Friday, July 18, 2008

SoBe and Central FLA

We had a much needed relaxing trip to Florida last week. We got to see my Dad (Ocala area) and reconnect with our friends, Frank and Crystal (Miami) and Jill and Jake (Winter Park).

The address of the Ritz Carlton, South Beach. Sitting atop the the fashionable Lincoln Road pedestrian district. The service poolside was impeccable.

The first thing we did after dropping our bags was to walk south from Lincoln to 8th street along Ocean Dr to the News Cafe. I had my favorite meal, which consists of the hot tomato soup and fresh fruit and cottage cheese. I also was served my first Cafe Con Leche of the trip. Here we learned that many Miami establishments now have a mandatory 15% surcharge to your bill.

From the Bayside Marketplace, you can take a 1.5 hr cruise through the Miami waterways touring the backyards of the rich and famous. Totally touristy but we had our friends, Frank and Crystal along with us and we were talking politics. We really enjoyed ourselves! We were treated to a latin band while we waited to board at the mall's amphitheater, which apparently is hosted every night.

A sister property to the News Cafe on the 800 block of Lincoln Road. Great place for breakfast or brunch and the vibe is a little less pretentious. The space also has quite alot of character. Van Dyke Cafe Upstairs hosts local jazz bands each night. We saw a blues guitarist on a Monday night.

Just south of Lincoln on Meridian in South Beach is cuban food heaven. The two of us ate a traditional cuban breakfast for under $15. The cuban bread is toasted with a generous slathering of butter (it's probably margarine). The cafe con leche steamed to perfection. Here I was finally in the Miami/South Beach of my memories. Besides another couple, we were the only tourists in the place. The cafe has a restaurant side, a diner side and a street window.

I found a red Debbie Katz tunic here - perfect for throwing over a bathing suit or unitard. They also had some fantastic dressy and evening options. I will make a beeline for this store on any future trips.


We ventured out only once for a more pricey dinner. We had made a meal of tapas at Yuca, a cuban restaurant. We were not disappointed. We had the croquettes, chorizon stuffed spanish piquillo peppers and Coco de Camarones, served in a roasted coconut. We finished with the Key Lime Napoleon, drizzled with dulce de leche. If you are lucky enough to find yourself at this Lincoln Rd eatery, tell Alberto we said hello.

Bikram Yoga

We were not total sun bathing slobs while we were gone. We did stretch and sweat at SoBe's Bikram Yoga location.

Morse Museum

From SoBe, we traveled up the Florida Turnpike to Winter Park, FL. We met my dad and his wife and got to catch up. This sleepy little village in the middle of Orlando has a magnificent museum of the collected works of Louis Tiffany. The museum houses the largest collection of Tiffany glass and art in the world. If you plan it right, you can have your own complimentary tour guide.

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