-PHOTO by: Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

-PHOTO by: Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

By: Dr. Mary Jo Almeida-Shore and Maryanne Salvat

The nation’s biggest food festival got an upgrade for its 16th year with events that brought a fun, club-like atmosphere- drawing in club kids from yesteryear and today. The Dave Grutman Experience on Sunday, February 26 at the Grand Tasting Village had revelers dancing and jumping around on the sand, leaving us to wonder whether it was 3:00 PM or 3:00 AM, and how and when this wine and food festival had become a mini-Ultra. Another terrific new addition was the Bacardi and Beats on the Beach- a late night party featuring none other than Run DMC’s Rev Run- in all his glory, accompanied by DJ Ruckus on the ones and twos. Needless to say, that was one heck of a party- with the quintessential party foods (think Shake Shack fried chicken sandwiches and croquetas from Versailles) and libations galore to fuel the energetic party goers who showed no sign of stopping long after the party officially ended. In all, the party atmosphere made this year’s festival even more of a blast than it always has been and drew a crowd of party people who came to play more than just to eat or drink. Below find some our favorite events of the magnificent weekend.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best

Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best rounded up 60 of the nation’s top chefs all under the glamorous roof of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The gourmet showcase paired delicious bites with over 100 wines rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s scale.

The grand walk-around affair hosted hundreds of wine enthusiasts and foodies who sampled tastes from Scott Conant’s Scarepetta, Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford’s Matador Room by Jean-Georges and our personal favorite Paul Qui’s Pao to name a few.

Illy Coffee was on hand to provide very satiated guests with a quick “pick me up” with their delicious expresso that came in handy to continue the evening’s festivities. This was illy’s 16th year participating in SOBEWFF. The Italian coffee company was involved in several events throughout the festival including Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village where illy will be serving espresso and affogato’s featuring Bertoni Gelato, Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best offering espresso and profiterole featuring Domori by Flour Bakery of Boston, and fresh baked cookies, cakes and a plethora of sweet treats to delight the sweet tooth of every guest.

Burger Bash

This year’s Burger Bash joined forces with Heineken Light presented by Schweid and Sons. After celebrating its 10th birthday last year, Rachael Ray, the “burger queen” returned to the sands of Miami Beach to host the biggest burger bash of all. Over 2,000 guests enjoyed carefully created burgers, including the Today Show’s Al Rocker’s vegetarian creation while enjoying a crisp Heineken Light, Tito’s Homemade Vodka, and delicious wines from Kenwood Vineyards. We especially enjoyed Kenwood’s perfect pairings with just about every carnivorous bite.

Bacardi and Beats

One of the new additions to the festival this year was the Bacardi and Beats Party featuring RUN DMC superstar Rev Run, along with one of the most sought after DJs in the world, DJ Ruckus. With free-flowing open bar and tempting snacks, this party had guests sweating and dancing to old-school 90s beats including Naughty By Nature, Beastie Boys, and of course RUN DMC’s Walk This Way.

Decadent Desserts

Duff Goldman, best known for his Charm City Cakes hosted the Decadent Dessert Cake party at the National Hotel. Endless desserts surrounded the pool area as guests consumed sweets to their hearts’ contents. LifeWay Kefir was on-hand creating delicious treats to satisfy those with a more health conscious sweet tooth.

The Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village

Always the quintessential wine and food celebration, the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village featuring the Mastercard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations were once crowd favorites. With samplings from more than 50 restaurants and libations from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, guests also enjoyed up close and personal experiences with their favorite “Chef-Lebrities.” This year’s most enjoyable demonstration included Snoop Dogg with Guy Fieri, but the real crowd pleaser was the Dave Grutman Experience that bought the hallmark “Miami Beach” vibe the festival. Swedish DJ powerhouse, INGROSSO worked the crowd into a frenzy, performing hits such as “Sun is Shining and so Are You,” which truly embraced the magic of the afternoon and of SOBEWFF as a whole.

All Photos Courtesy of  Seth Browarnik/World Red Eye

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