miami art culinary scene tour

Touring the Miami Art and Culinary Scenes

Of course my stay in Miami was waaaaaay too short. How could it be long enough when I only had one night, following the conclusion of the iHeartRadio Pool Party. I could have spent two nights or more just learning about the Art Deco in Miami. I did learn this, the city has the largest collection of preserved Art Deco buildings anywhere, with more than 1,200 buildings considered to be part of the Preservation League or National Register of Historic Places. But it’s a Miami food tour that I want to tell you about this time…20140702-114526-42326855.jpgI’ll just have to go back again. And leave plenty of time to sate my Art Deco-loving heart on the next go round.

This time, my art-loving and food-addicted heart did fly away fully sated. And here’s why…

I started with a Miami Culinary Tour of South Beach that included Latin, Italian and Cuban restaurants all owned independently and run by families or couples who have made Miami their home. People who live and work in the city every day. In other words, they aren’t “snow birds.” I loved this about the tour. And I loved our adorable Danish guide who was so enthusiastic about Miami’s food scene that she reminded me of myself when you mention the words, ‘salted caramel’ … on a good day I lose my shit. On a bad day, don’t get between me and it before I get my first bite.

Ok, she wasn’t as crazy as me. But she loved food. And therefore I liked her and could relate to her passion. A shared one in this case.

We visited:
Bolivar for Portuguese Empanadas and Ceviche
Manolo’s for Churros
Habanos for a Pork Sandwich
Charlotte’s Bakery for an Argentinian Empanada
Block’s Deli for the Sun Dried Hippie Pocket
and Milani Gelateria for Creme Carmel and Nutella Gelato20140702-114752-42472238.jpg20140702-114751-42471947.jpg20140702-114751-42471070.jpg20140702-114751-42471360.jpg20140702-114751-42471650.jpg20140702-114752-42472525.jpg
I died.

Of food-induced happiness.

The next day I went on a driving tour of greater Miami with fun women of Levy Communications and the highlight was finally getting to visit the Wynwood Arts District, which everyone — literally everyone — who had found out that I would be visiting Miami, had told me I needed to visit.

It lived up the hype, which I didn’t expect. In terms of size, it’s the largest dedicated area I’ve ever seen for large-scale mural art works and street art. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of painted works of art covering outside walls, inside walls and all kinds of surfaces. The area was once quite run down and problematic but it was created specifically out of the rubble of a troubled time to bring restored life and positive activity to the area and that effort has succeeded. Walking around now, you can hardly picture that the area could have ever been less than ideal. The word “hipster” came to mind as I was walking around after lunch but instead of the usual negative connotation, I felt a very positive one in my mind. If I lived in Miami, I’d visit for every Art Walk and probably many days in between.

Speaking of food, our lunch at the Wynwood Kitchen — where large murals by Shepard Fairey and Christian Awe are the perfect backdrop to a colorful and spicy menu that favors Latin flavors — was a delight.20140702-115147-42707132.jpg20140702-115148-42708087.jpg20140702-115147-42707438.jpg20140702-115146-42706800.jpg20140702-115147-42707786.jpgI cannot wait to return to Miami so I can explore the city in an even deeper and more meaningful way. I know I only saw 1/100 of what it has to offer. And I didn’t even make it to Anthony Bourdain’s favorite dive bar. ((sad face))

My time in Miami was made possible by VisitFlorida but as always, all opinions are my own.