Closing out this year's South Beach Wine & Food Fest was no easy task. The last few days have been epic. Although if there was one person and one food category to get the job done, it was definitely Andrew Zimmern and the munchies. Other events may have pristine lobster and wine, but this was beer, hot dogs and donuts.
Attendants lined up behind red robes before being let in to a massive food party with carnival games, a rock and roll concert and at the end of the night two awards were handed out. The savory prize went to Shake Shack and the sweet award to Graeter's ice cream.
Although The Munchies: People's Choice Food can still be voted on until March 31.
Best food truck, according to The Munchies, is Zimmern's own AZ Canteen. Their hot dog was the best thing we ate all night. The Piedmontese heritage dog had that perfect snap and it is was bunned up with roasted vegetable mayo, house mustard, crispy cabbage and topped with mint! The mint was the best part, it added a jazzy fresh flavor and masked hot dog breath at the same time.
Miami newcomer, Buns & Buns brought tamarind glazed lamb ribs inside their deliciously doughy sweet buns.
Graeter's, based in Cincinnati, was the winner for Best Ice Cream and also won big last night. They are famous for being the only manufacture to use French pot freezers and their two gallon batches are the smallest in the industry. The result is some unbelievably creamy artisanal ice cream.
We ran into José Andrés who gave us an air kiss as delightful as his liquid nitrogen cocktails. We asked him about his favorite munchie of the night and his response was, "I'm on a diet." Not acceptable, chef.
The people have spoken, the Best Late Nate Food winner was Miami's own, David's Cafe. The son of the David, served up their famous Cuban sandwiches.
Bringing real New York pizza to the beach is great and all, but bringing two pizza ovens is beyond impressive. Luzzo's in Manhattan, up for Best Pizza, brought their Neapolitan style pizza margherita to South Beach.
If you thought that there was no better combo than chicken and waffles, think again. The Light Group in Las Vegas placed duck and a 64 degree egg on top of a rye waffle with bourbon maple syrup. We subscribe to the motto: if you like something, you better put an egg on it.
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The winner for Best Burger and the savory award last night was Shake Shack. They had the longest line of the night serving up the SmokeShack burger. This was a basic cheeseburger topped with applewood smoked bacon, cherry peppers and ShackSauce on top.
It was a great burger and we are so glad that we have a Shake Shack located close by for when we go into SOBEWFF withdrawals.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst