Garden lovers from Vero Beach to Stuart attend Heathcote Botanical Gardens’ Bonsai Bash in Fort Pierce. Themed “Under the Asian Moon,” the ninth annual event begins at 6 p.m. on February 23 with cocktails in the James J. Smith Bonsai Gallery. A Midwestern transplant, Smith was internationally renowned for his tropical collection of 100 bonsai trees. Thirty species including ficus, surinam cherry, buttonwood and dwarf leaf jade are represented. The fundraiser features a buffet dinner by Wasabi Thai Sushi restaurant, auction items like an Aruba vacation home rental and fishing trips, and music by the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society. Tickets are $85 per person or $75 for members, and proceeds benefit the bonsai collection and core programs for education and conservation.
210 Savannah Road; 772.464.0323; heathcotebotanicalgardens.org
A significant chapter in South Beach history is the subject of a new documentary, photography book and exhibit. During the Seventies, the area was a haven for Jewish retirees. Local photographers Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe were fascinated by this 20,000-strong group of highly spirited senior citizens. “The Last Resort,” a film by Dennis Scholl and Kareem Tabsch, tells their story. The movie opens at Coral Gables Art Cinema on February 15, followed by a red-carpet reception and screening the next night. It plays there through February 21. Nonprofit publishing house Letter16 Press also releases “Shtetl in the Sun: Andy Sweet’s South Beach 1977-1980” with 132 color photographs and an essay by Florida novelist Lauren Groff. A complementary exhibit debuts at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU on March 19.
gablescinema.com. thelastresortmovie.com. letter16press.com. jmof.fiu.edu
POLO + PRIX
After a hiatus, Singer Island Beach Polo returns on February 23. Its new namesake location in the city of Riviera Beach introduces a regulation-sized polo field that’s bigger than a similar event held in Miami Beach. Six Wellington-based polo teams with high-goal players compete to support animal rescue programs and horseback riding lessons for inner-city youth in the community. The family-friendly, all-day affair includes polo tutorials, three matches and a VIP area with champagne. In addition to boosting the local economy, organizers hope to host the Beach Polo World Cup in a couple years. Purchase tickets here.Wellington’s annual Winter Equestrian Festival is also happening through March 31. Highlights are the U.S. premiere of Hermès’ Vivace saddle and the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5.
2511 North Ocean Drive; singerislandbeachpolo.com. 3400 Equestrian Club Drive; 561.793.5867; pbiec.coth.com
Pubbelly chef cofounder Jose Mendin partnered with Latin American actor Julián Gil to open La Placita in Miami’s Upper East Side neighborhood. Their restaurant pays homage to La Plaza del Mercado de Santurce, a.k.a. La Placita, in San Juan. Nearly a century old, the iconic market is filled with produce stalls by day and a party atmosphere by night. Mendin, a Puerto Rico native, had no problem creating its authentic menu. The build-your-own mofongo section features several proteins such as ropa vieja and crab stew, bases including green plantain, yuca or a combination, and typical sauces and trimmings. Other tasty items to tour his Caribbean island through one’s palate are oxtail stew with sofrito and a pan con lechon sandwich with mojo aioli and chicharron. Tropical cocktails complete the experience.
6789 Biscayne Boulevard; 305.400.8173; pubbellyglobal.com