This piece was originally published by our partner MIAbites.com and is produced by them.
By Ellen Bowen
One of my favorite features in The New York Times is in the Travel Section entitled, “36 Hours in _______ “, a “must do” guide to interesting and many times exotic vacation spots. I have always enjoyed reading about where to stay, what to do and where to eat. And have even used their suggestions on trips to Cartagena, New Orleans and Bangkok.
A quick trip to Miami this month necessitated only a 36 hour stay and for MIAbites readers in Miami and beyond here is my version of, “36 Hours in Miami”. The Food Version, that is.
Thursday 2 pm– I arrive into MIA on American Airlines from New York into Terminal D Gate 15. My first stop is to grab a quick light lunch at the new My Ceviche counter in the new Marketplace by Gate D29. Freshly made ceviche or pre-made salads and wraps are available for the traveler to take on board or eat in the terminal.
I selected a Combination Ceviche with shrimp and fish with Aji Amarillo. Chock full of fresh seafood, red onion and grape tomatoes and priced at $15.95, it was a much cheaper and much fresher option than the typical airport fare. It was very good, but I did miss the chunks of avocado, sweet potato, radish, cob of corn and spiced popcorn when I order from other My Ceviche locations. Hopefully this was just an oversight on the enthusiastic staff. I also noticed next door was Half Moon Empanadas, another grab and go option now at MIA. My Ceviche at The Marketplace AA Terminal D29.
Thursday 6:30 pm– Next up was Happy Hour at Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply on 20th and Liberty on Miami Beach. Newly crowned the Best New American Bar at Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans, this is a funky speakeasy-like setting a block from The Setai and Bass Museum. 75 cent oysters and $5- Rose wine and Moscow Mules were a great way to kick off the evening. Happy Hour 4:00-7:00 pm every day. Go right from the beach. The also have a good looking Miami Spice menu. Sweet Liberty 237B 20th St. Miami Beach FL
Thursday 7:30 pm– A quick stroll up Collins Ave to 27th Street and Indian Creek Drive to 27 Restaurant in The Freehand for their Miami Spice menu. 3 courses at $39 is not only a great value, but 27 throws in a complimentary cocktail, Sex on The Beach. A dinner of Massaged Kale with tahini dressing salad, Crispy pork shoulder with spicy slaw, the most tender and flavorful Grilled Pulpo octopus with aji verde and other main course options of Elad’s Shakshuka or a flavorful Skirt Steak with yucca fries were topped off with Tres Leches or a decadent Chocolate Brownie Sundae. This is a winning Miami Spice menu. And the bar upstairs as well as The Broken Shaker next door, is a good way to end the evening. 27 Restaurant and The Broken Shaker 2727 Indian Creek Dr. Miami Beach FL.
Friday 8 am– Off for a run along the Miami Beach boardwalk ( or cement walk as it seems to be rapidly becoming) ended up at The Confidante ( the hotel formerly known as The Thompson Miami Beach) at 41st and Collins. The Salty Donut, Wynwood’s artisanal donut stop has opened an outpost in the classic 1930’s House poolside and although the line may be shorter the donut selection is no less impressive. Tourists were taking pictures both inside and in front of the Salty Donut sign. Chef Max Santiago continues to offer seasonal variety of delicious donuts to an adoring public. Selecting best sellers, Maple Bacon, Guava Cream Cheese, Cinnamon Crumb and specialty Baked Sweet Potato and Cookie Butter, I easily filled up a box and added in a couple Nutella Donut holes with Nutella shooter. A wide selection of specialty coffees are also available. The Salty Donut is open Thurs-Sun from 8 am to 2 pm or until donuts run out. The Confidante 4141 Collins Ave. Miami Beach
Friday 12:30 pm– We headed over for a much anticipated Miami Spice lunch at Alter, the top restaurant helmed by James Beard semi finalist, Chef Bradley Kilgore in Wynwood. No way any Zika scare was keeping me away from this amazing restaurant and at $23, this is the Miami Spice lunch not to be missed. And the place was packed with enthusiastic diners. Alter’s Miami Spice menu is creative and offers an opportunity to try Chef Kilgore’s delicious and beautiful food. Appetizer choices included fresh and light Baby Scallops with aguachile, aneheim pepper, radishes and cilantro oil. We also selected Pan du Tumaca ,a crushed tomato paste on sourdough with Aleppo butter and garlic and topped with decorative greens.
Alter’s signature appetizer, Soft Egg with sea scallop espuma, truffle pearls and gruyere was available for a $5 supplement and if you have never had this dish, it is a must. Main dish options included a flavorful Cavatelli with pork ragu and a Smoked Cod fish with puffed potato and burrata.
Dessert at Alter was like a visit to a Wynwood art gallery as options, Gourmet Cheese Platter, Pickled Peach and Chevre Goat Cheese Panna cotta and the Whipped Malted Chocolate with hazelnuts and chocolate twigs were impressive to behold and delicious. Don’t miss this Spice lunch. Alter 223 NW 23rd St. Miami FL
Friday 6:30 pm– Happy Hour at NaiYaRa in Sunset Harbour is fun and very buzz worthy, as Chef Bee, who always seems to be smiling and greeting guests offers not only specialty cocktails, wine and beer at reduced prices ranging from $3.50-$7, but also an entire menu of $7- bar snacks like Spicy Thai Wings, White Fish Tacos and Crispy Pad Thai. Easily you can make a meal at Happy Hour, which is offered 7 days a week from 5-7 pm. We decided to stay for dinner and of course, NaiYaRa also is participating in Miami Spice with a nice selection of favorites like Beef Jerky and NaiYaRa roll and Pad See Ew and Red Curry, but we opted to order a la carte as didn’t want to pass up some of my favorites, the Crispy Bok Choi, Thai Street Dumplings, Tempura Soft Shell Crab or Chef Bee’s newest addition, NaiYaRa fried chicken with dipping sauce. Whether you Spice to Not, NaiYaRa should be on your list of hot new spots in Miami Beach. NaiYaRa 1854 Bay Road. Miami Beach FL.
Friday 9:30 pm– No Friday night would be complete without a stop at a hip bar, and The Anderson on 79th in the old Magnum Lounge space is just that kind of spot. Opened this past March by the Bar Lab crew, craft cocktails, great food, 80’s music and a people watching scene makes The Anderson the late night place of choice. Go late, stay even later. The Anderson 709 NE 79th St. Miami, FL.
Saturday 8 am- Heading back to MIA, we made one more stop back at The Salty Donut to grab more donuts to fortify us for flight to our next stop in LA. That Maple Bacon donut is positively addictive.
Next up?…”36 Hours in Los Angeles- The Food Version”.