The roughest day of my life

The roughest day of my life

When I first found out I was pregnant with my first child in September 2017, I was overjoyed and at the same time I really didn’t know what to expect. But I wasn’t too worried. I figured the mom instinct would kick in naturally and I would learn everything by doing. Also,  I pretty much had the “perfect pregnancy.” By that I mean, I was completely healthy the entire time with barely any morning sickness. I gained the exact amount of weight you were supposed to gain, the baby developed and measured as it was supposed to be. It was almost like clockwork. Nonetheless, to make it all perfect, I decided to educate myself as much as could to ensure that everything would be a 100% and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything!

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The final countdown

I took TWO childbirth classes that consisted of several lessons just to make sure I would be fully prepared. I learned a ton of things about sitting bouncy balls when you’re in labor, bringing esoteric oils to the delivery room and to chill out once the contractions kick in and not run to the hospital right away. The latter was actually a helpful advice. When the day finally came at 38 weeks and a few days pregnant (a baby is considered full-term after 38 weeks of pregnancy), I was still working from home all day and did two conference calls all while having contractions until I decided to make my way to the hospital after rush hour traffic. The delivery went smoothly and quickly.

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Reality is kicking in

When my son David was finally born, things were surreal. I remember they had my husband go to the nursery with the baby which is a common practice. My husband had told me they informed him that the baby tested Coombs positive which meant they the baby and I have different blood types. I still didn’t think anything bad. After all, I hadn’t heard of it in any of my classes, so I can’t be a big deal, right? Granted, those first 48 hours after giving birth are just complete insanity but I still felt things were under control. I did notice though that the nurses were being very on top of me about feeding him every 2 hours. I didn’t understand the urgency since I never heard of that. I thought babies would wake up whenever they feel hungry. At one point, I fell asleep for 3 hours while the baby was asleep and the nurse was frantic when she realized. From then on, they checked on me every two hours almost like I was in the military so I started to realize that something was off. Before I delivered, I swore to myself I wouldn’t give him any formula and I would exclusively breastfeed him (everyone is a perfect parent before they actually have kids). But things were different now. I started to understand that he had very high bilirubin levels (which basically means he had jaundice) and the only way for him to get rid off of it was to pee and poop it out. After birth a woman’s body produces only produces colostrum – breast milk does not come in after a few days after. Colostrum is a very thick substance but it has a lot of nutrients; therefore, small quantities are enough to nourish a newborn at the beginning. However, I was worried if it was enough given the condition he was in. I made the call to supplement with formula so his body can get rid of the bilirubin.

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Nothing had prepared me for that!

The day I was released was the day when all came crashing. After two nights of staying at the hospital, the OB determined in the morning that I am good to go home and signed my release order. They would run the baby’s final bilirubin level tests in the afternoon and if they were fine, then we could go come together with the baby. IF! I had my last visitors stop by to bring me lunch that day. The nurse kept coming to my room but left when she saw there were people there. I immediately started getting a bad feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t wait to hear what they would tell me but got so worried at the same time. When the hospital’s pediatrician came, she gave us the news: his bilirubin levels were still too high and the baby would have to stay in the hospital for light therapy until he gets better. Alone. Without us! My world broke apart. Nothing had prepared me for that! I had never even heard about this in spite of taking all these classes. My eyes started filling with tears. My husband who held my hand teared up, too. I couldn’t help but wonder if I could have done anything different to avoid it. I felt so guilty and started blaming myself. By that time, the pediatrician had come over to me to console me. I asked her: “could I have done anything different? It’s my fault, right, because I didn’t feed him for three hours one time? I shouldn’t have given him formula…” I kept beating myself up! She assured me that it wasn’t my fault at all and that these things are very common. Again, why weren’t they talking about this in the birth preparedness classes instead of bouncy balls that I never even used? I couldn’t shake off the feeling that it was my fault. Every single person working that day who had helped me during my stay (nurses, lactation consultants, etc.) all came to my room to try to cheer me up and to confirm it wasn’t anything I did. They all were so compassionate and felt bad for me. We still did not want to face reality that we would have to leave our newborn baby at the hospital. Our world came crashing down. It felt so incredibly empty to leave the hospital with all the flowers, gift basket and arrangements that were sent to us but WITHOUT the baby. That was not what I imagined it to be. I imaged me leaving the hospital happily taking a pic with the baby in an outfit I had picked for him like I had seen so my families do before. That was the saddest car ride we had experienced in our life. Even though we had just “met” the baby two days earlier, it felt like a huge part of us was missing. It kept hitting us throughout the evening. At night when I walked by, my husband looked at me and said to me in the saddest voice “Oh, you’re not pregnant anymore.” Psychologically, it was unbearable for him to see me without my pregnant belly but with no baby at home either.

