City Guide - Miami
Honestly that depends on what is on your agenda. If it's relaxing on the beach then look over in North Miami Beach. If you want action, crowds, traffic and clubs, you are best suited for South Beach. If you are like me and wanted to be closer to Museum Park and Wynwood then Midtown is ideal. I found a great spot through Airbnb that was quiet, had a pool, came with an amazing view, and was more affordable than most of the nearby hotels. Also, holler for no $35 overnight forced valet parking!
Even if you've never been to Wynwood, you've surely seen the remnants of it's colorful gentrification in your social media feeds. It's a creative playground for photo shoots and music videos. Years ago it was an abandoned warehouse district with low cost to hungry developers that saw potential for a lucrative return. Even in the past two years since my last trip it's changed, now with more retail and restaurants. However, Wynwood's gentrification should not be ignored as you enjoy the vibrant scenery. It is still surrounded by an area dealing with poverty and homelessness. It's also not an area I would explore at night.
Part museum, part aquarium this exceptionally eye pleasing building is new to Museum Park having opened just months ago. You get five whole floors of seeing, touching, and learning. The price tag for an all-in-one-ticket that includes all exhibitions, the aquarium and one planetarium show will cost an adult $28. It's entrance shares a walkway with the Perez Art Museum so you can make a full day of exploration and culture out of it, and beat the heat.
If touring old houses with rich history and opulent decor is your thing, then visiting the Vizcaya house might be another way to explore Miami when clubbing or high end shopping is not on your agenda. The grand two-story house is quite beautiful as are the accompanying grounds and garden. Adult admission without a tour guide is $18. I hate guided tours because I'm not good at being quiet for too long, but there were a few docents that approached me as I wandered and gave me some educational tips.
A wave of sweet smelling air rolls over you when you enter Plant the Future. Succulent lovers will get a kick out of all the beautiful arrangements put together in unique planters. The prices are a bit unreachable for the average person, but it sure is pretty. You'll find this spot in Wynwood.
EAT & DRINK
Zak the Baker is usually on the list of places to eat for any foodie going to Miami. I don't think anyone that carbs up there will be disappointed in the slightest, but there is one particular feeling it left me pondering. We are so blessed to have Buttermilk Bakery here in Orlando, which I believe is the same level of quality as Zak. So while I think you should go, don't forget we have the goods in Orlando as well, they just don't come in such a colorfully hyped package. Zak does make a mean cinnamon roll though.
On my last trip to Wynwood, Panther Coffee was the only spot around - but they don't hold the coffee monopoly anymore. I made the mistake of asking for a decaf latte at MIAM, but there was no decaf to be had. Their iced chai was a good substitute. It was a cozy shop, plenty of seating, and hallaleluhaj, a clean bathroom in Wynwood.
Miami is the city of Cuban food, but I still had some misses at a few places (we won't talk about the bakery that gave me the worst Cuban sandwich of my life). However, Versailles is a very popular Cuban restaurant located in Little Havana and for the most part is pretty solid. Their pork is pretty close to perfection, but my palomilla steak was definitely overcooked. All was forgiven with a basket of Cuban bread and a mojito. If you go to Miami specifically wanting good Cuban food, don't always assume you can get it anywhere. Ask locals, do research, and hope for the best.
Don't let the trendy neon fool you, this is a must-visit spot for more than an cool photo for your Instagram feed. All Day was a delight beyond the well-designed trimmings. I could have sat there and sipped on iced latte after iced latte, all day. Whoa. Is that why they call it "All Day"? Their menu is simple but all sourced locally, and it truly was my favorite spot for breakfast (not to mention my favorite coffee of the trip).
Over back in Wynwood we drove by a very colorful outdoor coffee stand that caught my eye. I went back and fell in love with their concept. I'm not one to ever willingly sit outside in the Florida heat, but they set up their outdoor patio with large fans, shade awnings and a fun menu of only cold brew based drinks. I tried their regular iced cold brew which was excellent, but I also had to try the "Pink Bits" which was cold brew hibicus tea, muddled watermelon, lime, ginger, and mint. So refreshing and much needed on a sweltering day in the 305.
My husband had been asking to go to a good burger spot, so after a little research I chose Kush, also in Wynwood. They take no reservations, so during a peak time you are sure to wait, but they have a separate waiting area that is basically a bar with some seating and games to pass the time.
We started with Alligator Bites which were really good. Not too chewy; a crispy outer layer, and lots of seasoning to add flavor. We both got burgers, but I chose one of their more unconventional items, the Frita. It's served with guava jelly, melted Gruyere, stuffed with potato stix, crispy bacon, LoKal sauce and then pressed on a flat top grill. I wish my pictures in the dark cramped bar did it justice because I've never had a burger like it. To add to the great food, they also had a great local beer selection. Not to go unmentioned their service at the bar was perfect. Another win for Wynwood.
No donuts in Miami for me, but I did make a quick stop at Latteria for some gelato. This was a great slow spot to enjoy some really wonderful gelato after a long hot day. I got two flavors, Ferrero Rocher and banana. Way better than it might sound. It's also located in a outdoor mixed use center with several other bars, restaurants and shops located in Midtown.
Someone was wise enough to know that the sweet flavors of Cuba don't need to be limited to pastelitos. The Abuela Maria flavor knocked my sandals off. Vanilla ice cream mixed with guava, rich cream cheese and crispy, sweet Galletas Marias biscuits. My dream is now to somehow get these by the pint at Publix. Everyone needs to be able to try this. Don't miss it.
Another beautifully well-designed spot in Miami was over at OTL. This was a quick breakfast stop with another very simple menu. I think all of these places are smart not to over complicate anything. While avocado toast may be basic, they had it dripping with lime juice and other seasonings that made it better than most you'll get other places.
One of the best meals I had while in Miami wasn't captured quite the way I would have liked; believe me the pictures don't do it justice. Our server was one of the best I've gotten to experience. Even if she was faking it, she seemed like she loved her job, loved the restaurant, was excited about the food and genuinely wanted us to have a superb time. She knew immediately that coming from Orlando we had no real fried chicken options so she assured me it was worth eating at Yardbird, and she was right. Juicy, crisp, excellent hot sauce on the side.
The Oreos covered in Rice Krispies and deep fried were pretty stellar as well. The whole meal was a highlight and I'd recommend to anyone.
Believe it or not, the time for donuts is once you leave Miami. In Pembroke Pines, in a semi-rundown strip center you'll find Mojo. It's not a boutique spot with decor or wall art. It's very plain and unassuming, until that is you walk up to the counter and see the spread before you.
I promise you, these are the donuts you've been looking for.
All images are mine, all food was paid for by me. This is not a sponsored post for any of the aforementioned businesses.