Weekend Foodie Warriors – Take 32! *Miami, FL*
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you had a fantastic weekend! This week, we’re taking you on a tour of our mini vacation in Miami, from exploring the beaches, trying new foods, and having a piña colada! Join us as we take you to paradise and back. 😎🌴
Friday Night Adventures
Fort Lauderdale, FL
So I recently read an article by National Geographic saying the new 2020 travel trend will be what they call “‘microcations’—quicker vacations in backyard destinations that save time, money, & (ideally) reduce the environmental impact of travel”.
This ties in really well with our trip, since Jamie and I have made it a goal to travel more. We’re taking short weekend trips to have a cool new place, new experiences, and of course, new foodie adventures to look forward to in the coming year, and we’re taking you along with us!
The Riverside Market
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
When we got off the plane we were famished and decided to find a place to grab some food and spirits before our big adventure of the evening. Jamie found this really cool dive bar near the airport called The Riverside Market, and their menu and local beer selection drew us in.
We ended up getting homemade roasted garlic hummus to start out, buffalo wings, and a sandwich called the “North Fork”, with roast beef, turkey, pastrami, lettuce, tomato, and sauteed onions with a garlic mayo. It was delish but I think I only ate about a quarter of it, it was as big as my face. 😂
We were lucky enough to stay at a cute Airbnb that weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, about 20 minutes from downtown Miami and neighboring South Beach, where we spent most of our time on Saturday. But we’ll get to the beach part later.
Since we booked through Airbnb, Jamie found this cool “experience” that by name alone sounded wicked awesome and something we wanted to check out. Ever heard of “Glow-in-the-Dark Kayaking”?
Airbnb Experience – Glow-in-the-Dark Kayaking
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
This was one of the coolest ways to explore a city I think I’ve done so far. We got to the mouth of this canal that runs through the center of downtown and met our guide there. There was going to be a group of seven of us originally but the on-and-off rain scared most of them away.
Carlos, our guide, was so awesome to take us with him anyway and got on his paddle-board to guide us. It was outfitted with a motor so he could catch up with the party or tow us along if we got tired.
After strapping (what I called) a miner’s light to my forehead and outfitting us with an alien-spaceship-green lighted tandem kayak, we followed him for about an hour and a half as we dodged yachts, other boaters, and a ton of wind upstream.
It was so cool to see the whole city lit up a night and floating along past these massive mansions and yatchs was so impressive. We could hear music streaming from nearby clubs and smell delish food cooking at the waterside restaurants as we paddled by.
Carlos was so sweet and said Jamie and I had great teamwork paddling together. He mentioned people either worked together really well or argued the entire time and struggled a lot with the tour. Apparently, one guy got so frustrated with his wife’s paddling on a past tour that he abandoned ship and jumped out of the kayak to swim home* 😂. (*Side note, the guy above did make it back safe!)
We absolutely loved the tour and gave him high review on Airbnb. If you’re in the area this is a must do if you want to try out a unique way to see a new city. 💜
Sunny Saturday Fun
South Beach, Miami, FL
So the real reason we went down to Miami was to have my interview for TSA Pre-Check (I passed, yay, fast past lane for me from now on!). While I was at my interview, Jamie checked out a cute little cafe for breakfast near the airport called Prat Coffee Bar. He had a full American breakfast with coffee, eggs, hash browns, and sausage links.
The first place on our list to check out was South Beach. They had an all day marketplace going on that stayed on the beach until almost dinnertime. Check out our pics below for some snapshots from SOBE!
After sunning ourselves on the beach for a couple hours, we headed a couple blocks in to Taquiza, a really hip authentic taco joint not but a five minute walk from where we were.
South Beach, Miami, FL
We loved chatting with our bartender, Megan, who gave us some amazing reccomendations of other places to check out in between two rounds of tacos.
From left to right, we tried:
- Asada (grilled hanger steak, marinated in citrus pasilla negro & chile de arbol)
- Barbacoa (braised brisket with cumin, chiles & Modelo Negra)
- Camarons (grilled, spice-rubbed shrimp on red cabbage slaw)
- Al pastor (achiote-marinated pork sliced & grilled with pineapple)
We loved every taco we had, Jamie’s favorite was the Asada and I loved the Al pastor. The blue corn tortillas were such a cool twist. These hit the spot and I wish we had the appetites to try the rest of the menu! Everything here was amazing, five out of five stars from us. 💜😍
We spent more time walking around downtown sightseeing on Lincoln Rd., a section of town with a ton of art galleries, high end stores and restaurants, and an Illusions Museum. We were going to try to hit up the museum but the line was out the door. No pictures of this part of the trip as our phones were dying, but we saved enough to take pictures of dinner and the sunset from the beach.
El Chalan Peruvian Restaurant
South Beach, Miami, FL
This was one of the best meals we had all weekend in my opinion, although we had so much good food its hard to really narrow it down to just one. You all know as a New Englander, I have a soft spot for all seafood. We really wanted to end the day with some great seafood and this place had some great reviews on Google, so we decided to check them out.
