SOBEWFF 2016: Choose Moderation Over Excess at This Year's Extravaganza

It's February again, which means we're up for another weeklong ode to all things gustatory at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF). If this isn't your first culinary rodeo, you know all too well how underslept and overstuffed you're likely to be come Sunday.

Although it's hard to argue with free-flowing wine, rich gourmet eats — and the presence of José Andrés — the mornings after aren't always as enjoyable.

So if you'd rather opt for moderation instead of overindulgence this year — or if you just want to add a lighter option or two to your itinerary — here are some suggestions:

The Future of Food Dinner With Matthew Kenney

Chef Matthew Kenney, vegetable-guru extraordinaire, is creating a 100 percent plant-based menu that'll entice even omnivores. A James Beard nominee, founder of Matthew Kenney Culinary, and renowned restaurateur, Kenney's creds are impressive.

In a demonstration of impeccable timing, Kenney is also launching his newest restaurant, Plant Food + Wine Miami, the same week as the event, so the dinner will be hosted at his new space at 105 NE 24th St. in Miami's trendy Wynwood neighborhood.

"The restaurant is the most beautiful project I've ever been involved with," says Kenney. "We're also very happy to have chef Jamie Bissonnette joining us; he's a wonderful talent and brings his unique style to the event. I know he and Scott Winegard will be a dynamic chef team."

Bissonnette is owner of meat-strong Coppa in Boston and Toro in NYC, and though he doesn't usually stick to veggies, he knows his way around fresh local produce and is up to the vegan challenge.

The colorful menu will include yam "Cubans," sunflower chorizo taquitos, and hearts of palm with leche de tigre, avocado, and choclo (Peruvian corn).

"Our vision is to execute elevated, innovative, plant-based cuisine that is nutritious and beautiful, in a stunning setting," Kenney explains. "We'll be using some of the region's best seasonal ingredients but in a way that many guests haven't experienced before, which is one of the exciting things about being a chef."

Though the dinner is an anomaly among many meatcentric events, the menu and guest list give it enough star power and sensory appeal to stand proudly on its own.

The Future of Food Dinner runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, February 27, at 105 NE 24th St., Miami. Tickets cost $200. Visit sobefest.com.

Fun and Fit as a Family

If you've got little ones in your life (offspring, nieces, babysitting charges), this family-friendly all-day event is the perfect way to keep both kids and adults from going bananas.

Hosted at Jungle Island amid orangutans and ligers, FFF runs all day Saturday and Sunday with a lineup of all-star chefs. Famous names will take stage at the Goya Foods Kidz Kitchen and the Interactive Food Lab and help kids learn about healthy eating while they get their hands messy playing with their food.

Saturday's lineup includes Robert Irvine (11 a.m.) and Andrew Zimmern (3 p.m.), among others, while Duff Goldman (1 p.m.), Todd Erickson (4:15 p.m.), and several other chefs will showcase on Sunday.

The chefs aren't the only attraction. There's a garden outpost that features healthy food sampling, a DJ, and a fitness area; plus a "beach" that offers a variety of Jungle Island activities, a supervised swimming area, animal photo ops, and aquajet rides. If all else fails, there are always the animals... because what kind of kid — young or old — doesn't love animals?

Fun and Fit as a Family runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 27, and Sunday, February 28, at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami. Tickets cost $20. Visit sobefest.com.


When you're parched, underexercised, and feeling the stress from stalking celebrity chefs to score perfect selfies — YogArt is your lifesaver. The ancient practice will help detox your body, refocus your mind, and soothe your spirit in the midst of SOBEWFF madness.

On Saturday or Sunday morning (or both), you can practice your downward-facing dogs with South Florida's Dawn B while listening to tunes via DJ (and founder of HBFit) Hannah Bronfman.

As at any proper SOBEWFF event, there will also be libations and nourishment. Guests will sip bellinis made with rosé, spumante, and prosecco; GinnyBakes will offer a selection of cookies and bars; and JugoFresh and Lifeway will join the fun.

Cocktails and yoga? That's so SOBEWFF!

YogArt will run from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, February 27, and Sunday, February 28, at the Raleigh South Beach, 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $35. Visit sobefest.com.

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