South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Sugar and Sex: That's All Pat and Gina Neely Need

Dinner with the Neelys is what a Food Network fanatic would call a dream come true. For sex lovers, however, it's what we'd call a wet dream come true.

The Tennessee couple host Food Network's Down Home with the Neelys but last night, it was more of an All Out at The Biltmore kinda show. Unabashed by their obvious love and affection for one another, things got awkward at some points during the interactive dinner. Especially when Pat reminisced for 15 minutes of his and Gina's mmm-m-mmm-m-mm (the Campbell's kind of mm-mmming) past.

Barbecue brisket sliders and deviled eggs were served outside while the ballroom was being prepped for the crowd. Guests sipped (in some cases, chugged) wine and a Neely favorite, Love and Happiness strawberry cocktail.

Pat and Gina were extremely chatty throughout the entire event. Chatty with guests, chatty with themselves... it seemed difficult to get a word in edgewise between those two.

Speaking of being between them, Pat began telling the story of how their current relationship came to be (they dated in high school, broke up and reunited at their 10-year reunion). Essentially dishing out that Pat's shiny new 911 Porsche Carrera is was lured Gina back to him, we noticed a steep downward slope of innuendo after innuendo from that point on. It was funny, but sometimes awkward.

Pat admitted he liked to chase Gina around the kitchen with a spatula, "what kind of spatula?" one of the guests at our table muttered with snark.

As if Pat could almost hear the witty remark from the other end of the ballroom, he mused "well, why wouldn't I want a little sugar?" (referring not to the sweet sugary substance, but rather to his wife).

Nothing like admitting to 200 strangers you can't get enough of your wife. No worries, Pat, we understand.

Dinner was otherwise nice (and not awkward). Brave table mates cooked up a summer rice salad and New York strip with the help of the table side sous chef and Coral Gables High School senior Algill. Algill and the volunteer chefs made quite the spectacle, even catching Gina Neely's attention during a few points. With a charismatic 17-year old sous chef and two Kentucky girls five drinks deep, whose attention wouldn't they catch?

The only downside to the interactive dinner (that means we're not considering the awkward sexual moments as downers) was that only two steaks were provided for each table to cook. With nine people at the table to feed, we were almost disappointed that the other seven steaks came prepared from the kitchen instead of cooked in front of us. There we were, ready to tell the rookie chef how we like our meat cooked... when the waiter placed a well done strip before us. Not a highlight.

By the way, all of this happened while Pat and Gina were still goggling at each other, probably still talking about sugar and sex.

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Alex Rodriguez