I’m not even sure why I put the ‘2022‘ in the title of this blog post, because I definitely will not be returning.
This will be the one and only recap I do of Miami, ever, unless one of my friends decides to have a bachelorette or something there. Also, layovers, maybe layovers.
I was not impressed by Miami. I realize I am in the minority here because I know folks of ALL AGES who are on their 10th-20th trip to Miami and they love it there. Well, I won’t be joining them.
You know when everyone else finds someone attractive and you can see why THEY find them attractive, but you don’t feel the same? That was Miami for me.
It has been one week since I returned and I’ve had time to think about what I liked and didn’t like at length, so it was the perfect time to put my thoughts into this post.
Thursday, March 31st
Early ass day.
We were trying to catch the first 4:55am UP Express to Pearson but the Uber we ordered to Union Station took so long we just ended up taking the Uber straight to Pearson. Awesome start right?
I was pretty excited to finally go to Miami. This specific trip was a gift to my boyfriend for his 35th birthday – we’d both been trying to visit MIA for a while. I had luckily gotten our flight and place to stay at a decent price, I’d written about that here in the budget breakdown for this trip. That was the end of any accuracy for this budget. $650 spending money? LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO yeah, maybe that first day there.
We got to Pearson and I have to say, NOT being on the first flight to USA ended up being a good thing because there was no lineup. I have flown twice during the pandemic with a layover in USA, and both times I had a 6am(ish) flight and the lines were crazy because of that. Our flight was at 7:30am and there was no lineup, yay.
The flight was fine to Fort Lauderdale and arrival in FLL went seamlessly and everything was on time. I still think Air Canada Rouge airplanes have zero leg room, but this was only a 3hr flight so it’s not that big of a deal.
We caught an Uber from FLL Airport to our AirBnB in Wynwood. I will say, prior to coming on this trip, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how close FLL airport was to Miami proper. I thought this airport would be in the middle of nowhere because Miami has an international airport close to its center. For those of you planning to travel to Miami, definitely look at FLL as an alternative to MIA airport, the flights there are usually cheaper and clearly it isn’t super duper far.
The choice to stay in Wynwood was mostly because my friends Lorren and Alicia explained to me that South Beach is somewhere you visit, not somewhere you necessarily want to lay your head. Because it was only 11am when we arrived at our AirBnB, and check in wasn’t until 3pm, we dropped our bags with the host and decided to go into the busier part of Wynwood.
We had made reservations at the World Famous House of Mac for 1:30pm to meet with my friend Shurly (a Toronto person who abandoned us for Miami, smh), but we had lots of time before then and wanted to get into some shenanigans.
On arrival – we noticed a beautiful placed called The Moon. My boyfriend, Mark, asked the hostess at the front if they were serving alcohol yet and she said yes so we went right on in. Wow. What a beautiful place. If you are someone who loves going to places for ‘the aesthetic’ – this is your spot.
I should note this place was not ONLY good for the aesthetic, the drinks were damn good too! Also, the bartender (shout out to Luisa) was great. The drinks were pricey, but we figured because this was a fancy pants place, it made sense. LOL. You already know I’m going to learn an expensive lesson this weekend right?
We got to spend some time talking to Luisa and the owner about Miami, places to see and also about the story behind this brand new bar/restaurant. At this moment, I also understood why people who like dating women would LOVE Miami. There was no shortage of gorgeous women during this entire trip. Sheesh. Good for you Miami!
There was also no shortage of really nice people.
I will also give Miami props on the customer service being really good and that when we’d tell people we were from Toronto we’d get even friendlier service. They don’t have very high opinions of the older snowbirds, but they are super cool to us younger people fleeing the cold.
Once enough alcohol was consumed, it was time to go walk over to our reservation (across the street) at the World Famous House of Mac. Not only would I get to reunite with my friend Shurly, I LOVE MAC AND CHEESE. Overall, a win.
I thought this place was cool. I ordered the lobster mac & cheese, a mango lemonade and a slice of carrot cake. Make sure you try the first two – but the carrot cake? Avoid. That may have been the worst carrot cake I’ve ever tasted in my life. Remember how I mentioned I was about to learn an expensive lesson?
The total for us three eating at a mac and cheese spot? $213.97 CAD.
I said oh shit, okay, Miami is about to be another Zurich. Got it.
Luckily, I don’t come on vacation to be a broke bitch, but damn. I think between the first bar and this lunch we were no less than $300 spent already – we had only been in Miami four hours. Thank God we both have two jobs right? Right.
The best part of this lunch was getting to see Shurly and finally meeting her newborn son. When she lived in Toronto she was my food bae, and to be able to continue that in another country brought warmth to my heart.
