where mariel went: miami

My family and I recently visited Miami to see relatives and explore south/southeastern Florida. We ate good food, saw beautiful sights, and enjoyed our time with each other. Here are pictures and recommendations gathered from the trip.

food recommendation :: Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine

doggis-graphic-wmm

Whilst in Miami, we stayed with my lovely cousin, Elisa, who grew up in Venezuela. When she offered to take us to one of her favorite arepa places, of course we followed willingly. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with arepas, a picture follows and they are basically pita-ish pockets made of maize dough and stuffed with meats, cheese, avocado, etc. (Also, I am predicting/strongly hoping that arepas blow up in the “food fad” industry sometime soon, so they are more readily available everywhere. Just imagine that, arepas being the next cronut or ramen burger. Think about it.)

Santa Barbara Arepa
the santa barbara arepa

pepito
pepito de churrasco

what we got:

After spending a couple days in Miami, we ventured to South Beach for a day and tasted Argentinian cuisine. We had to wait quite a while for our food when the restaurant seemed relatively empty, but the food was fresh and delicious.

honorable mention :: 920 Grill Steakhouse

parrilla2
parrilla platter (photo by Laurel Kim)
parrilla
photo by Laurel Kim
parrillameal
photo by Laurel Kim

what we got:

  • Argentine Parrillada for Two (a huge meat platter that fed our family of 5)
  • Fresh Garden Salad (a tad bit too oily for my taste)
  • Spaghetti Pomodoro e Basilico (very good, simple spaghetti with tomato basil sauce)
  • Grilled Vegetables (came with the parrilla)
  • complementary bread bowl + chive butter

Our next big stop was Key West. We drove across the Florida Keys and crossed a whopping 42 bridges. At this point, we had not spent time at an actual beach and were highly anticipating seeing some beautiful Floridian beaches. Long story short, despite a few nice pictures, the first beach we went to called Smathers Beach was a complete and utter disappointment. The water was stagnant and smelled of sulfur. The sand was not powdery and white. Well, you’ll see. Do not go to Smathers Beach unless you have absolutely no intention of enjoying the water.

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We spent literally 30 minutes at that beach and then left to explore the town of Key West to check out the shops where most tourists wander. Things got better after this.

We saw a beautiful white church.

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All of the houses were painted in muted pastel colors.
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We saw Ernest Hemingway’s house from a distance.
hemingwayhouse

Couldn’t help myself with this picture. 404 error.
404 error-graphic-wmm

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Why wasn’t I this cool at 11 years old?
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Our next and last day in Key West made that entire trip unforgettable because we went kayaking for the first time as a family and found a beautiful beach.

activity recommendation :: Lazy Dog Adventures Key West Kayak and Paddleboard Tours

kayaking on the atlantic

Major shoutout to Heather, our very cool tourguide who showed us the beautiful mangrove trees and wildlife.
heather-graphic-wmm

upahead

These mangrove trees were tough to navigate around but the shade they provided was wonderful.
mangroves

da&makayak

Overall our kayaking experience was amazing, but it definitely challenged those of us who were in double kayaks. Special thanks to Laurel (who was in a single kayak) for taking all of these great kayak pictures.
doublekayak-graphic-wmm

We then packed up, started heading back to Miami, and stopped by Bahia Honda beach. This beach was simply beautiful. The beach slightly smelled of sulfur, but the sand was definitely more powdery and the water was very swim-friendly.

beach recommendation :: Bahia Honda State Park and Beach

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Our visit to this beach was short-lived but necessary + fun. Then, we headed all the way back to Miami.

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The next couple days we took it easy and visited a local estate-turned-museum-and-gardens called Vizcaya. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the house, but the gardens were up for grabs and stunning.

place recommendation :: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

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Fun Panoramic Photo Idea: have someone take a panoramic picture of you in one stance to the far right and then run behind them to be in the center of the picture and then run around them again to be in the far left of the picture (here’s a video reference)

IMG_0005

The rest of our time in Miami was mostly spent eating. One of our favorite places to go was Versailles bakery after Elisa took us to the restaurant earlier. We even encountered a Versailles bakery in the Miami airport and stuffed ourselves with our favorites, their empanadas.

My family and I truly enjoyed a great variety of different cuisines, and another place that truly blew us away was a Peruvian restaurant. Thank you, Elisa, for introducing Peruvian food to us. The seafood simply melted in our mouths and the ceviche was refreshing and delicious!

food recommendation :: Aromas del Peru

aromasdeperu1 aromasdeperu2

what we got:

  • Ceviche Mixtos (fresh seafood marinated in lime juice, sliced red onions, cilantro and a hint of rocoto; served with peruvian corn and sweet potato)
  • Tacu Tacu con Churrasco (delicious crispy blend of peruvian white beans and rice served in a shape of a tortilla with grilled skirt steak)
  • Tallarín Verde con Churrasco (pasta with a peruvian style creamy pesto, served with grilled skirt steak. Can be served with chicken breast)
  • Ensalada (fresh mix salad)
  • Guava Mousse (dessert)
  • Cuatro Leches (moist angel cake with four kinds of milk (condensed milk, evaporeted milk, cream and dulce de leche) and port wine topped with whipped cream and dulce de leche)

food recommendation :: Versailles Cuban Restaurant and Bakery 

empanadas&croquettes

what we got:

  • empanadas (chicken, beef, ham & cheese)
  • croquetas (fried potato, fish, and ham croquettes)
  • cafe con leche (sweet latte style drink)

Also, I cannot remember exactly when this happened, but one evening towards the end of our stay in Miami, we were startled by the sound of…fireworks! Yes, fireworks!

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Overall, we had an amazing time in Florida and ate so much good food. Warmest thanks and love to Elisa for hosting us and giving us the insider’s scoop of Miami.

thanks-florida-wmm

Thank y’all for reading and let me know if you have tried any of these restaurants or activities! Have a blessed day/night.

❤ mariel

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