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The 11 Best Things to Do in Miami This Week

Thursday, December 17

There's something magical about combining board games and booze. The spark of childhood nostalgia blended with a nice buzz takes average get-togethers to the next level. Cashing in on that deep need to be kids again, the local beer masters of Concrete Beach Brewery present a Miami-flavored evening of entertainment, Domino Nights.

Every Thursday, craft-brew lovers can relive their domino glory days at the brewery, where the Wynwood crowd is always up for a good time. Concrete Beach supplies the dominoes and the specially crafted taps, all inspired by the city of Miami. In addition to offering its year-round selection, Concrete now features three limited beers on tap: Walls, a South American-style red ale; Floridafest, a traditional Oktoberfest with a tropical twist; and Tropic of Passion, a delicate coral-tinged wheat ale.

Domino Nights at Concrete Beach Brewery (325 NW 24th St., Miami) take place every Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-796-2727 or visit concretebeachbrewery.com

Standup comedian Patton Oswalt once said his comprehension of science goes no further than "salt is salty." For those like Oswalt who struggled in school with subjects such as physics but had a desire to become more informed, Books & Books in Coral Gables is holding what's being advertised as a "casual conversation" with one of the foremost experts in particle physics and cosmology. Professor Lisa Randall of Harvard University will give a short presentation before chatting with attendees and discussing a variety of topics in an attempt to explain the complex to the rest of us dumb-dumbs. Randall is the author of four books, has been voted one of the most influential people of the 21st Century by Esquire and Time, and previously held professorships at MIT and Princeton University. Presented in conjunction with the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, the Science Up Close event will be hosted and introduced by Dr. Eldredge "Biff" Bermingham, the former director and senior scientist for the Smithsonian's Tropical Research Institute.

Get your hard-core science-nerd fix this Thursday at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). The free event begins at 8 p.m. Visit booksandbooks.com or call 305-442-4408. 

Friday, December 18

America's greatest crooner, Frank Sinatra, would have turned 100 years old last Saturday, December 12. So in honor of Ol' Blue Eyes' centennial, the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center is participating in the national yearlong Sinatra 100 celebration with a performance of 3 Men and a Baby... Grand: A Toast to Sinatra. Hundreds of other events have taken place all over the country, including the superstar tribute Sinatra 100: An All-Star Grammy Concert, which aired on CBS on the singer's birthday. Though Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, and John Legend won't be on hand to serenade South Florida audiences, the vocal trio of Lee Lessack, Brian Lane Green, and John Boswell has earned praise for creative and authentic representations of Sinatra's best-loved tunes.

Indulge in some of his greatest hits, such as "Strangers in the Night," "Fly Me to the Moon," "My Way," "All the Way," and "New York, New York," during this one-time-only performance. 3 Men and a Baby... Grand: A Toast to Sinatra takes place at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center (3385 NE 188th St., Aventura) Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $40 to $45. Call 305-466-8002 or visit aventuracenter.org

Everyone knows IKEA can help you build any piece of furniture imaginable. And this holiday season, even gingerbread houses are included in the retailer's line of ready-to-assemble goods for your home. The Scandinavian company opened its 416,000-square-foot store across from Dolphin Mall in August 2014 and now invites Miamians to its restaurant for an evening of gingerbread house making. According to the product page for the gingerbread house packages, the Pepparkaka Hus (which is adorably listed in the "Swedish Celebrations" category) is a model home that Swedish children build around Christmastime. The kiddies usually decorate the houses with sugar glaze and various candies. But in typical IKEA fashion, the do-it-yourself gingerbread house kits include a step-by-step assembly guide with all the connecting pieces, however delicious they may be.

But don't simply buy the cookie house kit; build it with IKEA's experts on hand. Gingerbread house making will take place at the IKEA Restaurant (1801 NW 117th Ave., Miami) Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and include all supplies. For group reservations, contact the store at miamievents@ikea.com. Call 888-888-4532 or visit ikea-usa.com/miami

Saturday, December 19

For most of us, fancy French treats are meant to be gazed at through the Food Network lens. And despite what Starbucks wants us to think, those France-themed products behind its glass cases aren't the real deal. Miamians, however, have a rare opportunity to not only learn about such culinary creations but also dive into the process. At the Biltmore Culinary Academy (BCA), located inside the historic Biltmore Hotel, pastry enthusiasts will get the chance to cook with executive pastry chef Olivier Rodriguez in the school's latest course, Petit Fours.

Aspiring chefs of all levels will learn the ins and outs of making the small assorted desserts, which are mainstays at French patisseries. Chef Rodriguez will instruct participants in how to make madeleine cookies, chocolate macarons, caramel cake with salted caramel cream, and almond tuile. Classes at the BCA are fully participatory — students are actively involved in every aspect of food preparation. And the best part is devouring those delightful desserts at the end of the lesson.

Class will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables). The cost is $114. Call 305-445-1926 or visit biltmorehotel.com.

Organized bar crawls can be a thing of wonder — especially if you can remember every stop the following morning. But bar crawls with a theme are ten times more fun. This year's eighth-annual SantaCon will take over Coconut Grove with an onslaught of revelers dressed in red, green, and white. Stops on this merry adventure include Taurus, Barracuda Raw Bar & Grill, Duffy's, Fat Tuesday, and Sandbar — it's like your old college nights relived. Pabst Blue Ribbon is an event sponsor, so expect beer specials at participating bars and product giveaways throughout the night.

