Until February of this year I had only been to Miami once when I was in high school and I clearly did not experience the city the way it should be experienced. I had no idea that all of the images in my head of nothing but thongs on beaches, intimidatingly beautiful people, and expensive cars lining the streets, that while true, was not all that defined this city.
There is culture, amazing food, an eclectic mix of people, and normal life that happens everyday. While South Beach is definitely something to see and experience, we tend to like it better where our friend Sean lives in the area called North Beach. It's literally fifteen minutes from South Beach, but much more down to earth and approachable. There is still amazing food, the beach is right in front of you, and Sean's place has an amazing bay view of the water.
We started out our first day by going to Lincoln Road to do a little shopping. We found ourselves at a little Brazilian restaurant and drank Brazilian beer and cocktails, ate traditional fried chicken pieces, a cheesy plantain dish (that would have sunk us in the ocean), and ended the meal with a traditional Brazilian chocolate pudding because we like to be healthy like that.
The rain came in, but it didn't matter because we were sitting under an umbrella at our table and did some of the best people watching while we waited out the weather. Once the rain let up, we walked around a bit more and then parked ourselves at a local pub.
After heading back to Sean's place, we sat on his balcony and had a night cap. Life doesn't get much better.
The next morning it was overcast, but we decided to hit the beach until the rain came in, which it did...but then we ate ice cream so it was okay. Ice cream makes everything better doesn't it?
That afternoon we did some relaxing and then headed to a part of Miami I had never been to before called Wynwood. There is graffiti art everywhere and it really is beautiful, nothing like the graffiti I am used to. We hit up a local brewery, went to another super cool bar where they serve free tacos on Tuesdays out of a broken down Cadillac...and a dog named Bruce wonders freely to see if anyone wants to give him a nibble.
From there we headed to Michael's Genuine Restaurant, which if you are in Miami you must go. It's farm to table style cooking but gourmet and unexpected. They get all the local ingredients that they can and the menu is amazing. We had crispy pig ear appetizers (all I could think of is that my dogs love pig ears), the creamiest deviled eggs, the best pork belly I've ever eaten with a side of homemade kimchi, grilled octopus that was unexpectedly tender and on top of a bean and olive salad (soooo good), and finished our dinner with a braised lamb pizza. You guys...I was in heaven. Everything was so good.
I want to eat that meal again...right now.
For our last day in Miami, Canean and Sean went kayaking, I headed to the beach for a run, we ate sushi at a Japanese market for lunch, where I may have gotten into trouble for taking pictures because they are kind of like the soup Nazi from that Seinfield episode, but with sushi. And then that night a couple of Sean's friends came over and he cooked a traditional Japanese meal called Nabe. It's a big pot of miso soup where you add meat, veggies, and anything else and everyone sits around the table and cooks as you eat. It's so delicious. We drank aperol cocktails on the balcony and it was the perfect end to our stay in Miami.
There was a little more rain than we would have liked, but it didn't stop us from having an amazing time in Miami. The food was unreal, the company was great, and we left feeling satisfied and eager to return!
Tomorrow I will be telling you all about our second leg of the trip in the custest sleepy beach town...stay tuned.