January 23, 2009

What's good in Miami?

I might go to Miami for a week. There's one specific thing I'll be doing, but what else can I do? Where to stay? Where to eat? Where to photowalk?


American Liberal Elite said...

Try lunch at the News Cafe on South Beach.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Well, you can come listen to me play music!

As for photo-walking...try South Beach, obviously, or Coral Gables and the Miracle Mile. Experience the amazing Spanish/Deco architecture around there.

Photoblog the Holocaust Museum.

The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables is amazing.

Drive down to the Keys!

Come up to Fort Lauderdale, the Venice of America, and photoblog the yachts.

Little Havana. The Versailles Cafe.

Come listen to me play music.

The Luna Star Cafe, a little left-wing bar in North Miami, with the best selection of beers in town, and live folksie and blues/roots music most nights as well.

The Seminole Museum, out in the Everglades.

Split the difference: Go to Coconut Grove!

Trooper York said...

Take off your sun glasses and speak very slowly at the start of every sentence like David Caruso.

Jason said...

Also, you have to watch Scarface before you come.

EDH said...

Take off you sun glasses and speak very slowly at the start of every sentence like David Caruso.

Also, you have to watch Scarface before you come.

Or maybe visit the location where "a bunch of wacked Indians" tried to chainsaw Tony Montana at the Sun Ray Motel.

At least pull the sleeves of your pastel blazer up to your elbows and don't wear socks under your loafers.

ricpic said...

Is the Basel Art Fair running? It seems to be running constantly down there. There's a Miami art district that I hear is worth visiting.

Lauderdale has a funky vibe.

Matt Brown said...

Watch out for Dexter while you're down there. Wait - you're a good person, so he'll probably leave you alone.

If you're there for a week, take Jason's advice and spend a day driving to Key West. Stop at Hemingway's house so you can photograph his cats.

Bob said...

Joe's Stone Crab for seafood.

Trooper York said...

Get a copy of the phone book for Century Village and make a list of all the Cohens that you didn't sleep with.

ricpic said...

Between Troop and Meade there's an unseemly revolt brewing. I say apply the ruler, teach.

Jorge Schmidt said...

El Exquisito on 8th St. is probably the best Cuban food in town. Fairchild Tropical Gardens is great to visit with this weather, as are the Deering Estate, the Kampong Gardens, and Vizcaya. You may want to check out Knaus Berry Farm, the winter home of an Indiana Mennonite group: they sell delicious cinnamon rolls and milkshakes. The Wolfsonian Museum showcases propaganda art. The oldest bar is Tobacco Road.

Have fun at the election law symopsium.

Trooper York said...

That's not fair ricpic. Pretty much everyone who posts here is revolting.

the Rising Jurist said...

I second Vizcaya.

Original George said...


7:32 a.m EST

February 12

TV does not begin to show what it is like.

Palladian said...

What's good in Miami?


JohnAnnArbor said...

She'll have to drive up north for the shuttle.

I saw a launch from Orlando. All you see is the climbing column of smoke, but it's still wild to know there are people riding the thing you're watching.

birdie bob said...

Ask the expert -- Victoria!

JAL said...

Beat me to it.

I was going to suggest you have lunch with Victoria. She's somewhere down there.

LonewackoDotCom said...

1. See if you can find anything approaching elevation gain; maybe there's a bump in a road somewhere or something.

2. Put on your intellectually honest hat and try to verify this negative statement about Miami.

3. Give my regards to Brandi Belle.

rhhardin said...

There's nothing to do in Miami unless you have a girlfriend living there.

Ann Althouse said...

"There's nothing to do in Miami unless you have a girlfriend living there."

What if I have a boyfriend there?

Ophir said...

Wrestle with an alligator

Trooper York said...

"What if I have a boyfriend there?"

You would have to revise your list.

TitusI'mSorrySoSorry said...

Miami's gross.

You can go to Versace's mansion which is now a restaurant.

I hate Miami. I hate Florida.

There are a bunch of fags in South Beach so stay away from there. they will try and recruit you.

I have had sex in Miami, like 4 or 5 times. It was ok. Too much foreskin though. No one is cut in Miami.

My neighbors in my building just got back and said it was 50 degrees there this week. Hopefully you will have better weather.

