What do you get when you combine Miami’s sun, sand and surf with an impressive lineup of celebrity chefs, endless tables of gourmet food and scores of fine wine? The perfect recipe for another knockout Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF).
Back for its 16th year, SOBEWFF (February 22 to 26) is rolling out more than 90 events from South Beach to Coral Gables and north up to Fort Lauderdale, including tastings, intimate dinners, seminars, live cooking demos and late-night parties.
To make the most of your gastronomic affair, here is everything you need to know about what to expect, what to taste and see, and where to stay.
What to know
While parking is available, it is quite limited, so you may be better off taking a ride-sharing service like Lyft or Uber. For Grand Tasting Village ticket holders, there’s a free park-n-ride option with shuttle service to and from festival parking in downtown Miami (NE Eighth Street between NE First Avenue and NE Second Avenue) and drop-off/pick-up at 13th Avenue and Collins on South Beach.
Considering you’ll be on the sand, you’ll want to pack appropriate footwear. And since Miami weather can be unpredictable, sunblock and a small umbrella are always good to have on hand.
Insider tip: Because all events start on time, avoid being tardy so that you don’t miss a bite. Before you head out the door, double check that you have your tickets and a valid ID for proof of age.
What to taste and see
You’ll see several new events added to this year’s menu, including a tailgate event hosted by Michael Mina, Ayesha Curry, Ming Tsai and friends (February 23, 7 to 10 p.m.) and a brunch anchored by José Andrés and Michael Schwartz, who are both opening restaurants in Brickell.
Many of the marquee events (like Guy Fieri’s Food Fight, for example) have been sold out for months now, but for all you procrastinators and spontaneous travelers, there are plenty of tickets left for some popular outings.
At Michael Solomonov’s Taste of Israel: A CookNSolo Dinner Party (February 24, 7 to 10 p.m.), get ready for a walk-around dinner with charcoal-grilled meats, cult-favorite donuts and twice-fried chicken, with a side of ‘90s hip-hop beats.
Sample tasty creations at the Heineken Light Burger Bash (February 24, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.) as the Queen of Burgers, Rachael Ray, returns to crown this year’s burger royalty.
At Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best (February 24, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.), look for 60 of the country’s top chefs to showcase their gourmet dishes paired with over 100 top-rated wines.
Join David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris for the Bloody Mary Brunch (February 26, 12 to 2 p.m.), the ultimate midday meal served on the beach with samplings from over a dozen of Broward’s best restaurants.
The parties continue late into the night throughout the weekend. If you’re around on Thursday, head to the rooftop Food & Wine Kick Off After Party at The Langford Hotel’s Pawn Broker bar in downtown Miami (February 23, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.). On Friday, relive your ramen-noodle-eating college days at Late Night Ramen at Pubbelly Sushi, Miami Beach with chef Richie Nakano (February 24, 12 to 3 a.m.).
(Insider tip: To snag any last-minute tickets for SOBEWFF, go to the box office on 13th Street and Ocean Drive.)
Where to stay
There are many hotels hungry to accommodate festival-goers this year. If you want to be close to it all, check out Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Loews Miami Beach Hotel, SOBEWFF’s official host hotel.
Other favorites that will keep you comfortable and close to the action are Delano South Beach, 1 Hotel South Beach, The Miami Beach EDITION and Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
Insider tip: In order to receive special festival rates, you’ll want to call (786) 206-2717, instead of calling the hotels directly.