MIAMI:Â A last-minute jaunt down to Miami ended the year in travel with a bang.Â Yet again, it wasn’t nearly as warm as expected – a recurring theme this year, no? – but how can you complain when you’re walking around in shorts the week before Christmas and watching Micheal Jordan play golf outside your balcony?Â The highlight:Â catching up with old friends down in the Design District at Michelle Bernstein’s Sra. Martinez, where we wisely decided to let the captain order for us. Plate after plate of fresh tapas came out of the kitchen like a tasting menu gone wild – not that anyone’s taste buds complained. (Plus, it was good practice for next month’s upcoming trip to Madrid.) One menu item I’m determined to try at home come 2011:Â crispy eggplant, drizzled with molasses and sea salt.Â The delicate savory crunch, mixed with a dash of sweet and salt, was as addictive as … well, travel.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed Pacifico course at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita – where I happily spent four cosseted days – features one of the coolest par 3’s in the game:Â 3B, the world’s only natural island green, nicknamed The Tail of the Whale due to the giant mammals that surface off the coast during the annual winter migration.Â I won’t pretend to have parred the hole – or even to have played for that matter – but at low tide I did trek out along the breakwater just to see what all the fuss is about.Â Something tells me there’s a veritable army of stray golf balls residing at the bottom of the Pacific.