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Where to Eat in Islamorada, Florida Keys!

We often have friends and family visiting from all over the world asking us where to stay and eat in the Florida Keys. There are so many spots that it is not easy to remember all of them. That said, I just got back from a very nice weekend in Islamorada where my 8 year old daughter Emma had a 2-day swimming competition (she swims for the University of Miami’s Canes team)…and of course, we took that opportunity to enjoy what this key had to offer!

Here are my favorite spots:

  • Morada Bay Cafe: A long time favorite, this place is very casual, with an amazing bay view. It’s very relax, perfect with kids, and it’s a great spot for lunch, drinks and dinner. The best time being the sunset. Morada Bay Cafe is also well-known for its full moon parties! The food is not cheap but fine.
  • Marker 88: Same spirit as the Morada bay Cafe, on the bay, but a bit more casual, with a nice band. If you can, try to get these tables that swing. Very relaxing! Food is fine as well, yet not cheap in my opinion.
  • Robbie’s: We went there for lunch. We loved it. Our favorite spot in the keys. They have a very nice market which looks very authentic…The restaurant is very casual and offers rather surreal blue water views! They have a band, you can feed Tarpons, and rent boats and Jet Skis from there. Of all 3, this was our favorite spot!

Lodging wise, there is not a lot unfortunately so I’ll limit y recommendation to the following:

  • The Moorings: Love it, but very expensive! 1-2-3 Bedrooms cottages on the beach. If you like top notch service, dont’ go there. The entire concept of this hotel is that there is no service. They want to make you feel as if you had your own cottage on the beach. If you want to a long chair or a paddle board or a kayak, it’s right there for you. No need to sign any waiver forms, or ask anyone… I personally love it. The beach is beautiful…perfect for morning paddle-boarding! It has a tennis court, and a beautiful pool. The Moorings is across the street from Morada Bay Cafe (same owner) and Pierre (same owner)
  • Cheeca Lodge: More affordable although not cheap, it’s more resort like and more family friendly with programs for kids. They have a 9-hole Par 3 golf course (not very well maintained but it’s good enough…), tennis courts, and a nice spa. They have several restaurants offering great views…Most people favorite part is the the very long fishing pier. You can rent fishing poles and buy baits right there. The marine life of the pier is beautiful: sharks, lobsters, all sort of fish, and of course the Pelicans!
  • There are 2 other resorts we haven’t tried but which are new and seem pretty nice form the outside and what we could see online. Maybe you want to give it a try and share your experience! The Postcard Inn and the Amara Cay Hotel.

I hope this will be useful for planning your next trip in the Florida Keys!

Zelda

 

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Hipsters Flocking to Miami: Wynwood & Sunset Harbor.

wynwood midtown rentals

Last Saturday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours strolling the streets of Wynwood and was amazed by how many people were there! The sidewalk traffic was as denses as I95 during rush hour! All he restaurants were packed, stores had good traffic,…It was very nice to see especially in comparison to huge slowdown the niece orbits experienced a few months ago because of the Zika paranoia!

Wynwood is definitely more than just “work in progress” as many describe this neighborhood.It already has a soul and a funky, positive energy allure. I reminds me of Williamsburg (Brooklyn) where I used to leave 10 years ago! There is no shortage of very cool spots to eat, drink and shop! My top 5 at the moment are the following:

Zak the Baker: 405 NW 26th street: Amazing Kosher bakery & cafe. Fabulous artisanal bread, but also yummy sandwiches, soups and cakes.

Kyu: 251 NW 25th street: this very hip restaurant uses a wood-fired grill as its focal point. The brains behind it are former Zuma chef Michael Lewis and former Zuma general manager Steven Haigh. Definitely a “mini” Zuma in Wynwood.

Plant The Future: 2511 NW 2nd Avenue: A unique concept, a sort of art gallery for plants. The store exhibits beautiful plant designs and floral arrangements. It uses only live plants, no cut flowers!

Plant Food + Wine: 105 NE 24th street: Celebrity chef and health guru Matthew Kenney recently opened this restaurant. Menu is plant-based, highlighting South Florida produce. You will fall in love with the refined raw/vegan cuisine and organic wine.

Alter: 223 NW 23rd street: The space is very industrial but has an intimate feel. Menu showcases locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. A great little spot for a lovely evening in Wynwood.

Development in the district took a huge jump in 2015, when Miami created the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District, a zoning overlay to encourage the construction of more condos, rental apartments and retail shops. Since then, many projects have been proposed and altogether they could add about 1,000 residential units and 3.9 million square feet of retail space.

