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Snapshots of : MIAMI

6 Aug

These are some snapshots of a visit to Miami. Miami is a vibrant city with a kaleidoscope of cultures and warm beautiful weather. There is something for you whether you love to eat, shop, party or explore. I hope my photos bring just a speckle of the richness that is Miami, some spots to check out and tips.

Room with a view

My hotel room offered me this view onto a fairly busy street with ongoing construction and opposite a fairly new and modern apartment complex. At various times of the day I would see people walking to go grab lunch, heading to the gym with their yoga mats and popping in and out of the nearby Whole Foods supermarket.

THE SALTY DONUT

Local hotspot.

I checked out a local donut shop called “The Salty Donut” for breakfast. This place is so popular that they are rumoured to sell out of products each day. I made sure I got there super early to avoid lines and have a peaceful morning.

The display case.

This shop boasts interesting flavour combos year round such as maple and bacon, guava and cheese and brown butter and salt as well as seasonal options. Additionally, they sell some delicious coffee offering up familiar hot options such as cappuccinos and macchiato as well as cold brews and iced coffee.

 

Coffee and donut

 

My selection was raspberry and rhubarb donut, a sweet take on both fruits paired with brioche dough along with Japanese iced coffee with tangy fruity notes.

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Raspberry rhubarb donut.

 

THE SHOPS AT MERRICK PARK

 

Shopping up a storm

Miami hosts a myriad of shopping options from outlet malls to well loved off brand retailers as well as beautific outdoor malls. I visited The Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables where you can find US mall staples such as Sephora, Francesca’s and Pottery Barn as well as some luxury options such as Gucci and Jimmy Choo and a favourite of mine; Anthropologie.

View of the steps at Merrick Park

There are a few dining options at Merrick Park one being Brasserie Central which serves French cuisine set at moderate prices.

 

French lunch

Clam chowder

 

Oysters

 

LA CENTRALE

Street view of La Centrale from the bridge.

This is described as an Italian Food Hall where diners can experience anything from casual deli style to al fresco to fine dining. The restaurants offer a plethora of options from meat based to seafood not to mention gelato and other desserts. There is also a bar situated in the centre of the fine dining hall and the kitchen where they offer classes in Italian cooking.I was able to take in the Neopolitan Pizza making class. Chef was thorough and very nice.

The kitchen.

Aprons for class.

 

Pizza

 

Outdoor seating at La Centrale.

 

In addition to the pizza making class, I had breakfast at La Centrale on a Sunday morning. There was “limitless” Prosecco for two hours.

Breakfast delights.

 

Bombolone: Jelly filled donut.

 

Delicious brunch at The Caffè.

 

Apertivo and Cocktail bar.

 

Negroni fountain (no you didn’t actually drink from it, but it looked pretty!)

 

Negroni: This stuff is strong! 

 

BAYSIDE

This plaza is a staple in Miami at this point. An outdoor mall with well known American eateries such as Bubba Gump, Five Guys and Chillis as well as more authentic cuisine stalls selling Cuban and Caribbean food as well as a more run of the mill food court. There are also lots of stores selling clothing, art and jewellery and more as well as an open air theatre with a view of the ocean hosting local performances both day and night.

Bayside by night.

 

Bayside by day: Here boats taking passengers out on day trips.

SUGAR (EAST HOTEL)

 

This decadent Asian inspired restaraunt is located on the top floor of Brickell Centre. On the outside is a beautiful outdoor bar called sugar where there tends to be standing room only. However, on the inside there is this beautiful eatery with a live DJ.

” Bottomless Champagne”- We got to drink as much as we could stomach within 2 hours.

Tasting Menu

The prices in here are on the higher side without a doubt, however a fantastic option is their “tasting menu” where you can select one item from each segment of a menu and it gives you about four or five different things to eat including dessert as well as Moet for 2 hours.

Trying a tasting menu is a bit of a pro-tip for eating at a more expensive restaraunt especially if you are there in a group because then everyone gets a little taste of everything usually at a more affordable price.


Some of the dishes and the view from our table.

 

BRICKELL CENTRE

This is a shopping and lifestyle centre located in Downtown Miami. Here you can find luxury shopping stores such as Gucci, more affordable ones like H&M and Zara, makeup shops like M.A.C and Sephora not to mention some amazing restaraunts including the aforementioned La Centrale and Sugar rooftop bar and restaraunt. Surrounding the main centre are also more shops and restaraunts. This is a great place to spend an afternoon as well as finding something to do at night.

A view of Brickell City Centre from a bridge.

 

Brickell Centre is partially open air making it more relaxed.

