My Two Blocks of ParadiseUSA MAINLAND — By Ann McElfresh on March 9, 2012 at 01:09
Story by staff writer Ann McElfresh. Photos Copyright © Ann McElfresh.
Honey Bunny and I went on a cruise recently. It was delightful and I look forward to telling you all about it. But let me tell you about the day before and the day after our cruise—where we spent our time in a two-block radius—and it was paradise.
Miami: a study in opposites. There were high rises on one side of the street and fishing boats on the other. Beach and city beautifully combined. Cosmopolitan and Margaritaville . . . and BLUE! The city is positively tinged in blue. The sky, the ocean, the glass buildings. Stunning!
We stayed at a hotel right by the port to catch our cruise ship. Across the street from the hotel was a mall—but this was no ordinary mall. It had a food court and shops, but it also had the thumping beat of Cuban music with a DJ at night, a mojito bar, outside restaurants and boats.
At night, this place is what most people picture Miami to be: people dancing everywhere there was space, free-flowing drinks, neon lights, and the smell of amazing food and the ocean.
During the day it was sunny, bright, and much like a regular mall with a touristy twist: Hooters, Bubba Gump Shrimp, lots of T-shirts for sale . . . and a view!
We decided to try two restaurants to match the mood of Bayside Mall day and night.
At night, we went to Los Ranchos. We ate one of the best meals I’ve ever had! The restaurant wasn’t crowded but had just enough people that the place was hopping. The service was stellar and the waiters knew they were serving something good!
We had a quick-seared steak positively BURIED under sautéed onions. Waiters come around with large platters of beans and rice along with fried plantain chips.
But the STAR of the night was their chimichurri sauce. It was one of the most amazing condiments I’ve had in my LIFE! They gave us three condiments for our meal, but we ate the entire bowl of chimichurri. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to duplicate it!
(Editor’s note: Ann is MT’s foodie and she’s been known to reproduce dishes from favorite restaurant meals.)
The daytime place we went to at the same mall was very much mall fare—only a zillion times better! We went to Casa Roma in the food court. I was in the mood for Baba Ganoush. Sadly, they were out. They did, however, have a delicious variety of other items. I had an eggplant and tomato appetizer, hummus, tabouleh and pita bread as well as a Greek salad. It was delicious . . and I made Baba Ganoush when I got home!
Next time you’re in Miami, make sure you stop and see my two blocks of paradise. Walk around and enjoy the sunshine and palm trees . . . and the food. Then hop on a cruise ship and sail away.
401 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33132
401 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33132
Ann McElfresh has had the opportunity to travel and live overseas during the course of her husband’s career in the military and they didn’t stop after he retired! An enthusiastic home cook, she has an extensive “bucket list” of places to see, foods to eat and dishes to cook. A recent physical required that she focus her attention on cooking healthy foods and living a healthier lifestyle. At this time, she has lost 20 pounds and when asked how she lost the weight, she tells people, “By cooking like mad! Who knew losing weight could be so much fun?” Visit her healthy (and tasty) cooking blog at www.cookinghealthyforme.com.