While dining at Bianca during our The List event, photographer and longtime Ocean Drive contributor Iran Issa-Khan regaled me with stories of her colorful trip to Thailand

The other day, despite being surrounded by Miami’s luxury and condo boom, I saw a Cooper’s hawk flash across the street and catch a dove. It reminded me of how our town can be full of surprises, whether that means being cut off in traffic by a guy too self-absorbed to use a turn signal (actually not surprising), or spotting a new and stunning mural in Wynwood. I think this may be due to the fact that Miami is made up of so many colliding realities: North, Central, and South America; Overtown; downtown; South Beach; tropical and urban; ocean and land. It makes for an amazing jigsaw puzzle.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons we call it the “Magic City.” We are never a fixed entity. We’re a town for migratory birds and people, immigrants, true locals, models, tourists, artists, con artists, those hiding, those seeking. We just said ciao to the floral-shirt-clad Boat Show crowd, and in a minute we’ll be saying hola to spring breakers, WMC-goers, and Sony Open tennis fans.

It’s easy to stick to a routine, or stay within your jigsaw piece, yet now more than ever, you’d be a fool to miss the mélange. There’s a serious spike in new and highly creative businesses, bars, and restaurants. Case in point: A buddy recently turned me on to some utterly delicious sausage from Proper Sausages, a local start-up selling at the Upper Eastside Farmer’s Market. That night I met friends for a drink at Gramps, a new bar in Wynwood, which reminded me of old bars in New York, replete with booths designed for actual conversation, as opposed to the isolation of bottle-service sign language. The bartender poured me something I’d never had, a smoky whiskey from Utah called High West Campfire—think charred pineapple, pine embers, and tobacco. Plus, to cap it all off, as I drove home, the driver in front of me actually used his turn signal! This town really is full of surprises. Now go have some.


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