BY ALISON RYAN
Sure, signature events like the Grand Tasting and the Burger Bash are still hot tickets, but each year the masterminds behind the South Beach Wine & Food Festival also reinvent the 4-day culinary celebration. From new star-studded parties to elaborate dinners with internationally-renowned restaurateurs, here are our top, not-to-be-missed events.
Massimo Bottura Dinner
This is the one ticket true gourmands will want to splurge on—and it might be the closest you’ll ever get to eating at the current best restaurant on the planet. Famed Italian chef Massimo Bottura, whose restaurant Osteria Francescana recently topped the prestigious list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, will show off his culinary genius during a sit-down dinner at the swanky Faena Hotel. Oh, and did we mention the Italian beauty Giada De Laurentiis will be there, too? It might be the best meal of your life. Friday, February 24, 7 pm, at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Cost is $850.
Salty, Sweet & Savory Treats
Fried chicken, gourmet doughnuts and flowing cocktails. Need we say more? This new late-night event held poolside at the Shelborne Hotel is the ultimate triple-threat—featuring The Salty Doughnut, Miami’s gourmet doughnut shop with a cult-like following, the Sarsaparilla Club, where Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are heralded for their green curry fried chicken, and the Bar Lab team, known for shaking up some of the best craft cocktails around. Friday, February 24, 10 pm, at Shelborne Miami Beach, 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.Cost is $95.
A Taste of Brickell City Centre After Dark
In case you haven’t heard, the Brickell City Centre is the hottest new spot for celebrity spotting, dining, shopping and entertainment, and who better to be your host for this late-night soirée than the convivial Chef Michael Symon (and his wife, Liz)? Guests will sample dishes from Miami mainstays like Pubbelly Sushi and newcomers like Tacology—while DJs pump up the volume for an energetic night. Extra bonus: Guests will also get to preview the much-awaited Italian Food Hall that will open in the Centre later this year. Thursday, February 23, at 10 pm, at Brickell City Centre, 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami. Cost is $95. If you’re looking for a more elaborate affair, spring for the Amigos de La Huella Dinner at the Centre’s fashionable EAST Hotel, where Quinto La Huella executive chef Nano Crespo will team up with other notable chefs from Uruguay and Argentina for a gastronomic event that will transport you to South America. Saturday, February 25, 7 pm, at Quinto La Huella at EAST, Miami, 788 Brickell Plaza, Miami. Cost is $250.
If you want to mix and mingle with many of the festival’s superstar chefs, this late-night soiree is the place to be. Set in the trendy South of Fifth neighborhood, festival regular Guy Fieri will host a live trivia game where the likes of Robert Irvine, Scott Conant, Valerie Bertinelli, Alex Guarnaschelli and more will compete in a part Jeopardy!, part Family Feud game for the culinary world. While they’re having a “food fight,” you’ll savor curated bar bites from some of the best neighborhood joints. Saturday, February 25, 10 pm, at Monty’s Sunset on South Beach, 300 Alton Road, Miami Beach. Cost is $95.
Burnt Ends: A Kosher BBQ Dinner
First things first: You don’t have to be Kosher to enjoy this new event. With “Meatopia” being phased out of the festival this year, this will be the must-attend party for carnivores. Alon Shaya, whose New Orleans restaurant Shaya has been named the Best New Restaurant in the US by the James Beard Foundation, is hosting the second Kosher event in the festival’s history. During this grill-off, diners can expect creative dishes by some of the best in barbeque from around the country, along with local favorites like Zak the Baker. Thursday, February 23, at 7 pm, Rok Family Shul – Chabad Downtown Jewish Center, 35 SE 9th St., Miami. Cost is $300.
Heart of New Orleans Dinner
New Orleans continues to boast one of the best culinary scenes in the country and this is your chance to have some of the Bayou’s top chefs cook for you. Expect lots of Creole flavor and Southern hospitality from celebrated chefs such as Donald Link of Herbsaint Restaurant, David Kinch and David Morgan of The Bywater, and Miami’s golden girl Nina Compton (from Scarpetta fame) who recently opened a restaurant in The Big Easy. This is sure to be the most coveted ticket of the festival. Thursday, February 23, 7 pm, at The Forge, 432 41st St., Miami Beach. Cost is $300.
Croquetas and Champagne
While it’s not new, this party proved to be one of the most unique and exciting in its inaugural year (2016), and shouldn’t be missed. Hosted by internationally acclaimed French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this event in the Design District celebrates the Cuban croqueta. Local chefs will garnish and stuff them with anything from decadent truffles to mac ‘n cheese. Wash them down with an elegant glass (or five) of Champagne Henriot. Now that’s what you call a good night in Miami. Saturday, February 25, 10 pm, at 140 NE 39th St., Miami Design District. Cost is $125.
Made with Love
No one knows the way to OUR HEARTS BETTER than a chef. Four chefs from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival reveal their most romantic dishes (You never know—you might get lucky). By Alison Ryan | Photos by Carlos Hidalgo
Chef Dale Talde, Talde Miami Beach
Romantic Dish: Soft Scrambled Eggs with White Truffles
“Scrambled eggs are the perfect dish for the morning after a romantic evening. Eating perfectly cooked scrambled eggs is like getting kissed—soft, silky smooth—and you’ll show someone how special they are by splurging on white truffles. It’s the ideal dish to eat before getting back into bed and being grown and sexy. Ha!”
