With so much to do in Miami it is hard to decide where to start your day but if you are in the Downtown area, need a great cup of coffee and at the same time support your local roasters stop by Eternity Coffee Roasters on 117 SE 2nd Ave. They have a roasterie and tasting room where you can choose your grains, make your own blends and they will roast it and brew for you on site. I took my European friends to the tiny shop and they all agreed the coffee was superb, the espressos made just right, the aromas and the blends fantastic.
Just like in the wine world, the coffee can be tasted and appreciated, today there are more coffee connoisseurs who are showing interest in the “art of the barista” (coffee barman) So now you know, when you need your Java dose try Eternity Coffee and get the whole experience of coffee tasting.
If you didn’t make a trip yet to Miami’s newest Museum the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) there’s no better time to do it then now and there are no excuses to be immersed in the contemporary art world with all this Museum has to offer. Arrive to the Museum by car, foot or take the Metro Mover stopping at the Museum station and you will be right there on 1103 Biscayne Blvd. Each second Saturday of the month there’s a free admission for everyone, a program sponsored by Target.
Most of the Latin American Art collection including Botero, Diego Rivera and Wilfredo Lam comes from Colombian-born developer Jorge Perez who donated $40 million in cash and art to earn naming rights. Perez, the son of Cuban exiles, has been a major force in Miami’s urban redevelopment.
A visit to the PAMM will definitely open new ways to look at art and think twice when labeling Miami as a less cultural town.
Time for lunch? Visit the Historic Miami River neighborhood, one of the oldest in Miami. At a settlement from the early 1840’s is where you will find Garcia’s Seafood and Grill Fish Market located on 398 NW North River Dr. you will find fresh fish and seafood from the boats to your plate served with the traditional Caribbean seasonings and flavors. For over 40 years The Garcia’s (a Cuban-born family of 11 kids) have been offering affordable dining with fresh catch grilled to order on a casual riverside setting.
Now is time to visit another great unconventional Gallery on a Historic site in Downtown Miami, CU1 Gallery at the Security Building on 117 NE 1st Ave.
“Eye to Eye” is the current exhibition at CU1 Gallery on view until February 14 2014. What are you waiting for? take a look at one of the newest innovative galleries in Miami.
Now get ready for the next art exhibitions on board of the SeaFair docked at the Chopin Plaza next to the Intercontinetal Hotel from January 16th to the 20th of 2014. it is a unique experience to appreciate works of local and international artists showcasing installations, paintings, photography and sculptures. See you on board Miami !!!
Take a stroll in Downtown Miami like a local and if you live in Miami discover or revisit these great spots once again. Start with a good coffee at The Urban Öxy proudly brewing Panther coffee , a local roaster located on 101 NE 2nd Ave. I really love this coffee shop where everything is made from scratch so you can have your coffee the way you want it.
Prices are reasonable and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, try some of the grill sandwiches made to order with roasted artichoke, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese, provolone, Swiss or for the sweet tooth the mini cupcake selection or the homemade oatmeal cookies with pecan, dark and white chocolate chips, cranberry or macadamia nuts, absolutely delicious.
Now that you’ve got your coffee and read your newspaper why not taking a visit to the Freedom Tower, just at walking distance located on 600 Biscayne Blvd. across the American Airlines Arena, the Freedom Tower is one of Miami’s magnificent landmarks constructed in 1924 on the Spanish Colonial revival architectural style, conceived originally for the Miami News, serving later as center for Cuban refugees during 1962 to 1964. Today is home of the Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design and you can enjoy the contemporary art and photography exhibits as they are free and open to the public from Wednesdays to Sundays until 5 pm.
And for those who are craving of cultural things to do in Miami there are no excuses, this is exactly what we will do if we were in NYC going from one Art Gallery to another and then stopping for some coffee and cupcakes, really? At least I will.
Now having fulfilled your cultural appetite why not going for lunch just a few blocks away on another historical building of Downtown Miami, yes I am talking about ‘Soya & Pomodoro” a truly hidden gem, a place were you can seat and relax like in NYC’s SOHO while enjoying comfort Italian food on a very particular setting.
