TodayApril 15, 2022

23 hours of fun in Florida in a Buick Cascada

Buick Cascada Convertible

Miami, Florida has a vibe, a smell that comes off the ocean that puts your mind at ease. We’re here for a quick 23 hours, but we are making the most of it.

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I throw my stuff on the crisp white bed at the Edition Hotel, jump in a Buick Encore and head to Milos Restaurant in Miami. Milos is known for its fish, but everything we ate was a delight. Evan slipped a glass of a delightful 2008 Madrone Ridge Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in my hand as I breezed into the room where my friends were barely waiting for me to start the délicieux dîner. Chef Armand created some of the best dishes, but the most memorable was a grilled octopus. The best octopus I have ever tasted. Seriously good! Pounded for two hours, marinated in olive oil, onions, and grilled with capers.

The next morning we headed out bright and early to drive a Buick Cascada, aka Opel Cascada in Europe, down to the Keys to revisit Ernest Hemingway and all of his old haunts, or as Ron said, step into a bar in the Keys, Hemingway has probably been there.

Robert is here, our first stop, is a roadside fruit stand off US1 South in a little town outside of Homestead, FL. Full of succulent rare and exotic tropical fruits I turned to my foodie friend, Aaron, to help me with some of the fruits I would have typically brushed over for a well-known fruit. I am allergic to bananas, so I am skittish when it comes to eating fruits I don’t know, but Aaron introduced me to black sapote. Green on the outside, black on the inside when it is ripe, it tastes similar to chocolate pudding. A must-have in my book is the strawberry canistel milkshake. Smooth like a custard, silkier to the taste, and the all familiar flavor of the strawberry the shake is worth every calorie. Robert is here, and has been since 1959, will ship any of their dressings, sauces, honey, key lime juices anywhere and everywhere.

I could have languished for hours more, but with only five more hours till take-off, I scooted down to The Moorings Spa and Resort in Islamorada, FL. The closer we got to the Keys the more banyan trees I saw. Majestic in strength and the will to live for hundreds of years, I am in awe of these trees. The roots shoot down from the tree and create the trunk of the tree. I park my Cascada in front of a banyan tree and join my friends for the last gastronomic venture of the day; pumpkin soup, a Kobe-esque style beef and brie sandwich and I am off again.

It is from Islamorada, FL south that one gets excited about the Keys. The sea is a turquoise green/blue that softens the eyes; jungles are alive like a mini rainforest. Every car that has the capability of being a convertible has its top-down. I do as well, even if I do have the heated seat, heated steering wheel, and heater on. The sun is shining, but my twenty-three hours are up.

The bell is tolling for me, and I must go.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.