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South Beach Wine & Food Festival Returns PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
February 2020

Food news we know you can use

IPix_Dish_2-20t’s almost that time of the year again: South Beach Wine & Food Festival. From February 19 to 23, thousands of hungry ticket holders will descend upon Miami to eat some of the city’s best bites and mingle with their favorite celebrity chefs. Don’t let the name fool you: You don’t have to be on the beach to enjoy the festivities. More and more events are making their way to other local neighborhoods.

Among the new events on the mainland this year is Gospel & Falafel, hosted by buzzworthy baker Zak Stern. His namesake Wynwood bakery Zak the Baker (405 NW 26th St., 786-280-0327) will be open long past closing time to serve guests well into the night. Joining him will be several friends, including Brad Kilgore of Alter (223 NW 23rd St., 305-573-5996) and Valerie Chang of Itamae (140 NE 39th St., #241, 786-542-8977). As guests enjoy their creations throughout the night, they’ll also be treated to the sweet sounds of Minister Desmond Jackson and the Sovereign Ministries.

On Friday, February 21, a late-night pizza party by renowned chef Michael Schwartz will take over the Design District’s Jungle Plaza. The all-inclusive festivities will feature both local and out-of-state talent, including Franco Stanzione from Stanzione 87 (87 SW 8th St., 786-360-1852) in Brickell, Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, and Frank Pinello of Pizza Tropical (176 NW 24th St., 855-732-8992). All guests will receive a signed copy of Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home written by Schwartz himself.

If you don’t feel like staying out late, try your hand at making daiquiris and pastelitos with the “pastelito papi” himself, Giovanni Fesser. Fesser, who’s known for his inventive pastries at Chug’s Diner in Coconut Grove, will be showing you firsthand how to craft the iconic item with a variety of fillings. Meanwhile, guests will also hone their skills at making classic daiquiris with Havana Club rum. The best part: Guests won’t have to travel all the way west to the Grove. The event will be taking place at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits showcase facility in Wynwood.

 

OPENINGS

SoBe Wine & Food Festival isn’t the only newsworthy thing in town. Some much-anticipated restaurants finally made their debut as of late. Chef Richard Hales, the name behind Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick Chinese, launched his Texas-inspired BBQ concept, Society BBQ (8300 NE 2nd Ave.), at The Citadel food hall. Originally slated for early 2019, the restaurant was delayed due to a number of medical setbacks experienced by Hales, including a thyroid cancer diagnosis. Burnt ends, beef ribs, and a monstrous baked potato are some of the highlights on this flavorful menu. We’ve already been back four times since it opened -- it’s that good.

Not too far away, the old Paulie Gee’s space has been transformed into Sottosale (8001 Biscayne Blvd., 786-634-1005). Like the space’s former occupant, Sottosale offers a range of pizzas at a reasonable price point. But it also offers so much more: The new neighborhood joint provides guests with a full menu of Mediterranean and Italian specialties like fritto misto, veal scaloppini, and tagliatelle alla Bolognese. The real draw? The restaurant’s big specials, which change depending on the day. Pop in on a Tuesday for discounted pasta or Thursday for specials on local beer. No matter when you visit, you’ll find something that’s easy on your budget.

Down south, Brickell welcomed Osaka Cocina Nikkei (1300 Brickell Bay Dr., 786-627-4800) and its Peruvian-Japanese fare to the area. The usual suspects like ceviche and sushi are on the menu, along with seafood rice skillet, softshell crab jalea, and bone-in ribeye. What will really catch your eye is the pisco cocktail menu, whose variety is reason enough to make repeat visits; there’s nothing quite like it in town.

In the same neighborhood, Luna Park (701 S. Miami Ave.) opened for business at the former La Centrale space. The new Italian food hall in Brickell City Centre will hopefully fare better than its predecessor, which fought with Casa Tua Cocina -- yet another Italian food hall -- for shoppers’ attention. The redesigned space is home to a market along with multiple sit-down restaurants serving pizza, seafood, vegetarian fare, and more.

 

Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin-Anderson are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.

 

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