Soya & Pomodoro is also great to visit on the evenings for dinner, Thursdays
or Fridays when they have live jazz and… talking about live Jazz another
great place to visit in Downtown Miami is “Le Chat Noir” this intimate suburban spot next door to Soya & Pomodoro has anEpicurean market section were you can get your selection of cheeses and charcuterie and a bottle of French wine, then go downstairs to listen to jazz and blues truly soulful musicians. If you are looking for
an alternative atmosphere, this is the place to be.
Hope you enjoy this short Downtown Miami tour for a day, keep coming to the blog for new places to dine, shop and live a cultural life in Miami. See you soon !!!
(C) 2014 Montserrat Franco. All pictures by me, except for the ones with credits.
There’s no doubt one can live the “Dolce Vita style” in Miami and if you don’t think so, just try some of these suggestions when coming to Downtown and Brickell areas.
With so many options in Italian dining because of the new wave of Italians coming to the magic city for fun, for business and for a change like everybody else who is part of this big melting pot.
Miami can’t be more blessed than now starting with the big Brickell development boom less than a decade ago when Trattoria Rosinella and Perricone’s Restaurant and Marketplace opened followed by Segafredo and more recently Toscana Divino and world acclaimed Cipriani.
At Perricone’s you will find the same ambiance you may encounter in New York’s Little Italy district; friendly staff, reasonable prices and generous portions, typical of Italian American eateries, the market with a very good wine selection, artisan chocolates and everything you need for take away when on a rush for a quick home fixed up, just try the “antipasti” (appetizers) like stuffed peppers with rice or porcini mushrooms or the stuffed tomatoes with mozzarella cheese.
They have their own extra virgin olive oil and table wine, Perricone’s is definitely a place for a business lunch in the quiet and lush gazebo surrounded by tropical plants so characteristic of our territory.
For a more intimate dining with candle lights you can opt for the charming “al fresco” garden or one of the cozy rooms in the wooden cottage.
At Perricone’s they are so cool they will even pick you up from your hotel or office on their own Eco friendly cart service.
Perricone’s features a generous and affordable Sunday brunch, live music weekly and hosts the monthly Brickell Art walk like the other restaurants around to mention a few : Baru Urbano, Dolores but you can call me Lolita, the Red Bar (why not? Brickell should have it’s own art walk too)
Trattoria Rosinella is the perfect spot to start your day “alla Italiana” before going to work (if you have time of course) Italians take their time to stop by the local coffee shop for a Capuccino and “cornetto” (a pastry filled with Nutella, fruit jam or plain) you can get yours freshly made at Rosinella’s bakery.
This family owned restaurant and bakery has always a lunch special menu of the day with home made pastas and fresh sauces made from scratch and aromatized with garden herbs.
Coming myself from a home cooking tradition I can tell when mamma is cooking in the kitchen and that’s exactly the same feeling you’ll get at this mom and pop eatery where fresh ingredients are the key to their success, simple dishes made to order and a culinary knowledge passed from generation to generation making the soul of a true trattoria and guess where? In the heart of Brickell just across from the newest Italian ultra modern and design development “Millecento” by Pininfarina.
Now I am going to brag about this place and is one of my favorites spots after work, it will be yours too once you try it. Just stop for an aperitif by the bar inside Toscana Divino and get some “antipasti” with it, go for one of the classic Italian drinks or a glass of Italian wine (and their wine list is pretty extensive) well selected from the Tuscan region with some cold cuts and cheeses. I love their burrata plate with arugula and pomodorini (cherry tomatoes) always served with a small dish of sea salt and their aromatic extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany over some warm home made bread.
Toscana Divino is the highest expression of modern Italian Fusion cuisine with the talented and creative executive Chef Julian Baker who gets inspired blending Tuscan flavors adding old world touches. Toscana Divino is also a one stop restaurant and fashionable place where you can find the finest handmade goods from Florence like those oversized Italian leather purses or the stylish Tuscan glassware that is used at the Restaurant.