 

The longest day

We visited the baby that night and I was on a mission to pump every two hours to make sure my breast milk would come in ASAP so I can feed him. There were people that told me that I should see it positively since I would be able to rest that night. They were completely wrong. I did not sleep at all that night. I called them at 5 am to see how he was doing. We went there all day the next day and stayed with him during visitation hours. It felt so absurd to me to call to see how my baby is doing and to have hours where I can visit my baby. It was so hard seeing my baby in the incubator and only being able to touch him through the glass. I felt like Dumbo’s mom in that scene where they locked her up and she was only able to touch her baby with her trunk through the bars of the cage. But on the other hand, this experience was a bonding experience and the first real challenge for our little family. They left him in the nursery with the healthy newborn babies (and not on the NICU side) . All day we would witness new proud Dads walking in with their babies which was a beautiful experience.

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The verdict…

At night, they took another “fate determining” bilirubin test to see where his levels were at. We were so nervous because the results would determine if we could take him home or he would stay another night(s) which would have been devastating for us. They finally came with the results: his levels had dropped! We would take him home FINALLY!!!  We had to stay outside the nursery for their shift change between 6 pm and 7 pm so I used that time to freshen up! These 72 hours were absolutely nerve-wrecking. We got our happy ending! I ended up getting my “taking the baby home” picture and this car ride with him was a much happier one. He gained weight quickly in the first weeks and all his tests after were fine. He has developed perfectly without any issues. He is turning 18 months now and is such a happy and healthy baby! See for yourself!

 

Note: I am fully aware that there are parents who have to leave their preemie babies in the NICU for weeks and months. My experience probably does not seem like a big deal compared to what they have gone through. I am not writing this for pity and neither am I claiming this is the worst thing that can happen to someone. I am writing this hoping I can help parents with the same experience or even more importantly, that I can make parents-to-be aware that this could happen so they aren’t caught by surprise like I was. I wish I would have learned anything about this beforehand and hope this will be included in child birthing classes in the future.

 

 

Review Teamiblends

Review Teamiblends

Hi Everyone,

I am so excited to be back to this Blog and share more posts with you!

Today, I would like to review a product that has been an asset for me as a mom: Teami’s all natural teas!

When I first heard of them and saw them all over Instagram, I wasn’t sure if their products are legit. So I tried it for myself. I had a few people reach out to me asking me how I like them so I decided to record this short review. To summarize my findings:

  1. their skinny tea and colon tea have helped me reduce bloat, get rid of the “mommy-tummy” and have a flat stomach like before baby.
  2. their little tumbler makes my life as a working mom easier as you can prepare the tea quickly in the morning and take it on-the go.
  3. their detox which is a combo of the skinny tea and the colon tea is a great way to get started.
  4. the green tea in it gives you a ton of energy!
  5. If you would like to try them out, click on this link for 25% off: www.teamiblends.com/discount/BELLAB25

Watch my review here:

My Teami Review

I apologize for all the distractions in the background. I just wanted to do a quick review but I ended up finding it kind of funny so I left them.

Let me know how you liked your tea-xperience!

