Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Escaping City Life Without Leaving Miami

Miami has a lot of great assets but they often come at the cost of loud noise, never-ending traffic, and other stressors common to big city life. It is one of the main reasons why we love to go on staycations, like our frequent roadtrips to Melbourne Beach, and on vacations to our favorite international travel destinations. However, a short supply of vacation days and a bank account that leaves much to be desired often limit us from getting away as much as we want (read: need). To stay sane, we fill those travel gaps with day trips to hidden gems right in our own backyard—that is, those Miami spots that make us forget we're in a big city. In his latest Localeur recommendation, #ThankYouMiami contributor Brad Wells shares the four places where he can escape city life. Which one is your favorite? What other spots do you recommend? Tell us in the comments below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Monday, October 5, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for @GoSushiMaki Memories

I will always remember Sushi Maki as the place where my hair caught on fire. It happened the summer between my freshman and sophomore year at UM when my friend Zac and I treated ourselves to dinner at the Sushi Maki on Sunset Drive as a reward for surviving another week as camp counselors. The meal began great (read: without incident). Per usual, we ordered edamame to start and two rolls each—a California roll and a salmon roll for me, please. Then the check arrived...

You know how girls rummage for their wallet when the bill comes and they are not sure if they are expected to pay? I don't do that. Instead, I ask to look at the bill when it arrives and take it from there. On this particular day, this practice prompted me to lean over the table so Zac and I could look at the bill together and discuss who owed what. The discussion was in its infancy when a terrible smell overpowered our nostrils. "Ugh, what are they burning in there?", I said as I turned toward the kitchen. That's when I noticed the flames traveling up the candle on the table up my long, brown hair. Houston, my hair was on fire.

Only five seconds elapsed from the moment we processed the smell to the moment I smothered the flames with my hands, but it felt like a good five minutes. In fact, no one at the restaurant but the man sitting solo at the neighboring table had the chance to witness my America's Funniest Home Video moment. They did, however, pick up the quickly-spreading scent of burnt hair (probably one of the worst, most persistent smells I have ever come across) so Zac, in tears of laughter, put down his credit card and asked me to wait outside while he paid.

Now that I am over the shock of watching half of my hair fall out in burnt strands on the Sunset Drive sidewalk, the big Sushi Maki hair fire of 2007 is one of my favorite memories. That's the thing about veteran Miami staples (Sushi Maki celebrates its 15th birthday this year!), they give you an opportunity to build memories with them. But, as important as it is to cater to nostalgia, it is also important that they continue to evolve. In the case of Sushi Maki, it means refining their beloved menu with new dishes and incorporating more sustainable seafood starting today.

We'll be talking more about Sushi Maki's sustainable seafood certification and what that means in our next #ThankYouMiami for our Natural Resources column. (Follow us on Bloglovin' so you don't miss it.) In the interim, here are some photos and brief descriptions of the new Sushi Maki menu items you HAVE to try:

The Veggie Head Roll was one of the table's top three favorite items from the new menu. I attribute it to the aji amarillo sauce draped over this veggie roll. You don't even miss the fish!

The Salmon Ceviche is the perfect balance of flavor (subtle citrus from lime and grapefruit) and texture (creaminess from the avocado).

Another one that made it on our table's top three list is the Snowed In Roll. We can't believe no one has ever thought to pair a crab-based roll with ponzu butter before. Genius!

I'm not really a potato person, but the fantastic thing about the Sweet Potato with Shitake Bacon is that it has shitake bacon. And I am a bacon person. P.S. Mushroom bacon is another evidence of genius on the new menu.

If you're a fan of DIY dishes or not in the mood for fish, the Tiger Cry Lettuce Wraps are for you. The skirt steak was perfectly cooked and I loved the flavor profile you can create with the toppings. 

I am on a serious dessert kick and this Japanese Steamed Cake really hit the spot. The cake is not too fluffy, not too dense, not too moist, and not too sweet. It was perfection. 

Do you have any special memories from a visit to Sushi Maki? From a visit to another Miami staple? Which dish are you most excited to try from Sushi Maki's new menu? What are you most excited to learn about sustainable seafood during our upcoming feature? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Friday, October 2, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Fashion - Design and Film Superstars in the Magic City

As we celebrate the end of another work week, we are looking back at the artistic minds that visited our beautiful city last week and talking about how Miami gives us access to incredibly talented creatives from around the world that awe and inspire us every time they visit. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the latest feature in our #ThankYouMiami for Fashion column.

