Tag Archives: travel

An artisanal ice cream boutique

This week my friend Texas and I took our little cowboys with us on our weekly exploration of Miami (weekly exploration described here).

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We took in a little Cuban culture and visited Azucar Ice Cream Company on the “main street” (8th Street) in Little Havana, less than 10 minutes from my  house.

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Azucar is an artisanal ice cream and sorbet boutique.  Normally I would not indulge an ice cream parlor by repeating their marketing material’s fluffy words, but the creator of Azucar went to Penn State’s Ice Cream University and has her  abuela’s (grandmother’s) passion for creating tropical ice cream flavors “tattooed on her soul”, y’all. These Latino sabores are for real!

The Cafe Con Leche (coffee and Oreo) was to die for and the Elvis(peanut butter and banana) looked fabulous too. My little niños did not venture too far from chocolate and vanilla and honestly, I think both flavors could have received a gold medal for best in their class they were both just perfect (oh the fruity sorbet looked wonderful, but even so I always go for the chocolate, it’s just who I am).

So fellow Miamians if you haven’t been to Little Havana since last July (when they opened), run! Azucar is the ice cream bomb.

And to all the others, when you find yourself in this corner of paradise, Azucar is the sp0t where you can get a little taste of Heaven!

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Find all of the information that you need on Azucar here on their website.

My favorite parts of vacation

Last week, my family and I travelled to Estes Park, Colorado from our home in Miami, Florida. We were able to escape the humidity and enjoy the beautiful mountains while spending time with our closest friends. It was a wonderful week.

19 of us stayed in a gorgeous house plus guest house on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park.

First One Up

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite moments via my Instagram photos. (My Instagram posts sadly ended on Thursday when I dropped my phone from the gondola bridge on the mountain and it smashed into several pieces. At least I was able to save the hardrive):

There were 5 six-year-olds with us, the girls and Max.

the 6 year olds

Max was such a great sport and really got along great with everyone, except when we went bumper boat riding with water guns!

About half way through their ride Max stood up in his seat and seemed to be yelling at the other kids while his brother still navigated their boat around the pond. All of us on shore kept yelling for him to sit, but he just wouldn’t seem to listen. Finally, the driver ended the ride and Max’s boat came ashore and we realized that he wasn’t yelling at the other children, but the parents: “how dare you shoot me in the eye with water,” he scolded. “I will never listen to any of you EVER AGAIN.” Not only the boats armed with guns, but the off shore observers also got their turn. It appeared Max took a shot straight in the eye from someone on land and he was not amused. We (the adults) soon received a puppy dog-eyed apology for the tongue lashing after our belly laughs at the tow-headed’s tenacity.

When a bear ran across our back yard for the week two moms ran for pots and pans while the other two grabbed their cameras. Can you guess how this blogger reacted? I was armed and ready to make some loud kitchen music before my friend got this shot! It turned-out no noise was necessary.. He just ran on by!

19 of us went fishing and came home with only one fish!

the 4 year olds

Estes Park

While the kids were at camp we hiked and conquered Deer Mountain.

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2 moms and 6 kids went river rafting and our guide said it was the lightest “8 load” he had ever navigated down the Poudre River!

But my favorite part was just living and eating at this wonderful house in the beautiful place with our family and close friends!

Sandals from Capri in one hour

Last week I grabbed my July 2012 Southern Living and followed their retail therapy advice in Miami. My 3rd stop of the day, and their last recommendation from Lincoln Road, the grand avenue of shopping on Miami Beach was Tuccia Di Capri.

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(I sure wish there was an antique Vespa, or maybe a Ferrari parked in front of the store on my shopping day, rather than a serial-killerish no window white van. It would have given you more of the South Beach feel).

It is a very cool concept. You can walk into this store in Miami and within the hour have custom-made Italian leather sandals (starting at $130)! I was lucky, too. On the day I was there they had about 50 pre-made beauties on sale for about half the price- $65).

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I loved this store!

1.It smelled so good. Fresh leather.
2. Very uncomplicated. The many shoe styles were displayed so they were easy to choose from and the large selection of leather colors and widths was sure to please everyone’s tastes.
3. The 2 cobblers in the store that day were so accommodating without being overbearing.

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I think this YouTube video gives you the whole picture. Tuccia Di Capri was featured at Henri Bendal on Fifth Ave in NYC cranking out sandals in 30 minutes!

Tuccia di Capri

Definitely add this store to your list of stops when visiting Miami Beach.

See my first two stops on my Southern Living Adventure:


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A goat cheese tart with summer berries and lemon sorbet

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WOW! I had such a treat last night… and again for lunch today. My husband surprised me with a little brown bag from a business dinner at the newish, 2012 James Beard nominated restaurant on Miami Beach, Yardbird.

He walked in the door at 9:00 with a little brown bag, as I was finishing up reading a chapter of Harry Potter to the kids and considering jumping in bed myself. As soon as the words chocolate escaped his mouth the bag was in my hands and I was headed to the kitchen. This chocolate craving I’ve been having lately is killer…

I had to have a bite, JUST ONE BITE, of each dessert before I went to sleep. I am a chocolate LOVER so I thought I would save that for last and start with the one with fruit on top. A BIG BITE… “Is that goat cheese?”

