South Beach Wine and Food Festival

13th annual Food Network South Beach Wine &Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE.  Taking place February 20 – 23, 2014, the Festival has raised approximately $18 million to date for the Florida International University (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center.  The 2014 Festival features a variety of signature events, late-night parties, intimate dinner experiences, fitness activities, and more!

The Festival will kick-off beachside at the Delano on Thursday, February 20 with Moët Hennessy’s The Q presented by Creekstone Farms sponsored by MIAMI magazine hosted by Michael Symon featuring the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models.  Plus, fan-favorite chefs including Josh Capon, Spike Mendelsohn, Food Network’s Chopped hosts Marc Murphy and Chris Santos, and more will compete at the iconic Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael Ray, beachside at The Ritz-Carlton on Friday, February 21.

The 2014 line-up includes the return of the Festival’s iconic Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents and KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations, Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael Ray, Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best sponsored by Bank of America & Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament hosted by José Andrés, Fun and Fit as a Family sponsored by Carnival hosted by Robert Irvine, Thrillist’s BBQ & The Blues hosted by Bobby Deen, Chicken Coupe hosted by Andrew Carmellini, Southern Kitchen Brunch hosted by Trisha Yearwood, Goya Foods’ Swine & Wine hosted by Michelle Bernstein, and more!



Stay Connected

Keep up to date all year long by signing up for Juicy Tidbits at or becoming a fan at and following Festival Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager at


Stay Over in Comfort


Host Hotel, Loews Miami Beach Hotel – flaunting a “SoBe style” fusion of cosmopolitan and Art Deco influences – combines beachfront elegance with top-notch amenities for the premier Miami Beach luxury hotel experience.

Located in the “heart” of South Beach, directly on the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel showcases a palm tree lined promenade, oceanfront sparkling pool, Elemis Spa and Fitness Center, six restaurants and lounges including Sushi SoBe and Pottery Barn’s PBkids SoBe Kids’s Camp and Splash boutique featuring items for every member of the family. — BOOK DIRECT

Find other hotels and travel information — Here



15th Annual IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival


August 17th, 2013

The 15th Annual IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival will feature over 8 dance and drumming workshops as well as dance parties. The event culminates with a spectacular Dance Gala featuring guest artists and IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Company.

Miami has the highest number of Cubans (including Afro-Cubans) in the U.S., and here Cuban and other African, Caribbean and Latin American cultures thrive and pulse in the neighborhoods. Here, culture is alive, living and present — and not confined to a dance workshop.

Renowned Afro-Cuban choreographer and dancer Neri Torres founded the IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Festival in 1998 and from 2002 through 2005 called it BAILA USA.


Admission: Full Day Pass – $115 (includes closing gala)

Click Here for Ticket Purchase


IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance & Music 
Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center
212 NE 59th Terrace
Miami, FL 33137
Tel: (305) 960-2969 or (786) 704-8609 (IFE-ILE)



Chat Chow Interview with Joshua Wagner

Newest to sprout in South Beach is the Regent Cocktail Club, a classic cocktail bar located at the back of the revamped Gale Hotel.


Interested to hear about this new concept, Chat Chow TV schmoozed with Joshua Wagner, Miami’s after-hours aficionado and managing partner of Regent Cocktail Club, over Manhattans and Mint Juleps.

Joshua Wagner / Regent Cocktail Club from Chat Chow TV on Vimeo.

“Everyone is jazzed up about new trends, food and beverage, everything along those lines,” Wagner observes. “But I think we also need to make the standards of what our basics are, what our pars are, what our standards are as a city. So classics, back to the core, create the standard of what it should be and just really get back to the basics.”

And the locals are loving it. Regent draws a mixed crowd, attracted to the venue for its unique recipe of curated cocktails and vintage vibe.

Visit Chat Chow to experience full interview with Joshua Wagner: Chat Chow




Piña Colada

The Regent Cocktail Club Miami

Recipe & Directions:

Build directly in the Blender

– Add 1 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
– 1 oz coconut cream
– 1 oz Spiced Rum
– 1 oz aged Rum
– 4 pineapple chunks about twice the size of dice
– Add 2 cups of crushed ice

Blend for 40 seconds
Garnish with a tiki umbrella and a fuzzy flamingo.


