South Beach – Part 5 of our Awesome Summer Vacation 2011 (with everyone)

This is a continuation of my “Awesome Summer Vacation 2011” series and my SIXTH entry to GoGirlfriend “Free your Bliss” competition 
(*hint hint* see?  I’m really trying here guys!!)

Julia and Rossana are two really awesome girls who run GoGirlfriend.  
They are absolutely amazing ladies and would be so much fun to be with at Blissdom Canada!

There are some absolutely amazing young men in Ontario, but these guys, the judges chosen by GoGirlfriend are possibly some of the best – Be sure to say hello to them, check them out on Twitter, and check out their websites.  

And tell them I sent you and that I deserve to win please! 🙂

May I introduce,the Esteemed Judging Panel: 

Benjamin Bach from KW Commercial.  You can read more about him on his personal blog, Invest & Be Wealthy.
 Matt Scobel from Project Macfrica. 
 Taylor Jones an amazing young entrepreneur..  You can read more about him on his personal blog, Taylor Jonez.
 Jason Dykstra a conflict resolution specialist with Absolution Mediation.
Now that I’ve introduced you to the judges and to the gals at GoGirlfriend, onto South Beach.

The day after the amazing dinner at Astor Cuba, my friend from high school, Sasha, joined us for the rest of the trip – it was amazing to see her and we had a ball.

The date & time were wrong – but I believe the temperature was correct!

When Sasha joined us, we decided to go to the Everglades for a boat ride.  I had done this when I was much younger, and I believe Sasha had done this too (she lives in Florida I hope she did!  If you’re there and haven’t go now – turn this off, come back later to read the rest), but Luv Luv had never been.  

And he LOVES animals – I mean ANY animals – including the dangerous and gross ones.  So we went and got some absolutely amazing photos!  

Played with some baby gators, kept far away from the larger ones, saw some really interesting wildlife….



I loved this one – he played chicken with the boat!

  …AND …..we pretended we were on Miami Vice or CSI:Miami for a bit. 


Our driver was the best though….I loved his “crocodile dude” hat!

It was fun – and was a bus tour that leaves from the hotels.  We booked it at the Art Deco Welcome Center where you can find all types of walking & bus tours as well as exhibits and stuff to do in the South Beach/Miami area.  Definitely worth a visit as a tourist down there.

That night we met my cousin and his wife for dinner and some clubbing.  Unfortunately we don’t really have photos because….well…read on I’m sure you’ll figure it out…let’s just say alcohol…and cameras….not such a good match…

Yet another amazing restaurant in South Beach – Sushi Samba.  I was slightly doubtful because I’d never heard of it and the whole concept is based on a mixture of sushi and latin fare….yes – sounds doubtful right?!  For some reason my hubby kept pushing and pushing to go there…so I said “FINE” and we did…and I’m so glad we did!  

Again, this restaurant was off of the strip, but this time it was pouring so we took a cab….and a good thing too because the restaurant was down by Lincoln Road – we would have been dripping.

Anyways, we reached a bit before my cousins, and they don’t seat you unless your entire party is there, so we were at the bar and ordered some drinks.  I wish I took a photo…their bar is spectacular – and I don’t consider myself a drinker….I can’t even remember the name of the drink – it had a huge watermelon slice on it and tasted like fresh watermelon juice though.  

***Oh and on another side note, since that trip, I think I’m addicted to cachaca.  And I THINK (not 100%) that’s what was in my Watermelon drink….but I know I like it because I had a passion fruit drink with it up here the other day and loved it….okay back to my story.****

So when my cousins arrived and we were seated, we had one of the best gourmand experiences we have ever had.  The flavours just flew over our palates like butter on hot toast…and sat there just long enough to give just the right amount of pleasure.  I had scallops, one of my favourite things in the world, and I can easily say they were some of the best scallops if not THE best scallops I’ve ever had.  We also had sashimi that was so fresh and tasty there and a few other things….I sorta stopped remembering after a while because of the barrage of fantastical goodies on our table….I just know, I want more…even now I want more.

Also this place introduced my husband to Don Julio tequila (groan) – which he now loves more than Patron…………….let’s just say the tequila made it an interesting night…and here’s how that went.

My cousin and my husband kept doing shot after shot after shot, we had champagne AND our drinks.  I think the only sober ones were me and my cousin’s wife Ale by the time we left Sushi Samba.

We followed my friend Sasha to a club just off of Lincoln Road and then my husband dragged us out of there because he “had a bad feeling”.  Yes he tends to get those when he’s drunk – then he said he felt like it was a cougar bar…I loved it – the music was awesome, the layout was spectacular.  I should find out the name of that club for you.  (Sash, we’ll go back ourselves one day – just the two of us :P).  

So we grabbed a cab (out of which my hubby fell headfirst laughing (seriously)- thank God he didn’t hurt himself – yes he was that drunk) to Mangoes on the strip – my cousins were excited about it and my friend who recommended the Avalon to us said it was the best place.

I’m not a clubber anymore – I used to be – and even then, when I went to a club, it had to be clean, high end and give me quality entertainment.  At Mangoes we were upstairs in the club area (because we were told that’s the better place even though we wanted to stay downstairs) and we were squished, constantly told that we were crowding the VIPs on the tables, there was no where to sit.  The music was mediocre – if you like hip hop I guess it’s okay but I don’t….so I got a little dark in there (I’m admitting it) because I really wanted to enjoy myself and I wasn’t doing it at that point.  

I don’t advise you to go to Mangoes clubbing upstairs, but try to stay downstairs because there are dancers (some of them were transvestite dancers even though my cousin swears they were female – I live in TO guys, I know the difference).  Again, my hubby rushed us out of the club (fricking paranoid that one) saying a bouncer told him there was going to be a police raid….whatever…it was late and we were once again hungry.

So we went back to the Avalon room “to drink”….

My hubby likes to bring people to our place from clubs/restaurants to drink….I think it’s a Canadian/North American thing – they say it’s cheaper…and it is but isn’t the whole point to go OUT?!  Anyways…

We went back to the room to “drink” even though we only had water there (?!)….and my cousin and I decided to go grab a pizza for everyone since both Sash and Luv Luv couldn’t walk straight…yay quality time with my big cousin…

…who completely embarrassed me….

We were walking to the pizza place (my cousin knew one from his party days in South Beach – yes he lives in Miami), when we end up behind these boys men who are talking about…what else but intimate relations……yes I’m writing it that way because I’m PG guys…..and talking about how at 3 am in the morning, women don’t care if a man has money they only want c…..(again PG guys).

Please keep in mind my cousin is very tall and these guys were average height – not much taller than me…

My cousin elbows me and goes “…watch this…”

He runs up behind the two guys, drapes his long arms over both of their shoulders  and shouts out “I fully agree!!”

The two guys look around startled…see him, see me….and then make as if he’s their good friend and go “see?!  it’s true!”…

…and then look significantly at me….

In my mind, it went something like this “He’s getting laid by her”

In my cousin’s mind “this is hilarious”

In my mind…”oh…gross…”

So as if that embarrassment were not enough – enter the pizza place (also which was really good and open late so I wish I could remember the name!)

As we were waiting for our pizza, two ladies came in….my cousin looks at them and next thing I know, he’s holding on to one of their legs going “Can I see your tattoo?  What is it?”

Yes.  My cousin grabbed onto some strange lady’s leg.  And she did not kick the living shit out of him.  I’m still trying to figure that one out.

So then he goes on to flirt with them, hug them and even get photos with them.  OMG…I’m still sorta wondering how this all happened?

Then I reminded him that his wife was waiting for us in my room….

Our pizza was done so we headed back to find one slightly worried wife, my drunk hubby and my weeping Sash…umm…ok…..?

What a night.

We woke up the next day late and weren’t too worried because we figured that the Pride Parade would last all day (like it does in Toronto)…we went downstairs at 11 am……and people were clearing up the barriers and cleaning the streets…huh?!  We MISSED the world famous Gay Pride Parade?!  Wow…..Thanks South Beach, I think I’ll stick to the Toronto one for my amusement.

We went for breakfast and decided to spend the day at a beach club down at first avenue that we had found on our previous visit to South Beach.  We spent the day relaxing, watching the cutest kids ever playing in the sand and then had some ice cream before we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner….so we dressed up because we were going somewhere fancy 🙂

This time, we headed to Red The Steakhouse.  We were excited because we had seen it on Food Network and were uber-excited to get the drinks that they made with liquid nitrogen (yes we’re easily amused).  We even checked out their website that boasted of these drinks at the time as well.  So we reached and asked our waitress and we were told that they were seasonal and we weren’t in the season.  HUH?!  Nothing on food network or their website said so….plus…South beach has SEASONS?!

Anyways, we decided to make lemonade out of the lemons and stayed for dinner.  It was ridiculously expensive for mediocre food.  And once the waitress realized that we wouldn’t get the “add ons” that she was offering (because they cost as much as or more than our steaks), she pretty much ignored us….as did everyone else in the restaurant.

Needless to say, I have nothing good to say about this restaurant.  It was only mediocre in decor and flavour and ridiculously overpriced and the staff was uppity and rude – they made us feel highly unwelcome.  Even the washrooms were not clean…..

DO NOT GO THERE – unless you want to spend a lot of money on nothing worth it.  I’ve added the link just in case you want to check it out.

Surprisingly, the hotel made up for our bad night – well…not the hotel per se but the hotel restaurant.  You see, the Avalon Hotel boasts of a well-known little restaurant called “A Fish called Avalon” that is open for dinner.  We were in a bad mood after Red the Steakhouse, and we wanted a cup of tea, so since we were there already we figured we’d have it there…..and then their dessert menu tempted us so we had some of that as well.

I had a trio of sorbet – and let me tell you the flavour was out of this world.  The staff was so polite and very knowdegeable and were able to advise me on what I could have that was safe for my food allergies.  In this case, they replaced the raspberry sorbet in the trio with mango.  It was amazing.  The tea was perfect…..the evening ended on a high note.

In the end, if you’re going to South Beach, shop around for hotel prices and be careful of the Art Deco hotels.  I’m sure there are some spectacular ones, but the Avalon was disappointing.  If you are a party person, feel free to stay on the trip – but if you want a nice mix and like it a bit quieter go to a hotel closer to Lincoln Road or First Avenue.

WRT restaurants – it seems that South Beach has some real gems – and that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get quality – in fact if you do (as in our case) maybe you won’t get the quality. 

For breakfast, along the strip has many many MANY good deals but for dinner we decided to stay off the strip – it was quieter, less crowded and we were more likely to get a seat….For lunch it’s really up to you – but the beach club up by First Avenue (sorry I don’t remember the name), serves you food and drink on the beach so you can spend a lazy day there without having to move if you choose to.

GO visit South Beach – why are you still sitting here?!

Have a good one, this was the last part of my Awesome Summer Vacation 2011!  I hope you enjoyed it!!

Please feel free to check out Part 1 – Cruisin’, Part 2 – Ocho Rios, Part 3 – Grand Cayman Baby! and last but not least,  Part 4- South Beach (just the two of us)