The Sand Box

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So, at my stay at 1 Hotel South Beach, I completely enjoyed the Rooftop Bar, but on their main pool deck, they also have amazing dining as well.

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The Sand Box offers cantina-style poolside dining by Tom Colicchio, with an exceptional view of the beach. You can sit at the bar, or have the option of lounging underneath a cabana to enjoy your beverage and food.

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To drink, I ordered their Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita. Made with fresh watermelon and jalapeño, you get just the right balance of a refreshing, sweet drink with a kick of heat from the peppers. Basically, it’s heaven. 

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Then to start, I had their Guacamole with Chips. The guac is rich and creamy, with hints of citrus, bringing out the flavor of the avocado. The chips were the perfect, crispy, shovels to scoop up the guac, adding a nice balance of salt and crunch. 

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For my entree, I had the Pescado Tacos (yuca-crusted Lionfish, black kale slaw, avocado and chipotle-lime aioli). I loved these small, but mighty, tacos. I really loved that the Lionfish, light, flakey and tender, was crusted in yuca, giving it a bit of a bigger crunch. The only thing I’ll say about the fish, is that I wish there was a touch of salt or seasoning to the yuca, to give it a little boost to enhance the mild flavor of the fish. But, I will say, that the black kale slaw with the chipotle-lime aioli was actually the star of this dish. It added a nice texture, a crunch and creamy combo, and a really zesty zing from the lime that really complimented the mild flavor of the fish. 

The Shorts:
Name: The Sand Box
Location: 1 Hotel South Beach, 2341 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Without a doubt. The view is killer, and Mexican inspired food is one of my most favorite cuisines.
Would I recommend it? For sure. Warning: you may not want to leave the hotel ever. And, I guess, why would you? Beach, pool, drinks, food, done. 

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CHICOJULIO

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Love, love, love margaritas and tacos, well, all Mexican food for that matter. So, I went to check out CHICOJULIO on the Upper West Side.

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This Cantina-style restaurant offers live music, and, when I was there, it was by way of a three-piece jazz band. Not necessarily what you’d expect from a Mexican restaurant, but actually a really nice surprise and touch. The aesthetic is clean, yet vibrant in color, and definitely goes with the tasty selection of food and drinks. For a beverage, I ordered The Smokey Cucumber (Blanco Tequila 100% Agave, Fresh Cucumber and Lime Juice, Egg white, Agave nectar, Chili infused Mezcal). I really liked this, the drink was smooth, with a refreshing crispness from the cucumber and lime, and followed by a little heat and smokiness from the chili and Mezcal. 

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To start, we had their Guacamole (made to order with tortilla chips). You can choose your preferred level of spice, which I really liked. The chips had a great crunch, and went very well with the rich, creaminess of the guac.

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For my entree, I ordered their Trio Taco De Atun (Seared sesame crusted tuna loin, white cabbage, chipotle aioli, lemon zest, served on corn tortilla). This was so good. The portion is really generous for such an affordable price, and the ingredients are fresh and abundant. I loved how substantial the rare tuna was, and how flavorful and delicious the whole dish was. 

The Shorts:
Name: CHICOJULIO
Location: 768 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the food and drinks were great and the ambiance was very fun and charming.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. I recommend going for dinner on a night when they have some live music, it makes everything a bit more vibrant.