Miami: Where to go and where definitely NOT to go

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Really good waves in every possible way (warm, turquoise, not violent)

New York ended on a bitter note in that I had my wallet stolen with Oceans Eleven-level precision on the way to the airport. I won’t bore you with the details, because it was not a violent theft.

I got to the airport, couldn’t pay the $25 fee for my suitcase at check-in, was told I couldn’t fly, and then I cried, so they let me not pay for my suitcase, but very reluctantly.

After that, I couldn’t procure any snacks or wine on the plane and no-one should ever have to fly hungry and sober.

I went to Miami Beach to go and see my friends Ruda (of Team America) and his girlfriend Natasha, who is a beautiful model. 

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Ruda and Natasha

The last time I saw them we were all getting absolutely spangled off our faces in Cape Town, in the party mansion.

This time, they were both being very responsible and drinking green juices and going to the gym all the time.

In spite of this unexpected twist, it was wonderful to see them again. 

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Ruda and Natasha’s side of the counter
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My side of the counter

My overall impression of Miami is that it is weird, and only charming in a spoof sort of a way. There’s an element of it being stuck in a time warp, which I like and find interesting.

You can still smoke inside restaurants, for example, which reminds me of yesteryear; there’s a lot of Art Deco, and the people who live there are all exaggerated versions of themselves.

The whole thing feels like a mash-up between a Wes Anderson film, an Edward Hopper painting, and an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

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A Wes Anderson film
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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
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An Edward Hopper painting

Here are all the places I went, in case you ever find yourself in Miami and want pointers:

Hakkasan

Good dark lighting, food really great, but no food should ever be that expensive. Especially not in Miami, which is not New York and therefore shouldn’t be able to get away with it. 

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Hakkasan

Soho House

Full of inside trees and fairylights, which I approve of effusively. As is always the case with Soho House, everyone there seemed nice.

For example, I still had a sprained ankle and was therefore standing somewhat uncomfortably near the bar like a flamingo (one leg off the ground) when we first arrived, so a kindly member offered me a seat and some wine and some coconut rice, not in a pervy way.

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Sprained ankle stance
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Miami’s Soho House

Michael’s Genuine

We went here for brunch with Ruda’s friend Kevin, who is currently looking after his friend’s Shiba Inu dog. Every time the dog is hungry or bored, it repeatedly presses a button in the house which emits the phrase ‘FUCK IT!’, and this drives Kevin mad.

I thought this to be a very funny anecdote, which is the only reason I’ve included it in what should be a restaurant review. Michael’s Genuine is very busy, serves good food in small portions, and therefore runs out of things.

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Michael’s Genuine
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A Shiba Inu dog

Five Guys

Apparently this is a nationwide burger chain. I’ve never seen one before, but Ruda thinks it’s great. I got a veggie burger on account of my not eating cows and it was absolutely disgusting and also a tiny bit delicious.

It was floppy and greasy and so devoid of texture that I hardly even had to chew it. No wonder the yanks love it so much. They can be quite lazy like that.

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Five Guys

The Setai

I went to this place because I was in a shit mood (mainly about my wallet) and because Ruda and Natasha were off doing something healthy (the gym).

It’s a bar just off South Beach which charges $20 for a teeny tiny glass of Not Very Nice wine. On the menu, it was $14, but after the tax and mandatory service charge it was $20. Twenty fucking dollars. To be a lot poorer and not at all drunk.

Obviously this deepened the complexity of my bad mood that day.

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Free Spirits

A dive bar just next door to The Setai where on a different day I had two glasses of wine and a quite delicious starter for $20. I liked this place. It had character.

The bartender had massive boobs and chain-smoked, and the loo was scrawled with lines of graffiti poetry including such literary gems as: ‘do it 4 Sarah you skank’. Somehow, all this cheered me up.

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Free Spirits

The Beach

I loved the beach.

Long, expansive, not crowded, scattered with people being eccentric… like the mauve-coloured chain-smoking solo sunbather, and the man who was feeding fries to seagulls mid-flight.

Most importantly of all, the sea there was perfect.

Warm, turquoise, free from weird floating plant matter, and moved by way of majestic caterpillar-crawling waves which allowed me to bob up and down at a steep angle but never sucked me into a vortex of violence or crashed over my head.

Wave score: 10/10. 

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The mauve-coloured chain-smoking solo sunbather, who has apparently just given up on the war against cancer
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The man with a builder’s bum who was joyously feeding seagulls mid-flight

Next stop? Los Angeles…


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