If you're looking for the latest issue of South Florida Gourmet, you might have to look harder, and it's not because your contact lenses need updating. Editor/publisher Simone Diament has temporarily halted production. She says it's not about economics or advertising but indirectly cites the World Trade Center attacks. Her magazine is about good things, and these times are about bad things. So there's an inherent mismatch, not to mention a slow start to the tourist season and a growing unease in the restaurant scene about precisely who will survive. But she plans on resuming publication with the January issue. Meanwhile she'll be traveling to France and Israel and spending time with her family, who lives abroad. It's no doubt an earned vacation -- I can say from my own experience that it is, oddly enough, exhausting to eat, drink, and report for a living. And while I generally like to cheerfully lambaste my competition, I hope for the record that South Florida Gourmet isn't the latest media outlet to fall victim to terror.
It hasn't yet been signed, sealed, and delivered, so I can't spill the details yet. But it looks as though we'll soon be losing one of Miami's talents, who has been about as native to the hotel dining scene as coral is to the Gables, to the Great North -- Hallandale, that is. However, since this particular chef, both talented and modest, has never been a prima donna and thus has never really been properly adored by the culinary public, I'd have to be Diplomat-ic and say it's our own damn fault. This winter, unless we're willing to cross the county line (egads), we'll have to be strong.
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Kvetch: I've been down this road before. But I guess I'll have to travel it again. Dining at Aria in the new Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne can be a beautiful experience -- until your get your car back. Because if you have the same valet I did, it's likely that something will be missing from your console. In my case it was a lousy two bucks I'd intended to give him as a tip. But petty or not, theft is theft. So look, you know who you are. As do I. I'll only tell you this once: You've had your free pass.