This was originally posted on my primary blog – The Hungry Goddess … for all of you South Florida Locals – let me know about any fun local tours or events that you like to attend!
I may be the Hungry Goddess but upon completing the completely fabulous South Beach Culinary Tour with Miami Culinary Tours – I was SATED!
Thursday was, quite simply, a dream day. I took the day off ( for the first time since Easter I think) and headed to Miami with my Mom and my cousin who was visiting from Delaware. Although I live in South Florida, I am about an hour to an hour and a half away from Miami so while I drool over the Miami food blogs, I rarely make the trek. That is ALL changing so be ready for more Miami food posts!
We scheduled with Miami Culinary Tours on recommendation from Eleanor Hoh ( you remember the Wok Star Goddess!). We chose the South Beach tour since it was during the week and the cost was $59 per person – the tour was 2.5 hours on South Beach. Frankly, for the quality, amount of food and time, the price was a super bargain. I would have paid double that and felt like I got my money’s worth.
Our guide was Mirka who was AMAZING – friendly, warm, knowledgeable and HIGH energy! She was a font of information on Miami and Florida history, South Beach history, food history and roots and she knows where to eat! Her family is from Argentina so her personal knowledge and stories were fantastically interesting.
There was not one place that I would not return again and again. Our visits ranged from Columbian to Peruvian to Top Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Italian. Miami is a multi-cultural powerhouse and we got to taste the flavors that contribute to that diversity. The Miami Culinary Tour was super organized – we arrived at each place and were greeted by the staff and/or owners who were ready for us – food and drinks were placed before us with barely waiting and everything was delectable!
I could go on and on but I believe that pictures are worth thousands of words – so check out the slideshow below and if you are coming to Miami – SCHEDULE YOUR MIAMI CULINARY TOUR. Seriously – this is one of the MUST-DO things for Miami. I can’t wait to go back and do the Little Havana tour and in the future, all of my guests will be treated to one of Miami Culinary Tours. They are THAT good.
Thank you to Mirka and Miami Culinary Tours – you made my day off an absolute delight!
The Food and Places on the South Beach Miami Culinary Tour
Stop 1 – Bolivar – South American cuisine
Bright and funky vibe and they even have a little stage for entertainment.
We were served a Refajo – a mixture of beer and a Colombian soda. It sounds weird but it was SO delicious and refreshing. Get out of the sun and try this!
The food was an empanada and a fried plantain topped with pulled chicken and complemented with a spicy pepper sauce. Crispy, flavorful and worth going back again and again!
Stop #2 – Goyo Peruvian Cuisine and Lounge
Goyo is completely unassuming from the outside. Step through the doors on Washington Avenue and you are in a long and narrow space with a modern vibe and orange walls and purple lights and a bar at the end.
Waiting for us on the bar was Vuelve a la Vida: Peruvian ceviche that is made of fresh diced fish and seafood,cooked in a delicate pool of lime juice mixed with crunchy celery hearts, young red onions, choclo (large white Peruvian corn), canchita (Peruvian fried corn) and exotic Peruvian spices. I am a huge ceviche fan but this floored me and I love the Peruvian corns!
Mirka shared the multi-cultural influences on Peruvian food – Asian, African – I had no idea but it blend beautifully and Peru has certainly made it their own. Next we got to try Chaufa: a mix of fried rice with vegetables, usually including Chinese onions, eggs, and meat and then topped with a mouthwatering and spicy Peruvian Aji Green Sauce. The rice was good – the sauce was incredible and I am actually craving it now!
Stop #3 – Tudor House by Geoffrey Zakarian
I love Geoffrey Zakarian (@gzchef on twitter)- I watch him on Chopped and Iron Chef and I love his coolness, expertise and quick grins and humor that peek through at certain moments. Now, I also know that I love his food. We were ushered into the cool and welcoming lobby of the Dream South Beach Hotel which is where Tudor House is located.
Tudor House is Geoffrey Zakarian’s new restaurant on South Beach (@TudorHouseMiami on twitter). Jamie DeRosa is the Executive Chef (@JamieDeRosa on twitter). The bars were once the check-in and concierge counter for the Tudor Hotel back in the 1930′s. The restaurant has honored the history of the space and is still so Miami with a combo modern and art deco feel.
