If I could make the newsprint glow neon and blink on and off for the following phrase, I would: Feast Among the Grapes to Be Held at Parrot Jungle Island. Why the hoopla? Feast Among the Grapes, which benefits the Diabetes Research Institute, is not a debut event; in 2003, it'll be celebrating its twelfth anniversary. Nor is Parrot Jungle a new venue -- the tourist attraction opened in 1936 and spent 65 years in the wilds of southern Miami-Dade (later incorporated as Pinecrest). But this pairing is indeed auspicious, given the fact that Parrot Jungle has just about completed its highly publicized (read: protested) move to Watson Island and will open to the public June 28. But preview views can be arranged by purchasing a ticket to the event, held on June 21 in the park's Treetop Ballroom. Tickets, which entitle you to sips from some 40 wineries, bites from at least 20 Miami restaurants, and nibbles via parrot interaction, cost $75 in advance, $85 at the door (800-321-3437). For the real squawkers, $150 will buy some importance along with an "in" to the VIP champagne reception beforehand.
Gone, but so not forgotten. Skeptics warned against it, but erstwhile Astor chef Johnny Vinczencz actually succeeded in raising his profile by heading north to head De La Tierra at Sundy House in Delray Beach. So much so, in fact, that he's been tapped to cook his menu, including signature yak dishes, at the James Beard Foundation on June 4. He's just been featured in a New York Times article about chefs using yak meat. And he's set to open De La Tierra at Sundy House's sister resort in Taos, New Mexico, on July 1. Nonbelievers, don't even go there. And I mean that in every way that you can interpret it.
Chispa it is no more -- and according to chef-proprietor Douglas Rodriguez's publicists, it never really was. The result of a conflict with Robbin Haas's forthcoming Miami eatery, also called Chispa, the latest Rodriguez property to open in New York was almost immediately rechristened OLA (Of Latin America). Shades of YUCA (Young Urban Cuban Americans), anyone?
Rumors to end on: La Broche, closing. Harry's Bar of Venice, coming to South Beach. And the former Red Square/Bar None space, to be reinvented as Harrison's South of Fifth by a former GM of Tantra. And Cafeteria (ha!) is opening.... Which to count on? None, of course -- in Miami, restaurant gossip is written in wash-'n'-wear sand.