Caribbean Trip 2013 Day 1 (March 28 – 29, 2013): Epic…Free Wine

It’s been almost a year since our three week Europe Trip, but Jenn and I are back in the traveling mode. Early this year we decided to take a break from Europe and try something new. We ended up booking a seven-day Celebrity Caribbean cruise out of Miami, FL.

The trip started on Thursday March 28th with a direct flight from LAX to Miami leaving at 11:50PM. So before we headed down to LAX we went and used one of our Travelzoo deals at the Hyatt Huntington Beach for a three-course meal. We ended up getting an amazing seat outside on the patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Jenn started with the soup of the day, the mushroom bisque, and I had a candy walnut salad. We both went with the filet for our main course and the crème brule for desert. It was an incredible meal and we had the patio to ourselves the whole time.

From Huntington Beach we drove down to Los Angeles and dropped off our car at the Marriott and took the tram over to the airport. We ended up getting to the airport at 9PM and enjoyed a nice Starbucks while we waited for our flight. Everything was on time and smooth (a change from last year’s trip) and we ended up making it to Miami at 7:30 AM. We got off the plane, got our bags, and hopped into a Taxi and went straight to our hotel, The Epic Kimpton Hotel.

We got to our hotel at 8AM and were told we should have a room ready by lunchtime. We got some directions for some potential breakfast places and went and walked around downtown Miami. We spent an hour walking around near the AA Arena (where the Heat play) and didn’t find anything that sounded great so we started walking back to our hotel. On our way back to the hotel we ended up being interviewed by the local NBC Channel 6 asking us about our thoughts of President Obama coming to Miami and what that’s doing to local public transportation. I am not sure if we made it on TV but the interview took us both by surprise since it was only an hour or two after we got off the plane.

We ended up walking back to the Hotel and had an incredible breakfast on the 16th floor restaurant. We got one of the best seats on the deck overlooking a great part of downtown Miami. Jenn got the two-egg breakfast with potatoes and orange juice and I got the eggs benedict with cheese grits and coffee. It was an incredible breakfast and we stayed up on the patio as long as we could.

At around 10AM we both were exhausted from the red eye flight and Jenn went down to the front desk and was able to convince them to give us a room early. The room itself is gorgeous. They gave us two double beds, which wasn’t optimal but with how tired we were it really didn’t matter. We ended up sleeping for a couple hours, taking showers, and getting ready for dinner.

I did some searching on Yelp and found a very highly reviewed little Italian Restaurant less then a mile away from our hotel. We walked downstairs and realized that we had forgotten about one of the best parts of staying at The Epic, free wine happy hour from 5-6. I had a glass of red and white whine and Jenn had a glass of red wine. We stayed down in the lobby for an hour enjoying our wine and the views of the nearby city/bay.

We ended up at a small little Italian Restaurant called Fratelli Milano. Its on 1st street and is near quite a few commercial buildings. We got there a little after 6PM and beat the rush and got a really nice secluded table for two. We both got another glass of wine (Jenn a Pinot Noir and a Merlot for me). Jenn started with the Lentil Soup and I the Carpaccio. Jenn had their homemade lasagna and I went with the lobster ravioli. We ended up finishing the meal by splitting some vanilla gelato. It was one of the best Italian meals we have had in the US ever.

We came back to the hotel after a good two-hour meal and watched some TV and finished off the day. It was the perfect start to the trip and it makes us even more excited to start the cruise tomorrow.