Photo by WorldRedEye



To see more mouth-watering video podcast where you can go behind the scenes with celebrated chefs, owners and mixologists of the food industry, visit

O, Miami 2013 Poetry Festival

“Poetry for all” comes back to Miami during the month of April, 2013


O, Miami Poetry Festival returns in 2013 to once again attempt to deliver a poem to all 2.6 million+ residents of Miami-Dade County during the month of April.

For the entire month of April- find Poetry Everywhere! From the air,  on your body, at a pop up, upon a soapbox…to Miami’s first poetry Parade.

Created by University of Wynwood with founding sponsor the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, O, Miami is both a celebration of contemporary poetry and an experimental project to turn a metropolitan area into a canvas for the literary arts.

In 2011, they flew poems behind airplanes, dropped them out of helicopters, sewed them into clothing, and attached them to every single bus in Miami-Dade County. They produced events with actors (James Franco); choreographers (Jonah Bokaer, Rashaun Mitchell); artists (Anne Carson, Sam Winston); and, yes, poets (W.S. Merwin, Tracy K. Smith, Raúl Zurita). The festival was covered nationally and internationally by The New Yorker, NPR’s Morning Edition, Dwell magazine, Best American Poetry, and the Associated Press, and chronicled in a new Knight Foundation report.


Poetry Tags from Alessandra Villaamil on Vimeo.

Making the arts part of your life.

“Poetry is a living, breathing force that can light up the city. O, Miami is its platform. The written word leaves the printed page for a parade on South Beach, morphs into interpretive dance in Hialeah, and along the way helps art become part of people’s everyday lives,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation.

Co-Founders: Peter Borrebach (L)  and P. Scott Cunningham (R)


O, Miami Poetry Festival was created in 2011 by the University of Wynwood and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The festival occurs every other year and has the mission of delivering a poem to every single person in Miami-Dade County in the span of one month. For more, visit

O, Miami 2013 will begin on April 1, 2013 and end on April 30, 2013. Click the “Events” button to your right to see the schedule.


Stay Over in Comfort

Dramatically poised alongside its Art Deco neighbors on Miami Beach’s famed Ocean Drive, The Betsy is a distinguished historic landmark hotel. The Betsy’s 61 rooms and suites are private beachside havens with sensory details, imaginative amenities and inspirational design.

Elegant but relaxed tropical interiors and an intimate courtyard pool produce an experience that is timeless, unforgettable, and passionately low-key. The Deck at The Betsy, an expansive rooftop with sweeping views of the Atlantic, offers a Wellness Garden and Spa with a full range of spa treatments.

Book your stay directly at:



Girlfriend Getaway: Miami and South Beach on a Budget

Miami – Sunday afternoon, sitting under large umbrellas on Lincoln Road, my girlfriends and I thought we’d grab a quick bite before saying our goodbyes.

A barefoot man walked by pushing a bicycle. He had a tanned hide and wore only a metallic bronze Speedo. Not long after came an elderly couple singing show tunes from Cats. Then a parade of leggy women in miniskirts.

We ordered more refreshments and settled in for a few hours of the main attraction here – people watching. Which we could still afford after a girlfriends getaway weekend that included a mix of wonderful splurges ($20 cocktails) and smart bargains (a hotel just off the beaten path).

From the Art Deco buildings and boutique-lined streets to the beaches and nightlife, Miami is fascinating – and not just to young women looking to blow off some steam.

I remember my first visit. My parents took my little sister and me to South Beach for a family vacation. It was a four-hour drive from our small town north of Tampa, but Miami felt like another country. As we rode up busy Collins Avenue, my sister and I hung our heads out the car windows, excited by beautiful young men and women in bathing suits, and music blaring from sidewalk cafes. The smell of slow-cooked pork and plantains made us hungry.

At the News Café, a woman at the next table wore a diamond necklace and giant sunglasses. She seemed so cool, like Julia Roberts. I wanted to be her.

