Miami Food Tours, the company that runs SoBe Tour des Forks through the art deco district, launched its Swooped With Forks food tour last week. Wait. Don't move on with your life just yet. Before you think, Thanks for the update, Short Order, but I live and breathe Miami. I don't need a food tour, hear us out.
Starting in South Beach but hitting Wynwood, the Design District, and Buena Vista, this tour is an off-the-beaten-path option infused with historical and cultural tidbits that will satisfy locals as much as the food tastings appeal to tourists. Everyone in Miami has covered the South Beach essentials, like the Café at Books & Books and the Frieze. This is a different way to try quality restaurants you've been hearing about for what seems like ages -- Crumb on Parchment and La Latina, to name a few -- while meeting cool people and learning new facts about the city you call home.
Tours go out at 10:30 a.m. twice a week -- Wednesdays and Fridays -- and Short Order was invited to check it out last Friday. After arriving at the meeting point, sipping on a cortadito, and downing a fresh pastelito de guayaba (classic Miami), we hopped on Swoop (that awesome electric golf cart you've seen giving people free rides around SoBe) and set out for a long morning of eating till our tummies were beyond content.
Spoiler alert: Continue reading only if you want all the deets about exactly where the tour will take you and what kind of eats you can expect. Because obviously you do.
The first stop is La Latina, a Venezuelan areperia that's been open for almost two years. Sip on a papelón con limon, which is a dark lemonade made with raw hardened sugarcane juice. Then taste the best tequeño while listening to the restaurant's owner explain the meaning behind the name of the arepa you're savoring.
Next up: Crumb on Parchment. The adorable bakery and café in the center of a Design District building belongs to James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein. Sit on bright red couches underneath the atrium. You'll be served the soup of the day (ours was pasta e fagioli) and the Chinese chicken chop chop.
Your stomach is nearing satisfaction, but the day is young. At Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, you'll try Latin-inspired small plates in one of the most notably designed eateries in the city. Gaze outside at the Wynwood Walls while executive chef Miguel Aguilar welcomes you to his restaurant. It's time for sweet plantains topped with queso fresco, caramelized to perfection, and chicken ropa vieja empanadas, their most popular dish.
Just when you think you can't eat anymore, you'll be swept away for one last treat. At Bunnie Cakes, a vegan bakery, you're able to choose your own cupcakes, and looking at their wide selection, you won't even wonder if you have room left. Because there's always room for a guava-filled cupcake, or two.
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As enjoyable as it is to eat some of the best food Miami has to offer for four hours, the highlights of the tour are the guides and the insider knowledge they offer. Kelly, the Miami Food Tour founder and an architectural expert, gives commentary on everything from the development of the Venetian Causeway, which you'll cross over on Swoop, to the fascinating Bacardi Building in Biscayne, which this reporter is ashamed to say she'd never noticed in her 20 years of living in this city. And did you know that Cuban culinary destination David's Cafe used to be a Jewish deli of the same name?
The restaurant stops are true gems rather than tourist traps, while the cultural context will give natives a fonder appreciation of the Magic City. And to any out-of-towners that may have read through this whole post, which so kindly ignores your existence, sorry on our behalf! But the fact that you were up for scrolling through these pages proves one last point -- Swooped with Forks is just as great for tourists too.