Tuesday, March 01, 2005

South Beach Wine and Food Festival

Where to start. First, I returned yesterday from Miami, where it was about 75 degrees and partly sunny, to Cincinnati where it was a bit colder. I hadn't looked at the weather reports when I was down south but as we were taxiing into the gate at CVG I noticed that they were de-icing the outgoing planes. Not a good sign as I had not brought a coat for the 30 degree weather and snow.

The Wine and Food festival is a 3 day extravaganza held primarily in a huge tent village on the beach in front of Ocean Drive. There were many side events at many restaurants, but I heard the Moet Bubble BBQ on Friday for 1,200 next to the Delano was "the" event. Friday was "trade" day and we managed to crash the party after some persistence and had a chance to sample all the wines and many specialty liquors hosted by Southern Wine and Spirits. Saturday and Sunday was for the public and included about 50/50 food and wine. The high-end wines had left except for the BV Georges de Latour and a smattering of other good wines. My tasting notes are somewhat suspect as I took none. When you go, you will understand. I find it very difficult to take notes standing on the beach, swirling wine while gazing out over the sunbathers and the turquoise waters. And with the addition of the other distractions, I was amazed that I even remembered to spit. Beside the servers, many of whom had been selected for qualities other than their wine knowledge, and the party atmosphere, the event was not conducive to serious wine tasting. Not that I was complaining.

We stayed at the Wave Hotel at 3rd and Ocean which is a small hip spot with small rooms but was very comfortable and very convenient. The beach is half a block away and the heart of Ocean Drive is 4 blocks away. The Astor Hotel still makes a great martini, China Grill has a great selection of appetizers and entrees at 11:30pm when you really need them and the Deuce is still a popular dive bar at 3am. Crowbar was packed with pounding music, if you can get in, and Nikki Beach was still hot in a cool, laid back South Beach way on Sunday afternoon although we did not opt for the Roman-style beds. The Cleavlander was still the best happy-hour spot (open til 4am!) for outdoor fun and scenery and the Delano was as always the place to be at night and is a transforming spot by the pool for all us mid-westerners in February. It has to have the best lobby bar in the country.

So if you want to nibble on delectable treats washed down by good wines on the beach in February in the middle of the hottest entertainment spot in the country (actually we are still checking to see if Miami is part of the USA. My friend from Mexico City used to say, "The great thing about Miami is that it is so close to the United States!"), then this is the event to attend. Just leave your tasting notes at home. See you next year!


Anonymous Dean said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Considering you got to leave Cincinnati in the winter and head to Miami for a weekend of fine wine and food you should have a good time.

5:51 PM  

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