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“There are three things I honestly could not live without … And those are: Oxygen. Food. And women!”, Faruk laughs, giving me his brightest grin & best introduction to the start of our South Beach Food Tour with Miami Food Tours. Faruk has a great sense of humour, ambition, and knowledge. I immediately warm to his passionate storytelling about the history of Miami, its greatest local patrons as well as his insights into the South Beach food scene, of course. “On our tour, we will take you to places that each have a distinctive story to tell. Many of them are small-scale, the type of ‘Mom & Pop shops’ you’d expect to be family-run and with a lot of attention to detail.” Excellent. This is exactly what I like:
Searching & presenting local people stories that serve to inspire the international travelling community. Including great local food stories, of course. Naturally, as befits the travel motto of #CreativElenaRTW!
I beam at Faruk, having found a foodie soul mate in less than 24 hours of arriving in Miami and already sharing with him my knowledge of other great food tour places around the world, such as Porto, London, New York or Santa Fe. I can tell he has a yearning to go, but equally admits that “for now, my place is here developing Miami Food Tours. Next year, we would like to add several tours to the mix, including a ‘Swoop Ride’ with those pimped-up golf carts. They are just so cool!”
I learn that many years ago, this place looked nothing like it does today – safe, welcoming & warm. Besides sharing his own personal story of arriving in Miami all the way from Macedonia, and how he has ended up becoming a business partner & tour guide in Miami Food Tours, Faruk also informs me that less than 100 years ago, Miami was still a far cry from being the glitzy glamour metropolis it is today. “It took local patron Carl Fisher, lovingly referred to as ‘The Father of Miami’, great vision, money & influence to develop Miami into what it is today. He had many of the roads and buildings that you see around South Beach Miami designed and established. To this day, people cherish his work and vision for Miami. Let’s say Texas is the engine of the United States, and New York City is the brain. Miami here is the playground: Work hard, play hard, and certainly LOOK GOOD in doing so!”
Faruk’s unfaltering enthusiasm, and natural laid-back attitude, have me tune into Miami rhythm in almost no time. “Boob jobs, fitness craze, designer clothes, expensive cars, you name it. But there is also a different side to Miami (South Beach). Let’s talk food, then!”
“You see, Miami essentially is a transitory place. It always has been throughout history, and still continues to be. When first landscaping Lincoln Avenue with exotic trees such as this African sausage tree, gardeners from as far as Japan were brought in to do so. Miami once was a place much like the Everglades right beside it, the name of the city deriving from a local Indian tribe and their designation of the local Miami river. It took extensive work, vision and investment such as the one provided by Carl Fisher & his benevolent friends, to turn Miami into the flourishing city it is today. Now here are some more interesting facts for you to remember: The average age here is 29. The average duration of people living here is seven years.” – “Seven years?!”, I gasp in wonder. “So what about your old granny living across the street, who’s been here for sixty years or more …?” – “Nope … non of that here. But for making money and for the lifestyle, Miami is definitely the place to be!”
Let us recap: It is December 1st. We are wearing jeans and a T-shirt. I brought my jacket, completely in vain. By mid-afternoon, I am sweating (!). Wind pulls at my hair, light drizzle for five minutes throughout the 25°C sunshine, “a bad day as it is considered here”, Faruk smiles.
A bad (winter’s!) day in Miami … Just sayin’ !!!
I love this storytelling food tour with Miami Food Tours and my dear guide Faruk. Once again, the only measure of the actual time passing is the satisfactory feeling of a full stomach. Not once am I tempted to check the actual time of the day! When I do, I am almost sad it is over … “This ice cream parlour is our last stop on the tour”, Faruk smiles and finishes by telling me: “Last summer, I went to Vegas, but I did not feel the same connection as I do here in Miami. The people, the places, the city … I really care about them, you know. And it is here that I want to develop things further!”
Want more? So do I! Enjoy these photos of my creative food lover stay here in Miami, serving you even more tips and ideas to inspire and enjoy … Buen provecho – Bon appetit everyone!
Disclaimer: I have been invited by Miami Food Tours on this South Beach Food Tour exploration of Miami. All opinions are my own.