And I love to hear what locals say about their favorite places, I know, I am weird like that but when I get questions about were to eat and what to try, I go all out because, honestly, I always think that when I go to other cities, I would like to hear where to go from a local that talks or writes directly to me, I like to receive personalized emails, it makes me feel better. And yes, you can read top 10 restaurants in Miami on Google until you are a 110, but really, wouldn’t you rather have a personal food concierge?

That’s it! I will call myself  “your personal Miami food concierge” – because you can ask me anything you want.

Warning: I do not hold a degree in culinary arts, I cannot even boil corn, you should not have me guess the name of ingredients on a dish, but what I can do is eat, dining out makes me happy. What I think I developed through the years is a good sense of what good food taste like, partly because I was raised by a woman who can seriously cook (my mom), partly because I worked in the publishing industry and spend 4 years going to eat at the best restaurants in Miami, partly because half of my corporate job salaries have always gone into food (I know, it’s sad).

And how do I know that I have a good sense of what good food is? Because when I recommend a place to people, I hear often “oh wow, that place and that dish you recommended was to give up your life for” – and so comments like that year after year help you build-up some thick skin (yeah, like the one pigs get when roasted the Cuban way). I know what good food taste like, it could be a $60 entree or a $5 one (well, maybe $10). In fact, the idea of starting with Miami Culinary Tours was partly because when friends and family come to visit us, they always ask me to take them to the “best Cuban restaurant” “best seafood” “best of whatever you know…” And so I craft food tours that showcase the best of the best (ok, that was a little bit of advertisement, I know, unnecessary)

So Tracy wanted to attend one of my food tours but I was not able to accommodate her and so she asked me what to do, where to go – and I send her a very detail email. Tracy was special to me because I asked her if she would want to share her food experiences with me after she returned home, and she did! and she was so nice to write the details.

Here it goes… (please note I have asked Tracy if I can publish her email which she said it was okay – you legal weirdos)

“Miami was great, besides the hot and humid weather. I very much prefer the dry heat we have here in Las Vegas.

However, Miami did not disappoint. Unfortunately we weren’t able to go to all the places we wanted to go…eating wise. For some reason the plates we were ordering were huge, so we only found ourselves eating once, maybe twice a day.We were that full!

Being that we got there late, we went to La Moon in Miami and decided to try their La Moon Perro. Or at least I think that is what it was called. Have you been there yet? You should try it if you haven’t. Hot dog was different, sweet yet savory…big too!

We did go to the Palacio de Los Jugos. Boy is that market busy!!!! We could barely get by. Being that I wasn’t familiar with the cuisine, it was hard to order. One of the girls there did help me which was great. We got the lechon (which was delish), and some type of beef with potatoes, arroz con pollo, the other rice with black beans, yucca, and some other dish that was made with bananas and meat? Anyhow, it was all delicious. We got so much food for $20, that we ate off of what we took back to the hotel for 3 days. Definitely got our moneys worth.

We ate a ton of empanadas, jugos, you name it. How I wish we would have been hungrier to try more the places you suggested. We did end up going to Michael’s Genuine. That was very nice! Don’t know if you have been, but the roasted egg yolk with Gruyere cheese was to die for!! Also had some ceviche, roasted bone marrow, and some type of pasta. I really wanted to try their desserts. I had seen 3 different Food Network Chefs say their favorite desserts (out of all the places in the world) where from Michaels.

I unfortunately didn’t have any more space to try any of them.

We didn’t end up going to the steak house for dinner Saturday night. Instead of spending a few hundred dollars on dinner, we decided to go to Key West for 2 days. If you ever go, try Colombian Grace. I had their Trio Eggs Benedict, which included a crab cake, lobster, and sweet Key West shrimp. To die for!!! So is their Sangria.