Fifteen years have tempered my fantasy. My three girlfriends and I are still climbing that financial ladder, and it’s slippery. We each had about $400 to spend for the weekend, or as much as some might pay for one night in a Miami hotel.

But it helps to have local connections. My friend Lauren is a Miami native and suggested we stay in the “up-and-coming” neighborhood of Brickell to save some cash. By sleeping just 10 minutes from Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive, we spent half as much money and had just as much fun.

Brickell, in downtown Miami, turned out to be the greatest surprise of our trip. Streets in the financial district used to shut down after business hours. Now young people have moved into condos and the neighborhood is bustling.

We set out from the Hampton Inn & Suites to explore. The aroma of fresh seafood and roasted garlic invited us into cafes and bars where young professionals drank, dined and danced. We chose Fado Irish Pub in a charming outdoor mall called Mary Brickell Village. We made note of several other places: Rosa Mexicano, Burger & Beer Joint, Blue Martini and several houses that had been converted into restaurants.

The next day, instead of the beach, we stayed in the area. A friend from college persuaded us to walk over to his 300-foot-pool at Icon Brickell. He called it “the best pool in Miami,” with views of Biscayne Bay, plus comfy lounge chairs and beds.

The Icon Brickell shares a property with the Viceroy Miami hotel. For $45, the hotel’s spa offers a day pass, allowing guests access to the pool, gym, steam room and sauna from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Towels, robes and sandals are included.

We had a great day in Brickell, but a trip to Miami is incomplete without a night on South Beach.

We put on our heels and cocktail dresses and had dinner at a small, candlelit restaurant called BONDST Lounge in the basement of Townhouse Hotel. We spent two hours feasting on ginger salads, tuna tacos, spicy crispy shrimp, Toro tuna with sliced mango and a variety of sashimi. We each spent about $80, including cocktails.

Some of Miami’s best nightlife is found inside hotels. On previous trips, I visited The Rose Bar at the Delano Hotel, where large Venetian chandeliers hang from the ceilings, and the oceanfront bar at the Asian-inspired Setai, where we drank flutes of champagne with NASCAR drivers.

On this trip, we headed to the Perry South Beach Hotel‘s rooftop bar, with its swaying palm trees, private cabanas, couches, pool and a view of Miami’s skyline. The drinks were just as expensive, at $20 a cocktail, but some gentlemen insisted on picking up the tab.

We were grateful, but we weren’t interested in meeting men. When my girlfriends and I get together, nothing matters but us. It’s a chance to dance, to laugh and to spend a weekend away from our busy lives selling real estate and teaching children.

At 3 a.m., as we shared a $20 taxi ride, we felt blessed to have maintained such a strong friendship. We can’t wait for the next great adventure.

If You Go

The Hampton Inn & Suites in Brickell

Viceroy Miami

BONDST Lounge, In the Townhouse Hotel

The Perry South Beach Hotel (formerly Gansevoort Miami Beach)

Art Basel Miami Beach

From December 6 through 9, Miami Beach, Florida, will host the 11th edition of Art Basel, the most prestigious art show in the Americas. More than 260 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa will take part, showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The exhibiting galleries are among the world’s most respected art dealers, offering exceptional pieces by both renowned artists and cutting-edge newcomers. Special exhibition sections feature young galleries, performance art, public art projects and video art. The show will be a vital source for art lovers, allowing them to both discover new developments in contemporary art and experience rare museum-caliber artworks.

Top-quality exhibitions in the museums of South Florida and special programs for art collectors and curators also help make the event a special time for encountering art. And every year, a greater number of art collectors, artists, dealers, curators, critics and art enthusiasts from around the world participate in Art Basel – the favorite winter meeting place for the international art world.


Directors. Annette Schönholzer and Marc Spiegler


ChatChow: The River Seafood & Oyster Bar

Since 2003, The River Seafood & Oyster Bar has been serving the freshest available local, sustainable and organic cuisine; resulting in a fare that is a modern twist on classic seafood. The River, and Executive Chef David Bracha, pride themselves on a unique menu designed with attention to detail ensuring superior quality. The River’s sleek, yet comfortable, dining room is as perfect for a special dinner for two as it is for a celebration with friends. The mahogany and slate bar over looking the ice packed selection of oysters and raw delights is the choice spot for after- work cocktails and quick bites. From 4:30-7pm nightly, The River offers drink specials along with a half-priced selection of a 8-10 different types of hand-shucked oysters.

