Rodriguez: A good local place is Caffe Abbracci. It's a great spot right in Coral Gables. I've been going there for years.
American Way: Women everywhere were crushed when you got married in 2002. Where do you recommend going for a romantic night out?
Rodriguez: I would go back to the place where my wife, Cynthia, and I got engaged: the Astor Place at the Hotel Astor in Miami Beach. The Hotel Astor is a beautiful, old art-deco building that was redone in the '90s. The restaurant is romantic, and the food and service are great.
American Way: Miami has a combination of great old hotels and luxurious new developments. Which do you recommend for a weekend getaway?
Rodriguez: I'll give you three options, depending on what you want to do. If you want to have fun, I'd go to Loews Hotel down at the beach. Besides being right on the water, it's close to the Lincoln Road Mall and the Art Deco District. If you're looking for a place that's more family-oriented and more private, I'd suggest the Key Biscayne Ritz-Carlton. If you want to be centrally located, I'd go to the Mandarin Oriental hotel downtown. The Mandarin has excellent views of Biscayne Bay and a great restaurant called Azul.
American Way: Miami is famous for South Beach. Do you have any favorite nightspots down there?
Rodriguez: I'm not a nightclub guy, so I'm the wrong person to ask. There's a lot of hype about South Beach, but I really enjoy the Coconut Grove area. It's quaint, there are more locals, and I used to go there a lot as a kid. It's really what I'd call Old Miami. From time to time they have live bands down there, and there are several bars with nice outside seating areas.
American Way: Miami is a great sports town. Do you still follow your hometown teams?