 

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

Hi Everyone! I started this blog about 2 years ago in order to share my love for Miami with other people. I mainly reviewed some of the cool and fun places I found in the 305. I was inspired to start this blog since many friends and acquaintances who saw my social media posts started asking me about where I find all these unique places so I thought those tips would be useful to other people as well. But then things changed. I got pregnant in Fall 2017 and my focus switched from finding new restaurants to researching strollers and all sorts of baby gear (a science in itself, I can tell you). So, I abandoned my first baby – the blog – to center all my attention around my human baby. I did however, acquire a lot of new knowledge about being a mom in Miami. Now, that my little one is almost turning 1.5 months, we have done plenty of exploring Miami together with him. So I decided to combine my new areas of interest. So this is officially, the re-launch of my blog , formerly known as Miami Mi Amor

WELCOME TO “THE MIAMI MAMI!”

I will still share locations and things to do in South Florida and beyond but will focus a little more on experiences for the whole family especially families of little ones. One thing I learned as new parent is: no parent has any freaking clue what they are doing! However, I learned a thing or two and I keep learning so I decided to continue this blog and share my mom tips while at the same time writing about Miami. I have met a lot of fellow Mompreneurs, Momfluencers and Mombloggers who have been a big asset to my life so I am hoping to share all the tips and things to do with you the same way that they have shared them with me.

So I am back now hopefully for good! Below I am sharing a few pictures of my son and I to introduce ourselves a little bit. David is 17 months old and an extremely happy and funny baby. He loves our dog Daisy and our cat Mickey. He is also a big fan of Mickey Mouse and Puppy Dog Palms. My name is Bella. I love the beach and Spanish music. Nice to meet all of you!  If you like to see more of us follow me on Instagram: Isabelita305

Drop a comment if you like. I am looking forward to reading them!

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Things to do this Valentine’s Day ❤️

Things to do this Valentine’s Day ❤️

Love is in the air! Ahh, the day of lovers is coming up. Loved by many, dreaded by others. I personally like that day a lot. I even liked it when I was single. There’s nothing wrong with being happy for others and also, let’s not forget that it’s also the day of friendship. Since I’ve been with my husband, we have made a point of making this day special no matter how tired or busy we are. Life passes by to quickly and sometimes it’s nice that these days remind us to celebrate and appreciate each other.

If you’re single or not, here are a few tips on what to do in the 305 this VDay:

1. Cupid’s Undie Run – run for a good cause in your underwear

Every year on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day there’s a run in Wynwood, well it’s it’s more a party with a 1mile-ish run/walk in the middle. All the proceeds go to research of Neurofibromatosis. You don’t have to necessarily wear underwear- you can get creative and dress up as a unicorn, in a tutu, whatever floats your boat. It’s not too late to register.

2. Valentine’s Day Concert at the Deering Estate

Go to the annual Valentine’s Day concert at the Deering Estate and have a romantic picnick.

3. “Heart Strings” – Valentine’s Day Concert by Alhambra Quartet

Or if you like concerts but indoors, you can head to the Coral Gables museum for a classical concert, wine and chocolates.

4. CityPlace Doral Latin Jazz Concert

Another option: you like concerts but you want to have the option to dine in a restaurant or catch a movie. Head to CityPlace Doral for their free Latin Jazz Concert.

5. Have a romantic dinner in MiMo

If you don’t like concerts and rather want to have a romantic dinner, I have two great suggestions for you and they’re both in the same street.

Soyka has an amazing atmosphere and doesn’t get too packed. Ask to be seated in their little patio area – super romantic and makes you feel like you’re somewhere in Southern Europe.

Café Roval

The atmosphere is breathtaking and so romantic. It feels like you are in an enchanted zen garden. The food is Mediterranean. See pictures of their beautiful outdoor space.

Lots of love

Things To Do in Key West

Things To Do in Key West

I know, I know … this blog is supposed to be all about Miami and this is already my second post about a different Floridian city. BUT, in my defense, Key West is almost every Miamian’s favorite stomping ground especially if you like to party. So I figured it can’t hurt to give some tips in case you’re ever planning a little weekend getaway.

