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Monday 16 April 2012

Come Dine with Me....In Miami....

So Middle Mouse has already filled you in on our Miami abode for the week, but the Mondrian wasn't the only playground for beautiful people...pretty much every corner you turn is! *One exception being Ocean drive...all sights can be seen here but top points for people watching!

It seems that Miami makes every effort to achieve perfection in all aspects of life...cocktails, luxury hotels, service, exercise, beautiful men and my favourite thing in life, FOOD! I am not just referring to dinner here, this covers...breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, puddings, ice-cream and even Supermarkets - Whole Foods on Alton Road can only be described as actual heaven! Even though we had a jam-packed itinerary of restaurants to visit we couldn't resist filling the fridge in our suite with pots of scrumptious snacks, fruit, olives and drinks...I can safely say I wasn't hungry once in Miami! 

Before holidaying anywhere I always spend hour upon hour trawling through tripadsior reviews and forums, reading up on where to stay, where to eat and what should be top of my 'to-do' list. My pet hate is arriving, feeling totally lost and for the first night eating somewhere that has photographs on its menu and chomping your way through chewy pre-frozen prawns covered in a sauce from a jar. Miami was no exception, if anything the research took an all time high - Middle, Minnie and my bestie Nikki were on it and sending an email every few minutes with new finds to add to Nikki's Miami List (she is a PA and therefore has a list and schedule for everything!) My Miami Luxe Guide came in super handy, a fold out guide in a waterproof plastic cover (perfect to chuck in your beach bag), no pictures wasting space just recommendations of chic places to visit and top tips for your destination.

So here you have it, 3BM's Food Guide to Miami....

Beauties that Brunch...

If you're in South Beach on a Sunday the only place to been seen brunching is Asia De Cuba at The Mondrian Hotel. Every Sunday the pool boys lay out every bed possible in anticipation for the party ahead - it gets so busy that you can only get up from your sunbed by shuffling down to the end of the lounger, not the best look when trying to look super chic in front of the god like male torsos ambling past! It is the place to be seen, to tan, to eat, to drink and most importantly, to party! 

We sat out on Asia De Cuba's terrace overlooking the poolside antics while grazing on the most incredible food.  I definitely enjoyed my meal but i can't deny the constant worry of eating so much I would then sink in the pool afterwards! However this didn't stop me from visiting the dessert table...the chocolate dipped strawberries were too good to miss! I ate my way through a mouth watering Marine Lobster and Blue Crab Omlette, Chinese five-spice Cuban French Toast with fresh berries, the freshest tomatoes and creamiest mozzarella followed by melt in your mouth Vanilla Pod Creme Brulee balancing on a rich chocolate brownie square - definately a step up from scrambled eggs and bagel al la Middle Mouse!

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Asia De Cuba - Mondrian South Beach
1100 West Avenue
Miami Beach
FL 33139
(305) 514-1500
If it's good enough for Versace....

If you fancy a good hearty Miami breakfast, why not opt for the News Cafe - Gianni Versace's former favourite spot which he visited every morning for breakfast and his daily Italian newspapers. The Cafe opened in 1988 starting as a newstand with a few tables and has over the years devleoped into one of the most popular brunch spots often with queues around the block. 

Why not kill three birds with one stone... 1. the New Cafe is on Ocean Drive so you can experience some of the most interesting people watching, 2. Versace's previous Miami home, Casa Casuarina (no known as the Villa by Barton G),
is just a few steps away.  It was on the steps of Casa Casuarina that Versace was shot and mudered in 1997.  Morbid history aside, the mansion is a definite Miami must see and you will know you are there by the huge plant pot outside with the Versace logo on it and 3. pick up your breakfast/ brunch/ lunch/ dinner/ drunk snack from New Cafe. 

The Versace Residence

The News Cafe is open 24hours, the food is amazing, the pink lemonade is delicious and the french toast...well an picture speaks a thousand words...

Miami Beach
800 Ocean Drive
FL 33139
(305) 538-6397

Designer Dining...

We headed to the Design District to try out the impressive Michael's Genuine Food and Drink. It was touted as a food sensation that foodies and funkstas come from miles to visit and it didn't disappoint! 

Located in between two mini malls chocka block with high design boutiques, labels galore and razzle dazzle dresses...basically chic stores left, right and centre - we were in heaven! 

The decor was simple and modern with dark tables and chairs, offset by bright red lanterns and complimented by gorgeous barmen - seriously I do not know where they find such beautiful people! We sat out in the pretty courtyard at the front of the bistro among wooden tables and striped chairs which had a real buzzy neighbourhood feel to it. 

The waiters were very friendly and talked us through the menu, recommending wines and dishes (some people may find this a little pushy but we were glad for some direction, my worst envy is food envy, so menu dissecting is extremely important!) We shared starters so that we could try as many creations as possible...the best was definitely the creamy Buratta, with juicy sliced tomatoes and nutty olive oil, we then all opted for 12oz steak with green peppercorn and brandy reduction which was tasty but I think there were definitely more interesting choices to be had on the menu. 

