The world culinary spotlight is trained on Miami this weekend as the South Beach Wine and Food Festival takes over most of our city. With dozens of celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain, Rachael Ray, Eric Ripert, Geoffrey Zakarian, and April Bloomfield cooking for us and posing for countless pictures, it's kind of hard to not let this take center stage (especially when the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models are in town for the event, too).
But this is Miami, folks, and we've got a bunch of other stuff going on including some fantastic pop-ups and dinners, a lot of freebies, an alternate festival, and a Brunch For Change. Let's explore the options.
South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Celebrity chefs and the people who love them take over South Beach for an entire weekend of parties, dinners, and seminars. Though many events are sold out, there are still some world-class events available like Sunday's Grand Tasting Village ($225) and the Barilla Interavctive Lunch, hosted by Katie Lee on Saturday ($150). Purchase tickets at sobefest.com.
Or, just stay at home and follow all the action on Twitter as your fav celebrity chefs share TMI via their iPhones.
Eats and Beats
If you're one of those people who just won't go to the beach for another festival, consider Eats and Beats on Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to midnight at the Moore Building. This event combines music with food and features 22 restaurants, four bakeries, five breweries, and 16 liquor and wine brands showcasing the best of their wares. Tickets are $99 and available at eatsandbeatsmiami.com.
Naked Taco Opens
Ralph Pagano's new Mexican restaurant at the Dream South Beach Hotel opens today, which happens to be smack dab in the middle of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and one day before National Margarita Day. Coincidence? We think not. Anyway, join the festivities this evening from 7 to 9 p.m. with fire dancers, a DJ, jugglers, hula hoopers, and sexy taco dancers. What's a sexy taco dancer? You're just going to have to show up to find out. Killer Margaritas and kick-ass tacos will be served. At 9 p.m. there'a a tequila popping ceremony and the party goes on 'til Midnight. That's when the festivities move upstairs to HighBar. No cover, but you've got to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list.
Brunch for Change
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On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Whole Foods Market in Coral Gables will host the Brunch for Change, benefiting the Whole Planet Foundation, which gives microcredit loans to poor women and men in the developing world and in the U.S. The loans are used to build home-based businesses that create opportunity for these people and allow them to make a place in the world.
The brunch is $10 and 100 percent of proceeds will go to the foundation. You'll get a plate of food, one alcoholic beverage (mimosa or white sangria) and one non-alcoholic beverage. There are plenty of options for vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores and menu items include Yucca cheese rolls; mini croissants; dolmas (stuffed grape leaves); sweet and spicy pad Thai kale salad; spicy mung bean soup; vegetable samosas; beef empanadas; ceviche; scrambled eggs; Caribbean chicken sausage; and whole trade fruit salad.