Crossing Over to 2021

In Tara Solomon's Miami, the epicenter of the party, even the most intimate celebrations were on another level.

Dana Shear, Pearl Baker-Katz, Nick D’Annunzio

Has there ever been a new year more highly anticipated than 2021? With so many hopes riding on the new year, celebrations on the eve before could have been a mere perfunctory appetizer preceding the center-cut filet mignon. But we are in Miami, the epicenter of the party, and even the most intimate celebrations were on another level.

Personally speaking, our New Year’s Eve parties were perfection – a curated mix of socially distanced fun that began before the sun even started to wane. First stop: The Miami Beach Marina for a couples cruise aboard an 80-foot yacht. Hosted by philanthropist and girl-about-town Pearl Baker Katz, the three-hour cruise had everything a great cocktail party should have: A tight guest list of good friends, with one new couple introduced into the mix; a spread of our two favorite foods in life, caviar and stone crabs; plenty of chilled bubbly; and party props to enhance the de rigueur photo ops. Snaps to our hostess for finding the fun celebrity masks, which had guests vying for who would be Kim, Brad, Jennifer, Katy or Angelina.

The Basabe family

After returning to the marina, we were off to party number two, a family gathering at The Basabes, hosted by patriarch Fabian Basabe, Sr. and his wife, Maryann Basabe – also known as Fabian’s parents. Quite the cook, Fabi, Sr., who with MaryAnn owned the culinary hautespot i paparazzi on Ocean Drive in the late 1980s, made the most heavenly truffle bowtie pasta (with our favorite “skinny” pasta by De Cecco, which I learned about from Fabi, Jr., of course). There’s always tons of wonderful food at one of The Basabes’ parties, and this one was no exception – caviar plopped atop thin white pizza (Fabi, Jr. recommends telling the pizzeria that the pizza needs to be rolled super thin, so it can be eaten with caviar); steamed clams in the most divine broth; steamed, plump prawn; Martina Basabe’s famous tiramisu; and, for good luck in the new year, a stew of Indian-spiced lentils.

Party at The Deck at Island Gardens

Meanwhile, at The Deck at Island Gardens, another Machiavellian feast was underway, with Chef Joseph Bonavita serving up a five-course meal, highlighted by roasted chateaubriand au poivre and olive oil-poached ora king salmon, served with roasted heirloom carrots and butter-whipped potatoes, the latter a favorite of ours since we tasted the late culinary great Joel Robuchon’s version, in Paris, many years back.

And rounding out the merriment was Calle Ocho’s hot new bar, Casa Tiki, where Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has been spotted, soaking up the tropical vibe. So good to have a new destination for socially responsible play dates… hello, 2021!