At this time of day, we were finally able to check into our AirBnB.
This place was good for what we needed it for. Great location, clean, super quiet and the host (Joseph) was really nice. I didn’t think we’d be spending too much time here.
As we had been up since 4am and were partially intoxicated, we decided it was a good time for a nap. I think naps are imperative to shenanigans on vacation and this evening, we planned on getting into plenty shenanigans.
At about 8pm we woke up and began getting ready for the night ahead of us.
I had made reservations for 9:30pm at Cafe La Trova in Little Havana. Please make sure you make reservations as well, this place is crazy busy. We didn’t even get into our reserved seats until 10pm!
There was some article I read about this place having the best mojito in all of the USA. I mean, how are we supposed to NOT go and find out?
I liked this restaurant very much. The live music was a really nice touch, the mojito criollo was the best I’ve had outside of Cuba (give that a 10 out of 5) and the food was good. We ordered sweet corn and chicken empanadas (4/5), main lobster croquetas (5/5), calamari (2/5), tostones (5/5) and seared octopus (5/5).
We both like trying a little bit of everything, I wish I had room in my stomach to have tried the ropa vieja, but, at least I had that wicked good mojito.
This place was decently priced, I can’t say I was too mad at the cost of everything, plus it just felt worth it. Also, make sure you bring some cash and tip the live band!
After eating, we actually didn’t have any real plans. In about an hour was Mark’s birthday and we just wanted to get to any party. In a matter of three hours I think we may have tried 3-4 bars. Now, I know those who speak Spanish are the majority in Miami, but Lord I didn’t know the clubs were too! I love some reggaeton, salsa, merengue and luckily because of TikTok I knew some of the current big tracks. But truly, we were trying to hear some hip hop, soca or dancehall.
I liked this place ‘The Deck‘ – it felt open and airy, the location was good, but again, all Spanish music.
We had left The Deck and walked back over to The Moon to see if Luisa was there, and she was! We had some happy birthday shots and asked for recommendations of where we could go to hear music in English to turn up to.
She suggested The Corner and then a strip club my friend Sherry had also mentioned, Booby Trap on The River.
We first went over to The Corner, because Mark isn’t the biggest fan of strip clubs (unlike myself, I love strip clubs). This was a very small place, and they definitely weren’t playing any music we could dance to. Down the street was some all-night rave, but they played dance music/EDM. Then across the street there was a place called E11even. This place looked fun, but there must have been 200 people outside waiting in line. As a former bouncer, I refuse to wait in lines for clubs. It’s not happening.
The executive decision was made to head to this Booby Trap on The River. I’m not accustomed to paying cover to enter a strip club, not sure if that is regular in US? I know we don’t pay in Canada. It was $50USD per person to enter.
I will NOT be posting any of the videos I got inside this club, nor how much money we spent on alcohol and dances. But let me tell you, best money we spent this weekend was in this strip club. I regret NOTHING. We had such a good time inside this strip club, there was so many beautiful women and the music was really good. We didn’t go home until about 4am. Love it, if you’re in Miami, make sure you visit this place.
Friday, April 1st
Happy Birthday Mark.
What a way to bring in your 35th!
I don’t think we actually woke up until noon. I realize other people do the waking up at 7am on vacation, we are not those people. Especially when you got in at 4:30am and are very very hungover.
Today the plan was to get some breakfast and head to South Beach. This was something I was super duper excited about too, because, I mean, SOBE!
We took an Uber down there to a spot called Big Pink for some ‘breakfast’ I guess you could call it, thank you Lorren for the recommendation.
It was a beautiful day outside, and regardless of how broke Miami was making us after just 24hrs there, we were happy to be warm at least.
Big Pink had a pretty large menu, but we just wanted actual breakfast. Simple bacon and eggs with some toast, and I got the peanut butter milkshake and lots of water. Our server, Maria, was great and for such a busy place, she took really good care of us.
We walked over to the actual beach from here.
Listen, I’ve worked in Yorkville here in Toronto for about 11 years now, and it has NOTHING on the cars I saw in Miami. Oh my goodness. It was Ferrari after Benz, after Lambo and after Rolls. If you are a car person, this is for you. No need to go to a car show, just stand by Ocean Drive.
Now why the hell did two chairs and an umbrella cost $57.00USD? I mean, maybe at other parts of the beach it may be cheaper, but holy banana bread, this was more expensive than Antigua and Aruba, with not nearly as nice of a beach. Not even close.
I was impressed that for a beach with thousands of people on it – pretty quiet. I expected it to be very noisy and boisterous, again, I don’t know if it was because of WHERE on the beach we were, but it was so peaceful. No loud children running around, no drunk dude bros, no one was even playing music off a speaker. We got to lay down and relax on our expensive beach chairs.