Make sure you get a some butt floss. That is the required swimsuit.

chickenlittle said...

What birdie bob and JAL said.

Jason said...

"no one is cut in Miami."

You didn't get around much, did you?

--Esther, Rachael, naomi and Sarah, the four horsemen of the Apocovitz.

joewxman said...

head to gulfstream in Hallendale...and play the 4 horse in the 3rd race.

paul a'barge said...

eat a lot of cuban food. Gloria Esteban has a restaurant on So. Miami Beach and it's good.

Check out Miami Ink, the tattoo shop on So. Miami Beach.

Definitely see The Vizcaya museum.

Eat at Joes Stone Crab Shack (not a shack

Do the Everglades if you have time. Spring for one of those boat tours in the flat bottom boats driven by huge fans.

Shop at Coral Gables Miracle Mile.

Ditto on the Keys, especially Key West although that's a 2 day investment really.

Palladian said...

"I have had sex in Miami, like 4 or 5 times. It was ok. Too much foreskin though. No one is cut in Miami."

You've sure changed your tune. See Althouse, I told you this was a fake titus.

chuck b. said...

On of the Titus' seems to know English as a second language (and I think he's the funnier one), and another Titus writes like a native (less funny, more tedious).

chuck b. said...

Miami didn't do anything for me, but Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, near Boca, was worth the 45 min. drive, imo.

Darcy said...

I love Miami and I second the Versailles.

chuck b. said...

Actually, that should be "tituses" not "Titus'". Titi?

Big Mike said...

There are many parts of Miami where you wouldn't care to be alone on foot after dark, and not a small number where you shouldn't be even in broad daylight with a number of armed guards. Liberty City for instance. I haven't been there in years, so I'm not current on where's safe and where's not. In your shoes I'd check before I went.

There used to be a nude beach down there. Be sure you know the rules before you photo-blog from there.

TitusI'mSorrySoSorry said...

OK, I am heading out soon but I do have to say Palladian you make me laugh.

You sound like Nancy Drew on some caper.

You are a researcher and archivist and I admire your diligence. A little too much work for me but go for it.

I didnt' say I dindn't like uncut hog in this posting. Just that that is all I got while in Miami. I am fine with uncut hog but I like a little more variety.

Can't you dig up one of my posts where I go indepth on Paki hog cheese? I think some of those posts show my quandry regarding the uncut hog.

dick said...

I think there is an Art Deco celebration going on from Jan 24 to Feb 8 or something like that. I remember reading it in the Miami Herald. Might be worth looking into.

If Lexington Green comments again, ask him. I seem to remember that he used to post photos of Miami on Chicago Boyz blog.

ark said...

I also agree with the recommendation for Versailles.

But if you do go, be aware that the locals pronounce it "vir-SALES" and not "ver-SIGH"

Darcy said...

I like the Marriott Biscayne Bay a lot. Pretty view.

vbspurs said...

What's good in Miami?!



vbspurs said...

Definitely see The Vizcaya museum.

Definitely do not go to Vizcaya. It's a compendium of tschokes that some dude with too much money aggregated in his lifetime.

Seriously, it's not worth the visit. If you can, go to the Henry Flagler Museum in Palm Beach (my parents have a home there, in case of interest in a meetup. Well, I would have to ask, even though it's technically my house, arggh! Anyway...).


vbspurs said...

To give you tips, Ann, I need an idea of how much you are willing to spend. I know how you are by now, and that you like pretty much the same things I do, happy, well-to-do, elegant people, for one.

But what _I_ can do for free, a tourist has to do with money.

For example, I would suggest staying at the Delano on the Beach, because it is THE place to stay if you want eclectic d├ęcor. But it's $$$ and with this economy...

However, it's within walking distance of Laundry Bar though, where, yes, you can have a drink as you watch your panties spinning in the Maytag.

The Biltmore is inland in the Mayfair (London) equivalent part of Miami, Coral Gables. But it's stately, rather than fashionable. There is a Duke and Duchess of Windsor suite, which is supposedly haunted.

OTOH, it's near Miracle Mile, which is a wonderful place to relax, catch a play, and have a goatcheese and turkey sandwich in the best bookstore in Miami -- Books & Books.

