Dining is much more than eating a meal. Restaurants and pubs go as far back as the beginnings of civilized mankind. Archaeologists even unearthed taverns and eateries in Pompeii's ruins.
The South Beach Wine & Food Festival has long regarded music as part of a successful weekend. Past headliners such as KC & the Sunshine Band and Ziggy Marley have rocked the tents. This year, several events seamlessly blur the lines between music and food. As William Shakespeare said: "If music be the food of love, play on."
The David Grutman Experience
Miami nightlife king and restaurateur David Grutman says a soulful tune or a driving beat is as much a part of a restaurant's experience as the food and drinks. For that reason, music matches the tone of Grutman's Miami restaurant, Komodo. "We do have a DJ at Komodo, and he can play songs that everyone can sing along to. I like that whole '80s-and-'90s vibe," Grutman says.
The restaurant, which specializes in meals meant for sharing, such as its signature Peking duck, offers a friendly atmosphere enhanced by song. "I think it's great to have a culinary experience with music guiding it, as well."
Grutman is also a partner at the nightclubs LIV and Story, but he wants Komodo to have its own, distinct identity. "It's not trying to be a nightclub. A nightclub is a nightclub," he says.
At this year's SOBEWFF, Grutman will bring the David Grutman Experience to the Grand Tasting Village Sunday, February 26, when he will transform the festival's courtyard into an intimate look at how he lives and plays. "It's everything that calls to me in Miami," he says. "It's not just the nightlife. It's Wynwood. It's Komodo. I love to drink coffee at OTL [my Design District café with partners Craig Robins and New York restaurant the Smile]."
The David Grutman Experience will feature Wynwood street artists and DJ Sebastian Ingrosso, whom Grutman calls "one of the most iconic DJs." The result, says the nightlife expert, will be something completely different from what festivalgoers have ever experienced before. That's exactly what SOBEWFF's founder had in mind when he called on Grutman to bring the house down Sunday. "Lee [Schrager] came to me and said, 'We want to create a different kind of energy and mix things up'... Of course, Lee had the final say. He's the mayor of the festival and such a forward-thinker."
The hospitality entrepreneur is a fan of the festival. "I'm a chubby Jewish guy, and let's start there that I love food. I love Burger Bash and Best of the Best. Every year, it gets bigger and bigger. Some people save their money all year to go to this."
Snoop Dogg is a multitalented rapper, musician, and actor. But his relationship with domestic diva Martha Stewart might be his biggest tour de force. The unlikely friendship began in 2008, when Snoop guest-starred on Stewart's show. They hit it off, and Snoop told the Hollywood Reporter in August 2016: "My homegirl Martha and I have a special bond that goes back."
He and Stewart cohost VH1's Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, where the two cook and drink with famous guests such as Rick Ross and Seth Rogan. Recently, the pair shared the spotlight in a T-Mobile commercial aired during the Super Bowl in which Stewart quipped about a "can o' bisque" to a lounging Snoop.
Thought Stewart is scheduled to appear Friday, February 24, at the festival, Guy Fieri will share the stage with Snoop for a culinary demo Saturday, February 25, in the Grand Tasting Village. The actor/rapper/Tanqueray brand ambassador will also host a custom "Gin & Juice" bar, in a clever play on his most iconic song, and take to the turntables to spin a few tracks.
Joseph Ward Simmons, better known as Rev Run, is one of the founding members of the hip-hop group Run-D.M.C., which was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. To foodies, he's the cohost, with wife Justine, of Cooking Channel's Rev Run's Sunday Suppers. The show seeks to bring back the traditional family meal.
Saturday, February 25, the husband-and-wife team will offer a kid-friendly demo at Badia Spices' Fun and Fit as a Family at Jungle Island.
That evening, Rev Run will combine music, food, and drinks at the festival's Bacardi on the Beach, with Beats by Rev Run and DJ Ruckus. Guests will sip Bacardi cocktails and nosh on bites from Ralph Pagano (Naked Taco), Scott Linquist (Olla), Sam Gorenstein (My Ceviche), and others.
Badia Spices' Fun and Fit as a Family featuring Goya Foods Kidz Kitchen
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26, at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami. Tickets cost $20 via sobefest.com. Rev Run and Justine Simmons' culinary demo is Saturday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
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Goya Foods' Grand Tasting Village
Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26, at Grand Tasting Village, 13th Street and Ocean Drive. Tickets cost $225 via sobefest.com. A special "3-5 p.m. on Ocean Drive" ticket — good for admission from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, February 26 — costs $100. Snoop Dogg and Guy Fieri culinary demo is Saturday from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.; the David Grutman Experience is all day Sunday.
Bacardi on the Beach
With Beats by Rev Run & DJ Ruckus. 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, February 25, at North Venue, beachside at Delano, entrance at 1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $100 via sobefest.com.