5 Best Wine Bars in Miami

Photo courtesy of: City Never Sleeps

Photo courtesy of: City Never Sleeps

Who doesn’t love sipping on a nice glass of Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc while nibbling on some cheese? It’s the middle of the week so you should treat yourself and visit one of these stellar Miami wine bars to unwind. You deserve it.

Lagniappe
3425 NE 2nd Ave. | Miami, FL 33137

Lagniappe is truly magical. You walk into a small set up where you see a chalkboard with the daily food and wine specials, and more than likely on the left-hand side there is a band playing (they have live music every night). After you order your food and get your bottle of wine, which by the way they have over 150 wine and beers to choose from, you go outside to sit on the patio which is filled with hanging lights. Now all you need is good company and you are all set.

El Carajo International Tapas and Wine
2465 SW 17th Ave. | Miami, FL 33145

When you drive into the BP gas station you would never expect to fine one of the best restaurants in Miami. Not only does El Carajo have delicious tapas, but they also have a great wine selection – and I am talking about the good stuff. They have wines like Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Numanthia and Duval-Leroy Brut. While you are sipping on your glass of wine make sure to try some of their tapas like their chorizo al vino and Suprema de Bacalo a la Vizcaína.

The Cellar Club at the Biltmore
1200 Anastasia Ave. | Coral Gables,  FL 33134 

Whether it was to enjoy sitting by the pool, or to enjoy a great brunch I am sure you have been to the Biltmore once or twice. Now, I introduce you to The Cellar Club. Located in the lower lobby of the Biltmore Hotel this wine bar not only serves coffee, fresh fruit and pastries in the morning, but they also offer over 100 wines by the glass and a light bar menu. Check out the website for monthly event listings.

The Cheese Course
3451 NE 1 Ave., #100 |Miami, FL 33137

I absolutely love the Cheese Course. Whenever I am in Midtown I always try to stop by. They have delicious French baguette sandwiches and really yummy salads. Besides having great food and a large selection of cheeses they also serve wine. They have an ever changing rotation of wines that can be purchased by the glass or by the bottle. For those of you that are looking for a wine bar on a budget this is your spot.

Cibo Wine Bar
45 Miracle Mile | Coral Gables, FL 33134

If you are in the Gables area then you have to check out Cibo. They have a 7-page wine menu with more than you could ever imagine. They have wine from France, Spain, South America, and Italy to name of few. Not only do they have a great wine selection, but they have some pretty delicious bites to munch on. Like their polenta fries with gorgonzola dip or arancini rice balls studded with ragu and melted mozzarella. Yum.

 

15 Miami Restaurants To Check Out For Mexican Independence Day

Photo courtesy of: Miami and Beaches

Photo courtesy of: Miami and Beaches

I am hoping you know that Mexican Independence Day is not on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo. But just in case you didn't know it’s actually tomorrow and a ton of restaurants are celebrating! 

Authentic Mexican Flavours Month invites Miamians and tourists alike to participate in a month long chance to win round-trip tickets to Mexico and tons of other surprises. All you have to do is take a picture with the “Authentic Mexican Flavours Month” menu at any of the participating restaurants below, post it on Facebook using #saboresautenticosdemexico-miami and recommend the dish you loved the most.*

Look out for special offers when you visit these restaurants tomorrow!

•    Talavera Cocina Mexicana
•    Casa Frida
•    Tenango’s Taqueria 
•    Casa Maya Grill
•    Don Burrito
•    Tequiztlan
•    Porfirio’s
•    La Mexicana Cantina & Grill
•    Las Cazuelas Mexican Cuisine
•    La Migaja Mexican Bakery
•    Viva Mexico
•    Cancun Grill
•    Puerto Vallarta Mexican Bar Grill
•    Guacamole by Chef Omar
•    Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant

*The winner will be announced on October 1st. 

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7 Common Misconceptions About Miami

There are millions of misconceptions about Miami, and having lived in Miami most of my life I am very familiar with several of the ones listed below. Do you feel the same?

1.    When you find yourself talking to a non-Miamian and you tell them you live on the beach they say, “Well, why aren’t you tan? Don't you spend all of your time laying out in the sun?”

Photo courtesy of: I'm Not Obsessed

Photo courtesy of: I'm Not Obsessed

2.    Some people think that since there are many Latinos here, non of us speak English. Yes, my friend, we do.

3.    When you say you are a Miami Heat fan the haters and fangs come out. Everyone thinks we are bandwagon fans. What about those fans who started with the Heat back in the 80s?

Photo courtesy of: Bleacher Report

Photo courtesy of: Bleacher Report

4.    We are constantly in party mode. I know there are many people out there that basically spend their life at LIV, but that doesn't mean we all are like that.

5.    It never rains. Tell these people to come check us out for more than a day in August or September and you might notice it isn’t sunny in Miami amigos.

6.    To go off #4 – it’s spring break all the time – parties, bikinis and martinis all day. We do have to work, you know.

Photo courtesy of: World Red Eye

Photo courtesy of: World Red Eye

7.    Last, but certainly not least, when outsiders learn of the word “chongo/a” they think we all are supposed to fit that stereotype. I will admit that back in middle school I wanted my mom to buy me a gold bracelet from the jewelry store inside the Publix. That’s all I am going to say. 

