April 04, 2013

The South Beach Food Tour: Lunch Edition

large group at bolivar

So what exactly is the South Beach Food Tour? Curated by Miami Culinary Tours, it is a two and half hour immersion into the melting pot that is Miami Beach. Led by passionate food lovers, guests hop around from five star gourmet to hole-in-the-wall restaurants, trying bites from a variety of cultures. While the focus is on food, the knowledgeable guides also give visitors insight into the art and architecture of the area, the renowned Art Deco District.

The tour begins at 660 At The Angler’s where Latin chef Carlos Torres presents one of his signature dishes, the scallop tiradito- thinly sliced scallops combined with passion fruit, aji amarillo chile, red onion, garlic chip, avocado, cilantro and lemon oil. Are you a vegetarian? No problem as the tour can accommodate guests of all sorts. Here, vegetarians are treated to Andalusian gazpacho, a chilled tomato-based soup originating from Spain that Chef Torres does better than most.

This first tasting is certain to leave you wanting more and next up is Bolivar, a Latin restaurant serving dishes found all across South America. As the owner Jairo hails from Colombia, here you get a Colombian sampling of two great dishes- an empanada and patacon con carne, shredded beef patacones, paired with a traditional alcohol beverage called refajo, a mixture of Colombian beer and fruity cream soda. It is important to note that here the empanada is made with corn flour and fried, a good comparison to the wheat and oven-baked kind sampled later on at Charlotte’s Bakery.

Then, it is time to walk a little and hear about the interesting history of Miami Beach before paying tribute to Old Havana at The Tudor House. Here, guests get a bite of a Cuban sandwich with a gourmet twist. Instead of traditional ham and Swiss cheese, this version is made with pulled pork, bacon, Gruyere cheese, mustard and homemade pickled cucumbers.

The Cuban tastings do not end there; the next stop is Miami Beach landmark David’s Café. The tour stops by la ventanita, or “the little window,” for a Cuban coffee served the traditional way. This is the same place many celebrities come for their coffee fix when visiting.

One cannot talk about Miami Beach without mentioning the Versace Mansion, and after that, a few other notorious spots including the site of the movie Birdcage, Something about Mary, and of course, Don Johnson’s Miami Vice.

Then comes a unique experience at Miami Beach Caffé and Restaurant where guests experience an amuse-bouche, literally translating to “mouth amuse,” from a Michelin star trained chef. The dish changes every time, as Chef Munzar crafts his perfect bite based on what is fresh that day; however, what comes next, liquid nitrogen ice cream, is a guaranteed treat every tour. Within seconds, the staff creates creamy and delicious strawberry ice cream using liquid nitrogen in front of your eyes. This is one of the few places in Miami to see such a spectacle, making this a real highlight on the tour.

Before the grand finale, you pop into aforementioned Charlotte’s Bakery to try a chicken empanada made the Argentinian way. This hole-in-the-wall shop is a true gem in the neighborhood that would probably never be found if tourists searched on their own.

The tour ends on a sweet note at Milani Gelateria, owned by Franchesco and Mauro from Torino, Italy. Here they offer a variety of gelato flavors including hazelnut and pistachio, referred to as “green gold,” that come straight from Italy, while all the fruits, such as the mango and strawberries, are grown locally.

Armed with newfound knowledge of the area and all the diverse food the beach has to offer, guests can go on and enjoy the great culinary offerings of Miami thanks to their South Beach Food Tour. As the dining landscape changes daily, you can expect the tour to alter along with it; however, great bites and a knowledgeable guide are always guaranteed, ensuring this to be a tour to always remember.


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