Meet our Friend: Patricia

Say hello to Miami native and blogger/foodie/fashionista/former child star Patricia Guarch Wise. You probably know her as the brains behind Miami Nice, your one-stop spot for all things 305. We recently had a chance to sit down with Patricia for a drink at the Broken Shaker, which just happens to be on her Nice Places list, to chat about juice, ballerinas and of course, Magic City.

Freehand Miami: What inspired you to launch Miami Nice? Tell us more about the interactive Nice Places map.

Patricia Guarch Wise: I was studying in New York and kind of commuting between home in Miami and New York for school, a really idyllic lifestyle for sure, but I was always in the wrong city during the wrong season – Miami in the summers and New York in the winters. Anyway, every time that I came home I saw the city so differently than how I had grown up seeing it. I felt like there was a tide shifting in Miami, the city was changing and developing in new ways and I could appreciate all the old things that make Miami a totally bizarre place to live with a little more clarity. I wanted to talk about this Miami, a kind of local, authentic take on the city instead of the really “glittery” approach that we’re so used to seeing.  I couldn’t find anyone else talking about it this way. So I started a blog to celebrate all that I think makes Miami Nice, the old and the new.

The Nice Places map was something that personally, I wished existed so I designed it when I rebuilt the website. I wanted something that would help me figure out where to go on a Friday night or where to get something I was looking for. It lets you sort by neighborhood and category so you can look at restaurants or bars and see a few curated options that you can trust are nice. I incorporated all the things that I’m always looking for: healthful food and markets, restaurants, bars, vintage clothes, home stores, book stores – what else does anyone need?

What’s the #1 place that epitomizes “Only in Miami?”

I’d say sitting on a boat in Biscayne Bay looking at the skyline stretch from Miami Beach over the Seaquarium on Key Biscayne, the bridges, Coconut Grove, the big houses on the water down south all the way down to the Turkey Point nuclear power plant. Miami is all about contrast, old and new, high and low, power plant to Miami Beach.

What are you all-time favorite spots for eating, drinking and shopping in the 305? Why?

Woah, that’s a heavy question for me because I pretty much spend all my time thinking about this. Miami Nice is a huge list of all my favorite places, but I’d say everyone should go to Versailles for seriously strong Cuban coffee and huge plates of fried meat and plantains and then take a drive down Calle Ocho in Little Havana. I also love Palacio De Los Jugos; there are a few locations on the mainland in Miami. Juice is super hip right now, but nothing beats a plain ol’ fresh mango juice from this authentic outdoor cafeteria and juice bar.

It’s a rare, rare day (as in never) that I can buy something at The Webster, an ultra high-end boutique in South Beach, but it’s basically a clothing museum and is amazing and so beautiful.

As far as old places, Scotty’s Landing on the water in Coconut Grove is an endangered species, there are plans to tear it down but it’s a great spot for a beer on the water. For new, I love all the restaurants by the Pubbelly restaurant group. They have a whole handful of restaurants on Miami Beach including Macchialina, Pubbelly and Barceloneta. Oh, and The Broken Shaker. I tell everyone to go there.

What are the best places to get cultured in Miami?

All you have to do is walk around in Miami and I think you’re getting an education in multiculturalism. Signs are in Spanish, the better ones are in Spanglish, you’ll hear four languages on a single trip to CVS. For a more academic approach, there are some great up-and-coming independent cultural institutions in Miami like O Cinema and the Coral Gables Art Cinema, we have huge private art collections that are open to the public and local bands like The Spam Allstars, ArtOfficial and Jahfe that play a totally Miami blend of Latin jazz, rap and reggae.

If you could hang out with anyone, living or dead, real or imaginary at The Broken Shaker, who would it be?

I’m going to go with a random historical obsession I have and say Margot Fonteyn. She was one of the best-ever ballerinas. I don’t really care much for ballet, but in the 50′s she married a relative of mine in Panama who, from what I’ve read and been told, was a crazy person. She probably weighed like eighty pounds, so she’d be a lightweight and spill all my juicy family secrets.