Opportunity Cost

The cops of Sunny Isles Beach and the physicians of Brickell know how to party

The words epic and classic — favorite Bitch exclamations for happenings with high and very low extremes of social entertainment value — can barely be applied to this past Saturday night's iteration of the Wynwood Art/Design District gallery walk. It was appropriately held under a full moon amid intermittent interludes of tropical-depression deluge. A highlight of the tour, at least in terms of marquee value, was a heavily promoted opening called "New Orleans Artists in Exile," Crescent City gallerist Jonathan Ferrara's traveling exhibition of work from artists displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The show, mounted at the Steve Martin Gallery (66 NE 40th St., Miami) offers a few head-turners, notably British photographer Charlie Varley's shot of a crying girl separated from her parents; the image ended up on the cover of Newsweek.

The party attracted one of the highest per capita collections of kooks ever documented in any city. There was Steve Martin himself — not the comic actor but a miniature ringer for Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall, with a curly thatch of strawberry blond hair. Martin's contributions to the exhibit were life-size (and smaller) two-dimensional wire sculptures of nude women. As proof of his virility, throughout the evening Martin paraded around his toddler, an even tinier squalling beet of a creature.

Fortunately there was a distraction. Perhaps referencing in tone — if not content — the most famous line from the most famous drama set in New Orleans, there sounded a loud bawl throughout the gallery: "Maaaarrrrgggarrettttttt!" All activity froze for a second as the source of the cry was isolated. It belonged to an impossibly chic-looking woman in a nipped-waist red Chanel jacket, black evening trousers, high heels, and a beehive of steely gray hair at least eighteen inches high.

Slavic bone structure and Kabuki makeup create a most stunning visage
The Bitch
Slavic bone structure and Kabuki makeup create a most stunning visage

The Bitch had to meet this enchanting creature.

Wow, is that your real hair? Are you one of the artists?

"Oh nooooo, darling," the woman cooed. "I'm just Belle. You can call me Blue Belle. I'm here with an artist, though ... her name is Margaret! Do you know Margaret?"

Um, no, but I've ... heard ... of Margaret.

"Well, let me go get her," Belle intoned, heading back toward the gallery's door and repeating her call out to the sidewalk: "Maarrrgarrettttt! You get back here! We've already seen this art, but come see it again and get some more cheese! There's a fresh platter and more wine!"

The Bitch spun around to carefully and quietly study the platter of mozzarella balls and tomatoes while devising an exit strategy.

"Hey, what are those things?" questioned a man who, using a pineapple chunk speared by a toothpick, was gesturing at the food. The dog noted this fellow's ruddy facial features, which were shaded by a trucker cap and floating above a rayon shirt emblazoned with images of martinis, beer bottles, and soda cans.

Uh, I think it's some kind of cheese or something.

"Damn," the man responded. "They look exactly like those pearl onions my mom always made at Thanksgiving," he sighed. "Anyway, I'm Dan. Dan Belle. My wife and I are here with our friend Margaret!"


Enough Food and Cool People

In the fickle world of South Florida's cutthroat dining industry, a successful chef who takes a few years off is rare. But Mary Rohan-Dominguez, who oversaw the restaurant at the Indian Creek Hotel in Miami Beach during its late-Nineties heyday and later cheffed at Ortanique in Coral Gables, did just that in 2002. During her sabbatical, Rohan-Dominguez's absence was mourned by legions of acolytes who adore the pixielike blond's engaging manner as much as her edible creations. So the party Monday night at the Palm (4425 Ponce de Leon Blvd.), where Rohan-Dominguez returns as the restaurant's new executive chef this week, was an emotional reunion of friends. It was also an occasion to admire the chef's intact culinary prowess.

After a round of applause upon her arrival around 7:00 p.m., Rohan-Dominguez waved shyly at the group of about 150 attendees. "I'm not really much of a speaker in front of a crowd, but I am so happy to see so many familiar faces ... and here's how I'll show it," she said, gesturing toward a group of assistant chefs bearing huge trays of food. Some of the abundant fare included Bitch-approved "Wahoo Ceviche," a citrus-infused mélange of reef fish, crabcakes, and black-bean patties.

Pat Kelly, a Key Biscayner who works for a Gables developer and is also on the board of directors for the Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation (www.prime-apes.org), has followed Rohan-Rodriguez since the Indian Creek days. "It's nice that there are still small artifacts, here and there, of good things about Miami that endure," Kelly mused, declaring the party a "wonderful success."


Not Enough Food and The Man

Sgt. Edward Santiago of the Sunny Isles Beach Police force worked the third shift this past June 7 from 9:00 Wednesday night to 7:30 Thursday morning. Sounds pretty grueling, but before work, Santiago was quite the lady magnet at a groundbreaking party — or something — for the St. Tropez condominium sales center, where the tower is to be built at 330 Sunny Isles Blvd. Uniformed and dashing, Santiago mingled, snacked, and attracted a wake of female admirers, while a half-dozen of his departmental colleagues stood out on the causeway directing traffic and fending off angry motorists.

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