Miami On Your Mind

Indulgences For The Traveler’s Soul

By Michael Alpiner

As the Arctic winds reach New York City streets with chilly glances, more than ever it is time to head to South Florida. Travelers, of course, must keep aware of the latest from the Omicron saga, but since Florida has generally taken the mask mandates with the same caution that they take a forecast of snow, pragmatic restrictions should suffice to ensure a safe and pleasing vacation.

On the streets of Miami, however, the Cuban influences, as well as most other ethnicities, paint the walls and dinner plates with a cornucopia of color, fabrics and textures.

A trip to the constellation of Miami, Brickell and Wynwood will provide both sustenance for the luxurious indulgences for the traveler’s soul; after a second year of a pandemic, don’t we all deserve it? The restaurants of Miami, the shopping in Brickell, and the art scene of Wynwood are the perfect pairing for a memorable trip along this South Florida journey.

Novotel Miami Brickell offers both comfort and luxury wrapped in a decor that radiates with essential Miami. After Accor’s acquisition of Atton Hotels in 2018, the transition into Novotel has become a tale of survival and rebirth. Rebirth because the rebranding and renewal added style and simplicity to its 275 guest rooms and suites, as well as a rooftop pool and bar. Novotel’s restaurant, PRIME, offers indoor and outdoor seating, large windows to welcome in the Florida sunshine, calming decor and a menu for any taste.

The rooms are attractive, with city or bay views through floor to ceiling windows with blinds that can be controlled with the push of a button for preferred lighting and privacy. Wide workspace, plush bed, ample shower and nature-inspired decor elements contribute to a sense of calm and pampering. General Manager Claudia Di Gino expressed great pride for a hotel that struggled to make it through the pandemic. Though it had to close for a time, she showed great enthusiasm to be able to welcome guests back to the hotel.

Among the endless places to eat in Miami, Fugato which is technically in Coral Gables, would be a wise choice. For connoisseurs of risotto, this is the crown jewel. The porcini risotto bursts with flavor and compliments any of the other dishes. Highlights include boneless short ribs, lobster ravioli, chevre croquettes, and sugar-crusted salmon. The service is impeccable and the ambiance serene and refined.

Spanglish is a Miami dining experience that is not to be missed. The evening begins with some of the most unique signature cocktails, such as a Paparazzi, made with dill infused tequila, passion and lime juices, plus other surprises, and served in a zoom camera lens (yes, you heard correctly). Diners can start the meal off with Queso ‘e Cabra, local savory goat cheese Pana Cotta, encrusted in a dark rum and pineapple gelee. The Delmonico Ribeye for 2 is a carnivore’s delight, served with charred purple sweet potato and seared onions. Sweeten the palate with a dessert of homemade ice cream or sorbet. 

Osteria Morini is a short walk from the Miami Botanical Gardens and the impressive Holocaust Memorial. The restaurant has a casual and welcoming vibe, but the food is seriously gourmet. Located in the Kimpton Hotel Palomar, Osteria Morini offers a lunch, brunch and dinner menu that is rich with Italian specialties prepared with great attention to distinct flavor. Many dishes burst with the flavor of rosemary, parmesan cheese and truffles. The rigatoni with wild mushrooms, rosemary and truffles will remain in one’s flavorful scrapbook for a long time.

Brickell Here you will find a project that began twenty years ago and revived over the past five.
• Brickell City Centre is central to the commercial growth of the area. This open-air mall offers shoppers an aesthetic conducive to the ideal customer experience. The nine-acre complex houses Saks Fifth Avenue, luxury shops, residential towers and a hotel. The retail area is easily accessible on the third floor via the Eighth street Metromover, a fully autonomous train that stops at twenty stations throughout its route. The design of the City Centre allows light to filter in from all angles, like a giant ribcage enclosing the body of the complex.

Wynwood It started out as a working-class neighborhood connected through industry with the surrounding Design and Garment districts. Just around the time the street art movement was taking hold of the open spaces and the closed consciousnesses of several major cities (1985), neighborhood developer Tony Goldman was attending a conference in Miami, and toured the abandoned art deco buildings of Miami. By the mid-2000s, he was buying abandoned buildings in Wynwood where he saw the potential for the natural progression that happens when artists turn distressed neighborhoods into chic cultural centers. 

• Museum of Graffiti is considered “the first museum,” according to their website, “in the world exclusively dedicated to the evolution of the graffiti art form.” Once inside, visitors are met with archival videos, mostly news reports, displaying a panorama of the social resistance to graffiti. Yet, the museum traces the roots of graffiti from the simple tagging of names upon city walls to the complex artistry of some of the world’s most respected graffiti artists. Dr. Heather Dunn, an artist and writer stated, “The museum show displayed an insightful history of the evolution of graffiti writing from the early 1980’s to the present.” Exhibits included photos of subway cars turned into moving canvases, an exhibit on the history of graffiti, a display of the work of FUZI, and much more.

If the Museum of Graffiti offers a guided path through a curated history, the streets of Wynwood constitute a community of street and graffiti artists for whom the visible spaces of the town become an ever-changing canvas of personal and social statements. Be sure to visit Wynwood Walls as well, an outdoor museum of memorable and sizeable street art by many of the big names in the genre.

Besides the convenience of being so close in proximity, the triumvirate of Miami, Brickell and Wynwood offer sights and tastes for all manner of traveler. Pack your walking shoes and prepare yourself for a journey that pleases the eyes and the stomach as you experience chefs who create art upon a plate and artists who create statements upon a wall.

For more information on Miami, visit

Advertisement - Woodloch-Spa -