The South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami is by far one of the biggest event of the year. I have been waiting in anticipation for the event ever since my first festival last year. Last year I got Paula Deen’s autograph. Bobby Flay did a seared pink peppercorn encrusted steak with a mango glaze at his demonstration. I especially thought his commentary was funny when he said that most guys think they can grill as their God given talent, even if they only grill about 3 times a year. Must be that “man – fire – eat” instinct. Every party I have ever gone to, I offer to “man the grill” and I get shunned by a guy (I guess they are assuming I don’t know what I am doing) and then they proceed to “grill” the burgers as they repeatedly flip and squeeze the patties to flatten them so they are left dry and overcooked. (A burger only needs to be flipped twice, other than that, leave it alone!) But I digress…
After his demonstration, I ran over to the book signing to get my spot in line as his book signing started in 15 minutes!!
I brought my “Grilling for Life” cookbook for him to sign. I get to the table after being in line about 20 minutes and ask him to make the autograph to “GrillGrrrl.com” He looked at the spelling with a questioning face. “Doesn’t that need an I?” he said. “Nope, I spell it with three ‘R’s, like ‘GRRRRRRR”. “Oh, I see,” he said.. and then I proceed to BRIEFLY tell him about my blog (how could I not?) and he said “that’s a cool concept, I like that”. During this 15 second span in my life, the security lady keeps telling me to hurry up and not stand on the platform, which meant that Bobby was sitting at table about 3 feet above me. I accidentally stepped up twice, I’d been drinking and I didn’t realize I was doing it. I then gave Bobby a copy of a local South Florida book I recently found on “How to Smoke Fish – Florida Cracker Style”. He said thanks and good luck on my blog and it was the next person’s turn. I had my 15 seconds of interaction with the celeb and I was giddy for a good 20 minutes afterwards.
Rachel Ray was up next and she was doing sliders. It is no wonder everyone loves Rachel Ray, she is so energetic and fun and truly your likable “girl next door”. She did a fried chicken sliders with collard greens and hot sauce! YUM-O!
Scott and I then proceeded to drink, as one does at a Food and Wine festival. This time, we had been doing some festival strategizing and decided that we weren’t going to drink anything and everything, but instead limit ourselves to champagne and sparkling wine. It’s hard to grow tired of champagne.
The ones that really stuck out in my mind are 1) “Our Lady of Spain” Cava, offered by Pasternak Imports and 2) The Loire Valley Sparkling and the 3) 071 Prosecco. So here is a great representation of Spanish, French and Italian sparkling wines.
Then we ran into our friends Janice and Shelley. These guys are the biggest foodies I have ever met and have attended all the major events surrounding the show including Emeril’s Bubble Q as well as the Brunch with Paula. Evidently, everyone remotely famous or in the know parties at Emeril’s restaurant after the Friday night event. While we stood there chatting, Janice shows me last night’s pictures with Emeril and the Neelys! They are no joke. We laugh and drink and part ways.
Food highlights of the day from the Grand Tasting Village include Smith and Wollenskys roast beef with horseradish sauce on homemade potato chips, Centerplate’s Duck and sweet-potato mash on cornbread crostini, Buckhead Beefs’ steak, whatever and however it was made, It was awesome. Other booths to note were George’s Stone Crab who offered stone crab at extremely competitive rates and ships anywhere in the domestic US. I also really enjoyed Niki Beach’s Asian Fusion Fish Sticks with Mango chutney.
By the time I made it out of the book tent (one book on grilling and one on BBQ) Scott was taking a quick nap in the shade nearby on the beach. When you have to take a nap afterwards, that’s a good sign you had a good time.
Hope you enjoy the book Bobby!