Home sweet home.
There are some places that I absolutely have to go and thing I love to do when I go back to Miami. Growing up there and then not living there for a long time I am always surprised by how much the city grows and develops every time I return home.
My vacation got off to a rocky start that turned amazing. I can't emphasise this enough, when you are travelling, be nice to the cashiers, flight attendants, desk clerks, etc. I bought my tickets to Fort Lauderdale a few months early. I was worried that I was going to get bumped from my flight since I wasn't given a boarding pass when I checked in for my flight. Usually, I am like the last person on the plane, but I was very early for my flight this time. I went to the gate and asked for my seat assignment, and was told to come back a half hour before the flight. I asked again nicely and was told that my name would be called before the flight boarded. I was growing increasingly concerned because there was a bit of a standby list on display. Five minutes before boarding my name was called and I was upgraded to first class.
The first class experience on an American Airlines flight in my opinion isn't as worth it. Previously I had only flown first class on Virgin America. The food is terrible. The seats aren't much more comfortable. Value wise, I wouldn't have pay more than say fifty bucks to upgrade to first class on American.
Once I got to the airport, I had to deal with the rental car situation. I reserved a car from Avis. Reserved an MKZ but was assigned a MKS. If you know me you know that I am not the SUV type. So eventually got everything corrected and was given a MKZ, but on the way to the parking lot there was this beautiful white 328. I went back inside to do my negotiations and was informed that that car was a 2012. Then I was offered a brand new 2013 with very low mileage.
Imagine how pissed I was when I found out that there was no satellite radio in this car. Really Avis... No satellite radio in your BMW. I must say that after buying a Toyota Camry... There are some features that my Camry has that the BMW has a much better navigation system in some ways. The controls are a bit more intuitive. The Camry's voice control is much more straightforward. It took me about 20 mins to figure out the Bluetooth in the BMW.
I had dinner with my grandma, more like a large late night snack considering it was well after midnight at the Latin Cafe 2000 (1149 W 49th St, Hialeah). There are several Latin Cafes dotted through Miami. We had the appetizer sampler. The sampler consisted of:
Tostones Rellenos con Picadillo: Delicious fried plantains which are smashed to form a little cup which contains a savory mix of ground beef and olives it has a tasty tomato base to it. Fresh they are amazing but the tostone, or plantain part of the situation doesn't reheat well at all as I learned the next day.
Croquetas: A Cuban staple which is essentially chopped up ham breaded and deep fried. They are a tasty treat that is usually served with saltine crackers. I usually forego the crackers when eating them. Done right they have a soft inside and a crispy outside. A delicious ham flavour that isn't too salty.
Tamal: which was tasty and had the correct proportion of masa to meat. It is absolutely horrible when you get one that is overwhelmed with too much masa.
Pork: what makes pork taste better? Frying it in its own fat. You get the nice lemony flavour (though most mojo marinades are made with tasty bitter oranges) of the mojo marinade accentuated by a hint of garlic. The cooked onions that accompanied it have a slight vinegary taste. The pork is very tender with a crisp exterior.
Papas Rellenas: My favourite part of Cuban cuisine hands down. I fiend for these when I am away from home. It is the perfect snack. Devinely smooth mashed potatoes coat a delicious filling of Picadillo and is deep fried to crispy perfection... Hey nobody said Cuban food was healthy.