• 3 eggs
• 2 tbsp. of butter
• 1 white truffle
• 1 bunch of chives
Add butter in a nonstick pan and let it melt. Whip eggs and add to pan at a low heat. With a fork, move the eggs around, keeping the curd nice and small. Finish with a light touch of butter. Plate and then top eggs with shaved truffles (go crazy with the truffles!) and garnish with chives.
Talde Miami, 4041 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach | 786.605.4094 | taldemiamibeach.com
Nicole Votano, DIRT
Romantic Dish: Bucatini Amatriciana
“This particular dish is a family recipe and it was one of the first things I ever cooked for my husband, Rolando. Being Mexican, he loved the spice and has since requested it on a regular basis. Cooking this dish together is one of our favorites—while I sizzle the bacon in the pan, my husband cuts the onions and grates the cheese, then we finish the dish and taste it for seasoning together. The spice in this dish will make you feel very frisky.”
• 1 lb. bucatini
• 3/4 lb. bacon or pancetta
• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large sweet onion (diced small)
• 5-6 garlic cloves (sliced paper thin)
• 1.5 tsp. chili flakes
• 32 oz. peeled canned San Marzano tomatoes in juice (squeezed
• 1 cup finely grated
• 1/2 cup finely grated
• 4 tbsp. butter
• Salt to taste
• 1/2 bunch basil
Place a large, covered pot of generously salted water over high heat to prepare for cooking pasta. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add bacon to pan, cook five to seven minutes until edges are crispy. Add olive oil and sweet onion and stir until onion is translucent. Add sliced garlic and chili flakes. When garlic is softened, with no color, add squeezed tomatoes. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add pasta to boiling water and stir with tongs to prevent sticking. Cook pasta for 7-8 minutes. Remove pasta from water and place in sauce, reserving one-to-two cups of pasta water. Mix pasta into sauce, then add butter, a half cup of hot water and cheeses, while stirring vigorously to emulsify over high heat.
Serve in a medium-sized bowl topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil.
DIRT, 232 5th Street, Miami Beach | 305.763.8548 | dirteatclean.com
Chef Michael Pirolo, Macchialina
Romantic Dish: Panna Cotta with
“This was the dessert my wife and I made together the first time we cooked a meal at home when we began dating. It always reminds me of when we started dating, our first apartment together in Philadelphia and the fact that she still somehow likes me today.”
• 5 cups milk
• 5 cups heavy cream
• 15 oz. sugar
• 4 vanilla beans
• 12 gelatin sheets
Combine milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean and bring to boil. While mix is coming to a boil, soak gelatin sheets in a bowl of ice water for 5-10 minutes. Remove excess water from gelatin sheets and add sheets to cream and stir until melted. Strain, portion and chill immediately.
• 1 qt. strawberries
• 2 sprigs of thyme
• 1 lemon zested
• 1/2 cup of sugar
• 1 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
Trim tops and cut strawberries to appropriate size. Toss with sugar, thyme and lemon zest. Add balsamic once fully macerated. Drizzle over the panna cotta.
Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis, The Sarsaparilla Club
Romantic Dish: Barbecued Baby Beets,
Whipped Labneh and Spiced Orange Honey
“Jeff and I love root vegetables and these vibrant, fuchsia baby beets remind us of hearts. There is something particularly romantic about sitting in our rocking chairs next to each other in the backyard around the grill, glass of wine in hand, slowly turning the beets over the fire until they are tender. The smell of the sweet beets slow-roasting is deliciously exciting.”
• 2 lb. baby beets, with tops and tail attached if possible
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more as needed
• Black pepper, ground
Scrub baby beets with a brush. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap individually in aluminum foil and place beets on the grill. Roast for 30-35 minutes turning every 10 minutes. Unwrap beets and continue to roast and turn every 5 minutes until beets are charred and tender.
• 2 lb. full-fat plain yogurt
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. black pepper
Mix plain yogurt with salt and pepper. Fold cheesecloth into a large square. Drape over a sieve inside an empty bowl, transferring the yogurt into the cheese cloth. Wrap tightly, creating a ball shape and tie in a knot. Place bowl and sieve in the fridge to drain off excess liquid for 8-14 hours. Whip until smooth, and store in container until needed.
Spiced Orange Honey
• 1/2 cup honey
• 2 tbsp. orange juice
• 1.5 tsp. garam masala
• 1.5 tsp. salt
• 0.5 tsp. black pepper, ground
• 2 oranges, sliced into segments
Whisk honey, orange juice, black pepper, salt and garam masala in a saucepan over low heat until fragrant. Place the labneh in the center of the plate and make a well in the center with the back of your spoon, then fill with olive oil. Slice beets in half and arrange around the outside of labneh. Drizzle with the warm spiced honey. Place orange segments around the beets and labneh, giving the dish height.
The Sarsaparilla Club, One 18th Street, Miami Beach | 305.341.1400 | sarsaparillaclub.com