Photo courtesy: Miami New Times

Photo courtesy: Miami New Times

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5 Hot Miami Happy Hours

Photo courtesy of: Tongue & Cheek

Photo courtesy of: Tongue & Cheek

Let’s be honest, it’s Wednesday so if you don't already have a happy hour planned then you are definitely thinking about it. Whether you plan on going tonight or Friday I thought I would share with you a few happy hours here in Miami for you to check out.

So go ahead, read and decide, and then send that Outlook invite to all your friends.

Bread + Butter
2330 Salzedo St. | Coral Gables, FL

If you haven’t noticed this hot spot in the Gables then you are missing out. Chef and owner Alberto Cabrera teamed up with mixologist Rob Montero to launch a killer Gables happy hour. Every Monday from 5 – 7 p.m. you can eat treats like their B+B pickles, warm peanut cones, empanadas with goat cheese and toston tostadas topped with chicharrones for $3 to $5. For drinks you can have their rotating cocktail of the week for $3 and half-priced beers and wines.

The News Lounge
5580 NE 4th Court | Miami, FL 33137

I am sure you have been to The News Lounge late at night for little get togethers, but now I want you to try it for happy hour. From 5 – 9 p.m. every day you can eat things like their hummus, chicken skewers, meatballs, sliders and even dates for about $4 - $6. Plus they offer $3 bers, $5 wines, and $6 mojitos. Oh yea.

Doraku
900 S Miami Ave. | Miami, FL 33131

This spot is not necessarily new but I wanted to make sure you have checked it out because their specials are pretty awesome. From 5 to 7 p.m. you get $4 sake, $3 California rolls, $2 edamame and $5 lychee martini (amazing, highly recommend this).

The Corner
1035 N Miami Ave. | Miami, FL 33136

A while back I told you these people had killer cocktails, but I never mentioned that they also have a pretty sick happy hour. From 4 – 8 p.m. every Monday through Friday you can get a can of beer for only $3 – everything from Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale to Magic Hat #9. Oh, and did I mention that their PBR drafts are only $2?

Tongue & Cheek
431 Washington Ave. | Miami Beach, FL 33139

Not only do they have an awesome Miami Spice Menu going right now, Tongue & Cheek also has a happy hour that you must check out. From 6 – 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday you can eat their $2 cheek sliders, poutine topped with braised brisket for $8, or even their crispy pig ear lettuce wraps for $8. Then you pair that with their $4 beers or $8 cocktails and you can call it a night.

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10 Signs You Are A True Miamian

Let’s be honest there are a ton of impostors out there that say they are from Miami. Oh I went to UM or FIU, so that must mean I am a true Miamian, right? Wrong! There are definitely a few experiences you have to go through to really be able to hold a conversation with someone and say, “I am from Miami!”


1.    You have been stuck in a complete gridlock on the Palmetto. 

2.    One of your favorite phrases is, “What do you think of life?” 

3.    You have survived a category 5 hurricane, and at the same time you have had hosted a killer hurricane party. 

Hurricane_Party

4.    You have taken 4 highways to get to your final destination – you take 195, and get I-95 to get to the 836 and then finally you take the 826 (this is legit the story of my life).

5.    When someone speaks to you in Spanglish you know exactly what they are saying.

6.    You have been towed at least once. 

Miami_Car_Being_Towed

7.    You have gone to the beach and experienced the true ratchetness of South Beach. 

8.    You have experienced the craziness we call ULTRA. 

9.    You have been on a trip to visit a Gringo friend in another city and tried to kiss everyone on the cheek to say hello. This probably turned into a real awkward situation. 

10.    You have eaten an entire box of pastelitos by yourself. Possibly with a café con leche in your other hand

Cuban_Pastelitos


5 Places To See When You Visit Calle Ocho

When someone says “Calle Ocho” what are the first words that come to mind? Music? Domino park? Cuban food? For me Calle Ocho is the heart of Miami, where many Cuban exiles made their first homes here in the states. It is a place full of culture and excitement – it is Miami.

Growing up with a father who was born in Cuba, but raised in Little Havana I not only heard many stories, but also visited this part of town many times to see his childhood home. I decided to compile some of my favorites spots I feel everyone should visit at least once when they stop by Little Havana.

Maximo Gomez Park
When you think Calle Ocho you probably think old Cubans playing in the domino park. Everyday the old men get together to play a serious game of dominos, but even though they are serious about their game they still love taking pictures! 

Calle_Ocho_Maximo_Gomez_Park

The Cuban Memorial Plaza
This strip commemorates Cuban exiles with a string of small monuments. The seven monuments include the bust of Cuban independence fighter Antonio Maceo, statues of the Virgin Mary, anti-communist crusader Tony Izquierdo, and a 16-foot-long raised map of the island of Cuba. The map bears a weathered inscription by Cuban poet and patriot Jose Marti: "La patria es agonia y deber.” 

The “Walkway of the Stars”
This is a pretty cool mural that highlights stars like Sammy Sosa, Maria Conchita Alonso, Thalia, Willy Chirino, Gloria Estefan, and, of course Celia Cruz.

Calle_Ocho_Walkway_of_the_Stars

La Casa De Los Trucos (The House of Costumes)
This is one of my favorites spots. This “House of Costumes” is filled from head to toe not only with costumes, but also things you can use to prank people like whoopee cushions and fake bugs.

