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Would you believe there are 5 different companies offering Miami food tours, of areas ranging from South Beach and Little Havana to Wynwood. Always game for a new experience, how about it thought I?  Grace Della, the originator and “dean” of Miami Culinary Tours  (T.786-942-8856) told me about their newest offering, a culinary and art tour of Wynwood which sounded intriguing so off I went.In the three hour Miami food and art tour in Wynwood participants learn about the difference between street art, graffiti (text based) and vandalized graffiti ,and see the most prominent examples of street art done by artists from Greece and Mexico to Thailand and Argentina, art worth thousands of dollars (think Shepard Fairey). We also stopped in several of the 70 galleries now populating the area (plus we were told there are 5 art complexes and 3 private art museums — can you believe it!). Several galleries, in their choice of art and sleek contemporary interiors, reminded me of New York’s Chelsea.

The other aspect of the tour was a progressive lunch, stopping at six places representing cuisines of the area — from Nuevo Latino and Puerto Rican to BBQ, Peruvian, and Northern European. How do they choose which restaurants to go to I asked Grace. She said that all of her five associates have to agree on a place before it’s included. So not surprising, everything was delicious. We started at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar with a chicken ropa vieja empanada and sweet plantains with queso blanco (white cheese) and “la rubia” beer made from a local craft brewery a few blocks away .Then it was on to Jimmy Z Kitchen for a Puerto Rican mofongo, plantain mash, with chicken creole sauce. The next stop was my favorite—the Butcher Shop. On the menu were thin slices of  various German, Polish and Russian sausages, beer and large housemade pretzels with spicy German mustard,  a huge hit (I was told they bake their pretzels before 11 a.m. if you want to try to take a look at the process). We vowed to go back to order one of their Porterhouse steaks they sell retail (yes, it’s truly a butcher shop) which they’ll cook to order for you on the spot.

Next stop, Pride and Joy, featuring Georgia BBQ. Coincidentally, the night before, friends had said it was one of their favorite new restaurants. Here we had pulled pork. We finished up at SuViche enjoying some of their Peruvian “causa”  followed by  cheesecake from Fireman Derek’s Pies. Besides the art and food, the group of eight was great fun and, as you can imagine, “foodies”. One couple, also from South Florida, has done culinary tours in numerous cities and proclaimed this one of the best. There were also two young Hungarian girls who were spending two days in Miami and felt this was the way to get to know the city and meet new people. The daughter of a leading operator of culinary tours in Buenos Aires,  Grace is a knowledgeable, warm and welcoming host and, as one of the other participants said, “she loves what she does” and it shows. The Wynwood Tour is $69 a person . Miami Culinary Tours also has offerings to South Beach and Little Havana. I highly recommend it not just for out of towners but also for locals. You’ll learn something new about Miami, eat well, and meet interesting people. What more does one need?

Photography by William Oberheiser

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