Sunday, January 25, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Fairchild Festivals - Chocolate Festival 2015

We spent most of this weekend indoors recovering from almost having, but never getting the flu. Nevertheless, on Saturday we pushed ourselves out of bed and over the bridge (gasp!) to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's 9th Annual Chocolate Festival because chocolate. This was our second year in a row at the chocolate festival so we stormed through the place with a confidence reserved only for Dr. Fairchild. Despite our familiarity with the event's programming, we learned a lot during our visit and discovered some great new additions to this year's offerings that we shared with Soul of Miami.

Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full feature. Believe us, you will want to click through - if not for the informative tidbits, then for the photo of us happily scarfing down a roasted corn on the cob!

Have you been to Fairchild's Chocolate Festival before? What was the best part of your visit? What other Fairchild festivals have you attended? Which one is your favorite? What is one must-see feature of the Garden? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Friday, January 23, 2015

#TYMSpiceCrawl: South Beach's Eight Spiciest Cocktails

Last weekend we embarked on a dangerous yet exciting mission: #TYMSpiceCrawl. It was one part bar crawl, one part cocktail try-outs, and 100-percent spicy! The quest began when Société Perrier asked us to round-up the spiciest cocktails in Miami. We heeded their call, researched restaurant and bar menus throughout Miami, and prepared an itinerary that puts tour groups to shame. 

We started in South Beach with the intention of taste testing a minimum of 10 cocktails then re-starting the process in two other Miami neighborhoods. Alas, the #ThankYouMiami team had other plans. Two of our members disappeared to take a nap sometime after the second or third drink on our list. We were able to rally them for a second and a third day to complete our South Beach search. And, lucky for them, we were satisfied that eight of the 10 cocktails we tried were worthy of being named South Beach's spiciest cocktails.

Did your favorite spicy cocktail in South Beach make our list? Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full feature.

As Mexicans and fans of all things spicy, we have been preparing for this assignment our entire lives. Now that it's over, we can't wait to do it again in another Miami neighborhood. Where should we go next? Who's with us - albeit, with a less ambitious itinerary? Is there a spicy cocktail in South Beach we did not name, but need to try? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#ThankYouMiami Stories: Marc Randazzo

Through our #ThankYouMiami lens, we are writing a chapter of our community's story. Starting today, that narrative will be punctuated with personal stories from our community's movers and shakers. After all, communities are only as good as the people from which they are comprised and Miami has some amazing people with exciting stories to tell.

Our new series, #ThankYouMiami Stories, will introduce you to locals who are making magic in Miami and give you a taste of what brought them here, how Miami plays a part in their past, and how Miami will contribute to their future. Who better for the first rendition of this series than the owner of Miami staple Randazzo's Little Italy, Marc Randazzo? In December, we joined the Foodie Firm for generous helpings of Marc's homemade Italian dishes during which we discussed his connection with Miami.

What brought you to Miami after growing up in Chicago?
My trainer Angelo Dundee moved down here so I had to come down to train with him. The weather was always so beautiful and I couldn't get enough of it so I decided to move down. I haven't left since.

What convinced you to stay and open up a restaurant here?
I loved the weather and culture of Miami. After I became a heavy weight champion, I stopped fighting so I needed to find a way to support my family. I never went to college so I didn't have a degree, but I did know how to cook. My friend Jim loved my food and knew I could cook. He helped me open up Randazzo's about 11 years ago with a menu of my mother and grandmother's recipes that we have stuck with since. If you don't like my food, you can call them up!

Why did you choose Coral Gables for your restaurant out of all of Miami's neighborhoods?
I live in Coral Gables, which is ideal because I am usually at the restaurant around 7 a.m. to prep for the day and make gravy. I also like the families who come out to my restaurant - a lot of the people around the area are loyal customers.  The Gables seems to be less touristy from other neighborhoods and there's less of a "fly by night" crowd.

What is your favorite aspect of living and owning a business in Miami?
Growing up, I was usually around a lot of Italians so it's nice to live in an area that's so diverse with cultures too.

As a business owner, I'm not perfect but I treat my staff the way I wanted to be treated. I put my heart and soul into everything I cook and my regulars know that so they keep coming back. By no means are we a corporate restaurant and we never will be, but that's the way my loyal customers and I like it.  

What is one aspect of Miami you would change to make it a better place to live and work?
They should start giving people licenses before allowing them to get on the road - ha ha! Honestly? I wish people treated each other with more respect. I see people get taken advantage a lot in this town.

Did you resonate with Marc's #ThankYouMiami story? Have you tried his incredibly delicious food? What Miami local would you like to be featured in this series? What other questions would you like us to ask? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Monday, January 19, 2015

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Spray Tanning Like A Local

In Miami, we get by with a little help from our friends and, when it comes to looking perfect year-round, those friends include spray tanning professionals. Even though Miami is known for its sunshine, sometimes us locals don't have time to go outside or we've been vacationing in less sunny pastures. Whatever the excuse, spray tanning is a Miami local's best friend. There is nothing worse than saying you're from Miami and getting a "but I thought people from Miami are supposed to be tan!?"

Sunday, January 18, 2015

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Eating Like A Local

At the end of the year, Tastemade launched #TastemadeMIA by engaging local tastemakers to create recs of our city's top 400 restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and the like. The #ThankYouMiami team heeded their call and created our very own appisodes featuring old favorites and some new finds. We released our first four appisodes featuring dinner and nightlife favorites Ball and Chain, Bar Crudo, Brio Tuscan Grill, and Scotty's Landing in a previous post. 

In the past two weeks, we tackled and released appisodes on our favorite South Beach breakfast and lunch spots so you could learn to eat like a local. Check them out below and make sure to follow @ThankYouMiami on Tastemade for more recommendations soon to come!

Pura Vida

Go-Go Fresh Food Cafe
Which restaurant are you most excited to try? Is there a Miami venue you would like us to feature in an upcoming appisode? What would you like to learn about that location? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!