Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mi-Am-I a lucky girl.

While Gia was busy playing at Mimi and Popa's, Ralph was treating me to a birthday treat in glorious Miami. We departed on the red eye Tuesday night, made a stop in Houston to pass the football (Gia) to Mimi and Popa and were headed off to Miami. Ralph did an excellent job of planning a great trip and we both enjoyed some much deserved, rest, relaxation and good food without two year old interruption. We stayed at the Mondrian on South Beach. It was really more Miami Beach, but I am sure that a great PR person along with a marketing master mind convinced someone to call it South Beach to give it more allure. All the same to me, I am not that into the night club scene. It is owned by the same owners of The Mondrian LA, The Clift in SF, and the famous Delano on South Beach. There is an Asia de Cuba in the hotel and (as the locals informed us) it is the hot place on Friday night because it is new.

Needless to say, there was lots of pool, beach, reading and resting time. Side by side with great conversation and a healthy dose of comfortable silence. As parents of a two year old, this is welcomed with open arms. I remember when Ralph and I were dating one of the things that I enjoyed so much was that we could talk for hours and never run out of this to say while simultaneously sit in silence in complete comfort. I believe this is one thing that really is a healthy balance in a relationship.

The first night, we stayed in. Had dinner in our room. Watched movies and recovered from the jet lag and red eye. So after our first FULL day in Miami, we traveled over to the famed Blue Door at the Delano. The mojitos were amazing. Just the right mix of rum, sugar, mint and lime. Followed by an excellent crab appetizer, a sauteed red snapper and followed by the most amazing dessert I have ever had.....dulce de leche spring rolls with fresh cream. Oh. My. Goodness. Divine. Simply divine.

We decided that opposed to renting a car which is so easy, conventional and something that we do with Gia all the time, that we would rent a mo ped. Actually, we wanted a motorcycle, but neither of us has a motorcycle licence. Ralph affectionately named our tiny, puny little mo ped "The Hog." We both agree that this was certainly one of the highlights of our entire week. We took this bad boy all over Miami (never getting on the freeway thanks to GPS and the Venetian Causeway) and loved every minute of it. I don't think it went over forty five miles an hour, but the wind was blowing through our hair, and we felt like member of Hell's Angels.

The first thing we did when we got the hog was headed over to Little Havana. I have a huge affinity for Cuban food, Cuban coffee and just Cuban culture overall. We made our first stop at the world famous (to Miami's Cuban restaurant scene) Versailles. A very unassuming little diner for lack of a better word. But a diner where you are greeted with pan cubano and enjoy some of the best Cuban food I have ever tasted. We lingered over our late lunch savouring every bite and just observing the Cuban American culture that Miami has to offer. From two to one hundred and two they are at Versailles. It was such a treat to get into the "heart" of Miami and escape the tourism of South Beach.

After lunch we hopped on The Hog and found Ramon Puig's La Casa de las Guayaberas. Ralph had one made by Senor Puig himself. We also grabbed some off the rack for the rest of the world. I think I am the only one that now is not the proud owner of a Guayabera. Senor Puig made his way to Miami after the Cuban exodus, in 1968, as he claims, "without scissors, measurement or money." He is now in his eighties and going strong. It was such a pleasure to meet him and do business with such a legend.

The hog brought us to "Cigar Row" (my name for it) along Calle Ocho. In the 1100 block of Calle Ocho, the street is lined with numerous cigar shops. Roller are rolling and people are smoking. Ralph grabbed many cigars for himself and my dad. It was so interesting to talk to the owners and learn about there trade.

There was lots of dressing up and lots of date time. It was so nice to have extended periods of adult conversation. Not worrying about time or potty training, but there was also a healthy dose of missing and talking to a certain little toddler that was in the best hands in the world.
Miami is a very beautiful city. A very warm and muggy city, but very alluring. It makes you yearn to experience Havana in its hey day. When in lieu of night clubs bumping vulgar rap songs and ripping techno were the days of dinner jackets and big brass bands.

The sand is white and the water crystal blue. We had showers every afternoon that lasted just long enough to cool things off and leave behind a fantastic, just rained by the beach smell.

Thank you handsome, I know you must be exhausted after planning this great celebration for my birthday. Please know how much I enjoyed every minute of the great city of Miami and every moment with you.


Tonia said...

How sweet. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a great time,

Allie said...

Wow, sounds like a great weekend. Happy Birthday!