So this post is a little late, but I have been wanting to write about my recent trip to south Florida to celebrate my 25th birthday. Earlier this year I was set on the idea that I'd still be living in California during my birthday, so I was very set on the idea of spending it hanging out on the beach or swimming in a pool in the desert. However, because I'm living in New York again, this wasn't going to be possible, without me being too cold at least. So I hit up my friend Abby, who lives in the West Palm Beach area, and started planning my week-long birthday trip to Florida!
I left JFK the morning of Sunday, September 23rd and arrived at Palm Beach International Airport later that morning. It was a chill day that I mostly spent swimming in and hula hooping by the pool at Abby's house. I was also able to use my mermaid tail by FinFun in the pool, which is always so fun while also being an excellent workout. For dinner Abby and I went to Kapow Noodle Bar, where I was able to get a vegan ramen dish by swapping the egg noodles for rice noodles. On Monday I visited Lake Worth Beach, with Abby's mother while Abby was in class. On the way to the beach we stopped by Lilo's Streetfood and Bar, which is not a food truck but an actual restaurant. Here I got an order of tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole, as well at heart of palm tacos. The tacos were really good, I had never eaten hearts of palm before, but the texture was comparable to a stalk of broccoli or asparagus while the flavor was very similar to mozzarella cheese! At the beach there was a lot of sea grass in the water and on the sand. However the water was so warm, I couldn't resist going for a swim. That evening I also swam in the pool, I just love being in the water!
On Tuesday, September 25th, my birthday, Abby and I drove down to South Beach, Miami. We started off by going to The Clevelander Bar, where I was unimpressed with the service. The waitress had no idea if anything on the menu was vegan, so I ended up ordering a side of fries and a drink with cucumber which I cannot remember the name of. Our food took forever to come out and the drinks took even longer, needless to say, I won't be returning to that spot. After that, Abby and I went to relax on the beach and swim in the ocean, which was wonderful and everything that I wanted to do on my birthday. I also took this opportunity to shoot some photos in my new Jemini's Bazaar getup, which consisted of a beautifully colorful swimsuit and matching floor-length skirt. For dinner that evening, we went to a restaurant I chose, which was called Plant Theory Botanical Burger Cafe. Abby and I both ordered jack-fruit burgers, while I also enjoyed two watermelon cosmos and a slice of vegan "cheese" cake. The meal was amazing and fairly priced. Our waiters where extremely attentive and provided a wonderful birthday dinner experience for me. I would highly recommend Plant Theory to anyone visiting Miami who is either vegan or curious to try vegan food. Just know that it is a little difficult to find because there isn't a clear sign on the building. That night, Abby gifted me the first bath bomb I've ever used. It was a "Big Blue" bath bomb by Lush that contained seaweed, sea salt, lemon oil and lavender oil. It smelled amazing and was so relaxing. I don't typically take baths, but using this bath bomb inspired me to purchase Lush's "Seanik" shampoo bar, which has the same scent and basically the same ingredients.
On Wednesday, Abby was busy with school again, so her mom and I hung out that day again. I convinced her to try a vegan place with me, so we went to Meraki Juice Kitchen, where she got nachos and I got a power bowl, which consisted of veggies, chickpeas, tofu and quinoa. The food tasted great, although some the quinoa was a bit hard, as if it hadn't been completely cooked. I also had a coconut cream pie, which was delicious. This time we headed up to North Palm Beach, which was also full of sea grass, but we still swam in the ocean. That evening I swam in the pool until I couldn't stand the mosquitoes any longer, then we watched the movie The Shape of Water, which I hadn't seen before, it was a very interesting movie.
Thursday Abby had to go into the sea turtle hospital that she volunteers at, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, so I tagged along. I loved seeing the sea turtles up close and personal, one of them even popped his head out of the tank and spit water on me, so cute! After that I went over to Juno Beach, which is right across the street from the turtle hospital. The beach had more sea grass than all of the other beaches, and since jellyfish like to hide under the floating patches, I didn't dare wander into the water while I was alone and the lifeguard seemed to distracted by hitting on a cute blonde woman. That evening, Abby had a gig at her residency at Petanque Palm Beach, a cute little French restaurant and bar with a lovely patio area in the back. Abby performed with her fire and LED hoops, alternating with a belly dancer who also used fire props. We picked at a hummus platter while of course I also ordered a drink and side of fries.
Friday was my last full day of the trip, and Abby wanted to some homework at the math lab which was in Lake Worth. So she dropped me off at the beach on the way there. The sea grass was even worse than the first time I was there, so I ended up just relaxing on the beach and working on my tan. After a couple hours, I got hungry and decided to check out Benny's on the Beach for lunch, since it was right there on the pier. The menu had mostly seafood items, which I expected, but I ended up ordering the Waffle Fry Nachos, which blew my mind. I ordered them without the queso blanco and sriracha cream sauce to make the dish vegan. The waffle fries where mixed with jalapenos, tomatoes, avocados and topped with salsa verde. It was an amazing and delicious meal that was made even better by the fact that I got to enjoy it on a screened in patio with a view of the ocean. A couple hours later, Abby picked me up from the beach and we went to Meraki Juice Kitchen, where this time Abby got a power bowl and I ordered a slice of vegan key-lime pie. When we got back to Abby's place, I packed up my suitcase for the following day and we spent the rest of the evening watching ocean documentaries.
Saturday was my very last day, and the only day that week we were able to go snorkeling. So we got up fairly early and headed to Peanut Island, a small island in between Riviera Beach and Palm Beach Shores. We parked the car at Riviera Beach and had to take a boat over to the island. It was gorgeous, full of lush tropical plants, palm trees, white sand and clear water. I had never been snorkeling before, so it was a little weird breathing out of the tube and I kept getting water under my mask and in my contact lenses. But once I got used to it, I had a lot of fun checking out the little fish, swimming around the rocks and steering clear of jellyfish. We stayed on the island for a couple hours before we had to leave so I could catch my flight back to New York.
Overall, I had an amazing trip! Florida was exactly what I needed to have a warm and full of sunshine birthday. I am so grateful to Abby and her family for hosting me for the week at their beautiful home. I will be back in Florida soon, for EDC Orlando actually!