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South Beach Wine & Food Festival 09

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sfeatz Oct 1, 2008 02:03 PM

I heard that tickets to this years festival go on sale later this month. I just checked out the website www.sobewineandfoodfest.com ansd there are some great new events. We were going to go to the NYC festival, but things sold out so fast, it seems we were too late! Anyone have any info on good bets for the $$?

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    QTWO RE: sfeatz Oct 6, 2008 08:42 AM

    I've never been... I am also curious to hear about anyone's previous experiences or events they are looking forward to... ???

    1. Frodnesor RE: sfeatz Oct 6, 2008 09:45 AM

      Here are some threads on prior years ->
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/491744
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/468710
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/446701
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/374188

      1 Reply
      1. re: Frodnesor
        jmdhsmiami RE: Frodnesor Oct 6, 2008 10:52 AM

        Did Bubble Q two years ago, was okay. We enjoyed Best of the Best last year, though the representation is very local this year and last years national flavor gave one the opportunity to sample from places outside of South Florida. We did the sushi/wine paring seminar and enjoyed that as well as the wine cheese paring seminar. Grand Tasting is a bit of a cattle call, but we noticed something special for American Express cardholders where they had special seating at seminars though I am not sure if it is for platinum or centurion cardholders and outside of special seating for seminars not sure of the AmEx benefits.

        Some very impressive events lined up for this coming year and also bigger ticket price$.

        Strongly considering:

        Wining and Dining: A World View hosted by Andrea Robinson and Michelle Bernstein
        Dinner in Paradise hosted by Michael Schwartz
        Wolfsonian-FIU Mouton-Rothschild Dinner (same night as Dinner in Paradise - the dilemma)

        and being herded into the Grand Tasting (it is fun)

      2. l
        LargeLife RE: sfeatz Oct 7, 2008 04:50 AM

        Don't waste your money! The SOBE Wine & Food Festival has emerged as an over-priced, over-run event. The events are oversold, the lines are long, they routinely run out of food and drink (the BubbleQ was an unmitigated disaster). This is no longer the well-planned event that it once was. And unfortunately event organizers figure that so many people want to come, that their concern for their individual customers has waned.

        It's a great event to go, buy cookbooks and have them signed by your favorite Food Network stars. That part of it is positive as is the numerous cooking demonstrations. The location on the beach is amazing. But the fact is this isn't the quality event that it once was and the folks that run it are really only concerned about their ability to have fun and find their place in the limelight instead of making sure that their non-VIP guests are getting what they've paid for!

        You're better off coming to South Beach for a weekend, taking in the sights, enjoying the best restaurnats and staying in a nice place. There's plenty of great restaurants to enjoy on SOBE without standing in lines and hoping the food and drink is still there when you get to the front of the line.

        EMac

        5 Replies
        1. re: LargeLife
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          paulalovestoeat RE: LargeLife Oct 8, 2008 11:37 PM

          Really? When did you go to BubbleQ? My hubby and I went last year and absolutely loved it. It was much better than I expected. I was anticipating huge crowds and long lines but found neither. For the more popular booths we sometimes had to wait a minute or two for the cooks to make up fresh servings to keep up with demand but that's better than food sitting around.

          One aspect that some might not like is that champagne is really the only beverage available other than water. For me that was great, but my hubby got a little tired of it. They did have several different varieties to try though.

          We purposely didn't attend the Grand Tasting because I had heard that it was awful in the past as far as crowds and long lines.

          1. re: paulalovestoeat
            l
            LargeLife RE: paulalovestoeat Oct 14, 2008 06:36 AM

            We didn't go last year after attending the previous year. We went to the BubbleQ and they ran out of the champagne an hour and 15 minutes into the event. When that happened, half of the crowd hit the exits! And from there girls walked around handing out bottled water (as if that would suffice!). Funny thing though, when it was time to recognize the celebrity chefs, voila! out came the champagne - for them! I contacted the event organizer, told him what happened and he told me that I was a LIAR and that NEVER happened! Funny thing is, I attended the even with celebrity BBQ chef Ray Lampe (aka "Dr. BBQ" and I guess that made us both liars!! I don't think telling your CUSTOMER he's a liar (after he purchased nearly $5,000 worth of tickets (that year) is necessarily the best thing to do. Do you?

