It’s been years since my last visit to Florida, and even longer since I’ve been to Miami. Trading New York City’s uncomfortable humidity for Florida’s initially seemed questionable, but New York’s been proverbially “going through it” this August and Miami was surprisingly refreshing in comparison. I stepped out of the gate at Ft. Lauderdale Airport looking forward to a week of kicking back and relaxing and excited for all things food.
Miami’s tropical climate lends itself to a host of recreational activities but also promises a wonderful environment for some of the most incredible fruits plants and spices, as I learned visiting Homestead’s Fruit & Spice Park, a 37-acre botanical garden with over 500 varieties of each. It was a journey through mind-blowing flavors and smells, and was also the first place I finally spotted the lizards I recall from childhood vacations to South Florida. It seems they’ve practically disappeared from where I was staying in South Beach, which was a long drive away. (Long enough for me to Google ‘what happened to the lizards in Miami?’ on my way over.)
Miami’s proximity to the East Coast ports of the Panama Canal and large Latino and Caribbean communities grants them access to the freshest foods and ingredients first, making a huge difference in taste. A week of sunshine, swimming and strategic restaurant decisions - I’d call this little trip a great success.