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>Miami’s slow season is beginning and the chic art deco hotels in South Beach want to stay occupied during the summer, so if you book your stay by Friday, you can stay at the Carlton South Beach for $53 a night; this rate is 30% off the regular price and is good through September 7,2009. One of the nicest amenities here is that they lend you beach towels and chairs so you don’t have to buy any there or even worse lug any from back home! For a small hotel, it’s still got big hotel perks like a 24 hour business center and passes to local night spots.

For another prime location is the Delores for only $60 a night; this rate is 25% off the regular price and is good through September 7,2009. Located only one block from Ocean Drive. They offer free WiFi, as well as a complimentary wine hour, so you can start your vacation partying in your own hotel!. They are also known for their in house restaurant, Bistro 1506, which specializes in Latin Cuisine, so if you want to just stay in, you can order up room service.

Both of these are small “boutique” type hotels, so if you want to save your money to spend on going out in South Beach, stay at one of these places, and use what you save to visit the Fountainebleau for a meal or the nightclub; that’s what I call having the best of both worlds.

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Miami’s slow season is beginning and the chic art deco hotels in South Beach want to stay occupied during the summer, so if you book your stay by Friday, you can stay at the Carlton South Beach for $53 a night; this rate is 30% off the regular price and is good through September 7,2009. One of the nicest amenities here is that they lend you beach towels and chairs so you don’t have to buy any there or even worse lug any from back home! For a small hotel, it’s still got big hotel perks like a 24 hour business center and passes to local night spots.

For another prime location is the Delores for only $60 a night; this rate is 25% off the regular price and is good through September 7,2009. Located only one block from Ocean Drive. They offer free WiFi, as well as a complimentary wine hour, so you can start your vacation partying in your own hotel!. They are also known for their in house restaurant, Bistro 1506, which specializes in Latin Cuisine, so if you want to just stay in, you can order up room service.

Both of these are small “boutique” type hotels, so if you want to save your money to spend on going out in South Beach, stay at one of these places, and use what you save to visit the Fountainebleau for a meal or the nightclub; that’s what I call having the best of both worlds.

>The newly renovated Fontainebleau in Miami is beautiful after its’ $1 billion dollar face lift. Rooms start around $350, but they are offering all kinds of promotions to get people to come and stay, including prepay discounts, a fourth night free, and a breakfast package.

The hotel itself consists of two parts, the renovated original building and a new adjacent tower with views of the beach. As they say in Real Estate, the best thing about this place is the location, location, location; the hotel is literally steps from the boardwalk that runs the length of the beach and the beach itself just behind the pool area of the hotel.

The pool area is huge, with a poolside bar area and private cabanas that include plasma screen TVs, telephones, and food service. The pool is large enough for several people to swim laps while others wade, and although it is heavily chlorinated, it is a great place to hang out for the afternoon if you don’t want to get sand on your bikini and toes.

The interior is as luxurious and hip as James Bond, with the jaw dropping Bleau Bar in the center of the lobby area shimmering in light, the hip LIV lounge with 30,000 square feet of partying area, complete with skybar service and little locked drawers for purses in the banquettes! For spa lovers there is also a new 40,000 square foot spa

Food options include a classic steak house, Gotham, by Michelin-star chef Alfred Portale, and the trendy chic Blade sushi restaurant, but you can get anything from real French macaroons at Solo Patisserie, to American comfort food at Fresh.

Get dressed in your finest warm weather party outfit and live like Marlene Dietrich for at least one night or week, after all, as James Bond used to say, you only live once.

The newly renovated Fontainebleau in Miami is beautiful after its’ $1 billion dollar face lift. Rooms start around $350, but they are offering all kinds of promotions to get people to come and stay, including prepay discounts, a fourth night free, and a breakfast package.

The hotel itself consists of two parts, the renovated original building and a new adjacent tower with views of the beach. As they say in Real Estate, the best thing about this place is the location, location, location; the hotel is literally steps from the boardwalk that runs the length of the beach and the beach itself just behind the pool area of the hotel.

The pool area is huge, with a poolside bar area and private cabanas that include plasma screen TVs, telephones, and food service. The pool is large enough for several people to swim laps while others wade, and although it is heavily chlorinated, it is a great place to hang out for the afternoon if you don’t want to get sand on your bikini and toes.

The interior is as luxurious and hip as James Bond, with the jaw dropping Bleau Bar in the center of the lobby area shimmering in light, the hip LIV lounge with 30,000 square feet of partying area, complete with skybar service and little locked drawers for purses in the banquettes! For spa lovers there is also a new 40,000 square foot spa

Food options include a classic steak house, Gotham, by Michelin-star chef Alfred Portale, and the trendy chic Blade sushi restaurant, but you can get anything from real French macaroons at Solo Patisserie, to American comfort food at Fresh.

Get dressed in your finest warm weather party outfit and live like Marlene Dietrich for at least one night or week, after all, as James Bond used to say, you only live once.