            We won't be back! This SOBE W & FF WAS an incredible event and we attended every year leading up the "BubbleQ Meltdown" and have spent THOU$AND$ on tickets and hotels. But the folks that run it have become BIGGER than the event and they no longer need my money. That's all.

          2. re: LargeLife
            Suzie RE: LargeLife Oct 9, 2008 04:23 AM

            We also went to the Bubble Q this year and had a wonderful time. I thought it was much more organized compared to other years. The food was great!. Its one of my favorite events. The year before they did run out of bubbles around 9pm and the year before that it got rained out just about as soon as it started but last year was great!

            1. re: LargeLife
              jmdhsmiami RE: LargeLife Oct 9, 2008 11:33 AM

              While i agree with you LargeLife, to a point, there are less pricey lectures that I found quite informative. last year we did the sushi/wine pairing and wine/cheese pairing class at the Marriott on Ocean Drive. Walked away with a head full of knowledge outside of standing in a line to taste food.

              1. re: jmdhsmiami
                l
                LargeLife RE: jmdhsmiami Oct 14, 2008 01:39 PM

                In my first response, I did acknowldedge that attending the Grand Tasting on the beach and getting books signed by the celebrity chefs was a positive and that remains the case. But I didn't think that the head of the event calling me a LIAR was quite the response that I was expecting given the fact they did run out of champagne and given the fact that I've spent THOU$AND$ with them! I am a customer afterall and a pretty good one at that. But when the organizers (or any business) for that fact don't need my business I can think of other good places for it to go given that it's so darned hard to come by these days.

                Emac

            2. dmo305 RE: sfeatz Oct 10, 2008 02:38 AM

              Anybody know how much that spain dinner is going to run?

              4 Replies
              1. re: dmo305
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                sfeatz RE: dmo305 Oct 10, 2008 06:28 AM

                Thursday night at the Biltmore with the King of Spain- a mere $1000 per ticket...

                1. re: sfeatz
                  dmo305 RE: sfeatz Oct 10, 2008 04:25 PM

                  wow that is terrible news...

                  1. re: dmo305
                    jmdhsmiami RE: dmo305 Oct 14, 2008 09:49 AM

                    We purchased our tickets as we are "Friends" of the festival and got in on the pre-sale. We are doing:
                    THURSDAY NIGHT
                    Burger Bash

                    FRIDAY NIGHT
                    “Best of the Best"

                    SATURDAY DAY
                    Dolce Brunch (hopefully Billy will show up, doubt it.)

                    Wining and Dining: A World View hosted by Andrea Robinson and Michelle Bernstein

                    SATURDAY NIGHT
                    Dinner in Paradise hosted by Michael Schwartz

                    SUNDAY DAY
                    Grand Tasting

                    FYI: 2009 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Get tickets and discounts before they go on sale to the public.

                    Miami Beach residents will have the opportunity to purchase select tickets to events at a discounted rate in a two-week pre-sale period in advance of the official public on-sale date. Monday, October 13, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. and continuing until Friday, October 24, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.

                    The pre-sale opportunity will consist of a 15 percent discount applied to the purchase of a maximum of two (2) tickets to one choice of the Burger Bash, BubbleQ, Saturday Grand Tasting Village or Sunday Grand Tasting Village tickets only.
                    why not save some money on something!?!

                    1. re: jmdhsmiami
                      s
                      sfeatz RE: jmdhsmiami Oct 14, 2008 06:56 PM

                      Wow- thanks for the tip about MB residents!
                      I am also planning to go to Burger Bash and looking forward to Best of the Best on Friday night. I picked it over the Bubbleq this year because I think it will be outrageous at the new Fontainbleu. I am a big fan of Indian food, so I can not pass up the dinner at The Setai with Madhur Jeffrey, Floyd Cardoz and Suvir Saran. I am trying to decide between some of the lectures and wine seminars...have to see what I can afford after the other purchases!!!

