Visiting as a Vegan in Miami, Florida
Hooray, a Healthier Miami!
Plant Food + Wine
I noticed that Miami is increasingly becoming a healthy dining destination, with new plant-based restaurants and juice bars sprouting up everywhere. My favorite dining experience this trip was Plant Food + Wine, created by renowned chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney. Matthew is certainly a pioneer of the Plant-Based Revolution, known for raw vegan cuisine; award-winning restaurants in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York; and cooking schools around the world, including the most recent in Thailand. His new restaurant at the Sacred Space Miami in the Wynwood Arts District has a contemporary, art deco design with a serene patio overlooking a reflecting pool, and the adjacent Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy.
The watermelon poke was the perfect starter, very refreshing with macadamia, ginger, and mint. The artisanal nut-based cheese plate, derived from cashews and macadamia nuts, with flavors including truffle, peppercorn, cheddar and chive, was paired with fruit puree and walnut fennel crackers. Further impressive were the kimchi dumplings, which are made of dehydrated Thai coconut, filled with a paste of cashews, sesame, ginger, and sesame oil. The raw coconut ceviche tacos are created with sunflower chorizo, avocado and cashew lime crema sauce wrapped in romaine. My favorite dish though was the creamy, soft kelp noodles with black pepper.
The Standard Hotel in Miami also offers delicious vegan options at the seaside restaurant Lido. The options weren’t limited either; starting out with a raw zucchini lasagna with vegan terrine, and the spirulina bowl with apple and avocado puree, topped with toasted coconut and hemp seeds. The incredible array continues with other plant-based dishes, like the hearty kale salad with lentils, English peas, Calabaza, Sorghum and broccoli with carrot-ginger vinaigrette, and a veggie quinoa burger with Daiya cheese. I definitely recommend sticking around for their cocktail happy hour to watch the boats go by at sunset.
Pao by Paul Qui
I spent one night at the opulent new beachfront Faena Hotel, originally from Buenos Aires. The new Faena Miami is stunning and features red and gold tones throughout, and a giant gold unicorn figure in the Pao by Paul Qui restaurant. The restaurant isn’t filled with many vegan options, but don’t let that detour you! The chef prepared a special wild mushroom risotto, a farmer’s market salad, veggie sides, and a fruit plate sprinkled with gold leaf. The hotel was able to accommodate plant-based diets at breakfast too, with fresh juices, a veggie scramble and tropical fruits. The rooms come with butler service, where I experienced a beautiful tea and coffee service presentation.
At the recommendation of Katarina Van Derham, founder of VIVA GLAM Magazine, I visited Full Bloom vegan restaurant in Miami Beach, and enjoyed the lentil, black bean and sweet potato sliders and the wasabi ginger pate nori rolls with ginger mango sauce. The molten salted caramel chocolate lava cake was oh so decadent and one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.
Miami is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world, for the tropical beaches, international crowd, and increasingly healthy dining scene.
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Kim Kessler has 15 years of public relations experience in the luxury hotel sector. She has spent the last five years as director of public relations at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and she is the travel contributor for Viva Glam Magazine. Prior to Four Seasons, she spent three years as public relations director at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui, and two years at The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa, where she was named Western Regional Public Relations Director of the Year. Before that, she spent four years at Murphy O'Brien Public Relations, where she oversaw the publicity for Esperanza - an Auberge Resort in Cabo, and The Peninsula Hotels. Kim has a bachelor's degree in public relations from Pepperdine University in Malibu. She is a third-generation Los Angeles native who currently resides in Brentwood. In her spare time, she loves traveling the globe, yoga, hiking and cooking vegan dishes with friends. Her favorite travel destinations include the Greek islands, Thailand, Argentina, Uruguay and Hawaii, and she recently returned from the Maldives.