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Feb 25, 2008 08:02 AM

Sobe Festival Publix Tasting - what did you think??

I'm curious to get your thoughts on the wine and food festival's saturday Publix Tent...this was my first year and I'm still mulling over the entire experience. I attended many of the demonstrations in Tent A and did wine and food tasting as well. It seemed like some people came more for the food and others more for the chefs (even when they didn't cook, like Paula and Giada!). I'm still gathering my thoughts as the whole thing was a bit overwhelming and I'm wondering what other people thought/liked/disliked...

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  1. I have gone every year and the past years just seem to be getting worse and worse. The crowds were really bad this year. I understand that they sold many more tickets this year compared to past years. The food was better this year ( not so many conch ceviches) but the lines were crazy for many tables. I am not sure I would go back. Bubble Q was excellent though!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Suzie

      the food was way better this year. I actually was stuffed after making my way through just the 2nd tent. I thought the lines were worse last year for food items in general because there was less food available. My wife and i both had a great time, but i don't think we will go back next year unless we can score free tickets. I think that close to $450 for 2 tickets (including the $30 we paid for parking) is just a little excessive for what you get.

    2. This was my first time going. A group of 8 of us went on Sunday. I expected crowds to be much worse than they were after reading other posts and was pleasantly surprised that they weren't too bad at all. The only really crowded spots were those near the front of the first tent. I have never had any trouble polishing off boatloads of food; but even I had to stop without sampling everything. Some of the samples were very, very good (the steak/potatoes from Texas de Brazil?, and the curried duck from Ortanique). A few got an A+ for effort/display, such as the creme brulee in the egg shell cups, and the mango chutney in the edible cracker spoons that were part of a 3 part amuse bouche serving plate. Those demos that I saw were fun to watch and offered some shaded seating to break up all the eating and drinking. Yes, it was pricey; but for a once a year indulgence, I thought it was worth it and would do it again.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zook

        Sunday is always less crowded compared to Sat but unfortunately Sunday is our travel day so we are always stuck going on Sat. I would much prefer Sunday.

      2. Good to know that Sunday is not as packed, although I'm not sure the celebrity chef line-up is as good. Did you all go to the chef demonstrations? What did you think? I was pretty amazed at how many people went just to ask questions and didn't seem to care that many chefs opted not to cook at all...Rachael Ray did cook but what she made looked pretty bad.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nutella

          My friends were more into the demos and book signings, etc. than I was. I used the demos more as a resting place than for anything else. Having said that, I did enjoy the cook off between Govrind Armstrong and Howie Kleinberg (who btw is opening a bar-b-q joint in N. Miami in appros. 4 mos) and the crowd was really into it (of course all the alcohol everyone had consumed by that time might have had something to do with the happiness quotient; as well as all the Target food/wine/martinis they gave us during the cook-off . Some prior Top Chef Miami contestants, along with Johnny V and Andrew Swersky (the Forge) hung around for it, as well, cheering their buds on. I also found Cat Cora's cooking demo interesting and practical. I also caught Guy Fieros's cooking demo; but didn't find it of much interest. As an aside, we also stuck around for the auction which fetched some pretty steep bids.

          1. re: zook

            I wasn't all that impressed with the Big Tent event. This was my third year going and I think it will be my last. It's a fun day but I prefer the smaller events at night.

        2. This was my first year and I went with my husband and parents on Sunday. It was a lot of fun, but very crowded, not to mention VERY hot! It seemed like Saturday was the day to see more celebrity chefs, but I was there more for food and wine. The food was excellent and everyone was stuffed early on. I, personally did not sample as much wine as I normally would, but that was because 90 degrees and wine just don't pair well for me (the beer and liquor sampling was much more refreshing-but I managed to sneak in some light white wines/sparkling wines). The event is a lot to take in...I ate and drank so much it is hard to remember where it was all from. Next time, I'd like to pay closer attention to what restaurants/wineries are participating before I actually go.

          We watched a demo by Tyler Florence (who we later met, and is incredibly friendly and down to earth), which was entertaining and caught a bit of Michael Chirarello (sp?) talking about making cheese. We ended up standing in line for a book signing by Bobby Flay (who arrived more than 30 mins late-looking like he may have just woke up!) but we were determined to get him to sign "Go Giants" since his open face rib eye sand was the inspiration for the main dish at our Super Bowl party-so it was worth it to us.

          All in all, I'd give the Grand Tasting a thumbs up, but may be more interested in trying some of the smaller scale, evening events next year.

          1. I stood in line for like 15 minutes trying to get a crepe. Finally gave up:-) Lots of fun, overall. Check out my complete coverage at