When one of your best friends calls you and asks you if you want to go to Miami for the weekend, you say yes. When you’re nervous about your preexisting jet lag and how you’ll survive the heat, you just have to let it go.

This past weekend I spent in the land of hot, hot, hot Miami with my dear friend Amanda for some rest and relaxation. I will admit I was intimidated because of my previous travels, but the weekend was ultimately restful and filled with delicious food and lots of time by the pool.

We stayed at Kaskades, a boutique hotel part of the Gale in South Beach. The rooms are gorgeous, the staff is great (when they remember who you are!) and the amenities are clutch. Our flight here was a bit of a nightmare, having to be diverted due to weather. We spent a few hours circling the airport until we “ran low on fuel.” Ultimately though, as soon as we had checked into the hotel and situated ourselves by the pool, it was as if none of the bad weather had occurred.

For dinner on our first night we went to Beach Craft, located in the 1 Hotel. The rooftop of the 1 is absolutely breathtaking, and fabulous. Lounge chairs and couches everywhere, a stunning pool and great views of the ocean and city. Our dinner was downstairs, where I enjoyed beet salad, roasted octopus and blackened grouper. I had the most amazing glass of sparking rose (Lallier Rose), which I later discovered was $35/glass. Luckily we had a friend who paid for our drinks!

The following day, I woke up early and went for a very sweaty, hot run through South Beach (it ended of course at Starbucks). I strolled around the board walk, and eventually made my way back to the hotel. Once Amanda woke up, we grabbed lunch at the hotel restaurant (omelettes) and headed straight to the pool. We spent a few hours relaxing, and decided to check out the board walk and head over to Bodega for a late lunch.

Bodega is a fabulous taco bar (and a nightclub later in the evening). I had the mahi mahi and mushroom tacos. The mahi mahi taco was out of this world. Feeling indulgent, we also split a peach margarita before walking down Lincoln street on our way back to the hotel. Lincoln Street is like Newbury St. in Boston or Fifth Avenue in New York. A quick pit stop at both MAC and BCBG and we returned to spend another few hours at the pool before our dinner reservations at Jose Andres’ tapas restaurant, Bazaar.

LN2 Caipirinha

I’ve been to Jaleo before (another Jose Andres restaurant in DC) and was thrilled that we were able to get a reservation at Bazaar, albeit super late. Even more exciting, was that they had a gluten free menu! The meal was amazing, and filled with surprises throughout the night. Including the LN2 Caipirinha (a rum drink that is frozen at the table with liquid nitrogen), extra courses (including the Japanese tacos and bite size rice cups filled with deliciousness) and fabulous complimentary desserts at the end (the banana mojito and s’mores dessert).

For my meal, I had patatas bravas (of course!), Brussels sprouts with lemon and raisins, the garlic sautéed shrimp and endives filled with tangerine segments and goat cheese. Every bite was fantastic and I left completely stuffed (and ready for some sleep!).

On our last day in Miami, I woke up early again and went for a walk along the board walk while enjoying a large iced coffee. After Amanda woke up, we headed to the pool for a final hurrah, before packing our bags and heading to brunch. Luckily I had looked at where we were going beforehand, because we discovered that there are two restaurants called Hyde Beach. One was around the corner from us, the other one was 13 miles away! We ended up having brunch at the restaurant at the Raleigh hotel. The food was fabulous, the service was meh. My favorite was that they brought over a whole avocado as a side.

We opted to spend our final afternoon at the rooftop pool and bar at the 1 Hotel. The views here are breathtaking. There is a live DJ throughout the afternoon, and plenty of sun and shade. We decided a repeat visit was in need, but this time we’d stay here! Best part? The people watching. Our final meal involved poke and sushi from the 1 Hotel’s menu, and we made our way back to Boston in one piece.

Overall, Miami is a vibrant city. It reminded me a lot of an American Barcelona. The people are beautiful and fascinating to watch. The food scene is crazy and delicious. I had the best tacos of my life here, and will definitely dream about them until I return. It’s a perfect long weekend getaway.

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