| A Celebration for Twenty Two Years |
Miami, Miami, Miami. Where do I even begin? For starters, Miami has something exclusive about it. The beaches, the clubs, the people, everything seems straight from a book. You know, a really, really expensive book. Miami is where you should go for exquisite cuisine, nude beaches, and/or clubbing for 24 hours straight. Yup it's a thing at E11EVEN. Fortunately for me, Miami is only about two hours from my house in Fort Myers. I consider it far enough to get away but short enough to get to. Kinda like close enough to party when I want to, but far enough to maintain a job. I get over to the city about 6-10 times a year, some years better than others. Sometimes I'll plan my trip for special events like Grovetoberfest, Miami Fashion Week, or Art Basel. Sometimes I'll drive over to just see the Heat play, get dinner, & come home. More often than not, my trips to Miami are spontaneous. I don't really have a plan. I usually book a hotel, but everything else I leave in the air. I like that about Miami; I like that it's a whatever & whenever kind of place. In fact, I wish more trips could be like Miami, but that's what makes it so impromptu, so special. For my most recent trip to Miami, I celebrated my twenty-second birthday. My golden year, if you will. So I did some planning & made some calls. Aka sent some DM's on Insta. I asked some very creditable people the best palaces to go & tried a bunch of new things! I went to three new restaurants, two new bars, a couple of pop-ups, The Perez Art Museum, Lincoln Road, Brickell, & Coral Gables. Its easy to say this most recent trip is by far the best one yet!
So okay okay, let's get to it! Where to eat, where to club, where to eat after the club? amiright?
I tend to always get to Miami on Friday, this time I went straight to The Umbrella Sky Project. It's a pop up art display of hundreds of, you guessed it, umbrellas. It will be up until the second week of September & is located at 100 block of Giralda Avenue, in Coral Gables. The food around there is amazing! I checked out The Local, which has the umbrellas right above it, & Tap 42 which is just a block or so away. Both had phenomenal plates, but the craft beer at Tap 42 will certainly bring me back. They feature a lot of taps from different breweries all over Miami, its like visiting them all in one place. After brunch I checked into the most gorgeous suite at the JW Marriott. Their team was kind enough to upgrade me to a corner suite which had an unbeatable view of Brickell. I checked out the rooftop pool & naturally popped a bottle of champagne. This is my preferred place to stay when I'm not on South Beach. The service is elite, the views are spectacular, & location is centric to just about anything. I'm talking walking distance to Coyo Taco. To start the night off right I went to one of my favorite spots, the Wharf. It's a pop-up club & will be in town for about one more year. It has a waterfront view, food trucks, outdoor games, lots of seating, & lots of space. I love the wharf because there is always something to do & always new food truck to try. After the Wharf, I checked out a new up-and-coming Asian market, 1 800 LUCKY. This place is awesome, it's located in Wynwood & has about 5 different Asian restaurants in the market mixed with a full bar on the outside. It has a dance floor, up-beat music, & a packed in crowd. I finished my night at SHOTS which is also in Wynwood & stays open till 3 a.m. This place has rap, hip-hop, & sometimes dance/house music. There are two dance floors, two bars, & a list of over 30 speciality shots. The place is always full after midnight and will stay that way until they turn the lights off. If dancing isn't your thing, this place probably isn't for you.
Saturday I was hungover. Not even like Advil & shades hungover. More like, I'm not moving from this bed even though we're in Miami hungover. I tried really hard to be a trooper & cross some things off my must-do list, but Saturday was just not my day. Around 4 p.m. when I started feeling better Levi & I checked out a Japanese BBQ place called Gyu-Kaku. I still don't know how to pronounce that correctly. It was an experience to say the least. I've never grilled my own food before in a restaurant, not to mention you do it right at your table! You can choose some meat that you'd like to grill, or you can choose a package that comes with an assortment. We did a couples special which came with two miso soups, a huge salad, two bowls of rice, fried chicken, seven meats, & a s'mores dessert. Stuffed was an understatement. I then waddled my way to Lincoln Road, my favorite shopping in all of Miami. They've got Forever 21, H&M, OndadeMar (my fav swim ware), Aerie, J.Crew, & so many more. Not to mention, endless cafes, studios, & restaurants. I did my shopping & returned to Wynwood for some more craft beer. Yum. Check out my favorite spots: Wynwood Brewing, J. Wakefield Brewing, & Concrete Beach Brewery. They all keep their tap lists updated on Untappd. I got pretty drunk at the breweries, went back to the hotel around 11 p.m. & crashed. Sunday is basically the main event in Miami, so I had to be well rested.
Ahhhh, Sunday. I have no idea why this happens to be the busiest day of the weekend in Miami, but whatever, I'm here for it. I stared out with brunch, which is apparently the main event. I went to ROKBRGR, an American kitchen with endless mimosas for $12 on Sunday. You're welcome. This place did it right. I'm talking, a DJ booth, photo spots, & shoulder to shoulder dancing. All starting at 11 a.m. But honestly, brunch is such a big event at every restaurant, there are drink specials involving champagne everywhere! Eight mimosas later, I stumbled into my Lyft & made my way back to, you guessed it, Wynwood. I'm not one for Spanish music, but I frequent El Patio. It's great up-beat Spanish music, that Levi translates for me, accompanied by $1 Modelo beers, & lots of seating. It is an outdoor venue & can get very hot & sticky. You also want to get there early-ish because they charge $40, guy or girl, after 2 p.m. After El Patio I headed back to the Wharf for a special they had going. $50 Moet bottles. Can you blame me? This is where things went very downhill. I made it back to the hotel around 7 p.m. & woke up just in time to make it back to Wynwood before midnight. This time I headed to Brick, a hip-hop bar. Brick is really cool on Thursday & Sunday nights. You have the option to rent these special headphones that either follow the music playing around you or you can change the station & listen to a different playlist. The headphones light up to the channel your listening to so you can see what people around you are hearing. We stayed at Brick till 3 a.m., danced until we couldn't, & returned to the hotel.
Monday was relaxing. Levi & I went to the Pérez Art Museum, which just so happens to be right next to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Both really cool places with great views of Biscayne. We got a snack at the museum & headed back to Wynwood for one last hoorah. We took some picture around the Wynwood Walls, checked out a new taco place from California, The Taco Stand. Unfortunately, I can not recommend this restaurant. There is a salsa bar toward the front that had broken glass in the pico de gallo during my visit. I just happen to be the lucky customer that got extra crunchy salsa. I was extremely disappointed, as this had been one of Levi's most sought out excursions on the trip. We got one more beer from my fav, Wynwood Brewing, & decided to come back home. All in all it turned out to be a fantastic trip & a fabulous way to start my golden year.
For my most recent trip, just like all of my vacations, I used Hotwire.com to book my hotel. Hotwire is really nifty. You never know the exact hotel you'll be staying at until you put in your credit card information & actually book the room. The cool part is, you choose the approximate location you'd like to stay & Hotwire will give you a list of 4-5 hotels you will potentially get. It might sound scary at first, like who wants to play a guessing game when it comes to traveling, but I assure you, I have never had a bad hotel, a bad experience, or a lousey vacation. Get this, my last hotel stay with Hotwire.com, in Chicago for four nights came to $418. Total. Landed. $100 a night in the city?? Unheard of. With all the money I save on hotel stays, I always have extra cash to spend during my trip! The little things really do add up.
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For now, I've got to go get some R e s t & R i e s l i n g.