Laura (my right arm at The E List) and I deserved a big break after managing to whip out a list every week, pandemic or not, so we headed off to Miami. We weren’t keen on staying in the middle of the fray of South Beach just yet, so we reserved a suite at 40% off at The Carillon (also check AirBnB as the condos are often cheaper than the hotel rooms). This combo spa/hotel/condo complex smack on North Beach used to be a Canyon Ranch, and I’ve visited several times. Not much has changed except a new name and decor refresh. A variety of fitness classes, a ginormous gym with all manner of machine, and the spa kept us busy in the mornings, and we spent afternoons lounging at the beach or pool. Our two-room suite had a handy kitchen, and with a Publix market right across the street, it was easy to fashion simple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. If we’re not brainstorming E List ideas, we’re mulling where to eat next, and we found a few new spots (and some old favorites) worth sharing.Taquiza, with an outpost right on Ocean Terrace, makes a great post-beach stop. We loved it so much we went twice, and for me, it was all about the handmade blue-masa tortillas stuffed with carnitas. But the reason we simply had to go back was for the Totopos. I’ve never had anything quite like these! Fresh masa is hand-pressed and torn into hot oil, creating a chip that is soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside! A wildly delicious appetizer, especially alongside a hibiscus frozen marg. Locations in North and South Beach, a don’t miss for taco fanatics.Our new favorite had to be Kyu. This Asian-inspired spot in Wynwood was off the charts. We sat next to each other on a banquette to better enjoy the scene, as we supped on spicy Korean fried chicken, pork and shiitake gyoza with truffle ponzu, and an incredible lump of burrata that we slathered on famous Zak the Baker toast and topped with yuzu marmalade. We’ll be recreating this one at home! A hot pot of spicy Thai fried rice was topped with a fried egg, mixed in at your table (see below!). The music is loud and fun (Sugar Hill Gang brought me right back to college), and the clientele is all over the place. We just loved it here.The last thing I think of is French cuisine in Miami, but if you’re heading to the fancy Bal Harbour Shops, dinner at Le Zoo feels as posh and elegant as the boutiques (Gucci, Akris, Etro, Miu Miu, and pretty much every designer label you can think of). Bistro fare ranks WAY up there in my book, and we happily feasted on trout amandine and classic Pommes puree. Skip the scene outdoors and pretend you’re in Paris while enjoying the beautiful and traditional interior. We loved it.
For our last night we went a bit fancy at Bazaar. Besides the fact that Jose Andres food is ALWAYS wonderful, we love his generous philanthropy and want to support it. Plus, after a week of indulging, small plates sounded very good to us. A stream of Spanish delicacies floated our way (that crazy Pan Tomate!), organized by our attentive waiter who helped with the choices. The Bao Con Lechon (pork belly buns) were a standout and the rendition of the Singaporan street food with shrimp, peanuts and chilis were a spicy, savory treat. Everything was excellent. And the people-watching was fun there, too
June 14, 2021