Although my flight back to Memphis on Sunday was fairly early, one of my friends had told me that I had to try Big Pink in Miami Beach for breakfast. So I went ahead and checked out of my hotel, and headed across the causeway to the iconic diner-style restaurant, which had just opened for the day, and wasn’t crowded. Even more amazing, parking on the street was free because it was before 9 AM, so I was really thrilled. And my breakfast was really good, not necessarily the best of my trip (that honor had to go to Jackson Soul Food in Overtown), but delicious and comforting on a day when I was having to leave sunny Miami to go back home to Memphis and the everyday routine. Service was fairly quick as well, and I had no trouble in making it to the airport on time.
Reggae Wear is a cool store on Miami Beach’s Washington Avenue, featuring many different reggae-related clothing lines for both men and women, including official Bob Marley apparel, and Jamaica’s popular Cooyah line. The store has an extensive selection, but if for any reason you cannot find the size or design you’re looking for, check their website for even more items.
In a world where music has become digital and corporate, it’s great to see the independent record stores that have managed to keep going. Miami Beach’s Uncle Sam’s Music is a survivor, and is the only record store on the island. The shops new selection leans toward dance, alternative and rock, but their extensive selection of used discs and vinyl runs the gamut of genres from rap and reggae to Latin. The prices for used discs are exceptionally low. Pay them a visit when in Miami, or visit their website.
Last year I bought a new Nespresso machine for my house that makes espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, so when I saw that there was a Nespresso store in Miami Beach, I wanted to make sure I paid it a visit. What I didn’t know is that it is also a cafe where Nespresso-made coffees can be ordered and enjoyed. The Nespresso boutique sells the Nespresso machines, as well as all the various varieties of Nespresso Grand Cru capsules for the machine, and a number of cool accessories for your Nespresso machine as well.
A cryptic green-neon picture of a cheeseburger with an arrow led us to the Shake Shack, a trendy, upscale burger joint in the Lincoln Road Mall area. The Shake Shack began in New York City , expanding to Miami in 2010, and features 100% natural burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard concretes and craft beers and sodas. Although the ordering lines can be intimidating, they move quickly, and the food came out quickly as well. As for the burgers, they seemed a little small, but they were quite tasty, and the french fries are truly outstanding.
After our afternoon adventure in Little Haiti, my cousin Marcy and I headed across the causeway to Miami Beach to the Lincoln Road Mall, which was not exactly what I expected. Lincoln Road is a former city street turned into an outdoor walking mall of interesting shops and restaurants, few of which I had ever seen anywhere else. The restaurants and coffee bars almost all have outdoor patios, which together with fountains, flowers and palm trees make the mall a festive and attractive place.
Strangely for such a storied and world-class city, Miami has few late-night eating choices on weeknights, but one of the better ones is the 24-hour News Cafeon Ocean Drive amidst the glitter and glamour of South Beach. Of course breakfast is the mainstay there, but there are other options as well, and sitting outside on the patio at about one in the morning can be rather pleasant.
The Miami Hilton Hotel Downtown is located in the city’s Performing Arts District just north of the American Airlines Arena, Bayside Center and downtown Miami. The world-famous beaches of Miami Beach are only ten minutes away. Among the amenities of the Hilton Downtown Miami are its wonderful vistas of the downtown skyline, from the pool deck, outdoor lounge, and many of the rooms as well.