Oh How I Love Thee Miami
My rain streak has been broken!!!! I've officially traded in my rain boots for my cute sandals. I tried my best not to Google the weather in South Beach for the longest time, but curiosity was killing me. The day before my flight, I caved and looked. Rain!! But it said rain in the morning then clear in the afternoon. Wooooo hooooo! I can live with that.
As a side note, I'd just like to congratulate myself on carrying no hand luggage on this flight. I really admire you people who can travel with just a carry on. You guys are the real MVP's. Am I the only person who goes away for the weekend but brings a regular sized suitcase? I brought this suitcase with me for a 2 week stay in South Africa! That same suitcase is fully packed for my 4 day Miami getaway. I mean, what can I possibly have in there??? Anyways, this time around I was able to fit all my stuff, plus the stuff that I would have brought in my carry on into my suitcase. So I was hands free and proud! (baby steps folks, baby steps!)
Miami is absolutely beautiful! The streets are just lined with palm trees. As soon as I walked outside, I started to instantly sweat. The heat was no joke. Of course while I was there, they were experiencing record breaking heat. It's like two extremes with me. Record breaking heat or nonstop rain. Can a girl just land in the middle for once?
As I've mentioned in past blog posts, whenever I go anywhere I enjoy talking to the locals to find out where they like to go or eat. My uber driver Omar told me about a soul food restaurant that he takes his wife to eat at. He said you can get the best cornbread, wings, ribs and mac and cheese. Listen, Omar had me sold at wings. So I wrote down the address and I told him that I'd for sure check it out. I'm gonna come back to this a little later on. He also suggested a place called Little Havana. I didn't realize there was such a large population of Cubans in Miami. Little Havana had a lot of nice Cuban lounges and restaurants to check out, so that was definitely on my list of places to go.
I checked into my hotel. I stayed at the Nautilus Sixty Hotel in South Beach. Gorgeous boutique hotel. Very central to everything and it was beach front. I'm a snob, I really enjoy beachfront. At check in, I asked if the room had a view, and I was told no. So you know me, I just casually dropped into conversation that I'm a travel blogger and I'm also celebrating my birthday that weekend. She proceeded to start looking at her computer. I had to try everything within me not to do the free upgrade happy dance for the upgrade that I was about to get. When she looked up, she said 'Ms Casanova, I've actually found a room with a view for you **my waist started to shimmy with joy** This room is regularly $150 US a night for the upgrade, but I can offer it to you for $75 US a night!' Huh??? $75 US per night for 3 nights, plus calculate that in Canadian dollars? Nope!!! No view it was. I'm not gonna lie, I was disappointed. I figured the least they could do was upgrade me, but meh, that's how it goes sometimes.
Look out for my review of Nautilus Sixty coming out shortly. I definitely have a lot to say.
That night I checked out Little Havana. It was bumper to bumper traffic to get there. Seems that was the hot spot for a Friday night for people who wanted to have a little drink and do some dancing after work. My concierge had recommended a restaurant for me to go to, however when I got there, there were no reservations available.
By this time it was dark outside. The streets were packed with Latin bands entertaining crowds, people dancing, crowds lining up for cigars or ice cream. It was so lively.
So I settled on another restaurant that seemed to have a good amount of traffic going through it (That is always the sign of a good restaurant. If no one is lining up to get in, please keep it moving.) As soon as I sat down I knew the meal was gonna be lit!
If you go to a restaurant that has these fake flowers on the tables as decor, you've hit the jackpot!!! This restaurant was an authentic Cuban restaurant. It was small, people were bouncing me as they walked past the narrow walkway, but I didn't care. The food was worth it. And the prices actually aligned with my wallet, very much unlike South Beach!
Before I travelled to Miami I read blogs and articles about things to do and places to go. However, what would have been nice is if someone had mentioned to me how to dress in Miami. I was out there looking like someone's Auntie! Now if you know me, you know that I always dress nicely. So my suitcase was full of long flowing maxi dresses like I'd wear in the Caribbean. But that didn't exactly go in South Beach. If you weren't wearing a thong on the beach or short booty shorts on the street, you weren't saying nothin!!!
Two days into my trip, I decided that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So I had a little short romper in my suitcase that was really a cover up. They were short, and my back was totally out which is very unlike me. But I looked cute! Perfect for South Beach. I decided that I was going to hit up the Soul Food Restaurant that my uber driver had recommended. I ordered an uber and headed out. Remember earlier when I said that my uber driver said it was close to my hotel? Well it wasn't! It wasn't in South Beach at all!! The uber kept making turns, on turns, it seemed like we even left the downtown area. So not only was I not in South Beach, but I don't think I was in the downtown Miami (touristy) core anymore. When my uber finally stopped, to be honest I didn't really wanna get out. Just a reminder here, I was dressed for the hot streets of South Beach, not regular Miami!
Side note: As soon as I got out of my uber, Lil Scrappy from Love and Hip Hop Atlanta was walking out of the restaurant that I was going in!!! I was so excited...why though?!?!? But he's really cute!
Here's a pic that we took together:
I proceeded to walk in, and Oh God! Were people not in there wearing church hats and suits??!!! Apparently this is the go too place after church services on Sundays! And what made it worse, was the waiting area couches faced the door. So as soon as I walked in dressed like a strumpette, everyone was staring at me!!!!! You know the up and down look, like where are the rest of her clothes look??? OMG...I couldn't even make eye contact with anyone. Hahahahahha... My uber driver already took off, so there was no turning back at that point. I had to stand there for about 20 minutes waiting for a table to be free and pretend like I didn't notice the stares. Then when a table was finally free it was in the middle of the restaurant where I was fully on display. At that point, I just had to own it. I have never rocked such confidence in all my life. But I kinda had to, so the stares wouldn't send me into the fetal position bawling. I have to say though, the staff was so friendly to me. The hostess kept coming over to me to make sure I was okay. I think she knew that I totally felt out of place. When my waiter came up to me the first question he asked was 'where you from?'... So I'm like "I'm from here' lol.. Then he gave me the stop the nonsense look and said 'You are definitely not from around here!!'...hahahhaha Not sure how to take that!
The food was amazing! My waiter came by and asked me if I want plastic utensils or steel? Ha! Awesome! Again, times like this is when you know the food is gonna be fire!
There is just so much to write.. Look out for my next post when I talk about the shenanigans in South Beach!
Things to Remember:
-Always bring a plastic water bottle. That way you can fill it up with water at the hotel and bring it with you on the beach. To buy a bottle of water at my hotel was $6 US!!
-Don't be like me, bring an assortment of long tropical dresses and short shorts. You don't wanna feel like someone's Auntie.
-Always ask locals where they eat. I got the 2 best meals in Miami from recommendations from my uber drivers.
-Bring cash...a lot, a lot of cash. It is not cheap in Miami!