Your Zara Larsson Obsession Should've Already Started By Now


She may share a name with a stylish-yet-affordable clothing store, but the adorable, born-in-1997 Swedish import that is Zara Larsson is quickly establishing herself on Top 40 radio. (You've heard her hit collaboration with MNEK, the earwormy "Never Forget You.") The blond singer is a one-woman pop machine. It's as if the rebooted Ace of Base decided to ditch those two creepy dudes and the brunette, and this is the result.

And if you happen to have a pop-savvy friend in your life who keeps bragging that he's been listening to her stuff since 2014, then brush up on this chick's discography, starting with her other single, "Lush Life," fun ditty with a music video that looks like it was produced in 1992 (but in a good way):

@TheFirstEcho

The Florida Sessions: The 2016 Spring Playlist


After a decadent weekend in Miami, and before I head back to the Sunshine State to visit my parents, who have become newly-anointed Snowbirds (New York retirees who escape the winter every year by migrating south), I have set up the proper soundtrack to get me (and you) pumped for the new season...and to get me prepped for my freakin' BIRTHDAY (March 31, for those keeping track).

Enjoy...(*and keep coming back as I'll be adding more songs throughout the month):

@TheFirstEcho

My Condolences to Those Affected by the Runyon Canyon Closure


Upon hearing that city officials have decided to close L.A.'s hottest hiking trails from April 1 to July 1 -- to repair some broke-ass water pipe -- my heart immediately went out to all of those affected by this devastating development.

Allow me to offer my condolences to the joggers, the fitness fiends, the shirtless selfie-takers, the star-fucking tourists, the incognito CW actors escaping paparazzi, and the thousands of smoothie-slurping basics who won't have a place to get their cardio on.

May you find respite in other places that will accept you and your Lululemon workout gear. May you find peace (and a good sweat) in other parks where you can check-in and post an ironic caption about calories, Sunday Funday, or your #CoachellaDiet.

And most importantly, may you find another area in L.A. to clog up a residential street and take up every single fucking parking space there is.

Sincerely,
@TheFirstEcho

Eating My Weight in Free Food in Miami


Last weekend I had the opportunity to experience the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (#SOBEWFF) in Miami, and as you can imagine, it was a long weekend full of food comas, foodgasms, and fun festivities (like meeting country singer Trisha Yearwood at the Southern Kitchen Brunch she hosted on Sunday).

Many thanks to the team at Loews Miami Beach Hotel for spoiling me rotten during my stay. Besides the outstanding room service, spa treatments, and beach cabana perks, there was Saturday night's SOBE Burger Bash, where I sampled at least seven different recipes from restaurants competing to win the crowd's vote for Best Burger, and bags full of swag, each one delivered to my suite every night.


There was also the oyster event at Lure Fish Bar, rated as the best seafood spot in the city, where this happened:

A video posted by Hiko Mitsuzuka (@thefirstecho) on

Then there was that time I got to be on the poolside set of Today to watch Al Roker learn how to make tostadas from Giada DeLaurentiis. (FYI: She is one tiny lady.)


And there was also the Tribute Dinner honoring world-renown chef Jonathan Waxman, hosted by Food Network and Food & Wine, where we ate seven courses, each one prepared by a celeb chef. (Bobby Flay's grilled pork was a little underwhelming for my tastes -- sorry, man.)

Above: Me with Loews's very own Linda Villafane, my hospitable hostess for the weekend.
You'll be able to read about the full experience in my upcoming travel feature in Bello.

Stay tuned.

@TheFirstEcho