1.Food

You want to start the day right so you’re perfectly nourished for a day full of adventure. My favorite breakfast place is Camille’s Restaurant. Super cute place! When I visited Key West! I went there every morning. They have this French toast with a key lime pie sauce and coconut shaves – oohhhmmaahhgggaahhd! They also have good whole wheat pancakes for those who like it “healthy”, good benedicts and strong brunch drinks. It’s a typical diner type of place with American coffee and refills. Can only recommend!

My favorite place for dinner is Louie’s Backyard. They have the most spectacular view and amazing food. Serving sizes are rather small so you get to try a lot of different things. Their drink and mixology menu is also phenomenal. Don’t miss out on this great experience!

Dessert! Don’t have a sweet tooth? Doesn’t matter! You’ll definitely have to check out Better Than Sex. Not sure if it’s better than sex but this place is pretty dope.

We went there on a spontaneous date night. There was a bit of a wait. The place has a sexy vibe to it with dark lighting and pictures that create a kinky ambiance. What I like is that you sit next to each other as opposed to facing each other. We had the “Sex Appeal” drink which is a moscato with a white chocolate rim and pink sugar. It’s good but super duper sweet. We had the “Better than Sex” dessert which according to their menu is the Master Chef Winner 2009. Its a bread pudding turned into a cake turned into a brownie. It comes with white chocolate mouse that has a chocolate writing saying “sex” on it. We also had the “Peanut Butter Perversion” which is a peanut butter silk pie in top of a chocolate chip cookie dough crust. Fun fact: all the prices end in 69.

2. Drink

It’s safe to say that you can pretty much have a drink everywhere in Key West. Drinking is literally the point of going to the Keys. Any place on Duval Street will have an extensive drink menu. If you like frozen drinks, I’d recommend Flying Monkey.

3. Stay

Here’s the thing about Key West. Hotels are rather pricey but you don’t get a lot of bang for buck. For some sort of luxury experience most people will recommend to stay at Casa Marina. My favorite place is The Reach Resort. It is also an Astoria property just like Casa Marina but usually a tad less expensive. They have a beautiful beach (most properties in Key West don’t have a beach) with relaxing hammocks and a great pool. Furthermore, the hotel is right next to my aforementioned favorite restaurant Louie’s Backyard.

4. Activities

(1) There are so many things to do but one of your must-do’s is clearly to check out the “Southernmost Point” that is 90 miles away from Cuba. There will be a small line to take a pic but then you can check it off your bucket list.

(2) Visit the Hemingway House. It’s definitely interesting to see where the genius worked and vacationed. Moreover, the six-toed cats that you’ll find all over the place are adorable.

(3) Rent a jet-ski! Total fun experience. We did it at the beach if the Reach Resort and I can highly recommend them. The instructors are very knowledgeable and you’ll get half an hour of freestyle time.

(4) Rent a scooter! It’s a fun way to get around. And you really don’t want to worry about parking too much during your vacation.

5. Party

I can only repeat myself: Key West is a party place. You can go down on Duval Street and you’ll see there are options everywhere. One must-see or better a cannot-be-unseen. Visit Garden of Eden. It’s a clothing optional rooftop bar off of Duval Street. That’s all I’m going to say. The rest I leave to your imagination.

If you have any great tips on what to do in Key West, drop it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Spotlight on Homestead

Spotlight on Homestead

A lot of times, my friends ask me “How do you find all these places?” Or “I’ve lived in Miami my whole life and I’ve never even heard about some of the places you go to.” The thing is: I love everything Miami and by that I mean everything. I even like to explore not so common areas. You’d be surprised what you can find when you get out of your usual neighborhood. Today I’m reviewing Homestead. Off the beaten path far South, a lot of people dismiss going there entirely. But there’s a lot you can do.

1. Burr’s Berry Farm

Since some of the fruits they offer are seasonal, they are only open half of the year. Check their website before you go. At the entrance there is a stand where you can buy drinks, Hot Dogs and salsas. In the inside there is a big strawberry picking field. Last year they had a harvest festival and pumpkin patch in Fall. They offered a cute tractor ride as well.

