April 14th, 2017
The one where I went to Miami, experienced second-hand spring break, discovered margaritas the size of my head, fell in love with Art Deco, and referenced Scarface & the song that goes… “Welcome to Miami, Bienvenido a Miami” a lot. In the midst of my “lets-rewatch-Scarface-and-shout-we-were-there!!!” emotional state, I put together a Miami travel guide that includes my favourite spots to see, eat, drink in the Sunshine State’s Magic City! Without further ado, Postcard From Miami.
As Will Smith said once and I can’t help but agree – “Party in the city where the heat is on all night, on the beach till the break of dawn – welcome to Miami, bienvenidos a Miami.” This goes specifically for South Beach, Will is so right, everyday did feel like a Mardi Gras! Probably also because it was Spring Break when we just arrive, so it was V LIT for the whole week. But Miami is so much more than a big party town, there’s so much going on culturally and in the culinary scene and that I LOVE! The Cuban, Haitian, Dominican community add so much to the charm of Miami – the entire vibe felt almost like we could be easily in Cuba with a dash of Carribean and South American touch.
South Beach (that magical place in Scarface) is the home to all those art deco buildings, all that colourful architecture, the real life throwback to the 30’s, the whitest beach as far as your eyes could see! Arriving South Beach was a total self-pinch moment (okay, several moments, I remember also pinching my boyfriend, screaming “Look at that pink building!”, “OMG! The palm trees” , “Everything is so pastel, I CANNOT!”). Just being there, 25 degrees in the middle of March, surrounded by palm trees and the most colorful buildings ever, completely erased that 10+ hours flight for me! If you’re planning a trip to Miami (if not you definitely should), start taking some notes, I gathered my best eats, do’s, scenes for you!
– Art Deco walk along Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington Avenue, where you can spot
(and Instagram) the most vibrant and movie-set like buildings in Miami.
– 11th Street Diner.
This place is what I always pictured what a perfect American diner should be,
low-key atmosphere, to the point and no fuss – just great American classics! We ate here twice,
we loved it that much! On my second trip, I got myself a souvenir mug of the diner,
while thinking “what’s the deal?”. I figured out the deal when we got back; this is THE exact
diner in the opening scene of “Miami” video of Will Smith!
– La Sandewicherie.
This place was almost just around the corner of our place, BUT it’s so popular it’s impossible to find a seat (which is already limited). When we finally scored a little spot at this cosy sandwich corner, where they mix the most French thing (baguette) with so much American –
there you have it, the best sandwich place in town!
– Quality Meats.
It was our first night and we wanted burgers and cocktails to celebrate the good times! The Quality Meats was just around the corner and we went with it. Don’t let the glam and the ritz put you off, they have this other-wordly burger, aka the truffle burger. I rest my case!
Wait, and some pretty mean Moscow Mule!
– Five Guys.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ll know what I’m talking about – except you wouldn’t know, in case you’re one of those lucky people that you can have Five Guys whenever you want. These guys need to hurry up and come to Europe (except the lucky UK peeps)! No shame whatsoever, we went there THREE TIMES, THREE (one after game, one before game, one because we really needed to)!!!
– Ocean Drive at night!
Party or not, just walk up and down along the strip and soak in all the neon lights! Magic City looks something else when it’s (neon) lit!
– The Webster.
This shop is literally Miami, it’s gold, art deco, tropical… and all the lust-worthy designer pieces *sigh*. Even if not for shopping, definitely worth checking out the building and
that fire red retro car, too!
– Mac’s Club Deuce.
The oldest bar in Miami. Sit by the bar, enjoy your cold beer and people watching in this neon lit bar, ‘cos this place welcomes people from all walks of life!
– David’s Cuban Café.
Slice of Cuba in South Beach! Plaintain and cafecito (the real deal Cuban coffee) are a must!
Only 15 minutes from South Beach by car and you’re in Cuba, I mean Little Havana (or La Pequeña Havana). We started off on a great note, with a Cuban cab driver we were off to Little Havana. Although the entire convo was in Spanish (one of those things that my amazing boyfriend does so well), I could keep up with my groundbreaking inputs – “dale”, “lo se”, “si” and more not so advanced but makes you seem like you’re Spanish words! He gave us a good insight about the history of the community, the development of the area and some insider tips on where to get that Cubano (the best sandwich on earth).
Upon arriving in Little Havana, precisely in front of this we-dare-you-to-sit-still with their blasting live latin music! It was hot in every possible way (insert Paris Hilton’s *that’s hot* here) – the music, the vibe, (are you counting how many times I said “vibes” already?) the weather… I’m instantly filled with joy but not enough Cubano, so let’s do this!
– El Exquisito.
So Elif, what’s this Cubano you’re banging on about?
It’s this cheese-y, hot, packed with roasted pork and all the other goodness that comes
with Cuban bread that is toasted and topped with some crisps, yeeeeeees! And ordered some Materva to go with my Cubano, life was muy bueno!
– Ball & Chain.
Not just drinks but some latin chimmy chimmy-ing to some live salsa!
But on the topic of drinks, they obviously kill it with any rum-related cocktail but I’m generally
on quest for the best Moscow Mule, so it’s a big yes from me!
A wall of rum, from everywhere in the world!
This place apart from being a cultural hotspot, a museum and a crazy place to buy antiques
and some $$$ art, has a crazy impressive rum collection! The lady at the bar was soooo sweet and she suggested making passion fruit Mojitos, and WOW, that was A-MAZING!
Wynwood, aka the neighbourhood of the cool kids and Instagrammer tourists. Yesterday’s run-down, today’s very hip and happening area in downtown Miami. Wynwood is basically a living art project, every corner offers something, every block has a story. On top of that, those cool kids of Wynwood bring cool businesses, lots of coffee shops, Instagram-friendly eateries. Also, you can eat the best key lime pie here, that’s what they said and I had to try it!
When you’re in Wynwood, be prepared for the walk. Like I said, the entire area is one big living art project, apart from those walls you might have seen on Instagram, there are just so many other interesting ones as well, definitely worth the sweat. We started off with some key lime pies, a speciality from the Keys, then casually had some pisco sours and then hit the road. That day, I probably tested the patience levels of Sebastian, but the saint that he is, he made it through many of those “omg, can we get a photo in front of this wall, too”! We finished our walk with some cold brew (things that instantly sound hipster)! No but really, it was 30 degrees we walked for hours and only cold coffee would do it!
– Fireman Derek’s World Famous Pies.
One word – Key Lime Pie! You can thank me later!
Take your Instagram husband here for some coffee after an intense photo session or before the one that’s ahead of you! Any coffee will do but the cold brew was sooooo gooood!
I had to save some precious room in my tummy for the key lime pies so I had to pass on the sushi + ceviche BUT that pisco sour though… A must when in Wynwood! Also the atmosphere is so laid back here, swings and all… pisco sour and chill!
The first big trip of 2017 was the first trip to USA, packed with amazing memories, so much laughter, meeting so many funny and interesting people (spring break + too many cab rides), amazing food, amazing weather, beautiful sights, oh and first ever NBA game (well, two in one week because we’re freaks like that). In a nutshell our Miami trip was muy bueno and it easily extended our expectations so so much!
Now I’m even more excited to go back to the US for more hopefully someday soon, I mean I can only live without Five Guys for a short time, you know?
So… What do you think of Miami? Have you ever been to the US? Let me know down below your thoughts, I would love to hear what you think!
Hope you enjoy reading this rather lengthy post and/or find it useful!