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Memorable Meals in Miami

Vani at Design Miami

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a special VIP trip with the Mint Museum of Art for Art Basel and the many art fairs going on around the city of Miami… they say this is the best week to be in Miami and that I tell ya…  is the absolute truth!  I love contemporary art and design, but never thought I would grow so much deeper in love with it. This trip opened up a whole new world to me that I could have never imagined and I can’t thank the Mint Museum of Art enough for inviting me and my husband to be part of such a awe-inspiring week.

Leaving Miami on Friday, I had to spend the weekend trying to wrap my head around what just happened and how much appreciation I had for everything I learned. I am still in bewilderment about it really….

I serve on the Mint Museum Craft & Design committee with director Annie Carlano. The committee is super focused right now on the F.O.O.D (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) exhibition that will be unveiled early next year. F.O.O.D. will provide a thematic look at inventive modern and contemporary objects, handmade and mass produced, that have one of three objectives: to prepare, to cook, or to present food. It will include approximately 300 international selections culled from the permanent collections of the Mint Museum and FoodCultura in Barcelona, as well as other loans, and will feature new acquisitions (the ones I have seen are OMG so incredible).

Earlier this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Antoni Miralda, celebrated artist and director of FoodCultura, who will co-curate and design the installation. To say I’m excited about this event is a major understatement.

So if you live in Charlotte – this is going to be an absolute SPECTACULAR exhibition to see, especially for all you foodies out there… and if you don’t live in Charlotte – it will be a reason to visit finally and if you do, please let me know – I’d love to meet ya!

Before I go… I wanted to share some of my favorite moments & of course meals with you from my trip… hope you enjoy the ride!

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We stayed at a boutique hotel called “The Dream”, which apparently is the only thing you can do in your hotel room because they keep it so dark in there… I enjoyed the concept, but had a hard time getting ready each day… I thought about calling the front desk for an extra light…but never got around to it because our days/nights were so super packed. (Thank you Dana Martin Davis for the picture!)

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The first night we attended a special preview at Design Miami….We drank lots of champagne (because that’s what you do) and saw things I didn’t know were possible…. like a light that blows bubbles (you’ll have to go to my Facebook page to see the picture!). I really want the museum to acquire this uniquely designed light for their collection.

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Tuesday Dinner at The Forge: We sat at the most outrageous table ever – I felt like I was in Alice and Wonderland the whole night. (Thank you Hillary Cooper for spotting this room and planning this gorgeous dinner!!!)

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See? So over the top …. but in a good way…

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This is just a cute picture of my husband and the CEO of the Mint Museum  – Kathleen Jameson –  being swallowed by the chairs.

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In true Food Babe fashion, I kindly asked to order off the menu, requesting a vegetarian meal and asked specifically to have kale for my appetizer.  (A little fact about me – I don’t eat any meat on Tuesday’s because of religious reasons – I’ve been following this for over 20 years… )

THE KALE SALAD WAS TO DIE FOR (apologies for my enthusiasm, but when I love something, I LOVE SOMETHING).

I’ll be recreating it this week… don’t worry, you’ll get the recipe soon.

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The 2nd course was a ridiculously sized portion of pesto rigatoni…. very very delicious as well…. I actually ate too much… so all the subsequent courses took a hit. IMG 5366

The main course was perfectly grilled vegetables with lentils and wheat berries…. that I sadly only had a bite of.

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Dessert was another story….

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In the morning before visiting DACRA, I sipped on a GIANT green juice for breakfast…. the blue one on the left is a blueberry, papaya, green shake that my husband had…

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Art Basel was the main event…. and we had a special preview before it opened to the public. We saw celebs, drank champagne, and mourned not spending enough time there …..I think the 15 million dollar “Nude Descending a Staircase” took the cake… beautifully placed on a single purple wall.

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Cocktails, music, and art before dinner at the magnificent Wolfsonian Museum in South Beach… This museum is a must visit this if you are ever in Miami.

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Wednesday Night Dinner at Escopazzo – Never before in my life had I gone to an exclusively organic Italian restaurant. I was super stoked the museum group wanted to go too!

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First Course – Arugula with the most delicious garlic infused fennel. VERY GOOD.

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If you could make Brussel Sprouts for dessert, this would be it…Caramelized, slightly sweet and topped with hazelnuts.

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The main course was handmade pasta filled with ricotta, heirloom tomatoes and topped with a walnut pistachio pesto… My mouth is watering just seeing the dish again and writing about it.

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Lots of late night partying ensued after…. (Thank you Cathy & Cathy!)

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That night we found a giant rubber duck (not made of rubber sadly). I will let you imagine how the rest of the night went… but it did include lots of booty shaking on the dance floor! I love South Beach.

