As the girl who lives to eat, would you honestly expect me to celebrate any other way? And while the actual date of my birth (November 5) landed smack-dab in the middle of last week, on a Wednesday, we extended the festivities over a long weekend in the Florida Keys. The way I see it, you only turn 30 once … might as well milk the milestone birthday while you can (wink, wink)!
10:30 a.m. – Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Deli Lane Café & Tavern
7230 SW 59th Ave., South Miami
To kick off my birthday, my best friend Juliana met me at one of my favorite brunch spots in Miami, Deli Lane. While seated at one of their outdoor patio tables, Juliana enjoyed the Stack Em’ Low buttermilk pancakes, which boasted three fluffy flapjacks. I thoroughly savored the Tavern Benedict, a dish I’ve been dreaming about since seeing it on the place’s menu a few months back. Silky poached eggs, smoked Nova, creamy hollandaise, all on top of a toasted croissant – what else do you need in life, amiright?
Well a little pampering never hurt anyone, and so naturally after brunch we relaxed with manicures and pedicures.
Birthday Dinner with Kenny
6:30 p.m. – Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Joe’s Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Each year Kenny surprises me with a special birthday dinner at an undisclosed location. This year I sent him a short “wish list” of restaurants and he certainly didn’t disappoint when he announced we’d be dining at Joe’s Stone Crab, the quintessential Miami Beach restaurant (it’s been there since 1913 after all). Picture a large, lavish dining hall, attentive black-tie-clad servers, and the freshest seafood you’ll ever eat.
I was immediately stoked to order a glass of crisp Roussanne from Truchard Vineyards (which we toured when we were in Napa last year). Our coconut shrimp appetizer proved a crunchy, sweet starter. For entrees, Kenny noshed on the select size stone crabs (caught off the Florida Keys), while I indulged in a delicious seafood sampler of stone crabs, lobster, shrimp and raw oysters. We shared a side of the Lyonnaise potatoes (hash browns with onions) and finished the meal with a slice of key lime pie, which unfortunately was still a bit frozen in the middle. But don’t think that stopped us from finishing every last bite of the tart-yet-sweet slice!
Our dinner at Joe’s was a momentous affair I’ll always remember, both for the scrumptious fare and the romantic quality time spent with my loving husband.
Birthday Dinner with Friends
7:30 p.m. – Thursday, November 6, 2014
Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latam Grill
3067 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove
A group of our closest friends here in Miami joined us at this festive spot in the Grove for a celebratory dinner. There were shareable appetizers (including their signature ceviche spoon sampler and the Tiradito Nikkei, which featured melt-in-your-mouth sushi-grade tuna). We sipped several glasses of red sangria and enjoyed plates full of Latin America-inspired dishes (grilled picanha steak, Baja fish tacos, Parihuela de Mariscos and the like). The gang sang a beautiful rendition of “Happy Birthday” to me while I indulged in Dulce de Leche cheesecake. And to top it off, at the end of the meal the restaurant manager presented me with a gift certificate for my next meal. (Classy!) I may be biased because it was my birthday, but when you combine the lovely company, quality of the food and the excellent service, I’d have to say dinner at Jaguar was among my favorite social dining experiences in Miami to date.
Belated Birthday Lunch in the Florida Keys
Noon – Sunday, November 9, 2014
Lazy Days South
725 11th Street Ocean, Marathon, Florida
Our long weekend in the Keys encompassed some scenic paddleboarding, beach lounging, a spectacular biplane ride and my friend Erika’s wedding festivities. Before heading back home on Sunday we met my family and couple friends, Shaina and Mike for a belated birthday lunch at Lazy Days South. Lazy Days, with locations both in Marathon and Islamorada, is my favorite restaurant in the Keys. So much so that we held our wedding rehearsal dinner there back in May 2011 and also celebrated Kenny’s 30th birthday with appetizers and drinks at the Islamorada location back in July of this year.
While I have an affinity for all of Lazy Days’ menu items, I always gravitate toward their “Lazy Days-style” preparation. Whether it’s the yellowtail sandwich, Lazy Conch appetizer or grouper dinner, the combo of panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and their signature key lime-butter sauce is out-of-this-world good. Add in a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, and you’ve got the perfect ending to a remarkable 30th birthday week. I’d like to thank you all for making me feel so special – and full!