View from across the waterway of Brickell City Centre.

 

OUT AND ABOUT

Just out and roaming Miami City you get to enjoy a lot of unique architectural designs from the Art Deco buildings on South Beach, the sunny sky scraper apartment buildings with beautiful windows and glass balconies and of course, the flyovers curving and weaving like a 1960’s artist’s rendition of ” The Future”.


Flyover going across the water.





A view of the buildings .





A metro station.




View off Brickell Centre from across the water.




View from beneath.


Waterway and apartment buildings.



A mural

 

SOUTH BEACH

If you go to Miami, you have to at least check out South Beach, Miami Beach. It’s definitely one of the more popular spots in this city and that does mean it’s often crowded but I still reccomend. On South Beach you can find restaraunts galore, museums, shops, bars and clubs meaning there is definitely something for everyone there. If you are interested in architechture you will be amazed by the Art Deco buildings dispersed around this area with an actual Art Deco district for your viewing pleasure.

Street view of South Beach, Miami Beach.

The beach.

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Delicious seafood pasta at a restaraunt in South Beach.

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Dining out on South Beach.

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Art Deco style building.

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Shops in South Beach.

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A shot of Collins Avenue.

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Bustling nighttime in South Beach.

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The famous Ocean Drive and the Art Deco welcome centre.

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The clock: people take photos here as proof that they’ve been to Miami Beach.

 

Those are some of my snapshots of Miami, obviously this city has so much more to offer but these were some highlights for me. If you’re thinking of visiting definitely do it!

 

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Lunch at La Centrale

19 May

Lunch at La Centrale restaurant: Carne

I recently visited Miami and decided to have lunch at La Centrale. La Centrale is an Italian food hall located in the Brickell Complex in Downtown Miami offering everything from deli style food, brunch, lunch, dinner and cooking classes. I ate at the “Meat” Ristorante (even though my meal had no meat)

La Centrale as seen from the street

La Centrale’s three floors as seen from Brickell Centre

I ate the “CRESPELLE AI FUNGHI” described as porcini and oyster mushrooms , crepes and parmigiano fondue.

Menu

It was delicious. It was like a casserole of crepes, mushrooms and cheese. The crepes had a dense, slightly sweet milky flavour which contrasted well with the umami flavours of the mushrooms and cheese.

La Centrale is moderately priced and offers a variety of food fare all day. If you are in the area, 10/10 would recommend.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Galentines Day Bash!

4 Feb

It is often said that art imitates life. Sometimes however, the reverse is true. Galentine’s Day was first born on an episode of sitcom “Parks and Recreation” in 2010. Since then Galentine’s Day has become increasingly well known and celebrated with 2017 bringing it a trending spot on Twitter.

This holiday is celebrated on February 13th (the day before Valentine’s day) and it is seen as a day for gals to celebrate and uplift each other in a social scene where girl on girl hate is so prevalent.

This is right up my alley. An excuse to celebrate anything but especially something as positive as friendships between women.

I came up with a few very Pinterest inspired ideas to throw a Galentine’s bash for you and your gals.

Pizza Heart Bites

This is so darn cute. Heart shaped pizza bites are tasty and great party food to pick up and nibble on.

WHAT YOU NEED

Pizza crust -I used ready made flatbread crust

Cheese

Tomato sauce

Other toppings- I used mushrooms and Italian herbs

Heart shaped cookie cutter

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut out heart shapes from crust.

2) Top crusts

3) Bake until cheese is melted and you’re done!

Pink Love Donuts

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Donuts

2) Icing– I dyed it three shades of pink

3) Toppings– sprinkles

WHAT TO DO

1) Dip each donut into the corresponding glaze

2) Top with sprinkles, nuts etc and set into fridge to harden.

Sorbet Fizz Cocktail

For the cocktail portion of the evening, we combine a refreshing dessert with some fizzy wine.

WHAT YOU NEED

Sorbet– I chose black cherry to stick with the pink theme

Sparkling wine– Prosecco, Brut, sparkling rose etc.

WHAT TO DO

1) Place a scoop of sorbet in glass.

2) Pour sparkling wine over it and serve!

Guest gifts

I feel as if no celebration is quite complete without a little something for your guests to leave with. I also like giving gifts that are useful. I am also mildly obsessed with succulents…

Succulents are affordable, beautiful and hard to kill. To seal the deal I stuck a little label with a love note on the pot.

I hope this post can give you some inspiration for your own Galentine’s party or Valentine’s party or whatever party you have!

Have an awesome Galentine’s Day!