Azucar Ice Cream
Once you finish your tour of Calle Ocho you have to stop for some delicious ice cream at Azucar. At Azucar you will have the best homemade Cuban ice cream with flavors that include Abuela Maria, Café con Leche, Mantecado, Dulce de Leche, and much more. This hits the spot on a hot Miami day. For more info on Azucar ice cream see Randomiami’s review here.

Azucar_Ice_Cream_Little_Havana

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5 Things To Do This Labor Day Weekend

Miami_Labor_Day_Weekend_Parties

Labor Day weekend is a pretty happening time for the Miami community. Even though we Miamians continue to go to the beach and enjoy the sunshine long after this weekend, Labor Day is the like the last day of summer. 

Here are few parties and activities I think you should definitely check out this weekend. Have fun and stay safe!

Miami Nice 2014 Annual Labor Day Weekend Yacht Party
August 30 at 11:30 p.m. – 4 a.m.
South Beach Yacht Lady | Bayfront Park

This is a ticket only “All White Yacht Party” aboard the 125’ South Beach Lady Yacht. This yacht will be leaving from Downtown Miami by Bayfront Park. There will be cash bars available on every deck complete with VIP areas, bottle services, 8 flat screen TV’s, a DJ sky booth, and much more. There will also be music by J Prince and DJ SNAP. Get ready my friends for a pretty awesome party.

Buy tickets here.

The Miami Invasion 2014
August 29 – September 1 
Chesterfield Hotel | Miami Beach

This weekend long party is going to be filled with boat parties, club parties, hot tub parties…and more parties. Chesterfield Hotel is going to be an awesome host – the party will include open bar, private hot tubs, VIP club passes, access to South Beach Properties and much more. This will be a pretty big and crazy co-ed party – if you’re into those kind of things.

Buy tickets here.

Floatopia Miami
August 30 at 10 a.m.
South Pointe Miami | Miami Beach

If you have never been to Floatopia then this is a must go-to event for you – at least once in your lifetime. All you have to do is bring your float, inner-tube, or foam noodle – pretty much whatever floats. Then bring your sunnies and sunscreen and you are all set. Oh, and bring your friends!

Neighbor Days at Jungle Island
August 29 – September 1 
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail | Miami Beach

For $10 you can walk through Jungle Island’s Neighborhood Block Party with sidewalk chalk activities, DJ dance parties, face painting, character appearances, hula-hoop competitions, and animal encounters. Perfect for adults and kids alike!

Museum Tour at PAMM
August 29 – September 1 
1103 Biscayne Blvd. | Miami

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is offering free exhibition tours all weekend from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Those who come on the Metromover on Monday will also receive free museum admission! If you have never been to PAMM then you must visit. It really is a magical place.

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3 Miami Yoga Studios You Should Check Out

I love working out – I love the adrenaline rush I get after I complete a WOD (workout of the day – a.k.a. Crossfit) or the release of endorphins after a really good run. The feeling that you can never shake off is the peace and serenity you feel after an hour and a half of yoga.

I have been practicing yoga for a few years, so I have been and experienced several studios in the Miami area. Even though I have been to many I definitely have my top three that I rotate around depending on the type of yoga practice I am looking for.

*IMPORTANT: For those men reading – yoga isn’t just for woman. That's a huge misconception that needs to be nicked. I have seen plenty of guys getting sweaty and really enjoying the stretch, so I highly recommend you try it. Oh, and you are allowed to grunt in a yoga studio too. Check out this Men's Fitness article that tells you why you should practice yoga.

Prana Yoga Miami
247 Malaga Ave. | Coral Gables, FL 33134

This is the studio I started at 5 years ago, and it is always the studio I fall back on. There is something very special and serene about this place. Prana has four rooms where different classes are held depending on your needs – restorative, vinyasa, and they even have prenatal. If you are in the Gables area then you need to check them out.

Photo courtesy of: Prana Yoga Miami

Photo courtesy of: Prana Yoga Miami

Bala Vinyasa Yoga
1430 S Dixie Hwy, Suite 116 | Coral Gables, FL 33146

For those of you who are looking for a serious challenge then Bala Vinyasa is your yoga studio. Their rooms are set to a temperature of over 100 degrees for an hour and a half of vinyasa flow yoga. It is guaranteed you will start to sweat this second you settle into your first downward facing dog (don’t know what this is – look it up!).

Photo courtesy of: Bala Vinyasa Yoga

Photo courtesy of: Bala Vinyasa Yoga

Skanda Yoga
1800 SW 1st Ave., Suite 102 | Miami, FL 33129

Skanda is my new go-to yoga studio now that I work in Brickell, and I have completely fallen in love. Even though I had been used to being in larger rooms this small, one-room studio really helps you stay grounded and focus on your yoga. I have taken a class with each of the teachers and they are all amazing. You are definitely in for a treat if you get either one of the co-owners – Lina or Ken. 

Photo courtesy of: Skanda Yoga

Photo courtesy of: Skanda Yoga

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7 Miami Happy Hours You Have To Try

Photo courtesy of: South Beach Magazine

Photo courtesy of: South Beach Magazine

Who doesn't love happy hours? They are the perfect excuse to tell your boss, “Hey, I really need to leave at six today…” I have put together a few of my new favorite happy hour hangouts that you should definitely try this week!

