The husband and I just spent a week in Miami Beach!!! He went for work training and I tagged along. The training didn't get approved until 1 week before, so we booked everything in a rush and, I have to say, I kind of loved it. I didn't have time to over-analyze everything, over-plan, or over-book. I just did a quick check on what seemed like the best restaurants, booked those, and that was it! No time to stress about anything. It also worked out that it was just after all the Spring Break madness, so it wasn't too crowded and reservations were easy to get.
We stayed at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach (which is also where Jasper's training was). It is huge, and gorgeous, and reminded us of Las Vegas (which is apparently what they are going for, so good job). On one side of the hotel is the pool complex and the beach.
The other side of the hotel is the, also beautiful, marina. There are four towers of rooms, and we stayed in the tallest one - the Tresor. This was actually a complementary upgrade given to us at check-in, because it was our first time in Miami. Check-in was super fast and easy and the employee who we dealt with was incredibly friendly and helpful. Major points to service, there.
We had two different events planned in two different states in the weeks before Christmas: a weekend-long birthday party in the Outer Banks and a family get-together in Nashville, TN. We decided it would be fun to connect the events via a long roadtrip, stopping at the Biltmore Estate in NC before continuing on to TN. Biltmore is HUGE. The house is the largest privately owned house in the US, and the grounds cover 8000 acres. It takes 30 minutes to get from the Inn on the property to the house.
We stayed for two nights at the Inn, which is a really nice hotel and spa. They were all decked out for Christmas, and had a gingerbread house replica of the Inn. There are multiple restaurants on the Estate - we ate at the Inn Dining Room the first night, and like it so much we decided to eat there the second night too!
The Dining Room is seasonal, farm-sourced fine dining. I really liked their small plates and respectful treatment of produce. The amuse bouche was a different cream based vegetable veluote both nights and they were both outstanding. I could have eaten a bowl of that for dinner and been happy.
My favorite dish was the fried brussels sprouts with a farm egg, frisee, and bacon. This is seriously the BEST brussels sprouts dish I have ever had. It was eye-rolling good. I ordered it both nights and asked for the recipe, which they gave me! I'll post it at the bottom.
Another standout was the roasted corn and lobster soup with piquillo peppers. This has been added to my list of favorite lobster dishes, and is in the top 3 lobster bisques for sure.
The pork belly with apple tart and goat cheese ravioli appetizers were also very good and I would highly recommend them. The gnocchi with brie, figs, and bacon was not enjoyable, though. The brie overpowered everything else and the bacon was way too salty. It sounded great on paper, but didn't work.
The artisan meat and cheese platter was very satisfying, with lots of variety and good portions. I didn't order any entrees, and Jasper ordered specials both nights. He really enjoyed the seafood special the first night, but did not like the steak special the second night.
Overall, the good outweighs the bad here and I would recommend trying it out if you are ever in the area.