Wednesday, February 10, 2016

#ThankYouMiami for New Hangouts - The Tuck Room

Since the Venetian has been under construction, we have been avoiding the mainland like the plague—that is, until iPic Theaters and conjoined restaurant, The Tuck Room, opened up in North Miami Beach. (Let the record show that by "North Miami Beach" we mean the City of North Miami Beach, not Miami Beach's "North Beach" neighborhood.) Thanks to the re-directed traffic and other on-going construction, it can take up to 45 minutes to reach the Julia Tuttle and the MacArthur bridges from within the island. We're essentially trapped by traffic in South Beach. The benefit of iPic and The Tuck Room is that they're located in the new Intracoastal Mall, only one bridge west of Sunny Isles Beach. Technically, the Intracoastal Mall is the mainland but it is so close to the barrier islands that you can by-pass most traffic by taking A1A North all the way there. A traffic-free, stress-free outing in Miami? #winning!

We've already told you about the comfy and delicious iPic Theaters experience, but we yet hadn't had the chance to share with you the goodness that awaits next door in The Tuck Room. The Tuck Room is a magical land of food and drinks where the complimentary bar bites are comprised of liquid nitrogen popcorn that is as interesting to eat as to watch someone eat it. The à la carte appetizers vary greatly in origin—you can order a spicy tuna hand roll followed by some papas bravas—but they are similar in that each is our favorite dish from each type of cuisine represented in the menu.

By far the best part of The Tuck Room is the creativity behind their cocktail program. What else would you expect from a spot that has Adam Seger, dubbed the "A-List Mixologist" by Haute Living, as their Master Mixologist? There is an infinite number of drink possibilities, all fresh and easily customizable to impress even the most particular of cocktail afficionados. (We're talking about people like our Mother In Law who usually gets blank stares when she asksd for her scotch old fashioned with water instead of seltzer and splenda instead of sugar.) Plus, there are surprise elements you won't find anywhere else in Miami like a one-of-a-kind guarapo machine (that makes sugar cane juice for some of the best mojitos we've had), liquid nitrogen bottle service, and hand-crafted cocktails bottled just for you. If The Tuck Room's accesibility and delicious food still have you on the fence, their "garden-to-glass" cocktail program alone is worth the visit. Alas, a new hangout has officially made it onto our social repertoire.

Have you been to the new iPic Theater in North Miami Beach? To The Tuck Room? What did you like best about your visit? What food would you recommend? What drinks should we try next time we're there? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

#ThankYouMiami How-To: 5 Ways to Woo Your Valentine Miami-Style

Time is passing by at hyper-speed. Can you believe 358 days have passed since we taught you how to make Valentine's Day magic happen à la 305? With Valentine's Day once again around the corner, we come to you with a fresh round of romantic date ideas so you can woo the object of your affection with suave, Miami-style moves (think Antonio Banderas with a Cuban twist). As always, we have a little something for everyone, no matter your relationship status, taste or budget because we love you AND we are in love with you, Miami. Happy Valentine's Day!

1. Book a romantic getaway.
We love to travel so it comes as no surprise that our ultimate Valentine's Day fantasy is to be whisked away on a trip somewhere exciting (you know, like in 50 Shades of Grey when Christian casually flies Anna to Aspen for a romantic weekend). We feel super lucky that our husband is whisking us away to Windham, New York where you will find us alternating between skiing and après-skiing all weekend.

If you want to join in on the jet-setting fun, Hope Lake Lodge in Finger Lakes is offering a Romantic Getaway stay package for couples that includes a two night stay, complimentary champagne with chocolate dipped strawberries, a couples spa treatment, as well as breakfast room service and dinner, each on the day of your choice. Alternately, you can road trip to Key West and take advantage of The Marker Resort's Mark Your Love package which includes chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of red wine delivered to your room upon arrival.

