Sojourn in South Beach, part two

On my first full day in Miami, I’m under the weather. It occasionally happens when I travel (the combo of little sleep, re-circulated air on planes, and the lack of real food are the usual culprits), so I stay in bed. Lucky for me, the hallways at the Stanton (stantonsobe.com) remain quiet.

As much as I want to take advantage of the Mat Pilates fitness class (part of Stanton’s wellness schedule that changes daily and includes Cardio Kickboxing, Ultimate Barre, Beach Power Yoga, and others) on the exterior deck, I’m not feeling strong enough to stretch and flex my way to a better body this morning.

 

Instead, I hail a cab and made my way to Dirt (dirteatclean.com) for an early lunch. A farm-to-counter fast casual and wellness bar that combined great-tasting, healthy-focused food for breakfast, lunch or a pick-me-up, I skip the lighter fare (i.e. fresh salads, bowls, soups) and go for a Dirty Steak + Cheese (grass-fed shredded steak, provolone, sautéed peppers and onions, horseradish Greek yogurt “aioli”, pepperoncini, sriracha, multigrain bread) and a cold-pressed juice. My hunger is satiated in five minutes.

Back at the hotel, I have a spa appointment that I’m looking forward to. Offering a range of face and body treatments (not to mention fitness/personal training sessions in the hotel gym), my hot sea shell therapy includes a pair of smooth, warm lava shells used in conjunction with the massage to loosen tight muscles. The room is so calm, I almost doze off. At the end, I have some warm tea – keeping hydrated is key after a massage.

Since I have two free hours of leisure, I brave the humidity and go for a stroll on Ocean Drive. For architecture lovers, the strip is filled with art deco gems (as well as the iconic Versace mansion, now known as Casa Casuarina). The walk is quick since I need to freshen up at the hotel before a driver picks me up for dinner downtown.

The air conditioned ride is welcomed on my way to Brickell City Centre. The massive retail/business/hotel complex houses La Centrale (lacentralemiami.com), an Italian food hall comprised of three floors and 40,000 square feet of culinary delights. With several eateries (including Carne, Stagionale, Gelateria by Venchi), five bars, a cooking and event studio, and a retail component (Mercato), dinner is hosted at Pesce.

With its elegant interior and windows that overlook South Miami Avenue (catch the sunset, if possible), the restaurant’s speciality is seafood – and it doesn’t disappoint. While sipping on a glass of prosecco, appetizers (seasoned artichokes, a grilled octopus), pasta (with shelled mussels), sides (a variety of vegetables), and a main course (a grilled branzino di Orbetello, presented in a copper tray – perfect for Instagram! – then deboned in the kitchen) are delivered in a steady procession. The only way to finish off this meal is with a creamy, decaf latte to compliment dessert (tiramisu, panna cota, chocolate cake/torte).

As much as I want to, I can’t eat another bite; I need to reserve my energy for the next day’s adventure.

(Photo of Dirt courtesy of Facebook)

About The Author

Steven Carver
International Editor

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