- October 5th, 2012
Where to go and what to do in South Beach with a one year old tot in tow? If you’re not heading to the beach or watching the world go by on Lincoln Road, go to The Bass Museum of Art and plan for a lunch afterwards. It’s central, stroller-friendly and most of all kid-friendly! It’s right across from the Miami City Ballet. Even on weekends, you can catch a glimpse of the gorgeous ballet students perfecting their pliés and Arabesques. Make sure you park before you peek and do it off Collins Ave. across from The Bass, then take in some fresh air and culture with the latest art exhibits.
The last one we saw at The Bass was Unnatural. It was perfect for Q with wide open spaces and a great place for him to babble and roam all he wanted. The soft gurgling sounds of nature and the mixed-media projections should have soothed him but he ended up ‘bollocking’ once we headed downstairs to see the bicentennial celebration exhibit of artist-musician, John Cage…which led to a quick exit to the park out front. We plan on heading back though; the exhibit’s running through Oct.28th. Go to Bass Museum of Art to learn more.
If you want to extend your mini-art tour, head across the street to the W South Beach Hotel and check out their art collection which includes works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat to name a few. The Dutch, one of NYC/SoHo’s hottest restaurants, has a sister outpost here at The W. They also have one of the legendary Mr. Chow’s restaurants, which only opens for dinner though. The Dutch serves American bistro fare. The ingredients are mostly organic, locally sourced, blah blah blah…terms that are being so played out in the culinary scene these days. The food can be local and seasonal and all but it has to taste good and this place, lived up to its fashionably virtuous ambitions.
After a week of eating responsible “farmer’s market” salads and organic health food, all we want is something naughty and satisfying like a juicy all-American burger or a big, scrumptious steak and don’t hold the mayo for my side order of fries, please! On our first visit to The Dutch, I tried the Albacore tuna kuroyaki sandwich with spicy yuzu sauce and recently, the lobster salad roll. G devoured their dry-aged Prime burgers on both occasions. He often took Q out to see Damien Hirst’s, Harvest for the World, one of his ‘butterfly’ paintings. Reciting Eric Carle’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, in front of the artwork amused Q enough. He apparently exclaimed, in his baby way, each time the story ended with, “Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and…he was a beautiful butterfly!” Meanwhile, the manager and I discussed the ins and outs of ordering in the company of a tot. Stemless drinks and cutlery-free meals are the order of the day, lest you need to dart for your child! The very observant and childless manager found it so helpful that he would consider, from then on, these “logistics” when new parents patronize the place.
Usually, we would opt for sitting outside but it was a young mother eating lunch at The Dutch bar with her newborn that persuaded us to eat inside. It was a relief to see another mother out and about with her baby. Life doesn’t have to end when you have one! I actually remember hearing cries of a newborn from the back of the dining room from time to time. To G’s pleasant surprise, he’d never had so many stunning beauties approach him (and it not be in a gentleman’s club), only to realize it was Q that they were interested in! Besides, Q loves all the attention and to G’s disappointment, a lot of it was coming from men too, gay men that is…not that he’s homophobic, just that he would’ve preferred a ladies-only cooing! The restaurant also opened out into a fresh-air courtyard by the pool outback. The second time we went, we had lunch outside overlooking the pool. Hotels have been the most accommodating places for us. Again, there’s always lots of space and all kinds of nooks you can lose yourself in and if you’re into basketball, Miami Heat’s champ, Lebron James is often found hanging out in his cabana by the poolside.
If you care for something other than American fare, head a couple blocks down Collins Ave. to The Setai or The Delano Beach Hotel. The former offers a menu that’s Asian-inspired with a dark, elegant setting. There’s a lot of fusion cuisine happening in Miami but purists should see it in a more positive light. It’s pretty daring for a chef to blaze his own path, be able to showcase all his classical skills by creating something tasty and avant-garde, then be successful at it. Our last Christmas dinner at The Setai was lovely, eclectic and they offered something for all tastes. Again, there’s ample space for children to run. Obviously, you’ll have to watch them closely whilst by the poolside! One of Lenny Kravitz’s studios is also housed upstairs.
The Delano is a fabulous Philippe Starck-designed hotel (one of many in SoBe) with an “Alice in Wonderland” themed orchard in the back for little and big kids alike to roam in. Bianca, the main restaurant serves Italian fare and takes part in the Slow Foods Movement. We tried it out last week for lunch. Our usual rules for eating cutlery-free didn’t apply with this place though. After all, we are civilized and need to enjoy the occasional proper meal, cutlery and all…
We shared our appetizers starting with a luxurious burrata and prosciutto dish along side meatballs in ’12 hour sauce’ (fabulous but didn’t think the meat had to be cooked for that long). For entrees, G tried the sirloin bistecca with truffle potatoes. I decided to break the rules by having a ‘primi’ as my entree and tried the decadent rustichella pasta in carbonara sauce with guanciale. Not so great for the thighs but oh, so yummy in the tummy! We didn’t leave without sharing some rich cheesecake and tiramisu…Our sprightly young waiter even offered to take Q for a walk while we ate our meal! Now that’s top-notch service!
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A pleasingly rational answer. Good to hear from you.