Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Miami Beach Mini-Trip

I am so far behind on the blog, so let me try to play catch up a bit. Joe was invited to present his research poster at something-something conference in Miami, so I tagged along because a) it was the week after Holy Week/Easter and I needed a break and b) with our cold, damp spring, I needed some sun. I scored a Priceline hotel in Miami Beach – The Gale – a recently opened property that was a good deal. Unfortunately, the myriad of TripAdvisor reviews were correct in noting that the music from the club in the basement could be heard at all hours of the night in the hotel rooms. Party! Definitely a downside. But the upside was a rooftop pool with this view:


I love Art Deco architecture.

When we first arrived, we strolled down to the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in search of food and beverages, and we found both. It’s not Miami unless you’re drinking a mojito, and these were happy hour mojitos which are even better.


Everyone had sworn up and down that we had to go to Yardbird, and I managed late reservations. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. The food was good but not great, and I have issues with paying $35 for the same food that my grandmother probably cooked for Sunday supper after church. Both Joe and I agreed that the best course was dessert – a sort of crisp topped with peach ice cream. And speaking of grandmothers, that was the closest to my grandmother’s peach ice cream recipe that I have ever tasted outside of my dad making it. The cocktails were good too, but coming from Nashville, I’m just not that impressed by a decent bourbon list and Southern home-style cooking.


The next morning, we got up early, grabbed breakfast, and went to the beach. How early? Early enough that the beach chairs and towels weren’t quite ready for us yet. Oops. Joe had his conference that afternoon, so we headed in, cleaned up, and journeyed downtown. While he presented, I found a nearby park to sit in the shade, watch the ships come in, and read my book. I really had a hankering for fresh seafood while I was in a coastal state, and I settled on reservations at Catch that evening.

Again, our reservations were late, and we are not late night people, so after hitting the rooftop pool for some more sun time, we had to find a way to entertain ourselves. The obvious answer was to grab a pre-dinner cocktail.


Right across the street was Bar Centro in the SLS hotel, a Jose Andres establishment. I couldn’t resist the Clean & Dirty martini with olive spherification and olive brine air. I can’t recall what Joe ordered, but he enjoyed his too. We had great seats at the bar and were digging the environment around us. The few snacks we ordered were phenomenal: conch fritters with a liquid center, frozen bleu cheese sandwiches with lemon marmalade, and patatas bravas with spicy tomato sauce and aioli. Then, this happened:


Liquid nitrogen caipirinhas. There is a guy who goes around making them, like someone would make guacamole at your table at a nice Mexican restaurant. It involves a bowl and liquid nitrogen and is quite the show. The result was delicious. In retrospect, we should’ve just stayed at Bar Centro, but we had reservations, so we walked down to Catch.

By this time we were tipsy and already sort of full from our bar snacks, but we ordered up food anyway. Most of the menu is meant to be shared, tapas-style. Our favorites were the unique sushi rolls. It was majorly pricy, especially for a meal we didn’t really need. The restaurants were all too dark for decent pictures, so I don’t have any photographic proof.

While it was nice to get away to sunny weather while it was 40 degrees and raining in Nashville, Miami Beach is SO not my scene. I remarked to Joe that it didn’t seem like it had much of a sense of place food-wise, and we didn’t rent a car so we didn’t have the freedom this trip to scope out local seafood or authentic Cuban places. On top of that, we had a TERRIBLE experience with our shared ride to Fort Lauderdale and our flight was delayed back to Nashville. But we got some sun!