Graffiti at Wynwood Art District - Miami
Photo credit: Lawrence Jean-Louis

Located north of downtown Miami and roughly bounded by NW 36th Street (north), NW 20th Street (south), I-95 (west) and NE 1st Avenue (east), the Wynwood Arts District is home to over 150 small businesses, including Art Galleries, Creative Retail Stores, and Restaurants.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Wynwood Food Tour by Miami Culinary Tours.  I met up with the rest of the group at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar where tour guide, Mirka Harris, was providing background on the graffiti displayed to a group of 10-15 participants… mostly locals with the exception of one couple of Washington, DC.

Mirka proceeded to direct everyone inside the restaurant, our first stop on the culinary tour.  We were served ropa vieja empanadas made with chicken, and maduros (sweet plantains) with a glass of locally brewed “Blond” beer.  The empanadas were juicy and flavorful… the maduros were good, but it’s sort of hard to mess up sweet plantains.  After all plates were left barren, we went back outside to view the graffiti in more detail.  I’ve shared some of my photographs below (more on Instagram).

The tour is now in full swing, with us heading to our next stop. I hung around in the back mostly enjoying the sights.  Mirka knew a lot about the artists behind the grafitti-ed walls and she shared the information with us.  We stopped at a couple of art galleries then went to Jimmy’Z Kitchen for their chicken mofongo.  The chef, Jimmy Carey, came out to introduce himself and tell us a bit more about the meal.  The restaurant emphasizes a health conscious approach to food, so the chicharones which are normally called for in the recipe were omitted.  I think I died a little inside. The mofongo was served atop a chicken ragu sauce, and paired with a glass of white Zinfandel.

Then off to the Pride & Joy for deviled eggs topped with shredded BBQ pork.  Then across the street to SuViche for ceviche topped with crunchy fried unpopped popcorn (canchita), sweet potato (camote), corn (choclo) and thinly sliced onions.

Along the entire tour, the walls were beautifully spray-painted by local, national as well as international artists such as Alexis Diaz, Rone Everfresh, Fafi, and many more whose names I either didn’t get or can’t remember.

We headed back towards our starting point and made one final stop for ice cream by Azucar Ice Cream.  There I tried the Abuela Maria, a vanilla ice cream mixed with guava, cream cheese and Maria biscuit cookies.

Though the tour was curated, it still allowed room for spontaneity. There were some additional places we’d briefly stopped at.  One in particular, we enjoyed freshly made almond milk.  At a  gallery, we were granted access to the backroom in order to explore art that wasn’t yet on display.  There we also met an artist who was setting up his exhibit.

I had a great time, my one critique would be that the culinary offerings showcased more of the diversity found in Miami.