Friday, January 25, 2013

Miami Food Tours

Seeing Miami through the eyes
of a tourist!
As a tourist in a foreign place, I love taking tours and learning a little bit about the culture and the dynamics that make each city I visit unique. Although Miami is a melting pot of everything from cultural diversity to gastronomical fusions, I often overlook some of the things that make the Magic City pulsate simply because I've lived here all my life. A few months ago I enjoyed a culinary tour that gave me a glimpse into the ins and outs of South Beach, and just last week, I experienced another food tour that truly inspired me to appreciate the essence of my hometown: Miami Food Tours.

Bet you don't know the story behind this historic sign.
Book a Miami Food Tour and find out.

Miami Food Tours was founded by Kelly Woodward in 2010, after realizing how much she enjoyed sitting at the cafes and local dining spots in the over 20 countries she's traveled to. Having a background in the architectural field, many of Kelly's conversations in these picturesque cafes revolved around the topic of architecture and history. She decided to share this passion with others through the heart and soul of every culture- its cuisine. Thus, Miami Food Tours was born and ever since, Kelly and her staff have been curating SoBe Tour des Forks, a lunch tour that highlights the Art Deco District from Lincoln Road to Espanola Way and Ocean Drive for both tourists and locals alike. Introducing people to hidden gems through mouth-watering tastings in 5 different stops, Kelly brings to life the rich history of how Miami Beach became the hot spot it is today.

The Cafe at Books & Books
Our tour guide was Kelly herself. Right at the onset of our tour, Kelly told us she had three goals: that we learn a little about the history and architecture of Miami Beach, have a great time in the process, and walk out with a satisfied tummy. I am happy to say all of Kelly's goals were met- and then some. Our first stop was The Cafe at Books & Books on Lincoln Road. Founded by two pioneers of the South Florida scene, innovative Chef Bernie Matz and book store guru Mitchell Kaplan, Cafe at Books & Books combines the Miami Nouveau cuisine of Matz with the literary passion of Kaplan; all in a trendy South Beach ambiance. Kelly explained the interesting beginnings of this establishment as well as the inspiration behind Matz's healthy cuisine.  At this stop we had a sampler consisting of Mexican Inspired Ceviche, Black Bean Hummus, Avocado Salsa and Roasted Corn Salad. The Latin influences this chef is known for were evident in every bite. After a few minutes of people watching and fun conversation, we headed out to our next stop.

   Lincoln Road Landscape. Look carefully at the picture. What do you
see in some of the branches, and in a tiny hole at the top of the trunk?

Along the way, Kelly explained some history and culture. One of the main things that stood out for me was how she brought the information to life; taking us through the peaks and valleys of Lincoln Road's existence by way of Carl Fisher, the Father of Miami Beach. Between stops, she told us the story of his life, accentuating the romantic elements and the tragedies that shaped and transformed this famous neighborhood. I was captivated. So much so, that as soon as I got home, I went straight to Google.  I wanted to keep learning more about this interesting side of my city and the people who shaped it. But back to the food, our next stop was Abuela's Kitchen, for a guava and cheese "pastelito" and a "colada". The others in the group were tourists and we had so much fun talking about the many different customs and traditions we were able to find just walking up and down these streets.

Cheers! - the Miami way!

After that Cuban java jolt, we moved on to our third stop, a Brazilian restaurant known as Boteco Copacabana. In Brazil, the term "boteco" refers to a hangout spot where friends can go have some cold drinks and tasty appetizers. It is relaxing and low-key and a great place for a Caipirinha. Once I bit into the tasty Coxinha and drank the sweet, refreshing Cashew Juice, I felt like I was really in Copacabana; a section in Rio right next to Ipanema. The mix of shredded chicken with the spices and cheese in the Coxinha was mind blowing.

A piece of Brazil on Espanola Way

Lomo Saltado
A must try!
Continuing the fascinating story as we admired some distinct architectural designs, we made our way over to a Peruvian spot called Chalan on the Beach. I must tell you this was my favorite stop. We tasted two dishes: the Ceviche and the Lomo Saltado. Both dishes were superb. The flavors were very authentic and pleasing to the palate. It was also very interesting to learn about the generosity of its owner and how much he gave back to his country.


By this point, I wasn't sure I could have another bite. The portions were generous throughout the tour and I was extremely satisfied. However, once we crossed the street, and I saw stop number five, I knew I'd make room for a little dessert. It was The Frieze Ice Cream Factory, home to some homemade kosher ice cream. There were plenty of flavors to choose from and I indulged my sweet and salty addiction with the Salty Caramel.  Creamy and sweet with a hint of saltiness, it was a happy ending to a foodgasmic day.

A cool ending, sort of speak?

The lunch tour lasted about three hours and we walked for approximately 1.5 miles. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious and representative of our city, and Kelly made the whole adventure come together. If you're from out of town and want to experience Miami though your taste buds, this is one great way to do it. For more information, visit Miami Food Tours online at


  1. Simply, admirable what you have done here. It is pleasing to look you express from the heart and your clarity on this significant content can be easily looked. Remarkable post and will look forward to your future update.

    Miami food tours

  2. Good post. When visiting Miami, it would probably be good to consider a food tour. Your guide can show you the best spots in town.