Birthday in Miami During a Pandemic
Okaaaaaay I have been itching to get on a plane and hit a beach! My birthday was on October 15th. Last year I went to Santorini, Greece of course, with COVID I could not do it that big but I did get on my first flight of 2020!
I have always loved Miami since undergrad! We would go every year for Spring Break for a full week. I would say it is my favorite city to visit domestically and Los Angeles would be #2. Since my birthday falls technically during hurricane season I have to be mindful but Miami was perfect for me!
Let's start by discussing travel. Atlanta's airport is usually PACKED! You never know how it will go from traffic, TSA, riding the train to your gate but this COVID travel was so easy! I drove myself (my friend and old co-worker Jasmine put me onto Wally Park). Wally Park always has sales so I caught covered parking for 40% off so it was $19.08 for 4 days. Soon as you park usually a shuttle comes to pick you up from your parking spot and gives you a ticket with your parking spot number so the shuttle driver knows exactly where to drop you off when you return. It is a very short drive to the airport. They drop you off at your terminal. And believe it or not, TSA was a breeze, whew!
I flew Southwest and at the time they were blocking out the middle seat. However, I have seen this week they will no longer block the middle seat. Mask is required for every passenger. They do not do the usual services but they do bring some little trail mix (I do not eat) and a cup of ice water (which I did not take). I was not pulling my mask down for water.
We stayed at a hotel on Collins. I love the location but not too close when it comes to South Beach. In undergrad, I stayed at the small hotels on Ocean (so small but it was where all the action was even though a little ugly room). That was good for college but not now. I still like being within walking distance from the strip. There was no room service, which wasn't a big deal for me we just asked for clean rags and towels. We wore a mask in the common areas but it was not required.
This trip was all about the beach, pool, relaxing, and FOOD! There were two restaurants I have been wanting to try forever I haven't previously. The first was the infamous Versace Mansion on Ocean. I have always seen it but originally it was just an attraction for photos then became an expensive hotel. The ambiance is the BEST! I love all the details. I had a lemon drop (yes me it was sweet so I could handle it), lobster spaghetti, and raspberry sorbet. It is not cheap of course. The sauce wasn't bland like I expected. Overall an amazing experience and definitely fit for a birthday!
The next restaurant I have been to before but I still love it because of the presentation. All the dishes come out on elaborate and big platings. Like a grown kid's playground, it is so fascinating. It is called Barton G's. They have several locations as well just not in Atlanta. I ordered the truffle lobster mac and cheese. It is very cheesy and delicious. It is supposed to be a side dish but it is plenty for me and huge chunks of lobster. I was most excited about was the dessert. This time I got the cotton candy head. Last time my sister and I got the Dollar Dollar Bills. It was a lot of cotton candy, whew, of course. I could not finish it but glad my LS Tiffany split what we could eat. Earlier that day I was able to go to my classic CJ's Crab to get my fav huge buffalo shrimp with Caesar salad (their dressing is sooooo good).
The last full day we had a BALL by the pool. Things got real fun when the hotel DJ hit the scene because I am crazy and love to battle I had a teach me how to Dougie battle with some girls across the pool of course I won. haha We did the beach the day before. I love the water! As a lifeguard growing up it is my domain. We ate a little too much this day. We started with bomb healthy breakfast by the pool consisted of chicken sausage, egg whites, and wheat toast. Had to get a virgin Miami Vice while in Miami, it is my favorite! Then Paige prompted us to go to Sugar Factory (I still haven't been to the new one opened up here in Atlanta yet). We split the wings (you can definitely skip these) and spinach dip (this was actually really good but too much dip not enough chips then try to charge $3 to refill chips just know we didn't pay that! Another thing to note Miami has always automatically included gratuity on every check even if the service sucks! And we all had milkshakes. I personally did strawberry (I love all things strawberry and flavor). It was delicious I drunk every drop. I do not like the taste of liquor so most would do the big liquor drinks.
For dinner, we went to Prime 112 (a popular steakhouse). It was packed but we made reservations a month in advance for all places we went to so it wasn't bad. Thankfully we were sat in their private area separate from the main restaurant. I had the salmon that comes in a white sauce with mashed potatoes and asparagus (I haven't had red meat or any other meat besides seafood, chicken, and turkey since like 2007). It was very delicious and the best Shirley Temple I ever had haha So cherry! Please note they do not split checks (along with a lot of other restaurants in Miami). I do not understand it.
When we went to Miami on October 15-18 there was a curfew of midnight everywhere even Walgreens. We barely made it in before closing. We didn't really care much about that. I have been partying at clubs since I was 13 years old. Nashville used to have the best teen clubs like lots of options. It gave us an opportunity to finish up The Haunting of Bly Manor because the hotel had Netflix!
It has been a week and I am fine. We did wear a mask when walking outside, in the hotel outside of our room, in restaurants, etc. Thankfully most restaurants socially distanced. I am glad I took a small risk for my birthday with this close but still tropical travel! I needed the break and time with my girls. Special thanks to Tiffany and Paige! They even had a birthday chocolate-covered strawberries edible arrangement waiting on me in the room. I had an amazing birthday! I hope this gives you some ideas for the next time you're in Miami.