Renowned as a hangout for vacationing mobsters, The Forge has been the steakhouse of choice for the snowbird crowd since it was opened in the ‘60s by Al Malnik (a lawyer closely tied to Meyer Lansky -- as well as Michael Jackson, but that’s another story). An earlier restaurant was converted from an actual blacksmith’s forge on the site, which dated back to the 1930s. Owner Dino Phillips apparently anticipated today’s trend of naming restaurants after their site’s previous industrial uses by about 80 years. In a bid to shed its old-school image, Malnik’s son Shareef recently updated the place, adding fashionable farm-to-table fare like quinoa pancakes with fig marmalade, and a lobster peanut butter & jelly sandwich. The steaks, mahogany interiors, and massive wine cellar, supposedly home to 300,000 vintages, remain, which goes to prove some things aren’t worth changing.
Opened to the public in 1924, Hialeah Park is iconic for horse racing (and Miami’s most historic sporting venue). Reopened in 2011 after a 10-year hiatus, it now hosts “quarter horse” races and a casino with slots and poker -- though the thoroughbreds that once brought the crowds during tourist season are long gone. Still remaining on the lush, 200-acre grounds are Hialeah Park’s famed flamingo flock. A symbol of South Florida depicted on the state’s lottery tickets and in the opening credits of Miami Vice, as well as movies like 1989’s Let It Ride, the pink birds were the first such colony in the United States. Like so much of Miami, they are actually imports from Cuba.