Miami is a city that has so much going on…it is a little sexy, a lot retro, a bit mysterious, and is a whole lotta hot. About a month ago, Derika and I were in Florida for a long weekend. She had to swing up to Miami for work, so I decided to tag along. I really couldn’t pass up an opportunity to spend a quick 24-hours in Miami. The last time I was in Miami was in 2005; we were on our way to Key West and popped into a cafe for lunch. At the time I did not do any research, and I could not even tell you where we ate lunch. This time around I knew that our time was limited, so I did my homework and tried to squeeze as much into the 24-hours as I possibly could. Below are my top suggestions if you want to eat your way through Miami in a limited amount of time.
Spend the Afternoon on Miami Beach
Miami Beach surprised the heck out of me. I had no idea that the water was so crystal clear and aqua blue, and that the water temperature would be so warm. It almost felt like I was in the caribbean and I can’t wait to go back!
To maximize my comfort and to save my pasty white skin, I rented two chairs and an umbrella on the beach at our hotel for only $35 for the whole day! I had an amazing time strolling the beach, swimming in the warm water, and avoiding the afternoon storms while tucked under my umbrella. Just look at how cute this heart shaped rock was that I found!
Grab Dinner and Drinks at Cleo
After spending the afternoon at the beach, Derika and I wanted to grab some dinner. With a little research, we found a super vegetarian friendly tapas restaurant just a short cab ride from our hotel. If mediterranean tapas is up your alley, I would totally recommend Cleo. They had awesome craft cocktails, one of the best warm and toasty pita breads that I have ever had, and their lebaneh with feta was to die for.
Sip on Some Tasty Beverages
Just look at all of those bottles! A bar that needs a step ladder to reach ALL of the alcohol is my kind of place. Stop into Sweet Liberty Drinks and Supply Company for an amazing cocktail from their huge bar. If you are feeling snacky, they also have food as well.
Before you head home for the night, pop into Tom Collins Caravan Bar and enjoy one of their amazing craft cocktails. They usually have live music, so saddle up to the bar and enjoy a night-cap or two!
Take a Food Tour Through Little Havana
I am not a huge tour person, but when you are short on time sometimes it is a perfect choice. We took a Little Havana Culinary Tour through Miami Culinary Tours, and I would highly recommend it. The tour was $59 dollars, lasted 3 hours and we had more food and beverages than we could eat. If you don’t have the time or the money to do the tour, here are the top places to visit in Little Havana.
Go get some tostones (smashed and fried plantains) at El Pub Restaurant and thank me later (tostones with garlic sauce are pictured above).
Go to El Exquisito Restaurant and get a cup of cuban coffee. When you order your coffee, you will get a small cup of coffee with a bunch of tiny cups. The small cup of coffee comes with tiny cups, because it is actually a small cup of espresso with sugar in it that is meant to be shared. This stuff is delicious, but it is also like rocket fuel. You have been warned 🙂
While you are sippin’ on your espresso, you might as well order a cuban sandwich from El Esquisito as well, they are supposed to be one of the best in Little Havana. Thank you Derika for always being my meat taste tester.
After your cuban sandwich, stroll down the strip for some fresh squeezed sugar cane juice from Los Pinaderos Fruteria. The juice was sweet and refreshing, and like nothing that I have ever tasted before.
While you are trying to escape the afternoon heat. Go check out the Ball and Chain bar, one of the oldest bars on the strip. It was just recently restored to all of its original glory and it is one of my favorite places on the tour. While you are there, you might as well try one of their world-famous mojitos, listen to some of the local music, dance with some locals,
and don’t forget to go out back to take a peek at the pineapple stage!
If you need a break from all that eating and drinking, go to the Cuba Tobacco and Cigar Company. Learn how cigars are rolled and also get a chance to meet Senor Bello. Senor Bello is the poster child for this establishment. He is an adorable old man that is on all of the packaging. You will always find him sitting out in front of the store, smoking cigars and waving at the people passing by. It is basically like meeting a local celebrity…
If you still have room, I have two dessert places to recommend.
Go to Yisell Bakery and order the lightest and flakiest (is flakiest a word?) guava pastry that you have ever tasted. I know that you are probably bursting at the seams at this point, but just trust me. I don’t even really like pastries and I loved this magical guava one.
Last but not least….you have to try the guava, cream cheese, and puff pastry ice cream from Azucar Ice Cream Company. This Cuban Ice cream company is probably one of the best ice cream places that I have ever been too, and this is the only place that you can get this unique flavor.
That pretty much wraps up all of the amazing things that we ate and did while we were in Miami. Take the food tour in Little Havana, but if you can’t I hope that you can at least get to one or two of the places that I listed above.
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