Taste History Art Culinary Tour of Historic Palm Beach County
Taste History Art Culinary Tour is the most innovative food, art, and history tour that I have seen in Florida. I've been on this tour three times, visiting different cities each time, and each trip has been a completely different experience. Lori Durante, the tour director, blows me away each time. She's a walking encyclopedia! She has so much history to share about South Florida's food, culture, and art.
Last month, I went on the West Palm Beach tour. It started off, as usual, at the East entrance of Macy's at the Boynton Beach mall. The tour goes to West Palm Beach/Lake Worth, Delray Beach, or Boynton Beach. The tours are held year-round, offered every Saturday of each month, and they even provide private tours during the week. I've gone on the tour with my best friend and my husband. Now, I'm thinking about taking my parents next. It really is a fun way to hang out with a loved one and explore South Florida.
For this trip, my husband and I hopped onto the Taste History Art Culinary Tour bus to explore West Palm Beach. We greeted the other couples and friends in the group, and quickly found our seats on the bus. Lori Durante introduced herself, started a brief ice breaker, and immediately began to spew interesting information out of her depths of knowledge before the bus even left the parking lot.
We made our first stop at "Tacos al Carbon." It's an authentic casual Mexican restaurant in the heart of Old Dixie Highway. It's open 24 hours and it even has a drive-thru for quick pick-up. The staff at "Tacos al Carbon" brought out so many different items from the menu for us to try. They started with salsa & dip, and we even had the opportunity to try a small shot of rice water. Then, they brought out their infamous wet burrito (in the picture to the left) and soft shell taco with shredded chicken. As most of you know, Mexico is one of my favorite travel destinations. I have been there more than 10 times in the last several years and I have grown to appreciate their culture and food tremendously. Honestly, this meal brought me back to Mexico within seconds. The salsa and dip were very similar to how it is prepared in Mexico. The chips were crisp and the salsa had a genuine flavor that reminded me of my trips to Cancun. The staff served rice water. It's a white, sweet drink derived from boiled rice. The king of the table, the wet burrito, laid in it's glory. It is a burrito filled with beef, cheese, and homemade sauce; topped with more cheese and fresh avocados. This would definitely be the item that I would order when I go back! They also brought us all soft shelled tacos with shredded chicken(in the picture below).
The owners of "Tacos al Carbon" have their own farm, so some of their products are farm to table. This restaurant is definitely the fastest route to authentic Mexican food, especially because it's just a short drive away; no airport required.
Our next stop was at "Don Ramon Cubano Restaurante and Social Club." It was originally a family owned restaurant and the legacy of the business has been passed down to one of their staff members, Mr. Juan Rubio. The restaurant is very in touch with the community, and they offer Cuban music nights and other community events. They served us a Cuban feast of sangria, bread, pork, fried plantain, croquettes, grilled chicken, rice, and salad. It felt like a Cuban Thanksgiving Day! http://donramonrestaurant.com/
At about this time, out stomachs were getting full. So, we took a scheduled break from dining and the tour bus brought us to "Box Gallery" in the cultural corridor on Belvedere Road. There were such interesting pieces in this art gallery. The gallery has an array of sculptures, portraits, and both ecletic and traditional creations. The owner, Rolando Chang Barrero, is so passionate about his work and its influence in the community. West Palm Beach continues to evolve each year and its advancement is directly correlated to the art community. I could of stayed in the "Box Gallery" for hours because each piece and its artist had such an interesting narrative. My favorite piece was an African sculpture placed in the center of the gallery (in the picture above) and a picture of Michelle Obama and Ivanka Trump (in the picture below). I would love to hear your interpretations of each one. http://www.theboxgallery.info/home.html
Then, we stopped by "Chalakos Peruvian Bistro" in the Northwood Village Arts District. They brought us a traditional Peruvian chicken dish. It is chicken seasoned with a mashed potato and layered with a chicken salad. This dish was new to me and maybe a little too authentic in nature for my taste buds so I didn't eat much. However, my husband seemed to like it because it was almost gone by my second glance at his plate. The show stopper of the day was their ceviche (in the picture to the left). Ooooooweeee! I have eaten at fine restaurants in South Florida, and even tried ceviche in Latin countries. Yet, "Chalakos Peruvian Bistro" has the best ceviche that I have ever tasted! The fish was fresh and the sweet potato was such a great contrast to the lime juice used on the fish. I loved the mixture of sweet and sour! If you're ever in the area, make sure to save me some of their ceviche. By this time, I was in a pretty good mood. I had great food and wonderful company. Surprisingly, the owner wanted to see us grin even wider, so he gave us all a traditional Peruvian spork to take home! https://www.facebook.com/chalakos/
We were on the tour during the holiday season, so it only seemed appropriate for our next stop to be at "Sandi the Holiday Tree" in West Palm Beach. They are known for their annual sand Christmas trees. Every year the holiday trees are created from tons of sand to offer a little holiday cheer. Nothing says Florida living more than a sand tree!
Throughout the tour, Lori pointed out historical buildings and influential art in the community. Lori is very hands-on, so there were times when we got off of the bus and took the time to appreciate the art in the surrounding area. I tried my best to provide some of my own art interpretations. I was probably way off, but art is in the eye of the beholder,so I convinced myself that I was an art expert. As a resident of Florida, it is so easy to drive pass all of this great history and art without thinking about the story behind the print. However, I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to really appreciate my environment. My husband and I created Florida memories that we will never forget.
The last official stop on our tour was to the "Tealixir" tea brewery in the Industrial District in West Palm Beach. The owners are a couple from up north that owned a restaurant and realized that their true passion lied in a small sector of the restaurant; the brewing portion. They took a leap of faith and moved their entire family to South Florida to pursue their brewing dreams and grew their company from the ground up. The tea is more than just a beverage, it has therapeutic and healing properties that aide in good health. This stop was both informative and empowering because it featured the American dream of thinking of an idea, creating it, and watching it flourish. http://tealixirbrewery.com/
My husband and I really enjoyed our day in West Palm Beach. We ate some amazing dishes, met new friends, and we learned so much about the history and culture that West Palm Beach has to offer its community. As soon as we got off the bus, my husband called a few of his friends to tell them about the tour because it is truly a great adventure that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. Now that I've gone on all three tours, I am anxiously waiting for the Taste History Culinary tour to add another location. However, I have heard that even if you do the same tour location more than once, it will be different every time. I can't wait to hear your thoughts about this tour. It is really a culinary and cultural experience that needs to be on everyone's bucket list.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.