2. Knaus Berry Farm

This place is only open half of the year (check the website before you go) since they offer seasonal items but when they’re open they are extremely popular. They are mainly a strawberry picking farm but what attracts all the people is their delicious homemade cinnamon rolls. There is always a huge line for their bakery. I didn’t know there are two different lines for the bakery and milkshakes. Otherwise, I would have gotten my sugar level up with one of their delicious strawberry milkshakes first. But I waited in the crazy cinnamon bun line in the plain sun and almost fainted when it was my turn. The staff was really nice and sat me down inside and gave me water. Pro tip: get a milkshake first for your wait in the bakery line and wear a hat!

3. Robert is here

Robert is here is a fruit stand in Homestead founded decades ago by a guy called – you guessed it – Robert. Nowadays, this place sells a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. They have amazing homemade banana bread, salsa and guacamole. They are famous for their milkshakes. That’s why there’s always a huge line. My favorite is the Key Lime Milkshake. They make milkshakes with ice-cream and without. Moreover, they offer many other homemade items such as honey and barbecue sauces. In the back you’ll find a petting zoo with a donkey, cows, rabbit and other animals.

4. Shiver’s Bar-B-Q

If all the goodies from the fruit stands and Berry farms in Homestead don’t fill you up, I highly recommend this place. They have amazing barbecue food and their pulled meat sandwiches are finger-licking good!

5. Wat Buddharangsi Buddhist Temple of Miami

Did you know that there is a real Buddhist temple in Homestead? The temple is beautiful and the monks and people working there are very friendly. They welcome everyone and give classes in English and in Spanish. They have a little garden with statues and a small playground. Not your typical Miami experience but worth your while if you happen to be in the area.

6. Coral Castle

Admittedly, it’s a very short experience and not cheap (about $18 bucks) but the story behind it is incredible. This short guy built this place for a woman that he was crazily in love with. He moved these giant coral rocks without any machines and no one knows how he did it. The woman had left him and his plan was to win her back. He had everything planned it even a sweetheart table and an uncomfortable chair for his mother-in-law so she wouldn’t stay for too long. They offer tours where they explain everything. You can’t fill an entire day but with all the restaurants, fruit stands and berry farms around there, you’ll find plenty to do!

If you check out any of these places or have other recommendations, leave a comment. In the meantime, check out my Instagram

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall

Even though these places are already known amongst Miami’s food lovers, there are still different from the norm and have their own charm which makes them special. Check out my three favorites for a romantic date night that makes you feel like you’re in a completely different place.

  1. Casabe 305 Bistro

It’s been a while since I went (Miami Spice last year) but I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this place yet since I usually recommend it to everyone. Let me start by saying I love the concept of the hole in the wall hidden gem places. Without Yelp, I would have probably just driven by a thousand times. It’s located on Coral Way close to The Roads. We were at an event in the area and went for a spontaneous Friday date night. You’re stepping into a little villa and the whole time you have the feeling you’re in someone’s house (in a good way). The decorations are really cute. I love inventive kitchen with smaller dishes to try. Everything we had was great (see pics). The experience alone was well worth 5 stars.

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2. La Fresa Francesa

“Qué bola, mon ami?” A French place in Hialeah??? – that was my friends’ reaction when I first posted about this place. Granted, when you hear Hialeah you think less of Croissant and café au lait and more of cubanazo, pan con bistec and cafecito. But it’s exotic factor is what makes this place so special! It’s in a little shopping place by Okechobee but once you step inside, you feel like you’re in a café in Paris. When I went there they had a Yelp check-in special where you get a free Bellini. But even if they don’t have that anymore, the peach champagne deliciousness is well worth the money. We had the spicy salad with smoked salmon, the Croque Madame and the meatballs. We ordered some espressi with their dessert special, a homemade cheesecake. They have a little store attached to the restaurant where we bought some glasses. The owner was super friendly as well. We’ll definitely be back. Au revoir!

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Croque Madame Sandwich
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Sauteed Fingerling Potatoes
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Arugula Napoleon Salad with Smoked Salmon
o (3)
Bellinis
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Cheesecake

3. Soya E Pomodoro

I love this place. It makes you feel like you’re in the middle of Italy but you’re in the heart of Downtown Miami (and by heart, I mean the dirtiest part). The decorations are really cute. I went here for lunch a few times and we spent one of my birthdays there. It was very romantic and they had a live jazz band. The staff was very friendly and brought me a dessert with a candle. Food overall was great – from pasta to fish to salads. I highly recommend going there.

