For years now, I’ve traveled to eat at amazing restaurants and drink fabulous wine. The first time I went to Spain, I pretty much planned everything in advance and even dined at a Michelin star restaurant. When I went to Rome in 2019, I opted for a food tour instead of seeing the sights. In Cannes, I visited an amazing beach club specifically for their extensive rosé list. And in Senegal, I indulged in fabulous local food for eight days. So yea, I travel specifically to enjoy wonderful food.
A few weeks ago, I took it up a notch by attending the Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival or SOBEFWF for the first time. This event has been on my radar for a few years, but I could never attend for whatever reason. Well finally this year, I attended and I had the best time ever.
South Beach Food and Wine Festival presented by Capital One is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. All net proceeds from the Festival benefit the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU).
I flew into Miami on Friday morning, which turned out to be a rookie move. I should’ve arrived the day before but I still had a really good time. My friend Rehanna arrived on Tuesday and was well rested by the time I got there. As far as the hotel, we checked into Kimpton Angler’s South Beach, which was in a great location. Not right in the thick of it but close enough that everywhere we went was within five to ten minutes in an uber.
The weekend of events was fantastic and today I’m sharing three reasons why you MUST attend next year. Because honestly, I’m kicking myself for not having attended before. Let’s get into it.
- THE FOOD
The food is incredible at every single event and we went to SIX events. The first event was Wine Spectator Best of the Best at Fontainebleau where the food was more on the high end side with decadent bites offered at every booth. My fave was a chicken dumplin with foie gras from Hakkasan.
At The Cookout at 1 Hotel South Beach, African American food and chefs were celebrated so the food was incredible to say the least. Chef Tiffany Derry, who I met in Bermuda last August at the Chef Series at The Loren, was there frying up her famous duck fat fried chicken. It was ridiculously delish. Another standout was lobster escovitch with festival from Dukanoo Jamaican Kitchen. And the burgers from Fat Ronnie’s have honestly made me a burger lover having not had one in at least ten years! Plus, I got a chance to chat with Chef JJ, who also was here at The Loren last summer. Hopefully he will be back on island very soon as this experience is one not to be missed.
Make it Miami: Tapas + Craft Cocktails had great street food with more burgers, pulled pork, the most incredible jerk chicken birria tacos, an incredible offering of desserts with the best donuts I’ve ever had and so much more. Incredible food!
We didn’t eat much at the Grand Tasting Village because we enjoyed lunch at WTR at 1 Hotel South Beach before coming. But, we ate at Bacardi Carnival in the evening, which was more delicious street food. Think fried cheese curds, short rib burgers, churros with jerk pork, gourmet hot dogs, tequila infused dulce de leche ice cream and much more!
Basically, I was in food heaven at every single event!.
- THE DRINKS!
Yall know I love to drink and I really enjoy top shelf, high quality wines and liquor. Thankfully, that’s all that was available over the course of the weekend. From free-flowing champagne to premium tequilas to high-end whiskey, the dranks were on point.
At the Best of the Best event, we were immediately given a wrist band and a wine glass with a lanyard attached to it when we arrived. I thought the wine glass around my neck was a little tacky, but I quickly changed my mind as it was for ease. There were 60 of the best wineries in the world offering the most incredible sips. Wineries included Wade Cellars, Ferrari, Hampton Water Rosé, Justin, D’esclans and many more.
We enjoyed cocktails made with D’use at the Cigars + Spirits at Kimpton Anglers. I’m not a whiskey girl but the D’use was smooth and the cocktails were great as a result. At The Cookout, there was a limited drink menu including a spicy pineapple margarita and a D’use rosé drink along with pop up bars offering canned cocktails.
Make it Miami was the worst for drinks for me as all that was available were rum cocktails, wine and then canned cocktails. I had been drinking margs at The Cookout so switching to rum wasn’t ideal for me at all.
The best drinking situation was for sure at The Grand Tasting Village. There was an entire drinks tent, like a massive tent filled with bars! There were also pop up bars everywhere as well. We started out with margaritas and absolutely had quite a few from the various tequila pop ups. There were also a large variety of wine options, beer pop ups, a fabulous Grey Goose pop up and many more. I’ve never seen anything quite like it!
The vibe was similar at Bacardi Carnival with a large variety of drink options and alcohol-infused ice creams and sorbets. I opted for the Grey Goose pop up to get the FAB souvenir glasses.
- The VIBE
I had the best time at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. It was so much fun and I liked that every event we went to had a different vibe.
Best of the Best was fancy and a bit over the top, but not pretentious. Cigars + Spirits was a nice, chill rooftop vibe, which makes sense as it was all about cigars. The Cookout was fun, the location was sexy and it was just nice and chill. Make it Miami was fun, but sexy and in a great location.
The best event was the David Grutman Experience at The Goya Grand Tasting Village because of DJ Khalid. It was so much fun! And there was a dancehall/soca pop up DJ that had a whole vibe as well. It was the best Sunday I’ve had in a long time. Bacardi Carnival was also a lot of fun with a DJ playing great music and a band on the other side of the gigantic tent. Add in great food and drinks and you’ve got a great time.
So yea, I loved everything about the South Beach Food and Wine Festival and I will be there again next year. I think I will switch it up a bit by attending an intimate dinner, perhaps joining a cooking class and I will definitely go to the tasting village for the entire day instead of just for two hours.
Below, I list all the events we went to, the location and what they cost. Will you join me next year?! Let me know in the comments.
Wine Spectator Best of the Best at Fontainebleau: $400
Cigars + Spirits at Kimpton Anglers: $125 ( we didn’t pay to get in)
The Cookout hosted by Chef JJ Johnson and D-Nice at One Hotel South Beach: $125
Make it Miami: Tapas + Craft Cocktails at National Hotel: $95
The David Grutman Experience at The Goya Grand Tasting Village: $150
Bacardi Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmern: $175
I‘m Mikaela, an island girl in Bermuda who’s obsessed with sharing gourmet food, fantastic wine and luxe experiences. If you love all things food and wine, click here to join my email list to get awesome recommendations.