The clouds overhead threatened rain for a while, but drops never materialized as thousands of people ate, drank, and danced at the first annual Downtown Miami Wine and Food Festival, held yesterday at Brickell's Central Park Miami space.
Local Miami restaurants offered food in exchange for tickets ($10 worth of food tickets were included with admission and more were available for purchase) -- most charging reasonable rates for small plates of ceviche, sliders, paella, sashimi, and more (The Oceanaire's tuna ceviche, for example, was only $2).
Republic National Distributing Company was on hand to provide a range of wines and spirits with generous pours. Big points were scored by Don Q Rum, who served spiked sorbets made on premises with liquid nitrogen. Two tanks of the liquid freezing substance provided spectacle to festival-goers, who couldn't get enough of the smoking treats in Habanero and Guava flavors.
Though the $75 general admission price seemed steep (not to mention the $150 VIP admission, which only provided the additional benefits of a smallish tent, an open bar and access to a whole roast pig by what we could see), the event ran smoothly and people were having a great time. We'd like to see lower prices or an all-food-inclusive policy next year. If attendance is an indication, there will be a next year.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.