It’s been about six months since I started writing for MasterCard. They reached out to me as a result of coming across my blog and liking my writing (yay!) and offered me the opportunity to write a few articles for their Priceless Cities blog from a local’s perspective. What began as a twice monthly gig has now become about 6-8 pieces per month that have not only helped me sharpen my writing skills (writing for yourself can get a bit too comfortable), but have also allowed me the opportunity to explore my city with a fresh perspective. The results of which have led me to discover some great new spots, as well as revisit some of my favorites. Here are some of my top choices.
If you’re curious as to what I’ve come up with (as well as, if you’d be kind enough to support my writing by checking out these articles :)), then here are some of the places that have made the most impact over the last few months. Do you like them? Agree? Disagree? I’d love to know. Also, I’m always looking for new places to cover, so if you know of a spot that I should check out, leave me a comment! As always, thanks so much for reading. Hope you gain at least a little bit of insight as to new places to check out for yourself.
EAT: Not surprisingly, most of my articles have focused on places to eat, with a leaning towards brunch. (Can you blame me? I’m a day drinker now thanks to parenthood.) These are a few of my favorites. (Photo credit above: Tony Espinoza Photography)
“Q&A with Chef Ryan Martin of 180° @ The DRB” This young chef has taken a favorite downtown spot and infused it with new life, making 180° @ The DRB one of the greatest gastropubs in the city. He was nice enough to let me interview him about food, beer, and Miami. Here’s what he had to say.
“Brunch with a View” What’s Miami if not the city with the best views? These places offer serious eye candy with their meals.
“4 Beer Lovers Brunch Spots” Gastropubs have been happily taking over the food scene in this city, making beer-centric brunches beautifully accessible. You’ll see The Mighty and 180° @ The DRB mentioned again in this list because they’ve seriously earned their spots here. I’m also featuring Lou’s Beer Garden and Batch Gastropub. Thoughts? Any others I should have considered?
“Custom Dining at Romeo’s Cafe” Chef Romeo Majano recently invited me to try his restaurant, Romeo’s Cafe, where there is no menu, but rather an agreement between you and the experienced chef that you’ll trust him to make you something he thinks you’ll love and you’ll eagerly gobble it up in return. It works. Trust me.
“Peruvian Food in Doral: 3 Top Spots” I know this may be a topic of contention for those of you who are either Peruvian or have a sincere appreciation for the cuisine. These are my go-to spots in Doral. But I’m happy to check out some others. Let me know what they are!
“A Taste of Napa in West Kendall: Chef Adrianne’s” I first tried Chef Adrianne’s during Miami Spice on a Saturday morning while camped out by the door in hopes of snagging a spot at the bar in the fully-committed restaurant. I admittedly gave a bit of the stink eye to a few of the (much older) regulars out there with me, but my strategy worked and I’m not above doing it again (I see you, grandma.)
“3 Romantic French Restaurants in Miami” Butter. Wine. Cream. More butter and wine. What’s not to love about French food? While you’ve likely heard of Palm d’Or and db Bistro Moderne, I have to wholeheartedly recommend Downtown Bistro, an incredibly charming spot that offers the kind of food you want to photograph and then devour. If you can’t make it for lunch or dinner during the week, be sure to check out their brunch menu on weekends.
SHOP: “Miami’s 3 Essential Vintage Stores” This article was written by another contributor, but I agreed with all three spots she featured. I shop as well as consign at Second Time Around, and I’m always amazed at the deals I score (i.e. like-new L.A.M.B. heels for $69). (Photo credit above: Kristen Taylor.)
PLAY: I suppose everyone’s definition of “play” varies a little bit. For me, it involves cooking, spending time at the spa, indulging in a couple of glasses of champagne, and doing a little thrift shopping. Sometimes the latter overlap. (And those are some of the best shopping decisions I’ve made.)
“Cooking Class at the Biltmore Culinary Academy” If you like to cook in any capacity, this is the way to go about it while learning from the best. The kitchen classroom is beautifully stocked and it doesn’t hurt that you can have a glass of your favorite wine while working. (Photo credit above: Biltmore Hotel.)
“Day Date: 3 Top Miami Spas” I’m all about quality time at the spa. And while my husband isn’t exactly the spa type, I’ve checked out each of these places and would even treat myself for a day out on my own. #TreatYoSelf.
STAY: I’m still exploring this topic. I know there are some spectacular spots to stay in Miami and the Beaches. These are just two that combine some great options that all add up to fantastic staycation options. If you have any suggestions for my next exploration, let me know!
“Acqualina Resort in Sunny Isles Beach” I recently had the chance to check out Acqualina’s spa in Sunny Isles Beach and have to say I was seriously impressed. It’s a luxury resort on the beach with a limited amount of all-balcony suites. You just can’t beat that for staying in town and treating yourself to a weekend of pure indulgence. This is one to splurge on.
“Trump National Doral” The multimillion dollar renovation that took over this place is impressive. There’s more than a few options for golf, plus poolside cabanas with flat screen TV’s and a few glam dining options that make this an ideal staycation spot not very far from home. (Photo credit above: Trump Doral.)