The brunch is superb and for those who love wine, good news, they also host monthly wine tasting and classes. So if you shop around Mary Brickell Village and decide to take a coffee pause and a decadent pistachio cake; an aperitif with friends after work, a business lunch or a quality dinner with that special one, Toscana Divino is the place.
Segafredo is definitely the meeting point in Brickell, a casual and modern baroque seating outdoors and indoors with trendy lounge music spinned by local DJ’s has been for years the choice destination for young professionals. I like to go to Segafredo at sunset for an aperitif or to chat with friends I haven’t seen in centuries. The music might get too loud after 9 pm when the drinks and cocktails are the best option. Their cocktail menu is fantastic, try their specialty coffee drinks like Espresso Margarita or Coffee Martini made with a double shot of Segafredo Zanetti coffee.
From Thursdays trough Saturdays Segafredo’s night club Spazio Nero is open with bottle service or drinks at the bar. The mini club gets packed with the local crowd, the resident and guests DJ’s spinning to the latest progressive house music. Very soon with the opening of the new SLS Hotel and Residences, Brickell’s nightlife will take an entire new spin and we can’t wait for it to happen.
For more than 80 years the Cipriani family witnessed film stars, socialites and paparazzi at their landmark Harry’s Bar in Venice; from Sophia Loren to Greta Garbo, Fellini and Marcello Mastroiani, they all came to dine and be seen at the legendary Harry’s Bar. In 1948 the Bellini cocktail was created there and now you can get yours at Cipriani in Brickell/Downton Miami location.
Cipriani is all about “who is there” and “who has been there” Can’t get enough of Sobe’s glamorous dining at top restaurants in 5 star hotels? Well then you come to Cipriani for more and you never know who is going to show. The celebrity approved restaurant is finally here in Miami. Reservations a must and dress to impress attire is suggested, after all, don’t you want to show off those new Giuseppe Zanotti design shoes?
Italy keeps inspiring most of us over and over, it is everything from the Arts to the Music, from the Architecture to the Fashion, from the History to the wine and food.
Naples is one of the cities that fascinates me with incredible characteristics and the magnificent views of the Vesuvius, wherever your position is, you will be able to have that postcard illusion. Here you need to take your time, to eat and drink like a local, don’t bring your watch, time here seems like it never goes by, it is the perfect way to feel that “La Dolce Vita” style.
Borgo Marinaro, Marecchiaro and Santa Lucia
One of the romantic walks around Naples is by the Lungomare in the Santa Lucia neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants to choose from surrounded by colorful sun kissed boats lining around the “Borgo Marinaro” (the fishermen’s quarter). Naples inspired also the most romantic Italian songs (canzonettas) and it’s here in this quarter where they were born. In Naples everything is about love, food and the simple life, just experience it for yourself.
The Lungomare was frequented by Sophia Loren and Salvador Dali and you can still have the same taste and get your inner diva and glamour do the rest, just put on some huge sunglasses with a little black dress and enjoy a glass of Falanghina wine which is the perfect pair with any of the local seafood dishes.
The legend around the Castel dell”Ovo and the particular name first appears in the XIV century and it talks about a magic egg that was hidden in the castle. Today the castle with his particular tufa walls is home of art exhibitions and retrospectives that can be visited by the public.
After lunch at the Borgo Marinaro or Santa Lucia a short walk to the chic Chiaia neighborhood it’s a must for the designers stores and the majestic architecture.
Naples can be a city with many contradictions, narrowed claustrophobic streets full of Vespas and chaotic traffic or wide avenues with the most glamorous shops and ladies covered in fur and designer handbags. While in Chiaia experience both sides, take a look at the Fascist era architecture and monuments and don’t forget it’s time for an aperitif, our version of Happy Hour, Italian Style, somewhere around 5 to 7 pm. Chiaia gives many options when it comes to aperitif, the difference is that with one drink most bars offer a full buffet of appetizers and nibbles, all self service but with moderation, remember soon will be time for dinner.
Well, I think has been a long day and you need some rest because tomorrow you will be visiting more wonderful monuments, eating amazing food and tasting excellent wines, what a wonderful life!!!
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco. All pictures by me taken with an IPhone 4, 4S and Sony Cybershot