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Best of the Munchies: Host Andrew Zimmern declares SOBEWFF 'the best festival'

Baklava with Lamb Merguez from Apeiro Kitchen & Bar

What worked: A good mix of super-creative and exotic and traditional munchie foods. Super-long lines moved quickly for the most part, and food was served hot and fresh everywhere. Good, lively but non-obtrusive live music. Affable host in Andrew Zimmern.  

What didn't work: Some food stands ran out before 8. Hey, we get the concept of having a single wine sponsor, and Epica cabernet sauvignon is pretty good, actually, but wine selection was very limited for a wine festival.  

The best thing we ate: Plenty to choose from here. Shake Shack is always a formidable contender at this event, and this year the king of the burger kiosks dealt up a luscious cheeseburger with crispy ale-marinated shallots and Shack Sauce. Also on the simple-but-succulent side was Hill Country Barbecue Market's brisket with spicy "pickles," bright and tasty pieces of carrot, onion and jalapeno. Sean Brasel of Meat Market was on hand cooking up empanadas with prime short rib and a zesty barbecue sauce. From Kuro at the Hard Rock in Hollywood we got a dim sum style steamed bun with fried chicken thighs, pickles and Florida honey.

But the best Munchie might have been a savory baklava made of butter beans stuffed with lamb merquez sausage with Meyer lemon vinaigrette from Apeiro Kitchen and Bar. Pretty creative indeed.

Quote of the day/night: "This is the best festival of its kind in the world." -- Andrew Zimmern.

The craziest thing we saw: The sight of Zak the Baker serving up schmaltz herring on fresh homemade bread with a vodka shot was amusing, but we have to hand this award to Zimmern, who "sang" the Talking Heads' "And She Was" in tribute to his wife, accompanied by the live band.

BY KENDALL HAMERSLY | [email protected]


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