If you like my food recommendations, follow my Instagram account MiamiMiAmor

Some Miami faves

Some Miami faves

I recently started my Instagram account – username: miamimiamorblog – and as you can see, I’m a big time foodie. I love trying out new places and have been posting on my personal accounts for years. Friends always keep asking me for recommendations so I thought I’d write about some of my Miami Dade favorite restaurants.

1. Hillstone

One of my favorite restaurants in Miami. The veggie burger has this yummy soy glaze that makes you crave it after – even as a meat lover. I also love the Thai Tuna Roll with macadamia nuts and Coconut Shrimp Roll. The best sushi in town!

2. Mariposa

Mariposa is located inside Neiman Marcus in the beautiful outdoor mall Merrick Village. The first time we came here was for the Miami Spice lunch which I highly recommend. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth. For $23 you’re getting a 3-course meal. Normally, this price would only cover one dish or not even. Upfront they serve their delicious signature bread and a little broth to open your appetite. I had the baked avocado, salmon and Panna Cotta. Everything was yummy! But I do have to say that I sometimes envy my husband because he doesn’t care about calories at all. And let’s be honest, it’s mostly the fatty mcfat food that tastes great. He had the sweet potato tater tots, Croque Monsieur and Sundae with Cookies. His food was off the chain! And I strongly believe that calories don’t count if you eat them off your husband’s plate. We returned during regular lunch hour but I have to say the weekend menu is my favorite. I will definitely be back for that.

3. Sugarcane

“A table isn’t the best place to receive quick service, so the bar is where I go.”(sung in Ed Sheehan voice). I hadn’t been to Sugarcane in a while but we happened to be shopping in Midtown and decided to go for a spontaneous date night. They told us there would be a 35 minute wait so we went ahead and sat at the bar. That was the best decision we could have made. Our bartender Sean went above and beyond to make us happy. We had a few drinks: the Strawberry Balsamic, Spice of Love and Guayaba Dream Slush. Spice of Love was my favorite because I really like jalapeño drinks. The strawberry balsamic tastes different than I thought – I would have expected some spiked drinking vinegar but it was rather sweet. The latter seemed like a Seven Eleven slushie creation by a Cuban abuela. We had some wings, the dates wrapped in bacon (boy oh boy were they good!), ducks and waffles and the crunchy tuna roll. For dessert, we had the Nutella Sunday which was uh-mazing! It had ice-cream, little brownie pieces and Cracker Jack popcorn. Perfect mix! If it were for my hubby, he would give 1000 stars and come back right away. I deducted one because I wasn’t too impressed with the sushi but will sure come back and give those five stars a chance.

4. Makoto

Located right outside the beautiful Bay Harbor shops, Makoto is the perfect exclusive lunch spot! After I heard so many good things, I went first time for Miami Spice. But we all know that Miami Spice doesn’t fill you up so I went back. First and foremost: the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice – ohhhmaahhgerd. So addicting! Serving sizes are fairly small but it’s definitely worth the price!

This are just a few of my favorites. I will be posting more. Keep following me on my blog and on instagram under miamimiamorblog!

An Iberian Brunch

An Iberian Brunch

Happy New Year!

I hope 2018 has everything in store what you’re wishing for. I tried a new brunch spot on the last Sunday of the year and would like to share my delicious experience with you.

