Well, it is 12:01 am, February 14, 2017 and Jackie and I are here in Miami acknowledging with gratitude, the acts of kindness and good fortune that made it possible for me to have made it to my 70th birthday, a goal made all the more poignant as so many others seem to be falling by the wayside lately. I had a close call this year, and can take no personal credit for this dubious birthday accomplishment, particularly in view of my careless, even cavalier attitude toward my well being. Were it not for the miracles of modern medicine and Jackie's care, my last posting ever may have been in August of this year. I do not take this good fortune lightly, and am certain divine intervention was at play. In this regard, it is best not to think or question to much about that which is not yours to know, and just be mindful and grateful.
As planned the party for two began at 4:30 with pina coladas at the News Cafe fortified with floaters from a bottle I had in my pocket, followed by dinner at Spiga, a very appealing looking Italian restaurant on Collins and 12th that I had admired from afar for many years. But alas, it was just ok. My Caesar salad was weak and a bit wilty with not a hint of anchovy flavor and the pear/ricotta/ ravioli/pasta thing I got sounded great on the menu, but was short on flavor. Just a bland creamy unexciting concoction that looked lifeless in the bowl. Jackie was much more impressed by her tagliatelle and I had to agree that it was pretty good. No need to go back, however.
Readers of this blog know that I always like to say that there is something uniquely American about America. There is an exuberance about our architecture that expresses the unbridled hopes and aspirations, the ambition and imagination, unleashed by the unlimited possibilities of the new world that is no better exemplified that by the Art Deco District of Miami Beach.
While there is no shortage of examples of Miami Deco architecture, the Leslie Hotel built in 1937 is one of my favorites, probably because of its bright cheeriness, and because I have a niece named Leslie whose bright, outgoing ways match the hotel's warm welcoming demeanor.
Still working on the lifeguard station series, but only one new one this time. All the others are about the same as last time we were here and already recorded, and while the weather was great for the whole week, the sky was frequently flat and uncooperative, photographically, much of time, although not always, obviously.
Stayed for the week at the Winter Haven Hotel on Ocean Drive, a classic deco hotel built in 1939. The room was small but nice, although a bit damp feeling and uncomfortable at times. We didn't have a car which turned out to be a good thing, necessitating our not spending too much time in the room, and making us walk 3 or 4 miles just about every day. Every time we are in Miami we talk about spending a month or two in the winter. Maybe next year.
When you are on foot or riding a bike, you get to see a lot more.
An architectural detail on the wall of the old 1930 synagogue we passed on lower Washington Ave. which is now a Jewish museum. It was a Sunday afternoon a little after 3:00 and we were on our way to Smith and Wolensky on the canal at the bottom of Miami where we love to have a two martini late lunch and watch the cruise ships leaving Miami Harbor headed for the Caribbean. Saw 4 ships that day and were not disappointed. That's it for now.
More on the Winter Haven...
In spite of our kind of small and mildly muggy room, one saving grace for Jackie at the Winter Haven was the french toast which was some of the best she'd ever had, which is saying a lot. It was as good, maybe better than mine. Thick sliced, well soaked, and well cooked to produce a sweet, custardy consistency inside, and a crispy exterior.
And the mojitos were also strong and good, in fact when the bartender was pouring the rum, I was beginning to wonder if he was ever going to stop. So while I'm not sure I'd stay there again, I can recommend a long, lazy late afternoons happy hours on their veranda...
Oh, and one more photo I took in a Miami cafe one morning that I liked a lot but realized there will be no place to put it, so before it becomes an orphan photo, I will append it here...There is something Gandhi-ish about it. You can see my head in one of the central mirrors.