There are a lot of reasons why you haven't bought tickets for anything at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival this year. Maybe you swore it off after emptying your bank account for back-to-back events on the same weekend last year. Maybe you were diligent about filing your taxes and copped an early refund. Maybe you're just lazy.
Whatever the case is beggars can't be choosers and lucky for you there are still (as of Feb. 15) some tickets left for some choice events. Sure Nobu's all-vegetarian dinner is sold out and you won't be able drool over Jiro Ono's ethereal sushi with Anthony Bourdain, but all hope isn't lost. Here's some of the best of what's left.
Taste of Thai featuring Khong River House and Josh Wesson
50 Eggs Restaurant Group's latest project is an ode to the food of Thailand's small towns and market. Khong River House's Piyarat Potha Arreeatn, who's goes by the social media friendly Chef Bee, will team up with sommelier Josh Wesson to offer the best of Thai food along with all the Prosecco, Rose and Riesling you can handle. It'll be the only time you'll find crispy prawns, Thai-style sausages and spicy green papaya salad at The Shelbourne.
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You're late to the game if you're that big spender who refuses to be seen anywhere but one of the premier events. Sure the $500-per-plate tribute dinner to Nobu is still available, but you want the raucous food-and-drink free for all that the festival is (partially) known for. A new, improved and healthier Deen family, led by matriarch Paula, will host 40 different chefs all firing out their best bites of barbecue. Don't forget the free-flowing Moet. There should be enough to give you the cojones to arm wrestle Robert Irvine after you've eaten his braised pork cheeks and fried pickles.
Swine & Wine
Generally the pigs at the Biltmore are there for some kind of investor's conference or golf tournament. At Swine & Wine the hogs -- Duroc and Hampshire -- are being treated exactly as they deserve: With slow and low heat, crowned with savory and piquant toppings. This is the porcine party's second year in the lineup and local hero Michelle Bernstein is hosting. Whether the Real Housewives of Miami show up this year is anyone's guess.
Afternoon Fix at the Grand Tasting Village
Usually tickets to get into the Grand Tasting Village cost more than $200 apiece. The good folks at the festivals have come up with a cheaper, more hangover friendly way to enjoy one of the festival's premier beachside events. Taking place from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday the so-called "Afternoon Fix" will feature all the food and libations you can handle along with demonstrations on Flavortown etiquette with Guy Fieri, wild European gesticulating with Jose Andres and being ridiculously good looking on television cooking competitions with Geoffrey Zakarian.