February 24, 2008

Sunday at the South Beach Wine and Food Fest!

What a day it was. The weather was flawless, giving this festival all the backdrop it needed.

We watched Tyler Florence make oven roasted salmon with herb butter over ratatouille and grilled oysters covered in casino sauce.

Ted Allen in the Moet tent...not sure what he was talking about because it was loud in that tent and there was wayyy too much champagne involved, but isn't he cute?

Chillin' with Mary Alice, Geof and Duff from Charm City Cakes- they did a Q&A session where they were candid and clever.

Cat Cora--doesn't she look completely different out of her chef whites? I loved listening to all of the chefs today because they all love food and cooking as much as I do.

This was one of hundreds of wine and liquor stations. Hundreds. It was unbelievable. One entire tent was dedicated to French wines, and held tasting sessions throughout the day. Now I am not what you would call a big drinker, and I sampled pomegranate martinis, Moet Chandon champagne, some funky pink sparkling vodka, and so many white wines that I lost count-- and that was before 1:00 in the afternoon! The day was shaping up to be A-OK!

I was on complete sensory overload (and I was without one, more on that below)- there was so much to see, eat, drink and so much quality people-watching that it was really difficult to focus on the food, which is what I was there for. There's good news and bad news- which do you want first?

Okay, I think you said the good news. The good news is that this event is spectacular. Chefs and other representatives, mostly from restaurants in South Florida but some from other locales, line the Grand Tasting Tents, offering food samples. The sampling included everything under the sun, from kobe beef chili hot dogs to baby octopus and ostrich- and everything imaginable inbetween. If you are a food lover, this is what you would hope heaven might be like.

Plantain chips underneath, marinated tomato and cheese on top.

Duck, sauce, greens and potato tart.

Trio- fig in the first, pork belly with crab in the second and the last...mango with chili sauce.

Seafood salad.

These eggs were hollowed out and filled with sauce to accompany the seafood on top/inside. Beautiful.

Baby octopus on board.

Now the bad news. I have a cold, and was unable to taste any of it. I don't know if I will ever get over it. I tasted much of it, and appreciated the textures. I could tell if something was spicy, salty, bitter or sweet. But the taste...oh the taste. The taste I will never know.

Don't get me wrong- it was an unforgettable day. The sunshine, the exquisite cuisine, the libations and spending the day with TLMM all made for a dreamy day, made dreamier by fact that someone kept pouring wine into the wine glass conveniently hanging from a ribbon around my neck. I certainly can't complain about seeing food demos with some of my favorite television chefs. I am only disappointed that I can't tell you what I thought tasted the best, or which restaurant or product I would try based on taste. I could try to sugar-coat it for you, but you can't exactly downplay the importance of taste at this venue. There's nothing else to say, except that there is no doubt that I will be there next year, complete with my sense of taste, and I am already counting down the days...and the eggs.


Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

I am so disappointed. I wanted so badly to go this but the whole month got away from me! I must remember to get tickets early next year!

Anonymous said...

Ted Allen is on my "list".


Arties32 said...

Ha ha Sparki!

Judy- it's worth your time and money for sure. Plan ahead next year!

Joan said...

If you enjoy food festivals, there's lots more across the state of Florida. See www.FoodFestGuide.com for what's coming up.