Bread + Butter
2330 Salzedo St. | Coral Gables, FL 33134

If you haven’t noticed I am totally loving this new spot in the Gables. For $3-5 every weekday from 5-7 p.m. you can get try things like the double-bacon frita, Hialeah-style warm peanut cones, and tostone tostadas. You can then pair this with half-priced beer and wine or, of course, their $3 “cocktail of the week.” 

Yard House
1601 Lenox Ave. | Miami Beach, FL 33133

I am sure you have had a beer or three at the Yard House in the Gables. The new location in South Beach starts its happy hour at 3 p.m. with half-off pizzas and appetizers plus craft pints and wells for $4.25, or half-yards for $7.50.

HuaHua’s
1211 Lincoln Rd. | Miami Beach, FL 33139

I know we all love to bring our furry friends everywhere, so check this out – at HuaHua’s from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday you can bring your dog and get $3 beers, $4 margaritas, and $1 off of their loaded nachos. 

The Federal
5132 Biscayne Blvd. | Miami, FL 33137

At The Federal from 5 – 7 p.m. you will get $5 snacks, like their maple BBQ bacon, Buffalo-style “pig wings,” and smoked-fish dip & chips. They also offer $3 craft beers and $5 specialty cocktails.

Orange Blossom
2000 Collins Ave. | Miami Beach, FL 33139

On their special happy hour menu they have their salmon tartar, margherita flatbread, mac & cheese, and much more for $6. You can also get $4 beers and $6 drinks.

15th and Vine
485 Brickell Ave. | Miami, FL 33131

If you are looking for a fancy happy hour with a fire pit then this is your spot. You can order $5 cocktail’s or wine and pair it with half-off cheese and charcuterie. 

Tongue & Cheek
431 Washington Ave. | Miami Beach, FL 33139

For their happy hour they are giving you their beef cheek sliders for $2, along with $5 hot or Korean wings, $5 draft beers, and $8 bar snacks and craft cocktails daily from 5-8 p.m.

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13 Experiences You Have When Raised By Latinos

Let’s be real. Miami is a melting pot of cultures, right? Growing up in Miami you were in class with Colombians, Venezuelans, Cubans, Mexicans and the list goes on and on. That is something that I think makes Miami so cool – we all come from different cultures with different traditions, yet there may be a few similarities. 

See which experiences below you can relate to!

1.    After dinner the question is, “Who is making the cafecito?”

Cafe_Bustelo_Cuban_Coffee.jpg

2.    When you are having a conversation with your mom and you tell her your central air conditioner isn’t working her answer is, “No te preocupes. I will get [insert name here] out there to help you out.” She has a handyman – for EVERYTHING.

3.    When you are invited to a party at your parent’s house and there are only 13 people in the kitchen yet it sounds like there are 50.

4.    Everyone has that family member that asks, “Are you eating enough? Te ves bien flaquita.” 

Abuela_Meme

5.    When you introduce your new boyfriend or girlfriend and they find out he or she isn’t Catholic. Que tragedia. 

6.    In preparation for Christmas day everyone takes out their nacimientos. And there are probably more than one per household.

7.    That awkward moment when you’re skyping your boyfriend and your cleaning lady stops by to talk to him in Spanish. He is from Pennsylvania.

8.    You never, ever walk around the house barefoot.

9.    Vicks is the answer for everything.

Vicks_Vapo_Rub

10.  Every time you walked into class, came back to your parents house or showed up at a party, or “ghetty,” you had to make sure you gave everyone a kiss on the cheek or you would be seen as rude.

11.    If you don't know Walter Mercado or Don Francisco then there may be something wrong with you.

Walter_Mercado.jpg

12.    You always had that Tia or Tio who brings up random stories from “their country” from centuries ago. Mind you – you have heard the same story at every family gathering.

13.    Whenever you call your mom to catch up she says, “Hold on let me pause my novela.” 

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5 Miami Landmarks to Visit During the Summer

Sometimes we get wrapped up in our crazy lives and we forget what a great city we live in. Not only is Miami filled with great food, but we also have some pretty cool landmarks. 

Before the excitement of summer fun dies down take a weekend to explore some new spots you haven’t visited, or maybe haven’t been to in a while. Honestly, I have to do the same! 

Little Havana & Calle Ocho
8th Street from 22nd until 8th
 
Walking down Calle Ocho is a treat within itself. There are so many things to see and people to meet while you’re walking down the street. A few stops you must make are to La Casa De Los Trucos (House of Costumes), the Cuban Memorial Plaza, El Pub for some Cuban coffee at their “window,” and lastly, you have to eat ice cream at Azucar. Read here for the full review on Azucar Ice Cream.

Randomiami

Randomiami

The Freedom Tower
600 Biscayne Blvd. | Miami, FL

The Freedom Tower is a National Historic Landmark in Miami that has a lot of emotional ties for many Cubans in the city. Built in 1925, it is one of the oldest skyscrapers in the southeastern United States with its main role being the immigration-processing center for thousands of Cuban refugees who arrived in the 1960’s. The Tower is now a part of the Miami Dade College campus and holds an exhibition that is free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of: Latin American Studies

Photo courtesy of: Latin American Studies

David Kennedy Park
2200 S. Bayshore Drive | Coconut Grove, FL

Who doesn't love to wander around a park? I love Kennedy Park because it has everything you need for a fun filled day – beach volleyball, a running path around the park, dog park, and my favorite – A.C.’s Icee’s, which on a hot Miami day is pure heaven. 

