Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in Miami knows what areas to avoid during certain times of the year. Unless you are in the mood to dodge throngs of tourists and spend exorbitant amounts of money, South Beach is a no-no during the upcoming South Beach Wine & Food Festival February 20 through 23. Eats & Beats organizers are looking to give locals a home to start the weekend.
"The idea behind Eats & Beats is to have an event for locals during one of the busiest tourist weekends of the year," says event organizer Emi Guerra. "It gives locals a place to go without spending a ton of money and provides local businesses an opportunity to showcase their products."
Taking place February 22 from 7:30 p.m. to midnight over a sprawling four floors in the Moore Building in the Design District, Eats & Beats will feature 22 restaurants, four bakeries, five breweries, and 16 liquor and wine brands showcasing the best of their wares.
"We are looking to feature as many over-the-top items and local favorites as we can," says PR/marketing guru Liza Santana of Creativas Group. "Different types of ceviches, croquetas, risottos, and even chocolate. The restaurants featured are going to be like pieces that fit into a puzzle."
Some of the puzzle pieces will include the Rusty Pelican, MPP Brickell, Meat Market, Nikki Beach, Bongos Cuban Café, Brother Jimmy's BBQ, and Epicure Gourmet Market & Café. The Passion Restaurant Group, which owns Dolores in Mary Brickell Village, Crazy About You on Brickell Bay Drive, and Love Is Blind in Coral Gables, will feature dishes from all three of its eateries.
"What I like about this event is that you're focusing on the locals," says PRG co-owner JC Chamizo. "The locals are who we cater to. We absolutely appreciate tourist support, but we can't survive on that."
Modelo, Brooklyn Brewery, and Sam Adams will be on hand with their signature microbrews. Chambord, Don Q Rum, and Jack Daniel's are among the biggest names in spirits, provided mostly by Brown Forman, one of the largest American-owned companies in the wine and spirits business.
"These types of events are important, as they provide us the opportunity to introduce or reintroduce our brands to the consumer," says Ryan Koehneke, state manager at Brown Forman Brands. "They serve to enhance brand loyalty and gauge what some of the trends and demands are in the market. That will help us to keep current while maintaining the integrity of our brands."
Eats & Beats will also feature a dessert lounge with Ana Paz Cakes, Sweet Treats by Marta, 2 Girls and a Cupcake, Sugar Yummy Mama, Specialty Bakers, and Cacao Art Chocolate.
"It makes me happy that there is a new event that will introduce my creations to the locals," says celeb cake designer Ana Paz. "I thought Eats & Beats was unique because [organizers] took ingredients and staffing into account and made it easier for me to participate."
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While the eats will be provided by the aforementioned, nothing is more in line with the event's mission of keeping it local than having Miami's own DJ Irie curate the beats. Some of the musical acts already named include Kitty Carmichael, DJ Mr Sandman, and DJ Michelle Pooch. Carmichael is known for his blending of old-school jazz re-imagined with modern beats and sounds. DJ Mr. Sandman has worked with names like Jamie Fox, Shaquille O'Neal, and Jennifer Lopez. DJ Michelle Pooch, known as "Miami's sexiest DJ," has gained a local following while playing at the biggest clubs in Miami.
Tickets are available on the Eats & Beats website for $99. Short Order readers receive a $20 discount by entering the promo code "NewTimes" at checkout.