Miami Spice Kickoff Party Announced

With summer in full swing that can only mean that Miami Spice is around the corner. The foodie-friendly event commences on August 1, and runs through September 30 with discounts at the top restaurants in Miami. For the uninitiated, that means three-course meals at discounted prices; $22 at lunch and $35 for dinner. While some eateries go all out with this promotion and other skimp (and we'll let Lee Klein suss that all out once the menus are announced), this year, Miami Spice begins with a bang with a gourmet kickoff party.

On Saturday, July 31, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor's Bureau will host a culinary extravaganza at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Participating restaurants include A Fish Called Avalon, Philippe Chow, Randazzo's Little Italy, Smith & Wollensky, Sra. Martinez, Michy's, Chef Allen's, BLT Steak at the Betsy, and Blue Door. There will also be cookbook signings and chef meet-and-greets.

The kickoff event runs from 7 to 10 p.m., and tickets are $35 in advance and $50 at the door. There is a VIP package, which includes open bar, early admission (beginning at 6 p.m.) and complimentary valet parking. Those tickets will run you $75 in advance and $100 the day of. Guests can purchase advance tickets at the Colony Theater box office on Lincoln Road, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, or online at Ticketmaster.com.

There's also an after party at Louis, at the Gansevoort Hotel, which is offering complimentary admission and one free drink with your ticket stub. The late-night revelry runs from 10 p.m. to midnight. You must be 21 years old to attend both events.

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