A New Yorker’s Guide to Miami

As a long-time New Yorker moving to Miami, I quickly realized two things:

A. There is a better chance of a Miami cab accepting credit cards than finding crispy pizza in this town.

B. The nine years of Spanish I took in school means absolutely nothing.

The latter has proven to be a problem in various situations, often ending in a hilarious albeit horrifying story.  The former? Well I have my moments and miss New York, and those moments often focus around a lack of delicious dough-based foods.

So I set out to find New York in Miami.  All of the places I loved and all of the things I loved to do – minus the whole its-freezing-and-I-live-in-a-5th-floor-walk-up.

JAVA FIX
My first full day in Miami I decided to take a stroll and find my “neighborhood” spot for coffee.  I ended up with three cortaditos, and a condition I can only describe as minor heart attack.  Thankfully, I discovered Panther Coffee  – reminiscent of my beloved Ninth Street Espresso. Both with unique, bold coffee blends and a dedicated following of hipster coffee-enthusiasts.

COCKTAILING
I’ll be honest. The bars in Miami sort of scare me – they claim to be bars, but most are cleverly disguised dance clubs. And my dance moves? Nobody wants that.  Luckily I’ve been able to scout out a few that remind me of home.

The Corner : Despite the obvious likeness in names, if you are a fan of Spitzers Corner in New York’s LES, you’ll love this intimate and dimly lit craft-beer wonderland full of New York transplants.

Broken Shaker: I can only describe this as the tropical Death & Co. of Miami.  Never overcrowded, semi-elitist and you feel like you are the most important person in the world. Because your cocktail, just yours, was made with extra precision and care.

Regent Cocktail Club  & Rec Room Part Raines Law Room, Part Bowery Hotel Bar Lobby , The Regent Cocktail Club’s bow-tie wearing bartenders and old-timey drink menu make you question if those jeans you wore were an appropriate apparel choice.  Afterward, head downstairs to New York’s No. 8 sister lounge, Rec Room.  Minus the membership-card and crowd of amazonian Euro-models you’ll actually have a chance of getting in to Amy Sacco’s retro lounge.

GET YOUR EAT ON

Missing New York staple Lure Fishbar in Soho? Then you should try, well, Lure Fishbar.  The Loews Hotel New York transplant may not have the same subterranean yacht interior – but its consistent menu, outstanding Bash Burger, and larger-than-life-personality Chef Capon working the room may have you questioning what city you are actually in after your third glass of rose.

Let me guess. You’re questioning life based on the lack of Ramen options in Miami. It may be 90 degrees outside but that won’t stop us New Yorkers from sweating over a bowl of steaming hot noodle soup. Well good news: Momi Ramen  exists. And it’s good. Really good.  The noodles are thicker than your beloved Momofuku, but the earthy pork belly-laden broth brings you right back to why you used to wait a nonsensical 50 minutes for a seat at the Noodle bar.

Eat your Veggies: There is nothing better than Westville’s never-ending list of daily farm fresh veggies on their menu board.  Well that and their frozen, mint lemonade prosecco.  Blue Collar comes close. REAL close. With its low-key vibe and menu full of daily veggie sides – you’ll be back for brunch, lunch and dinner.

My Big Three:  Pizza Pies. Calzones. More Pizza Pies. I didn’t forget about my crispy pizza claim. Just like the cab driver who miraculously takes a credit card without a fight, the pizza at Lucali  is perfection, nearly identical to its Brooklyn original. The open-air kitchen, candlelit interior, and four-item menu make you feel like you’re back in Caroll Gardens fighting Jay & Bey for a table.

OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING

LISTEN: New York has some pretty amazing Music Venues and Concerts.  My favorites include Beacon Theater  & Hammerstein Ballroom where I’ve seen the likes of Band of Horses, The National, and Eddie Vedder.  If you’re missing NY’s music scene, then head to The Fillmore  in Miami Beach. The acoustics and vibe are killer– but best of all most shows are first-come seating.  And in Miami that means if you show up on time, you are actually early. And if you show up late, well you’re still on time. Either way you can score a front row center orchestra seat.

WATCH: Summers in New York mean Outdoor Movie Screening Galore. Missing the overcrowded HBO Bryant Park Film Festival  lawn? Well you’re in luck. Miami has a Drive-in. A DRIVE-IN! Grease. Cry-Baby. Ferris Bueller’s Day off. The Big Lebowski.  The Princess Bride.  With a movie line-up like this, I’ll probably just fill my trunk with popcorn and leave it there. Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in.

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