>For my last meal in Miami, we went to Brosia in the Design District. The exterior wall is a huge mosaic of tiles which help shelter the outdoor patio from wind, creating a small calm sanctuary of lit trees far from the noise and bustle of South Beach. (If you are looking for more of a nightlife, go to Sra Martinez around the corner during a live music night; see my post from Tuesday.)

Reading the menu got me salivating when I saw one of their salads included a Caesar with white anchovy; although I loved the dressing and the salad itself, I was disappointed that there was literally only ONE white anchovy, I guess that was why it was listed as anchovy instead of anchovies!

Chantal had the prosciutto and melon and was happy with her choice. The presentation was unusual, with sliced rounds of melon laid into a flat fan around the plate with the prosciutto on top of that and a small topping of arugula, shaved fennel, dried figs, walnuts, and pecorino cheese crowning the center. The side of asparagus with kalamata olives was nicely grilled, but not spectacular. I segued into the Catalan shrimp and clams with chorizo, in a garlic red pepper and sherry sauce, which was by far my favorite dish of the evening. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, the clams were fresh, and the chorizo was the best smoky dense version I have ever had. Even though I was full and I could not finish the sauce with the toasted bread points, I lingered until I finished every last bite of this fantastic dish.

Back to Los Angeles in the very early morning (gotta get up at 5 am!), so I’ll post again after I get over my jet lag.

For my last meal in Miami, we went to Brosia in the Design District. The exterior wall is a huge mosaic of tiles which help shelter the outdoor patio from wind, creating a small calm sanctuary of lit trees far from the noise and bustle of South Beach. (If you are looking for more of a nightlife, go to Sra Martinez around the corner during a live music night; see my post from Tuesday.)

Reading the menu got me salivating when I saw one of their salads included a Caesar with white anchovy; although I loved the dressing and the salad itself, I was disappointed that there was literally only ONE white anchovy, I guess that was why it was listed as anchovy instead of anchovies!

Chantal had the prosciutto and melon and was happy with her choice. The presentation was unusual, with sliced rounds of melon laid into a flat fan around the plate with the prosciutto on top of that and a small topping of arugula, shaved fennel, dried figs, walnuts, and pecorino cheese crowning the center. The side of asparagus with kalamata olives was nicely grilled, but not spectacular. I segued into the Catalan shrimp and clams with chorizo, in a garlic red pepper and sherry sauce, which was by far my favorite dish of the evening. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, the clams were fresh, and the chorizo was the best smoky dense version I have ever had. Even though I was full and I could not finish the sauce with the toasted bread points, I lingered until I finished every last bite of this fantastic dish.

Back to Los Angeles in the very early morning (gotta get up at 5 am!), so I’ll post again after I get over my jet lag.

>Since we had gotten up late and it was raining on and off all day, Chantal and I decided to walk around Coconut Grove, figuring we could duck into a store or restaurant if it started pouring. The one restaurant I wanted to return to the most on this trip to Miami, was Jaguar, so we knew of at least one spot here where we could wait out the rain. I could not imagine a more perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon than their nice patio, rainy or not, with a good friend, a cold drink, and several spoons of their creative ceviche.

Last time I came here, we were so dazzled by the ceviche spoon sampler of six different options ($12) that we never noted our favorites. Jaguar offers eight kinds of ceviche, but only six are available “spoon” size so you can have a taste without committing to a full “Amazon” serving. My favorites were definitely the ceviche Vuelve a la Vida, made with swordfish, shrimp, calamari, tomato, lime, orange, onion, cilantro, Habernero chile & avocado, and the Ceviche Peruano, made with white fish, lime ,red onion, roccoto chile, and corn. Chantal liked the Ceviche Nuevo made with calamari the best, with aji amarillo, ginger, soy, lime and grapeseed oil. We ordered extra spoons of our favorites ($2 each) and tried to save some room for dinner by bypassing the rest of the menu.

Besides the ceviches, Jaguar carries a full menu of salads, grills (meat and fish), sandwiches, and house specialties like swordfish “o lo macho” with shrimp and calamari, aji amarillo sauce with saffron, brandy & Pernod, served on rice. On our last visit we had lunch here which segued into an afternoon, starting with their Crispy Blue Corn Chicken tacos and Chopped Celia Salad ($11 each) and ending with the spoon sampler.

No matter the weather or the time of day, Jaguar is always a perfect spot to stop for a spoonful of ceviche.

Since we had gotten up late and it was raining on and off all day, Chantal and I decided to walk around Coconut Grove, figuring we could duck into a store or restaurant if it started pouring. The one restaurant I wanted to return to the most on this trip to Miami, was Jaguar, so we knew of at least one spot here where we could wait out the rain. I could not imagine a more perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon than their nice patio, rainy or not, with a good friend, a cold drink, and several spoons of their creative ceviche.

