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Mexico, Spain and Cuba — All in Miami!

I am in sunny Miami with the family — swimming by day, partying at night and entertaining the kids in between. It is exhausting at times but I am enjoying every minute, of course I just may need another break to recover from this holiday.

The partying part of the trip did not get off the ground until last night when my husband and I decided that we had to experience Miami nightlife. I had been to Miami many times before; it is one of my favorite US cities mostly because of beautiful South Beach. We ventured out around 9pm and took a cab from our North Beach resort into South Beach, about a half hour drive. I was looking forward to some good Cuban music and drink.

As we approached our destination, we saw some revelers in the streets and decided to stop and see what was happening. It was a full block party on Espanola Way, an otherwise quaint part of Miami resembling a small Spanish town.

It was Cinco de Mayo and people were drinking margaritas on the street and dancing to the live Mexican Mariachi band. There was not much room to walk but we managed to maneuver our way towards the dancers and music. Some of the dancers were professional and we felt embarrassed to dance in the same street but we made a few moves of our own. Thirsty and eying all the margaritas and Mexican Coronas we found an outdoor stand selling all types of drinks and we joined the fun ordered two frozen margaritas—they were strong, more tequila than anticipated. There was a lady in a colourful costume selling tequila shots in the street but I have learned a lesson with this liquor and stayed away.

The food looked enticing but we had already eaten which was a good thing as Mexican food, especially restaurant food is the most fattening cuisines around. The drinks were refreshing and hit the spot. With watching the dancers, dancing ourselves and having more drinks the time flew and it was already midnight.

By this time the hunger crept in, especially since we were surrounded by the smell of Mexian rice and beans and enchiladas. We found our way to the end of the street to Tapas y Tintos—crowded but with a few tables available.

I thought we would get nachos with guacamole but I was pleasantly surprised to find that we entered a well known restaurant serving Spanish food, mostly from the Basque region of Spain. With a great sounding menu like Vieras rellenas(baked stuffed scallops) and Almejas del grau(sauteed clams with tomato, garlic and parsley), I had to try it—oh but at midnight how much could I eat. My dear husband knowing how much I like seafood and Tapas insisted we order a few dishes to try. We ordered the Dedos del Diablo(jumbo prawns stuffed with Serrano ham, goat cheese, slightly breaded) and Chorizos a la sidra (baby chorizo cooked with Spanish cider).

Luckily the portions were not the usual American or Mexican style –loads of food served with lots of extras like corn chips and bread but they were reasonable and enough to fill you for dinner. Both the chorizo and the prawns were delicately flavoured. The combination of prawn and the ham and cheese stuffing was a taste I had never had before. I love all three ingredients and naturally I loved this dish.

Chorizo is something I rarely have and this was cooked to perfection; the Spanish cider gave it a sweetish tangy taste.

Spanish food for a Mexican Holiday—it is a small world. The fact is that Cinco de Mayo is not widely observed in Mexico. A small region known as Puebla observe the day as their unexpected win over the French in a battle in 1862. It started becoming popular in the US only a few years ago and symbolizes Mexican culture.

So I suppose it is okay that we went out in search of Cuban culture, danced in celebration of Mexican culture and ate amazing Spanish food, all in the U.S. of A!!!

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