We came, we saw and ate too much — yet again — at the 14th annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
The festival kicked off on a chilly evening at Italian Al Fresco, filled with plenty of pasta and Italian bites. Plenty of local and national chefs were participating, and we even spotted soon-to-be NOLA chef Nina Compton helping out friend Mike Pirolo of Macchialina. Once the red wine ran out, we headed over to Thrillist BBQ and Blues. Our favorite bite was the “Sweet Caroline Burger,” from Rok:Brgr with aged cheddar, BBQ short ribs, coleslaw, fried onions, bourbon BBQ sauce on a mini pretzel bun. We weren’t the only ones with that sentiment since it took home top honors for the night.
We managed to make a quick pit stop at the Mediterranean Feast at the Surfcomber Hotel hosted by Mike Isabella before the night “officially” finished. Then it was off to the Thompson Hotel for the official Chef’s After Party. While most of the big name chefs were found huddling under the heaters, some could also be found taking a shot (or six) at the bar. The party went well into the night at spots like Bodega, Rec Room and Barceloneta.
The next morning came way too early for most. Some of us managed to make it to Tongue and Cheek’s annual Kitchen Collab brunch with Robert Irivine where plenty of chefs were mingling amongst the crowd. Later that day we got a sneak peek of the Grand Tasting Village before freshening up for the night’s festivities.
First up was Best of the Best. Swanky as usual with some of the biggest names in food serving up their dishes like Chat Chow favorites Daniel Boulud and Scott Contant. Then it was time to hit the sand at Burger Bash, where Miami’s own Pincho Factory took home fan favorite for is hybrid, croqueta-inspired burger.
We got a chance to taste some of the best tiki cocktails in the biz while feverishly looking to meet Paul McGee, which sadly we never did. Then we stopped by Mix It Up with Morimoto to samples some late-night eats. The after party continued at the Shelbourne Hotel, with crowds filling up the bar into the wee hours of the night.
Morning came too soon yet again, but we were able to catch the last few minutes of Tacos at Daybreak hosted by Jose Mendin. Then it was off to officially sample the tents. The lines were long for a lot of our Miami favorites like Ms. Cheezious, and we even got to try a dish from Brad Kilgore’s soon-to-be open Alter restaurant.
Local guys continued to impress us with their dishes at the first ever 101 Gay Weddings at the James Royal Palm. The Federal, Blackbrick and MC Kitchen all had food on hand, while dozens of couples celebrated their exchanging of vows. We even managed to walk away with custom engraved Chat Chow TV moscow mule mugs.
Following Meatopia, the evening was filled with the two biggest after parties of the weekend, first at the almost-open STK then at The Broken Shaker. It went well into the evening, once again, with pit stops at Bodega and even Krispy Krunchy Chicken.
The final day was filled with a lot of tired, hungover eyes but we still managed to swing by the final day of the Grand Tasting Village followed by a night cap at NoMad Bar Pop Up at Lure Fishbar.
And with that, we bid you adieu SoBeWFF 2015. (Until next year, that is.)