The Sunshine State

DSC03770Florida was a whirlwind of family, great food, and much needed R&R on the beach. We hopped a redeye from Las Vegas to Miami which gave us the opportunity to explore the “Magic City” from sunrise to sunset. We enjoyed a rejuvenating walking tour around South Beach and the Art Deco District before settling down for some cuban coffees and pastries at Versailles. After hours (literally) of drinking coffee and eating some of the best Cuban and Medianoche sandwiches this side of the Mississippi, we set sail in our trusty Alamo rental for Siesta Key.

DSC03795Our rental house sat nestled in the canals of Siesta Key. We were minutes from Main Street and perhaps more importantly, a mere mile from the number 1 rated beach in the US. It is not hard to see where the high rating comes from – the sand is made from pure white quartz. It’s silky smooth and reflects heat so that it never feels hot. The beach itself is as long as it is wide, providing enough room so that it never feels crowded, even during peek travel months. The water is a clear crystal blue and deliciously warm – we were lucky enough to enjoy ocean temperatures around 80 degrees.

DSC03934We lucked out with little rain, but on the days it did seem imminent, we checked out some of Sarasota’s native offerings. The Ringling Brothers Circus Museum and palatial residence (Cà d’Zan, which means “House of John”) was a definite highlight, as was a Yankees vs. Rays MLB game at Tropicana Field in Tampa. Indoor seating, surprisingly delicious burgers and a Yankee grand slam? All good things.

Foodie highlight:

  1. Versailles, Miami. Excellent Cuban fare with an extensive menu. We feasted on everything from sandwiches to coffee to guyaba filled sweets to perfectly crispy croquettas. There is a never ending line here for a reason.
  2. DSC03930Lido Beach Restaurant, Lido Beach. Blink and you’ll miss this concession-style vendor. On Sunday, lobster rolls are discounted by $4 – we ordered 4 rolls, a side order of onion rings and sweet potato fries. Everything was phenomenal. The lobster meat portions were enormously generous – full chunks of lobster claw! Our lunch was filling, affordable and delicious.

Missed opportunity:

  1. Solorzano Pizza, Siesta Key. My parents claimed this was some of the best Jersey-style pizza they had ever had. Unfortunately for us, it was closed on the Monday we had intended to go. Rookie mistake…we’ll get you next time, Jersey Boys.

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