Bienvenido a Miami

Rain. Work. Will back in NYC. Sunburn damage control. Welcome back to the real world, Allison! I keep doing that thing where you think, this time yesterday I was x and now I’m y. The “x” part of that statement can be filled in with “laying out a the beach” for pretty much every hour of today. The “y” part can be filled in with “working.” Bleh. It’s a terrible way to think but I can never avoid it every time I come back from a trip.

The transition back to reality may be rough, but the vacation part was SO worth it. As you all are well aware, this past weekend I was in Florida on a mini-vaca in Miami with Will! I am very very very grateful for the time I got to spend there. I needed the sun and sand in a bad way and I already miss the ocean. I’m a much happier person when I’m near the water. Get on that, DC. And no, the Potomac doesn’t count.

I was trying to figure out the best way to recap the weekend for you guys and decided it would be best to just go through each day and give you the highlights. And yes, each day shall include PLENTY of pictures. I swore pics would happen- and that they did. I’m not a photo taking freak, but I think I got plenty. Truth be told, I’m a mental picture kind of gal and would rather live “in the moment” than worry about snapping a physical photo. BUT at the same time, I love having pics so I did my best. Plus, I made a promise to you all that I’d do it. I’m a (wo)man of my word.

{Side note: I hope you read the title of this post in the weird woman singing voice in Will Smith’s song Welcome to Miami. That was the intended purpose of the title. If you didn’t originally- google song, play song, revisit title, reread title, continue on with reading this post}

FRIDAY

After breakfast at home, Will and I set off for the airport. I was excited/antsy standing outside waiting for our ride to DCA. As evidenced by these photos:

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Dunkin is a key way to make any airport trip of mine a success. Allison runs on dunkin.

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We arrived in Miami after lunch time and were hungrrrry. We quickly got to the hotel and ditched our bags so we could get to eating. I enjoyed how bright and colorful the hotel lobby was. I snapped a few pics while Will was dealing with check in shenanigans.

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We got upgraded to a “Junior Suite,” whatever that means, and the room was just what we needed. Simple with a beautiful view.

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We walked over to the Latin Cafe on 41st (recommended to us by someone at the hotel). It was the perfect place for a quick sit down meal. It was also an awesome place for some authentic Cuban food for cheaps. Seriously guys. We got a ton of quality food for around twenty five bucks. It was hole-in-the-wall-esque but it was clean and nice inside and the servers were wicked friendly. I’m glad it was recommended to us because I probably would have walked right by it otherwise.

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View from the walk from the hotel to the Latin Cafe.

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Fried plantains stuffed with shrimp and a delicious spicy tomato sauce.

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I’m used to serving all my seafood with lemon. I knew I wasn’t at home anymore when I got this delicious piece of fish rubbed with Cuban spices and served with lime wedges.

Lunch was followed by some brief beach and pool and hotel exploration.

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THIS was a sight for sore eyes.

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What a great feeling…

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Hello from vacation-land!

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Few things beat low tide at the beach.

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The pool scene wasn’t too bad! It was never wicked crowded when we were there. There was a pool, lots of room to sit, an outdoor bar, some cheap eats available, and a jacuzzi.

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I loved constantly being surrounded by palm trees and other pretty Florida plant life.

I say brief because we had plans to go to the Cubs vs. Marlins game that night over at Marlins Park! It’s a goal of Will and I’s to go to every MLB park in the country and I was pumped to cross another one off the list…

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The new Marlins Park opened just last year- doesn’t it look super modern? It has a retractable roof but luckily the weather was nice so it was wide open the night we were there.

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Little did we know, it was also “Fireworks Friday” so there was a free fireworks display following the game (despite you know- that the Marlins lost). The show was done all to Michael Jackson music. I don’t understand the connection but I went with it.

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The stadium did fill up more than seen in this photo- Will and I just got there early so we’d have plenty of time to check the place out.

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As I said, the stadium is wicked new and kind of reminded me of Nats Park in the sense that is was, well, new, and full of crowd pleasing gimmicks (i.e. t-shirt tosses and a lot of dance cam moments).

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I had only heard of their mascot “Billy the Marlin” before. BUT apparently they have a whole cast of bizarre characters. Meet “Spike the Sea Dragon.” He along with Bob the Shark, Julio the Octopus and Angel the Stone Crab participate in the “Great Sea Race” in between one of the innings of the game- similar to the Presidents race at Nats Park.

They have a leg up on the Nats though because I think the Marlins win for the most unnecessary “celebratory home run procedure” in baseball. The dolphins on this structure move, water flies, and the whole thing lights up. It’s fun- but again- much different than say Fenway or Wrigley Field.

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There was a Marlins homerun so we were able to see the dolphin machine go nuts- but luckily the Cubs still managed to win the game. Not that I really care either way… AND they’re both two of the worst teams in baseball record wise… but I like to see Will happy for his Cubs.