With an assortment of hand-selected local produce, fresh cold-water fish brought in from Alaska; Organic Irish Salmon and Bronzini; Sardines from Spain, and other specialties from around the world, you can rest assured you are in for a memorable dining experience each time you visit. For those looking to dine with a group, the award-winning Private Wine Cellar Dining Room seats up to 25 guests and features state of the art audio and video capabilities.

The River Seafood & Oyster Bar is more than just amazing food. Bustling with activity and energy, you’ll quickly see why The River has become a favorite of locals and critics alike.


Executive Chef David Bracha has solidified The River Seafood & Oyster Bar as a local staple for a memorable dining experience. This success didn’t happen overnight or without years of planning.

Bracha is no newcomer to the restaurant business. Having put himself through the Hotel & Restaurant Management program at NY City College by working in bagel and bread bakeries, he honed his culinary skills at La Caravelle, which was long known in New York as a “temple to French gastronomy.” Bracha then spent the next several years working under top chefs from New York to St. Thomas, which afforded him the well-rounded experiences that have brought him where he is today. Bracha made his way to South Florida in the late 1980′s where he worked with Chef Norman Van Aiken and Proal Perry at the beautiful Hoexters Market supper club and then opened the “Stars & Stripes Cafe” in the Betsy Ross Hotel. After branching out on his own at age 28 with “411″ Restaurant & Bar in South Beach, Bracha set his sights on the concept of casual upscale seafood and open the Fishbone Grill in downtown Miami & a second location in Coral Gables.

Drawing from tropical setting of Miami, Bracha the opened The River Seafood & Oyster Bar, realizing it’s only natural to use the freshest seafood and produce available to create a collective menu of dishes that represents a modern twist on a classic seafood cuisine. The River consistently sources the best of the best ingredients to deliver an unparallel dining experience which has helped them win over locals, tourists and critics alike.



4:30PM – 7:00PM
Half price oysters and nightly drink specials!

Located near the Miami River. Valet parking available.
Visit: or call (305) 530-1915



To see more mouth-watering video podcast where you can go behind the scenes with celebrated chefs, owners and mixologists of the food industry, visit

The Economic Engine That Is Florida Golf

167,000 Floridians work in the golf industry. The PGA Tour, PGA of America and World Golf Hall of Fame among others are headquartered here.

Florida golf isn’t just the army of northerners that descend on towns from Milton to Miami each winter, hitting every public, semi-private and resort course for precious rounds they can’t get at their snow-covered homes.

Florida golf isn’t the PGA Tour professionals who are in the midst of their “Florida swing” this month, having already played in South Florida and now working their way toward Clearwater, Orlando and, a few weeks after that, Ponte Vedra Beach.

Florida golf isn’t a big corporate outing filling up a tee sheet at a nationally ranked track like the TPC Blue Monster at Doral, nor is it well-heeled Seminole, Isleworth and Black Diamond Ranch and their gotta-have-connections-to-play courses.

“Florida is the No. 1 golfing destination in the world. Everything that we are doing to draw people and promote our state involves golf.” – Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Florida golf is actually 167,000 people, and $13.8 billion.

Big numbers, big game.

The economic engine of Florida golf is as impressive as the island-green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course, and unwavering in its truth.

Some 167,000 Floridians work in the golf industry, and $13.8 billion in economic impact is realized from the state’s more than 1,100 courses, plus driving ranges and mini-golf facilities.

“Golf has a dramatic impact on our state,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in February at a “Florida Golf Day” gathering in Tallahassee. “Florida is the No. 1 golfing destination in the world. Everything that we are doing to draw people and promote our state involves golf.”

That’s not political speak, either. Rounds of golf in 2011 were down 1.2 percent nationwide, but up five percent in Florida.

Florida’s golf economy checked in at $7.5 billion the last time such stats were taken in 2007, which put it some $3.5 billion ahead of the state’s theme parks and $3 billion ahead of the state’s medical equipment and supplies manufacturing economy.

Need more proof of power? The PGA of America, the organization comprising 27,000 PGA golf professionals, is based in Palm Beach Gardens. That’s appropriate considering some 13 percent of its membership – 3,500 golf professionals – are in Florida.

The PGA Tour, the organization of professional golfers that is beamed into living rooms every weekend on television, is based in Ponte Vedra Beach, with hundreds of employees helping to put on its events nationwide.

The National Golf Foundation (Jupiter), World Golf Foundation and World Golf Hall of Fame (St. Augustine) are also within the state’s borders.

“If you love golf, you have to get here,” Gary Player is heard saying on commercials for the World Golf Hall of Fame, though that sentiment can be taken far beyond the Hall’s front doors.

You can play here, and you can make a living in the game here.

“We have a very good economic model for those whose livelihoods depend on golf,” PGA of America Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka said at the “Florida Golf Day,” and the sport’s variety in Florida bears that out.

For starters, of course, Florida golf is a year-round undertaking. The game can be enjoyed in many different forms, from city-owned courses to giant resorts such as PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, with five courses that host 155,000 rounds annually and a 40,000-square-foot spa. (All the exotic miniature courses along Orlando’s International Drive and beyond are also considered part of the state’s golf repertoire.)

To keep all those facilities running takes an army of personnel, from ones that the golfer directly interacts with (reservation agents, pro-shop staffers, the first-tee starter and the beverage-cart girl) and the ones he or she doesn’t meet – like the thousands of greenskeepers who do much of their work out of sight.

“The unsung golf heroes are the superintendents and their crews,” said Greg Nathan, senior vice president of the National Golf Foundation, a trade association for golf-related businesses. “They consistently have more restrictions placed on them, whether environmentally or in water restrictions, and they still are the person most responsible for the key asset – the course.

“You don’t always get to shake the hand of the superintendent and say ‘thanks,’ but you get to enjoy the work.”

Perhaps in the history of Florida golf, there has been no better time to enjoy the work. The sport, like other forms of recreation, has had to fight for its place in a market where leisure dollars are tighter, and the result is an abundance of deals and discounts – even in peak seasons and in a state where golf is king.

The engine keeps rolling along.

Urban Sanctuaries/Miami: An Unlikely Source of Serenity

Yes, we’re talking about Miami, as a place where sanctuaries offering tranquility, contemplation and a measure of privacy can be found.

Maybe the image you have of Miami is decades old: a neon art deco sign, thumping music coming from a flashy car, Don Johnson in a white blazer.

Some of those impressions may even be more recent. But there’s more to Miami than nightlife and glamour. Tucked in places many people don’t notice are serene locales for a local resident or a tourist to get away from it all. These urban sanctuaries feature, at no extra cost, South Florida twists in the forms of alligators, top-ranked beaches and mangroves.

Some of these places are huge, others tiny. A few are so seemingly remote that most locals have never heard of them. They require a fair amount of sunscreen, a bicycle or kayak and they either require – or better yet, produce – a relaxed state of mind.

Boats came come in handy, too.

So, let’s get started.

Oleta River State Park

Found under massive condo towers and between two shopping malls in north Miami-Dade, on a piece of land that sits in the middle of Biscayne Bay, is Oleta River State Park. It’s Florida’s biggest urban park, and it’s often experienced on two wheels.

The peaceful sanctuary surrounded by mangroves offers something special for veteran mountain bikers: More than 10 miles of intermediate level mountain bike trails and four miles of trails for beginners. (For true rookies, three additional miles are paved.)

The river also can be experienced by kayak and canoe, making for a relaxing visit surrounded by nature. One of South Florida’s best kept secrets, Oleta River State Park also offers cabins for overnight camping.

