I recently took a quick trip to Miami. I'd never had a interest in visiting Miami but lately it's been all over my radar and figured I should visit. A friend was also keen on going so we booked a flight, found a hotel and went for some much needed R & R.
My first impression of Miami was how very bilingual it is. You can't go a step without hearing Spanish which, for me, was music to my ears. Learning Spanish has been probably one of the greatest benefit to working in the restaurant industry here in NYC. Living in Mexico for a few months definitely helped. There isn't a day that goes by where I'm not using the language. It's become such a part of my daily life that it's taken over most of my French speaking abilities.
Back to Miami. Our hotel was in South Beach and very conveniently located. Two blocks from the beach on Collins Avenue, I don't think I've ever done as great a job at choosing a hotel without knowing the city first. We took an early morning flight and returned in the evening a few nights later to stretch our time there as much as possible. Apparently it'd been raining before we arrived but we were greeted with sunshine, blue skies and the perfect temperature.
After settling into our room we headed straight to the beach. For an Italian girl and a Maui girl we couldn't have been happier with the sand and the sun. After a few hours we sought out some healthy lunch. Being on the beach or near the ocean always gives me a ravenous appetite somehow. Then we went back to the beach and swam and soaked up the sun. In the evening we walked along the southern point and witnessed an epic sunset. The sun set behind downtown Miami, musicians played music (I was especially fond of the man playing the saxophone along to jazz) and people were happy and relaxed. We had dinner at an cozy Italian place where I had a delicious piece of lasagna with short rib and béchamel sauce. As well as a nice glass of Dolcetto!
Early to bed and early to rise is generally my theme for vacations. Couldn't stay up past 11pm and then woke up at 7:30am the next morning. Boy was that a glorious slumber! And to wake up to the Miami sun!
My hunger couldn't keep me in the hotel room much longer so I went to try an alai bowl spot nearby. I was the first customer and it totally hit the spot. I guess the healthier lifestyle is a contrast to my late nights of working and less than ideal consumption of alcohol. I'm also just morning person in general so I like to have breakfast at a normal breakfast hour. My friend came to meet me to have one herself and then we went to the hotel to get ready for the beach. Essentially it's the "no plan plan". Kind of think of what to do in the moment. Life in NYC requires a lot of unconscious thinking so it's a relief to just not.
The açai bowl was really filling and we weren't hungry till mid afternoon when we ventured off the beach to find tacos. I had my usual number of three which were al pastor, camarones and then carne aside (I believe- can't even remember with the picture). It was a popular cute spot that reminded me of Tulum a bit. I got to have some jamaica as well and that made me happy. Now that I'm writing about this I want tacos! Must not be distracted...
After lunch we kind of did our own thing. I walked around and saw Española Way. Even found a lovely Italian cucina that we have in SoHo here. I'm not sure what I did the rest of the evening but I was going to meet a former classmate who moved from NYC for dinner. The dinner kept getting pushed back and given my new schedule it was much later than I wanted so I was hangry by the time we met. We kept finding taco places after our first ceviche place didn't look appealing. The place we ended up going to didn't let us know that they were closing when we sat so we were kind of rushed and it was freezing due to the AC. Not my ideal dinner ambience and service for sure. Later, I met with a friend who lived nearby to catch up and have a drink.
My friend had her first photo shoot very early the next morning while I dozed away since I didn't get home till around 2:30am. I got coffee and an empanada at a Cuban cafe. I was leaving as she arrived with her friend so later I met them to have an actual breakfast at another Cuban cafe. Cuban food is everywhere. Since it's my favorite style of coffee I was quite content. The three of us hung out at the beach for a couple hours until it was time for the second shoot.
The second shoot was in Bal Harbour and I tagged along to help. The model was stunning and very down-to-earth. As an all female crew we all had a blast and it was an absolute success! Golden hour on the beach in Bal Harbour was serene and beautiful as well.
Somehow I can't what we had for dinner but later we decided to go out since it was our last night. We went to the most peculiar restaurant that was like a villa and club per someone's invite but it was terrible and almost visually scarring. So we met my new friend and my friend's friend who is also doing photography in Wynwood to dance a little. I had a blast dancing to all the Latin songs. I caved a had a mojito even though I told myself I wouldn't have one outside of Cuba. But since Miami is full of Cubans I made an exception. It was pretty tasty. Salsa dancing was so much fun.
The next morning we got our last dose of vitamin D and just relaxed and warmed up knowing we'd be returning to sub zero temps (in Celsius) back in NYC. I also had an extra Cuban-style coffee since I didn't know when I'd have one next :p
A three night, four day trip to Miami is ideal and staying in South Beach was convenient and easy to walk around. I highly recommend a mini vacay to Miami. Next time I visit I must explore all the Latin American cuisine there is to offer as well as the various neighborhoods