Live from the 2016 South Beach Wine and Food Festival


The Weekend's Best Unofficial SOBEWFF Events

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 12.41.23 AM


The Raleigh Miami Beach is joining forces with Stag's Leap Wine Cellars to bring a sensory Wine + Dine lunch experience. Guests are invited to convene in the property’s iconic backyard oasis for passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary team at The Restaurant at the Raleigh. Each dish will be paired with a sampling of four Stags Leap varietals including the Stag's Leap Fay 50 (commemorating the 50 year anniversary since the FAY vineyard was planted) and Stag's Leap Artemis. Marcus Notaro, the wine maker, and Kirk Grace, Director of Vineyard Operations for Stag's Leap, will take guests through each varietal in detail. The event will feature polaroid cameras which guests can utilize during the event, allowing them to take snapshot memories of a wonderful day home with them. 

Time: 1pm - 3:30pm Where: 1775 Collins Ave, Miami Beach Cost: $65/person Tickets: here


Dale’s Night Out is the unofficial after-party for SOBEWFF. The event features a special edition of TALDE’s Late Night Noodles with a special menu, think caviar and tater tots. Guests can enjoy sounds by DJ Reid Waters and beer and cocktails sponsored by Peroni and Absolut Elyx. The event is open to the public, RSVP required.

Time: 1 am - 4 am Where: TALDE Miami Beach, 4041 Collins Avenue RSVP: Cost: free


Master of Ceremony, celebrity Chef Johnny Iuzzini from Top Chef: Just Desserts, hosts this "Decadent Afternoon" at Drinkhouse Fire and Ice Lounge in South Beach. Expect Valrhona chocolate pastries and confections created and served by such chefs and bakers as Odille Arias (Coya Restaurant and Members Lounge), Keith Wallace (The Cupcake Galleria), Stephanie Frei (The Palms Hotel & Casino), Gina Sansonia (Cucina Bambina), Jenniffer Woo (So Woo Cakes), and Paola Levy (Paola Cake Atelier). Beverage partners include: Van Gogh Vodka, Tap Whisky, Cherry Heering, Xante, Don Q Rums, Jim Beam Whiskies, The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, and Maven Cocktails. 

Time: 2pm-5pm Where: 1672 Collins Ave, Miami Beach Cost: $40-$55 Tickets: Here

-- Sara Liss


Jose Andres and friends ham it up over Iberico, paella and tapas at SOBEWFF


Chef Jose Andres (of The Bazaar and the newly announced Bazaar Mar at SLS Brickell) rallies the best tapas from around town at the 2016 South Beach Wine and Food Festival. The star of the show was Andres' deeply flavorful and varied paella that featured duck confit, duck breast, duck tongue, mushrooms and foie gras (!!!). Above, Andres is pictured with festival founder-director Lee Brian Schrager. 

Our grade: A (Well worth the $$).

What worked: The spacious location allowed room to walk around and mingle as well as plenty of seating options and tables for dishes that require two hands.


What didn't work: Variety. After a while, the flavors began to blend together. A truly out-of-the-box approach to tapas was definitely missing from the night.

Best thing we ate: Smoked marlin with grated tomatoes, guindilla peppers and pine nuts.

Quote of the night: "We were in Tarragona and we had this sandwich and it was just incredible so we wanted to re-create it in a single bite."  -Chef Benjamin Meyer of Barcelona Wine Bar.


Craziest thing we saw: Iberico powder. This precious product is transformed in texture and nature by rendering the fat in a bain marie, and processing it with tapioca maltodextrin.

-- Alex Beck |

Giada De Laurentiis, Nina Compton, other top chefs dish Italian at South Beach Wine & Food Festival


Food Network superstar Giada De Laurentiis, representing Giada in Vegas, drew impenetrable lines of selfie-obsessed fans to taste her orzo meatball treats at Barilla's Italian Bites on the Beach.

Our grade: B (would go back next year, with some improvements).

What worked: Raucous DJ music in the center and live music on the tent's north end had patrons, chefs and workers dancing on the sand.

What didn't work: White wine was gone at 8:45 p.m., with an hour left to go.

Best thing we ate: Nina Compton (pictured above), former Miami chef and now at the helm of Compère Lapin in New Orleans, made a lusty goat Bolognese with cavatelli, ricotta and mint.

Funniest thing we heard: "She's so tiny!" (about Giada).

Craziest thing we saw: Openly hostile patrons upon discovering lack of wine.

-- Kendall Hamersly

Chef Michael Symon: 'I could never be vegan'

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 12.39.27 AM

Check your blood-pressure meds at the door. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Meatopia is on, people. The host, carnivore extraordinaire Michael Symon, promises an evening of protein-packed indulgence. We spoke to the James Beard winning restaurateur who also cohosts ABC’s The Chew.

Can you describe the event? What will attendees be feasting on?

A bunch of different chefs will be cooking their favorite kinds of meat over a live fire. Nowadays the meat is way better sourced than it was in the past. So there’s that quality. In terms of preparation, we’re kind of going old school — whether it’s smoked 18 to 20 hours, or cooked over a spit. There are some great techniques of the old barbecue days from 80, 90, 100 years ago that are coming back. The long cooking times were meant to preserve the meat but we’ve realized that process is also made it taste so fantastic.

How do you enjoy SOBEWFF?

It’s a great weekend — like chefs’ spring break. I have some great memories, though some are a little hazy. We’ve had a lot of fun down there. There are a lot of people who come from the culinary world, and we don’t get to see each other very often because we work such crazy hours, like Bobby Flay. He’s one of my dearest friends, and I’ll get to go out with him three nights in a row. You have so much going on.

For the rest of the story, click here...