If you go: The park is located at 3400 N.E. 163rd Street in North Miami, 33160. It is open from 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year. The entrance fee is $6 per car. For more information, call 305-919-1844 or

Biscayne National Park

It’s a stretch to call Biscayne National Park a “park.” That’s because more than 95 percent of it is covered by water. It’s the biggest marine park in the National Park system, and it’s only reachable by boat. You come here to snorkel, dive and fish – and to pretend you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Located in deep south Miami-Dade, the park actually consists of the northernmost islands of the Florida Keys at the southern tip of Biscayne Bay. (Still with us, geography fans?) It has a narrow mangrove forest on the shore and is at the trail head of the third-largest coral reef in the world.

The park is made up of 50 ancient coral reef islands that are largely undeveloped and surrounded by Biscayne Bay on the west and a reef to the east. It was created about 30 years ago by a team of writers, activists and politicians who joined forces to protect it from proposed ports.

The shipwrecks that lay underneath are a testament to what the park’s stewards call a “parade of human history that spans 10,000 years.” They’ll also tell you that if you added up the different kinds of vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Yosemite, you still wouldn’t have the number of fish found in Biscayne National Park.

There’s a visitors’ center at Convoy Point, but seeing the rest of it requires something that floats, like one of the guided boat tours or a rented canoe and kayak.

And that’s the beauty of it. There’s no ferry or bridge and just one single mile of paved road. No facilities or hot dog stands.

Nothing but nature.

If you go

The park is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, Homestead, 33033. Via Florida’s Turnpike: Take the turnpike south to Exit 6 (Speedway Blvd.). Turn left from exit ramp and continue south to S.W. 328th Street (North Canal Drive). Turn left and continue to the end of the road. Call 305-230-7275 or visit

The Everglades

You can’t talk sanctuary in South Florida without thinking of the Everglades, the astounding 1.5-million-acre “River of Grass.” That means wetlands, swamp, hammocks and mangrove forests.

About an hour west of the city, the Everglades is far enough away that you really are in the middle of nowhere. The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, it has rare and endangered species – and, these days, even some invasive pythons.

The Everglades, a World Heritage Site, is South Florida’s oldest and most-treasured gem. Home to entertaining Native American alligator wrestlers and the Miccosukee Indian Village, the Everglades provides a terrific mix of nature, culture and history.

This is where we keep most of our gators in South Florida, and good number of birds, too. Although the airboat rides are hardly peaceful (earplugs help), the park offers plenty of hiking and biking opportunities that are decidedly quieter.

Shark Valley is popular for its 17-mile bike ride and tram tour.

Don’t forget your insect repellent, and a few bottles of water!

If you go
To get to the Everglades, take Tamiami Trail west until you see the gators. The Shark Valley Visitor Center is at 36000 SW 8th St., Miami, 33194. Operating hours are 9:15 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. For more information, call 305-221-8776 or visit Some nature guide tour operators are listed here:

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Another local favorite sport for peace and quiet is Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

This sanctuary on the southernmost tip of Key Biscayne was listed as No. 10 on Florida International University Prof. Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman’s 2011 list of top 10 beaches in America.

Named for a former editor of the now-defunct Miami News, the park serves as home to a historic lighthouse built in 1825, the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. Visitors sunbathe, swim and picnic on this mile-long stretch of Atlantic beachfront. Bikes (including four-seaters), hydro bikes and kayaks can be rented, while anglers throw their lines from the seawall along Biscayne Bay.

Its port is so secluded that it’s called No Name Harbor.

There are two restaurants surrounded by all that nature and water, and places to fire up your own grill.

If you go
The park is located at 1200 S Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne, 33149. From downtown Miami, take the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne, and follow the signs. More information is available by calling 305-361-5811 or visiting

Visitors are allowed to anchor overnight in No Name Harbor for a fee of $20 per boat per night. For information about youth camping programs, call the park administration office at 305-361-8779.

Simpson Park

There is no more urban a refuge than Simpson Park in Miami, an eight-acre slice of undeveloped land that illustrates what large swaths of Miami used to be: thick forest where Florida panthers once roamed.

The park is near The Roads neighborhood and is used by locals who need wilderness and a place to think, without driving across town.

The park was founded in 1914 as a metropolitan preserve for the stately mansions along Brickell Avenue, then home to the privileged city power-brokers. It once was part of Brickell Hammock, the thick, rough land that stretched south from the Miami River to Coconut Grove.