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One of the things I loved about the park was the local foods they offered on top of your standard baseball game fare. They had mahi mahi tacos, pulled pork nachos, empanadas, midnight sandwiches, and lots of other good stuff. I settled on the classic cuban sandwich with plantain chips. Dee-lish.

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Friday was clearly a day for classic cuban food. The ball park food wasn’t as quality as the Latin Cafe was earlier (duh) but it was actually still really good.

Also- when we were walking around before the game started, in one of the player facility rooms, we saw this:

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I wanted to get in there and try it so bad! SO intriguing, right? Like… how does this even work?

SATURDAY

This was the ultimate beach day. Will and I woke up early to enjoy some hotel breakfast. They had a really good spread- including lots and lots of fruit. And oatmeal! Score. We immediately headed out to the beach and there we stayed until around 5ish.

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THIS is where I wanted to be the entire vacation basically.

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Just some light reading.

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We even had lunch at a place right off the boardwalk in order to decrease our time not in the sand. The hotel next to us, the Fountainebleau, is faaaancy. It’s sort of what you think of when you think, “Miami.” And it’s where a part of the Bond film Goldfinger was filmed. Will being a huge Bond fan was obviously more than interested in checking this place out. We had planned to try and get a drink there at some point but ended up indulging in some fancy lunch with them at their outdoor food spot, La Cote.

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P1000963 I was all about some strawberry sangria. Note: the price tag on this beverage may have been high but it was one strong drink!

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The view into the “backyard” of the hotel was crazy. We weren’t allowed over there obviously because we weren’t guests but it was basically filled with beautiful people and the full out Miami scene. There were security guards/bouncers walking around everywhere.

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We enjoyed a roasted vegetable meze style platter (that came with fava bean dip and pita). It was definitely a lovely day for some Mediterranean eats.

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I ordered the watermelon, citrus, octopus confit salad. Fruit and seafood is usually a tough combo but this worked well. It was very beach-y and refreshing.

Like I said, there were rich people everywhere. It’s hilarious trying to blend in with this Miami crowd. There was a live DJ spinning during out lunch outside. A lot of the songs he played involved Pitbull (Miami native and slight tool). It was pretty bumping for the twelve o’clock hour. Hilarious. The waitstaff was dressed in all white (big surprise) and most of them had on big ol’ sunglasses.

Post lunch- lounging, swimming and more tropical beverages happened on the beach…

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I also took my FIRST EVER FULL OUT BIKINI PICTURE on the beach! Huge accomplishment much!? I felt like an idiot taking this pic but it was worth it. Now its on record- it happened. I, Allison, wore a bikini to the beach and while I felt a little awkward, I embraced it for the most part and tried to love on life as best as I could. Smiles all around. This is what hard work and determination and happiness look like!

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Less cheeseball-y picture of me with tropical beverage. Alcoholic tropical drinks are good and all, but I still think I’d prefer just a giant bowl of fresh fruit- pineapple, mango, orange, strawberries, etc. Some fruity drink are just WAY too sweet- I want the real thing. BUT when you’re in Miami- you pretty much have to get a tropical beverage AT LEAST once. Vacation calls for it.

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Will agrees.

The only reason why we left the beach (besides knowing that we had both entered sun burn territory) was for our next meal- dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab downtown in South Beach. On the way there and down Washington Ave. our cab went past the new DASH (Kardashians) store. Commence mini-freakout.

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I made WIll awkwardly take a picture of me at the restaurant. APPARENTLY the orange/pink neon of my skirt was too much for my lil camera…

Now… I don’t have many pictures of the food from Joe’s. BUT if you go to Miami- GO HERE. The food was AMAZING and the service was so on point. It was definitely an “experience” type of place. For DC-ers, it kind of reminded me of Bucas in Dupont because it was huge, well-executed, loud but not obnoxious, and the food is family style like for the most part. Again… best restaurant trip I’ve had in a long time.

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We had to wait over an hour for a table- which at first I was hesitant about- but it was so worth it. They don’t take reservations so if you’re planning on going- expect a wait. It’s a very popular place (and for good reason). The wait isn’t too bad if you are able to snag one of their patio tables and grab some drinks/apps- which is what we did!

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Shrimp cocktail it was!

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And stone crab pico de gallo! Refreshing and tasty! Their crab, their namesake, is so good.

They also bring out a killer bread basket before dinner. I’m not usually one to dive into bread baskets out to eat- but they included all these different kinds of breads that looked so unique so I had to try them. PLUS I could tell they had onion rolls. I love onion rolls. I can’t say no to them.

Dinner for me was their snapper- served with (more) crab and a lovely sauteed spinach blend. Will and I also shared some brussels sprouts. We heart food.

And if you go, besides trying their crab, you need to try their key lime pie. Let’s just say there is a reason they’re known for it. Holy crap was it good. Will and I were so full after all our food- but splitting that pie was one of the best decisions we made on this trip.

