Chillaxin in Miami

I’m pretty sure my experience of Miami was not typical. Nevertheless, I had a terrific experience and created wonderful memories. We had some great food, relaxed, and froze our butts off.

Our adventure began Tuesday morning, after my coooold 3 mile run in Tampa. It was in the 40’s when I headed out shortly after sunrise. I can’t decide if running hurts more in the heat or cold? Anyway, I’m glad it was a short run and I had Miami to look forward to.

After much debating on where to go for our winter getaway, we decided Miami was it. It’s not too far away from home to get away for a few days, and I’ve never been there. We found a Groupon deal for our hotel. The Clinton Hotel in South Beach Miami:

I saw hookahs everywhere in Miami.

The hotel was cool, clean and I really liked it. But the walls were paper thin and our neighbors were young and wild.

After checking in, we headed out to walk around South Beach.We were drawn in by the happy hour specials of Cardoza Bar and Grill on Ocean Drive. 2 for 1 long Islands?… Why not? We’re on vacation.

I’m not sure the picture quite captures the grandiosity of this Long Island.  It was HUGE!  And I don’t drink liquor, and sweet man doesn’t drink at all.  It was sooo cold out, they had those outside patio heaters.  And after that cocktail, we weren’t feeling the chill at all!

We had a couple nibbles while we drank.  The Lobster Cobb Salad:

And the Fish N Chips:

We were certainly feeling happy after that hour.  We stumbled back to the hotel and took a power nap.  Then washed up and went down to the hotel bar/restaurant called X/O.  The Groupon included 2 mojitos and a $25 dining credit at the restaurant (times 2 for us, we purchased 2 Groupons):

We got some nibbles here and called it dinner:

Veggie quesadillas, not so great, but the homemade pita chips for that guacamole and salsa were out of this world.  They tasted like a savory donut and I loved them!

Then we walked a little more and ended up at Manolo’s (a great looking South American place) for a cappuccino and espresso:

Don’t laugh, but after this, it was only 9:30, and I passed out in the bed and slept happily until the party animal neighbors woke me up in the middle of the night. (Did I mention I woke up at 6:30 to run 3 miles in Tampa? 😉 )

The next morning, I was hungry! We ventured out to an interesting looking place we saw on a stroll, and it turned out  The 11th Street Diner was featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Network:

I got the eggs, pancakes and sausage:

After our yummy breakfast, we wandered around and stopped at TJ Maxx, where I bought a coat. (Did I mention it was super chilly in Miami?)  Then we went back to the hotel, showered and dressed and walked a little more making our way to Joe’s Stone Crabs Restaurant.

We were warned that we might have a long wait here if we were lucky.  It is a Miami landmark.  Luckily, we’re 80 years old and ended up there at 4:30, plenty of time to get our name in for the first seating at 5:00.

We were presented with a basket of a yummy variety of breads, of course I tried each one:

We ordered the seafood platter of stone crab claws, lobster claws, and king crab claws, a side of the best shrimp cocktail I have ever eaten, cole slaw, and Lyonnaise potatoes:

They tied bibs on us:

My poor guy got sick half way through the meal and hasn’t felt well since.  I felt sooo bad for him.

We went back to the hotel and rested for a while.  Then we went and walked around some more and ended up on this cute street:

Where I almost bought these puppies;

Aggg, he was winking at me!

They were so stinkin cute!

We didn’t stay out too long, I knew sweet man was feeling awful, so we called it an early night and cozyed up in our hotel room.

We slept in the next day.  Got up, cleaned up and checked out of the hotel at noon.  We used our second dining credit at the hotel restaurant for a late breakfast/lunch:

We split the Caprese Salad;

And the Pesto Chicken Panini:

We drove around South Beach and North Beach a while before heading out to Little Havana where I made the best discovery at Versailles Bakery.

The Gauva Pastries that changed my life:

There are no words for these heavenly delights. All I know is that I’m now obsessed with Cuban bakeries and guava sweets. We also tried their empanadas:

And churros:

What a great way to end our Miami trip. Half way back to Tampa, we stopped in Naples to visit Matt’s dad and step mom. We went out to a wonderful dinner at Rodes Fresh and Fancy Seafood Restaurant. I got the sea scallops:

And Matt got the Sea Bass:

Both absolutely delicious. The restaurant had a fresh seafood market attached that looked fantastic. I’m on a mission to find a great fresh seafood market in Tampa.

We ordered a key lime pie for the table and it was the best I have ever tasted in my 12 years in Florida!

I’m back home now,relaxing on my couch, with a full belly. Stay tuned tomorrow when I show you how to make a homemade chicken noodle soup to cure your sick boyfriend, and how my new Cuban bakery obsession led me to a wonderful new discovery right here in my beloved Ybor City. See you tomorrow 🙂

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