Meet the Miss Universe Contestants at Rusty Pelican Dinner Tonight (Photos)

On January 25, the 63rd-annual Miss Universe Pageant will return to Miami for the first time in 18 years.

The event, which began in 1952 as a local "bathing beauty" competition spearheaded by Catalina Swimwear in Long Beach, California, became a worldwide phenomenon with the most beautiful women across the globe vying for the tiara.

The actual pageant, held at Florida International University Arena, is sold out, but tickets to several events are still available, such as a dress rehearsal held at 10 a.m. the day of the pageant (tickets cost $10) and a preliminary competition January 21 at 7 p.m. (tickets cost $40). Both events will be held at FIU Arena, and tickets can be purchased at missuniverse.com.

But how about taking the gorgeous contestants out to dinner? That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can actually be a reality this evening at Rusty Pelican.

Tonight at 6:30, Rusty Pelican will host a special dinner benefiting Best Buddies International. For $100 per person, you can enjoy a chef-prepared three-course dinner, two glasses of wine, and the company of 88 of the most gorgeous, intelligent, and talented women in the world.

Best Buddies was founded in 1989 at Georgetown University and has implemented mentorship programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at more than 1,700 schools in 50 states and more than 50 countries.

The special menu includes appetizers for the table, including ahi tuna tacos with lime guacamole, shredded lettuce, French espelette, and fennel pollen; shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce; Serrano ham croquetas with roasted garlic aioli; and short rib empanadas with roasted jalapeño and sweet corn emulsion and tomato-vanilla jam. Each guest can then choose an entrée, either grilled flatiron steak with goat cheese purple mash and wild mushroom demi-glace or pan-seared grouper with sweet potato and bacon succotash and leek cream sauce. Dessert for the table features chocolate and vanilla beignets; gianduja mousse; molten chocolate cake; and chocolate and peanut butter truffle pops served with creme anglaise, chocolate glaze, passionfruit marshmallow, raspberry coulis, and chocolate flakes.

Also on the menu: some serious eye candy from the Miss Universe contestants.

To purchase dinner tickets, call 305-361-3818.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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