Miami Life Insider’s Guide: Miami #1, Dining Out, Wynwood, Movies,

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You’ve gathered by now how much I love Miami along with so many others who now call Miami home. So it was gratifying to read an article in the Financial Times explaining, “How Miami Became the Most Important City in America.” I have a restaurant recommendation with great food that won’t break the bank. The Wynwood Art District is fabulous, and you can take a buggy ride tour. Another fav is the Coral Gables Art Cinema. And check out our roving photographer, Eliot Hess’s latest photos of our beautiful city, featured above.

A Restaurant That Won’t Break The Bank And The Food Is So Go’t od

I’m not sure how they do it, but Via Emilia Garden offers one of the best tasting Italian meals ever, at the most affordable pricing. Every time we dine there, we leave an extra special gratuity because we appreciate having such a wonderful restaurant available to us. There are two Via Emilia restaurants in Miami, one on the beach, and the newest one called “Garden” at 3500 N Miami Avenue in Midtown.

Via Emilia Garden has one advantage that most restaurant don’t have, and that’s an outdoor space that has a huge overhang so you don’t have to be concerned about a downpour. It’s such a pleasure to make a reservation and know you will definitely be eating outside.

We went to Via Emilia Garden the other night and we sat outside with four other friends for three hours. It was just like being in someone’s home. No one rushes you and you don’t get shocked by the price of the meal. In fact, everyone I was with said their meal was completely fresh tasting with great texture. Our server told us that the restaurant imports the most acclaimed products such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella, balsamic vinegars and much more.

All pastas are homemade in the dining room by our Sfoglinas, who daily prepare Ravioli, Gnocchi, Tagliatelle and other typical pastas of the Emilia Romagna region. Sfoglina is someone who makes a family of Italian pastas. A sfoglina is historically seen as a middle-aged woman who rolls and spread out the dough with a rolling pin on a pastry board. Her typical handmade creations are tagliatelletortellini and other egg-pasta, possibly stuffed.

The wine lists includes more Italian Regions, without forgetting the traditional Lambrusco and Sangiovese, easily parable with our seafood specialties.

I can’t sign off without telling you the inside of Via Emilia Garden is very pretty as well. Whoever decorated the dining area was well aware of social distancing and the use of soft colors for a relaxing meal. Enjoy yourself. You will be smiling after.

A Buggy Ride Through Wynwood

So many people visit the Wynwood Art District of Miami but have no idea what they are looking at. Before we go any further let me explain what Wynwood is. It’s a famous converted warehouse district that now features large scale works by some of the best known street artists in the world. Some of the warehouses are home to the best restaurants, clothing boutiques, bars, art galleries, gift shops, eyewear outlets, shoe and athletic stores.

The area was created  by real estate developer Tony Goldman who also started SoHo in lower Manhattan. It was a genius idea. He took a derelict looking area, opened a fabulous looking restaurant right in the middle of it, (Wynwood Kitchen and Bar) and then invited well known urban graffiti artists (Shepherd Fairey, DFace, Akio) from all over the world, to create art on all of the walls around town.

There is so much to see and so much history to hear about. Most tourists just stroll through, look at the art and go home clueless. Nothing wrong with that, but I suggest that you explore Wynwood on a golf buggy ride for an hour with a commentator that explains 50 or more murals. It’s better than a walking tour because you move around faster and you are much more comfortable. For $39, you are giving yourself a real treat.

For Miami Movie Lovers

One of our favorite pastimes in Miami is to go to the Coral Gables Art Cinema. Now that the number of people contracting the virus has gone down significantly, my husband Eliot I will start attending performances frequently. It’s a state-of-the-art theater that is located right across the street from the headquarters of Books & Books, the best independent book chain in America. We love starting out early, any night of the week, with dinner at the quaint cafe at Books and Books, then we roam around the bookstore looking for books we would like to read. We do that for about 45 minutes before and we cross the street Art Cinema.

We are always seeing something at the Art Cinema that is not being shown anywhere else. Two of our favorites were Arsenic and Old Lace and the movie version of The Lehman Trilogy. Most movies shown at the Art Cinema are followed by a guest speaker (zoom or in person) that is related to the project. We love hearing all of the behind the scenes details. You feel like you are insider in the entertainment business.

The Art Cinema feature a beautiful 28’x12’ screen, 141 seats, 4K digital projection, reel-to-reel 35mm, 3D, and the only cinema with dedicated 70mm projectors in South Florida. Open 365 days a year, it has become the premier location for film lovers of all types. Get the schedule.

I just wanted to share this story in the Financial Times, by Joel Stein,  with everyone who reads “The Three Tomatoes.” It explains why Miami is one of the most important cities in America. It wasn’t that long ago that “Miami was nothing more than drugs, clubs, pastel blazers jai alai gambling, and most notably, a hit TV show.” Look at us now. I posted it at my blog, digidame.



  • As Co-Founder and President of HWH PR, Lois Whitman-Hess has been actively involved in public relations for a vast array of business sectors including technology, Internet-based companies, entertainment, law, publishing, fashion, beauty and art. For the last eight years, Lois has authored a daily blog called “Digidame.” It mostly covers her personal journeys as well as tech innovations, art, travel, and entertainment. In addition, Lois co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Lying on the Beach” with TV personality Steve Greenberg who is a contributor on NBC's Today Show. They interview luminaries who discuss their expertise and views on current events.

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