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An Insider's Guide to the 19th Annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival


An Insider's Guide to the 19th Annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Patricia Tortolani | February 10, 2020 | Food & Drink

The South Beach Wine and Food Festival takes over the Magic City from Feb. 19 to 23.


Tie on your bib and loosen your belt; it's time for Miami's most fabulous foodie event. Come the third week in February, the greatest chefs on the planet will descend on South Florida for a culinary party like none other: the 19th annual South Beach Wine and Food Fesitval. We asked the hosts with the most to give us their top picks for the week.

Carson Kressley: The author and judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race joins the fun as host of the second annual Drag Brunch on Feb. 23.


What brings you to the SOBEWFF this year?
Nobody loves a drag brunch more than I do. Drag queens and booze simultaneously during the day—and I go to bed at a reasonable time. It really is the perfect event for me. The dishes will be inspired by some of the most charismatic drag queens, so I can’t wait to see how someone translates Kitty Meow into an omelet.

What other events will you be attending?
I love the wine part of the festival; the food part is pretty good too. And while I don’t know anything about food, I’ve been eating it since I was a baby, so I know I like it. I’ve been doing appearances with Bobby Flay, so I’ll absolutely crash whatever he is hosting.

What’s your ‘pro tip’ for navigating the festival?
This is my first time. I’m a SOBEWFF virgin. But I’m sure after a drag brunch I won’t be a virgin anymore.

Favorite off-the-beaten- path spot in Miami to sneak away for some shopping...
I’ve been going to South Beach since the ’90s. And NYC in February is not so cute, so I’ll be down to sun my bum. As for favorite places, Lincoln Road is a great outdoor space, and The Webster is always a fashion destination. Then I’ll also head up to the vintage home shops in Palm Beach County and Mecox Garden, which is one of my favorite stores.

Tyler Florence: The star of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race celebrates America’s best fried chicken with Chicken Coup on Feb. 22.


What event are you most looking forward to attending this year?
I’m definitely looking forward to José Andrés’ Feeding the World event. I’ve been involved with his World Central Kitchen efforts locally—we fed thousands of evacuees and first responders during the wildfires in Northern California—and had a front row seat to all of the amazing work his team has done. I’m also pretty pumped for my buddy Michael Schwartz’s pizza party on Friday night—I think Michael knows a great pie, and he has some of the best pizza chefs coming to throw a big party with live music.

‘Pro tip’ for navigating your way through the festival...
When you get there, you’ll take one look at the schedule and you’ll feel the need to jump in with both feet. That’s a rookie mistake. Conserve your energy, rest up and stay thirsty... there will be amazing events all weekend long.

Favorite SOBEWFF memory from years past?
There are so many good ones it’s hard to choose, but it’s hard to beat the dinners I’ve done at the Versace mansion. And I also remember the good old days at the BubbleQ, this big open- air party fueled by more Champagne than you could imagine.

Favorite spot in Miami to sneak away for a quick bite or late-night drink...
On a beach day, I love heading to La Sandwicherie

Samantha Schnur: Miami’s fave food influencer @TheNaughtyFork hosts the Chef Mash-Up on Feb. 20.


Aside from the Chef Mash-Up, what event are you most looking forward to attending this year?
Hands down, I’d have to say Burger Bash. It’s become an annual tradition for my friends and I and never disappoints. Another event I'm looking forward to is Sweets & Beats! I can't go through the day without a little something sweet, so this event cures me for almost a week, haha.

What’s your ‘pro tip’ for navigating the festival?
I cannot emphasize this enough... PACE YOURSELF. If you’re a first-timer, the mistake so many people make is showing up to an event completely famished, jump right in and fill up immediately. Consider splitting dishes with your friends so you can sample as many dishes as possible without wasting food.

Favorite SOBEWFF memory from years past?
Judging Burger Bash for the first time alongside the likes of Al Roker, Neil Patrick Harris and Rev Run. But I think the best part of the festival every year is having all of your friends come into town for it. Spending the weekend eating and drinking with friends is what makes the festival so fun.

Favorite off-the-beaten-path spot in Miami to sneak away for a quick bite or late-night drink?
Sweet Liberty is a great spot for a quick bite and late-night drink. I recommend their piña colada (it's world famous) and their lobster hot pockets.

Michael Schwartz: In celebration of his cookbook Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home, Schwartz is turning the Design District into one big ooey- gooey pizza party on Feb. 21.


What event are you most looking forward to attending this year?
The kids’ pizza-making master class. We’ve been doing a lot of classes lately with the new cookbook, and it’s especially fun to see the kids really get into it and enjoy learning. It’s not that hard!

‘Pro tip’ for navigating your way through the festival?
Don’t stay out too late! And sticking to my morning workout routine.

Favorite SOBEWFF memory from years past...
My house party!

Favorite off- the-beaten-path spot in Miami to sneak away for a quick bite...

Photography by: Carson Kressley photos by Matt Monath; All other photos courtesy of SOBEWFF