festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Nobody gets a place going quite like Guy Fieri does. And man, did he bring the energy to SoBe’s Closing Party on Sunday night! After a seriously exhausting (albeit incredible) weekend of food and drink-filled events, the Triple-D star helped worn-out guests power through one more crazy night of debauchery on the sands behind the Gansevoort Miami Beach. As soon as he stepped foot on stage, spirits went threw the roof and the place was on fire.
Not only did Guy play MC for the night, but the culinary rockstar blended up and served his famous “South Beach Slur-icane” (a strong concoction of mezcal white and gold tequilas, frozen strawberries, lime, pineapple, orange and mango juices, grenadine and ice), showed off his pizza dough tossing skills and engaged the crowd in one seriously “off da hook” time—complete with bold flavored food, stocked open bars and LA’s famous DJ Cobra on the 1s and 2s.
Adding a twist onto the popular Food Network series, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Saturday’s casual late-night bash invited chefs and celebrities to showcase their favorite beach-inspired eats. The Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach, hosted by cake ace Duff Goldman, celebrated all the guilty pleasures that have captured the hearts and palates of spirited personalties, such as Andrew Zimmern, Anne Burrell, Claire Robinson, Bethenny Frankel, Debi Mazar and Dwyane Wade.
Under a sand-bottom tent in front of the Ritz-Carlton, partygoers noshed on coastal fare and cocktails, while mingling with the familiar faces behind the food and jamming out to the still rockin’ KC and the Sunshine Band.
Some of the crave-worthy bites included crab ceviche from Joe’s Stone Crab, comforting beef brisket sliders from Epicure Gourmet Market and Prime One Twelve‘s decadent peanut butter s’mores. NY was represented with Andrew Zimmern’s pick of fresh mahi tacos from Montaco Truck and Sunny Anderson’s bacon and cheese sauce smothered hot dogs from Nathan’s Famous. And the trio of Croques Monsieurs from Daniel Boulud’s db bistro? Très magnifique!
After filling up on plenty of barbecue at BubbleQ, my evening continued at the Festival’s elaborate 10th anniversary celebration—Let Them Eat Cake sponsored by Moët Hennessy USA. The architectural marvel known as 1111 Lincoln Road, a beautiful open-air parking garage/event space, provided a sexy backdrop for what would be the hottest party of the weekend.
There was never a dull moment during this spectacular all-desserts affair, hosted by culinary legends Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. Awe-inspired guests watched live ice sculpture carvings, witnessed high-flying aerialists fill their flutes with bubbly and rubbed elbows with Wylie Dufresne, Alain Ducasse, Gail Simmons, Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh and a slew of other celebs and culinary personalities. Duff Goldman and the Ace of Cakes crew demoed proper fondant techniques, Danny Meyer handed out milkshakes from Shake Shack, and the dynamic hosting duo presented founder Lee Schrager with a touching video tribute—it was quite an entertaining evening to say the least.
Under a moonlit sky behind SoBe’s elegant Delano hotel, grillmaster Bobbly Flay played host at Friday’s 10th annual BubbleQ—one of the Festival’s biggest signature events. During the sexy evening soiree, a lively crowd of partygoers enjoyed free flowing Perrier-Jouët Champagne and gourmet bites from barbecue’s best.
Dozens of BBQ gurus, including host Bobbly Flay himself, along with Rick Bayless, Cat Cora, Todd English, the Allen Brothers, Adam Perry Lang, Marc Vetri, Michael Symon and others, were dishing up their succulent ‘cue—everything from smoky pulled pork sandwiches to saucy shanks, steaks and fall-off-the-bone ribs. Having a selection of this caliber drew really long food lines—the event’s only drawback—but with a flute of bubbly in hand and a rockin’ live band on stage, the waits seemed to fly by. The night was capped off in the Godiva Lounge, which displayed a decadent array of desserts created by Godiva Chocolatier David Funaro. Hmm…Champagne, BBQ and chocolate—does it get any better than this!?
Kicking off this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival last night was the 5th annual Amstel Light Burger Bash, hosted by Rachel Ray. The much-anticipated meaty extravaganza drew A-list chefs and food personalities serving up their “best between a bun” for the ultimate burger throw down. Thousands of hungry guests swarmed to the Ritz-Carlton’s beachside tent to sink their teeth into a whopping 26 beefy creations and vote for their favorite. And we’re not talking about your standard patties here—these were some of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted.
During the gluttonous burger bonanza, some chefs chose to forgo the beef all together (elk and foie gras sliders from Tim Love, lamb and anchovy patties from Jonathon Sawyer), while others showcased inventive toppings—Bobby Flay featured crumbled potato chips on his Napa Valley Crunchified and Masaharu Morimoto cracked a fried egg over his Waygu Nikomi Burger.
Michael White offered one of the night’s juiciest bites—a Pat LaFrieda ground and dry-aged beef blend, smothered in American cheese with black tomato and butter lettuce, known as The White Label. And what New Yorker doesn’t love a Shake Shack burger? Danny Meyer knows not to mess with a good thing and doled out his famous Black Angus piled with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and “shack sauce”—a classic done well.
2009 People’s Choice winner Spike Mendelsohn dressed up as the Hamburglar in hopes of stealing back the title this year, but all tactics aside, his Colletti Smokehouse burger spoke for itself—with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, beer-battered onion rings, chipotle BBQ sauce and a delicious toasted marshmallow milkshake to wash it all down with.
Other stand-outs included the Vermont cheddar, crispy onion and horseradish pepper sauced patty from Michael Schlow, and The Ritz Carlton’s decadent Hobb’s bacon and foie gras torchon topped Bistro Burger, served with earthy black truffle taters. And of course (drum roll please)…the two big winners of the night:
Marc Murphy snagged the prestigious Judges’ Favorite for the Big Marc—an all-beef patty on a homemade cheddar cheese and black pepper bun with spiked ketchup and bread-and-butter pickles. The cleverly executed burger and side of jalapeño tots was a truly title-deserving combo. (*Now, burger lovers can try the Big Marc themselves—it’s a new menu addition at NYC’s Ditch Plains and Landmarc. Go get one, trust me.)
Finally, Iron Chef Michael Symon defended his 2010 title and was crowned People’s Choice award winner for the second year in a row! The salty and spicy Yo! Burger, from Symon’s B Spot in Cleveland, won over the crowd with bold flavors from fried salami, provolone cheese, pickled onions and his mother-in-law’s zesty shasha sauce. And the Nutella and hazelnut liqueur milkshake that came with it? Sold me on the first sip.
Congrats to all the winners and competitors who made Burger Bash 2011 a smashing success! After I powered my way through, bite by bite, I sought chocolately relief from Jacque Torres, but even I was too stuffed for dessert. After all, I have a long weekend of eating ahead and am saving my sweet tooth for tonight’s Let Them Eat Cake event. Enjoy some of Burger Bash’s best shots below:
The battle for the best is fierce, but what’s your favorite burger?