As we were paying the bill, our favourite waiter came out with a complimentary dessert for us - by this point my dress was bursting at the seams and the room I had left for a couple Hendricks and tonics disappeared fast! He said it was his favourite and we had to try the Tangerine Creamsicle Pot de Creme - to you and I this is warm doughnuts with an orange cream and blackberry tarragon jam - divine are the only words!!!

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135 Northeast 40th Street
Miami Beach
FL 33137
(305) 573-5550

Romantic rendezvous...

If a candlelit courtyard is more your thing, then Casa Tua is the one for you! Behind green wrought iron gates and tall green hedges on a residential street you will find this charming Italian restaurant. It has an indoor seating area which is smart but the place you really want to be seated is the beautiful courtyard. Lit by hundreds of lanterns and candles, chunky wooden chairs ,thick white tablecloths and the most impeccably dressed and mannered waiters, this is a little slice of heaven (even the toilets are lit by candles and smell like a chic spa!). 

The food is simply amazing Italian cuisine and I would definitely say that it topped all the food that we ate in Miami. The menu itself sounded incredible but our waiter, Andy, couldn't have made the experience any more enjoyable - however he made picking from the menu nearly impossible! He knew every dish off by heart and back to front and had tasted each one - he talked us through each choice in such a beautiful way that we were all mesmerised and could have listened to him all night! Picking was a little more difficult as he'd made everything sound perfection! I opted for Taylor Bay Scallops to start followed by Marine Lobster Risotto, melt in your mouth deliciousness on a plate, I couldn't have enjoyed the evening anymore!

My only complaint (if you can count it as a complaint) was the wine list was about 200 pages long and for Mice with limited wine knowledge, a little daunting! We got past this by opting for prosecco - such a hardship!

This would definately be on my list of restaurants to dine at on my last day on the planet, the only change I would make would be to cram in dessert as well!

Casa Tua Restaurant
1700 James Avenue
Miami Beach
FL 33139
(305) 673-1010

Effortlessly Cool...

I was probably most excited to go to Soho beach House to eat at Cecconi's - I love Shoreditch House in London and was desperate to see the Miami version! 

As we walked in we were immediately impressed however all felt extremley at ease. The decor was very traditional with dark wool panelling, comfy sofas, dimmed lighting with relaxing jazz music playing - a complete contrast to the sleek, buzzing east London Shoreditch House just round the corner from our flat. We were lead through to Cecconi's and to the bar to wait for our table and to enjoy a pre-dinner champagne cocktail. The only word to describe the decor would be twinkly - there are silver Buttonwood trees throughout the space wrapped in white fairy lights, as the majority of the restaurant is outside this looks absolutely gorgeous in the dusky evening light. It really has been designed in such a beautiful, magical way and I can imagine to be very romantic if visited with someone special! 

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The service was definitely not the best we'd had in Miami, we were put on quite a small table and had no cushions on our metal chairs (organised PA Nikki soon rectified this for us!) However the ambience and food definitely made up for this. 

We shared starters once again to get the best of all worlds and struggled to rank them as they were all delicious  - Gorgonzola Gnocci, Beef Carpaccio with the most fabulous dressing and Scallops with Rosemary and Prosciutto. For my main course, I had homemade ravioli filled with pork, beef and veal with a beautiful sage and butter sauce. Once again top points and I was left rolling out of the restuarant as I was too full to walk! (In actual fact I was running out as I stupidly forgot my credit card, we had to use all our remaining cash to pay the bill and we were $1 short...not a good look at Soho Beach House!)

Soho Beach House
4385 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach
FL 33140
(786) 507-7902

Sushi Sensation...

Ok imagine....a sushi restaurant surrounded by stores covered in neon lights, among noisy clubs and bars, a busy road with yellow cabs zipping past its door, basic decor, a simple wine list and frequent visitors including Richard Branson and his family - what do you have? Toni's Sushi

It isn't by any means fancy but it serves great sushi and very tasty Malborough wine! So good in fact that we frequented Toni's twice...fab sashimi, incredible creamy rock shrimp, Spider rolls and every single sushi roll you can imagine. Fuss free but really fantastic, easy food. 

It's location is also pretty good for pre-night out meals, with Mansion only a few steps away. Once again a definite for the Miami schedule if you're a sushi lover like us!

1208 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach
FL 33139
(305) 673-9368

So there you have it...the best of what we sampled while in Miami and we loved every minute of it! There is so much more left to explore (especially Joe's Stone Crab - a legendary institution in Miami) which we just didn't have time to cover...I think this calls for a second visit don't you?! Stay tuned for my low down on Miami bars and clubs....

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