The next day, our friends Ellen and Brian decided to take it easy and grab lunch at their hotel, leaving me and Angel to swing by Moreno's Cuba in South Beach for some fritas.
With its imported Cuban floor tiles, reclaimed wood, and selection of Cuban-style cigars, Moreno's is modeled after the Havana speakeasy the owner's uncle operated during the Cuban revolution, while the menu recalls the legendary restaurant at Cuba's famed Hotel Nacional, which the owner's grandfather ran. (All to be confirmed when we visit Havana in November 2017!)
For the uninitiated, a frita is a thin beef and pork patty spiced up with cumin, paprika, and pepper, then topped with cheese and a mound of shoestring fries.
Moreno's fritas were non-traditional -- the patty was thick, and served with regular fries on the side -- but when the burger looks like this, who am I to complain?
After lunch we headed back to the bungalow, where I ordered my cabana boy to clean the pool . . . but not before bringing me a glass of wine.
That evening we met up with Ellen and Brian for dinner at Bazi, a sexy, modern Asian spot at the historic Marlin Hotel.
As we waited for our food, we realized that we didn't have any pictures of the four of us, so we made up for lost time.
Though for some of these, we should have just lost the camera.
We ordered an assortment of appetizers and fish dishes, including one with a mysterious pink sauce that looked scary but tasted delicious. Which brings to mind the first person who ever spied a lobster and thought, This thing's got five pairs of legs, enormous claws, a couple of hideously long antennae, and looks like a gigantic red cockroach. LET'S EAT IT!
After dinner, we decided to have a nightcap at the Broken Shaker, a James Beard Award-winner that is widely regarded as Miami's best cocktail bar.
And it is, if you appreciate concoctions like a Morning Routine with cachaca, blueberry yogurt, and granola (which I kind of did!), or the Voncey Cobbler, made with Appleton rum, ruby port, spiced pear, strawberry, lemon, and bitters.
As we sipped our fancy cocktails, a bachelorette party dropped off some extra shots that they couldn't finish. That kind of behavior would have gotten you dragged out of Ellen's bachelorette party by your ear, but I digress.
While Angel and Ellen secured our seats at the bar, Brian and I decided to have a look around.
The building behind the pool was hosting a private party, so Brian and I hung around near the velvet rope at the base of the stairs to see if we could figure out what was going on. And because we are both so incredibly good-looking, the bouncer noticed us and asked, "Are you here for the Galore magazine party?" Why, yes. Yes, we are. And so we slipped on a couple of wristbands, donned a bevy of glow necklaces, and headed on up.
The party was in full swing, with free punch (which was good), deafening hip-hop (which was not) and even a sighting of former Giants tight-end Jeremy Shockey (which was fine, but would have been way better if it had been Cam Newton CALL ME).
Ellen and Brian departed the next morning, so Angel and I headed off to lunch at Lulu in the Grove, a trendy Coconut Grove tapas spot with an expansive outdoor patio.
Though we'd had perfect weather since we'd arrived in Miami, that particular day was on the chilly side (74°!), so we opted to sit in the funky, industrial-inspired dining room instead.
Once seated, we ordered up an assortment of tapas, including mac & cheese with manchego and fontina, ahi tuna tartare, truffle fries, pork tacos slow-braised in banana leaves & spices, and fish tacos with scallion vinaigrette.
Oh, and cheesecake in a jar.
In fact, we ordered so much food that the restaurant brought us a free round of Champagne to make up for the "wait."
I think they just wanted to see if we'd down that, too.
After lunch we decided to head over to Miami's up-and-coming Wynwood neighborhood. If South Beach is ground zero for club kids, then Wynwood is where their cooler, edgier counterparts go to get their art on.
Admittedly, however, Wynwood didn't make much of a first impression.
And so we did our best to blend in.
But as we walked from the seedy outskirts to the heart of the neighborhood, it stole my heart completely: The talent on display was breathtaking.
And knowing from Angel the skill involved in working with spray paint and markers, the sheer size and scale of many of the works was truly awe-inspiring.
Other murals were fun and funky and colorful.
And no paintable surface was exempt.
Best of all, we got to watch some of the artists at work.
It was hard to choose a favorite piece, but I think this gorgeous jellyfish by San Francisco-based fine artist and muralist Amandalynn might be it.
Even the shops along the main drag weren't content to be run-of-the-mill.
We'd spent hours wandering among the various murals, and soon it was time for refreshments. We ended up at The Butcher Shop, an outdoor beer garden and grill with an actual butcher shop out back.
We loved the design of the Concrete Beach Brewery pint glasses, and even though the brewery wasn't open yet, they were kind enough to let us in early to pick up a set.
That evening we met up with our friends Steph and Ari at Cecconi's at the Soho Beach House, a members-only club whose hotel rooms and restaurant are open to the public.
The romantic garden at Cecconi's is lit with hundreds of twinkling lights strung among the trees.
Cecconi's plays along with the Soho House's exclusivity theme, offering a "Friends of Cecconi's" key chain to loyal diners, which entitles them to special offers on meals, exclusive cooking classes, and wine tastings.
Of course Stephanie had a key.
I don't know what Steph's key got us that night, but I do know that there should have been some kind of discount for ordering virtually everything on the menu.
Then again, if that was the case, we'd never pay full price for another meal again.
Ever wonder what we eat when we're not on vacation (and secretly hoping it's celery sticks and kale)? Follow me on Instagram @escape.from.new.york to find out!