It's free to join the fun, but be warned: Some bars may not honor the drink specials for the group unless you are in costume. No tickets are required because SantaCon is a public event. So if there ever were an incentive for dressing in head-to-toe red and donning a Santa hat, it's special drink pricing. The first stop on the festival crawl this Saturday is Taurus in the Grove (3540 Main Hwy., Miami) at 6 p.m. Visit santacon.info

Sunday, December 20

This time of year, folks who live a little farther from our fiery BFF the Equator are out of luck when it comes to fresh produce — essentially, they're forced to get by on oodles of squash and pickled everything.

In Miami, winter isn't even a thing, and our fields are full of rainbow-hued freshness almost year-round. That fresh goodness is transferred from ground to table at the Adrienne Arsht Center's weekly farmers' market. Shoppers will find all kinds of Florida-grown produce, prepared foods, drinks, and other items for sale. Guests can expect tropical fruits from family-owned LNB Grovestand, seasonal veggies from the Urban Oasis Project, sweetness from Keez Beez Honey, and lots of other goodies. There will also be live tunes and cooking demonstrations, so the farmers' market promises to be an entertaining afternoon regardless of shopping haul.

The market is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday on the Thomson Plaza for the Arts (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Admission is free. Call 786-468-2000 or visit arshtcenter.org

Get into the holiday spirit and burn off some calories with a bike ride through Coral Gables. Cruise past the city's most festively decorated locations, including Merrick Park, Biltmore Way, and the Coral Gables Methodist Church during the Gables Bike Tour: Holiday Tour. At the end of the tour, riders will have the opportunity to treat themselves to holiday eggnog.

The Coral Gables Museum and Bike Walk Coral Gables sponsor educational bike rides every third Sunday of the month. Each tour — which begins at the Coral Gables Museum (220 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) — offers a different theme and route. Bike rentals and helmets are available at No Boundaries, located across the street from the museum. Tours run for about two hours and cost $10 for adults and $5 for museum members and children under 12. Space is limited for this Sunday's holiday tour. RSVP by calling 305-603-8067. Visit coralgablesmuseum.org. 

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way; oh what fun it is to run through Tropical Park dressed as Santa Claus. Rumor has it that before Coca-Cola got its hands on him, Santa was skinny. You can be a fit and fun Saint Nick when you run the Miami Jingle Bell Jog 5K while dressed not in a red-and-white T-shirt, but a complimentary Santa suit. You also get your own set of jingle bells to tie around your ankles, so jingle all the way you shall indeed. Though a timing chip will be installed in the back of your coat, you don't really have to be a Dasher the whole time. Maybe you'd like to be a Prancer? Maybe a Dancer? However you make your way to the end of the trail, you'll get a candy-cane medal, along with other holiday-themed refreshments.

The run kicks off Sunday at 7:30 a.m. in Santa's favorite place, Tropical Park (7900 Bird Rd., Miami). Runners can pick up their packets a couple of hours beforehand at Tropical Park or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at SoleRunners (11650 N. Kendall Dr., Miami). There is even a children's 5K at 8:30 a.m. for the quick-footed little elves in your family. Registration costs $35 for adults and $20 for kids. Visit jinglebelljog.net/miami.

Farmers' markets may be all the rage across the nation, but Miami's cultural diversity guarantees a more unique option. Combining the traditional tastes of Spanish cuisine with the ease of modern preparation, Bayfront Park's La Feria del Mercado de San Miguel takes inspiration from the famous marketplace located in Madrid's old quarter. A hub for culinary culture and education, Mercado de San Miguel transfers that flair to South Florida with a 9,000-square-foot tent, which houses a tapas bar, a Spanish market featuring local and imported items, four food kiosks, and smaller carts serving delights such as croquetas, gazpacho, and the Spanish superham, jamón ibérico. Visitors can munch at the culinary kiosks, each concentrating on a different dish — from paella and meat to fish and wood-fired pizzas — as well as enjoy cocktails at the outdoor bar.

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La Feria del Mercado de San Miguel is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight through January 30 at Bayfront Park (301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Admission is free. Call 305-358-7550 or visit bayfrontparkmiami.com

Wednesday, December 23

Beats are neat, but a good drummer is much more than just a rhythmic backbone for pretty vocal melodies and rip-roaring guitar. A truly skilled percussionist can create a mood as dynamic and compelling as any other member of the band, and Chris Corsano is proof. His drumming can be the frenetic energy of a freight train or the lullaby of falling raindrops. He often outfits his kick with strings and other playful amendments, adding new layers of sound and texture to his jazzy and remarkable style.

Spin listed him in its "100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music," and he's been tapped by leading artists, from Björk and beyond. Corsano will deliver a stirring solo performance for Audiotheque this Wednesday at ArtCenter (924 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), and because his appearance is presented in association with the City of Miami Beach, the show is free of charge. If you can't make it, catch the live stream on spectacularsystem.com. Showtime is 8 p.m. Call 786-206-7886 or visit subtropics.org

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