Another wonderful ladies weekend has now come to a close. I always forget how energizing spending time with my close friends is. After a fun and full weekend of exploring Miami, I feel revitalized and ready to take on some new projects. But first (à la Julie Chen), here’s a photo-filled recap of Ladies Weekend 2017.
I wanted to be sure I arrived earlier than my friends did to ensure there was no awkward time involving just them at my childhood home. Luckily, that meant that before their arrival in Miami, I was able to squeeze in lunch with yet another great female friend – one that has been my friend since high school. She left her children with her parents to enjoy a kid-free sushi date with me at Miyaki in South Miami. Oddly enough, the restaurant was across the street from another Japanese place, and around the corner from yet another one. Of the three, the one we chose seemed to be the most modest, but I thought the food was great.
After lunch, I ran back home to greet my guests with hugs, pastries, and a few pitchers of my dad’s oh-so-yummy sangria. Because I knew we’d be spending most of the weekend out and about, our first dinner together was spent with my family. As long as I can remember, my father’s signature dish has been his fettuccine alfredo. There is a lot of cheese and cream and butter involved, and in my opinion, it’s worth every single calorie.
We hit the ground running on Friday morning. Normally when people visit Miami, they’re really only visiting Miami Beach. I was determined to show my friends some parts of the city that most people never see. We started in Coral Gables. Unfortunately, there is a ton of construction currently happening on Miracle Mile. I think it’ll be great once they’re done, but for now it means a lot of blocked parking and narrow walkways. Regardless, we found our way to one of my favorite little restaurants, Threefold Cafe.
Just down the road from the restaurant, we found some beautiful walls of flowers. Both of my friends and I are all working on building our social media presences, and backdrops like these are what it’s all about.
Once we finished up there, we were off to Coconut Grove. We found a great parking spot near the water and were able to take a nice stroll along it. A quick walk through the neighborhood, and we decided to stop at one of my old favorite watering holes. Once upon a time, I spent one night a week at Sandbar. I even remember a few of them… Oh, to be young. We sat outside and enjoyed perfect fruity drinks on a perfectly sunny day. It got even more magical when a guy with an acoustic guitar plugged in and gave us a private show. Remind me why it’s not possible to vacation every day?
We stopped home to freshen up, then headed right back out – this time off to Wynwood. It’s a fun, artsy neighborhood, one that just a few years ago was very much considered less-than-desirable. Funny how that happens…
Remember that magic I mentioned earlier? There was plenty more where that came from at Wynwood Yard. It can easily be described as an enclosed parking lot for food trucks, but it’s so much more than that. At the center is a large bar, surrounded by an assortment of tables, benches, and chairs. It’s got a really laid-back vibe, and that coupled with twinkling lights and live music made for one of my favorite experiences of the weekend.
For whatever reason, we all had a hankering for sushi (yes, again). So, despite the widely varied assortment of options there, we moved to SuViche for a late dinner. The restaurant touts itself as a fusion of sushi and Peruvian ceviche – slightly unusual, but very delicious.
The weather was so beautiful that we knew Saturday would be spent at the beach. We were incredibly fortunate that one of my friends had a contact at The Diplomat Beach Resort, and we were able to secure a cabana at their pool for the day. I was hesitant to drive up to Hollywood for the beach knowing there are beautiful beaches much closer to home, but I was so thankful we did.
A The Diplomat, we came in contact with several staff, each one friendlier than the last. Some highlights were Cassandra at the hotel spa, Jeff at the pool, and Danny – “our personal cabana boy.” Our cabana was very comfortable, and included drinks, snacks, about a million towels, and one of the most gorgeous views on earth. While there, we also enjoyed a pitcher of Splash’s Signature Cocktail (rum, coconut rum, passion fruit, purée orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, floater of myers rum) and lunch in the cabana. I had fish tacos, and they were delicious!
I had a special dinner planned for Saturday night. After a quick stop at home to shower and change, we headed back to the beach for dinner at Spiga…the restaurant where we hosted our rehearsal dinner almost ten years ago. Although these girls are some of my best friends now, we weren’t close then. This dinner was my way of saying that I wish they had been there.
Tucked away in a small hotel right on Collins Avenue in South Beach, the space is surprisingly intimate considering the bustling surroundings. Luckily, ten years later, the traditional Italian restaurant was still just as delicious as I remembered. Most of the staff seemed directly from Italy, which to me just adds to the authenticity of it. We started with the Burratina Con Pomodoro Fresco & Rucola Burratina Cheese – spectacular! For my entrée, I had the Tortelloni con Rucola & Fontina. Honestly, I didn’t love it, BUT I think it’s more because I tried some lobster ravioli and was blown away by it. Buyers’ remorse and all that. It was all delicious. Cap it off with tiramisu and a glass of prosecco, and I was a happy camper.
We walked along Ocean Drive to get the full effect of the area, and ended up at Radio Bar. We ordered drinks, but quickly realized how exhausted we were after our day in the sun. Much earlier than expected, we called it a night and found ourselves in bed and asleep around midnight.
Since we had wrapped it up at a somewhat reasonable hour, we were able to get ourselves up and ready in time to hit up a service at the church I grew up attending. It’s always nice to see familiar faces and give newer friends a glimpse into how I was raised. It was a great service, and we headed from there to brunch.
My sister had recommended Cypress Tavern, so even though it wasn’t in an area I frequent, we rolled with it. We had several amazing meals over the course of the weekend, but this was easily my favorite. That says a lot!
We shared a Lobster-Avocado Toast to begin. My main was Short Rib Benedict…a take on eggs benedict, replacing the ham with short ribs, grilled bread, poached eggs, drizzled in a smoked tomato béarnaise. Closing out the morning menu was an order of beignets. Yum, yum, and YUM.
Because we had run out of daylight earlier in the weekend, we headed over to the Wynwood Walls after brunch. It’s a park/museum hybrid offering some gorgeous backdrops for photos.
And just like that, the weekend was over. As always, it’s hard to say good-bye to friends, especially not being 100% sure when you’ll see them next. But you know me. I’m already planning Ladies Weekend 2018 – London, here we come!