You can also go to Merrick Place, an open-air mall which is boring, but full of South American matrons toting around their Yorkies in LV handbags.

I heard a rather voluble British girl is always there too.


Darcy said...

If you drive out onto Key Biscayne you can park just a few feet from the beach and you'll get a beautiful view of the city from there.

vbspurs said...

Oh, I think I figured out why Ann is coming over. Since she didn't mention specifics, and probably doesn't want people to know, I won't say. But if I got it right, say hi to David B. for me.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Apparently you can see the shuttle from Miami.

Christy said...

Victoria, I'll agree Vizcaya is over the top conspicous consumption, but the Italian Rennaisance Festival there was magical. For those of us who did not grow up around ancient buildings, it is tremendous fun and a fantasy house.

vbspurs said...

Hey Christy!

I agree that my origins may make me a little sniffy about Vizcaya. What's an 80 year old house compared to Windsor Castle, yadda yadda.

But really, Vizcaya is only good for its manicured grounds. The interior is unspectacular, and except for the courtyard, rather small for a mansion.

You mention the Italian Renaissance Fair. That was always great (just went there twice), but it's now held in Hialeah Park -- as usual, in March. :)

Nichevo said...

Blogger chuck b. said...

Actually, that should be "tituses" not "Titus'". Titi?

6:41 PM

How about "Titties?"

Ann, try sex on the beach. No, not the drink. Drive up Collins Avenue about 3, 4am. On the right will be, I forget where, an open access beachfront. No one there, no one will bother you. You will need a sheet or at least a towel, unless you stick resolutely to doggystyle. You have about till sunrise.

Beforehand, don't forget about all the Early Bird specials! And near the airport there is a diner, I think the name was or included "Grandma's," where on the table for nosherei - free! - they put strips of miniature cheese Danishes. Yum!

Oh and you, or your man, might like some deep-sea fishing. You can afford it. Good times.

MadisonMan said...

What's good in Miami? The weather.

Methadras said...

Miami is fun. Lots of temptation. Have fun. :D

Michael H said...

How about "Titties?"

Good idea. I recommend Haulover Beach.

Take lots of sunblock. Take lots of photos.

John Burgess said...

Michael H: Thanks for that. There's no naturist beach on the west coast of the peninsula that's accessible without a boat. FL is very prudish when it comes to beaches.

Oh, and no-smoking on the beaches in Sarasota Co., either...

marakara said...

I stayed at the Fontainebleau Hotel at Christmas. Fabulous hotel right on the beach.

jeff said...

"Can't you dig up one of my posts where I go indepth on Paki hog cheese?"

Oh, God. Please don't.

vbspurs said...

I stayed at the Fontainebleau Hotel at Christmas. Fabulous hotel right on the beach.

Oh my goodness! Who are you? My aunt tried to get reservations there, but was turned away as it was booked solid (and she's got connexions).

The Fountainebleu (formerly Fontainebleu-Hilton) only JUST re-opened, after an extensive multi-year remodelling.

It was the scene of James Bond's "Goldfinger". :)

Diddy also gave a New Year's Eve party there that locals are still talking about.


cubanbob said...

Ann Miami is for all practical purposes 70 miles long and 20 miles deep. Coral Gables is very nice, so is Coconut Grove and South Miami.
Old Cutler road is lovely and to the north is Miami Beach, SoBe and NoBe followed by Sunny Isles/Haulover Breach (where the nude beach is, my apt. overlooks it). Going up A1A is Hollywood Beach (very funky and old Florida touristy on the boardwalk) and the Circle (a more downscale south beach) and going a little further is Ft. Lauderdale with its downtown area, Riverwalk and Las Olas among other areas.

Calle Ocho is basically gone to seed but it still has a few things like cigar factories and the traditional Cuban places. At the bottom of 8th is Brickell Ave and Mary Brickell Village. Mid town Miami (MiMo) is slowly becoming a more affordable and more authentic version of what South Beach was. Still seedy and trendy at the same time with nice little restaurants along US1 in the sixties. The Design district has its galleries (struggling) and hip little restaurants with the galleries open late every second Saturday. There are some interesting galleries and restaurants in little Haiti as well.