For now, not much is available to rent in the neighborhood. Two buildings in the area are my “coup de cœur”:

– Filling Station, 1657 N Miami Avenue: the true loft experience, one bedrooms starting at 2200$ for a 900 sqf loft up to 3500$ for 1250 sqf. Filling Station has unique features such as: huge interior windows, imported New York subway tile, polished concrete floors, expansive balconies with stunning views of Downtown Miami and the bay. It unites the raw with the polished in a unique way.

– 250 Wynwood, 250 NW 24th street: there are no units to rent right now. Just one bedroom for sale at 550k. But I have followed this building since it was only a project. It is situated just one block from Panther Coffee and Wynwood Walls, and it is a very cool boutique live/work condo with only 11 exquisite units. It has a spectacular mural artwork curated by Spinello Projects so you can’t miss it. I would definitely follow it up close to see if anything comes on the market to rent in the near future !

Otherwise, you can also look at new buildings like Icon Bay in Edgewater, about a 10 minutes walk…

Feel free to share your favorite spots here!

Ps: coming next. Sunset Harbor.

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Stay Fit and Healthy in Miami: My Top 3!

Stay Fit and Healthy in Miami: My Top 3!

Following up on last week’s blog post about wellness and my favorite healthy spots in Miami. Today, I’d like to talk about sports which is a major aspect of living in Miami. Our sunny and beautiful days make it much easier for us, “Miamians”, to take away an hour of our day and spend it outdoors, playing tennis, running, doing yoga, or just taking a class in one of the hip gym studios around the city to stay fit and healthy!

Here are my 3 top recommendations on places to go to get a sweat and people to do it with:

1- Class Pass

I am addicted to this new membership. Once you get the app on your phone, it connects you with the best fitness studios in the city. $109 a month is what I pay for unlimited classes! This app is perfect for people who are in different neighborhoods every day, and who don’t want to get bored with their workout routine.

For now, I love Brickell Power Hour @ The Cage, Megaformer class @ NuShape Downtown, and Pilates Pro @ Pilates ProWorks.

If you’d like to give it a try, they are running a 1-month promotion for $19/month giving you access to 5 classes of your choice. Check it out.

2- Fabien Blanc: Personal trainer

If your thing is to work out outdoors all the time, Fabien is the perfect personal trainer to train with. He generally likes to train in South Pointe, Flamingo Park and Palm Island. His workout routine changes every time. He has a very positive energy and will push you to do your very best! You can follow Fabien on Instagram and check out his website.

2- Dani: Yoga instructor

Yoga is another big component of my workout. I love a few studios around the city . Love Life Wellness Center in Wynwood, Green Monkey  in Miami Beach and Prana Yoga in Coral Gables. But my favorite yoga session is with Dani, a super cool yoga teacher. She works in a few studios but also gives private classes. Weather permitting, our yoga class is right on the water in Brickell! She is professional, has a passion for health and wellness. Her positive and calming energy makes the hour I spend with her spiritual and energizing at the same time. You can follow her  on instagram or on Facebook.

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Best Miami Healthy Juice Bars and Wellness Eateries

My favorite healthy juice bars and wellness eateries around Miami

Miami, following Los Angeles’ trend, is starting to see a rise of super healthy juice bars and wellness eateries. Many of these cafes go well beyond just serving nutritious and high-quality food and beverages. It’s about feeling comfortable and inspired while eating. My favorite ones offer comfortable seating, free WiFi, and very cool music playlists. “Green is the new Black”, they say.

We all have our favorite spots but these are my top 3, in no particular order:

1- Jugo Fresh
I like this juice bar because it is conveniently located in multiple Whole Foods Markets (I go to 3 of them: South Beach, Brickell and South Miami). Their cold-pressed juices are great, but I love their smoothies. My daughter’s and mine favorite ones are: “Muy Simple”, which is just almond mylk, strawberry and banana, and “Kaleito”, with apple, celery, spinach, parsley, lemon, kale and banana.

2- Dr. Smood, 5801 Sunset Drive, South Miami, 33143
I enjoy being in this cafe, working a couple of hours while eating and drinking. “Smart food for a good mood” is their motto. I love their live juices, their raw oatmeal, tuna sandwich and their quinoa salad (I add avocado to it). The one I go to is conveniently located 5 minutes away from my kids’ school. A new exciting location for Dr. Smood will be in the Brickell City Center, opening in just a month!

3- Dirt, 232 5th street, Miami Beach, 33139
I am often in South Beach so this one is a definite gem of the area. It is a clean eating/great taste farm-to-counter eatery. My favorite items are: avocado toast (on a yummy Zak the Baker bread), curried cauliflower bowl (you can add quinoa-crusted fish of the day), detox salad with roasted beets, fennel and goat cheese (you can add butcher’s cut steak) and dragon fruit bowl with dragon fruit, banana, pineapple, house made almond + brazil nut mylk, blueberries, kiwi and granola.

Whats’s your favorites spots and why?