I honestly wasn’t sure what I thought about this…

My husband gave one of his, “I’m up to something smiles” and said, “YUP, I know you love goat cheese.”

“Well, yes,” I thought to myself, but in a dessert?” I needed to investigate and go in for one more bite. “Maybe I should see what is in that little black container as well. LEMON SORBET? Now this is getting interesting!” I carefully managed to get the perfect bite of tart, blackberries and lemon sorbet on my spoon and VOILA, magic happened in my mouth!

The combination of the subtle goat cheese flavor with the super tart lemon sorbet plus fresh berries was probably the best non-chocolate dessert I’ve had IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! Y’all have got to go!

I feel comfortable with my use of Southern slang because Yardbird is Top Chef Finalist, Jeff McInnis’s answer to the lack of Southern influenced restaurants in Miami. Chef McInnis is from the pan handle of Florida, close to the Alabama line and I suspect he considers himself more Southern, than the local Floridians he has met in Miami. His concept is based on the Southern table where guests can share tapa-like small plates or family style bowls. Vince said the chicken biscuits and shrimp and grits he ate were fabulous.

I called the restaurant today to find out exactly what the deserts I had were called since I did not find them listed on their online menu. The hostess explained that the menu had changed LAST NIGHT and we were one of the first to try the new selections! After this small taste, I can’t wait to go back and I hope to see you there!

Oh by the way, the chocolate was of course divine! It is true that I haven’t met too many chocolates that I did not like, BUT the dense mouse like chocolate in the Yardbird s’more was just stellar. The dessert itself didn’t work great as a take-home. There was a marshmallow topping that had been browned but wasn’t so great cold. No worries, the chocolate did not go to waste and I am sure this would be a fabulous option for in-house dining.

All Hail the Queen

The Queen of the Flowering Trees… the Royal Poinciana.

located in South Gables

the first Royal I saw in bloom in May 2012

I took this picture in Coral Gables at Riviera Park, in front of my son’s school in early May. I have never seen anything like it, have you? I watched as a few red flowers began to grow then … POW, the tree erupted in red!

I had to get a better look!


I had just enough time before school let out that day to walk under the tree and feel what it was like to be engulfed in red flowers; to almost be wrapped in her arms.

Enchanted

I went straight home that day and did a little research (GOOGLE!). This flowering tree can be found in tropical climates all over the world. It is also called the Flamboyant tree, which seems more appropriate than the regal alternative. After my discovery of this red goddess in early May, I was shocked when I woke-up a week later to find she has strutted herself all over this town. Red flowers bloomed from a tree on every block. As time marches on toward summer she seems to show her beauty for anyone that will notice, without regard for the mess of leaves and pods that she leaves behind.

Nevertheless, last week, when the little red flowers began to sprout in my yard, it didn’t matter how many others I had to share her with- I am in awe and am willing to pay a high price for the mere moments (or maybe a month or so) that I get to spend in her presence.

Next weekend is the 75th Annual Royal Poinciana Festival in Coral Gables. And although its not exactly the red double decker bus that my 6 year old has been dying to climb aboard, I think we’ll jump on the free trolly to get a grand tour of Miami’s Loveliest Ladies.

Discovering the Architecture in Coral Gables

My daughters go to school right in the middle of what I call, “old Coral Gables,” at Granada Presbyterian Church. Coral Gables, Florida is one of the first planned communities in the United States developed in a Mediterranean Revival style during the roaring 1920s by a visionary named George Merrick.

I’ve been wanting to see a little bit more of the architecture so late last week I dropped the girls off at school and took off from there on an easy run down what our realtor described as one of their oldest promenades, Granada Boulevard.

When the modern-day cars weren’t zipping by (or honking… Miamians love to honk), I could imagine running down this street in 1929…. it was just gorgeous

This pink home is being remodeled.. I can’t wait to see the end result

This home is made of coral rock. I love the blue door!





The landscaping was spectacular both the new beds and the ancient trees.

Home on Granada Blvd

What neighborhood have you been anxious to see in your home town? Well, what’s stopping you? Grab your running shoes and drive over there. You can run or walk while discovering something new.

Small town feel in the Magic City

For the last two weeks I’ve been trying to make all of our necessary doctor and dentist visits so me and my three amigos don’t have to all go together on these trips once summer begins (one of my least favorite things to do is sit in a 2×2 foot examining room with 3 restless children).

Usually, I am racing to an appointment and then rushing back to school and don’t have time to shop between all of our new patient paperwork.

Near Dadeland Mall in Kendall (a suburb South of Miami), where my new doctors seem to cluster, I kept driving by this grocery store that peaked my curiosity because it looks like it belongs in small town Mississippi instead of the Magic City.

Small town feel in the Big City

grocery in Kendall

Today, on one of my last trips I allowed extra time to stop and shop, and I am really glad that I did.

They had a large selection of speciality items, prepared food and beautiful produce.

The rotisserie chicken was better than any other we’ve tried in Miami, and the Coconut Lemon and Irish cream cupcakes that we split for dessert from the bakery were fabulous!

I can’t wait to go back to the doctor!