It’s no secret that we love food and history. Taste History Culinary Tours in South Florida delivers both, and then some!
Lori greeted us right away with a warm and enthusiastic smile. She knew our names and made us feel like we had been friends for years. That kind of personal connection is what you can expect from Lori Durante, the mastermind behind Taste History Culinary Tours, a tour that combines local history, emerging art, and food from family owned eateries.
Taste History originally started off in Delray Beach, Florida but grew quickly in popularity. Soon, tours of Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach were added. Currently, public tours travel to West Palm Beach on first Saturdays, Lake Worth and Lantana on second Saturdays, and to Delray Beach and Boynton Beach on third and fourth Saturdays. Private tours are also offered during the week.
Our delicious adventure through West Palm Beach began at the Boynton Beach Mall. Our group of almost 20 boarded the private air conditioned shuttle, and we were off! Lori started telling us about the arrival of Ponce de Leon in Florida and a brief history of the local Native American tribes. Next thing we knew, we were at the first of eight stops.
Our first stop was Dontee’s Diner, a family owned Greek restaurant that opened it’s doors in 1990. Melissa, one of the owner’s daughters, brought us out a big plate of spinach pie, moussaka and Greek salad. It was all really good, especially the spinach pie!
Our next stop was an art experience at The Box Gallery. We met Rolando Chang Barrero, who passionately told us about his gallery’s history and about the various community projects they do for the development and appreciation of the arts.
Our next stop was the historic Chesterfield Hotel. This gorgeous hotel was built in 1926 in the manner of a European bed and breakfast. We made our way inside to the legendary Leopard Lounge & Restaurant, where we were served a traditional Afternoon Tea. This included pastries, homemade sandwiches, fresh baked scones, and various types of teas. The ambiance inside the lounge was fantastic and we could not get enough of the black lacquered walls, leopard skin patterned carpet, and the hand painted ceiling.
Next was Cafe Sweets Bakery. This Southern-style bakery (with a sweet touch of Southern hospitality) bakes love right into their desserts! We were served delicious mini-cupcakes and gourmet brownies.
Already feeling a bit full, we continued on to Banko Cantina. This new restaurant is located inside a historic 1921 building that is on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. We were served six kinds of mesquite grilled skewers, nachos with guacamole and salsa, and churros for desserts. Besides the food, the decor was pretty amazing as well.
Our next stop was another art gallery, this one specializing in glass art. This family run gallery has been in business for 45 years and prides itself in showcasing contemporary glass and fine art sculptures from both national and international artists.
Next up was Olivia’s Special Teas. In this small and adorable shop, owners Olivia and Dan sell over 50 premium organic loose leaf teas. They also specialize in herbal kombucha, a kind of fermented tea that is said to have many health benefits. We had a sample of their kombucha, and were surprised at how good it tasted!
Our last stop was both a gallery and gelato shop. Owner Paul Klov features many local South Florida artists and hosts events such as food truck meetups, art fairs, and live music shows. Bohemia also specializes in organic and vegan gelatos and sorbets. Flavors are always changing, but while we were there we sampled the unfiltered apple cider with Saigon cinnamon (their version of a Bohemian apple crisp) and the pink peppercorn gelato.
With full stomachs, we headed back to the Boynton Beach Mall. Along the way, Lori gave us a quick recap of the places we had visited and the three distinct districts in West Palm Beach that they were in.
We cannot recommend this tour enough! All of the stops were great and brought awareness to the culture and flavor of West Palm Beach. We think this tour is perfect for both new visitors to the area and locals, especially since each tour is different (they never duplicate their tours in order to keep an element of surprise).
- – These tours are very popular and sell out quickly. Make sure you book ahead.
- – Tours take place rain or shine, so check the weather and bring necessary items (sunblock, hat, umbrella, etc.).
- – Wear comfortable shoes. Although you are shuttled from place to place, you will still be doing some walking and some places you visit will be standing-only.
- – The tour is kid friendly (and kids under 14 are free).
- – The tour cannot accommodate dietary restrictions and dietary substitutions cannot be provided.
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**A big thank you to Lori and Taste History Culinary Tours. Although we were guests of Taste History, as always, all opinions are our own.**