Author: Heather

I love travel, ballet, cats and my hometown of NYC.

A Long Weekend in South Beach

south beach

Three days in South Beach was exactly what I needed before starting my new job. (Don’t get me wrong—I’m thrilled about it, but definitely needed some R&R, especially after the holidays!) I’d been to Miami once before, about a year and a half ago, for Mal’s bachelorette party. While that wasn’t exactly a wild and crazy time, this trip was even more chill—I’m sure I was in bed before the rest of South Beach was going out for the night!

Some highlights/favorites:

EATS

Yardbird

yardbird

butter lettuce and mango salad

On our first day, we ate lunch atВ Yardbird, a hopping, Southern food restaurant with hip decor, run by formerВ Top ChefВ contestant Jeff McInnis. I wanted to eat everything on theВ menuВ (which included deviled eggs, pulled pork and shrimp n’grits) but opted for the butter lettuce and mango salad topped with local swordfish. I also had a few bites of the signature fried chicken and biscuit—and can vouch for both being amazing.

Ola

ola

My mom’s birthday was on Thursday (happy bday, Meme <3!), so to celebrate, we went toВ Ola, a Latin American restaurant that happened to be inВ my hotel. (More about that below.) It was the perfect place for a special dinner—the food and service were superb. The corn empanadas were probably the best I’ve ever had, and the hamachi ceviche was delicious. And the deconstructed key lime pie? Just the right balance of sweet and tart.

Joe’s Stone Crab

jumbo stone crab claws

I left a day earlier than my parents, so they wanted to send me off with a good meal—and I couldn’t have been happier with their restaurant selection. We went to lunch atВ Joe’s Stone Crab, a perpetually crowded, wonderfully old school institution where waiters still wear jackets and bow ties. Stone crabs are in season from October through mid-May and we were in luck: A batch of jumbo crabs had come in that morning. I’m used to eating littleВ Maryland blue crabs, so I was shocked at how large and meaty these guys were. (I’m still dreaming of those claws!)

Other South Beach Eats I’d recommend (from this and the last trip):
Puerto Sagua:В Classic (and cheap!) Cuban food in a casual, diner-likeВ atmosphere. (Perfect for the morning after a night out!)
Dilido Beach Club:В Delicious cocktails and eats—plus impeccable service—at the Ritz-Carlton’s oceanfront bar; great for lunch when you don’t want to stray far from the beach.
BLT Steak:В True to its name, meat is the main event, but the gigantic Gruyere popovers, alone, are worth the trip.
Spris:В Al fresco Lincoln Road spot that serves thin-crust pizzas.
Sushi Samba:В I’ve never been to the NYC restaurant, but I really enjoyed my late-night rolls and cocktails at this outpost, also on Lincoln Road—plus, the people-watching was fantastic, at that hour!

SIGHTSВ 

The Beach

south beach

Obviously. When I’ve left behind freezing, cold NYC for a few precious days in the sun, there are not many things I’d rather do than lie onВ the beach.В And luckily, South Beach, itself, is really nice. The sand is soft and well-kept.В On sunny days, the water is calm and brilliant blue—I find it hard to believe it’s the same Atlantic we have up north! I spent most of every day chillaxin’ in a lounge chair, soaking in the warm weather and listening to the sound of the surf.

Lincoln Road

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It’s hard to go to South Beach and not end up onВ Lincoln Road, at some point. I love the idea of a pedestrian mall and wish more cities would adapt it; it’s a luxury to walk past shops, outdoor dining, public art and palm trees without the noise and chaos of cars. Lincoln Road isВ quintessentiallyВ Miami and nice anytime of day: in the morning, when you want to take a quiet stroll; in the late afternoon, when you want to shop after a day at the beach; or at night, when the restaurants and lounges fill up!

ACCOMMODATIONS

sanctuary south beach
South Beach has a ton of amazing hotels but, in my experience, it’s not easy to find deals. I booked this trip at the very last minute (just two days before) and it took me about four hours to find a good hotel in my price range, which was around $200/night. (Since I wasn’t splitting the cost with anyone.) I ended up at the Sanctuary, a small, quiet all-suite hotel one block removed from the fancy beachfront properties. The service was friendly—though not particularly polished—and the place had a bit of a motel-vibe, since all the rooms face into a courtyard. Still, I had beach and pool access via its sister hotel, the Shelborne, and my suite was very clean and spacious.

betsy hotel

My parents, on the other hand, stayed at the Betsy, a swank boutique hotel with a retro vibe and gorgeous rooftop. Rooms are small, but have lots of sweet extras, like Frette linens and Malin + Goetz products. (I had a little hotel envy over that!)

loews miami

For Mal’s bachelorette, we stayed at the Loews, which I’d highly recommend. It’s pricey, yet more affordable than many of its beachfront neighbors—and the service was on par or with what you’d get at a W or Ritz.

Have you been to South Beach recently? What are your favorite restaurants and hotels? (I’d love to know for my next trip!)

(Sanctuary photo via SanctuarySoBe.com, Loews photo via their Facebook page; the Betsy photo via TheBetsyHotel.com)

Off to South Beach!

south beach

I’m kicking off 2013 with a big change: I’m starting a new job on Monday! I’m excited (and a little nervous) about this new opportunity, but to celebrate, I’m heading to South Beach for three days. (With my parents—they were nice enough to let me tag along on their vacation!) I’m planning to do nothing but enjoy the warm weather, eat some good food—and relax and recharge for next week. (I’ll post some trip highlights upon coming back.)

And happy 2013—I hope your year is off to a wonderful start!

(Photo by Jetsetter via Pinterest)

Happy Birthday, Mal!!!

heather and mal

Happy birthday to my best friend in the whole world! From sending me daily cat pictures, to giving me sage advice on any problem I may have (no matter how big or small), to being the most awesome travel companion and dinner party/game night host, I couldn’t ask for a more amazing sister.

Have a wonderful day and a fantastic year, Mal! I love!! вќ¤

Petit Mort

A highlight of my week was seeing Alvin Ailey during their annual December run at City Center. Talk about inspiring. Whenever I see the company, I’m reminded of how my friend/former co-worker, Ted, once described them to me: “They’re like the dance gods.”

They really are. The beauty—and power—of professional dancers is how easy they make everything look. Every Ailey dancer has that ability to a ridiculous degree. Each of their moves is executed flawlessly, weightlessly and with incredible athleticism and grace. It’s hard not to be blown away during a performance.

On Sunday, I saw a program I was particularly looking forward to. It included Ronald K. Brown’s “Grace” (a contemporary/West African/hip-hop piece that astounded me the first time I saw it performed in Boston) and, of course, Ailey’s signature “Revelations.”В В But the piece I was most looking forward to was JiЕ™Г­ KyliГЎn’s “Petit Mort,” which ended up being my favorite. This contemporary ballet has amazing, sensual partnering, as well as some playful props—you can’t help but smile when the black dress forms roll onstage! I’d love to see it again, live, but for now, I’ll have to be content with looking at these photos and short trailer:

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petit mort

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Have you seen Ailey perform? What’s your favorite piece in their rep?

(All photos via Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Facebook page)

An Up-Close Look at NYCB’s Nutcracker Costumes

As far as I’m concerned, the holiday season isn’t complete without seeing a performance of the Nutcracker. (Or, at least listening to the soundtrack a couple times in its entirety—something that’s driven my family mad over the years!)

Tonight, I’m seeing City Ballet’s production (with my mom :)). It’s been several years since I’ve seen their version, and I’m pretty excited—there’s nothing as inspiring as seeing the pros dance, live!

Recently, NYCB posted behind-the-scenes photos of their Nutcracker costumes on their Facebook page. I thought it was super-cool that they gave us normal folks (and professional dancer wannabes!) a little peek behind the curtains!

Reams of fabric at the NYCB Costume Shop

Reams of fabric at the NYCB Costume Shop

Waltz of the Flowers tutus

Waltz of the Flowers tutus

Marzipan costumes

Marzipan costumes

Sugarplum fairy costumes

Sugarplum fairy costumes

Sugarplum fairy costume

Sugarplum fairy costume

Are you a Nutcracker fan, too? What’s your favorite number? (Mine has always been the “Waltz of the Snowflakes”—which I was thrilled to perform earlier this season.)

(Photos via NYCB’s Facebook page)

Dancers Among Us

Yesterday, I stumbled across a post on Joycreation that made my day. It featured Dancers Among Us, a photography project and book by NYC photog Jordan Matter. He shoots dancers in street clothes in various locations around the country—but in every shot, they’re captured in the middle of a move, a jolting contrast to everything/everyone around them. Many dancers are soaring mid-air in Russian pas de chats, attitudes and jetes; you can’t help but feel a little exuberance and joy while looking at them!

I got sucked into looking at all the photos on the Dancers Among Us site, but was particularly impressed with the range of locations for the NYC shots. Some of my favorites:

luke mccollum, dancers among us

ft. tryon park, adrienne hayes

broadway

stone street

central park

lincoln center

(All photos via Dancers Among Us; found via Joycreation)