I’m not sure if the water in Miami is so tumultuous usually, but today it was. I am a strong swimmer so that doesn’t bother me at all, but the waves were pretty crazy. Also, the water was surprisingly chilly.
Not trying to sound like a beach snob here, I am very particular about how I like my beaches. This was not my favourite. I’ll say that.
As the sun began to set, we took a little walk on Ocean Drive.
This place was so busy. If you like people watching, you’ll probably get plenty to see here 24/7.
I got the feeling that folks (men and women) put on outfits and doll themselves up just to walk up and down here? It’s another thing I wasn’t too fond of in Miami, there’s a sense of people trying really hard just to be seen and pose. I can’t describe it exactly. It’s like certain stuck up clubs in Toronto, you go to them and see people posing and they only start dancing or looking fun once a camera is on them. A lot of my experience just felt very phoney.
Maybe I’m just old you know? Maybe 22-year-old me would have loved the scene in Miami. But at my age this just seemed like people spent a lot of time to impress others. Probably just reading too much into it. Don’t know.
We went back to our AirBnB to shower and get some rest as we were going to go out this evening with some friends from Toronto, Sheema and her husband OJ.
The first stop was trying to get some food down by their hotel, which was back in the SOBE area. I actually didn’t take any photos or even remember the name of the restaurant we chose, but it was some darn good pasta.
From there we hopped in an Uber to head to Wynwood and see if Friday night would have more parties in English than Thursday did.
I have to mention here – the police presence in Miami. What the hell? As I have never been before, I’m not sure if this is the norm or was it solely as a result of the week prior to us arriving it being spring break. We had read many stories about how this spring break had numerous shootings and people arrested, so maybe the onslaught of cops everywhere was due to that. But let me tell you, it was overkill.
There were parts of South Beach where 6-7 police cars were just lined up, parked, and police were sitting inside the cars on their phones. Chilling. There was intersections totally blocked off by police, our Uber on several occasions would get to a dead end and have to go another way to pick us up. Also, as we left in the Uber from SOBE to Wynwood to go party, we saw a police helicopter above us actually searching for someone.
I don’t think Caribana weekend in Toronto has this many police officers outside, this was some G20 back in 2010 shit. Crazy. But I guess if it keeps people safe?
Again, I am not a very good blogger because for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t take any photos while out. We went to a nightclub called Racket. This place was nice looking, but really packed. We wanted to get some drinks, four rum and cokes were $60USD. I mean, I get it, this was like when I went out in Manhattan. But. The overpour? I hate my drinks being overpoured. I like to be shocked when I’m drunk after 3-4 drinks, I do not like when I take a sip of a drink and the bartender has poured 95% Bacardi in it and 5% Coke.
Literally all four of us looked at each other with disgust as we took a sip. Too damn strong. I think two of us waited until the ice melted a little to begin actually enjoying the drink. This really felt like such a waste of $60USD and it ended up being the only drinks we bought for the night because we were not feeling it.
Sheema and OJ headed back to SOBE at about midnight and Mark and I went searching for some water or juice to bring home. We eventually found juice at a random shawarma place and then wanted to take an Uber home.
Now, our spot was an EIGHT, yes, EIGHT minute drive from where we were at that moment. I checked Uber, $25USD. Go to hell.
We ended up walking two blocks down, suddenly, that price dropped to $11USD. Much better. Sometimes you just have to walk it out clearly. This city was already milking me dry, no way I was going to pay that much to get home so close.
Saturday, April 2nd
We had reservations this afternoon for a place I had BEEN waiting to visit and party at – Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen. I knew we would finally get some music we want to hear and also, delicious food. On weekends they have a brunch party and I made the reservation a month prior to coming for us four at 12:15pm.
I loved everything about Dukunoo. The music was amaaaaazing, the staff was super cool (big big shout out to our server Jasmine, you rock), and food? Oh yes. Liquor? EVEN BIGGER YES.
Okay so I ordered The Zombie as my drink of choice. Throughout the day, I believe I had four or five of these. Remember I said I like to be drunk, but not know how I got there? Yep. This drink did it. Oh my goodness it was so delicious but it really put me on my ass.
The nice thing was that even though you are there for brunch, all the items on the menu were still available for ordering. I got the jerk corn (5/5), ackee and saltfish (5/5), plantain and mac & cheese (5/5). Unfortunately/fortunately being intoxicated and dancing so much took up my attention and I didn’t get a chance to order some bread pudding.
