The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is right around the corner, which means a huge crew of some of Miami's own hottest chefs, famous food personalities and lots of other interesting people. But it also means those big name chefs from around the country, that we only get to see on screen, coming to our part of the world for the grand event. Here's what some of the out-of-towners are doing at the festival and what they plan to do while they're here in the magic city.
1) What are your plans for the SOBEWFF weekend?
Alfred Portale: I'm coming down to SOBE to participate in Best of the Best, though while I'm there I will take some time to work with our new executive chef at Gotham Steak, Derek Roberts; I'll be with him in the kitchen most of Saturday developing new dishes. The rest of the weekend I'll be going to the various events. Particularly looking forward to Geoffrey Zakarian's annual party. I like to get some morning runs on the beach while I'm there.
Naomi Pomeroy: No Real Plans set in stone YET! I like to wait and see what comes up. Pretty sure I might be banned from the 212 house for life. But we shall see how the nights progress? If anyone knows of something really fun? my number is?
Daniel Boulud: I have two events I am participating in, the festival's annual Dolce Brunch that will be new to db Bistro Moderne, Miami. Brunch will feature the sweet wines of Dolce Winery and be paired with a 3-course db Bistro menu. Pairing sweet wines can be challenging so we have taken great care with the menu including my signature Smoked Salmon Crêpes Vonassiennes with Celery Root Remoulade and Dill Crème Fraîche and Crispy Duck Confit with Soft Poached Farm Egg, Potato Hash, Duck Prosciutto, Watercress Salad, Sweet and Sour Duck Jus.
Pat Neely: This is probably our 7th or 8th year attending SOBEWFF. While we understand there are so many events to attend, it's important for us to remember that our fans have traveled from all over the country to meet and hang out with us. We truly believe this time is for them. We love people. We try to make ourselves as accessible as possible so that we get a chance to meet them. We will be attending events, doing a cooking demo, judging at The Q and doing a book signing.
Tony Abou-Ganim: The amazing opportunity to launch my second book, Vodka Distilled, on Thursday afternoon at the Ritz Carlton on South Beach, then attend The Moet Q to celebrate. Going to do the Burger Bash, try and top my record from last year of burgers tried then mixing drinks with Gabriel Orta and his crew Friday night at the Miami Beach botanical gardens. Going to work on my tan in between my two seminars, "Stocking and Tending Your Home Bar" on Saturday and "Vodka & Caviar" on Sunday. Then eat some Stone Crabs at Joe's Sunday night and let it all sink in!
2) Last time you were here, what were some of your favorite Miami spots and restaurants?
Alfred Portale: I enjoyed Bazaar at the SLS hotel as well as Macchialina, Chef Michael Pirolo's restaurant. Always like going The Dutch.
Naomi Pomeroy: Mika Parades (now my Chef D) and I pretty much just hang out at Club Deuce.. I'm almost certain we were drinking all of our calories back then. We've chilled out quite a LOT in the last few years, so sometimes we just get take-out and watch horrible TV in our room! We've become boring and OLD. Mika just turned 29 for god-sake!! ?
Daniel Boulud: I was there a few times last year and did have a chance to visit Bazaar, José Andrés LA outpost which I really enjoyed- they have done a beautiful job with the space in the new hotel. I was there in November and got to do a great 'Field Trip' piece with Bill Kearney from Ocean Drive Magazine and visited the Bird Road art district- we got to tour some of the great galleries and studios like Andreas Bilbao's and Nickel Glass. We stopped at the class Cuban restaurant, Versailles where sisters Nicole and Desiree Valls treated me to the tasty classic Cuban sandwich and coffee- I can see why this is a popular spot at the window for a "fill up"!
Pat Neely: One of my favorite Miami spots is the beach, especially for early morning walks. We're usually so busy that I don't get to go out into the city much unless I'm attending a SOBEWFF event. It's cold in Memphis this time of year, so just soaking up the warm weather on the beach is heaven for me.
Tony Abou-Ganim: The cocktails and bartenders at The Broken Shaker, The Dome, Joe's Stone Crabs, Kelley Jones and Geoffrey Zakarian's Tudor House, Hakkasan, Cindy Hutson's Ortanique, Norman Van Aken's Tuyo, Clarke's.
3) What are you most excited to try in Miami?
Afred Portale: I want to try Harry's Pizza, Michael Schwartz's new spot and I definitely want to try the fried chicken at Yardbird.
Naomi Pomeroy: Now that we and I eat more of our calories than drink .. (Mostly) - we are excited to check out Yardbird- (which wasn't yet open last time we were there). And of course, eating some of Hedy Goldsmith's pastries (at Michael's Genuine, and hugging our Friend Michelle Bernstein too ! ) ?all on the to do list.. but it IS MIAMI. and things seem to change last minute.
Daniel Boulud: I hope I can stop by Juvia as a thank you for Chef Laurent Cantineaux, an alumni of DANIEL for accompanying me on the field trip in November-the view from the restaurant is spectacular.
Pat Neely: I absolutely love the fresh seafood. Grilled lobster is the best!
Tony Abou-Ganim: Downstairs at the Rec Room inside the Gale, the wonderful cocktails Ashley mixes at Pubbelly Steak, anything Michelle Bernstein cooks, drinking at the Regent Cocktail Club and ending the night at The Broken Shaker.
[Photo of Daniel Boulud via nydailynews]