South Beach was still hopping on a Monday morning but not as wild as Sunday night. WE bought a pocket guide to maim with architecture with walking tours of various neighborhoods (including Coconut Grove) at the Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean Drive, which was the same price as a ticket on the South Beach walking tour (which we missed anyway…the one tour a day starts at 10;30 and is the same price as the audio tour.) And off we went on a very windy somewhat cloudy day to admire all the cool Art Deco hotels and city buildings (police department, post office etc.) I could not place at all the hotel I stayed at in 9th grade with my Grandma Betty but then again, that was in 1973, before there was a “south beach.” Nor could I remember which highrise my other grandmother lived in. I found the description of the Jewish Walking Tour interesting — ” the rise and decline of the Jewish population in Miami Beach.” As the woman at the info desk explained succinctly: “Cubans.”
We all got a kick out of my namesake hotel, The Betsy, which had a small classy lobby that reminded me of Panama in its old world airiness. One of the coolest buildings turned out to be the Wolfsonian Museum on Washington Street, which houses what looked like a very interesting design museum with an Art nouveau collection among others. Lunch was Haitian food at the Tap Tap Room, a colorful place full of bold Haitian murals. Excellent “pork chunks” and beans and rice that reminded me of food in Peru.
Tonight we had a superb dinner at Sugarcane near the Wynwood neighborhood. Creative small plates, tuna tartar on a long rice cracker; goat cheese croquettes; five spice Asian spare ribs: lamb kofka with a smear of whipped yoghurt, a delicious dessert of soft French toast with apple compote. Fun dramatic interior and very attentive service. As promised, Miami has a verve and dynamic that reminds us of a lively Latin American city.