Tag Archives: vacation

The Starbucks Dog-Thru

On my first morning in South Beach, I googled Starbucks locations on my iPhone (how anyone lives without one of these is beyond me) and I walked around the block to the nearest venerable institution. If you overlook the palm trees and the sun darting lovely rays on the large patio, it looked just like mine. I ordered my regular venti non fat latte with whole milk foam (a compromise latte of sorts), paid a dollar more than usual  for palm tree maintenance, no doubt, and sat on the terrace among the indigenous population and an unusually large number of dogs .

Not one minute after I deployed my stuff on the table (I never travel light even to Starbucks), a guy sitting nearby introduced himself , his friends, and all their pooches. Two minutes later, he was cracking a mildly tasteless joke – something about “hands-on work” (sigh), 5 minutes later he was informing me that his life revolved around making money and making love, and 15 minutes later, I had a new Starbucks family to come home to every morning. Voila!

sobe2_029Bob, Brian, Rich, and Meryl

I was settling in amidst the new compadres when a young guy walked up to the group and asked:

“Hey, can I borrow one of your dogs?”

Now, I thought that sounded a bit strange… until I saw the guy with the borrowed canine walk to the end of the patio, knock on the window which opened 5 seconds later, and get his drink almost immediately… as well as a cookie for the dog. The man had effectively bypassed a very long line of people waiting inside the store.

In light of the dog-thru, several facts appeared under a brand new prism of perception: the reason why so many people brought their dogs to Starbucks, and also the reason why so many dogs seemed so well fed.

In South Beach, if you like coffee and instant gratification, you must own a dog. Here are a few of these lovely Starbucks accessories:

sobe1_066Bentley (no Mike, this is not a Jack Russell! Or if she is, she must have eaten a copious amount of genetically modified dog food!)

sobe1_077Bob’s pooch, Malibu

sobe3_024Rich’s Zeta

sobe3_021Kenneth’s and Tom’s lovely Doberman Diesel

sobe3_028Branching out… A non-Starbucks dog on a wall

sobe3_032A very touching Basset Hound

sobe3_033The back of said Basset Hound… in precarious equilibrium

sobe2_040Yorkie transportation on Ocean Drive

And to end my Starbucks post which I segwayed into being about South Beach dogs, the Oscar goes to Alvaro and…

sobe2_025Alvaro’s seven Italian Greyhounds.

Even the dogs are Italian around here!

note to Razz: non Monsieur, don’t you dare sermon me about going to Starbucks in the land of Cuban coffee – after an incursion in Little Havanna and seven Cuban coffees later, I was unable to sleep for a very very long time.

Best ways to spend your AIG bonus in South Beach

If spared by the financial crisis or if discreetly spending your AIG bonus money (like incognito), you should enjoy a nice stay at the Delano Hotel in North South Beach (if among the lucky five who received more than $4 million, you may want to try The Setai.) Xuxa and I being lovers of luxury, we could not resist spending a little bit of time in the famous venues.

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The Delano staff seemed particularly hostile towards photographers.

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After taking one photograph of the long Philippe Starck designed lobby, I was asked rather firmly to put the camera away. We proceeded to the outside bar, followed closely by Buzz-kill. I ordered a $13 Mojito which came in a small plastic cup. At this point, I will recommend you save your Mojito money and spend it wisely on the awesome long glass Mojito at Nikki Beach. I don’t mind the price if the cocktail is particularly good but in this case, it was completely average… So I took more photographs.To avenge my wallet.

note to self: at next scheduled introspection, examine boundary issues.

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The photograph is a bit crooked because of taking it fortuitously, lying on a bed across the pool, pretending to be looking at something else. Xuxa and I loved our time at the Delano very very much, but soon the wind blew us towards The Setai…

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But not before snapping one last time: a decadent drunk sleeping in the hotel lobby. Then we really had to make an exit after Xuxa spotted Buzz-Kill, hurrying towards us, not looking very happy. One last thought: the Delano and the Shore Club are both owned by the same company. On their website, the description of the very pleasant SkyBar at Shore Club includes tips on how to get in: “go early, dress to impress, and bring a model.” Is it just me or is this totally nausea inducing?

