Usually, the four of us travel each summer (New York, Las Vegas, Toronto, and Colorado). However, when I wanted to make a trip to Miami for my birthday, the crew was absolutely down for a tropical escape from Chiberia.
We were grateful we avoided the freezing rain warnings and were able to fly down to Miami Wednesday evening. We checked into our Airbnb in Miami Beach, and we passed out.
Thursday, February 7, 2019
I woke up and ran, enjoying the sunshine and sports bra weather.
After I showered, we headed to Wynwood, the Art District. We got breakfast from the Salty Donut, and I had the best donut of my life, which I do not say lightly. White chocolate tres leches — the bottom was dipped in white chocolate, and the inside was a slight custard (but not too gooey), and the topping was a whipped white chocolate. Oh my goodness gracious.
We walked around Wynwood the rest of the morning. Wynwood Walls was mostly closed for a private event, but all the murals in the entire area were so fascinating and fun to explore.
We ate lunch at MyCeviche, which was like a Chipotle for seafood. Super yummy bowls at a fast casual place.
We picked up groceries from Publix, especially since we needed to pack lunches for our Friday. And Publix because, well, Florida.
We were losing steam, but I encouraged the group to keep going. I would rather us nap by the ocean than in our Airbnb, so we did. It was a gorgeous day, and we got there late enough that it wasn’t super busy.
Sorry not sorry for a shameless beach photo shoot.
We stayed at Soho House for dinner, and it was a bomb feast. After this picture, we ordered more yuca tots (stuffed with cheese omfg) and I ordered another kale pizza. For dessert, we had key lime pie. Little did we know we would be foodies for the weekend.
Friday, February 8, 2019
We started our morning early by renting a car for a day trip to the Everglades. We made a pit stop at Knaus Berry Farms for their famous cinnamon rolls, and they did not disappoint.
We made several stops throughout the Everglades, seeing many alligators and other wildlife. The park was beautiful, but honestly it felt more like we were observing 1. tourists mostly from other countries 2. Florida residents. I swear Florida is a social experiment, and after being in my Chicago bubble, it brings me back to the reality of the world.
The best stop was in Cooperstown for their “famous airboat tour,” a chill little tour throughout the marshes.
On the way back from the Everglades, we ate at Pollo Tropical, another chain that was more fast food but still gave some solid sustenance after a busy day. We were ratchet and ate it in our car, so enjoy the high quality pictures. Yuca tots became our staple for the weekend, but we weren’t huge fans of the sweet plantains.
We napped, then we rallied to go out. We started at Nikki Beach, where everyone was still eating dinner until midnight. Then we went to the Wall Lounge at the W. Oh boy.
As an 18+ club, that means there are like 15 year olds there. Then I realized that almost 25, I am the same distance away from 15 year olds as 5 and 15 year olds. Woof.
The music was also really bad. Like they played basic music, but there were no remixes, no drops, no individuality. Le sigh.
We made a quick trip around the club and decided we were over it. I’ll leave it at that. Is my age showing?
Saturday, February 9, 2019
I was debating between taking a CrossFit class and Barry’s class. Barry’s was waitlisted, so I checked out the Reebok CrossFit Miami Beach. The half outdoors facility looked like it was made for a Sweatworking event, and it was an awesome partner WOD.
We went to Little Havana and explored the Cuban area of Miami. Intermittent rain showers kept us on our toes, but we loved exploring this neighborhood.
I rarely buy souvenirs, but I picked up a few Cuban cigars. I had no idea there were so many options!
We ate lunch at Old Havana’s, and I tried a Cubano — Cuban bread, ham, pork, Swiss, mustard, and pickles. It was massive but so good. With live music in the restaurant and enormous plates, that was the most quiet meal we shared all weekend.
For dessert, we stopped across the street for Azucar. I got their most popular Abuela Maria: vanilla with guava, cream cheese, and Maria cookies. I loved it, but I couldn’t help but laugh at another flavor: “Burn in Hell, Fidel.”
We headed back to Miami Beach to explore the Art Deco of South Beach. It was raining more, so we popped in and out of stores. Brunchers were still raging, so there was prime people watching.
Later, we ate dinner at Cantina 27 near our Airbnb for some Italian food. I ordered what sounded like Pear Pasta, the beloved dish from Osteria dell Anima in Rome. Alas, it was not like that, but it was still very good.
The rest of the crew went to the Broken Shaker at the Freehand for drinks, but I went home early. In bed by 10:30 — my age is definitely showing.
Sunday, February 10, 2019
We had been anticipating more rain for our last day, but when I woke up early and saw the forecast had cleared, I headed for a run to check the cloudy sunrise.
We checked out of our Airbnb and dropped our stuff off at Soho. We endured the wind and ate brunch nearby at the Tavern.
For the rest of the day, we relaxed by the beach and pool. Ugh, it felt so good to just CHILL. And drink pina coladas, of course.
We ate dinner at Soho and hoped our flight wouldn’t be too delayed with all of Chicago’s snow. I had a plant-based pad Thai with salmon, and we finished with the most decadent desserts: Tres Leches and plant-based cashew cream cheese. We ate reaaaaal good on this trip.
We reflected on our favorite parts of the trip: Kylie and Garett liked Wynwood, I liked Little Havana, and Marc liked the Everglades. Overall, we agreed how nice it was to plan in more chill time instead of hustling and bustling on end. Also, Soho. Bless. My best investment.
Despite the delays, it was an amazing trip, as both a vacation from winter and a celebration for my birthday. Traveling is one of my favorite things in the world because I cherish experiences more than any material items, and I love constantly seeing the world from new perspectives. It makes me grateful for the life I’ve created for myself and for the friends that are always down for adventures with me.