              2. Suzie RE: sfeatz Oct 27, 2008 04:04 AM

                Tickets are for sale starting today. The Joes Stone Crab event is already sold out.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Suzie
                  Blind Mind RE: Suzie Oct 27, 2008 06:32 AM

                  Anyone planning on attending Dinner in Paradise?

                  1. re: Blind Mind
                    jmdhsmiami RE: Blind Mind Oct 27, 2008 07:52 AM

                    We are headed there BM.

                    Let us know if you plan on attending, we can do a carpool when the time comes if interested.

                    1. re: jmdhsmiami
                      Blind Mind RE: jmdhsmiami Oct 27, 2008 12:33 PM

                      Sounds good. I gotta get my ticket today or tomorrow. Need to make sure my travel sked doesnt have me out of town first.

                      1. re: Blind Mind
                        Suzie RE: Blind Mind Oct 27, 2008 03:04 PM

                        Do not wait too long. Burger Bash is sold out and I am sure a few more will become sold out before the day is over.

                        1. re: Suzie
                          Blind Mind RE: Suzie Oct 27, 2008 03:59 PM

                          Thanks Suzie, just booked. I cant believe stuff sold out so fast... Didnt think so many would have $200 to throw down at a burger tasting either haha.

                2. a
                  Adelia RE: sfeatz Oct 29, 2008 05:41 PM

                  Does anyone know if they are going to release additional tickets for the Burger Bash like they did last year?

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: Adelia
                    Suzie RE: Adelia Oct 29, 2008 06:57 PM

                    Not sure if they are going to but check out E-bay. There are already some tickets available for some events.

                    1. re: Adelia
                      s
                      sfeatz RE: Adelia Oct 30, 2008 07:52 AM

                      Yes- I have heard that they rerelease tickets sometime in mid January.

                      1. re: sfeatz
                        Suzie RE: sfeatz Oct 30, 2008 02:05 PM

                        Did they release extra tickets to all the sold out events last year? I remember extra tickets for the Sunday tasting but not the Saturday Tasting. I also was hoping they were going to have more Burger Bash Tickets released but I never saw any - and I was looking hard for those.

                        1. re: Suzie
                          v
                          VinceC3 RE: Suzie Nov 1, 2008 03:47 PM

                          Has anyone else bought tickets? We are going for first time this year.
                          We are staying for 4 nights and have tickets on Firday for "Taste Wine Like A Master Sommelier" and Best of The Best". Saturday for "The Grand Tasting" and Sunday "Joe's Big Chill".
                          May try for Burger Bash if more come available?

                          1. re: VinceC3
                            Suzie RE: VinceC3 Nov 1, 2008 05:08 PM

                            Burger Bash, Bubble Q, Grand Tasting on Sat,

                            1. re: VinceC3
                              Blind Mind RE: VinceC3 Nov 1, 2008 05:28 PM

                              Im just doing dinner in paradise on saturday. how can you handle all that food over 2 days? theyre gonna have to wheel you back to the hotel!

                              1. re: Blind Mind
                                v
                                VinceC3 RE: Blind Mind Nov 1, 2008 06:01 PM

                                Suzie,
                                Have you done the Grand Tasting before? Any tips?
                                How early should you arrive? How early do you have to line up for the cooking demo's?
                                Any startegy, go to far tents first?
                                Thanks.

                                1. re: VinceC3
                                  Suzie RE: VinceC3 Nov 1, 2008 06:50 PM

                                  Vince,
                                  I have seen lines start a few hours before doors open for the first demo and some people just go for the demos and sit in the same seat all day and watch them. When the main tent opens for the tasting, go through the 1st tent and start at the 2nd tent. We always do food first and hit some of our favorite places. Scope them out in the booklet you will get with your goodie bag and you can make a game plan.

                                  1. re: Suzie
                                    s
                                    sfeatz RE: Suzie Nov 1, 2008 10:02 PM

                                    Another change from last year is the Kids Kitchen is no longer down on the beach. It has moved to Fun and Fit as a family , which is the kids and family event that weekend at Jungle Island. I think its a $25 ticket which includes admission to Jungle Island, all the demonstrations and going ons of the that festival and the celebrity chef demonstrations. What a deal!!!

