Dishcrawl, the national food tour that takes foodies on a walking culinary adventure through a neighborhood, is back. For the first crawl of the year, Dishcrawl organizers have appointed Coconut Grove as the dishing location of choice. What could possibly be better than savoring favorites from three restaurants for just $45, while parading through the historical and charming area of Coconut Grove? Perhaps a peacock sidekick to accompany you on your stroll. Chances are high in these peacock-crowded streets.
Dishcrawl Miami 2014 kicks off next Wednesday, June 18. With just a little over a year since Dishcrawl landed in Miami, we talked to Miami's Dishcrawl Ambassador Alex Guerra about why Coconut Grove is spotlighted, how Don Draper is going to be involved, and a sneak peak at one of the participating restaurants.
Restaurants chosen to participate in Dishcrawl are usually kept under wraps until two days before the event, but we got a scoop on the night's first stop -- Peacock Garden Café. The restaurant will give Dishcrawlers a sneak peak at new items they'll soon add to the menu.
New Times: It's been a year since Dishcrawl struck Miami. How have the events changed and how has the reaction been in comparison to other cities?
Alex Guerra: The events will still revolve around a community theme while also helping restaurants build local loyal customers. However, I'll be creating more innovative themes, such as something along the lines of an Old Fashioned crawl or a tribute to Don Draper. Stay tuned!
In other cities, Dishcrawl takes place in not only culinary chic cities, but pretty much everywhere, such as Des Moines, Baton Rouge, and Ottawa. Since they started in 2010, Dishcrawls take place in 250 cities. I know Miami also has the Culinary Tour, which I highly respect and admire so I feel like people might see them very similarly. Dishcrawl has more of a surprise aspect and it revolves around creating networks within communities. With Miami's rapid restaurant openings, competition can get steep, so it's nice to help out the smaller classics who can sometimes get forgotten.
Why Coconut Grove?
I chose Coconut Grove to kick-off Dishcrawl this year because, as a resident, I see the Grove's popularity dwindling away. As other areas like Midtown, South Beach, and Brickell are becoming more and more popular, I find it sad that a lot of people often forget about the Grove and its rich history and natural organic surroundings.
Dishcrawl is highly dedicated to bringing more exposure to restaurants and I know the Coconut Grove restaurant scene could use a boost. Even though there might not be James Beard Award Nominee Chefs or gastronomic gurus, there are still some talented cooks who deserve to be recognized
What will be offered at each location -- just one or two dishes?. What about drinks?
Each restaurant is to provide three to four different samplings of their signature or popular dishes. The chefs are usually pretty generous. As far as alcohol goes, crawlers can purchase alcohol separately at each location or diners can purchase a ticket with a wine pairing. I can also tell you during check in time there will be a happy hour going on from 4 to 7 p.m.
What's the process for picking the restaurants?
Dishcrawl came to Coconut Grove last year but, I personally do not think those restaurants truely embodied what defines the Grove. For the picking process, I wanted to choose places that the average "Miamian" might not know about. As a lover of all things related to the culinary world, I wanted to only bring crawlers to places that I highly admire and respect.
What's the expected dish crawler attitude?
A dish crawler's attitude should be friendly, excited, probably thirsty, and especially hungry!
Are food lovers with allergies or restrictions welcome? How will they be accommodated?
As far as special eating conditions, I can work with the restaurants/chefs on creating vegetarian dishes or special items if someone has allergies. However, the crawler needs to notify me in advance.
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Dishcrawl is Wednesday, June 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at dishcrawl.com
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha