South Beach Wine & Food Festival

SBWFF 2011: Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach Was Feh

​It's no secret that different types of crowds are attracted to particular events offered during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Those who love schwag and want to drink their ticket price in alcohol attend the Grand Tasting Village. Parents and those whose enjoyment of the festival depends only on gathering celebrity chef autographs flock to Fun & Fit. Serious foodies can be found at the seminars and Best of the Best. Sophisticated partiers insist on attending BubbleQ. Who does that leave out? Newbies, the younger set, and those who couldn't afford $250 or more for a ticket.

They could be found at last night's Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach, swaying to the sounds of KC and the Sunshine Band while shooting matzo ball soup and gnawing on Joelle's blue balls. (The gals at the Joelle's Desserts booth referred to their little spheres dipped in blue and brown coating "cake pops," but us marketing-minded folk will prevail.)

Highlights included Epicure's brisket sandwiches, the aforementioned matzo ball shots, and black-and-white cookies wrapped up for later enjoyment, stone crab claws from George Stone Crab, mahi tacos from Montaco Truck, Duff Goldman's bacon and corn chowder, and non-stop freebies from Godiva. Disappointments were had at the Pommery booth, where we were told the Champagne supply ran out after one hour.

And Prime 112 also let us down. They presented a respectable peanut butter s'more topped with roasted marshmallow, but the crowd was left wondering, "Where's the beef?"

They found it at Nathan's, where bacon-wrapped cheese dogs were being handed out. But, seriously--that's the best thing Sunny Anderson has ever eaten?

Kudos to Daniel Boulud for socializing with the minions. His db bistro moderne was chosen by Hedy Goldsmith as her "Best Thing." Chef Jerrod Verbiak sliced away at croque monsieur done not one, not two, but three ways.

Event host Duff Goldman seemed to be enjoying the evening, even though he was regularly stalked by fans.

And we enjoyed chatting with Big 105.9 host Paul Castronovo and his spunky wife, Gina, who represented our two northern counties nicely with their eponymous Italian wine and pasta from Boca's Casa D'Angelo.

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Riki Altman