Without knowing what you like or what your budget is, its hard to make any real suggestions other than general areas. If you like boating, Miami is truly spectacular from the water on the open bay. Someone had mentioned the Rusty Pelican, good but not extraordinary. But the views of the bay and city are spectacular, especially at sunset, ask for the windows seating directly on the bay.
There is Bayside in Downtown Miami, touristy but still worth a shot for strolling around for a couple of hours.

Anything north of Ft. Lauderdale is boring. All generic white bread. Orlando is OK if you have kids. Otherwise there is no reason to ever go there. Take the So.Cal theme parks, drop them in to Irvine and strip it of any hills and water and you have Orlando.

From Mid Miami to the Upper Keys is about one hour (Key Largo, Islamorada) and the glades about the same. Now its the time for the glades, in the summer it is unbearably hot and sticky and full of mosquito's. The Lower Keys and Key West is about 3 hours during the week if the traffic is not to bad on US 1 south and that is always a bit of fun.

This time of the year So. Fl is paradise. In the summer its hell. Enjoy your stay.

Ann Althouse said...

First,who is David B.?

Second, I intend to pay for a luxury hotel. That appeals to me. I want it to be in a good, walkable location. I'm actually not into travel. I don't like much of anything about it. So I'd like the illusion of living somewhere interesting for a few days. I don't lie around on the beach. Hare too much sun, really. I care about architecture and cafes.

Third, I would consider doing a meetup if I thought there were enough readers in the area who would do it. I've done reader meetips in Boston, NY, LA, SF, and Madison.

traditionalguy said...

You will enjoy Miami because it is not like the rest of Florida. There is an edgy tension you get where different cultures mix in a bordertown atmosphere. The excitement is palpable. The food is great. And the police are evident everywhere. The night clubs are worth visiting to watch creative interactions among the beautiful younger single people, and also feeling glad you are not facing being that age today.

David said...

Check out a Sedano's, a local supermarket chain started by a Cuban refugee in the 1960's. Its THE PLACE where hispanics (that's nearly everyone) go to shop. Might make some good photo ops.

Have fun!

Lindsay said...

Ann -
I assure you that the one and only best restaurant in Miami is Hy Vong, a French-Vietnamese restaurant on 8th St (Calle Ocho). It is not visited by tourists - there are no hotels nearby, nor tacky sunglasses and t-shirts for sale. It is almost directly across the street from the center of Cuban life, Versailles, the cafe on Calle Ocho. Yet many Cubans have never even heard of Hy Vong.

But trust me -- it is well worth the 20 minute drive from South Beach. I clerked in Miami for several years and was saddest to leave Hy Vong, not the beaches, the weather, or the culture.

You will dream about the food at Hy Vong. The owners will charm you (they are a Vietnamese refugee and the woman who helped settle her in this country), with one acting as hostess and the other in the kitchen.
You will want to return to Miami just to visit this place again.

Best dishes (though it is very hard to choose): chicken in pastry with watercress cream cheese, sea bass with mango, steamed pork rolling cakes, chicken and sweet potato curry, and of course, divine pumpkin soup.

Just go!!

commenter said...


did i tell you i traveled to wisconsin on friday. well actually just in my mind. I did a three tour sauna again and took my waterproof beatles mp 3 player in there with me. what's the song that was playing? something about going places in your mind. Yes. I knew I had my badger birch oil waiting for me on the end cycle so i went to my grandparent's cottage on the lake, right their in my mind in 150, 60, 70 plus temps. (matters what level you sit on.) None of the kids use the sauna. Either they are afraid of the nudity that is required or they can't stand the heat.

so anyway, that ol wisconsin from my early, early childhood was still there. pure and simple. as for miama either you take the luxury route or you don't Luxury is usually less to me after about four days. for you it could be more. don't forget the spa treatments.

BJM said...

The best real people watching is definitely the Miracle Mile on a weekend afternoon and the Fairchild is a photog's dream, if you dig botanical gardens.

I personally do not care for the Glades air boat rides, they're noisy and being hurled through a nature reserve at 75 miles an hour is, in IMHO, a waste of bug repellent. You might enjoy this much more. I'd recommend staying overnight.

The Delano! Yes! A magical, Grecian-Miami hybrid, especially if you're with someone special you might want to pop for a bungalow. You only live once.

