While much of the United States is getting ready for the "storm of the century," Miami is feeling delightfully cool temperatures.
Though most outsiders will say we've got it easy, Miamians know we've earned this weather by suffering through months of mosquitoes, extreme humidity, and freak thunderstorms. So let's enjoy this weather and get out this weekend. There are ample choices, including strolling through Miami's own oasis, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, while devouring chocolate, and dining outside at the Wynwood Yard's Saffron Supper Club night. If you're feeling ambitious, join one of the 23,000 participants in the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon — or simply sip some coffee on the sidelines while cheering on the runners.
Whatever you do, get out and enjoy Miami. Weekend starts now!
International Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's tenth-annual international chocolate festival lets you indulge your sweet tooth at Miami's most beautiful venue. The three-day festival features samples from dozens of chocolatiers, interactive chocolate-making displays, and cooking demos (perfect for your upcoming Valentine's Day dinner). Take a walk through the living history of cacao and chocolate tent to hear the history of chocolate from horticulturists, scientists, and chefs, and learn about harvesting techniques and production. You can also pamper yourself at the "chocospa" and take home a baby cacao tree or chocolate-scented orchid. The festival runs Friday, January 22, through Sunday, January 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission costs 25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and older, and $12 for children 6 to 17; Fairchild members and children 5 and younger get in free. Eco- and military discounts are available.
The Avenue Food & Brew's Fish & Chips Pop-Up Lunch
Miami may not be well acquainted with chef Andy Bates, but the rest of the world sure is. Bates is a Food Network UK celebrity and the host of Andy Bates Street Feasts, Andy Bates American Street Feasts, and Andy Bates Brazilian Street Feasts (notice the pattern?). The chef is opening his first brick-and-mortar restaurant with partners Frenchy Mingo and Vivian Belzaguy at Filling Station Lofts in Miami's Arts & Entertainment District. The restaurant won't be open until this fall, but you can get a taste of the chef's British pub grub at his pop-up Fish & Chips Lunch this Saturday, January 23. The lunch, served from 1 to 4 p.m. at Filling Station Lofts, costs $69.57 per person and includes a Scotch egg starter, Welsh rarebit, fish 'n' chips, and banoffee pie. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com. Hurry to reserve your space at the table, because Bates' pop-up dinner series sold out quickly.
Carb Up for the Miami Marathon at Scarpetta
This Sunday morning — way before most of us are awake (and while others are Ubering home) — 23,000 people from all 50 states and more than 80 countries will line up to run the Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon. The race, whose course winds through Miami and Miami Beach, is the culmination of months of training for these athletes of all different ages, sizes, and nationalities. With the start line before them, there's just one thing left to do: carbo-load! That's the age-old (and sage) tradition of eating lots of carbohydrates in the days leading up to a big race in an attempt to stockpile energy. Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach is hosting its annual "Carb Up" prix-fixe for runners — and people who simply love carbs. Friday, January 22, and Saturday, January 23, from 6 to 7 p.m., enjoy a three-course dinner for $45 per person that includes your choice of burrata, broccoli rabe pesto, arugula salad, or fricassee of truffled mushrooms for primi piatti. For the main course, choose duck-and-foie-gras ravioli, short-rib agnolotti, or Scarpetta's famous spaghetti with tomato and basil. For dessert, there's coconut panna cotta or amedei chocolate cake with toasted almond gelato and salted caramel sauce.
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New England Patriots Game Day at Izzy's Fish & Oyster
This Sunday, January 24, the New England Patriots will take on the Denver Broncos for the AFC Championship at 3:05 p.m. If you're a Patriots fan (or just a fan of football and good seafood), watch the action on Izzy's 42-inch TV screens and enjoy New England-inspired food and drinks like $5 Narraganset lagers; a "salty dog" basket of fried clams, cod, fries, and onion rings, served with malt vinegar aioli; Island Creek oysters; New England clam chowder; and a Painted Hill Farms sirloin burger with cave-aged cheddar, bacon, and onion jam on a potato roll.
Saffron Supper Club at the Wynwood Yard
This Sunday, January 24, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., enjoy the tastes and culture of Persian cuisine at the Saffron Supper Club's Open Sesame dinner. The Wynwood Yard will host this alfresco feast that focuses on tahini, a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. The five-course dinner, served family-style, is a collaboration among Saffron Supper Club's Maude Eaton and Sara Liss, Richard Hales (Dim Ssäm a Gogo), Shaddy Mzeghet (The Arabian Knife), and Della Test Kitchen. The dinner costs $65 per person and includes a tahini duo of garnet beet tahini with za'atar heirloom carrots and sabzi tahini with walnut and dates; falafel and tabbouleh; Persian soup shooter served with saffron-scented ratatouille with olives and smoky paprika tahini and princess crown jeweled rice with golden tahdig crust; a deconstructed Mediterranean bowl with brown rice, chickpeas, sweet potato, marinated kale, raw roots, citrus tahini sauce, and sweet potato hummus; and cumin lamb chops with onion, Tianjin chili, cilantro aioli, and sesame seeds. Advance ticket purchase is required through eventbrite.com.