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Thursday Breakfast: Almond milk lattes at Juice and Java, an organic cafe near our hotel…

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Followed by this refreshing bowl of fruit topped with coconut and lots of walnuts.


My only visit to the ocean was a brief walk after breakfast…

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Later in the day we went to Art Miami…where we took a WILD ride. The artist who came up with a mini roller coaster gimmick to showcase his art is pretty clever.

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Thursday Night – Dinner at Villa B by Barton G at the Versace Mansion. The mansion was breathtakingly beautiful as you can imagine… This is a picture of the whole crew (the picture does not do justice for the ambiance or the company)…. The whole week, we all sat together for dinner every night (which I loved!). It was such a great opportunity to share stories and get to know each other better.

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First course was eaten too quickly to remember what I ate… (Did I tell you we didn’t eat dinner until almost 10pm every night!?) … this was the second course, a very fresh asparagus salad with ricotta flan.

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Pan roasted red snapper for dinner… nothing to write home about….but the plate! Oh the plate…. I love Versace china.

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This dessert was definitely something to write home about. The best all trip. Chocolate praline mousse. Eat at the Versace mansion just for that and to take a peak at the pool.

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Oh and I love unicorns…. and plants … and together, splendid.

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Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the memorable meals I had last week in Miami….


Food Babe

P.S. A special thanks goes out to Annie Carlano, Kathleen Jameson, Hillary Cooper and Brad Thomas from the Mint Museum of Art. Thank you for making our trip to Art Basel unforgettable!

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24 responses to “Memorable Meals in Miami

    1. Thanks Jacqueline! It was so kind of you to offer to take me to the show… If I go next year, I’ll let you know for sure…

  1. Wow! That food looks amazing! I wish we could eat out at restaurants like that here in Dallas, but there are to few of them if any. I have been to South Beach once in my early twenties and it is a complete blur. Too much partying. That was another lifetime ago.

  2. Hey Vani,welcome to south florida.I don’t know how long you’ll be in town ,but if you get a chance to get up north a little(about a hour and 15 minute drive,there is a place I know you will love. Its called Christophers kitchen.It is a live organic restaurant.He uses the best organics you will find.And the owner chef is very creative.I live 5 minutes from there and a regular.If you do make it there I would love to stop by and say hi.

  3. wow, loved this post! I am a Miami native, and I’m so bummed that I didn’t know of / get to go to this event. Glad you had a great time and everyone here was so hospitable! I will try to make a list of all the places you were able to go to to eat and give them all a try! I always see the things you post on your website but never get to go to the amazing places you do, so this time I can experience it on my own without vicariously living through you! If you think of more places / suggestions, please do share.

    Take care,

    1. Hi Nidhi – Definitely give Jugo Fresh a try too… they were giving out free samples of juice at Art Miami… DELICIOUS!

  4. Glad you enjoyed the best of the best! We spent a few days at South Beach for a Pilates program a few years ago. The vegetarian an East Indian restaurant was excellent & kid friendly, which was nice at Christmastime! The Christmas trees were gorgeous, as was the beach. Wonderfully landscaped beaches with concrete walks, foot wash faucets & tropical flora proved to be an upscale experience. We went inland to find a great health food store with perfect veggies & fruit which we made meals of at our residence/hotel kitchen with tables in the pool courtyard. It was a nice break from Northern California in December. Rainy & on the cool side, but crisp clean air quality.

  5. I like the overall mission of your blog, but it’s really hard to read long-term due to the bad writing/grammar. If you hope to grow your blog, I strongly suggest learning about better writing in classes, books and online (Grammar Girl is a good site to start with). Your countless errors are like nails on a chalkboard and distract from your message.

    One example, of many from this posting: “Tuesday’s.” NO!!! It’s Tuesdays. You don’t eat meat on Tuesdays. You NEVER use an apostrophe for the plural. Apostrophes are only for possessive and when you make two words into one.

  6. Oh, Margot, come now….this is a blog about real food, and the experience of it all – with a mission to find the goods and let us all know where to get our hands on some of the loot! You’re gonna have to take it or leave it! Blogs are not supposed to be grammatically perfect…..let the writing flow, Food Babe! 🙂

    1. Completely agree with you Diane! I religiously read FoodBabe for the information, not to get a grammar lecture. Keep on being a positive influence FoodBabe, and I will def be coming to the F.O.O.D. exhibit in Charlotte specifically to see you!!

      1. I’m with Diane and Meighan! I love your blog and appreciate all the work you put into it. Th’e extr’a apostrophe’s don’t bothe’r m’e on’e littl’e bi’t 🙂

  7. Wow!! stupendous and healthy stuff. I am feeling hungry seeing all this. Its superb pictures in your post. I enjoyed the stuff here.

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    Thanks : )

    1. Hi Susan- welcome to the blog! Hope you enjoy all of the great info.

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