Meet the author Jen Karetnick in Miami

Jen Karetnick author of the 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami
Jen Karetnick

Jen Karetnick is a dining critic, lifestyle journalist, poet and educator based in Miami. Since 1992, Jen has published 15 books, including the cookbook Mango (2014), and contributed to both consumer and literary outlets including,, Guernica, Miami Herald, Relish, and USA Today. She works as the dining critic for MIAMI Magazine and as the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter School. After a quarter of a century in Miami, she still adores it as fiercely as she did when she arrived, and is always searching for the latest Miami secret to share, making her the perfect author for The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami.

What Jen loves most about Miami

"This city is confounding to a lot of people. The weather changes from dry and hot to wet and hot; the lifestyle is New York-business-meets-laid-back-Caribbean; the mix of languages don’t always make for a meeting of the minds. I feel fondness for all of it. I thrive in the heat, don’t take offense easily, and believe that you can always communicate with facial expressions and hand gestures. But what entertains me most about Miami is its constant state of growth and flux. It’s simply never boring. Nature has always provided something to do, whether it’s sluicing through the water or trekking through the Everglades. Now the arts, shopping and dining options have caught up, providing world-class opportunities for fun. The latest discovery is always just around the corner—or, since we’re talking about Miami, under the next wave or falling from the nearest fruit tree."


Jen’s perfect day in the city might look like this

"Assuming my daughter is home from college and it’s not soccer season for my son, the four of us will head to an early morning class at Breathe Pilates in the MiMo District/Upper East Side. After working on our core, we’ll fill it up during brunch at Prime Fish, a South Beach restaurant that serves a phenomenal spread complemented by cocktails. My husband will have the unlimited Bloody Marys. I’ll have a couple - okay, several - Bellinis."

kiosk on the beach of TKS Miami Watersports
TKS Miami Watersports

"Afterward, my daughter and I will not be able to resist a stroll to LF Miami, which offers the hippest fashions for young women (and their somewhat acceptable moms!) about six blocks from Prime Fish. My son and husband will spend that time renting stand-up paddleboards from TKSMIAMI Watersports South Beach location. Reunited before leaving the beach, we will end up with a stroll down memory lane - i.e. Lincoln Road Mall - from which my husband and I lived two blocks away for eight years before our children were sentient beings. There, we’ll probably pop into the Nike superstore, which contains a basketball court and mini soccer field where you can try out the shoes before you purchase them."

"On the way home we’ll stop at Legion Park and walk around the Upper Eastside Farmers Market to score some organic veg, then head to Proper Sausages to stock up on some artisanal food for the grill. If we’re still full from brunch and it’s stone crab season, we may opt from something lighter and hit up the Blue Runner Seafood truck for a couple of pounds of claws, smoked fish dip and homemade ceviche."

Blue Runner seafood truck
Blue Runner Seafood Truck

"If the mangoes are falling from our 14 trees, however, and it’s time to get to work making salsa, jam and breads, preserving that summer freshness, we might decide to order in a pizza from Evio’s Pizza & Grill. That’s when the kids will head out to places like Ninja Lounge, a trampoline facility in North Miami, and The Miami Beach EDITION, a luxury hotel that has bowling lanes, an ice skating rink and a DJ on its lowest level, for more physical activity with their friends. If we feel like a night out, though, we’ll head with our friends to the innovative outdoor concept, Wynwood Yardwhere we can listen to live music (like a Grateful Dead cover band) and peruse food trucks for craft beer, wine, and locally sourced food."