The Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival in Miami is one of my favorite events to attend each year. Hosted by Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida, it has grown to be one of the premiere food and wine events in the country! There are actually dozens of events during the four day festival but the one that draws the biggest crowd is the Grand Tasting Village. Tents, stretching the length of a football field, line the beach. Underneath, a playground of food, cooking demos, famous chefs, wine, spirits and more.
You never know who you will run into. Over the years I've met almost all of the big guys, the food network stars. Kinda funny, this year I ran into Dennis Rodman of all people. Yes he is still alive and no he was not wearing a boa or make-up.
I drank some amazing wine, tried some delicious food and sampled lots of new products....too many to even begin to list here. Emerging from the tents on the beach with a nice buzz made the people watching on SOBE even better than usual. Of course there are topless women but I swear I saw a man with thong that looked like a pasty! There's always someone with a snake or monkey or some exotic animal on their shoulder, drag queens, girls in bikinis and their boots with the fur, beautiful models on photo shoots, etc. A man on roller blades wearing nothing but knee pads and a thong made even the most jaded local bar tenders laugh out loud.
The tickets for the events of the Food and Wine Festival have gotten quite pricey over the years and many sell out. The festival has raised some 12 million dollars for The Florida International University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. I'll see you on the beach next year!