-- Madeleine Marr


Death by Chocolate pours it on thick at South Beach Wine and Food Festival

For Saturday night's Death by Chocolate dessert party at the National Hotel, host Dominique Ansel - the baking wizard credited for creating the Cronut (™) - left the croissant-doughnut pastries behind in New York and instead focused on chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

Local sweettooth guru Hedy Goldsmith gave her SOBEWFF swan song before she moves to LA and was joined by Josh Gripper of The Dutch, Jerome Maure of db Bistro Moderne and Max Santiago of Seagrape for a spread that included everything from chocolate oysters to boozy milk and cookies.

What worked: Separating the different stations throughout the back yard of the National. Plenty of space and bars made waiting for a drink a non-issue.

What didn't work: Sugar overload for some. But then again, if you were at this event, you were game for the over-the-top confections.

The best thing we ate: Hedy Goldsmith's "You Got Chocolate in My Peanut Butter," bittersweet Valrhona chocolate layered with peanut butter cremeux, toasted marshmallow, banana jam and bacon sea salt nicely balanced the sweet with the salty, fruity, nutty, creamy - essentially the genius she is known for (we'll miss you, girl!). Runner up was Yigit Pura's "Le Tout Sweet" made with flourless chocolate cake, milk and dark chocolate Bavarian and crunchy pearls.

Quote of the day/night: "Tickets should come with a free Flywheel class!" Overheard at the event.

The craziest thing we saw: Sherry Yard's Helms Bakery (and soon-to-open iPic theater) had a two-foot tall Willy Wonka-style glass infuser piping out a Kahlua cocktail to go with their boozy dessert.






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.



These little piggies brought home the bacon at Swine & Wine at the Biltmore

Carolina-style barbecue, roasted pig brined in root beer, pan con lechon -- it was a pig-lover's feast Sunday night at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables for Goya Foods' Swine & Wine, presented by the National Pork Board. It was the second-to-last event of the 2015 South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
What worked: A beautiful setting in the Biltmore's courtyard, with plenty of room to eat and drink and lots of great local chefs, including Paula DaSilva of 3030 Ocean (porchetta toast with local veggies and pickled chile peppers) and Alberto Cabrera of Bread + Butter (Pan con Lechon with plantain chow chow).

What didn't work: Having the drinks downstairs in the courtyard and nothing to imbibe in the second-level ballroom, which was quite warm and had food stations many didn't know about.

The best thing we ate: A tie between Carolina Cue To-Go (a favorite of my North Carolina-bred husband, who noted their whole-hog barbecue sliders had the perfect mix of vinegar, real slaw and sauce mixed into the slaw pictured atop this post) and Cindy Hutson's Root Beer Brined Roasted Pig, with yucca tostones and vanilla bourbon-scented sweet boniato vichyssoise foam, redolent of the Caribbean roots found at her award-winning restaurant, Ortanique on the Mile.     
Quote of the night: "I don't even like pork, but I ate every bit of it,'' said one partygoer.

The craziest thing we saw: Guys in gold satin suits in stilts.

Paula Deen fondles her own breasts on stage at 2015 South Beach Wine and Food Festival



Paula Deen, who had a far fall from grace after a discrimination lawsuit nearly derailed her career, has spent the better part of the past few years trying to redeem herself. And she's done so by taking her Southern charm and self-deprecating humor to extreme heights, like when her pants fell down while she was on stage at the 2009 South Beach Wine and Food Festival. 

This year, she's up to her crazy antics again: She fondled her breasts on stage Sunday during a cooking demonstration at the Grand Tasting Village. She started as a cooking assistant for her son Bobby Deen, but momma soon stole the show when she began hamming it up for the crowd.

"Would you like to meet my meat?" she asked, referring to celebrity chef and muscle man Robert Irvine. "He let me ride him -- twice." (That happened at last year's fest.)

The wide-eyed crowd ate it up. 


No raw deal: Vegan Dinner at Basil Park impresses with its plant-based delicacies



Chefs Tim Andriola (left) and Tal Ronnen plate a course from their Vegan Dinner at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. 

Chef Tim Andriola, one of the Miami Herald's 2015 South Florida Food 50 honorees, hosted a vegan dinner Saturday night at his Basil Park in Sunny Isles Beach. He and guest chefs Matthew Kenney and Tal Ronnen prepared a four-course wine dinner plus passed appetizers.   

What worked: Basil Park put its best foot forward at this dinner, with servers being consummate pros and kitchen pacing on point throughout the evening. The food, too, was completely satisfying and exceeded expectations (which, let's be honest, were: "I'm going to be starving and want a burger after eating this rabbit food." Not so.) Highlights included Kenney's raw-heirloom tomato lasagna, and Andriola's sweet-peppery mix of roasted and raw beets with local organic greens. 


What didn't work: Matthew Kenney and Tal Ronnen are two of the brightest stars in the world of plant-based cuisine. People paid $250 to eat their food. It would have been nice if the visiting chefs said a few words to the assembled dining-room guests. 

Best thing we ate: Ronnen's porcini-crusted eggplant with sauce "Rossini" was hauntingly smoky, and his ability to make that classically meat-based sauce taste so beefy without any animal protein was beyond impressive.  


Quote of the night Part 1: "These guys may not know it, but without Matthew Kenney and Tal Ronnen, there wouldn't be a Basil Park. They are a huge inspiration to me," Basil Park and Timo chef-owner Tim Andriola said of his vegan guest chefs.

Quote of the night Part 2: "I'm introducing a vegan dinner, then do you know where I'm going? To Meatopia. Talk about one extreme to another," Mohammad Qureshi, associate dean of Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, who also works as the school's liaison to the festival.    


Craziest thing we saw: People asking for cream in their coffee after a four-course vegan dinner. 



Powered by TypePad