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Secret spots in Miami From Yoga to Restaurants!

h20 pilates Coconut grove
My selection of my top 5 hidden destinations or secret spots around Miami

A a realtor I drive a lot – 2-3 hours a day! – , I walk a lot, and therefore I have a chance to discover many difference places our city has to offer! That said, my clients often ask me to share my favorite spots, so here are some of them, in no particular order:

1. The Kampong – National Tropical Botanical Garden
4013 Douglas Road, Miami 33133

Located in Coconut Grove at the banks of Biscayne Bay, Kampong (Malaysian word meaning group of small houses) is an impressive garden where more than 2,000 tropical and aromatic plant species grow. It has been originally planted by famous horticulturist, David Fairchild, who in 1916 bought a property along with his wife Marian and turned it into his winter home.

Today, visitors can enjoy a truly magical tour through its gardens and can visit Fairchild’s house and studio. The place offers visits given by guides, who have studied the history of The Kampong and of each of its plants.

 

2. Boater’s Grill @ No Name Harbor
1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne 33149

Boater’s Grill is a restaurant which overlooks No Name Harbor, a natural Harbor located within the boundaries of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

It has a casual ambiance with a very local crowd. Perfect if you are craving for an ice cold beer paired with a ceviche or a seafood paella. You will definitely feel miles away!

 

3. Muyumi Sushi
56 NW 29th street, Miami 33137
To reserve find it on RESY

This converted FedEx delivery truck has only six seats and brings omakase sushi (Chef’s menu) to hip Wynwood in one of the most unique settings ever. It is the freshest catch in town. Fish changes daily and it ranges from local & Pacific waters to Alaska. A very special experience: 40$ or $60 course selection.

4. Love Life Wellness Center

584 NW 27th street, Miami 33127
Love Life is one of my favorite places in Miami. It has renewed my love of yoga.
It is a hip yoga studio in the heart of Wynwood with amazing teachers. This studio offers challenging yoga classes (hot yoga are the best!), acupuncture, massages and it has a delicious cafe which provides juices, salads, wraps, all plant-based, organic & local.

5. Pilates H2O

2476 S. Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove 33133

Melina Cherry, owner of an indoor paddle fitness studio, SUP Workout, and Christa Gurkha, owner of Pilates in the Grove, mixed their two passions and created a new workout, Pilates H2O.

SUP (stand up paddle boarding) and Pilates go hand in hand: concentration, balance, proper breathing, relaxation and a sense of adventure. You work out your whole body  and since the platform is unstable there is a whole new element of core strength and intense focus, taking a traditional Pilates practice to an entirely new level. It is open to all ages and fitness levels, from 9 to 10:15 a.m on Saturdays at the U.S. Sailing Center.
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Miami Q2 2016 Key facts: Real estate, economy…

Miami Economy and real estate market key facts

INTERESTING KEY FACTS & FIGURES

Whether you already live in Miami, have invested there, or are thinking about it, we figured we would share some interesting key facts to keep in mind:

Miami Economy & Business Development

  • Most desirable US cities among Americans: Miami ranks #5 (Harris Poll)
  • Most desirable US cities among 18-35 y.o: Miami is #4. More here.
  • Record 1,000 new residents/day moving to Florida (US Census report here.)
  • Record employment numbers for Miami-Dade in November 2015, adding more jobs than any other states, except Texas.
  • Florida ranked #1 in the country with 35,200 jobs that month. Texas is #2 with 17,000 jobs! More US Bureau of Labor Statistics click here.
  • Top 3 sectors adding the most jobs in past 12 months: Leisure/Hospitality (+5%); Education & Health Services (+2.2%); Professional & Business Services (+1.7%). Full ranking by Beacon Council available here.
  • Miami Airport record breaking 44 million passengers in 2015 vs. 41M in 2014. (more here)

Miami Real Estate Market

  • South Florida home value grew by 8.1% in 2015 (more here)
  • US Most expensive home sold: $60M, Penthouse, Faena House, Miami Beach. Check out top 10 here. (Click here)
  • Miami is the 9th most expensive rental market in the US (full ranking here)
  • North America’s only super-yacht marina just opened in Miami (Watson Island). $600M Hotels & retails is next click here.
  • David Beckham’s $200M 25,000-seats soccer stadium almost a reality in Overtown, just West of Downtown! Full Presentation
  • Brickell City Center, Miami’s most important development, will open this year and seal Brickell as a very unique neighborhood: Live, Work, Play. Latest renderings and list of tenants, click here.
  • Downtown Miami rebirth makeover is underway with Flagler Street restoration, the 30 acres Miami World Center, and All Board Miami fast train station linking Miami to Orlando and beyond…

N.B. Latest 2015 Q4’s real estate & tourism data are not yet available. We’ll share in a month or so.

Special Thanks to The Freud Group for gathering these info.