Carmel Ophir Seen Eating... Fried Chicken at Magnum Lounge

Categories: Scene Eating
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Courtesy Carmel Ophir
Carmel Ophir is well known as a nightlife veteran in Miami, DJ, co-owner of The Vagabond (with DJ John Digweed), and owner of Creations production company. Ophir's life is all about music, but it's also all about food. Like a musician who's riffing, once Ophir gets started talking about food, it's hard for him to stop. So we let him spiel.

Ophir also wants to offer you some post-Thanksgiving relief.Perhaps next Thursday, you'll eat way too much, wake up from a tryptophan nap, and realize you need to move your bones or risk forever lapsing into a food coma. Or you may suffer from cabin fever after spending too many consecutive hours with your family.br />
Come by The Vagabond (30 NE 14th Street, Miami) November 25th for their second annual Thanksgiving Charity for the Community Partnership for the Homeless.John Digweed headlines and local DJ hero Craze will be there too. Doors open at 10 p.m. Ophir says one hundred percent of the proceeds go to the charity, which is just down the street from the Vagabond: "We don't forget our own backyard." Get tickets here.

The twenty-year Miami nightlife veteran on what fuels him....after the jump.

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Jacquelynn D. Powers
Fried chicken at Magnum Lounge
New Times:What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Carmel Ophir: Oatmeal with real maple syrup, sliced bananas and strawberries, a fruit smoothie, and coffee (of course).

What are your top 3 places to eat in Miami right now?


I'm going to have to give you six places. It's kind of like asking me what my favorite Stones song is--there's no such thing. These are all amazing in variety of menu and price points: Michael's Genuine, Lemoni Café, Buena Vista Bistro.

Also:
Mandolin
Mandolin is very "Greek taverna." It's intimate, could be construed as romantic, but it's just basically very comfortable. I love the atmosphere.

I'm a big fan of great vegetarian food even though I'm not vegetarian. I recommend the Greek sampler, stuffed grape leaves, zucchini fritters, and saganaki. The lamb chops are a great meat dish. They're not large portions, so you can have a table of four, order six or seven dishes, and you're golden.

Indomania
I hesitate to tell people about Indomania.   I love finding places like this. I randomly went in there on a chance and I was blown away. The husband is at the front of the house and the wife is the back of the house which just gives it great chemistry right there. He's such a gracious host. And the food doesn't disappoint. They have a wide variety of rijstaffel combinations and all of them are good. They're all these Asian combo samplers based on a theme.

Magnum Lounge
Magnum is a gay owned and operated piano bar. So, here's my experience with Magnum:

Two years ago it was my birthday and there was this girl who had kind of a little crush on me and she said, "It's your birthday and I want to take you out. It takes a lot of courage to ask you out so please don't say no." So, I said yes; she was just so cute about it. The date comes around and she says "We're going to Magnum." And I'm like, "Magnum on 79th Street? Really? I'm not so sure about this."

But when I got there, I entered into a whole other world with draped curtains, low ceilings, dark wood, and,you know, very good looking bartenders. And there is she is sitting with a little beaded lamp in the corner and she says, "I hope you like this spot. It's my favorite haunt." I felt like I was in a movie! So before you even sit down, it's fascinating.

The bread alone is good enough to eat as a meal. It tastes like the center of a doughnut! It's warm out of the oven. Then, the waiter comes and gives you specials on the big menu and I'm like, "They have fried chicken here!" I didn't want to be that guy and order it on a date, but when I mentioned it, she said, "I was hoping you would order that." And I'm thinking, "This woman is great!"

I am a fan of comfort soul food. As far as health, caloric intake--throw it all out of window here. The fried chicken, the pistachio crusted chicken, the mashed potatoes--all amazing. Their pot roast is like damn! You think, "What's so special about pot roast?" but it tastes like butter. Here is a place that hasn't forgotten what it used to be like. They roll out a cart of dessert like in an old steakhouse or on a cruise ship. It's so dark that the waiter pops on the flashlight to show the desserts. They have fresh strawberries with fresh whipped cream, fruit cobbler, and giant New York style cheesecake.

The owner is great. He comes in and he introduces himself, talks to everybody, and then he offers everybody a glass of port wine.

And then while we're dining, someone's at the piano. It's like, "Hello ladies and gentlemen." They're singing things like, "Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree" and Elton John. There's a big snifter glass for tips.

This is the most delicious comfort food, coma food. You can go out on a rainy afternoon or evening and absolutely plan on not going out afterward. It's like popping in a DVD of Lost and calling it a night!

I don't party for my birthday, after being in the business for twenty years. But for the first time I celebrate my birthday, it's going to be there. My friends are going to say, "You're going to a gay piano bar for your birthday?" and I'm saying, "No, we're all going to a gay piano bar for my birthday!"

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