This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending another Miami Culinary Tour on South Beach. During this 2.5 hour tour we dined at 5 local restaurants within a 2 mile block of Ocean Drive, took in the sights as we worked off the delicious foods and got some history lessons from our tour hostess Elizabeth. Elizabeth did a great job hosting this tour, she is a resident of this beautiful city and is also attending culinary school so she was able to give great insight on the food, the ingredient used as well as facts about the history of South Beach and the restaurants we visited. So off we were to our first stop!
The tour started at Bolivar Restaurant located at 841 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Fl 33139. Here we tried a delicious passion fruit ceviche, beef and potato empanada paired with a Refajo drink. The ceviche, of course, was my favorite and so flavorful! The ceviche is marinated with passion fruit juice giving it a nice sweetness. The empanada came with a spicy sauce that was AMAZING!!! I love spicy food so this was a nice spin on an empanada that I would usually eat by itself. Now you know that I don’t like beer, but that doesn’t stop me from trying beers from different countries; I mean you never know when you might find one that you like. The Refajo is mixed with an aguila beer and cream Columbiana soda. To my surprise it’s not as bitter as most beers, I liked that the cream soda added to the beer gives it more of a “root beer” kind of taste.
Next, we walked over to a family favorite of mine, Larios On The Beach located at 820 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Fl 33139. This restaurant is owned by famous Hispanic artist, Gloria Estefan. Here we enjoyed a beef ropa vieja, plantain chips and garlic mojo sauce paired with a delicious red wine sangria. I had very high hopes when I found out this restaurant was on the list, as I had never been to this location before, I was expecting authentic Hispanic style food and that was exactly what I got. The ropa vieja was delicious and paired with the plantain chips and garlic mojo sauce it created the perfect bite! And of course the sangria was so refreshing!
Next, we were off to The Tides South Beach located at 1220 Ocean Drive. Miami Beach, Fl 33139. I had been to this hotel on a tour once before but was not able to try the food, so to hear that we were going to try some exclusive food, I was excited! Here we enjoyed a Chicken Curry Couscous (which is not available on the menu, it was exclusive to the tour) paired with a glass of Pinot Grigio. I am Jamaican and Haitian so curry is nothing new to me but this curry wasn’t what I was use too. The best way to describe this yellow curry is to compare it to a curry mustard you would get at a Chicken Kitchen. I also wasn’t too familiar with Couscous but it was a great substitute for the traditional rice option.
Our second to last stop was at Block’s Pizza Deli located at 1447 Washington Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139. The motto of this deli is “Blocks Pizza Deli is all about freshness, we make artisanal roman style pizza one “block” at a time”. That statement could not be any more accurate! Here we tried Panouzzo with spinach, Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and a homemade pesto. I was amazed at how all the ingredients blended so well together. It was so fresh, light and flavorful and to think there was no meat in it, I was ready to become a vegetarian and live solely off this dish. Aside from the ceviche and empanada I have earlier in the tour this was definitely my favorite new dish on the tour.
Grace always makes sure that once we have tried all the delicious variety of foods, we get something sweet to end the tour off right! So for dessert we headed toward Espanola way to Milani Gelateria located at 436 Espanola Way, Miami Beach, FL 33139, were we enjoyed delicious authentic Italian gelato.
At the end of this tour, it was safe to say that everyone was HAPPY and FULL! Thank you Miami Culinary Tour for doing a fantastic job hosting this tour. This was an afternoon very well spent!
For those of you wanting to try this tour here are some tips I thought might be helpful to know:
1 – Dress light and wear comfy shoes – This is a walking tour. We walked about 2 miles around Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue so comfort is everything!
2 – Check the weather – Miami Culinary Tour tours rain or shine and living in Miami you can never be too safe. So pack your jackets and umbrella just in case.
3 – Do not eat before the tour – There are so many foods and drinks to try there is not need to eat before. Save room for the delicious foods.
4 – Find a garage parking – For this tour in particular it’s cheaper to park in the parking garages. There are 2 parking garages located on Washington Avenue. Look for the “P” signs on the road, they will help you locate the garages. Street parking is approx. $4 per hour yikes!!