Let's take a step back for a second to appreciate the meaning of October in Miami. While our northern counterparts are currently shivering their hind quarters as they waddle to their jobs, we're sitting on the front porch, sipping a fresh smoothie while writing this guide. Damn, it feels good to be in Miami. Wait 'til January -- that's when they get really jealous about our beach-day photos on New Year's Day. Hah!
This weekend's all about the fruit of the ocean, kids. There are two seafood festivals going on around town, and if you're really into it, you can go to both because they're on different days. Also, Grovetoberfest is back and better than ever, and Trader Joe's opens today.
Grovetoberfest - Saturday
For weeks and weeks we've been telling you about these free beer nights at places around town to build the momentum for Grovetoberfest. And it's finally happening this Saturday at Peacock Park from 4 to 7p.m. Tickets range from $45 for general admission to $90 for VIP (which garners access at 2:30pm.). Both entry levels include unlimited samplings of the over 200 types of beers available. Chefs Giorgio Rapicavoli, Michael Jacobs, Jacob Anaya, and Michael Pirolo will be at the Grovetoberfest kitchen lab where they'll be showing their culinary skills with the help of suds. If you enjoy too much beer while you're there, just ask a member of the staff for a safe ride home -- no, really! It's part of the festival. Purchase tickets here, or get them at the gate while they last.
South Beach Seafood Festival - Saturday
Tomorrow, the area around 9th Street and Ocean Drive will transform into a series of little seafood paradise pop-ups. Unless you've already hit up Joe's since the season started on Tuesday, South Beach Seafood fest can be your first taste of this season's snow crabs. But more than that, a boat load of participating restaurants will also be offering calamari, octopus, grouper, mussels, and oysters. All restaurants will offer dishes for you to try and the prices for each dish range from $5 - $15. General admission is $25 and includes entrance to the event and access to interactive demos, live music, and kids zone. VIP admission is $150 and includes access to the VIP pavilion, which includes all-day open bar, food samples, and giveaways. Purchase tickets here.
Coconut Grove Seafood Festival - Sunday
If you can't make it to South Beach this weekend, that doesn't mean you can't have your cut at the ocean's sweet bounty -- just head on over to Coconut Grove. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Grove's own seafood fest will be happening at Peacock Park. Grovetoberfest's Tony Albelo is running the show and told Short Order "we'll have fresh stone crabs, but there's also fresh lobster and fresh fish. We'll have dishes with Caribbean, Bahamian, and Latin incluences. We'll also have New England specialities -- including a company that specializes in lobster rolls and clam chowder." There will be live music by a Jimmy Buffet cover band, a family fun zone, and Casablanca will be there selling fress fish to take home. Also, chefs from local restaurants will be there showing you how to cook seafood properly. Tickets cost $15 in advance, or you can buy them for $25 at the door. VIP tickets run for $50 and include a private entrance, private air-conditioned restrooms, and beer and refreshments inside the VIP lounge. You can purchase your tickets here.
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Shop at Trader Joe's - Sunday
Alright, so we've been a little excited about the opening of Trader Joe's. But, seriously, who isn't? (Also, that's a rhetorical question.) It's about damn time Miami finally gets its own store chock-full of hippy goodness. It might take a while, but we'll bet that 6 months from now, there will be an aisle designated for guava paste -- that's when you know Joe has seriously settled into the 305. The store opens today (Friday, October 18), but we recommend heading over on Sunday morning (store opens at 8a.m. every day) to get your pick of the loot. We have plenty of things to help you with your pilgrimage: Ten items to be excited about, five wines and beers under $10 to try, and ten [awesome] shopping tips from Captain Jodi (the store's manager).
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.