                                    1. re: sfeatz
                                      v
                                      VinceC3 RE: sfeatz Nov 2, 2008 05:36 AM

                                      Suzie,
                                      Thanks so much.
                                      So all demo's are in one tent? Can you even get in for big names? Do they have monitors outside or something?
                                      Have you ever done "Best of The Best"?

                                      1. re: VinceC3
                                        Suzie RE: VinceC3 Nov 2, 2008 06:09 AM

                                        There are a few tents for the demos and people will line up for them. The big names will be standing room only. There are monitors everywhere. No I have never done The Best of the Best.

                                        1. re: Suzie
                                          v
                                          VinceC3 RE: Suzie Nov 2, 2008 07:38 PM

                                          Thanks Suzie.
                                          We have reservations at the Courtyard Marriot on Washington Ave.
                                          Any thoughts?
                                          Could have also picked Eden Roc, which I know would be nicer, but others said it was too far away?

                                          1. re: VinceC3
                                            jmdhsmiami RE: VinceC3 Nov 3, 2008 07:51 AM

                                            Why not try the Loew's Hotel. It is ground zero for a lot of the seminars and you can walk to the Grand Tasting from there.

                                            1. re: VinceC3
                                              Suzie RE: VinceC3 Nov 3, 2008 10:53 AM

                                              I always stay close to the Grand Tasting. I like being walking distance to it. Anything else I take a cab if needed.

                                            2. re: Suzie
                                              s
                                              sfeatz RE: Suzie Nov 8, 2008 07:59 AM

                                              I have been to Best of the Best for the last 3 years. It is a great event. Last year at AA Arena was terrific- the Setai did a beautiful courtyard before entering the arena with all kinds of Asian booths. Upon entering the arena, all chefs and wineries were in the VIP suites- so it was very private and there was never an over crowded minute. The food was amazing- great NYC and local chefs and all 4 chefs from Fontainbleu. This year it is at Fntbl- lineup of approx 40 chefs and 60 wineries!!! I am looking forward to seeing the hotel after the renovation and thrilled with the line up of chefs. So...YES! I would defintiely recommend this event!

                                              1. re: sfeatz
                                                v
                                                VinceC3 RE: sfeatz Nov 30, 2008 02:58 PM

                                                Hello again,
                                                Hope everyone had a nice holiday.
                                                Three questions, should I rent a car? Not sure if we are flying into Miami or Fort Luauderdale yet?? But will we need it when in South Beach. We would get in sometime Wednesday (stay at least until Sunday), so want to do some sighseeing before we start the F&W events on Friday. Thoughts?
                                                Also, we have not purchased tickets for Burger Bash, but could try when more are released? I know a higher end event, but is it just burgers and beer?
                                                Do they have wine and other foods? If you have been in the past, would you go again?
                                                And thinking ahead what is the suggested dress for the Best of The Best, both for women and men?

                                                Thanks as always.

                                                1. re: VinceC3
                                                  Blind Mind RE: VinceC3 Nov 30, 2008 04:21 PM

                                                  Depending on what you want to do/see, it might be worth it to rent a car. If you plan on doing just South Beach stuff, no car needed. You can cab it everywhere on SoBe and even just over the bridge to the Design District for a reasonable fare. Most of the events are on SoBe. The only one I can think of thats off the beach is the DInner in Paradise at Paradise Farms in Homestead.

                                                  1. re: VinceC3
                                                    s
                                                    sfeatz RE: VinceC3 Jan 10, 2009 03:56 PM

                                                    Burger bash is just Burgers, Beer and wine. There are also always some great desserts. I have been in the past and will go again this year. Its a casual nite- good band and more protein than anyone should eat in one night!!!
                                                    Best of the Best is more formal- since it is in a ballroom this year. I have worn a dress always in the past, my husband has worn a jacket, not a suit tho.
                                                    You should probably rent a car if you are planning to do otehr sightseeing while you are down. if you do get a car, head down to the Keys for a day- its a great ride and you will see what makes it so special here. You can just pass thru Islamorada or go a bit further before you turn around- depends on how much time you have.

