What is your favorite way to explore a new place? Are you a "hop on hop off" bus person or do you prefer a private driving tour? I love a food tour! When West Palm Beach Food Tours invited me along on one of their tours, I jumped at the chance to learn more about my hometown and taste more of the deliciousness she offers.
I have lived in Palm Beach County for 13 years. There are so many great restaurants, I have only begun to scratch the surface on eating at them. My hope was the West Palm Beach Food Tour would expose me to new places to enjoy a meal in my own backyard. Our tour included 5 stops at 5 locally owned and very unique restaurants. Each restaurant shared a sample of the cuisine they serve. For an additional charge, there is an option to have a speciality cocktail with most of the samples. At each visit Raheem, our tour guide, gave a the history of the restaurant, its owners and what made our food samples special.
I have been on food tours all over the world. I have to say this was one of the best food tours, I have ever been on. Besides the 5 scheduled stops, we made four additional stops that enhanced our learning of the history of West Palm Beach and the diversity of people who call her home, and how those people influenced the culinary culture of our city.
First Stop - ER Bradley's
Our group gathered at ER Bradleys on the Green in downtown West Palm Beach. We were treated to one of the "must try" dishes of south Florida, fish tacos. While Southern California is the birthplace of fish tacos, the abundant seafood available in South Florida makes it a delicious option for restaurants wanting to showcase one of our natural resources. Combine the fish tacos with an orchid garnished Pina Colada and you have a tasty tropical combination that reminds you, you are on a tropical vacation.
Named after a Palm Beach icon, businessman and gambler, ER Bradly's is steeped in West Palm Beach History. The restaurant was opened nearly 40 years ago by Marine Corps veterans. You will find some of their collection of vintage US flags decorating the main dining area. Given the history and tropical fare, ER Bradley's was the perfect first stop for an introduction to West Palm Beach.
Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to Southeast Florida
Logistics: There are 3 airports that service Southeast Florida, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach: Uber and Taxis are available. Tri Rail and Brightline trains service Fort Lauderdale and Miami Airports. Private and Multiple Passenger Transfers are available from all three airports: Transportation Service Miami Hotel - Miami International Airport, Private Arrival Transfer from Miami Airport, Private Transfer in Fort Lauderdale Airport/Hotel/Work, Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) Airport Hotel Shuttle.
Advanced Tickets for the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi.
Save on entry fees: If you plan on visiting multiple museums or attractions, it is more economical to purchase a Miami Sightseeing Pass to save money, you can buy this pass for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days.
Top-rated Southeast Florida tours and experiences:
☆Seven Isles of Fort Lauderdale Kayak Tour (one of my favorite Southeast Florida experience)
☆Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour (great for foodies)
☆Wynwood Graffiti Golf Cart Small-Group Tour (perfect for art lovers)
☆Skip the Line: Flamingo Gardens Admission Ticket in Fort Lauderdale (essential to avoid lines)
Top places to stay in Southeast Florida: 1 Hotel South Beach (Luxury, Miami) ** Yotel (Budget Friendly, Miami) **Hollywood Beachside Boutique (Budget Friendly, Fort Lauderdale) **The Pillars Hotel (Luxury, Fort Lauderdale)**The White Elephant (Luxury, Palm Beach) ** The Canopy (Budget Friendly, West Palm Beach)**Crane's Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas (Amazing Tropical Vibe, Delray Beach)
My favorite Guidebook for Florida: DK Eyewitness Florida
My favorite Novel about Southeast Florida: The Last Train to Key West
Sloan's Ice Cream, A Quick Tasting
You can not miss Sloan's on Clematis Street with its hot pink and neon green building. We made a quick stop here to taste some of the best ice cream made in West Palm Beach. Sloan's is known for their tropical flavored frozen delights, including their mango ice cream and their coconut ice cream. We tasted their coconut ice cream made with natural flavors and bits of real coconut. This icy treat exceeded my expectations as did the selection of candy and freshly baked cookies and brownies. For anyone with a sweet tooth, Sloan's is a must visit.