SUNDAY

Our flight back to DC wasn’t scheduled till 5:30pm so we had most of the day to continue to enjoy Miami. Post hotel poolside breakfast, Will and I ventured down the boardwalk the runs the length of the Miami Beach coast. We went down into the South Beach area by foot and explored the popular areas (in addition to bouts of walking on the beach and wading in the water, of course).

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Note: this picture was taken around 9 am.

They have a really cool “Art Deco District” that totally takes you back in time. As we strolled through there was a lot of brunching happening. DC may have a sweet brunch scene- but Miami definitely has some quality competition.

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After exploring this region, we walked all the way down to the top of the boardwalk in South Beach.

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Then we headed toward Lincoln Road which is known for lots of shopping and food places. It’s blocked off to traffic for the most part and is lined with stores and eats.

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They had a lot of fresh fruit and vegetable stands too. Will and I took advantage by ordering some fresh fruit drinks. The stand we went to literally just blended the fruit we wanted with ice. Perfection.

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I also saw these adorable little baby bananas!

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So much fruit.

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I ordered a strawberry, pineapple, banana drink.

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Will got a strawberry, banana, and mango drink.

We had lunch at another Cuban place, but this one was a little bit more on the commercial side. We ended up partaking in their brunch options- the meal was okay- but what made it was the buttered cuban bread. Yummm.

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The veggie egg scramble I got was pretty standard- but like I said- buttered cuban bread man, it’s not messing around.

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Before lunch, as we walked up and down Lincoln Road- I spotted “Ice Box.” I had read about this place in my Miami research and remembered that it was the place where Oprah said had the “best cake in America.” Woah. If it has Oprah’s seal of approval… I knew I had to try their dessert. SO post lunch, Will and I got our cake on.

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I got the Strawberry caramel cake and he got a pumpkin cake of some sort. Such quality buttercream frosting- I died. Strawberries are my favorite fruit (closely followed by cherries, bananas, and blueberries) and I’m a sucker for cakes that incorporate them. I wouldn’t call this the BEST cake in America… but it was pretty damn good.

After dessert, we walked back to the hotel and enjoyed our last hour on the beach. Before we headed out I snapped two last pictures: one of the view from our hotel room and one of Will and I. Take us back to paradise, please?

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We were only there for a short amount of time, but Will and I accomplished a lot. We saw a good chunk of the Miami Beach and South Beach region. Both of us also take food very seriously (foodie alert!) and we think we did a stellar job at taking in the best our area had to offer. Miami is an interesting mix of vibes in terms of food- you got the Cuban/Latin influence, the seafood scene, and the stereotypical bourgeoisie style (think: white clothes, white umbrellas, white towels, white everything- think: crisp, refreshing, light, and overpriced food). We definitely got a good mix of all of these flavors- we were able to try out some hometown classics and balance out our restaurant choices.

We also ate A LOT of fruit. My fruit intake probably doubled in my time there. I was consuming pineapple on pineapple on pineapple.

All around awesome trip 🙂

While I’m sad that my vacation is over- this only means that my next adventure is that much closer. The sign pointing to that trip was clearly printed on the bag of coffee in our hotel room…

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The Russian word for “coffee” displayed prominently above the english word. Gotta love cyrillic!

And I mean, even though it’s rainy and gloomy here today, I can’t sit and act like there aren’t things I love about being home and being in DC. Routine is always comforting on some level. Vacation Allison (the one who wears a lot of dresses, bright colors, white, and lays on the beach all day) is meant to exist, but only in small quantities. Real world Allison is where its at and I’m slowwwwwly but surely getting back into that spirit. A sweet spin session tonight should bring back my fitness streak- that’s for sure.

Relaxation is good and all- but only if you’ve earned it. While I certainly worked my butt off for Miami, I gotta get to earning my next vacation.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

16 thoughts on “Bienvenido a Miami

  1. These pictures are making want to urge Stefano to bump U of Miami up a few notches for medical school 😉 Everything looks amazing: the views, the food (Cuban cuisine looks bombbb), the beach! I’m with Will – a total Bond geek, so I would love to go visit that hotel, though you’re right, Pitbull is a bit of a tool, haha. Looks like an awesome (and well deserved!) vacay, girl!

  2. Ahh you look so beautiful!! It looks like you guys had a wonderful time, I’m glad!! So jealous of your tan 😉 can I come visit soon so we can brunch?? Miss you ❤

    • YES PLEASE. Maybe when it’s not a bajillion degrees like the last time you were here haha (remember how we felt after the georgetown cupcakes in the heat wahhhh).

      Also- I’m pumped because today is the first day where my sunburn is turning into a full out tan- wahoo summer time!

  3. Thanks for sharing your photos. They are filled with such color and vibrancy. I totally agree about needing to be in the sun and by the sea. Miami has got to be my favorite US city, so I enjoyed this post.

  4. Wow!!! The pictures are so beautiful and full of color! And you rocked that bikini! You both look so happy and healthy! Glad you had a fab trip. Talk to you soon! Love you!

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