                            2. The Chowfather RE: sfeatz Dec 21, 2008 11:17 AM

                              FYI- there is an official guide (insert) inside today's New York Times (12/21/08)

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: The Chowfather
                                v
                                VinceC3 RE: The Chowfather Dec 27, 2008 05:00 PM

                                Thanks Chowfather.
                                Do you have a link or other way to see it? On the NY Times site now and not finding it?
                                Are you going?
                                Happy Holidays.

                                1. re: VinceC3
                                  Frodnesor RE: VinceC3 Dec 27, 2008 06:49 PM

                                  I think he was referring to a magazine-style insert in the actual physical newspaper (I'm also one of those Luddites who still gets the Sunday NYT delivered to me).

                                  1. re: Frodnesor
                                    The Chowfather RE: Frodnesor Dec 28, 2008 05:23 AM

                                    Correct and I don't think I will ever give up the tradition of reading the actual Sunday paper(s).

                              2. Rondo RE: sfeatz Jan 7, 2009 07:00 PM

                                By a happy coincidence, The Wife and I will be taking our semi-annual vaca in SB during the Festival. I see a few of the events have sold out already. Anyone planning on going to any of the following: the Patron party Saturday night; the wine and cheese pairing w/Josh Weeson; the Sizzle & Swirl Seminar? Nothing concrete yet, plans wise, but I'm curious as to whether any of the above are worth it.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: Rondo
                                  Suzie RE: Rondo Jan 7, 2009 07:07 PM

                                  just a FYI - more tickets are going on sale this Monday (Jan 12th) including some things that are already sold out. After that, its E-Bay.

                                  1. re: Suzie
                                    Suzie RE: Suzie Jan 12, 2009 05:22 AM

                                    Well, that was fast. Burger Bash is already sold out again. : (

                                    1. re: Suzie
                                      BurgerBeast RE: Suzie Jan 13, 2009 06:39 PM

                                      I was up from 12:01am til 4am to get Burger Bash tickets on Sun/Mon. They still weren't available. I woke at 8:00am and there they were, so at some point between 4 and 8am some tickets were released. I'm just glad I was able to get a couple.

                                      Sef
                                      www.burgerbeast.com

                                      1. re: BurgerBeast
                                        v
                                        VinceC3 RE: BurgerBeast Jan 16, 2009 06:08 PM

                                        Did the same trick Sef. Up till 12:30 AM, and had to get up at 4 AM for a flight.
                                        When I woke up at 4:00 AM, got them. So we are now doing 5 events. Probably overkill for our first time, but will be fun.
                                        Have you been to BB before? Would luv to hear about it?
                                        Neat website you have also!

                                        1. re: VinceC3
                                          BurgerBeast RE: VinceC3 Jan 17, 2009 05:56 AM

                                          Last time I went to the SoBe Wine & Food Festival was 3 years ago. The BurgerBash was not around then, but I knew I had to attend this year. Of all the people I know who attend the festival each year, I know no one who has gone to the BurgerBash. Thanks for the comment about my site.

                                          Sef
                                          www.burgerbeast.com

                                          1. re: BurgerBeast
                                            BurgerBeast RE: BurgerBeast Feb 19, 2009 07:02 PM

                                            Just got back from the Burger Bash, Spike won it all.

                                            Sef
                                            www.burgerbeast.com

                                            1. re: BurgerBeast
                                              Suzie RE: BurgerBeast Feb 21, 2009 07:06 AM

                                              Love your blog! We went to the Bash too. Lots of good stuff but OMG was it crowded. Lots of press running around and lots of Food Network Celebs. I am glad I went but I think I will skip it in the future.

                                              1. re: Suzie
                                                jmdhsmiami RE: Suzie Feb 23, 2009 03:49 AM

                                                loved Burger Bash and signing up for that next year as well. To get around the crowds for a tent event, show up early get in at the sounding of the "bell" so to speak and start from the back stands and work your way to the front. LIke a herd of sheep, everyone ussually starts from the front and works their way to the back. We did Bubble Q last year and were surprised that they ran out of said bubble so we thought it best to pass on it this year!