I was doing alright between the food, The Zombies and dancing – but after leaving the dancefloor, a woman at the bar bought me two shots of Hennessy and due to me being polite, I’ll never turn down someone’s hospitality. But fuck, I probably should have. Everything after that moment got real blurry for me.
We left the party at maybe 4pm? Mark wanted to check out some sneaker stores in SOBE and we went there. I don’t recall much, aside from sitting outside a store and drinking water because it was so hot outside. (not a complaint)
After the perusing of stores, back to our AirBnB we went to sleep off the liquor.
Well, I wish I had more exciting things to tell you here but we slept until 10pm and when we woke up our bodies still weren’t OK from earlier. That brunch party had us. I love it. There is nothing like being daytime drunk at a party. I decided to just order us some UberEats to satiate our hunger and watch Netflix. Neither of us were in any condition to go back out.
Again, fuck these prices of things in Miami. I don’t remember the name of the spot, but I ordered a cheeseburger and fries for myself, chicken wings and onion rings for Mark and two lemonades = $80USD. I don’t get it. I really don’t. I recall looking up the place too and it was just some chicken shop in a strip mall or something. And yet, $80USD. Frig. Damn you Miami.
Sunday, April 3rd
Unfortunately our check out was really early from the AirBnB, 10am. We were up and packed so we thought it would be best to head over to the Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale area since our flight left from there at 4pm.
I thought it would be a fun touristy thing to go hit up Margaritaville for breakfast. It may have been the residual effects of the drinking. Usually, I don’t make such stupid decisions. I wholeheartedly know this one was my fault.
We got to this place and the servers said breakfast service was over, but that they had a buffet going and we could sit at the bar. Cool. No problem.
I saw folks getting served breakfast still, went back to the hostess and asked again and she said we had just missed it and those were the final orders being delivered. Again, cool, no problem.
Why is it that Mark went to order a drink and he spoke to a waiter and the waiter tells him, ‘oh breakfast closed just now, we would have taken your order.’
Urgh. Whatever, fine.
We sit down at the bar and order some lemonade from the bartender and I head over to the buffet. It was not impressive. Like some bread, little scrambled eggs, fruit, some cereal, some pastries and two sausage links. Picture the shittiest Cuban resort you can, yeah, even that has more food variety than this. But we had already ordered our drinks and fine, I’ll eat the stupid little buffet food.
After finished our morsels of food – $75USD.
Must be fucking kidding me. For that?
Again, I take full responsibility for this experience being shitty, we should have never gone here. But, doesn’t make me any less upset. We went across the street to sit in the sun and get some drinks at another bar to cool off from being annoyed by breakfast.
We get to FLL airport and found out our flight is delayed by 30 minutes. Not so bad. This Air Canada flight home was not with Rouge and it was massive. It was like those transatlantic flights you take to Europe. It was packed and we took off at 4:30pm.
On landing is when the bullshit began.
The pilot announced that customs was so backed up, we would have to wait on the plane for a bit to be able to leave. This wait just kept going. At the one hour mark, after landing, the pilot announced that customs said they would start taking only 50 people at a time, super, we were in row 45.
It took almost two hours from landing to leaving the damn airport. I had been really lucky all pandemic with my return to Canada, didn’t wait longer than 20 min from landing to being out of airport. Do not land on Sundays apparently. It’s hell. Only good thing was we finally weren’t chosen for the random on-arrival testing. After that long ass wait, I think being chosen for that would have sent us over the edge.
That was my Miami experience.
If I were to EVER return to Miami, I promise I would only do it to drink the mojito criollo at Cafe La Trova, go to a strip club, spend my whole weekend partying and eating at Dukunoo or when my friend Shurly’s son graduates high school.
There is no reason otherwise. You people are too rich for me. I understand folks will be like ‘oh there’s tons of good priced places, you picked expensive ones!’ alright. Fine. Well, you sure have a lot of pricey places that are so for no reason. I actually didn’t have an issue with the 18% automatic gratuity in a lot of these places because (aside from that shitty Margaritaville experience) the customer service was on point.
Don’t come to Miami if you’re broke, or if you don’t have a sugar daddy/sugar mommy to pay for everything. I bet if you have one of those, this experience is probably fantastic. But if you’re spending your OWN money? Be well prepared.
I’m glad I went, because you have to see things for yourself sometimes. But for the amount of money spent, I really could have a much better time elsewhere. I always talk about how expensive places like Singapore, Antigua and Switzerland are, but I never felt like I was robbed. I felt what I was paying for was worth it, even though my bank account with the Canadian exchange rate sobbed quietly.
Even in New York, another expensive place, I was like oh shit this is worth it.
I just don’t think Miami is worth it.