The first Bulla location was in Coral Gables by Miracle Mile. Since Doral opened its fancy Downtown Doral, we have a Bulla here now as well. I’ve been here a few times for dinner and finally made it to their famous brunch. I know they would get packed but luckily we got seated right away. They have a brunch sample menu where you can choose three items on the menu for a total of $27 and you can add unlimited mimosas or sangria (white or red) for $15. We picked the Huevos Bulla, Huevos Benedictinos, Melón con Bellota, Bistec a Caballo (counts for two items) and French Toast. I had actually thought those would be smaller portions but they came as regular servings. Oh boy, that was a lot food! We were in a food coma all day. We could have easily shared one of the sample menus. My favorites were the Huevos Bulla. They come with potato chips, Serrano ham and runny eggs which they mix together right in front of you. The Bistec a Caballo – basically Steak and Eggs – was good too. The eggs are fried and come on shoe string fries. By that time, we were pretty full already. We could have done without the Huevos Benedictos (their take on Eggs Benedicts) and the watermelon tomato cheese Serrano mix. They seemed like nothing special but maybe we were just too full to appreciate and all egged out. We didn’t finish them a.k.a we barely tried them. Since there’s always room for dessert no matter how full you are we finished the French toast that was topped with berries and pretty good. Overall, a nice brunch experience and definitely worth coming back in 2018!

A Cuban Day in Miami

A Cuban Day in Miami

Alright, so if you live in Miami and/or you’re familiar with the South Floridian city, you have probably heard about its synonyms “North Cuba” or “Miami, D.C. (District of Cuba). Here is my little guide to a super Cuban experience in Miami.

  1. Ball and Chain (Calle Ocho, Little Havana)

If you’re giving Ball & Chain any less than 5 stars we can’t friends. But honestly, this place is off the chain (pun intended). This iconic bar is right in the heart of Little Havana. The business first opened in 1935 until the end 50’s and just got remodeled recently. I can guarantee you’ll have a great time there especially on Sundays. They have live music outside on the pineapple stage (there is no stage that is more Miami than this one) and a great atmosphere. They have modern Cuban tapas for about $8 dollars and drinks around $12. I highly recommend the Cuban egg roll, the Elena Ruth sandwich and the Pastelito Daiquiri that comes with Bacardi Rum, guava puree, house-made honey syrup, lime juice and has a guava pastelito on top.

 

2. Versailles (Calle Ocho, Little Havana)

This restaurant is almost like a Cuban landmark. You’ll get authentic Cuban food. They have a little ventana (window) where you can pick up Cuban coffee and pastelitos (pastries). You’ll also hear a lot of Cuba-related political talk there which is quite entertaining. I’ll be forever grateful that Versailles was one of the first restaurants to open right after hurricane Irma to feed us.

 

3. Son Cubano (Coral Gables)

Why are these people so loud? Son Cubano(s)!
I went here for a spontaneous date night to see if this place lives up to its hype!

And I wasn’t disappointed! There was some entertainment going on with a live band playing Cuban music and people dancing to it. It’s not a good place to talk but rather to have a good time. I ordered the Cuban Mule which was delicioso. We ordered a salad, the short rib and the Cuban egg roll. The latter was my favorite! I would recommend this place for the appetizers and some drinks.

They have a cigar lounge upstairs that was closed when we were there. Huge plus is that they had Voli305 vodka. I always support places that have local products. They also have valet parking .

If you happen to be in the beautiful heart of Coral Gables, you should swing by and check it out!

eggroll
Cuban Eggroll

mesalad

shortrib
Shortrib

 

4. Azucar (Calle Ocho, Little Havana)

I fully support any place founded by a local that tries to only use local produce and reps the 305! Azucar stands for all that! It’s in the heart of Little Havana on Calle Ocho across from the Domino Park and next to Ball & Chain. I read that the owner used to go to the Domino Park and have the viejitos (old men) sample new ice-cream flavors. You’ll see paintings of Cuban legend Celia Cruz and the cups have Cuban and Spanglish dichos (sayings) on them. Azucar offers different flavors all the time and sometimes they even have the highly sought after cinnamon rolls from Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead. My favorite ice-cream of all time is the Abuela Maria ice-cream with Abuela Maria crackers, Guayaba and cream cheese. Just note that this is not gelato but self-made ice-cream. If you want to try out a place that’s a 100% Miami , go to Azucar!

5. Take a pic with a rooster in Little Havana

Super touristy thing to do but these little guys are just are part of Little Havana. And as you can see – I’m enjoying myself!