Miami Living Magazine

Gloria & Emilio Estefan

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88 MIAMI LIVING SPECIAL FEATURE Without a doubt, it definitely is my favorite time of the year: The weather is simply irresistible, thousands of visitors roam our beautiful streets, and parties light up our nights. I could be referring to just about any weekend in Miami, but clearly, it is winter, so I am talking about the 2009 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, scheduled for February 19-22. "SoBe," which began as a one-day event known as the Florida Extravaganza held at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus, has all but exceeded expectations, and grown into an outstanding must-attend event for all in its short history. As it has become a "winederful" tradition (I am just making up words, I know), SoBe founder and director Lee Brian Schrager and his team have prepared a (here I go again) "foodstastic" lineup for the festival's eighth edition, which will be held in and around South Beach. "We couldn't be more excited about the 2009 program of events in South Beach," Schrager said. "We'll honor Emeril Lagasse, as well as pay special tribute to the culinary prowess of Spain. And we'll also offer a brand new series of exclusive dinner experiences in addition to the return of our signature events." In the words of chef Guy Fieri, a Food Network personality who will arrive in town for his second Wine & Food Festival, that sounds "killer." "You gotta dig Miami, man," he said in an exclusive phone conversation with Miami Living last December. "We've shot shows there, and the food's awesome. You guys throw down!" The Wine & Food Festival, Fieri says, takes all of its guests' favorite things and combines them in a way that is "just dynamite." "SoBe is one of the, if not the premier event of its kind in the country," he said. In 2009, culinary world superstars including Bobby Flay, Katie Lee Joel, Masaharu Morimoto, and Michael Schwartz and Hedy Goldsmith (Miami's own Michael's Genuine Food & Drink) will join Rachael Ray as she hosts her popular Amstel Light Burger Bash, on February 19, at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. Wine Spectator's Best of the Best, one of the weekend bacchanalia's classic hot- ticket events, leaves the American Airlines Arena to move into the ballrooms and outdoor terrace of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The February 20 to-do will celebrate the talents of the world's greatest chefs, including Andrea Curto-Randazzo and Frank Randazzo (Miami Beach's Talula), Sean O'Connell (Vida at the Fontainebleau), and François Payard (New York's Payard Bistro), among others. Also on February 20, Tom Colicchio (Bravo's Top Chef) hosts the Perrier-Jouët SoBelicious! At the 2009 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Words by Martin Haro

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