Photo courtesy of: Miami and Beaches

Photo courtesy of: Miami and Beaches

The Kampong
4013 S Douglas Rd. | Miami, FL 

If you haven't visited The Kampong then you must. This tranquil garden, which used to be David Fairchild’s home, is filled with tropical fruit cultivars and trees and over 50 varieties of mango! The Kampong is not only for those studying plants or enthusiasts, but also for those who just want to wander around its gardens and making take a picnic with them.

Photo courtesy of: The Kampong

Photo courtesy of: The Kampong

Wynwood Walls
NW 2nd Ave. between 25th and 26th 

If you haven’t been to Wynwood Walls then you are missing out on a big piece of Miami. In 2009 the late Tony Goldman was looking for something to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood, and he arrived at the idea: “Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place.” And then the Wynwood Walls were born. While you are visiting make sure to eat at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar right by the walls. You’ll really enjoy it if you have never been!

Photo courtesy of: Goldman Properties

Photo courtesy of: Goldman Properties

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What To Eat During Miami Spice Month

Miami_Spice_Month_2014

This is by far my favorite time of the year. Miami Spice is a mouth-watering restaurant promotion that showcases the best cuisine Miami has to offer. From August 1 until September 30, restaurants are offering three-course meals featuring signature dishes that have been created by their world-renowned chefs at reduced prices. This means you can eat a delicious lunch for $23 or dinner for $39.

This is the time of the year where you take an extra hour or two for your lunch break and explore the different restaurants you haven’t been able to try during the year! See below for a few of my favorite spots that I think you should visit during these upcoming months. 

TK’s at the Villa Mayfair
What you are ordering:
pear and gorgonzola ravioli, roasted Cornish hen w/ garlic and cilantro, and Brazilian flan.
For the full menu: here

Tongue & Cheek
What you are ordering: watermelon & mango salad, roasted branzino, and salted pretzel ice cream
For the full menu: here

Toro Toro Restaurant
What you are ordering:
lomo saltado empanada, churrasco tasting, and la bomba for desert.
For the full menu: here 

A Fish Called Avalon
What you are ordering: bang band shrimp, macadamia-crusted snapper, and Chef Kal’s signature cheesecake.
For the full menu: here 

Essensia at the Palms
What you are ordering: Israeli quinoa salad, grilled natural flat iron steak with herb chimichurri, and coconut & lime semifreddo.    
For the full menu: here

Azul
What you are ordering:
steak & eggs tartare, black angus short rib pappardelle, and caramelized banana cake.
For the full menu: here

Scarpetta
What you are ordering: creamy polenta, spaghetti, and coconut panna cotta.
For the full menu: here

L’echon Brasserie
What you are ordering: tarte de jambon, l’echon burger, and croissant au chocolat bread pudding.
For the full menu: here

Best Miami Neighborhoods for Dining and Nightlife

Zillow_Best_Miami_Dining_Nightlife_Randomiami

Miami is world famous for its golden beaches, crystal blue water and a warm climate all year round. The city also boasts a chic bar and lounge scene with many high-end apartment buildings. Miami nightlife is high energy with glamorous clubs, frequented by both Miami locals and celebrities.

Miami is geographically close to the Bahamas, Cuba and Dominican Republic, making it a melting pot of cultures offering a unique dining experience. With new and exciting restaurants constantly popping up throughout the city, Miami is quickly becoming a foodie’s paradise. 
For those looking to indulge and let loose year-round, Miami is the destination. Tourists and transplants should visit these five neighborhoods for popular and cultural experiences.

1.    Coral Gables
With more than 150 restaurants, Coral Gables offers a vast range of dining options. Coral Gables caters to any craving, with casual cafes and diners or more formal seafood restaurants and authentic Spanish tapas bars. Once dining is complete, keep the night going at quaint cocktail bars off Sunset Drive or dance at one of the Latin clubs.

2.    Little Havana
For the authentic tastes of Cuban dining, head to Little Havana. This neighborhood is a thriving immigrant community just three miles east of downtown Miami, but at the heart of Cuban culture. Sample the traditional taste and culture at one of the many local restaurants and cigar shops. Then, finish off the unique dining experience with an authentic Cuban coffee with plenty of sugar. For the best in Cuban nightlife, head to SW 8th Street, an area rich with live music clubs. 

3.    Brickell
The neighborhood of Brickell is a bustling business hub with flourishing residential streets. Brickell offers a more sophisticated dining and nightlife experience than Little Havana. Soak up the afternoon sun in this waterfront community and enjoy the view of the famous Miami skyline at one of the countless rooftop bars. For the best in decadent dining, head to the north end of Brickell Avenue. This area also boasts many chic cocktail bars perfect for starting the night in style.

4.    Wynwood
Wynwood is an art-centric neighborhood with chic nightlife including indie dining spots and eclectic bars. Hot spots include hidden bars with a trendy speakeasy vibe. Dining options are plentiful and vary from Cuban and Latin eateries to modern American diners. Grab a late night bite at one of the hipster restaurants or bars before partying at the numerous indoor/outdoor clubs. 