We also tried Jimmyz Kitchen, somewhere off Alton and 15th I think. Their fajita salad is huge and so good! I got it with steak, Peter with Chicken, sodas, and a slice of their pina colada cheesecake all for $30!!! The salad had cilantro ranch dressing, grilled veggies, cheese, corn, black beans, etc. I also tried their Mofongo there. I had heard a lot about Mofongo, and honestly it’s something I probably wont order again. Not that it wasn’t good, I just know there’s better food out there.

How I wish I had gone to D. Rodriguez Cuba, and Sabor De Peru. We simply had just ran out of $ at the end of our stay. I really wanted to try the tiradito and green sauce you suggested. Peter wanted to go to D. Rodriguez Cuba as much as I did, but knew it would be costly to go. So perhaps next time around we will make it a point to go. I will definitely keep your email for future reference, and if we do ever go again I will STILL book both tours with you 🙂 Once again, thank you for everything.”

Sincerely,

Tracy Zamudio

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Comments

Gee, I finally figured out how to add an image to this DISQUS thing, I think I will change this plug in on the blog, it just bugs me. Anyways, oh Pisco Sour! it reminds me of my mother, she LOVED those. Okay, now, I MUST visit these two places you mentioned, I will try to make it over there this week as I am close to downtown Miami. I will report my experience. Maybe El Gran Inka has good pisco sour? Have you been there? I went to the one on Aventura, although a bit more upscale (and with that comes the price) it is a good place and they have a full bar, maybe they craft good Pisco sours there.
Cheers, Grace

Jordan says:

I have – and I swear by Ceviche 105 but I haven’t gone to Sabor de Peru too many times so I should sample around more of their offerings.

Ceviche 105 has good ceviche, but I also like their chaufa rice, pescado a lo macho, and of course their ceviches. Their other offerings are good and the prices and portions are good as well (the last Thursdays is a fun time but I do think they charge a bit more for the special event – but really, it’s a fun atmosphere that’s unparalleled at other Peruvian restaurants I’ve been to).

Unfortunately I still haven’t found a place with pisco sour at a good price. Ceviche 105 has a good rendition but they’re not as affordable as I’d like to see them be. But since it’s already a downtown hotspot, I may be asking for too much.

Meanwhile, other Peruvian to try – La Licuadora, also in downtown Miami. But for different reasons. They have a great tasting rotisserie chicken, South American style. And I’m also fond of their version Peruvian tamales and the tilapia they have there, with seafood.

For tourists though, I always point them to Ceviche 105 because of the added “chic” New York style ambience, extensive menu, and authenticity. Just what they need to see, to have a feeling that Peruvian is a widely accepted cuisine in Miami (a stark contrast to Chalan on the Beach where both the food and the ambience seem to be an afterthought).

Miami Culinary Tours says:

I am obsessed with Peruvian cuisine – have you tried El Sabor De Peru on 30th & Biscayne? It is affordable, the portions can be split in two meals, and their tomato soup with seafood could is exceptional. I have heard many times about Ceviche 105 in downtown Miami. I will make it there this coming week and I’ll be doing a post. Thanks you for sharing!

Jordan says:

I’ve tried Gelateria Parmalat and as much as I love the tiramisu flavor there, my new favorite gelato spot will have to be 4D in South Pointe. Get the bosco di fruitti, mango, and chocolate scoops together and it’s heaven on earth!

And for Peruvian, I still think Ceviche 105 in downtown Miami is the place to be (especially during the last Thursdays of the month when they get live music and specials going – try their special-only-for-that-date Chica roll!)

Miami Culinary Tours says:

Thanks for sharing – I will check them out, I am familiar with Gelateria Parmalat but not the Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin, so that one will be my next quest.
Cheers,
Grace

Gina says:

I found two priceless culinary gems on a recent trip to Miami: Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin in North Miami Beach serves up the tastiest Caribbean American cuisine this side of heaven. And I fell head-over-heals in love with the fruit sorbet at Gelateria Parmalat. It’s so creamy, it tastes like it’s made with dairy, but they swear it’s only fruit and water. Cuhrazy!