On Sunday evening in the courtyard of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, there were more than 19 stations serving caja china roast pork, mojitos, and wine. A live band took the stage, and songs such as Rosario's "Meneito" filled the air. As the night wore on, a light drizzle fell upon SoBeWFF's Swine & Wine, hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein and sponsored by Goya Foods. But few attendants noticed the weather. There was too much pork and too much booze to be had.
So, if you missed this fiesta, here are some highlights.
Two local chefs love pairing pork with broth. Both Doug Rodriguez and Michelle Bernstein opted for liquid accompaniments to their pork-centric creations. Rodriguez provided attendees with a clam dipping broth alongside his smoked pan con lechón. Bernstein served her pulled lechón asado with Vietnamese noodle salad and a teeny cup holding pork dashi.
Pig heads are always a nice touch and, no, this was not the ideal event for vegetarians. I overhead this while in line at Harold Moore's booth: "Is this dish vegetarian?" Above the table, the sign read, "Cuban porchetta with mixed beans and rice." The answer, clearly, was no.
This event wouldn't have been complete without copious pig heads. These are just two of 'em.
Miami chefs handle whole lechón with finesse. Michelle Bernstein and Bradley Herron were just two of many chefs who roasted their lechón whole. So they spent much of the night pulling the flesh from the animal. And they looked good while doing it.
Ingrid Hoffmann is so simpatica. At Swine & Wine, few chefs worked it like Hoffmann. The host of Simply Delicioso was handing out kisses, hugs, and handshakes all night. Unlike other chefs who just handed out their food, Hoffmann explained her dish in depth to many attendants.
Dena Marino's cannolis are not sweet. Apparently, at the beginning of the evening, attendees shied away from Dena Marino's cannolis. Maybe it was the cherry gravy or the look of powdered sugar. But booth staffers had to coax people in by explaining the cannolis were savory, not sweet.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
More photos of pork, because that's what this event was all about. At the end of the night, the winner of the evening was Bongos Cuban Café. But the event should be praised for its array of options. At Swine & Wine, there was Cuban-style lechón with black beans and white rice, roast pork with an Asian flair, and even Pubbelly's pork belly with butterscotch miso. Some offerings were more traditional; others were more creative. Regardless, it's likely that attendees of Swine & Wine won't be eating pork again anytime soon.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.