2. Go shopping.
We have yet to meet a person that does not enjoy being showered with gifts. We have however met a ton of people who hate going shopping (ourselves included). That's why we love shopping at The Falls. Their lush landscaping and beautiful water features make you forget you're shopping, creating one of the best shopping experiences in Miami. So, whether you're picking up a gift or taking your significant other ("S.O.") on a shopping spree, it's a win-win for everyone.

If you're in need of gift inspiration, The Falls has a curated selection of Valentine's Day gift ideas at The Falls Guest Services Center that you can conveniently purchase at their resident retailers. They will also be hosting a Sip, Savor & Shop event on Thursday, February 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during which you can enjoy complimentary cocktails, lite bites, music, special shopping experiences, and a silent auction benefiting the American Heart Association.

3. Share a delicious meal.
Miami is home to an expansive roster of great restaurants and there is no better excuse to cross some off your must-visit list than a special occasion. On Valentine's Day, some of South Florida's hottest restaurants, including Atrio, BagatelleBaziThe Dutch, MarionSeagrape, STK Miami, and TiramesU, will be offering prix-fixe menus and special a la carte menus perfect for exploring their culinary offerings. As they say, "the best way to a man's heart (and, frankly, a woman's heart) is through his stomach." Just don't forget to call ahead to make a reservation. 

If you want to up the ante before or after dinner, The Tuck Room in North Miami Beach is offering liquid nitrogen bottle service which includes a welcome toast of Francois Montand brut rosé, a 375ml bottle of Grey Goose, and homemade ginger beer, passion fruit purée, pineapple juice, strawberries, and raspberries for mixers served in a custom liquid nitrogen ice mold with red rose petals. 

4. Get pampered.
If we weren't planning to ski all weekend, the next place you would find us is at the spa. There is nothing we love more than surrounding ourselves with positive energy and giving our bodies and minds a rest. There's also something about being naked and/or in a bikini beneath a plush robe that's so intimate.

If you or your S.O. are also a "spa person", take advantage of the world class spas within our reach during their month-long Valentine's Day-inspired specials. We're particularly craving these heavenly treatments from The Spa at Conrad Miami. The Miami Beach EDITION, another favorite, is offering spa guests 20% off all services booked Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and is accompanying the 60-minute couples Swedish massage with two complimentary glasses of bubbly and chocolate covered strawberries. Yaaaaas.

5. Party like a local.
For those of you in a more casual or new relationship, there are a number of themed events going on around town that allow you to celebrate the holiday while keeping things perfectly non-commital. For example, on February 11 the Arts + Entertainment District will debut its 2016 Movies Under the Stars series with a free screening of John Torturro's "Fading Gigolo" starring Woody Allen.

Then, on Saturday, February 13, the Thompson Miami Beach and The New Tropic will be hosting a free mix and mingle event in the 1930's House, temporarily dubbed the "Love Shack", from 8 p.m. to midnight. Festivities will include complimentary cocktails (courtesy of WhoNow, a new love life organizing app) until 10 p.m., backyard games, a kissing photo booth, and #loveshack social media games with prizes. It's all fun and games until somebody falls in love, so keep an eye out for cupid.

Monday, February 1, 2016

#ThankYouMiami for Independent Movie Theaters

You may remember for our iPic Theaters review that we're not movie theater people. That said, we are fans of our local arts and culture scene and, by association, of our Miami's independent movie theaters. Unfortunately, independent movie theaters are a rare breed in the 305. (Probably because nobody wants to spend time indoors when you have such amazing weather.) Nevertheless, the few that we have are very special and offer a wide range of films you won't find anywhere else, like this incredible film on Chokoloskee by Miami-an Noah DeBonis that you need to see.

We were excited to share four unique spots to catch a movie in Miami in our latest piece for Localeur. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full feature! Have you seen a movie at any of these venues? Which one? What did you like? What didn't you like? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Maximizing 24-Hours in Miami (Winter Edition)

It's winter and you're in Miami porque it's obviously the best place to escape the cold. You've been to the museums, to the beach, and to all the other well-known Miami tourist attractions but you have one day left to experience the city and you want to see it through the eyes of a local. How do you make the most of it? Where do you go? What do you do? 

