Miami Spice Kickoff Event to Benefit Share Our Strength, Others

We had to recheck our calendar to believe that Miami Spice begins in only two weeks. Where has 2011 gone already? Anyway, this is our favorite time of year -- we can actually afford to dine at the restaurants we write about.

Miami Spice 2011 boasts more than 100 restaurants participating in the promotion, which lasts throughout August and September and is organized by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

On July 28, the Miami Spice Kickoff Event promises to be nothing short of spectacular. Held at the Miami Beach Convention Center from 7 to 9 p.m., the event/fundraiser will feature tastings from a selection of participating restaurants,celebrity chefs, and a live performance by flautist Nestor Torres. Restaurants participating in the kickoff include:

Blue Door Fish at the Delano, Cabana Beach Club, City Hall, De Rodriguez Cuba, Eden South Beach, 1500 Degrees at the Eden Roc, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Red the Steakhouse, and West Avenue Café.

A special VIP ticket gets you a sneak peek at Cirque Éloize, complimentary sponsor specialty cocktails, a special advance preview of the food from 6 to 7 p.m., and free VIP parking.

The official after-party will happen at Louis at the Gansevoort Miami Beach. Miami Spice Kickoff ticket holders will receive complimentary admission from 9:30 p.m. to midnight and one free drink.

Tickets cost $50 in advance for general admission and go up to $100 at the door. VIP tickets cost $125 in advance and $200 at the door. Proceeds will benefit Share Our Strength, Madison's Wish, and Education Fund's Plant a Thousand Gardens Collaborative Nutrition Initiative. To purchase tickets and see the complete list of participating restaurants, click here.

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