Eleventh Street Diner
South Beach, Florida
April 4, 2010
For spring break this year my husband and I debated a number of places, but ended up picking the one with great food, a great beach, and the cheapest airfare from Columbus! Miami, South Beach, in particular was the winner. I had been reading for years about the wonderful food scene in South Beach, but really Miami's Cuban vibe (in addition to a great beach, of course) was what really sold me on the spot.
We landed late in the afternoon and after checking into our hotel we immediately ran out to the beach to allow our pasty white, Ohio winter ridden and chapped skin to feel the early evening sun. After we were sure we had exposed ourselves to the last ray of the day we headed back to our hotel to enjoy a happy hour drink and debate where we should head for dinner. I ordered a mojito from the Mariott South Beach's outside bar, Deco Blue, and while it was expensive at $11 a drink, it was the best mojito I have ever had! The mint was freshly muddled and there was lots of it. It had just the right mix of rum to simple syrup. But the best part was the raw sugar cane swizzle stick garnish (like this). After I had finished my drink I loved chewing on this and getting an extra bite of sweetness.
I wish I would have thought to take a good picture of this drink, but my description will just have to do. If it's any indication of how much I enjoyed this drink, despite it's price, I made this drink a daily addition to my vacation menu.
After a brief happy hour we decided to head to the Eleventh Street Diner for dinner. At first I was going to try and make this trip exclusively Cuban since we don't have many opportunities in Columbus to have authentic Cuban food and our stay in Miami was relatively short. But then I read so much about how good this place was, it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Erik and I had always wanted to eat in an authentic old-school dining car. So how could we pass it up?
Honeybaked Ham I opted for the ham with a sweet cherry-pineapple glaze served with a vegetable medley of yellow squash and green beans and mashed potatoes. This was a very good and filling dish (and definitely did not help me fit into my bathing suit the next day). The ham was sweet and flavorful, the veggies were well cooked, and the mashed potatoes had homemade lumps and flavor. I ate every single bite!