For an appetizer, we got the fish and calamari ceviche, which is a dish that actually orginated in Peru! Ceviche is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices (ours was a lemon and lime mixture), spiced with ají (yellow chili peppers) chopped onions, veggies, and coriander. Ours also included roasted sweet potatoes, and a corn that was airy and almost the consistency of popcorn, kind of chewy but it gave a really nice texture difference when paired with the fish and calamari. The fish absorbed so much of the marinade and it tasted so fresh, it was an amazing bite!
The main course we shared was the seafood Chaufa Peruvian fried rice, which was their fried rice mixed with shrimp, octopus, and calamari. This dish honestly took me back to my childhood. 💜 There was a Chinese restaurant in Rhode Island my grandparents used to take me to when I was little. This fried rice reminded me so much of the one I ate growing up that it brought a tear to my eye at the first bite. Definitely check this place out if you’re a seafood fanatic or someone who loves a great variety in menus!
One last thing we did before going home was to check out Española Way, which was a cute little section of South Beach that Megan told us about. It reminded me of downtown Greenville, with a walkable area with tons of bars, restaurants, and twinkly lights set up everywhere. Oh, and did I mention the giant chandeliers? 😍✨
We got some really cool nighttime pictures of downtown Miami on our drive home too, as we headed back to the Airbnb to put aloe on our sunburn.
In the morning, we vowed to check off Cuban food from our food bucket list, and the place we were recommended for Cuban brunch by Megan did not disappoint!
South Beach, Miami, FL
It was a slightly rainy day but that didn’t stop folks from enjoying the warm weather and breeze outside. The sprinkles were a gift from the sky, opposed to the smothering 85* weather and humidity from the day before.
The inside of the restaurant reminded me a really cool old cafe, and I remember both of my grandmas having those stained-glass Tiffany pendant lights above their kitchen tables, which were passed down from generation to generation in my household.
For brunch, Jamie started with Cuban coffee (absolutely delish but a bit strong for me), and decided to get the Sandwich de huevo y vegetales (Egg sandwich with vegetables) and added pulled chicken, with a side of yucca fries (it’s a white root vegetable, kinda similar to a potato) and a cilantro aioli sauce (which was the star of the sandwich, besides that amazing chicken and egg mixture).
I got the Tortilla Cubana, which was an omelet with ham, onions, spinach, peppers (I added those last two), with a side of toasty Cuban bread, hash brown fries and a fresh salad. We also wanted to try the maduros, or sweet plantains, which were some of the best, softest things I’ve ever had. I would’ve eaten the whole plate of those myself had I not had all this other food coming 😂. We also tried a ham croqueta, or croquette, which was ham and cheese with rice, breaded and fried in a little ball, which was also delish. Definitely the best way to start your last day of vacation, will totally be back here next time we visit. 💜
After all that food we needed to walk off, we decided to head somewhere different and closer to the airport, so up to Hollywood Beach we went!
The Margaritaville Resort is here so there was a lot of Jimmy Buffet themed bars, shops, and restaurants. My dad used to be a big fan of his music, so of course I had to take pictures of it for him!
We wouldn’t be doing Jimmy justice if we didn’t stop for a piña colada*!
*He didn’t write the “Escape” song about piña coladas, however, still a very beach appropriate drink 😋🍹🌴
We said our final goodbyes to the beach and headed to get a bite to eat before catching our flight home!
Tarpon River Brewing
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
As the trip came full circle, Jamie found this cool brewery really close to the park when we launched the kayaks on Friday night.
The way it was set up inside this big warehouse was really interesting, with more of an open concept, outdoor feel with tables and chairs and other sections with couches as you walked in. Then there was this more air-conditioned house smack dab in the middle, with an open bar on one side and high top tables along the other side. As you walked down the hall, there were big beer stills and corn hole boards, and I could have sworn we heard people playing ping pong further into the building.
The sandwich I finally decided on (the whole food menu looked amazing) was the Spicy Fried Chicken – which included a fried chicken breast, Alabama BBQ, house-made pickles and shredded romaine on a kaiser roll. I subbed normal fries out for sweet potato ones (one of my top three favorite kinds of fries ever) and Jamie got a New England style IPA to wash it down.
No lie, if I ever tried to recreate a homemade Chick-fil-A chicken sammie, this is exactly what I would want it to taste like! The pickles were the star of the sandwich, and the breading on the chicken was super crispy and delicious. I would totally come back just for the food – they also had a huge party space away from the other guests and people were watching the NFL playoff games. Definitely an awesome hidden gem to check out and a great way to finish the weekend!
So how was your weekend Foodie Friends? What’s the coolest way you’ve found to explore a new city? Sound out in the comments below or let us know your suggestions of what dishes or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