411: South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2014

For the 13th consecutive year, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) attracted thousands upon thousands of foodies to the wine soaked sands of South Beach, to delight in scrumptious bites, sip clever concoctions and rub elbows with fellow foodies, VIPs, and more celebrity chefs than you can shake your spatula at. The celebrations started Thursday, February 20 and ran through Sunday, February 23.  We’ve compiled a list of our favorite events over a two-part story so be sure to check back next week for more on this year’s SOBEWFF.

The Q
Moët Hennessy’s The Q, kicked off SOBEWFF on Thursday, February 20, attracting carnivores and Champagne aficionados like prime, grilled catnip would Tony the Tiger.  Host, Michael Symon, along with over 20 Sports Illustrated swimsuit models converged in a tent behind the Delano for a night of savoring grilled meats from local and nationally renowned restaurants from around the nation and free-flowing Champagne and cocktails.  Celebrity chefs joining Symon at this celebration included:  Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine. During the evening, Joey Campanaro (Little Owl) and Chris Santos (Beauty & Essex) –were both awarded The Q’s flavor award- in a tie, for the first time in SOBEWFF history. Each chef received a trophy and $500 for his charity of choice. Our favorites at The Q were Meat Market chef, Sean Brasel’s chipotle-glazed slow roasted rib eye made with French toast, pickled fresno chili and wild mushroom salad, (fortunately, Meat Market is right in our own backyard on Lincoln Road-so go check it out!) and Zakarian’s- pomegranate and cinnamon glazed BBQ ribs.

An Oyster Fest
The gorgeous Hotel Victor’s breezy pool deck was packed to the gills with oyster-lovers galore for the much anticipated Oyster Bash presented by Island Creek Oysters hosted by Ming Tsai and Jeremy Sewall on Friday evening. Featuring more than 6,000 oysters brought in from an artisanal oyster farm in Duxbury, Massachusetts, local chefs such as Hung Huynh of CATCH Miami and Jeff Raider of Lure Fishbar Miami wowed the crowds with their delicious preparations, which were all complimented by crisp wines by Cloudy Bay and vodka cocktails by Double Cross.

Burger Bash
It came as no surprise on Friday night that Michael Symon’s B-Spot Burger won Amstel Light’s People’s Choice Award for the umpteenth year in a row at the Amstel Light Burger Bash. Chef Symon was awarded the trophy for “The Fat Doug Burger,” a beef patty topped with pastrami, Havarti cheese, cole slaw and mustard.  Red Robin’s Best of the Bash Award went to The Burger Dive, in Billings, Montana, which served its Blackened Sabbath burger, prepared with blackened spice, bacon, beer-battered onion ring, garlic-basil mayo, goat cheese and arugula with sriracha.  The Judges’ Award was granted to Shake Shack, New York City for the BurgerMeister- a cheeseburger topped with crispy beer-marinated shallots and Shack Sauce- cue the angioplasty now please.

Anthony Bourdain Sets Sail at the Wolfsonian
Azamara Club Cruises, Anthony Bourdain and The Wolfsonian-FIU hosted, An Evening Aboard the S.S. Wolfsonian with Anthony Bourdain.  For the event, CNN host, author and chef, Bourdain curated a unique dining experience inspired by ocean liner menus from The Wolfsonian’s historic collection.  Bourdain oversaw a multi-course menu prepared by celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud (Daniel), Andrew Carmellini (The Dutch), David McMillan and Fred Morin (Joe Beef), Francois Payard (FPB), and Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin). Joining Bourdain to host the elegant affair that transported guests to a bygone era of luxurious ocean liner dining were Azamara’s Captain Johannes Tysse. Executive Chef Robert van Rijsbergen, and Cruise Director Eric De Gray.  Also seen at this nautical adventure: Martha Stewart, Wolfsonian-FIU Director Cathy Leff, Sandy & Larry Pimentel.  Proceeds from a live auction for an exclusive voyage for two in Azamara Club Cruises’ Club World’s Owner’s Suite, benefitted the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University and The Wolfsonian-FIU.

Marinara Madness
Also on Friday evening, the Soho Beach House was transformed into a Punk Kitchen where musician Marky Ramone hosted a night of marinara madness with friends with the help of premium artesian water Aquaçai and Cadillac, which is partnering with the Ramones for its current TV ad. The evening featured a tasting of signature dishes that were prepared with Marky Ramone’s Marinara Pasta Sauce. The party took place at Soho Beach House’s Taqueria and Tequila bar, Ocho, located on the 8th floor and included a VIP meet and greet as well as an after party featuring a DJ set by Ramone.

Prime Beef-cakes
The Chippendales came to town and gave SOBEWFF chefs an eye-full outside of the Burger Bash. (Insert inappropriate “meat joke” here).  During the opening weekend of the Chippendales five-week extension, chefs Art Smith and Lorena Garcia got a surprise as all of the boys were waiting for them backstage with chef hats (and little else) to welcome them to Friday night’s show. The celeb chefs were also spotted with friends dining at Macchialina on Friday night enjoying “Best of the Best” chef Michael Pirolo’s rustic pizzas and pastas.  The following day, the Chippendales attended Art’s Ice Cream Social, where competitive chefs sized up their muscles and joined in on photos with the hunks including: (sigh-worthy) Ludo Lefebvre, Anthony Bourdain and Johnny Iuzzini. Katie Lee, in her bikini, posed for photos with the boys.  Shark Tank’s Kim Nelson, owner of Daisy Cakes was also spotted cheering on the boys during Saturday’s show.

Celebrity Sightings
Simon Cowell was spotted beachside at the St. Regis Bal Harbour resort over the weekend.

Seasalt and Pepper brought Paris-based sensation, Buddha-Bar to Miami for its first ever U.S. pop up experience on Thursday.  On-hand for the celebration: actress Debi Mazar and husband/Chef Gabriele Corcos, Celebrity Chef Art Smith and Top Chef Master Lorena Garcia, and Spanish former World No. 1 pro tennis player, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.
Martha Stewart attended a private cocktail at the Ritz-Carlton Residences on Friday night.

James Beard award-winning Jim Meehan from famed cocktail bar Please Don’t Tell in New York City, teamed up with Grey Goose vodka to create three exclusive cocktails for a special evening at The Broken Shaker.

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