The Cadillac Championship and PGA Tour brought an influx of tourists to watch the world's best in golf play last week. It didn't matter whether you were a fan of golf -- there was entertainment for everyone who attended.
Featuring a Carolina Herrera fashion show, a concert by Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie McCoy, a food and wine department, and sightings of Donald Trump as he strolled around his newest property, this year's tournament was an entirely different experience.
For the first time, the Cadillac Lounge was incorporated into the event. There, you could get a clear view of the third, 16th, and 19th holes from an air-conditioned, elevated permanent structure offering bottle service. The premise was to take a bit of South Beach to Doral, which was accomplished by bringing Joe's Stone Crab to the lounge. Sure, 25 large claws set you back $300 (same price at the restaurant), but watching Tiger Woods make a helluva shot out of a sand trap while dipping a claw into Joe's mustard sauce is unmatchable. If you wanted just five claws, those went for $60.
Other options in the lounge included Sushi Maki platters (a 70- or 90-piece assortment of rolls) and catering, although the catering seemed to be taking a bit long for those who ordered. For a fast, easy, and cool alternative, there was Giorgio Rapicavoli's Eating House tartare pop-up, where you could walk up and order.
Four savory options and two sweet were enough to satisfy the masses. We tried the tuna ($14) and hand-cut beef ($13) for the savory. Tuna highlighted nuoc cham, peanuts, cucumber, and ginger vinegar in its concoction, while the hand-cut beef was made decadent by black truffle and shallots.
For something sweet, the bananas Foster ($9) was so tasty it was even filmed for the Golf Channel. Sea-salted caramel and whipped Nutella dolloped on chopped bananas, all made warm with scorched sugar, is just what every golf fan wants -- or should anyway.
Asked why he did a tartare bar, Chef Rapicavoli said, "We had to get creative with the lack of kitchen space, and I love a good tartare. It made sense for Miami's weather and being outside all day -- you just want something cold and refreshing. Grey Goose Vodka also happens to be a liquor sponsor for the event, and tartares pair perfectly with their portfolio."
Tickets to the Cadillac Lounge got attendees access to the tournament and to the lounge all day, every day and were priced at $374.50 per person, with daily tickets costing $101.
Other options included a food-truck roundup including BC Tacos, Che Grill, Il Fiorentino, Pescados Unidos, the Rolling Stove, Health Nut on Wheels, and Hip Pop Gelato & Yogurt. Versailles also brought a bit of Cuba, with offerings made available to all ticketholders, and a Moët & Chandon champagne bar was onsite for those looking to get their bubbly on. Moët shared its space with Sushi Maki and some of Joe's crabby friends. Out-of-towners wanting to make their shivering friends up North jealous could ship some claws right from the course. Imagine getting Joe's stone crab delivered to you in ten-degree weather? Not too shabby, eh?
Sushi Maki made much of its regular menu available, from starters to rolls and platters, including our favorite and one of the local chain's most popular hand rolls -- the lemon drop, which features chopped hamachi, cucumber, and torched lemon slices. To make it an alcoholic lemon drop, a glass of Moët paired perfectly.
BLT Prime required an upgraded clubhouse ticket, but got you the finest cuts of prime beef, including BLT's famed 28-day dry-aged New York strip or Kansas City bone-in strip and porterhouse for two.
And in case you didn't want to go anywhere for food, there was plenty of fare available throughout the grounds. Concessions were upgraded to offer Shula's signature burgers, Nathan's hot dogs, perfectly seasoned and cooked chicken skewers, and arepas (to honor Venezuela, of course).
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Donald Trump even gave a nod to Venezuela at Friday night's fashion show, when he brought out Miss Universe, who hails from Venezuela and who had some encouraging words for her countrymen.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha