Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Casa Cauarina: The House of Versace

Casa Casuarina
1116 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, Florida

We more or less ended the civilized part of our evening at Casa Casuarina, the Versace mansion down on Ocean Drive. I am somewhat surprised that he would have had his mansion, his personal hide away, on Ocean Drive. Yes, it has a view of the ocean. However, the number of tourists this area brings would have been a deal breaker for me. Yes, many of the tourists were there to walk on the steps where Versaces blood was spilled. However, the next few blocks are littered with mid-range hotels, drinking holes, and questionable restaurants with barkers trying to pull in customers by standing out front being pushy. Seems antithetical to what the Versace name stands for, but each to his or her own.

At any rate, the Spanish style mansion is gorgeous. It has been converted into a hotel, a nice one. Once inside, the frantic environment of Ocean Drive is completely left behind. We strolled past the outdoor lobby, through the interior courtyard and into a small bar area.

We ordered huge glasses of bubbly, perused a menu, and looked at all the Versace-esque touches in the decor. Florida is by and large politically conservative. The people drinking on the loungey couches behind us were deep in conversation praising the current President of our country and I had to ask my husband to stop making retaliatory editorial comments about their opinions. It could have gotten ugly indeed.

The solid marble bar was lit from within to etherially beautiful effect.

The stained glass windows are decorated with the little Medusa heads Versace is known for. We had snacks...

D had these beautiful seared scallops topped with caviar atop a bed of pureed potatoes. Simple, common, well cooked.

I ordered the steak tartare, and it was splendid. The cook mixed in the egg for me, so I didn't have to worry about it or meet a raw egg face to face. This is neither here nor there for me, but I did enjoy this. There were red onion bits, and discernable caper bits. Some bite, some zing. The texture was a bit too uniform for me, this was clearly made in a food processor. But it tasted great.

Afterward, I headed to the bathroom. I had to. It was calling me. Below are a couple views of the antechamber. A Versace bathroom has an antechamber.

Il gabinetto. Il gabinetto dorato.

The golden toilet. Sounds less toilet-like in Italian.

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