What type of talent that visits Miami are you most excited to have access to? How do you put yourself in front of Miami's talented visitors? Absorb their teachings? What tips do you have for others looking to connect with or learn from the individuals that inspire them? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Seafood, Seafood & More Seafood - @SobeSeafoodFest2015

This year we've been on a YOLO kick, meaning we prioritize anything and everything that makes us eating seafood. It's the reason why if you follow us on Instagram you've noticed a surge in the amount of seafood, particularly crab and lobster, that we're consuming. It's also the reason why we're amping harder than ever for the arrival of seafood, seafood, and more seafood outside our doorstep (no, literally, it will be two blocks away) for the South Beach Seafood Festival. P.S. We're giving away two tickets to the festival. Don't forget to enter at the bottom of this post!

The South Beach Seafood Festival is a building tradition here in South Beach to celebrate the start of Stone Crab season. Every year on October 24, Miami gathers in Lummus Park to eat, drink, and be merry in the name of our ocean's finest bounty. The event is so popular that in the past year the festival has expanded to include additional events and culinary demonstrations leading up to the big day. Earlier this week we had the opportunity to preview one of these events—the Chef Showdown—during which 12 local chefs from our favorite restaurants will compete for our votes in six epic battles:
During the event, on October 23, the competing chefs will host stations so you can sample their food and cast your vote for your favorite restaurant in each category, while you catch them on stage battling it out for champion status. While all six battles are well matched, we are most excited to watch Battle Lobster, Battle Tuna, and Battle Taco (because we're Mexican so...). We're also excited to check out Whole Foods Market's Sustainable Seafood showcase, eat food from other local participating restaurants like Midtown Oyster Bar and SOHO Bay, and participate in the raffles and auctions. Check out the Chef Showdown website full event information and buy your tickets ASAP. They sell out like hotcakes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Which Chef Showdown battle are you most excited to watch? Which of the chefs are you most excited to support? Have you visited any of the participating restaurants? Which? Have you attended the South Beach Seafood Festival before? What did you think? What are you most looking forward to doing or trying at this year's festival? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Monday, September 28, 2015

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Staying #Shady

If you've never heard Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)", do yourself a favor and listen to it on YouTube right now. Inspired by a 1997 essay penned by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, Baz Luhrmann dispenses Mary's on point advice about life through a spoken word song starting with: "If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it." We first heard the song in 1999 when it sneaked its way into Volume 2 of the "Now That's What I Call Music!" CD series after Backstreet Boy's "I'll Never Break Your Heart" and Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life". Since then, we've replayed it over and over again whenever we've needed a reality check on family, on love, on aging. Surprisingly, however, the one piece of advice we've taken least seriously has been the bit about sunscreen.

As beach bums, beach volleyball players, and surfers, we've basically been professional beach-goers all our lives. Overtime we've become experts on how to pack for the beach, how to set up on the beach, and how to entertain ourselves on the beach for hours. Somehow, we've simultaneously remained amateurs when it comes to sun protection. We're talking about going out during the harsh midday sun (the sun is most damaging between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.) after one application of 50 SPF followed by the rare reapplication. We shudder to think of the sun damage we've allowed to our bodies from years of so-so sunscreen use and poor decision making.

Well, the damage stops now. The catalyst? This cautionary tale from "sun abuse survivor" Eliane Kirschbaum:
"Two years ago I woke up with a really weird, persistent, and eventually bleeding pimple on the top of my nose. I soon after learned that the pimple, wasn't a pimple—I had skin cancer. I was shocked. How could this happen to me? Well, the reality is that the sun does not care who you are. If you don't protect yourself, you are at risk."
Don't worry, Eliane is fine now but she is one of the lucky ones and she wants us to be even luckier by helping us avoid skin cancer altogether. With that goal in mind she started a campaign called "FTheSun" to spread skin cancer awareness through sun protective gear and accessories. Well Eliane, mission accomplished. Yesterday we spent an entire day at the beach wearing our "FTheSun" #Shady cap and it was a constant reminder to #stayshady. In fact, it prompted us to buy a sun shelter with 50 UPF (this portable, easy to set-up Rio sun shelter to be exact) to further minimize our sun exposure during our almost 12-hour day shooting surf photos at the beach. We look forward to making these steps (sunscreen, hat, and sun shelter) a part of our regular beach bumming routine for Mary Schmich, for Baz Luhrmann, for Eliane but, more importantly, for ourselves.

What do you think of our beach set-up? How do you #stayshady at the beach? What other tips do you have for beach bumming safely? For sun protection? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!