This week, we’re kicking off a new travel and food series here at Daily Blender called “48 Hours In…”
The idea really began during an episode of Bourdain’s The Layover, where I wondered aloud how anyone could have a surprise layover in Paris. Why? Because you don’t suddenly get a long layover in Dublin or Rome. No one ever gets stuck in Paris. You get stranded in St. Louis, or Denver, or the JetBlue terminal at JFK. And if I’m somewhere for 48 hours, whether it be by choice or by airline absurdity, I’d rather have the drinking and dining recommendations of a friend than a Google search. Less PR, more personal. The spots with the good food, the reasonable drinks, maybe a sarcastic bartender or two. So, fret not, Daily Blender reader, if you don’t have friends in every destination across the nation. I’ve reached out to a few of mine for their eating and drinking recommendations so that you and I can get to the good stuff – in 48 hours – while visiting their fair cities.
Well, hello there, Miami…
To start us off, I’ve asked food and gossip columnist Lesley Abravanel to offer up her top picks for eating and drinking in sunny Miami. For the series’ inaugural post, the always busy, always in-the-know writer hit the ball out of the ballpark with her favorite stops for bites and imbiberies in South Florida.
100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Before beer was ‘craft’-y, hip and trendy, before those without ironic facial hair knew who Mumford & Sons were, there was this tiny drinking den serving beer and wine only – with a soundtrack that’s still one step ahead of today’s hipsters.
Fox’s Sherron Inn
6030 S Dixie Hwy, South Miami
A dive bar with Rat Pack sensibility and a rickety old jukebox, Fox’s is delightfully dark, dank, and formerly smoky, where the drinks are stiff and the fanciest thing on the menu is the French dip – only because it has the word “French” in it.
6730 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
A gourmet greasy spoon located at a sketchy Biscayne Boulevard motel, Blue Collar is a palatable paradox of many things. On the menu: Chef/Owner Daniel Serfer’s Chanukkah Latkes, served year-round, vaca frita-topped tostones, and the so-good-it’s-not-Kosher pork and beans made just the way a nice Jewish boy with a well-seasoned palate would make them. Trust us, you’ll plotz.
58000 Card Sound Rd, Key Largo
Technically it’s in Homestead, but whatever the address, it is worlds away from everything hip, fabulous, hustling and bustling – though this roadside, waterfront honky tonk slash biker bar is anything but staid. A favorite stop to or from the Keys, Alabama Jack’s is known for its stellar scenery, cold beer, fish dip, country tunes and occasional octogenarian line dancing – an awesome antithesis of so many things.
The Martini Bar at The Raleigh
1775 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Long before the words ‘handcrafted’ and ‘mixology’ were as ubiquitous as a Kardashian on a red carpet, this bar was mixing drinks like they were meant to be mixed–strong, sassy and stylish. Seventy years later and this Algonquin-esque bar that would have had Dorothy Parker inebriated with inspiration is still shaking and stirring, with the help of expert ‘tenders and a divine partnership with Miami’s OG of genuine cuisine, Michael Schwartz, whose Restaurant Michael Schwartz provides serious sustenance for the seriously sauced.
Born and raised in NY, Lesley Abravanel, like many New Yorkers, now resides in Florida where she writes three weekly gossip and nightlife columns, a restaurant gossip column and blog for the Miami Herald, pens Florida guidebooks for Frommer’s, and, in her spare time, collects hot sauces, raises twin toddlers, and attempts to learn Swedish from her Stockholm-born husband. During all, you can always find her on Twitter, where she has no qualms speaking–er, Tweeting–her mind on everything from reality television to politics. You can also read all the restaurant gossip at her column, Locally Sourced Miami.