New Years Eve on the Cheap

29 Dec

New Years is one of the few things celebrated by all cultures, ages, places. The way it is celebrated is as varied as the human species but it is definitely one of those celebrations that can easily add up. Between the dress and the shoes, the drinks and the transportation you can shell out well over a few pennies for what is essentially a night out.

I have a few suggestions being someone who both loves to have a good time AND save my money.

1) Let Sparks Fly

As we know, many places set off fireworks on NYE and depending on how close you are you can enjoy the light show for free. Find a great look out spot for fireworks e.g a beach, a park, a friend’s backyard.

Put on a jacket, round up your squad and pack a bottle of wine and bag of chips. Get there a couple hours before the light show and have a chill nighttime picnic that ends with fireworks.

2) Hotel Hoopla

A beautiful luxurious hotel room with a balcony with a view and a Jacuzzi can rob you of a significant portion of your paycheck…IF you book it by yourself and IF you book for many nights. 

However, IF you and your crew put together and pay for one night it suddenly becomes a lot more affordable. Be sure to get a room where the amount in your party are allowed to be at one time and ensure the noise level rules are complied with. Everyone brings a bottle and the fun can begin.

3) Burger Queen

Another great NYE activity is to go out for dinner. Usually, you have to book well ahead of time, contend with a crowd and pay through your nose. You can still have a nice dinner in your best dress just as someplace with a few less frills.

The clan and you decide on a clean, safe and extremely affordable spot and agree to meet up wearing something nice.  Being dressed up in a casual setting will definitely make it feel more special.

4) Lucky Lady

Casinos can be a place of indulgence and decadence and financial ruin, but it need not be. Find a casino without a cover charge and grab your gals and guys and go . Decide on a low spending limit e.g $20 and spend it slowly. Order a drink or two and your night is made.

5) Night In

Have a proper night in. Decide whose home will be host to your group. Everyone brings their pjs and a snack. Binge watch a series and play monopoly. Then in the morning everyone helps cook up a casual brunch. So little money spent, so much fun had.

If you’re looking for good clean cheap fun, hopefully something here has given you am idea or two. Have an awesome day and an awesome NYE!

Ginger Pear Moscow Mule

17 Dec

Today I bring you a festive cocktail; a ginger pear Moscow Mule.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Prosecco

Pear nectar

Ginger beer

Can of pears

Fresh pear- I got a red pear

WHAT TO DO 

Muddle a pear half and place in the bottom of the mug

Pour pear nectar over pear

Pour ginger beer and prosecco 

Garnish with a slice of fresh pear

This is a delicious drink. It’s slightly fizzy with mild but complimentary flavours. A great option for a festive event!

Have an awesome day!

Easter Brunch

14 Apr

I love Easter. It always makes me think of new beginnings, a fresh start and of course, Cadbury creme eggs (lots of them).

Today I bring an Easter Brunch inspiration. I think brunch is a fantastic meal to have at Easter time. Everyone has time to go to church or sleep in late and then afterwards a no hassle relaxed brunch. For brunch there are usually lots of options; pastries, omlettes, cakes, cheese boards…the works. I chose three recipes I think would add a great touch to a brunch menu. They are all simple and affordable. I also laid out an Easter/Spring tablescape and added a delicious cocktail.

ON THE MENU

Deviled eggs

Stuffed mushrooms

Fruit Fluff

Peach “mimosa”



Deviled Eggs

This is a brunch staple and of course well suited for Easter. Deviled eggs turn simple boiled eggs into a creamy flavourful treat.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Makes 6

Eggs -The number of eggs you use will give double that number of deviled eggs as they are served as halves. I used 3 eggs so I got 6(only 4 shown)

1 tbsp Mustard– I used a spicy mustard

1 tbsp Mayonnaise– This is optional but it does add a certain creaminess

Spices– I used salt, black pepper and paprika, just a pinch of each.

Deviled eggs ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Hard boil eggs, let cool and remove shells.

2) Cut eggs in half and gently remove yolks. Set whites aside.

3) Add condiments and spices and mix until a smooth paste forms.




4) Place paste into piping bag (you can use a zip lock and snip the end) and pipe into egg whites.



Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms 

I remember the first time I had this version of stuffed mushrooms. My mother brought them home from a local Italian bistro and my life was changed. Something about soft, tart cream cheese against the crunch of a fresh mushroom is a perfect match.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Mushrooms– I used 8 medium sized ones (they were unfortunately a bit bruised)

Cream cheese– The amount you use depends on the number and size of the mushrooms but about 2 tbsp fill 8 medium sized mushrooms.

Spices– I used lemon pepper and some oregano.

