Despite wanting to spend 24 hours a day in our glorious hotel, we did manage to drag ourselves away on a couple of occasions. We were mostly worried about the rain storms that threatened to spoil our trip, but aside from Saturday afternoon, the promised bad weather didn’t appear (much like our New York stay, the weather forecasts were entirely wrong).
Our most visited location was the heart of Surfside, Harding Avenue. The shops and restaurants are all situated within two blocks and it was more than enough for us – Starbucks, CVS, and Publix supermarket were there for the necessities (like my 100SPF sun cream), and there were loads of restaurant options to choose from. We chose Rustiko for the Thursday night where I became obsessed with their tequeños. It’s a small restaurant but felt very comfortable inside. On Sunday afternoon, we stopped off at Serendipity Creamery for two cups of delicious ice cream, and ate them outside on the pavement tables just watching the world go by. We did want to try another couple of places but didn’t get the chance for one reason or another. Next time.
What we loved most about Surfside was the non-touristy-ness of it. We joked that it felt just like our little home town, just with palm trees and a nearby beach. We sat drinking coffee in the morning watching people on their way to work, and the convoys of school buses going passed. We roamed the aisles of the supermarket for afternoon snacks at the same time as people getting their weekly shop. Picking up dry cleaning, going to the bank, stopping by the post office – just normal life. And for a few days, we could pretend that this was our normal life as well.
On the Friday night, we discovered that the restaurants on our Surfside short list were closed for Shabbat, so we took the short walk into Bal Harbour, and to BH Burger Bar. The burgers were crazy tasty (if not a bit expensive) and I very much enjoyed my salted caramel milkshake. Situated in the very fancy St Regis resort, the bar was relatively quiet which suited us down to the ground. We took the beach path as the sun set on the way back (above) and went past a cordoned-off turtle nest. We were a bit too early to see the babies, but Surfside and Bal Harbour do their best to ensure that they’re protected until they hatch (I used my zoom on the photo above – they encourage people to stay far away from the nests).
Aventura Mall is further north still, and we took a $12 Uber ride to get there during the only rain storm we actually encountered. Unfortunately, everyone else had a similar idea and the mall was insanely busy, but I did manage to get what I needed from Sephora. It’s a fairly big mall, with stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom and lots of places to eat and people watch. I’m almost a little ashamed to admit that we dined at the Cheesecake Factory that night – during our Las Vegas years, Husband and I had a tradition of eating at CF and taking dessert back to our room, and I still have a bit of nostalgia for that time. This visit was lacklustre and whilst you do get a whole mountain of food, it’s decidedly average. When there are so many other places to eat, it does seem a bit of a shame to spend the evening here.