You know how sometimes you end up on a food tour even when you’re not a foodie? It’s not always about the food; it’s about the ambiance, the experience, and most importantly, the company.
Enter Miami: as I embarked upon a South Beach adventure, I hopped onto a four-hour culinary tour to experience the local flavors of southern Florida. Miami’s a huge port for 13 cruise brands and over 30 different ships (it’s the world’s largest cruise port, with more passengers traveling through its terminal than any other port in the world), and food tours are a huge point of interest for cruise passengers tacking on a weekend pre- or post-cruise to experience Latin flavors of South Beach while learning about the art deco architecture, the history, and heritage that make the flavors come alive.
One of the highlights from the tour was Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen and their Cuban pastry. The drawback about food tours is not being able to order your own dish, but the good part, of course, is getting to sample a variety and learn the back story of how the food relates to the area. Another good aspect for this selective eater is not having to eat all of it. Living up to its name, the Cuban pastry is flaky indeed, but the inside filling is made with sweetened fruit pulp. After one bite, let’s just say I’d been there, done that, and into the trash it went.
Another stop during the feast was The Café at Books and Books. The bookstore has nine locations and this one near Lincoln Road Mall boasts a quaint café. What better place to barely nibble on exotic dishes? Okay, I tried the salsa. Let’s just say it had a unique taste. Actually, the ceviche, black bean hummus, grilled corn salad, and avocado salsa were all quite good. The salsa was different than the New York City type in that it tasted a little dry but it was a nice quick bite before heading onto another destination.
Perhaps the best and most refreshing stop was The Frieze Ice Cream Factory. They’ve been around since July 4, 1987 and suffice it to say, they know a thing or two about ice cream and sorbets. Yours truly enjoyed a cookies ‘n cream scoop in a cup, but after trying a sample of the sorbet made with real fruit (various flavors include mango, raspberry, strawberry, and key lime), I’ll definitely be back.
All in all, even for picky eaters food tours are fun, educational, and entertaining. And cruising on the highway listening to the Miami Sound Machine amidst sunshine was one of those moments, in addition to the Frieze, that you just want to savor.