Tuesday, June 5, 2007

To Miami

The Mercy Boys + 1 hit the dusty trail again. This time it was our annual pilgrimage to Miami for the NASDAQ 100 tennis tournament. How good is this: sitting in 85 degree weather watching the best tennis players in the world for 8 hours, then hitting South Beach and eating at some of the finest restaurants in the U.S.! I know, ugly job, but we have worked hard to be the ones to carry this heavy burden.

First, the tennis. Absolutely incredible. This is like sitting ringside for the world heavyweight title. One of the two top tennis tournaments in the U.S.

Now for the food: our first night there we made our way up to Delray Beach to meet famed songwriter George Goehring. George is credited with the number one hits from the late '50s by such artists as Connie Francis, Gene Pitney, The Platters, and Elvis! Yes, even the BIG E! We dined with George at a great little neighborhood establishment called the Pineapple Grill. Great local seafood and a super great little wine list. If you can find it, you should definitely make this a stop. What a happening little town Delray Beach is!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday found the Mercy Four (was going to give you the Fab Four but just couldn’t bring myself to do it, sorry) on South Beach trying to find Casa Tua. Once we did, we were awestruck. Great house, converted to a restaurant, tucked behind 20-foot cyprus trees. This is THE hidden gem of Miami. This may have been one of the top 5 dining experiences yours truly has had in the U.S.! Italian in the U.S. at its best! We started our dining excursion off with a super Tuscan, Tassinaia from Castello del Terriccio. A wonderfully smooth, big Tuscan wine that went so well with all the food we tried - and try we did! We started the evening off with a glass of vino on one of the best patios in Miami. Hidden from the traffic and hustle of South Beach you lose yourself, and you actually begin to believe you are somewhere in Tuscany. Hunt this place down and make your reservations early! If you are really adventuresome you’ll try the chef’s table in the kitchen which seats 20 people. It's worth dining with folks you may not know to have the experience of being in the kitchen!

Night 3 found us at another great Italian restaurant in South Beach: Vita. It's one of 3, maybe 4 great Italian restaurants in South Beach. From the outside, it reminds you of a busy neighborhood storefront, but walk in and you find yourself in a modern, hip, & cool restaurant. We decided to venture to another country on our wine excursion and ordered ’96 Elciego Alava Rioja. A small change of pace. The culinary delights of homemade pasta & homemade buffalo mozzarella began our evening. The boys opted for all seafood this night, and no one was disappointed. After a great meal we moved, slowly I might add, to the back outdoor patio. How cool was this! Above the bar, on a brick wall, we could watch an Ingrid Bergman & Cary Grant movie from the early '50s. Open air with Italian lanterns and a full South Beach moon. It doesn’t get much better than this.

For the last supper we decided a dramatic change was needed. We walked into CafĂ© Sambal, located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This is an elegant, upscale Japanese restaurant. In keeping with the trend we started, we opted to move our wine selection to a Malbec, Cadus Malbec, Mendoza, 2002. We knew we’d be spicing it food-wise so we needed a comparable wine. We were not disappointed. This was a fine, smooth, complex Malbec. We dined on big bowls of spicy Maine lobster and Mahi Mahi.

Mercy... another incredible few days of tennis, great food, marvelous wine, and sun!

Until we hit the road again...See you at Mercy!