                                                Brief rundown of other events we did this year, Best of the Best wasn't great this year (probably last year we will do it). They had it in one of the ballrooms at FB and it was just chaos! Didn't get to try half of the foods as they were mixed in and lost in the shuffle of wine stands. Dolce Brunch was a civilized event, while the menu was very good, the Dolce "pairing or sponsorship" was forced and I was over all the "dulce" of the wine and wished they actually did proper pairings! Our final event was an incredible finale at Paradise Farms. While we are sure the regular dinners they do are more price friendly, we question if it would have been as special as the chefs that were there were special. It was an amazing evening and I look forward to trying one of their traditional dinners. They have a great concept and glad to have finally discovered it for ourselves!

                                                Now for Phase 1 of South Beach Diet and a well deserved detox!

                                                1. re: jmdhsmiami
                                                  Suzie RE: jmdhsmiami Feb 23, 2009 04:00 AM

                                                  Nice review of events. We were at the Bash as soon as it open and it was ok for about the 1st 45 minutes but then it just got a little too crazy. I have been going to The Wine and Food fest since the start and I think they are just overselling many events.

                                                  1. re: jmdhsmiami
                                                    Blind Mind RE: jmdhsmiami Feb 23, 2009 08:30 AM

                                                    jmdhsmiami - Good seeing you guys again at Dinner in Paradise. I thought the tour was great, the hors d'oeuvres fantastic, and the meal phenomenal. The wine pairings were well thought out too. I really enjoyed the riesling that was served during the cocktail hour and the pinot noir that was served with the risotto was delicious! The interaction with the chefs was really cool and I really enjoyed the conversation with the other strangers at our table. Im going to post more on the meal itself when I have more time.

                                                    1. re: Blind Mind
                                                      jmdhsmiami RE: Blind Mind Feb 25, 2009 12:49 PM

                                                      Great seeing you to BM, I found the heirloom tomato salad insanely good! It was our favorite course next to the belly dancer, NOT. She could have taken it to the center of the room for everyone to see!

                                  2. d
                                    DagnyTaggart RE: sfeatz Feb 21, 2009 05:58 PM

                                    Any parking tips for the Grand Tasting Village? is there valet?

                                    14 Replies
                                    1. re: DagnyTaggart
                                      BurgerBeast RE: DagnyTaggart Feb 21, 2009 06:10 PM

                                      I believe there is valet in the adjacent hotels and some self parking about a block away. Be careful though, 2 years ago when I valet parked, the side of my car got all scratched up.

                                      Sef
                                      www.burgerbeast.com

                                      1. re: DagnyTaggart
                                        Frodnesor RE: DagnyTaggart Feb 21, 2009 08:50 PM

                                        There's a big public garage at 16th Street between Washington and Collins (almost directly across from the Loews Hotel). There's another at 7th and Collins. There's apparently also a smaller garage at 13th & Collins which I've somehow never noticed.

                                        Papa's got a brand new blog!
                                        www.foodforthoughtmiami.com

                                        1. re: Frodnesor
                                          advisor_Girl RE: Frodnesor Feb 22, 2009 04:09 AM

                                          OMG!

                                          Congrats Frod on going boldly out on your own. We thought Chow Board 10 WAS your blog but it's awesome you've gone indy! I hope this doesn't cut into the Family Fro posts you do here every day... (I will book mark the New Fro just in case)...

                                          We hit Heelsha last night in an effort to escape the overpriced and overwrought South Beach Wine and Foodapalooza and oddly enough - it FOLLOWED us.

                                          Who is sitting at the next table but "Angry Lisa" Fernandes from Top Chef, the cranky gay girl finalist who could be considered a pioneer of Team Rainbow before Jamie made it all warm and fuzzy:

                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6abfbF...

                                          Heelsha still makes deliciously affordable Indian /Bangladesh cuisine. How funny to see it's on the radar of the TV chefs too. AB glanced over at the Fernandes 6-top and asked, "Hey, do we work with that girl? She looks familiar." When she got up to use the rest room (sporting a VERY short and boyish haircut), I realized she was Angry Lisa...