Last time I came here, we were so dazzled by the ceviche spoon sampler of six different options ($12) that we never noted our favorites. Jaguar offers eight kinds of ceviche, but only six are available “spoon” size so you can have a taste without committing to a full “Amazon” serving. My favorites were definitely the ceviche Vuelve a la Vida, made with swordfish, shrimp, calamari, tomato, lime, orange, onion, cilantro, Habernero chile & avocado, and the Ceviche Peruano, made with white fish, lime ,red onion, roccoto chile, and corn. Chantal liked the Ceviche Nuevo made with calamari the best, with aji amarillo, ginger, soy, lime and grapeseed oil. We ordered extra spoons of our favorites ($2 each) and tried to save some room for dinner by bypassing the rest of the menu.

Besides the ceviches, Jaguar carries a full menu of salads, grills (meat and fish), sandwiches, and house specialties like swordfish “o lo macho” with shrimp and calamari, aji amarillo sauce with saffron, brandy & Pernod, served on rice. On our last visit we had lunch here which segued into an afternoon, starting with their Crispy Blue Corn Chicken tacos and Chopped Celia Salad ($11 each) and ending with the spoon sampler.

No matter the weather or the time of day, Jaguar is always a perfect spot to stop for a spoonful of ceviche.

>For my first dinner in Miami on this trip, I asked Chantal about going to Sra Martinez in the Design district; ironically she had already planned to take me there because she knows the parents of the chef!

Sra Martinez is in an historical building that was once a post office, and has been immensely popular since it’s opening, with waits for tables that exceed an hour on week-ends. Even during the week, it is best to reserve a table, especially if you want to eat at a popular nightlife grazing time like 9pm.

The menu is a range of hot and cold appetizers or tapas which you can mix or match. We chose 5 and asked our server to recommend the order of arrival, which he orchestrated very well. Prices range from about $11-$25, with medium sized portions for tapas; as appetizers, each plate was enough to share for two, but you get just a bite for three people, if you are hungry figure on 2-3 plates per person for a full meal. It can get pricey depending on your choices, our dinner came in over $100 for two of us (not counting wine).

We began with the cold shrimp tiradito in a light white sauce with kernels of popcorn; yes, I found it looked strange too, but upon tasting the combo, I can say I was very happy with the inventive combo, and we ate every bite. Next came the lemon coriander fried baby artichokes with a creamy aioli which we could not stop eating throughout the meal, the lemony flavor and crisp texture stood up even after they had cooled to room temperature. The beet salad was a medley of colors and a light contrast between the plates of hot dishes we had coming of roasted pork belly and lamb lollipops. The pork belly was very rich, but so good we even ate the fat. The lamb was one of my favorites, with a perfectly tender center and crusty glaze that was savory without being sweet or spicy. The lamb was served with a nice light cucumber and yogurt dip that was refreshing and a nice accent to the char.

You would think after all this we would have no room for dessert, but after we finished our wine, but we found we could squeeze in the torrejas, a sweet, warm and rich offering of bananas, figs and bread that would make any dessert lover happy. Perfect espressos finished off our meal as we drifted off in a haze of great food to window shop in the design district and walk off some of our meal before heading home to bed with visions of beautiful furniture and food dancing in our heads.

For my first dinner in Miami on this trip, I asked Chantal about going to Sra Martinez in the Design district; ironically she had already planned to take me there because she knows the parents of the chef!

Sra Martinez is in an historical building that was once a post office, and has been immensely popular since it’s opening, with waits for tables that exceed an hour on week-ends. Even during the week, it is best to reserve a table, especially if you want to eat at a popular nightlife grazing time like 9pm.

The menu is a range of hot and cold appetizers or tapas which you can mix or match. We chose 5 and asked our server to recommend the order of arrival, which he orchestrated very well. Prices range from about $11-$25, with medium sized portions for tapas; as appetizers, each plate was enough to share for two, but you get just a bite for three people, if you are hungry figure on 2-3 plates per person for a full meal. It can get pricey depending on your choices, our dinner came in over $100 for two of us (not counting wine).

We began with the cold shrimp tiradito in a light white sauce with kernels of popcorn; yes, I found it looked strange too, but upon tasting the combo, I can say I was very happy with the inventive combo, and we ate every bite. Next came the lemon coriander fried baby artichokes with a creamy aioli which we could not stop eating throughout the meal, the lemony flavor and crisp texture stood up even after they had cooled to room temperature. The beet salad was a medley of colors and a light contrast between the plates of hot dishes we had coming of roasted pork belly and lamb lollipops. The pork belly was very rich, but so good we even ate the fat. The lamb was one of my favorites, with a perfectly tender center and crusty glaze that was savory without being sweet or spicy. The lamb was served with a nice light cucumber and yogurt dip that was refreshing and a nice accent to the char.

You would think after all this we would have no room for dessert, but after we finished our wine, but we found we could squeeze in the torrejas, a sweet, warm and rich offering of bananas, figs and bread that would make any dessert lover happy. Perfect espressos finished off our meal as we drifted off in a haze of great food to window shop in the design district and walk off some of our meal before heading home to bed with visions of beautiful furniture and food dancing in our heads.

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