Art Basel Tidbits

Art Basel: A whirlwind of art and artists. Intolerable traffic*. Fabulous parties. Sold-out restaurants. Whimsical pop-ups. No parking. Depending on your perspective, it’s the most wonderful – or most aggravating – time of year.

Local media and bloggers have posted lists of where and what to eat – Lee Schrager of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival shared his favorites here and Eater Miami came up with some ideas. Here are some of our favorite low-key tidbits, for locals and visitors:

Soft-serve ice cream

Caramel Stout Soft Serve 3 (photo credit Dominique Ansel Kitchen)

Caramel Stout Soft Serve (Photo: Dominique Ansel Kitchen)

Update: Unsurprisingly, his soft-serve sold out Wed. The gorgeous Setai in Miami Beach hosts chef Dominique Ansel’s pop-up soft-serve window Wed., Dec. 2 and Thur., Dec. 3 from noon to midnight. He has created two flavors: Caramel Stout and Burrata. The Caramel Stout is something new Ansel created exclusively for the event, says spokesperson Jessica Cheng. “The stout gives it a really nice deep flavor and just a hint of bitterness, and it’s garnished with pearls of chocolate ‘caviar’ and fudgy chocolate brownies studded with Maldon sea salt.” The Burrata was created for their West Village Kitchen shop over the summer. “For that flavor, Dominique had wanted to create a vanilla alternative that was creamier and less sweet -– it works really well cold, especially with the tanginess from the balsamic caramel. It’s also finished with microbasil which adds a really nice brightness, and there’s a whole confit strawberry surprise inside the cone,” she says. Each flavor is served in a homemade, hand-rolled honey tuile cone and retails for $7.

At the Hyde Midtown, artist Spencer Finch gives out colored cones of soft-serve ice cream, served from his solar-powered ice cream truck, which was in action at Central Park during the summer. For Art Basel, it’s open Tue., Dec. 1 through Sat., Dec. 5 from 2pm-8pm at 3401 NE 1st Ave in Midtown.

Mmm… Donuts

salty donut2

Popcorn + Porter donuts: Brioche with porter glaze, spiced caramel and chocolate-covered popcorn, salted pretzel (Photo: The Salty Donut)

The Salty Donut Artisanal Donut Shoppe and Coffee Bar pops up Thur., Dec. 3 through Sun., Dec. 6 at 29 NW 24th St. in Wynwood. Among intriguing flavors: spiked brioche donut holes; olive oil and citrus; popcorn and Funky Buddha porter; gluten-free spiced pumpkin; and brown butter and salt. You’ll need some coffee with that – Intelligentsia java and cold brew from Relentless Roasters are on hand. Hours are 6-11 Thur. and Fri., and 10-5 Sat. and Sun. For the rest of the month, they’ll be open Fridays through Sundays.

Beer and Fritas

Also in Wynwood at Smashed Canvas, J. Wakefield Brewing is teaming up with local artist Ahol Sniffs Glue to create AHOL’s Biscayne World labels Wed., Dec. 2. The Magic Box, El Mago de Las Fritas‘ food truck, will be on site from 2pm-11pm. Collaboration bottles are $25. 244 NW 29th St., Miami.

Rum All Abuzz at Hive

Craft cocktails and daily mixology presentations are part of the Behind the Bar Series presented by Miami Club Rum at HIVE, a pop-up lounge in  Wynwood during Miami Art Week.

For drinking + fine dining: chef Brad Kilgore is offering special five-course tasting menus ($80) at Alter. Tending the bar for Art Basel is head bartender Nico de Soto of New York City’s Mace.

Fresh-from-the-Sea Dining

How about al fresco dining under the trees off Biscayne Boulevard? Chef Allen Susser is hosting one of his Sustainable Seafood dinners under the stars at the Cafe at Books and Books on Thur., Dec. 3. The menu is the catch of the day from a local fishing boat the day before – “We won’t know what’s on the menu Thursday until we catch it on Wednesday,” says Sharon Steel-Cardenal of the Cafe at Books and Books. The five-course meal includes wine and beverage pairings. For reservations email her at

IMG_5272Breakfast at the Bakehouse

Art and food make perfect sense at Wynwood’s The Bakehouse Art Complex. The Art Deco building that formerly housed a bakery is now home to 60 working resident artists. Their signature Baker’s Breakfast, on Thur., Dec. 3 from 9am to noon, is an opportunity to break bread with their artists before the art fairs. Guests will have access to exhibitions and open studios. This is a free event, and shuttle service will be provided from the Bakehouse to other art venues in Wynwood.

Fresh and Healthy on the Beach

At the Miami Beach Convention Center, look for the Icebox Cafe Grab & Go Pop-Up for favorites like Thai-pulled chicken salad, Mediterranean cous cous salad, mezze sampler, cookies and brownies, espresso coffees from Dec. 2 through Dec. 6. For the third year, chef Michelle Bernstein is doing her pop-up Michy’s Restaurant and Garden Cafe at the nearby Miami Beach Botanical Garden, featuring a fresh daily menu, tapas, a premium bar and an international wine list. Dinner reservations are recommended.

*A free bus, with free Wi-Fi AND mobile charging stations at Miami stops, will run in a loop connecting the Miami Beach Convention Center with the Design District, Wynwood and Midtown between 11am and 11pm. The Miami-Dade Art Express buses, Route 143, are specially wrapped and feature bike racks. Download the free MDT Transit Tracker app.

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