This past Christmas instead of buying gifts to each other for under the tree we decided to treat ourselves to a family vacation to Florida: destination cities Orlando and Miami. My kids (Ryan, 19 and Emily, 16) are die-hard Harry Potter fans and wanted to first and foremost hit the parks and studios. Just a heads up, if you are not a lineup or crowd person, avoid travelling to Disney/Universal parks the week between Christmas and New Years. However, if you are blessed with a lot of patience and willing to commit to long waits for Magical thrills and virtual experiences, absolutely go for it!
To be honest, I am NOT a lineup person at all. But it was well-worthwhile for me this trip, why? Because of the quality time spent in the 2-4 hour per ride lineups just chatting with my hubby and kids. That may seem strange, but it’s family time we get less and less of these days as my teen/young adult kids get older, more independent and start having their own lives with friends. So for that motherly perspective and reason, I was more than happy for the 4 of us to be confined to lineups with each other for hours on end! How’s that for turning lemons into lemonade?!
After the parks in Orlando, we drove down to Miami and I wanted to share with you our walking food tour in South Beach Miami with Miami Culinary Tours where we experienced delicious Columbian, Cuban, Mediterranean and Italian tastes Miami style.
The tour was also a wonderful way to experience the South Beach vibes while learning about the history and Art Deco in the area.
One of our stops was Larissa on the Beach the renowned Cuban restaurant by Gloria Estevan and Emilio Estevan. Because we had the restaurant all to ourselves, we really appreciated how the interior decor spectacularly brings Miami to the indoors.
This sculpture held high in the ceiling like a chandelier is an artistic representation of actual instruments used by musicians like Ricky Martin, Shikira and Gloria Estefan herself.
The dish we sampled at Larios was a delicious Beef Picadillo with Malanga Chips and Mojo (garlic) sauce. Absolutely tasty!
We continued our walking tour heading North on the happening strip of South Beach known as Collins Avenue to take in some more Art Deco. This building is The Villa Casa Casuarina now a boutique hotel previously the home of the late Gianni Versace where he was tragically gunned down. The iconic Breakwater Hotel is a legendary Art Deco piece in the heart of Miami Beach, not only a popular hotel but a destination for rooftop fashion photoshoots due to the remarkable natural lighting.
Other tastes along the way included:
Passion Fruit Ceviche with Beef & Potato Empanada – Boliver Restaurant
Authentic Italian Pistachio Gelato – Milani Gelateria
After the tour ended, we rested our satiated pallets and stomachs in preparation for our evening dining experience at the must try and famous Joe’s Stone Crab . There’s a good reason why guests are willing to line up on a first come first serve basis for 2 hour waits at the no-reservation restaurant. I kid you not, I observed around 100+ people on the wait list happily & patiently milling about the bar, lounge area which is vast enough in size to accommodate all the eagerly waiting guests.
These amazing experiences in Florida with my fam jam made crowds and waiting in lineups worthwhile – from the 2-4 hours spent in lineups for Avatar and Harry Potter to Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami!