One of the things I’ve been most excited about in this trip is a chance to explore new parts of the continent with old friends, and Miami wound up being a perfect opportunity to do so. Three of my closest friends from Bain, Chris, Grace, and Cassie, all managed to find a spare weekend and fly out to one place—the dense, beachy, art-drenched, Latin-inflected jewel on the South Florida coast. Hampton drove us into the city (with a stop for amazing gas station Indian food in Fort Pierce, and a brief outlet-mall excursion to pick up shorts), and we settled into a rented apartment for a night of board games and delivery tacos. Sadly, Chris had a scooter mishap (a classic millennial injury) and wound up bloodied, so we relaxed indoors, caught up, and enjoyed the shimmering Miami skyline.
Saturday was a day with the beach at its centre. We headed off to South Beach to enjoy the art deco architecture and the sun’s warmth, with brunch at Front Porch Café to fuel us for the tourist-packed sidewalks. After a midday rest, we walked the warm, graffiti-soaked streets over to Wynwood (what Hayes Valley wishes it was!)—a truly cool arts district growing like fungus on the shells of old industrial warehouses. Dinner was pretty great Japanese from Go Bistro, and we then headed up to the bizarre guitar-shaped Hard Rock Live casino/entertainment complex north of the city for a hysterical set by Trevor Noah (who memorably compared presidents to airline pilots with his indelible impressions). On the way out, we had a truly excruciating Lyft ordeal with the impossible casino traffic, but with the help of an adventurous driver who drove across the orange pylon median to shave 20 minutes of traffic out of our trip, we got home in time for some good rest.
Sunday was a day of ins and outs. Our first discovery: one of our tires had struck a nail, and was slowly leaking air. While we got a patch, it’s still leaking, and we have to find a solution—fortunately, it’s still roadworthy and easy to get around. Thank goodness for compressed air as a stopgap (and for this being the only real car problem we’ve dealt with in almost 17,000 miles of driving).
We packed the car in the morning, headed to the delightfully LA-lite Swan for brunch (including a delicious, overpriced croissant-dough cinnamon bun), and explored the ICA‘s airy space and light-touch collection. On the inimitable Rosie McKee’s recommendation, we copped some comfy beach loungers by Faena—until we got kicked out, as perhaps the fanciest wedding party in history assembled around us. Fruity cocktails at the swanky outdoor bar helped us lick our wounds (as did the people-watching), before the triumvirate of Torontonians embarked for the airport. As it randomly happened, Hampton’s best pal Evan (who you may recall from our NYE post!) decided to try his hand baking bread at Zak the Baker, and drove down that day for his two-month stint (after which he’ll head to San Francisco for a new job as a surgical PA in gender confirmation!). We took the opportunity to crash on his Airbnb’s deeply uncomfortable pull-out couch, and to have a rich, delectable meal at Amor di Pasta (with all the requisite laughter one would expect).
The next morning, as Wilfred and Tegan played, we got a phenomenal brunch at B Bistro (with the cotija-infused avocado toast a particular highlight)—and soon, we parted ways, with Evan eager for his yeasty times ahead and us traversing the Overseas Highway on down to Key West.