Life is Complete When You Eat Cubans by the Beach.

For a short time my sister lived in Delray Beach, a picture perfect town between Boca Raton and Miami. It’s one of those charming places where every corner, street sign, beach spot and residence is curated to look simultaneously elegant and quaint while stopping just short of pretentious. Delray isn’t a big town. It has a main street that is saturated with local shops, restaurants, and cafes. There are miles of pristine beach, and because it’s on the east coast there is even a semi-decent surf on occasion.

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We spent the day exploring with my sister, and then decided to spend the evening in Miami so that we could romp around South Beach the next day. One of our favorite travel apps is Hotel Tonight which has yet to let us down when we are looking for a last minute deal. On our brief drive over we snagged a room at what was the Aloft Hotel, now known as The Gates, on South Beach. After several weeks of drab work it was a welcome retreat.

aloft_miami_lounge

Dave and I have this weird routine when we visit South Beach. It’s not intentional, but it always seems to happen. We’ll decide we are going to go to brunch, and then we will walk up and down the row of restaurants (if you haven’t been, there are dozens lined up one after the other), at least 3 times, completely lost in indecision. We will peruse menus, compare drink specials, consider atmospheres, but to no avail. There are so many places to choose from that we are rendered completely unable to decide. This trip we even were seated at a place before concluding that it didn’t feel quite right, and so we left and returned to our surveying. Weird. I know. But it always works out in the end. This time we landed in Havana 1957, and I am so glad that we did.

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First, they have a rum list that boasts over 100 different selections (I had the Flor de Cana 18 year. It was nothing short of incredible). Then the food was stop you in your tracks good. I ordered the Pechuga de Pollo a la Plancha, which really took me by surprise. The chicken was smothered in onions, butter, and fresh parsley, and although that sounds like a simple dish, they work some sort of voodoo on it that makes it exceptional.

pollo_miami

The real crown jewel of the menu though is, fittingly, the Cuban. Dave ordered it, and O my god did I have major food envy. It was so good that the next weekend when we were passing through Miami on our way to Key West, I made a special stop at Havana 1957 just to have one. Every Cuban I have had in other places since has been completely unsatisfying in comparison. Point in case, next time you are in Miami, don’t be a fool, go there and order this:

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After lunch we strolled South Beach and enjoyed Miami’s iconic Art Deco architecture. It was a perfect end to a brief weekend getaway.

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