Mushrooms and cream cheese 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Add spices to softened cream cheese and mix.

2) Place in a piping bag and pipe into mushrooms. 

Mushrooms and cream cheese mixture



3 )Top with oregano 


Stuffed mushrooms 



Fruit Fluff 

This is my take on an Ambrosia salad. I substituted cool whip with Greek yogurt for a healthier twist and a more “brunchy” feel.

WHAT YOU NEED 

I used arbitrary amounts, a little bit of each. The amounts you use depends on how much you plan to make.

Greek yogurt- The one I used is plain combined with honey so it’s already sweet. A great alternative is vanilla but really any flavour you prefer can be used.

Fruit– I used  mixture of frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, lingonberries) and fresh  (strawberries and blueberries)

Mini marshmallows

Fruit Fluff mixture

WHAT TO DO

Mix altogether and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Peach “Mimosas”

What’s the best part about brunch? The fact that you get to splash your juice with wine. Lol. Now mimosas traditionally consist of wine and citrus juice hence my use of air quotes. Technically this is a peach cocktail but when doing brunch, we call it a mimosa.

WHAT YOU NEED 

White wine

Peach juice

Canned peaches

Peach mimosa ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Place 1 or 2 peach slices in the bottom of the glass and muddle it a bit (mash it with a spoon if you don’t have a muddler, which I don’t)

2 ) Fill glass halfway with wine.

3) Top off with peach juice and add a straw.

Peach “mimosas”



Tablescape

An important part of entertaining is creating ambience. For this I chose a simple, clean fresh look in keeping with the idea of a relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

This tablescape employed some crafty skills but all were simple. My colour scheme was pink, white and gold.

Table runner

I made a table runner of sorts by overlapping lots of doilies along the Centre of the table. I added a touch of gold by swiping gold paint over them in a random fashion.

Table runner from doilies




Flowers

I went with pink and white carnations. Carnations are often a very affordable option from the florist costing only a few dollars. I used about 4 bunches in all keeping  the look minimal.

I swished some of the same gold paint onto the flower petals to keep with the theme and placed them in jelly jars.

Flowers




Centre piece 

My “Centre piece” began with ambition. In fact, the failure of this centrepiece led to the final colour scheme, so maybe it was for the best.

For the centerpiece of an Easter Brunch I had to incorporate eggs somehow. I decided to dye some eggs. People have different methods of doing this. The best way I’ve found is using regular food and egg dye and a bit of vinegar to allow for better uptake of colour.

I removed the contents of the eggs by making a small hole at one end and simply allowing it to run out, gently shaking if you need to. Don’t waste your egg ! I put mine in the refrigerator and made omelet the next day.

I mixed the dye, vinegar and water in a mug. I find you get a more even coating if you use a mug.

As it happened the only colour that worked out was the pink (the yellow one broke and the purple came out streaky)

Once my one surviving egg was dry I splattered it with the by now ubiquitous gold paint. I displayed it in a mini jelly jar on a bed of Easter egg shaped jelly beans.

Centre piece




I placed the flowers and Centre piece on the table runner and laid the table with simple white plates and bowls.

The tablescape and settings

Table with food

Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms



Fruit Fluff



Peach mimosa


Easy breezy Easter Brunch. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you if you plan on doing brunch for Easter or any other occasion. Have a happy Easter and an awesome day!

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FESTIVE DRINK -Hot (Chocolate) Shot

15 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 15

It’s the 15th day of Blogmas and we’re rounding out the Christmas drinks with a chocolate shot. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Vodka-Regular or flavoured; this one happens to be chocolate flavored because it happened to be on sale but a marshmallow or vanilla flavored one would work too. 

2) Chocolate milk– Or chocolate almond/cashew/soy milk.

3) Mini Marshmallows – for topping.

4) Brown sugar– For the rim

5) Shot glass.



The ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 




1) Rim glass with using simple syrup (white sugar dissolved into water) then coat with brown sugar.

Glass rimmed with sugar



2) Pour shot glass 2/3 way with chocolate milk.

Milk



3) Fill remainder of glass with vodka and top with 3 mini marshmallows.

Vodka and marshmallows


4) Toast marshmallows- I used a long handled lighter. Be sure to let the flame touch the Marshmallows but not the shot itself (unless you want it flaming!)

Toasted marshmallows



Finished shot




The toasted marshmallows smell so good  (it’s fine with untoasted marshmallows as well). The rich chocolate flavour goes smoothly with the vodka. This a great little drink to get your guests in a party mood and it looks like hard work but is so easy and quick to do.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day.

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