Oscar Ochoa's passion for salsa dancing sprouted at age 9, grew rapidly at age 18 when he began taking formal lessons, and blossomed at age 24 when he won first place at a salsa competition. Today, the founder of Miami Salsa Driven combines his dancing expertise with the physical discipline he's developed from years of practicing tae kwon do and Brazilian jujitsu to lead detail-oriented salsa lessons. His team puts a big emphasis on creating an environment in which beginners feel welcome and unintimidated by advanced dancers trying to show off complex moves, such as the iceless triple axel. Students have ranged from seasoned dancers to a first-timer police-department captain, who actually ended up joining a professional dance team. Located inside the Tempo Music and Dance Academy, Miami Salsa Driven's classes focus on improving students' self-confidence and fitness levels with hands-on instruction and practice. One of the studio's walls is completely covered in full-length mirrors, allowing dancers to adjust their posture to match the instructor's or enjoy uninterrupted eye contact with themselves.
Wind-leashed high-flier and Skybanditz founder Francisco Escudero has blown spectators away at such competitions as the Velocity Games and the Bahamas kite race. He is the North Miami Beach area coordinator of the Florida Kitesurfing Association and founder of Skybanditz, where he and his trained staff conduct all manner of surf- and sky-borne expeditions. They outfit maritime adventurers with all the proper kiteboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding gear, as well as lead kayak tours through Marine Stadium and several small islands. They also give guests the option to explore the high seas on their own or with friends. Instructors, meanwhile, cover safety and proper techniques during kitesurfing programs that range from beginner level to Level X, an echelon they reserve for students who are ultra-advanced or genetically related to flying squirrels.
Seven extreme athletes and one Royal Marine banded together to design Spartan Races' intense miles-long courses, each strewn with obstacles to test resilience, stamina, and strength. Clad in event T-shirts, runners collect smudges and stains as they clamber across mud pits, slide unscathed under barbed wire, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as three miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Crowned Miami New Times' Best Neighborhood Bar/North in 2008, Billy's Pub plays gracious host to a four-course spirits and stogie soiree. Patrons first choose vodka, bourbon, or scotch, and then swig on three drinks from the selected liquor tributary prepared in any combination of straight up, mixed, or semi-gaseous. With tongues and tummies properly marinated, lips and dexterous chin dimples can then puff on an aromatic, tobacco-leaf roll-up in such brands as Ashton and Dunhill. Sidle over to the pool and beer-pong tables, or exhale a smoke cloud to blind foosman goalies for a game-winning corner kick.
US 1 Fitness has sculpted local physiques for nearly 20 years in a 24-hour workout facility equipped with helpful staff and parent-friendly childcare. Designed for students of all skill sets, 25 weekly classes sling supportive group workouts that make muscles burn with satisfaction, like an insult uttered from the lips of a sarcastic fire swallower. Spinning students pedal toward fitness goals atop Johnny G bikes, as Zumba workouts incite a metabolic brushfire with fiery dance moves inspired by salsa, samba, and tango. Like a three-legged race with Sigmund Freud, yoga classes unite both mind and body with sinew-stretching poses, strength work, and focusing exercises, and Absolute Abs chisels cement-like stomachs with 15 minutes of intense core-centric conditioning. Consult the class schedule for specific dates and times.
Holding true to their Middle Eastern culinary roots, the chefs at Le Pine Restaurant make all their pita bread in-house—evident from the char marks on the wall above the oven, but not above the radiator. Using this bread, the chefs assemble traditional sandwiches such as chickpea falafel and spicy chicken shawarma, which they serve alongside marinated fish, seasoned lamb kabobs, and traditional side dishes such as fatteh and moudamas. The restaurant's faithful take on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine has been featured in publications such as Miami New Times. And yet Le Pine's menus aren't entirely limited to that part of the world: complementing the dishes are a range of international red and white wines from Chile, France, and California.