Miami Herald, FL
June 6 2005
One of our favorite hosts plays guest of honor
Any party Lee Schrager throws is a highly coveted invitation in
Miami’s elite social circles. The affair is always lavish but
understated and elegant. It’s even better when the party is in honor
of the affable Schrager, the director of special events and media
relations for Southern Wine & Spirits.
His longtime friend, attorney Sam Blum, put on such a party at his
Coconut Grove penthouse, which has also been the site of many a
glamorous celebration. This was no exception. About 60 of Schrager’s
nearest and dearest were treated to a night of Latin American
delicacies, from the music to the food.
During cocktails, everyone caught up — his parties are always like
mini-reunions — while enjoying lively music from the Latin jazz trio
Brisas, who played mostly Cuban favorites to please Schrager’s
Life is in the details and Blum saw to it that even the handsome wait
staff complemented the theme. They were outfitted in white jeans and
chic, brightly colored striped shirts. Champagne flowed as the guests
made their way around the three-level apartment with many ending up
on the rooftop terrace for dinner with a spectacular view of Miami’s
glittering lights in the breezy night.
The feast — created by Blum’s partner, chef Milenko Samardzich —
was an extraordinary culinary tour through Peru, Cuba, Puerto Rico,
Argentina and Venezuela. Restaurant publicist Terry Zarikian also
contributed to the menu with an artichoke, lemon dill dish and an
eggplant in cinnamon and cloves, sharing his Greek-Armenian
background. The desserts included decadent chocolate and buttery
masterpieces like Marquise cake and Bola de Oro, which left everyone
smiling but ready for a water fast the next day. If that were not
enough, out came the dulce de leche birthday cake, and the band led
the group in a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday followed by the
Mexican birthday tradition of Las Mañanitas.
Happy guests included publicist Charlie Cinnamon; philanthropist
Marcy Lefton; Miami Herald writer Lydia Martin and attorney Elizabeth
Schwartz; Lola Jacobson; Mario Leon; star hairstylist Samy and Alex
Dominguez; Michael Katz; Dr. Larry Harmon; Ken Gorin, owner of The
Collection; Tara Gilani; Alan Roth and Netta Bell; Dr. Ricardo
Restrepo; Nick D’Annunzio; attorney Dan Weiss and wife Merle; Charlie
Hines; Richard Booth and Estee Mandel.
The Education Fund held its eighth silent art auction, ”The Art of
Found Objects,” at the Sonesta Beach Resort on Key Biscayne, raising
more than $50,000, a record. The event was attended by more than 200
The auction sells artwork created by local students and artists to
help public school teachers, directly benefiting visual arts
programs. The art is created from unusual elements, which are
recycled. More than 200 pieces of art and luxury items like cruises,
trips and gourmet cooking lessons were auctioned off.
Many pieces were snapped up by noted collectors, such as Dr. Sanford
Ziff and wife Dolores. Philanthropist R. Kirk Landon won a piece
called Cargo Circus. Emcee Eliott Rodriguez, WFOR-CBS 4 news anchor,
was almost upstaged by 11-year-old student artist Melissa Quintana of
Banyan Elementary, who spoke of the ”greatness of the program” and
touted her artwork, Coconut Lizard, and her teacher Peter de Mercado.
Her piece sold for $105. Rodriguez won Asian cooking lessons.
Another hotly contested item was a party for 10 put together by
Johnson & Wales. A weekend lease for a Williamson Cadillac Hummer
donated by the company’s president, Trae Williamson, was won by Kim
Martin. Monica James and Co. donated a Venetian floor lamp.
Community leaders who hosted the event included José Concepción and
Merle Weiss. Collectors of auction art included Neisen Kasdin, Judy
Drucker, Ruth Greenfield, and Sherwood and Judy Weiser. Guests
included members of the advisory board Norma Quintero, Nancy
Batchelor, Carol Iacovelli and Brenda Nestor Castellano, plus Maggie
Hernández, Marisa Bergerano, Lourdes Cambo and Elena Milian.
TEMPLE HOUSE PARTY
Transplanted New Yorker Daniel Davidson is known for his lavish
parties there. After moving here three years ago, he made his home in
an unusual location, a former synagogue in Miami Beach, which was
built as a single-family home in 1933, then converted to a temple in
the late ’30s.
Davidson is the chair and CEO of the anti-aging skin care company
Genome Cosmetique. Lounge music set the tone for more than 250 guests
who enjoyed informal modeling with the latest collection from DKNY.
Longtime friend Peggy Pashayan, who is the vice president of stores
for The Donna Karan Co., flew in from New York for the event,
bringing the models and fashions.
The chic fete was attended by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, who has been
making the rounds of all the right parties; Morris Chestnut; Tara
Solomon; Hal Rubenstein from InStyle magazine; star hairstylist Ric
Pipino and Ingrid Casares.