If you’ve had enough of the sun, sand and craziness of South Beach, head over to Miracle Mile in Miami. Miracle Mile is lined with a range of stores (mostly bridal) and also a lot of interesting restaurants and bars. In a little corner, almost hidden is Patagonia. Patagonia is like entering Argentina. The terrace is filled with Argentinian business men having lunch. Inside pretty much everyone seems to also be from Argentina, including the staff who all speak to me in Spanish. It feels like the kind of place I could camp out in, stay indefinitely.
There are two things to come to Patagonia for. First and foremost you come for Empanadas and that is why I came here. They have over 15 different flavours all better than the last. My favourite was the one called Patagonia which had some magical concoction of yummy things inside. Second, you come here for the wine. The walls are lined with a range of beautiful bottles from across Argentina, many Malbec from the Mendoza region.
I ate quite a few empanadas from here but I also stopped for a hot chocolate. I was really looking forward to this. During my travels last year in Argentina I had hot chocolates quite often. There they were called Submarinos, a small chocolate bar that was given to you with a tall glass of hot milk. You would mix or drop the Submarino chocolate into your milk and watch it slowly melt. It was a fantastic experience and it tasted so good. Unfortunately everything at Patagonia is Argentinian it seems except for their hot chocolate which was a powder from Nestle and was overly sweet.
Verdict: Forget about the hot chocolate. Come here for empanadas, wine and Argentinian sweets. Patagonia, 244 Miracle Mile Coral Gables, Florida, USA.
Espanola Way in South Beach is a street just north of 14th between Washington and Penssylvania Avenues. Modelled after Mediterranean villages in France and Spain, the street looks slightly like a tourist trap that tourists don’t mind being trapped into. The area has a very rich history, starting out in the early 1920s as a meeting place for the wealthy, it then became a hangout for the infamous Al Capone and then finally a backdrop for films and shows such as Miami Vice. The road is lined with a range of good restaurants, one of the best gelato places I have been to in a long time (Milani) and an outside patio where I had my last south beach hot chocolate for the weekend called Segafredo Cafe.
Segafredo Cafe has one of the most incredible hot drink menus I have ever seen. There must have been 50 different kinds of coffee in their drinks menu. For a minute I was really excited that I might have a choice of hot chocolates….but no. There was one choice called, not surprisingly, hot chocolate. But that one hot chocolate was good. It was the perfect size, not too sweet and just went down so easily. I really enjoyed this one.
Verdict: No complaints here! I could drink this one every day. For a few moments, it feels like I have left South Beach behind and I am on terrace in Italy. Order the tiramisu too. Molto bene! Segafredo Cafe, Espanola Way, Miami Beach, FL, USA
The 11th Street Diner at 1065 Washington Ave looks like it was taken straight out of a movie set, both on the outside and the inside. Inside you are seated at comfy blue and red booths.
The Diner was built in 1948 by the Paramount Dining Car Company of Haledon, New Jersey. For 44 years it lived in Wilkes Barre, Pensilvania hosting customers there. It was dismantled and transported to Miami in the early 1990s. After several months of restoration to get it back into its original art deco form, it reopened its doors on September 11, 1992. It now serves traditional American food 24 hours a day.
The menu is exactly what you would expect from a good old American diner, simple but good. I wouldn’t come back for the hot chocolate though. It looked great but was just too sweet.
Verdict : I loved the diner, but I think I’d go there next time for something more traditional, like a milkshake.
I spent the past weekend in Miami, South Beach. South Beach isn’t necessarily known for its hot chocolate, but I had the chance to experience a handful of places first hand. First stop, News Cafe. Open since 1988, News Cafe started as a small sidewalk cafe and bookstore on the corner of 8th and Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach. Today it is open 24 hours a day and serves a steady stream of tourists and locals drinks, coffees and food.
We waited for a few minutes to get a table outside for the view and to enjoy the weather. I had read that since the 18% tip is included in the bill the servers almost go out of their way to be snappy and unfriendly but our waiter was buzzing and all smiles. My hot chocolate came in a large glass mug with a handle. It was topped with a dollop of whip cream and finished off with a straw.It was the first time I had a hot chocolate with a straw in it. I was skeptical about the straw, but pleasantly surprised, it worked for me. The hot chocolate was a bit too sweet, not something I would or could drink every day, and the glass was too big, but other than that I enjoyed it. Most of all I just enjoyed sitting and watching the palm trees sway in the breeze.
We also had breakfast but weren’t so impressed. Eggs benedict is meant to have hollandaise sauce, not cream cheese sauce. Why would you do that? Regardless I would be happy to sit at News Cafe every morning and watch the crazy world of South Beach go by.
Verdict: If you are in South Beach you have to sit at one of the terraces on Ocean Drive at least once. News Cafe is a great place to watch the craziness of South Beach walk by. Would happily come back.