Moving right along… The Setai. Xuxa sat at the bar, ordered a lychee Martini, and decreed with nonchalant certainty: “I have come home.”

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So, okay, the Martinis are $16 a piece but they compare to none. The bartender becomes your best friend in a matter of minutes. I could easily live there too.

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Xuxa and I got our portrait taken and you may wonder why I was wearing jeans in this temple of sophistication. The answer is very simple: I packed at the last minute and had a glass of wine in the process. That combination… combines not well and resulted in a large suitcase which content included five pairs of jeans, winter boots, numerous sweaters, and no shoes. It must have been a cold night prior to the departure (I’m also a very light weight: one tiny glass of wine suffices to propel me in a totally happy stratosphere where packing the right clothes appears completely secondary to stuffing the suitcase with a maximum of stuff.)

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After sipping on her Martini for a whole ten minutes, Xuxa Cienfuegos expressed her desire for a more muscular drink: a Sazerac. The bartender improvised a little bit and laid on the counter a glass which resembled no cocktail glasses I had seen in South Beach so far (that would be big.)

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It all went downhill from there.

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Just time for Xuxa to smoke one on the very windy patio.

Aside: she came to Miami with her “last five cigarettes EVER” and they lasted her not even one evening. They were not her last five ever either.

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Her demeanor seemed to indicate that it would be a good thing if we took a cab and went back to our hotel – not the Setai – quickly before we got in trouble. So we did just that.

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In the hotel room, Xuxa sat on the floor. She announced there would be no better time to do some work. Sigh.

I tried to reason with her.

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She gave me the Olympic raised fist. Her version anyway. In the end, I threw the towel and let her “work.”

The next morning, neither she nor I functioned at the top of our potential. As Xuxa would say: “It’s the downside of knowing how to live.”

South Beach: a fashion statement. Like totally!

To recap Florida so far: Xuxa Cienfuegos (an alias to protect my friend’s identity in view of said friend 1) playing hooky 2) participating in frenzied bacchanals caught on film) and myself land in Miami, and Xuxa immediatly proceed to confuse “conference attendance” with “confer and attend dance” at the beach.

I had previously vacationed in Miami with the rat bastard ex but we had not much visited South Beach (SoBe) at the time. Expecting brilliant white tee-shirts tucked under Armani suits in the land of Tubbs and Crockett, Xuxa and I sashayed our way to Ocean Drive for a stroll among the trendiest of all.

At this juncture, I would like to point out how lucky you are to have me to bring you to the cutting edge of fashion.

Popular in SoBe this year:

sobe11_002Simile-silk shorts imprinted with “South Beach” in shiny lettering. Increased size of buttocks may be required to fit it all in one line.

sobe1_010Bling and caps resting mid-forehead.

sobe1_035Nipple bling – no pain, no gain!

sobe2_020Shorts aspiring to be pants and almost succeeding

sobe2_027Japanese shorts and steroids

sobe1_042Animal-print onesies for chicks who like to dance on bar counters. Here at Mango’s. Mango’s deserves a post of its own.

sobe11_003Tasteful onesies for toddlers anxious  to make a statement

sobe22_1001Boas and other snake accessories. Very HUGE in South Beach!

sobe22_001If you’ve taken good notes, bought your bling, your short-shorts or your pant-shorts, pierced your nipples, got your hands on roids, and found a nice yellow constrictor for the night, you may be one of the happy few to attend the “Girls Gone Wild” party at the Mansion.

Xuxa and I, feeling seriously outclassed, decided to stay on the Rive Droite of Ocean Drive where men play volley-ball with wiry muscles and six packs on their stomach (not in), bear names like Giuseppe, and limit their fashion statement to minimal clothing (as we like it.) Epic, this next post will be for you. 🙂