West Palm Beach History Stop
Both Sloan's and ER Bradley's are located on Clematis Street, on the south side of the West Palm Beach Green, across the street from the intracoastal. There is no better place to stop and visualize what life was like when Henry Flagler first arrived in West Palm Beach. Flagler was a turn of the 20th century financier, businessman and railroad magnate. It was his vision and determination that built the Florida East Coast Railroad, bringing tourists to south Florida. Standing on the green you have a stunning view of Flagler's personal residence, now The Henry Flagler Museum, dedicated to his life and works. In the distance, you see the towers of his grand hotel, The Breakers. One of the first elegant destination hotels in Florida.
Pistache - A Taste of France
On the north side of the green is Pistache Restaurant, a haven for European food lovers and the next stop on our tour. Owned by TITOU Hospitality Group and its driving force Theirry Beaud, a French born entrepreneur who fell in love with the American Dream. Beaud started as a French food importer in south Florida. He moved on to managing some of the best restaurants in Palm Beach County before opening Pistache in 2008. In 2011 TITOU added PB Catch and in 2016 The Regional, to their family of restaurants.
Pistache is a classic French Bistro, with dishes like mussels, pate, escargot and steak tartare gracing her menu. At our tour stop we feasted on the French classic Croque - Monsieur, a rich and gooey grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The non-meat eaters in the group had the Le Puy Lentil Salad. Our cocktail lovers sipped in the Pistache version of a French 75 made with Pear Vodka, St. Germaine, lemon peel and a Champagne topper. Raheem shared Beaud's story as our tastebuds took us to France.
Spruzzo on the Rooftop of the Ben Hotel -
Views for Miles
After visiting Pistache, one of longest continuously operating restaurant in downtown West Palm Beach, we made a quick stop at one of the newest restaurants, Spruzzo. Spruzzo is the rooftop restaurant at the Ben Hotel. This sleek, contemporary cafe has stunning views of the West Palm Beach waterfront and Palm Beach Island. We were just there for the view, though many in our group made plans to come back and enjoy a cocktail with the panoramic views.
Columbian Coffee at Salento
Our next stop was the family owned Salento Cafe for a lesson and taste of Columbia Coffee. The secret to making Tinto (the finest Columbia Coffee) is Panela (scrapings from an unrefined sugar cane block), boiled down with water to make a simple syrup. Then using a cloth filter, the sugar cane sweetened water is used to brew Colombian coffee. The result is a mild, lightly sweetened cup of coffee. Columbian coffee is traditionally served with Pandebonos, a light airy pastry made with Cassava Starch. The combination of Columbia Coffee and Pandebonos makes a great pick-me-up any time of day!
Asian Delights at KaPow
The Asian population and subsequent Asian restaurants are on the rise in Palm Beach County. KaPow is an example of excellence in Asian Food preparation. We were treated to a Bento Box with small portions of their three best sellers, General Tao Cauliflower, Wagyu Beef Potstickers and a Thai Donut with Raspberry Lycée Sauce and Leche Condensada. We toasted our Pan Asian Bento Box with a Blueberry Lavender Mojito or a Heart "chaktail" (a non-achoholic beverage for balancing your heart chakra). All these items are on their regular menu and absolutely delicious.
Sweet Ending at Ganache Bakery
While we have tasted sweets throughout the entire tour, our last stop was full on sugar. Ganache Bakery has sweet treats for every palate and another "American dream" story. Growing up in St. Croix, the owner Jamel Lake always wanted to be a pastry chef. After Culinary School in south Florida, he perfected his craft at The Breakers and Bice in Palm Beach. In 2011, in partnership with a Culinary schoolmate, Joan Lewis-Clarke and his wife Nish, Jamel opened Ganache which quickly became the place for custom designed cakes and a taste of the islands. Their signature dishes include fresh shucked Coconut Water, Key Lime Tarts, and Rum Cake. We tried their Tamarind Juice, Fresh Coconut Water and a bite size Key Lime Tart. All showcased the talent and tropical flavors at the heart of Ganache
I came away from the day with West Palm Beach Food Tours with a very full stomach, a greater appreciation of the culinary diversity of our city and deeper knowledge the history of our area, plus some new friends among the participants.
West Palm Beach Food Tours offers four different food tours. For more information on these individual tours, click on the tour name below.
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