You just can’t beat a food tour when you’re travelling. It’s one of the best ways to learn about the local culture, see a bit of a city, and to experience a few restaurants too.
So when the opportunity to do a food tour in Little Havana in Miami came up, it was a definite yes.
I’ve done food tours in Chicago, in Miami South Beach, in London, Tel Aviv, and now, Miami’s Little Havana. Lurrrve them.
Original Travel organise hotel stays and local experiences for tourists (take a look at their luxury Miami trips), and they invited me to stay on South Beach at the magnificent Lennox Hotel, and then go on a food tour in Little Havana just 15 minutes away.
Obviously I was all for it.
– Post in collaboration with Original Travel
Here’s a little look at the Lennox Hotel for starters, but we’ll come back to that.
First up: the Little Havana Food Tour
We were met by our local guide JJ, at Augustin’s, an artist workshop and cafe at the start of the main street of Little Havana.
Little Havana is the Cuban area of Miami. Apparently 10 years ago it wasn’t even on the tourist map, but five years ago, it went crazy. Now even just wandering the streets we saw tour group after tour group, and, according to JJ, the locals love it.
Cubano sandwiches for all!
First stop was actually an empanada. I feel like I’ll ruin the surprise and adventure if I tell you where, so let’s just say it was at one of the longest standing Cuban restaurants in Little Havana. The counter serving take out service had been there so long you could see where it had worn down thanks to eager elbows awaiting their order.
The empanada was delicious by the way, could’ve easily eaten two.
Next stop, and of course we couldn’t do a Little Havana food tour without a Cubano sandwich. Our group – maybe about 10 of us – were ushered into the garden and sat waiting for our snack.
It didn’t disappoint.
Domino Park, Little Havana
We stopped at Domino Park, where the oldies sign up to play Dominos. Apparently they used to cause havoc in the streets so the council created a place for them to actually play. You have to be 55+ to join, and there’s no patience for ruckus. Disruptors have been BANNED, for a short time, to think about what they’ve done. We went and watched things get a little heated.
Life in Little Havana
As we walked the streets JJ told use stories of what life was like growing up in the city, and how the area had changed. He was open to any kind of question there was.
He took us to a cigar shop, and we watched the men as they rolled in the traditional way, for those who like their smoke like the good old days.
There were plenty of cigars to buy, a gift shop, and real Cuban coffee – super strong.
Our Little Havana Food Tour was three hours long.
We also visited one of the oldest juice shops in Havana where the husband and wife team have been running it forever. It was kinda like a juice bar / antiques shop, with lots of trinkets to look at, and untrustworthy stools to sit on. It was full of character and the sugarcane juice was better than I’d ever had before (don’t think I’ve actually ever had it).
He took us for what he said was the ‘best mojito in Little Havana’, which we had to trust him on as we didn’t actually have another one anywhere.
Yeah, cool, tasted like a mojito.
We also went for ice cream, which neither me nor Ben were overly impressed by, but others seemed to like it. The shop literally had 100s of flavours, HUNDREDS.
We also had one of these little pastries, filled with guava. They were delicious and are apparently a popular party food for Cubans known as pastelitos. One of the old ladies in the shop, a customer, told me they were the best in the city, as she licked the guava filling off her lips.
I felt like the oracle had spoken.
I wasn’t stuffed by the end of the food tour, but pleasantly full, and learnt a whole lot about the food of Havana in Miami. It was a great morning and JJ really made the experience.
10/10, would recommend.
Lennox Hotel on Miami South Beach
Shame we didn’t have the stunning Lennox Hotel to go back to after, but we’d already had that joy the night before. Such a beautiful place to stay in Miami.
First impressions of Lennox Hotel on Miami’s South Beach? Seriously impressed.
We came off our cruise, had over an hour’s drive in Miami’s rush hour traffic and then arrived to this oasis of peace and calm. And beautiful gold and grey furniture.
Their pool was lush (see pic at the top) – we took a dip a little later. We also got a welcome drink, a mojito, at the bar, and were entertained by the barman, who had just started his very first shift. He was great although I didn’t catch his name. He’ll be the chatty one!
Our room was round the back, nice and quiet away from the pool.
Y’know that feeling when you walk into a spa and it just smells all nice and feels super chilled?
Like that. Instant relaxation.
There was a fridge of drinks, a desk, an amazing bathroom, huge bed, TV and a double door to the outside too.
The Lennox Hotel was safe, secure, relaxing and in an amazing location about three minutes walk from the beach and three minutes walk from a great deli. Although, the restaurant on site looked pretty sweet too.
If you’re into your hotel photography, and your Instagram, you’ll love the Lennox Hotel. Those pool loungers make for the perfect Instagram shot and the setting is really sleek and special.
There are a range of rooms, for different budgets, starting from $180 per night.
And… there’s a Moet vending machine downstairs.
What else could you ask for?
Thanks to Original Travel who organised our Lennox Hotel Miami Beach stay, and the Little Havana food tour in return for this blog post.
Original Travel organise hotels, tours and experiences for travellers wanting to add a little luxury to their trips.