5.    Miami Beach
Those looking for a louder and livelier nightlife scene should head to Miami Beach. The Miami Beach strip offers infinite options from glamorous restaurants, cocktail bars and buzzing nightclubs open until the early hours of the morning. Popular spots in South Beach draw impressive lineups of musicians and popular DJs, often visited by A-lists celebrities. Recover in the morning over breakfast and mimosas at cafes along Collins Avenue in South Beach.

Miami is a cosmopolitan and aspirational city with so much to see and do. For those considering moving to Miami, be sure to complete research regarding neighborhood demographics, proximity to amenities and real estate affordability.

*Written in partnership with Zillow.com.

 

What To Do In Miami When It Rains

Now that we are in full-blown summer mode there will be days that are total washouts and you won’t be able to spend the day on the beach. So what is there to do in Miami when it rains? I have put together a list for you to keep on hand whenever you need some indoor activities! 

Splitsville
The Shops at Sunset Place
5701 Sunset Dr., Suite 202 | Miami, FL 33143

Who doesn't like to knock down some pins while sipping on a drink and wearing dorky bowling shoes? If you haven’t been to Splitsville then you have to check it out at least once. The cool thing about this place is that you won’t be munching on bowling alley food. Their food menu includes everything from tuna tataki to filet mignon for the big ballers. Every Tuesday you could bowl for $2 a game, per person, plus get $2 shoes from 4 p.m. to close!

Photo courtesy of: Splitsville Miami

Photo courtesy of: Splitsville Miami

Color Me Mine
The Shops at Sunset Place
5701 Sunset Dr. | Miami, FL 33143

I don't know about you but I am an arsty kinda girl. When you enter Color Me Mine you are greeted by tons of pottery that is ready to be painted. They have everything from ladybugs, plates, trays, vases, to little animals! And honestly, it is just as fun for adults as it is for kids. You pick the piece you want, pant it however you please, then you leave it there so they can fire it, and then you take it home. For adults they even have a night they call Diva Dish & Design where you get to paint while munching on cheese and chocolates!

Photo courtesy of: Blog - This is Bananas

Photo courtesy of: Blog - This is Bananas

Paragon Grove Movie Theater 
3015 Grand Ave., Suite 322 | Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Who doesn't love to go to the movies while it’s raining? My favorite theater is definitely the Paragon Grove Theater for multiple reasons. The first and most important reason is that you can chose your own seats, basically you could show up five minutes before your movie starts and you will still be able to sit in the seats you chose the hour before online. Oh, and they have Pepsi. I am a Pepsi kinda girl ;)

Photo courtesy of: City Buzz

Photo courtesy of: City Buzz

Coral Cliffs Indoor Rock Climbing 
3400 SW 26th Terr. #A4 | Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312

Rock climbing is so much fun! Not only is it fun, it is also a great workout. When you get to Coral Cliffs for the first time they will set you up with an instructor to lead your though the basics of rock climbing before they let your run free in the gym. Once you are ready you can start exploring their 87 top-roped routes, 25 lead routes and then they have a few that are for the really advanced climbers. 

Photo courtesy of: Coral Cliffs

Photo courtesy of: Coral Cliffs

Books & Books
265 Aragon Ave. | Coral Gables, FL 33134

This bookstore is one of my favorites in Miami. Not only do they have a great selection of books to choose from, but also the atmosphere is awesome. The Books & Books in Coral Gables was built in 1927 and is listed as on of Coral Gables Historic Places. Besides having 9,000 square feet worth of books they also have authors that come and visit to talk about their books in a small and intimate setting. They also host reading groups, poetry groups, free workshops and lectures, and special events. To see which authors are visiting click here

Photo courtesy of: Books and Books

Photo courtesy of: Books and Books

Where to Watch the World Cup Finals in Miami

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The time has finally arrived. Whether your team has already been eliminated or has made it to the finals I want to give you a list of the places you should check out to watch and celebrate the World Cup 2014 final.

Enjoy and may the best team win!

For those who are going for Germany…

Hofbräu Beerhall Miami
943 Lincoln Rd | Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hofbräu is the home base for many Germans. This is one of the few places that has legit authentic German cuisine and beer. They have imported draft brew from Munich (starting at $8.50 for a 17-oz slug) and Münchner weisswurste ($15). Perfection. Side note: This place gets really packed, and they don't take reservations so make sure to get there with ample time. 

Fritz and Franz Bierhaus
60 Merrick Way | Coral Gables, FL 33134

I love Fritz and Franz! Who doesn't love going for Oktoberfest? Well they obviously have a lot of ruckus going on for the Germany games, and why would the final be any different? They have plenty of TVs, delicious food, and beer! 

Schnitzel Haus Miami
1085 NE 79th St Causeway | Miami, FL 33138

Talk about authentic German food. If you haven’t been then you definitely need to try out this spot. They are offering a special German game menu and bottled beer. I am also positive their service will make you feel right at home.

For those who are going for Argentina…

Manolo
7300 Collins Ave. | Miami Beach, FL 33141

This restaurant basically shut down Collins Avenue while they were celebrating their win against the Swiss. So let’s just say that there will be tons of Argentinians there representing so it might get a bit crazy. They will have a special with five Quillmes for $15. Side note: It's first come, first serve so get there will plenty of time!

