Hit The Beach
Hit The Beach
Believe it or not, there's a lot more to Miami Beach than turquoise waters, celebrities and late-night clubbing – although those elements are as hot as ever, should you wish to indulge. Meanwhile the city's colourful, geometric Art Deco buildings are never far from view.
In recent years, a blossoming food scene has produced some of the country's best restaurants, thanks to chefs who are not only launching their careers in the city, but also choosing to remain in Miami. The popularity of the beach area has also expanded well beyond the South. Found in the Mid-beach region of Collins Avenue are sleek hotels such as Ian Schrager's Edition, which houses two Jean-Georges restaurants; the boutique-style Thompson Hotel, home to beautiful eateries from famed local chef Michelle Bernstein and from Brooklyn favourite Dale Talde. While the newly opened Faena, a multi-block hotel-museum-art forum, features restaurants from leading Argentine chef Francis Mallmann and Top Chef alumnus Paul Qui.
Further west, a modern commercial development at Sunset Harbour – previously a quiet residential area – has opened the door to a swell of new restaurants, cafés, health clubs, juiceries, bakeries and more.
Owner Tomas Strulovic was living in Miami when he decided to quit his job in finance, move to California and study breadmaking at the San Francisco Baking Institute. His next stop was an internship under Richard Bourdon of Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Massachusetts. Strulovic spent three years in all developing True Loaf, and since it opened in Sunset Harbour in 2013, the bakery has received the acclaim of everyone from locals who show up religiously for their fresh loaves to European tourists who insist his creations are as good as those at home.
Strulovic's goods range from the sweet, crowd-pleasing almond croissant to the savoury spinach, egg and cheese brioche. His daily breads include sourdough, a variety of whole wheats, baguettes, buns and challah (on Fridays), while pastries such as Cuban pastelitos and focaccias (the mango rosemary is particularly delish) have mouths watering. Arrive early; they sell out fast.
Only in Miami would a fast-food ceviche chain become one of the most successful business models in the city. The beachside seafood shack My Ceviche has reinvented the idea of quick casual eating, introducing the city to citrus-cured fish as a refreshing snack or easy meal. It now has six locations, with one coming soon to Miami International Airport.
Launched in 2012 by a Mexican investment banker and a Columbian chef, My Ceviche originally opened as a glorified take-out window serving simple and fresh ceviche and fried seafood. A South American seafood shack in a beach town full of South Americans proved an astute pairing. From day one, the concept was a triumph.
As My Ceviche added locations, the menu expanded and now one can order from a variety of ceviches, seafood burritos and even free-range chicken dishes. All ceviches come with red onions, cilantro, jalapeños, tomatoes, sweet potato and yellow corn (and are served with a delicious bag of lime spiced popcorn) – you just choose the filling. The star of the show is the "Tradicional", a shrimp and fish combo; while the coconut jasmine fish bowl offers just the right hint of sweetness, and the octopus tacos are a refreshing treat.
The city's annual Art Basel Miami fair in December attracts hundreds of thousands of art aficionados, and has helped the local art scene attain global acclaim. The striking Art Deco architecture that forms its backdrop is especially concentrated in South Beach, whose Art Deco District includes over 800 structures built between 1923 and 1943.
In this district sits the Wolfsonian, a boutique museum originally founded to exhibit the extensive collection of Miami Beach resident Mitchell Wolfson Jr. After cataloguing an estimated 80,000 objects including furniture, paintings, books, prints and decorative art, Wolfson donated the lot to Florida International University (FIU). In 1995, the museum opened to the public and eventually became an official part of FIU.
The seven-storey, 56,000-square-foot facility focuses on art from the 1850s to the 1950s, specifically objects that can be seen as “expressions of change". Some 180,000 objects comprise the permanent collection, including glass works, ceramics, rare books, paintings, textiles and more. The Wolfsonian also features a dedicated research division and fellowship programme, a library and a museum shop. The museum's extraordinary collection of materials and its multidisciplinary methodology have earned the acclaim of scholars and collectors around the world.
South Pointe Park
This breathtaking 17-acre park is located at the southern tip of Miami Beach – at the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets Biscayne Bay. With water on every side, open green spaces, panoramic views of Downtown Miami and the pristine Fisher Island, a Smith & Wollensky chophouse and ships of all kinds sailing by, the park is the perfect place to spend a gorgeous Miami day.
In 2009, South Pointe Park completed a $22 million renovation and after almost a year of restoration, the new park featured expansive, lit walkways lined with Florida limestone, a new playground and waterpark, fresh landscaping, a snack shack, an observation deck and more.
Kick a soccer ball on the lush green turf or watch children frolic in the playground sprinkler haven; grab a cocktail, have a picnic, or simply walk the path from north to south as the cruise ships float by – South Pointe Park is a spectacular reminder of what draws so many thousands of people to Miami.