Sunday, April 17, 2011

Besides a few one night trips, we haven't had a vacation with just us since our honeymoon, but we left our darling girl in the safe hands of my mom and Aunt Mel and got to spend an amazing 4 days, 3 nights in Miami Beach, FL!
(View Larger Map)

We had to drive over a causeway to get to the island. The view was beautiful - we passed over blue, sunny water and saw small islands filled with gorgeous homes and yachts.

We were lucky enough to stay at my Uncle's gorgeous condo located in one of the best locations on South Beach - within walking distance of Lincoln Road (like 3rd Street promenade in Santa Monica, only bigger and better : ) - great restaurants, shopping and people watching. It's also only about a 4 minute walk from the white sands of Miami Beach itself. The condo itself is surrounded by beautiful scenery and even has a large balcony.

Miami Beach is such a great city. It's so eclectic and interesting; you almost feel like you're in another country. I was surprised how international the city is - everyone we passed spoke a different language - French, Spanish, German, etc. It's the sort of place you walk around in beach casual w/flip flops, soak up the air, and enjoy the energy. And that's exactly what we did the first afternoon there - went to the beach, walked around town, especially on Lincoln Road, and ate delicious food (see below).

On our first full day in Miami, it quickly turned from blue skys and sunny weather to stormy and overcast. So we changed our plans to hang out on the beach and drove back into Miami's Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. (
View Larger Map">Map Link).

In front of my future yard

In front of the back of the house.

If you wanted to arrive by boat, you would come through here.

We didn't take any pictures of our interior tour, but it was just as amazing as the exterior gardens.

It was pretty cool - I'd go back again.

The next day we left the island again to visit the everglades. (
View Larger Map">Map Link). We saw more beautiful homes on the causeway again, and this time we also saw several cruise ships.

Here we are on an air boat. I got to sit on the side of the boat, just a foot from water filled with - you guessed it - alligators. I laugh in the face of danger.

At one point, the boat's driver sped us through the water - we were going fast, so I was trying to block the wind.

Our boat captain was pretty intense.

What would a trip to the everglades be like without some gator wrestling?

That evening, back on Miami Beach, we jogged from my Uncle's condo to the southern most tip of the island and watched the sun set on
View Larger Map">Fisher Island, just south of Miami Beach.

Speaking of the beach - we made sure to get plenty of time there as well!

Of course, we ate very well in Miami. Here are some of our favorites:

Lunch in Miami at a nice Haitian restaurant called Tap Tap. B had the goat stew, which was surprisingly flavorful; I had the yellowtail snapper, poached in a refreshing lime sauce - my first whole fish and I loved it!

Sugarcane in Miami - A-MA-ZING. Seriously. Please go there when you're in town. Get the brussel sprouts (yes, the brussel sprouts), the crudo, the sushi - best yellowtail sushi I've ever had.

Their delicious salmon crudo w/fennel pollen and orange.

A La Folie on Espanola in Miami Beach - our first meal in Miami. Delicious crepes of all kinds in a simple bistro background. I got a savory crepe w/Brie, carmelized pears, and walnuts, and Bryce got to order a Buckwheat crepe (GF!). We like it so much, we went back a separate time for dessert crepes.

Meat Market - two minutes from the condo. We ate here for our last night in Miami - Friday night - w/a 9:15pm reservation - we felt very cool. The place was packed with very chic people and the food was excellent (Below is a pic from their site - we forgot to take pictures the night of : ( ). So much more than a steakhouse, although the steaks were delicious (they were accompanied by house-made butters and steak sauces) - our favorites included: the cedar-scented hamachi, buffalo mozzarella salad, and the gouda tator tots - not to mention the pistachio creme brulee for dessert. Yes, we enjoyed it all : ).

It was a great trip. Thank you, Uncle Jeff!! Can't wait to go back soon!!!

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