SOBEWFF 2016: A Learning Experience

In MMTM’s three years of blog-istence, we’ve had three very different experiences as it relates to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It’s one of the most exciting times of year in Miami (for us foodies, anyway) and we love that we’ve been able to have had such different takes on it so far. Our first year was all about seeing our favorite Food Network Stars and making the most of discounted tickets and free events. Year two was more about highlighting the local chefs and restaurants we’d come to love and getting into as many events as possible. And this year, our third time around, was about seeing a different side of SOBEWFF, not biting off more than we could chew, and maybe, just maybe, learn a thing or two.

On Saturday afternoon, we attended two Bank of America Lifestyle Seminars: Wine & Cheese and Local Craft Beer. It was nice to step away from the craziness under the tents for a little bit and get inside for a quieter take on the festival, despite the fact that the weather outside was absolutely perfect.

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At the Wine & Cheese Seminar, we received some hands-on instruction from cheese maven Laura Werlin and wine authority Josh Wesson. The session paired eight glasses of wine to eight cheeses, focusing on the best of American wine and cheese and boosting our senses and knowledge of pairing the two.

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At the Craft Beer Seminar, craft beer expert Evan Benn was joined by J. Wakefield Brewing’s Johnathan and Maria to offer up a special glimpse behind the scenes of one of Miami’s newest and most buzzed-about breweries. Along with a sampling of six different rare and highly rated beers, we enjoyed a lively discussion about beer, brewing, and the evolving story of Wakefield’s signature style, the Florida Weisse.

Our learning experience continued into Sunday night at the Lucky Rice Asian Night Market hosted by Andrew Zimmern. For example, we learned that Chinese takeout containers are not good for photographing food and that long lines and running out of food are not conducive to tasting events. No, but seriously, we also learned that Miami’s Asian food scene is growing and diversifying, which is something that excites us greatly.

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The close-out event of the 15th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival brought together a collection of Miami- and South Florida-based Asian chefs and restaurants, as well as a few out-of-towners. From sushi, dumplings, and dim sum to special libations from Gekkeikan Sake, Tito’s Handemade Vodka, and Ron Viejo de Caldas Rum, it was a great night of unique eats and delicious treats – well, at least those we were able to taste.

Speaking of deliciousness, we have to call out our two favorite bites from the night. The first, came from our gracious host, Andrew Zimmern, and his Minneapolis restaurant, Lucky Cricket. The Cold Sesame Noodle Salad with Shredded Cucumber and Cilantro was bursting with flavor – a little sweet, a little spicy, a little savory – and was anything but bizarre (get it?).

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Our other favorite of the night, came from Miami’s very own Thai chef extraordinaire, Chef Bee, and his new Sunset Harbor hotspot, NaiYaRa. His Neau Dade Deaw (aka Thai fried sun-dried beef jerky) with coriander, nahm jim jao sauce, and Burmese sticky rice was succulent and sticky and super good. Oh, and the hook-up of an extra portion from Chef Bee didn’t hurt either.

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So there you have it, folks… For a more in-depth look at our weekend adventures, check out the photo gallery below. See you in 2017, #SOBEWFF!

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