Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tasty Little Havana with Miami Culinary Tours!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure to join Miami Culinary Tours in one of of their food tours in Little Havana. If you are unfamiliar with the food tour trend, it's essentially a different (and tasty) alternative than your regular tour. While a traditional tour provides explains to you the history and background of the city, a food tour does just that but adding a cultural twist- with food! In Little Havana Miami, there is no better way to really get a feel of the Cuban culture than by tasting your way through Calle 8. The tasty treats throughout the tour along with the enriching background of the Caribbean island transplanted in Miami will have you saying, "daleeee!" (or is that just me?)

The tour first started off in this quaint, locally owned, Cuban art shop where we were taught about the origins of the Cuban culture that is so highly present in Miami and a background of Cuban American barrios in Miami. Next, we were off to a Cuban-owned cafeteria and had some delicious empanadas de picadillo, a sandwich called "media noche," and the famous sweet coffee called "cafe Cubano." What I really enjoyed about our tour guide was that she explained the origins of every food we ate.

The next stop was at a traditional cigar shop where we could see them hand-rolling each and every cigar, piece by piece- a truly authentic piece surrounding the Cuban culture. We also stopped by Domino Park where, as evident by the name, is a place where old Cuban men play domino all day long. Since domino is very popular among the Cuban people, the Miami-Dade County established a place for them to not only play, but to socialize, creating a sense of community very unique....I mean, how authentic can you get from that?!

After, we headed on over to a famous bar on Calle 8 called Ball & Chain where we had their famous mojitos while listening to a live band play rumba. Although it was midday on a Tuesday, the music gave the restaurant a pleasantly vibrant feel.

With mojitos in our system, we cheerfully made our way to the local bakery, or pasteleria, and savored their delicious pastel de guava. This delicious, treat has similar consistency of a baked empanada but with a sweet kick to it. The bakery commotion, which mainly consisted of Spanish speakers, felt like being back in Puerto Rico without having to leave the continental US!

As our tour winded down, we had our second to last pit stop at a local fruteria (a fruit shop), where we were exposed to so many delicious tropical fruits, both local and exotic! There we had an amazing sugar cane juice which is a tropical drink and perfect for hot summer days in Miami. 

After all the delicious delicacies, our tour concluded at an Cuban ice cream shop called Azucar in honor of the famous Celia Cruz. What makes it particularly Cuban are all the exotic flavors available including mango, guava with maria crackers, and tamarind. The ice cream is made in-house so you know you are getting fresh, tasty, and local food. 

If you are in Miami area, whether living or visiting, I highly recommend this tour for a local and authentic experience. One of my biggest fear as a traveler is falling into tourist traps and being completely disappointed, especially when it comes to food. The Little Havana tour with Miami Culinary Tour did just the opposite and exceeded my expectations with its well-informed tour guides, friendly local shop owners, and delicious homemade Cuban food. Bravo!

Miami, Florida
(786) 942-8856

While I was graciously given a free tour with Miami Culinary Tours, all opinions expressed are my own.

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