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Todd Webster of the Porch Cafe on Ocean Drive Serves up Art Basil’s Piece de Resistance

December 8, 2012/ Art Basil’s finale unfolded on the north end of Ocean Drive at the venerable  Front Porch Café  housed in the authentic Art Deco atrium of the alluring ‘Z’ Hotel.   Art Basil’s spontaneous celebrations further congealed into a delicious soufflé of ingredients that had included heated moments, a retrospective of fashion by Coco Chanel and the powerful taste of Spirits of the Tsars Vodka served in hand cut, crystal flutes.  The legacy of  the glassware for Spirits of the Tsars is one for the history books.  Scroll down for details.

With Spirits of the Tsars bottle service beginning at  $1000 large  the night on ‘The Porch‘  was a perfect finale for Art Basil’s epicurean denizens of the night.  

Take note:  ‘Porch regulars’.  With Todd now in the  Kitchen, The Porch Cafe is no longer  just the  place for the “best breakfast on South Beach.” (according to Urban Spoon & Yelp).      

Melding culinary genius and locally sourced ingredients renowned chef Todd Webster, again illustrated creative resourcefulness.  He prepared the piece de resistance with his version of creamy squash borscht from Mac Khashman farm fresh produce and a Grand Western Steak melt- in-your-mouth with a Lamb tartar.  With training equally derived from Le Cordon Bleu and the United States Marine’s;  Webster likens himself to “just a cook”.   Lashes down with that little smile,  former Marine Webster confesses he “could not live without the colors, textures and flavors of his agrarian home in Homestead”.   While his ideas are grounded in traditions, something brand new and exciting is happening to our palates— his menu is nothing short of transcendent.  The basil Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) by Pastry Chef Stuart was a stairway to heaven.

Each performance blended food with theatrics and honored the diversified traditions that are integral to South Florida’s lauded position on the global culinary map.  At the cross roads, ArtBasil featured a fusion of Native American, African, Mediterranean, Latin, and neo Colonial Caribbean fare.  One part entertainment and one part serious epicurean gastronomy, guests learned how to prepare appetizers  paired with au courant signature cocktails.  Made from  Spirits of the Tsars ™  liquid gold. the newly released vodka is aged three years in cognac casks.  Stellar grape from the reserves of  J.Lohr Wineries also received applause from the discriminating guests. 

The Art Basil Chefs were challenged to create hundreds of amuse-bouché, canapés, and hors d’œuvres from ingredients contributed by farm to table, fine food purveyors.  If there was but one rule imposed at ArtBasil it was, ‘All chefs must feature fresh Basil in their preparation,’ according to Levine.

The Chefs had a field day, utilizing phylum’s of Rock Garden Basil that included Chocolate, Peppermint, and blood red Thai, all grown locally on the Green Organic Railroad Workshop (G.R.O.W.) farms in Doral, Florida.


The Inception of Art Basil. Charlie Coiner at Rock Garden Herbs-in a moment of lucidity conceived the idea that became a Brainstorm that artbasil.test is becoming.

Yani Diassinos lugged in crates of succulent Maine lobster and off the dock snapper fished from gushing pools and water tanks at his Maine Lobster Live Wholesale Seafood Market in Pompano Beach.  Mak Khashman and Joe Selvaggio’s of PDF Foods sourced Florida fresh squeezed blood oranges and honey tangerines, volcanic Scotch bonnet peppers, snappy vine ripened cucumbers, and micro eggplants. Grand Western’s ( special cuts of mouth-watering marbled beef and tender lamb served as the underpinnings for menus throughout the tastemaker’s trifecta.

Future installments of Art Basil  (artbasil.test) are currently being planned to coincide with the

  • National Association of Television Executive Producers (NATPE, January 28-30) located in the cosmopolitan Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach and adjacent docks
  • The much anticipated return of Red Dot to the Wynwood District, (February 14-18)
  • To coincide with the  South Beach Food and Wine Festival (February 21-24). To underwrite, participate, or r.s.v.p. for future Art Basil performances visit artbasil.test.  or Facebook  ) or artbasil.test.

Photo Credits Steve Levine, Christian Strong, Emmanuel Salvant & Don Parchment

Editor-Brett Miller

Note: Spirit of the Tsars  crystal flutes are  a replica of the glass used by Tsar
Nichols II as his vodka glass without his initials.   The makers commissioned the Dyatkovsky Crystal Factory in Moscow Russia, est 1790, to produce for us this elegant vodka glass made the same way it was then. Each glass is fashioned from one piece of hand blown leaded glass with all decoration being individually hand cut.

We have had each glass individually etched with our shortened brand name “Tsars”. These will be available to consumers from our web site ( and establishments that carry Spirits of the Tsars, Ultra Premium Infused Vodka, as well as used in promotions, tastings, and presentations.  Sip like a Tsar!