It is five minutes before noon on a on a hot and humid Saturday and while storm clouds are looming to the west, Gace Della is standing at the entrance of the Wynnwood Walls talking to a tourist-looking gentleman. She is easy to spot, she is dressed all in black and wearing a Miami Culinary Tours sign. I tell her who I am and she tells me to wait by the elephant mural “…we will start exactly at 12:00…almost everyone is here”.
“Everyone” is an eclectic group of South Florida bloggers (from foodies to lifestyle, fashion, beauty and everything in between) gathered by Paola Mendez, creator of the South Florida Bloggers Meetup Group and invited to experience the Wynwwod Tour edition of Miami Culinary Tours.
At 12:00:49 P.M. Grace Della begins the tour. Her passion and depth of knowledge immediately come to the forefront. Her delivery is fast, articulate and enthusiastic. She prepares us for our first stop on the tour: Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar has outdoor seating but it is 92 degrees outside with like 90% humidity and on top of that it looks like a storm is coming. We opt to sit indoors. Wise choice, it is cool and comfortable, they have a large table set up for us and a great IPA beer at each spot waiting to be sampled. They read my mind.
Grace explains about Executive Chef Miguel Aguilar’s Nuevo Cuisine philosophy and goes on to describe what’s in our plate: Chicken Empanada, Cheese Tequeño and Sweet Plantains with Queso Fresco. Very well prepared and exquisitely interpreted Latin street food. An excellent appetizer, it gets me in the right mood. By this time I was ready to keep on eating but there is an art component to the Wynwood Tour and since the menacing storm has not fully materialized we head to the Walls.
I did mention Grace’s knowledge about the art on the Wynwood Walls but it is her passionate delivery that makes it so exciting to hear about the artists and creators behind the art. I must confess that until that moment I had taken the art on the walls for granted. No more.
After a brief visit through the O. Asciano Art Gallery we are in route to our next stop: The R House.
The R House is either a cool restaurant with great art hanging on the walls or an art gallery with a restaurant inside, either way they serve an excellent red wine and Chef Rocco Carulli’s Short Rib Slider and Tuna Tartare are simply off the charts.
The Short Rib slider is braised in a decaffeinated coffee rub, sautéed in a molasses reduction with hot chilli and then put into a brioche bun. If by now you are thinking: “that sounds good”, it is.
The Tuna Tartare is lightly fried in sesame oil with black and white sesame seeds, a sweet chilli glaze and wasabi cream go on top and it all goes atop a fried wonton crisp. Each dish is great by itself but to taste them together is simply sublime. I could stay here but the tour must go on.
Two very long, humid and hot city blocks later we arrive at Pride and Joy, a barbecue joint.
Pulled Pork Texas Toast with Cole Slaw is served on a simple cardboard tray but as simple as it sounds, it is every bit as good as good can get, they have a variety of sauces to enhance the flavor and the pork is moist and soft. If you are on the mood for barbecue, this is the place.
From Pride and Joy we go across the street to SuViche a sushi, ceviche and pisco bar/restaurant.
At SuViche they serve us ceviche (of course), the traditional Peruvian dish. Each dish at SuViche is prepared individually so some patience is required but the freshness and awesome taste is evident on the plate. If you haven’t had ceviche before this is a good place to try it.
Next stop is Made in Italy Gourmet, a combination restaurant, deli and market. It boasts a spacious locale with high ceilings and very interesting décor. Whether by coincidence or design (probably the latter) they serve prosecco and Pecorino al Tartufo which is an Italian, raw, sheep’s milk cheese encrusted with small specks of white and black truffles. It is awesome and it gets us in the right mood for our last stop.
Ah yes!…dessert!… Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop & Café, almost across the street from Made in Italy Gourmet specializes in key lime pie and that is exactly what we get to sample. I can taste each ingredient: the limes, the condensed milk and the graham cracker crust as well as the congruence of all these ingredients, which makes this uniquely Florida dessert such a perennial favorite. You want to stop here.
I would advise to take the Wynwood Tour during the cooler months of November through April. If you consider yourself a foodie, the Wynwood Tour is a must but even if you don’t, it is definitely worth it.
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