Novecento Brickell
1414 Brickell Ave. | Miami 33131

You have to love Novecento. I just have to say that if you go out to this restaurant to watch the game, which by the way will be crazy packed, you have to eat their Ensalada Novecento. If you have never tried it all I will say is that it’s a salad with skirt steak and fries. That is all.
 

The 5 Best Miami Foodies To Follow On Instagram

If you haven’t noticed by now I love food. Even as a child my face would light up when I would think about the fact that lunch or dinner was just around the corner. Now that I have been really broadening my horizons as far as what food I try I really love following certain foodies on Instagram to drool over the food they are feasting on.

Check out the top foodie Instagramers I think you should follow to get your food fix (in no particular order):

1.    Miami Food Blog (@TheFoodieTeacher): Melissa is a self-confessed gastronome, broke school teacher, wannabe healthy chef, and an unapologetic glutton – who just wants to share her cooking with the world. Her blog and Instagram are filled with delicious foods that she has either cooked up in her own kitchen or is eating at a restaurant. 

Blog: http://thefoodieteacher.com/ 

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2.    Mitch & Mel Take Miami (@MMTakeMiami): I really love following these two – one a native (Mel) and one a foreigner who has adopted our Miami language (Mitch). They blog about everything you could imagine eating here in Miami, and drinking, of course. 

Blog: http://mitchandmeltakemiami.com/ 

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3.    Food & View (@Wanna_Fork): First of all you’ve gotta love the name, right? They post pictures that you will literally drool over. Like this one I am featuring here. From where to go for dinner with a view to the most scrumptious, finger licking places to go for desserts they’ve got you covered!

Blog: Coming soon! For now check out their Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wannaforkmiami 

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4.    Thefoode_e (@thefood_e): This foodie Instagram was actually one of the first I followed because the photos are so enticing and almost seductive – they really make you want to try out that new restaurant, or that new dish you have never ventured to try. I am sure you will find a place or three you want to check out this summer.

Blog: http://thefood-e.com/ 

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5.    You are what you drink (@MiamiCocktails): I know I said this was #foodie Instagrams, but who said that a cocktail shouldn't be a part of your everyday diet? You have to follow these guys. They give you the best of the best to try in the city of Miami. For those who like it sweet you have to try what they featured yesterday – Dylan’s cotton candy martini. Yum.

Blog: Nothing on this front – just make sure to follow their Instagram!

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How You Know You Grew Up In Miami

Growing_Up_In_Miami

If you grew up in Miami, like me, we all have a few similarities. I am not going to say we are all the same or we all experienced the same things growing up in the 305, but I can guarantee you will relate to a few of the points below.

1.     People say “ghetty” and you know exactly what they are talking about.

2.     Your weekend hangouts were Vagabond, Cameo or Mansion.

3.     The second the temperature hits 70 degrees you whip out those UGG boots.

4.     Everything was “bro,” “BFE,” and “what do you think of life”.

5.     You were very upset the day that Celia Cruz died. Que tragedia.

6.     You wore those Chinese slippers for a while. I know, gross.

7.     When a hurricane was coming that means there were tons of “hurricane” parties.

8.     You know the jingle to Santa’s Enchanted Forest.

9.     You used to go to Boomers for school field trips and friends birthday parties.

10.  Going to South Beach is ALWAYS considered a mission.

11.  Every other week your school would call an emergency drill because Fidel Castro died.

12.  And the first question you ask people when you meet them is, “Which high school did you go to?” Don’t act like you don't judge…

How To Relax During Miami Spa Month

Photo courtesy of: Kara on the Coast

Photo courtesy of: Kara on the Coast

My favorite month of the year is here. One reason being my birthday is this month. Whoo hoo! And most importantly it's Miami Spa Month! It is the perfect time to indulge and relax with rejuvenating spa treatments for as low as $99 at Miami’s premier spas. How can you say no? I take advantage of this every year.

You might be wondering which spas you should check out, and that’s what I am here for. I have put together my favorites spas for you to try this month. Relax and enjoy my friends!

*Unless otherwise mentioned these spa packages are $99.

One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa
Feature: Retreat for Two – Massage & Back Treatment

What I love about this spa is they are offering something special for couples. I have always wanted to go with my husband to do a couples massage, but have never found a good one until now! You can enjoy a full 75-minute massage and back treatment with your hubby – filled with warm stones, exfoliators, coconut oils, and antioxidants to restore vitality to your skin. You will leave completed rehydrated!

To reserve your spot and more details click here. 

Exhale at the Epic Residences + Hotel
Feature: Pure Manicure and Pedicure PLUS One-Month Mindbody Membership 

How amazing is this? With each of their spa month packages you can either get one, two or a full month of free Mindbody classes at their gym! So why not get pampered and massage your hands with ginger-infused lotion and be able to workout for a month for free? Where do I sign?

To reserve your spot and more details click here.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental 
Feature: Detoxifying Algae Wrap

This is way cool. This is a full body exfoliation that is performed with aromatherapy salt and oils. The algae envelopment is designed to comfortably raise the body’s temperature and induce perspiration to help eliminate toxins, for a refreshed you.

*This treatment is $129.99.

To reserve your spot and more details click here.

Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach
Feature: Heavenly Radiance Facial

If you love facials you should check this one out. This facial is specifically designed to get your skin ready for the summer sun. It features their specially formulated Hydra-Enzyme Mask from Luzern, free of harmful preservatives and rich with enzymes, hyaluronic acid, herbal extracts, and Vitamin C. This facial will definitely leave you with noticeably softer and hydrated skin. Who wants that natural summer glow?

To reserve your spot and more details click here.

Lapis, the Spa at Fontainebleau
Feature: Aroma Stone Therapy Massage 

I absolutely love this spa. I go every single year without fail. My favorite massage is the Aroma Stone Therapy Message because they use these warm basalt lava stones and oils that really help with your circulation and help calm stressed muscles, which is really great for those with a crazy workout regime. The best part of this spa is the amenities though. See below for what else they can offer you while you are there.

Immersion mineral water jet bath: 104F degree water infused with vital nutrients to restore balance to the skin.
Elements rain tunnel: Multiple jets massage the body with streams of warm and cool water at varied strengths. 
Energy deluge shower: Jets cascade warm water over the entire body providing renewed energy and vitality. 
Bleau rain room: A calming blue haze envelopes the body as warm showers massage.
Eucalyptus infusion steam: A soothing steam bath relaxes muscles, cleanses skin and helps removes toxins. 
Essence mineral co-ed pool: Lapis’ 75 foot, multi-temperature jetted pool set at a comfortable 92F, treated minerals that help energize the body and soften skin.

To reserve your spot and more details click here.

Where To Celebrate Fourth of July In Miami

Photo courtesy of: Michael A. Pancier

Photo courtesy of: Michael A. Pancier

Everyone loves 4th of July, right? It’s a time to get together with our friends and family, drink a few beers, eat a few hotdogs, plus we get the day off from work! I have rounded up a few places you might want to check out. There are some options for those with families and others for those who want to rage all night. Take your pick. It's your choice! ‘Merica!

For those of you with families, or who just want to lay low… 

America’s Birthday Bash at Bayfront Park
The Bayside Ampitheatre
301 Biscayne Blvd. | Miami, FL 

Here the party starts at 2 p.m. with tons of food and live music. The highlight of the celebration, of course, are the fireworks that can be seen anywhere you are – they start at 9 p.m. The best part is that there is a free Kids’ Zone, and for the parents there is a Samuel Adams Beer Garden with refreshing beers to enjoy.

City of Miami Beach Fourth of July Celebration
8th Street and Ocean Drive | Miami Beach FL
Miami Beach always knows how to through down a great party, so what makes the 4th any different? They have one of the best fireworks displays in all of Miami. I have been before and even though it does get packed with locals and tourists it is worth it to watch the fireworks at least once from this location with a cocktail in hand. The festivities start at 7 p.m. and end with the fireworks at 9 p.m.

Make sure to check out your go-to summer cocktails here.

Key Biscayne Fourth of July Parade
Crandon Blvd. | Miami, FL
If you really like parades and floats then you should check out what Key Biscayne has going on. They have an every year tradition with floats, music and fireworks that begin at 11 a.m.

And for those who are a bit more adventurous and really want to experience a 4th of July Miami party check these places out…

Afrojack 
1235 Washington Ave. | Miami Beach, FL
Mister party man himself will be gracing us with his presence at Mansion on Thursday, July 3rd with Apster. Tickets cost between $30 - $50. For more information visit here.

IndepenDANCE Pool Party
Raleigh Hotel
1775 Collins Ave. | Miami Beach, FL

I really love the Raleigh Hotel and there will be a huge party going on all day until 11 p.m. on July 4th to celebrate American’s independence day. Your host? Cedric Gervais with Michael Woods. If you want tickets to this party you have to purchase them here.

DJ Camilo and E Feezy’s Independence Day Weekend Yacht Party
4441 Collins Ave. | Miami Beach, FL
And for those that just want to go all out this 4th then you should check out the party that DJ Camilo is hosting on a yacht – tickets will cost you $100, but hey, it's a party of a lifetime, right?

What Sets Miami Crossfitters Apart From The Rest

For almost three years now I have been crossfitting in Miami. I have had the opportunity to work out at some great boxes with some pretty awesome people (Crossfit Soul and Crossfit Hardcore South). In the past years I have also noticed that there are certain things that only pertain to people who Crossfit in Miami.

Let me know if there are any I may have missed!

1.     We can WOD even when there is 90% humidity and no AC. We will not die!

2.     During brunch with your girls or guys the conversation revolves around the acronyms WOD and AMRAP.

3.     You show up 10 minutes late to a WOD and the coach still lets you workout. The traffic is REALLY bad out there, you know.

4.     When you have to buy-in and buy-out with a 1 mile run you don't have to bring a hoodie and gloves.

5.     Your coach is super bilingual (i.e. show me your e-snatch).

6.     Every other weekend your box hosts a beach WOD.

7.     The girl next to you is wearing booty shorts to work out. Wait, you don’t?

8.     There are three types of gyms: the trendy box, the high quality box and then, of course, the box that copies the top performers.

9.     Community is what you create within your crew.

10.  When you go out with your girls instead of talking about the new Louboutin’s you bought at Neiman Marcus you are chatting about the newest Reebok Nano’s you just purchased.

How_You_Know_You_Crossfit