Lowe's is excellent too, certainly not on the same level of enchantment as the Delano of course, but a luxe, civilized, well run hotel, as is the Mandarin and you may get upgrades, preferred bookings and such through your professional affiliations and associations.

vbspurs said...

David Boies. *never mind*

The Delano, it is. Book early, book often!

As for the meetup, I don't do crowds.


Janet MNS said...

The Delano is nice but wayyy overcrowded with the beautiful people. If mingling with 3,000 of your closest 20-something friends isn't for you, go next door to the National and check out their late 30s art deco bar. Its like walking into a Bogart movie. The Biltmore is wonderful but you'll need a car. Miracle Mile is overrated--mostly bridal shops and antiques, but the residential neighborhood surrounding the Biltmore is simply incredible with its Spanish and moorish architecture--especially Columbus Street. Check out Lincoln Road on SoBe.

BJM said...

Oh...a few more places to eat. Carpaccio in Bal Harbour is the best trattoria style Italian food in Miami, hands down. Sit on the patio for optimum people watching and of course stroll off the carbs wandering the shops. The idle rich and famous (and wannabees) are always fun to mock. We recently spied an well-known director and his niece swan up in a Ferrari and share a plate of Insalata Caprese (one of their signature dishes).

Joe's crab shack is fine for stone crab, but 99% of the menu is bland tourist fare.

Nobu is where we go for seafood and The Shore Club is another luxe hotel to consider.

If you get to Lauderdale and Las Olas, Johnny V's is excellent, just be sure when you reserve that Vinczencz is in the kitchen otherwise pass. A must have is the wild mushroom shortstack, the red chili venison chop is superb and leave room to share one his infamous cheese based desserts. Yum. The restaurant is small and it can be noisy, we usually aim for the early seating at 9:00 PM.

Remember Sth FL/Miami is on Latin time, nothing gets going before 10-11 PM.

Oh...and if you stay at the Delano or Lowe's there's a little French pastry/caffe shop just north of the hotel on the same side of the street, La Province I think it is called, ex-cel-lent.

Beth said...

I am going to save these recommendations - we keep talking about going to Miami during a semester break.

Several TV references (David Caruso, Dexter) - I'd be on the lookout for Bruce Campbell. He's one of my boy crushes. It's like Elvis got older, got fat, but stayed cool. I love me some Bruce.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cubanbob said...

BJM is is spot on. Hy Vong is great. There are so many, many great places to eat. Ann if you want a real interesting experience try Tatiana's in Hallandale. A Russian nightclub that is way over the top. Great food, real gangsters (and no doubt FBI agents)and on the weeks an almost surreal show. Moscow meets Vegas in a strip mall in Hallandale. The place is so over the top you have to see it believe it. It may well be the only place that has spent millions in decor and yet is in a strip mall across from a Boston market and near a WalMart. Indeed where else in America could you find such a place and be with in a two mile circle from a casino/racetrack and ten million dollar homes? The shows are on the weekend. If the beach is not your thing, stay at the Biltmore in the Gables or perhaps a small (and small room) place like Hotel Place St. Michel. You will need to get a car to get about the entire area. Near there on 42 Avenue is Grazianos, an excellent Argentian steakhouse if you a steak lover. In Ft. Lauderdale on Las Olas there is also a small hotel across from Johny V's. Can't remember the name but is is charming. On the beach in south beach, the chi chi places are expensive, very expensive and mostly small with lots of noise coming in to the room. You may want to check out the Clinton on South Beach, not so high end but near enough to be acceptable and all of it in walking distance of Ocean and Lincoln and Alton roads.

BJM said...

cubanbob, Tatiana's Yes, yes, yes!

We were dragged there under protest by friends. Totally bizarre fun.

There are so many "Miami's" and that is part of it's allure but the variety can be a challenge for a short stay and you will need a rental car. Of course you could hole up in a fabulous hotel with a spa and totally relax; be indulged. We did that in Venice one muggy summer, never left the Cipriani.

commenter said...

Miami is in oxford . i am sure rhardin would know.

today on the menu:

"Quantitative Reasoning - Making Numbers Count" Seminar

Caleb Trent said...

swim with dolfins

Tharami said...

Party with an underground feel at Arkadia Nightclub! Arkadia is know for the best parties on south beach today With sick performances.top miami clubs