                                          Heelsha 1550 NE 164th St, North Miami (one block east of Wal-Mart).

                                          AG

                                          1. re: advisor_Girl
                                            Frodnesor RE: advisor_Girl Feb 22, 2009 07:38 AM

                                            Not to worry, I'm not going anywhere. Glad to know Heelsha's still good, I haven't made it up there since they left the Renaisa spot. I was contemplating making a late night run to Yakko San last night just to see who would be showing up there, but instead went into a brief coma induced by Howie K's "burnt end beans." Update on those elsewhere.

                                            1. re: advisor_Girl
                                              jmdhsmiami RE: advisor_Girl Feb 25, 2009 12:55 PM

                                              Was your meal 2 or 4 hours? We went for the first time at 8pm and service was dreadful and slow but I guess it was worth it since the food is very good (though they got the spicy and not spicy orders mixed up!)

                                              1. re: jmdhsmiami
                                                a
                                                alanhotatl RE: jmdhsmiami Feb 26, 2009 07:26 AM

                                                Burger Bash, Bubble Q, Grand Tasting are always oversold (although tons of those tix are comps too). The festival is a mess these days. Only the private events are worthwhile. The rest is just crowds, lines, and really, how can you run out of bubbles at a Bubble Q?

                                                1. re: alanhotatl
                                                  jmdhsmiami RE: alanhotatl Feb 26, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                  Agree with you alan, however, there are ways to get around the crowds. As I said above, show up early, get in early, start from the back of the tent and work your way forward. I agree that the private events are more civilized (at a cost) and very annoyed that the seminars notoriously are always running late. We had to skip an entire seminar to get to the Paradise Farm Dinner, which was by far the best event we attended last weekend.

                                                  1. re: jmdhsmiami
                                                    Suzie RE: jmdhsmiami Feb 26, 2009 09:59 AM

                                                    Jmd,
                                                    thats what I have always done since the start of this festival but as the years go on, it just doesn't work as well as it has in the past. I agree they are overselling these events. I will pass on the Bash, BBQ and Grand Tasting in the future. It just isn't worth it anymore.

                                                    1. re: jmdhsmiami
                                                      o
                                                      onthelam RE: jmdhsmiami Feb 26, 2009 02:46 PM

                                                      I'm curious about the Paradise Farm Dinner. I had to be out of town and gave my tickets to a friend. She said she had a good time but that that it seemed a little sparse; that there weren't second pours on the wines ( which she felt were a bit short - and she tends bar! ) said they'd run out. She also felt the staff was not on top of things, little things missed, salad's weren't dressed at their table, etc. On the positive side she said the main course from Michael was great and Hedy's dessert was wonderful, but they were all a little unsure about the spicy/salty cookies.
                                                      I felt badly because I gave her the tickets and would have liked to have heard of a better experience. Or is she being hyper-critical? Can you give me some details on what you enjoyed about it? I'd always heard great things about the Paradise Farms dinners, but after talking to her I was almost glad I'd missed it!

                                                      1. re: onthelam
                                                        Blind Mind RE: onthelam Feb 26, 2009 06:50 PM

                                                        Your friend is way off on this one, bud. She also must have no voice because if you asked you certainly got 2nd pours on the wine. In my case, I got a 1/4 bottle of the Pinot Noir to finish and I shared w/ my fellow diners. The staff and execution was spot on. Each dish was served promptly and I never got a cold or even luke warm dish for those that were supposed to be served warm or hot. The first salad wasnt dressed on purpose! They used a very small amount of olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper so that you could really get the variety of tastes from the different herbs and greens in the salad. I had seconds of that one because it was that damn refreshing. The heirloom tomato salad came with shiso and shallots and also had a small amount of dressing on the plate. Again, the idea was to taste the vegetables themselves. The variety of tomatoes was very pleasing and the little ones exploded with flavor in your mouth. The root veggie risotto was almost my favorite of the night and the Pinot Noir paring was spot effing on. Such a complimentary food to drink transition where both enhanced each other. The risotto wouldve been the big winner if not for Chef Schwartz's side of spiny lobster panade that came with the crispy skin tilefish. The tilefish was very good and the saffron nage really added to the good times of the fish but the lobster panade is what put the whole dish over the top for me. It was almost like a cross between stuffing and bread pudding with big hunks of lobster in it. Dessert was a basil panna cotta in strawberry (I think) consomme and a boatload of fresh black, blue, and raspberries. Perfect ending to the meal. The cookie/candy assortment was a little on the sugary side for me but the spicy chocolate cookies were outstanding. One little bite packed a punch!

