One year ago this week, the lush gardens on the grounds of Miami's Villa Vizcaya were flattened by Hurricane Wilma to such an extent the estate was closed for some months to assess and repair the damage. Fortunately the foliage has managed to recover, and along with the plants the Vizcaya's reputation as an unparalleled Halloween party destination has also been restored.
Saturday night's costume ball saw the best turnout for the event in years with considerable effort being put into costumes predictable (dozens of Borats, spinach leaves, Marie Antoinettes, and Catwomen) and unexpected (Ghostbusters, Snow Whites, and a lone Ferenghi - but, frack, dude, get with the program).
As far as The Bitch is concerned, though, the breakout star of the party was a product called Sambala, a bottled version of the Brazilian cocktail called a caipirinha made from cacacha, limes, and sugar. "This tastes a little lemony," offered Sambala-pourer Arianne. "But since it's made outside the U.S. it is actually made with cacacha, not malt liquor or wine."
Party organizer Cece Feinberg has definitely managed to repackage events at the Vizcaya to attract more, funner, and livelier partygoers; perhaps her next feat will be prying some free snack sponsorship from the National Register of Historic places (which the Vizcaya is on) to assuage the hunger pangs of festive ghouls. "I always park on the street," menaced one orange-vested valet as The Bitch accidentally turned around in the nearby science museum parking lot. "Or you can pay me $20..."
No thanks. People going to Vizcaya who also support public transit can park across U.S. 1 in the MetroRail lot for only four dollars for the entire month (with purchase of a monthly Metro card). Then you can have a genuinely scary Halloween crossing the Vizcaya station pedestrian bridge in the middle of the night in the dark. -Jean Carey
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.