It was a last minute decision to go to Miami. I didn’t want to look like a total jerk for going without my best friends (we made a half-solid pact to all go together for the first time), so I tried to justify the trip by assuring them “- It’s only to eat.” I was not lying.
I flew into FLL on Jet Blue where I met up with a friend and drove about 45 mins to Miami. We literally drove straight to Versailles where we went to work. A classic Cubano, rice with beans, plantains, chicken, pork, and of course a Cuban mojito. We scarfed it down as quickly as possible, because this was not a game. I knew of this restaurant because I had went to the location once in Venice Beach when I lived in Los Angeles, right after my interview with The Chive. I didn’t get the job, but I had a beer on an interview which was a first (and maybe a last? Unless — @StoneBrewingSanDiego, check out my resumé!)
I don’t need to tell you that it was hot. Miami in the middle of summer; you’ve got the picture. If it wasn’t for the beauty and the culture on Calle Ocho, I would have been miserable. UGH, IT WAS SO HOT.
So then why did I have a hot Café Cubano? Because I had to. Thank God I did, because it was divine. I usually don’t use that word (sometimes it comes off as pretentious. I heard a pretentious guy say it once) But, it was. It’s sweetness matched it’s bitterness, their caffeinated child was a warm welcome.
Bellies full, we meandered down Calle Ocho in Little Havana for some ice cream at Azucar (flavor pictured: abuela maria). I bought a hat because I have a hat addiction, and I picked up a Cuban-style cigar because I felt like I had to (it’s Miami!) I’ll let you know how it is once I actually have it, ’cause I still need a cigar cutter (?) I don’t know how these things work, man. I just know that I do all of the tourist-y stuff.
We were all too psyched to drive down to Key Largo the next day. When I say too psyched, I mean it was way over anticipated. Turns out, Key Largo’s beaches (the only thing to see there) are for guests at hotels and residents with private property. As in, we drove two hours to not see anything. Thanks a lot, Beach Boys. Thankfully I had just enough service to Yelp (FWP, right?) so that we could hit up our Key Largo Key Lime Pie. Delicious! Was it worth the two hour drive in itself? I don’t know! Probably not! But I guess the experience is part of the fun. That’s what’s written on memes with pictures of tropical images, anyway.
But you know, I can’t whine when it comes to food. We checked out Key Largo Fisheries, went to town on some fried mahi, conch fritters, crab, conch salad. I never had conch before this trip, so I’m glad I’m not the same 17 year old girl who bitched about fish anymore because it was so great, you guys. We kinda just sat there after we ate to soak in the scene. You know when you’re so full you just sit there, half-awake and wonder if the restaurant will kick you out if you fell asleep right then and there? It was like that.
The next morning we woke up excited AF ’cause we knew it was time for a bakery breakfast. Just thinking about it makes me filled with happiness. Actually, just give me a second.
Okay, I’m good.
So we ventured out to Vicky Bakery in Coral Gables and rolled up our sleeves. Papa rellenas (potato ball with meat), pastelitos de guayaba (guava pastry), pastelitos de queso crema (cream cheese pastry), and of course café con leche. Oh god, the café con leche! GIVE ME ANOTHER SECOND, GUYS —————————— k.
Later that day it started to rain. It wasn’t a scary sort of storm, like I had worried about. It didn’t last long. In fact, the rain cooled everything down so much that it got a little chilly and the ocean water at South Beach remained at a warm temperature. It was perfect! We swam for a while where there was definitely something suspect about a lady in the water who seemed to have swiftly moved places so quickly.
I loved walking down Ocean Drive. I had to snap a picture of the Pelican Café because it reminded me of my favorite line from this ridiculously hilarious children’s remake of Scarface (“Fly, Pelican, Fly!”). You have to watch it. Actually, watch it first, then come back and finish this post.
It was great, right? I know. I watch it every day.
Later that night, we had a midnight dinner at Versailles (again). Cubano sandwiches somehow more delicious than the first, more meat, more garlic bread, and picadillo-stuffed yuca balls. And more café con leche. It was truly a beautiful night. I think I almost cried?
The next morning we got up at 3am. We had to drive back to FLL, drop off the car, and begin the “non-revenue” game of trying to make flights. Since Sundays are always a busy fly day, I had to end up going from FLL – LAX – DAL – AUS. Luckily, all Virgin America flights have lots of movies to choose and purchase (I watched Get Hard), plus they have an awesome seat-to-seat chatting feature which is a lot of fun.
It was such an awesome trip, I can’t wait to go again. The only thing I’d do differently is bring my sweatpants to wear so I can eat more without my GAP jeans cutting into my belly.