Growing up in Tennessee, all I knew about Miami was learned from “The Golden Girls,” since I wasn’t allowed to watch “Miami Vice.” I knew it was nice and that it was a great place to be a geriatric female.
A few years later, Will Smith taught me everyone had $100,000 cars and that I’d see Sly Stallone “in the club” (though he failed to reveal which club). Apparently, Miami is a great place to be old or rich. But what about for the rest of us?
Last October, I bid at a silent auction on a stay at The Mutiny Hotel in Coconut Grove and won. Since 9/11 is my bride’s birthday (40th birthday, in fact), I booked our pre-paid hotel for that weekend. We landed Friday morning, checked into the hotel, and walked 2 blocks to a restaurant called Jaguar to meet my “web guy” who’s trying to rescue my law firm from the SEO doldrums this year. The food and drinks (it was, by this time, after noon) were awesome, and we enjoyed his wife’s and his company (and guidance on things to do with our weekend).
Then we meandered (because that’s what you can do when you’re traveling without children or work-related events you must attend) down the street the Barnacle Historic State Park and explored for a while.
Before we went on this trip, I’d mentioned to the sales guys at one of our favorite clothing stores in town–Sid Mashburn (and his wife’s companion store, Ann Mashburn) — where we were headed for my bride’s birthday, and they suggested several places to eat and go out. The first of these places was Yardbird, where we had dinner Friday night. I had chicken and waffles and watermelon, along with some bourbon and other stuff I can’t recall, but it was absolutely delicious, and I ate past the pain threshold because of the level of greatness I didn’t want to stop ingesting. Also, the menu had this on it:
Then we went to the Fontainebleau hotel on Miami Beach for an overpriced drink and to see what all the fuss was about at its numerous swanky hotel bars. It was pretty, but I was too full of fried chicken to enjoy the drinks or the ambiance, as impressive as pink spaceships can be.
The next day, we had brunch at Cecconi‘s (a suggestion by my “web guy’s” wife), which was excellent, and then rented bikes to pedal along South Beach and enjoy drinks by the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the rain, because the great thing about having cocktails by the ocean in the rain is that you hardly give a damn that it’s raining.
We met Tony, who was selling coconut water right after he cut the top off the coconut and dropped in a straw. Tony was from Cuba and was wrongfully imprisoned there for about a decade when he was younger, but now he’s in Miami, and he’s happy to sell coconut water and talk to strangers.
Dinner Saturday was another suggestion by the Sid Mashburn salesman: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. And you know what? I think it was even better than Friday’s meal at Yardbird. Completely awesome. Even the beer was perfect.
Afterward, we walked to the Wynwood Art Walk and saw some artwork we loved but couldn’t afford, enjoyed the free drinks, and talked to the artists while watching the 20-somethings give each other their opinions (when not looking at their phones). The rain became torrential before we could wear out our welcome at the various galleries.
The next morning, we toured Vizcaya Museum and Gardens before catching our flight home, and it provided a great dose of humility about my own house and backyard.
Apparently, there’s money to be made in farm equipment.
It was truly a great trip. We left the morning after I invited 30 of my wife’s friends out for dinner at Local 3 in Atlanta for her birthday, and it allowed for a near-perfect continuation of her celebration over turning 40. And, it was a great getaway timing-wise, as I’d just moved offices.
As for Miami? Will Smith and the Golden Girls are right: Miami is nice (AND keeps the roof blazin’).