We were served an elevated pressed Cuban Sandwich – prepared with pork belly, gruyere cheese and pickled cucumbers – OH YES! Pork Belly anything sends my tastebuds into paroxysms of delight – this sandwich delivered. On the side were house made chips that were perfect (although I could not eat more than two to taste). Dessert was a House Made Kit Kat Bar. Let me say that again – a House Made Kit Kat Bar sprinkled with sea salt. I would go back JUST for that. Dreamy!
Tudor House Brunch is exactly the reason I needed to go to South Beach for a long weekend and spend my Sunday morning here!
Stop #4 – David’s Cafe
As we stood at the window at David’s Cafe, Mirka educated us on the different ways that Cuban Coffee is served and prepared. Our stop here included Colado – a larger cup of Cuban coffee (espresso brewed with sugar- Cafecito) that is served with tiny cups and meant to be shared.
If you add steamed milk to the sweetened espresso, it is called a Cortadito. A Cortado is espresso and steamed milk but not pre-sweetened. A Cafe con Leche (also my personal favorite) is Cafecito that is poured into a cup of hot milk – the traditional Cuban version may also include some salt and a dab of butter.
David’s cafe delivered a perfect cafecito and if you are in the area, they advertise the BEST Cafe con Leche in Miami!
@DavidsCafeWorld on Twitter
Stop #5 – Jerry’s Famous Deli
For me, Jerry’s Famous Deli is famous because they took over two of Miami’s mainstay deli restaurants – Wolfie’s and Rascal House. Mirka assured us that the menu is still of the same quality and we just did a quick pop in to pick up some Pecan Turtle Cookies. Perfect timing for a little sweet treat!
Stop #6 – Charlotte Bakery
Stepping into Charlotte Bakery is like sitting in your Grandmother’s kitchen – inviting, friendly and the smells are transporting! The menu and pastry case were overwhelming (in a good way) for the array of mouthwatering offers. The family that owns Charlotte Bakery is originally from Santiago, Chile but they prepare a variety of Venezuelan, Argentine, Chilean, Colombian and other Latin-American foods. Charlotte Bakery has been featured on the Cooking Channel and the Food Network and after eating their empanada – I know WHY!
They are well-known for their famous empanadas which was what we experienced – a steaming hot, straight-from-the-oven beef empanada that made me weak in the knees – A perfect combo of crust and steamy flavorful filling. I brought half of it home and it was just as delicious heated up later in the evening.
Stop #7 – Cevichery Restobar
Cevichery made me want to move to Espanola Way so I could visit them regularly! You see, I can be bribed by an amazing Pisco Sour which was crafted for us by the barkeep-by-day-cook-by-night Andre (who was also an incredible source of Peruvian Culinary History!). Pisco is a grape brandy/spirit produced in the winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. But don’t talk about Chile at Cevichery – NO! :) Prior to my visit, I had only had a Chilean Pisco and Pisco Sour. Andre converted me – Peruvian Pisco Sours are better … it is a combo of the Pisco, simple syrup, egg whites and bitters – recipes vary so if you want the Pisco Sour that could make me a permanent barfly, visit Cevichery in Miami.
After sipping our glorious Pisco Sours, we were presented with Causa de Camaron – a stunning bite of Yukon Gold potatoes pressed and seasoned with aji amarillo, lime juice and salt. Topped with rocoto mayonnaise and a sauteed shrimp. Did you get all that? Seriously, I could rent an apartment on the street and write about Pisco Sours and Causa de Camaron forever. I will be returning ASAP to get the full experience for sure!
Stop #8 – Milani Gelateria
By this point in the South Miami Culinary Tour, I was really wishing for someone to carry me from place to place – so when the final stop was right next door to Cevichery, I almost cheered. OK, I did cheer – it was GELATO after all!
The owner of Milani Gelateria, Francesco Pasqua welcomed us personally and talked about his gelato which he had made that morning. I have NEVER seen such a cool gelato case and this was the consenses:
Milani Gelateria has the BEST GELATO that I have ever had. Period. And I was not the only one who said it.
I had banana – I tasted my Mom’s pistachio and my cousin’s Bacio (Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut). THE BEST GELATO EVER. And the Perfect End to a Perfect Culinary Tour.
To all those who are planning on attending – remember to wear good walking shoes, apply sunscreen and bring some water – Miami is HOT HOT HOT!
I hope you enjoyed your bird’s eye view of The Hungry Goddess eating South Beach!
Have you been on a good culinary tour??? Share your link!