Well, you've come to the right place! We've put together our ideal one-day itinerary to help you maximize those 24 hours like a Miami-an.

Morning Yoga at Green Monkey
Miami life can take its toll so we like to center ourselves first thing in the morning to set our day off on the right foot. Our favorite classes are led by Amy and Paul at Green Monkey's Sunset Harbour "treehouse"—they also have a studio in Coral Gables—but you're in good hands with their entire crew.

Breakfast, Lunch or Brunch at Icebox Café
If you're in Sunset Harbour, Icebox Café is what you want. They make delicious food for every hour of the day pero we're partial to their avocado seed salad and their salmon burger. We usually split both with a friend so we don't have to miss out on one or the other. Oh, and definitely save room for dessert. Trust.

Coffee Break at Panther Coffee
When it comes to specialty coffee, Miami's very own Panther Coffee is killing the game. Did you know they were named one of the 25 best coffee shops in America by Epicurious? Their menu may seem complicated but the Panther staff can help you navigate it like a pro. If all else fails, you can't go wrong with a cold brew, an almond milk latte or a cortadito.

Afternoon at South Pointe Park
South Pointe Park is Miami Beach's southermost and, in our opinion, best park. With views of both the beach and Biscayne Bay, it's the perfect place to relax on the grass and enjoy Miami's stunning vistas. Here you can also rent a CitiBike, skateboard, run, or let your kids run around in the children play areas. South Pointe Park is our favorite place to while away the afternoon Miami-style.

Dinner at Joe's Stone Crab
During stone crab season (October 15 through May 15), Joe's Stone Crab is at the tippy top of the can't miss restaurants list. For the full Joe's experience, make a dinner reservation in advance, dress up and be ready to shell out quite a bit of cash. Alternately, keep it casual at Joe's Take-Away next door, where you call ahead or order at the register, wait for your number to be called, and take your take-away packed food home or eat it if you can grab a table. Pro tip: you can also order directly and eat-in at the bar.

Night Out at a Community Event
There is always something going on in Miami. If you're looking to mingle with the  locals, check out Eventbrite's Miami event page for the night's happenings. You're bound to come across a few options to suit your social needs, no matter your budget or your mood. (P.S. If you're planning an event in Miami, check out Eventbrite's event management page, which makes it super easy to promote and manage your event on the site!)

What does your perfect Miami day look like? Where would you go? What would you do? What would you eat? What would you see? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Top 3 #ThankYouMiami Moments at the Madonna Concert in Miami

Racy, death-defying and fun. Those are the three words we have been using to describe last weekend's Madonna concert. (Not that anyone is shocked. We're talking about a woman who has an entire page on Marie Claire dedicated to her top 12 most scandalous controversies for Pete's sake.) But beyond initial impressions—and arguably what we liked best about the show—is that she added some special Miami touches that made one of the last U.S. stops in her Rebel Heart Tour extra special. These were the top 3 #ThankYouMiami moments of the night:

1. When Madonna sang "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". Like Madonna pointed out, few other stops on her U.S. would understand or appreciate the true sentiment behind the song. Cue the lighters (erm, the iPhone flashlights).

2. When, in between instigating shots of Jose Cuervo with her dancers and spanking one of the performers on stage, Madonna reminisced about crazy times of Miami past and shouted to Gloria Estefan in the crowd, "Girl, I've seen you naked. Don't even try." Relive this hilariously candid moment via the video below:

3. When DJ Khaled hopped on stage and did what DJ Khaled does. Enough said, just press play on the video below:

Were you at the Madonna concert this past weekend? What did you think? Which was your favorite performance? Did you have a chance to try the Madonna-inspired cocktails at Zuma beforehand?