                                                        In addition to all of the main meal dominance, there were also some great apps served during cocktail hour like Michael's mozz stuffed calabaza flowers, a smoked eggplant with miso and parmesan served on a spoon, apalachicola oysters (these kicked major ass), tomatoe shooters w/ eggplant, and a stone crab salad. I also enjoyed the Blue Slate riesling during the cocktail hour and Im not a big white wine or riesling fan.

                                                        Ooh, I almost forgot... On your way out, the people working there made sure you were LOADED with any and all berries that you wanted and they also provided various greens to take home. I gave my neighbors a nice bucket o' raspberries and made a kickass salad the next day with the greens and some asian pear id bought at the LIncoln Rd market. Oh, and I barely dressed it based on what Id learned at the dinner which was a great call.

                                                        For all the chaos and elbowing that has become the SBWFF (why they put wine before food is beyond me), the Dinner in Paradise was an awesome departure from it all. Im so glad that this was the only event I did this year. The venue was awesome. The farm was devoid of cityscape so the sky really lit up at night. They gave a tour of the place so it was educational and got you in touch with your inner hippie. The cocktail hour was great and the food at dinner was phenomenal. Not to mention that the company was first rate and with such a small group it made it easy for the chefs to interact with the diners. If they do this again next year, count me in.

                                                        1. re: Blind Mind
                                                          dmo305 RE: Blind Mind Feb 26, 2009 06:58 PM

                                                          Bravo! I've been waiting for a rundown of that meal.

                                                          Funny, this week I had both the Lobster Panade and the Mozzarella stuff Calabaza flowers at MGFD, and you are spot on about the panade. That was exactly how I was trying to describe it. Good stuff.

                                                          1. re: dmo305
                                                            Blind Mind RE: dmo305 Feb 26, 2009 08:05 PM

                                                            Went to MGFD tonite but no panade on the menu. We did try the salmon medium plate that was really, really good. I forget what kind of salmon it was but the server said that it was flown in from the Pac NW. Cooked to a nice med-rare, buttery flesh and taste, accompanied by whipped celeriac. The celeriac was very flavorful and added a lot to the dish but the salmon was definitely on main stage. The fettuccine is now done in a pesto sauce. Its a great dish and I like the ingredients...for the first few bites. The pesto is just way overdone, to the point where the bottom of the bowl is a puddle of green oil. After the first few bites its a trying dish to eat and that is disappointing because it shows merit to be a very good pasta dish.

                                                          2. re: Blind Mind
                                                            Frodnesor RE: Blind Mind Feb 26, 2009 07:40 PM

                                                            Thanks for the report. This was definitely the one event that most tempted me, for a number of reasons - I've never done the Dinner in Paradise thing and have always been intrigued, and the chef lineup even aside from Michael S.was very interesting.

                                                            Lobster panade, eh? I learned from panade from the Zuni Cafe cookbook and it is one of my favorite things to do for company.

                                                            1. re: Blind Mind
                                                              o
                                                              onthelam RE: Blind Mind Feb 27, 2009 08:45 AM

                                                              Thank you! What you are describing is the event I envisioned, and more like what people who have been to other Paradise Farm dinners have told me, so I there was a fair amount of cognitive dissonance in her report. On the other hand, I'd heard the stories about other events running out of food or wine, so it gave her some credibility.
                                                              Well, now I am really sorry I couldn't make it. ( And also a bit regretful that I didn't pass the tickets on to someone more attuned. )
                                                              Thanks for such a complete report.

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