! Kira with jewelry designer Mish Tworkowski

Another treat was the group of models wearing the new Ferragamo spring collection. I was glad I didn’t have to stand still for 2 hours wearing very high heels. I've noticed some of the fashions this season are quite Grecian in style.

There were lots of photographers and I just had to take a photo of this one.

Norma Quintero in Oscar de la Renta.

Interior designer Fernando Sanchez with one his clients, Lydia Prio-Touzet in Christian Dior.

My friend Coco Palenque Torre who told me she wasn't going and then pleasantly surprised me!

At the end of the luncheon, a few of us stuck around to toast our gracious hostess, Norma Quintero, and to thank her for establishing this wonderful tradition, hopefully for many years to come.

Vizcayans Treasurer Bill Jones.

Marysol Patton, Norma Quintero, and Ana Moran Varela.

Some gentlemen did attend...Alvaro Varela, Edgar Lozano, Richard Tasca, Tom Wood, and Luis Quintero.

Upon my return to the store (after a brief flight back to reality), my husband, a talented photographer, took this photo of me in his studio. The dress is rendition of an Yves Saint Laurent design. Thank you, D! You make me feel beautiful.

Monday, February 23, 2009

In case you have a chance to dance through Paris this week....Collection Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Berge Auction

In case you don't have chance to jet over to Paris this week...enjoy these photos of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge's Paris apartment, the contents of which will all be sold during six auctions over three days at the Grand Palais this week (like the Chanel fashion show.)
What is really spectacular about this collection is the breadth and variety of the objects, art, and furniture. Saint Laurent did not discriminate in his taste for beauty, he was comfortable juxtaposing a Roman torso with a Matisse, an 18th century tapestry with Art Deco chairs. While collecting within a specific genre can be rewarding, giving oneself the freedom to collect anything allows further enrichment of a quality of life. Surrounding oneself with beautiful things is about lifestyle, taking daily pleasures in memories of travels, anecdotes from history, or just stories from one's childhood. Appreciating the beauty of a thing however minute or foreign must add joy to every moment of appreciation. Of course, we don't all have to have Saint Laurent's deep pockets to attain such a lifestyle, it only takes a mindset.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Miami's Own Elizabeth Caballero

Thanks to a mutual friend, Alhambra Antiques provided one of its vintage necklaces for star soprano, Elizabeth Caballero to wear for a recent Zarzuelas concert. Here is a pre-performance photo of Caballero modeling the pate-de-verre green and violet necklace. This spectacular piece will be auctioned next weekend at "A Night in Bollywood", a FUNdraiser for Sunil's Home, an orphanage in India.

This weekend, you can enjoy another wonderful musical performance at St. Bede Episcopal Church Center at the University of Miami. Soprano, Elizabeth Caballero with pianist Rachel Currea will perform an all Spanish Recital featuring works by Granados, Rodrigo, Turina and Obradors at Saturday, February 21st, at 7:30pm. The Chapel is located at 1150 Stanford Drive (near the main entrance of the University). Call 305-284-2333 for tickets and more information.

Acclaimed by the San Francisco Chronicle as a "powerful diva in the making" Cuban-American soprano, Elizabeth Caballero is becoming widely recognized for her fearless portrayals of the lyric soprano repertoire. She has been praised by Steven Smith of The New York Times for providing: "the evening's most show-stopping performance offering a thrilling balance of pearly tone, exacting technique and brazen physicality."

I've included some very romantic photos of Elizabeth in various opera roles. O
pera is one of those arts that has somehow lost its place in trendy circles but is such a pleasure to attend. Where else can you get LIVE soap opera drama, fantastic music, dancing, and eye candy costumes and sets? And tickets are usually less than going to a professional football game!

The following photos are all from La Boheme, different companies, different roles:

Publicity Photo of Elizabeth as Mimi in La Boheme for Florida Grand Opera

New York City Opera

Caballero as Musetta with Robert Gardner as Marcello

Florida Grand Opera

Caballero as Musetta

Caballero as Musetta with Frank Hernandez as Marcello

Tom Corbeil as Colline, Cory Crider as Schanard, Caballero, Valenti, Troy Cook as Marcello

Caballero as Mimi with James Valenti as Rodolfo

Don Giovanni with New York City Opera

Caballero as Donna Elvira giving it to Christopher Schaldenbrand as Don Giovanni

Caballero as Donna Elvira

Don Giovanni with the Florentine Opera

Caballero during the Catalogue Aria with Eduardo Chama as Leporello

Caballero as Donna Elvira with Peter Volpe as the Don

© Copyright 2008 Elizabeth Caballero

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Italian Fashion, Hats, and Vizcaya

One of my favorite hidden treasures in Miami is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on Bayshore Drive. Built by James Deering to be used as his winter residence from 1916 until 1925, it is a magnificent Italian Villa transplanted from Europe to sunny South Florida. Eventually being acquired by the county, the house was opened as a public museum in 1955. As maintenance and restoration of property are costly and funding from the county is limited, a philanthropic group known as The Vizcayans was formed early on to raise additional funds to preserve this unique piece of Miami history. A few years ago, a friend invited us to join the James Deering Society, a group within the Vizcayans dedicated to building the endowment fund, and we became "trustees" of this group.
Next week, the current president of the Vizcayans, Norma Quintero is hosting the First Annual Preservation Luncheon, in the spirit of the famous Central Park Conservancy's Annual FLO Awards Luncheon. She has requested that everyone wear a hat. There is no shortage of hats in my closet, as it is my favorite fashion accessory to buy when I'm in France. The question is of course which hat will I wear?! I promise to post photos next week.
The event is sponsored by Ferragamo, and so they had a kick-off cocktail for us and for the Grand Opening of their new Bal Harbour store last week. Here's a photo of some of the usual suspects:

Karla Ferguson of Yeelen Art Gallery, Carlton and Andrea Cole (Vizcaya Trust Board of Directors), Joel Hoffman, executive director of Vizcaya, and Ian Simpkins, horticulturist of Vizcaya.

Enjoy the virtual visit to Vizcaya: Photo credits © Bill Sumner for Vizcaya Museum
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