Most Miamians have never heard of the place. Nor do they know who it was named after: naturalist Charles Torrey Simpson, who retired to Miami after studying shells at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

The park long suffered from urban blight, homeless intruders and the occasional, merciless storm. It recently reopened with the blessing of city historians who sought to preserve its backwoods charm.

The wooden hammock above and roots below from its 15 endangered plant species are so dense that there are signs warning visitors to look down: “Beware of trip hazards.”

If you go
The park is located at 55 SW 17th Road, Miami, 33129. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more, call 305-856-6801.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Not far from Simpson Park is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a stately mansion that once served as the winter home of American industrialist James Deering.

Built in the early 1900s, it took more than 1,000 people to create it. The house on the shores of Biscayne Bay was deliberately designed to look like a 400-year-old Italian villa.

Daily tours are offered of the elegant rooms and its art collections. But most visitors go there to enjoy the grand gardens overlooking the water, a mix of Renaissance Italian and French designs that took seven years to design.

Best enjoyed under the moonlight and with soft jazz playing, the regularly scheduled moonlight garden tours are a particularl delight.

If you go
Vizcaya is located at 3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, 33129. It is open daily, except Tuesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults and $6 for children 6 to 12. Learn more at

The Deering Estate

While we’re on the topic of the Deerings, another member of the clan that made its fortune on agricultural machinery, Charles Deering, built a home in south Miami-Dade that’s now a nature preserve.

The Deering Estate at Cutler is located along the edge of Biscayne Bay on a 444-acre site. Found here are canoe tours, butterfly walks and guided nature hikes.

It is home to 150 acres of endangered pine rock-land, as well as 115 acres of coastal tropical hardwood hammocks that allow you to forget, for just a moment, that you’re in the middle of a major metropolis.

If you go
The estate is located at 16701 SW 72 Ave., Miami, 33157. General admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 4-14. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving. For more information, call 305-235-1668 or visit

Miami Culinary Tours

A melting pot of cultures, South Florida’s offerings run the gamut from five-star gourmet to hole-in-the-wall delicious — a scene that’s as varied as the communities that make up the area. But where do you go? That’s where we come in.

We organize outings that not only showcase a particular type of cuisine, but also the culture and history behind it, giving tour participants the full story. Our food tours in Miami (which are divided into categories depending on cuisine and neighborhoods) offer foodies (both residents and visitors to the area) a chance to sample delicious and authentic dishes.

Miami Culinary Tours was founded by renowned Miami Food Critic, Grace Della, who developed her love for food and culture from her mother who has been conducting culinary tours for the last 10 years. She came up with the idea for her first food tour in Miami called the Cuban-inspired food tour, back before anyone had even heard about food tours in Miami.

A small local company forged with a team of knowledgeable and passionate foodies guiding visitors and locals alike through a unique epicurean adventure while discovering the celebrated world-known Art Deco District and the picturesque neighborhood of Little Havana.

“With so many flavors colliding into one city, it’s no wonder Miami is one of the most exciting culinary destinations – And we’re ready to share it with both adventurous and selective eaters everywhere. We carefully crafted two Miami food tours so you can not only sample the most savory dishes but learn about the culture behind the food.” says Grace Della

Miami Culinary Tours has been Nationally and Internationally recognized as a “Fieldtrip for Foodies” with a “Great mix of food and Art Deco” and is rated as the “Best tour in South Beach” by travelers on major online travel portals.

Frommer’s Writer Amy Sherman adds“ You get to meet some locals and learn about Miami, its people, culture, architecture, and history. Best of all, you get to try lots of delicious things — all of which are handpicked by a local insider. “And Delish named Miami Culinary  as one of the “Fantastic Food tours in the US”

Savor the diverse cultural community of Miami through hand-picked eateries and indulge in a culinary adventure through the kitchens of celebrity chefs, Cuban exiles, generational bakeries, cultured European immigrants and ethnic eateries at South American taverns at the South Beach Food Tour or the Little Havana Food Tour.

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