After leaving Hard Rock Stadium, Jawann and I went to check in at The Gates Hotel. We checked in, threw our bags in the room, changed to our swimsuits and walked the block down to the beach to catch the last hour or so of sunlight.
Ahhh…the “Golden Hour” in Miami….where the sun gives everything the Midas touch.
As the sun was setting and I was done with my fake photo shoot a la Jawann’s iPhone 7+, we headed back towards the hotel…but not without stopping to get some beers first. We picked up a 6 pack of Funky Buddha beer and headed towards our hotel’s pool to people watch and drink. We got buzzed pretty fast since we were drinking on an empty stomach!
After downing three beers each, we headed back to the room to shower and find some food. If you know me, then you know I am ALWAYS hungry…but Jawann kept saying he wasn’t. Whatever, fine, sit and watch me eat then. We walked up and down Collins, but nothing was really catching my eye. I really wanted some authentic, fire ass Cuban food. We walked all around South Beach looking for my Cuban before I finally stopped this young dude and asked him where I could get some good Cuban. He said, and I quote,
“If you’re looking for some tourist sh*t, go to Espanola Way, but if you want that good local sh*t, right here!”
Right here, was this place called Playa Cafe. (By the way, we walked Espanola Way. It’s a super cute, brick street that makes it charming. It has hotels, boutiques, and a few restaurants.)
But, back to Playa Cafe….HOMEBOY WASN’T LYING. It was some local sh*t.
It’s counter service and I dang near had to order in Spanish. This place has a lot of options to choose from. So many, that the picture menu is spread all over the walls. I ended getting shredded beef with peppers and Y’ALL. OMG.
IT. WAS. BOMB. AF!
Look at this:
After eating this, I was ready to pass out. I was tired. And full. And happy.
So we walked, very slowly, back to the hotel and called it night.
The next morning, we got up early again to hit the beach for a little bit before going to Wynwood Walls. As many times as I been to Miami, I never made it out to the Walls and was NOT leaving Miami until I went.
The beach was pretty empty when we got there at 9 a.m.
Gates Hotel offers free chair and towel rentals on the beach (info can be found here).
And don’t let my skin color fool you, just because I’m Black, doesn’t mean I don’t like to soak up some rays and catch a nice tan. That’s exactly what we did for a few hours 🙂 We also ordered food and drinks because it was HAWT. And because I’m me, I had another mini photo shoot compliments of my cousin and his iPhone.
After getting my bake on, we left the beach and headed to Wynwood Walls. Here’s where I got kinda pissy: upon reading reviews of the Walls, people kept saying, “it’s in a sketchy neighborhood”. It’s not. It’s in a what appears to be historic Spanish neighborhood. Don’t let a little ethnic scare you…you ARE in Miami. Anyways, we drove through the neighborhood unscathed and found $5.00 parking. Hopped out (in the rain) and made our way to the Walls! I was super excited.
Quick history lesson:
In the early 2000’s Wynwood wasn’t the cute “hipster” neighborhood that we have all come to love and enjoy. Before, it was just like any other urban, industrial neighborhood that was going through a rough patch. It was full of abandoned warehouses and crime. Then, a guy by the name of Joey Goldman discovered Wynwood. Another member of the Goldman Family, Tony, didn’t want to rid Wynwood of its authentic feel, but instead, incorporated the buildings into works of art. In 2009, the Wynwood Walls was born. Buildings that were once abandoned, were now giant canvases for street artists, making Wynwood the vibrant Miami neighborhood that we know today!
I really enjoyed this quick trip to Miami and promised myself that I would do it more often.
South Beach, you owe me nothing!
Been to Miami? What’s your favorite places to check out?