SOBEWFF Amstel Light Burger Bash 2015

Friday night, a friend and I had the chance to attend the SOBEWFF Amstel Light Burger Bash. Of course, being allergic to sub-par beer, we decided to check out the newest brewery in Wynwood, J Wakefield Brewing for some pre-gaming. Seriously, check that place out!

And while J Wakefield had what looked to be a pretty awesome food truck outside, what it didn’t have was a Ritz-Carlton beach full of awesome chefs preparing gourmet burgers! Oh, or the hot chicks, spectacular band, celebrities (yeah, I got my picture taken with Al Roker and Morimoto!), and thousands of people.

Honestly, you can see who won here. I was a little disappointed with the star power that I and other people love to meet (though not burger quality) compared to when I went in 2013. That year, Morimoto was there but was joined by Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Scott Conant, Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian, Andrew, Zimmern, Anne Burrell, The Sandwich King, and more.

My favorite and the one I cast my vote for was Prime One Twelve (Prime 112). That burger was so juicy and cheesy and delicious! I also enjoyed Red Robin’s burger and Shake Shack too among a handful of others.

Anyway, here are some pictures! I hope to go again next year!

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Eats & Beats 2015

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After an unplanned tour of Little Haiti in Miami last night, my wife and I gave in to technology and plugged in the address of The Moore Building in Miami’s Design District into the phone. After all, we didn’t want to be late to the second annual Eats & Beats culinary and musical event taking place from 7:30 until midnight!

Whew! Just made it on time, and someone was nice enough to leave a parking space right in front of the building for us. We met the organizers on the way in and then got started tasting some great dishes, sampling some terrific spirits and cocktails, and being entertained with some great music and ambiance.

The pink lights flashing on the very unique architecture of The Moore Building made me feel like I was back at a club in Paris I visited a few times in the 90’s. Eats & Beats took place on all 4 floors, which each have a 360 degree balcony overlooking the center of the building. Pretty cool!

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We met some very nice people, both vendors and other guests alike. If I were forced to pick some favorites, I’d have to choose Chef Adrianne Calvo (who also made a spectacular dessert at the Five Cubed event a few days ago), the food from Segundo Muelle Peruvian Restaurant, Red The Steakhouse, Brother Jimmy’s, and Havana 1957. Oh, and the cupcakes from Ana Paz Cakes and Slice of Art!

And on the spirits side of things, I loved the Zafra rum, both on the rocks and as a cocktail. Not to be outdone were the terrific mojitos that the folks from Nikki Beach were making. Not only did both of those vendors make a great tasting drink, but they went all out with their presentation and overall experience.

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IT Espresso Lounge also made a very nice prosecco based drink, quite refreshing. And as the “beer guy,” I have to give a shout out to the only beer vendor there–Modelo! I personally would have like to have seen a few more strong brands, especially considering the emergence of craft beer on the Miami scene. But hey, that’s probably just me.

All the vendors were friendly, knowledgeable, and wanted to share their products with you. And to the army of people that made the event happen, congratulations! Can’t wait for Eats & Beats 2016!

Love & Wine, a Rooftop Wine & Spirits, Gastronomic Affair

Saturday night, my wife and I attended Love & Wine, a Rooftop Wine & Spirits, Gastronomic Affair on the roof of The Collection Building in Coral Gables. The event paired awesome local chefs and restaurants with some premium wines and spirits. Live music, cigars, awesome cars, models and a beautiful view also made for a nice night. Not even the mega wind could put a damper on the fun.

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Miami Culinary Tours: Wynwood Food and Art Tour

Today my wife and I did the Wynwood Food and Art Tour in Miami. This is a weekly event done by Miami Culinary Tours and is one of many versions around Miami set up to help you appreciate what the city has to offer. You can read a detailed review over at my DailyBeerReview.com website, but I decided to post an extensive gallery of photos here for you to see. Check out this and some of the other tours available! Enjoy!

Chilean Wine Seminar and Tasting Hosted by ProChile in Brickell

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Yesterday evening, the ProChile Trade Commission in Miami hosted a Chilean Wine Seminar and tasting at the Conrad Hotel in Brickell. Chilean Winemaker Santiago Margozzini from Montgras Estates and Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer conducted an educational presentation titled Chile: Land of Diversity and a Paradise for Viticulture. My wife and I arrived (on time) to a beautifully presented room set up to accommodate 60 or more guests interested in this stop in ProChile’s Chilean Wine Tour.

Santiago went through a slide presentation that highlighted just how diverse a country Chile really is, from the temperature to the rainfall to the geographic landscape to the soil. All of those factors have an extremely important impact on the country’s 16 wine-growing regions. And though diverse, the climate and isolation of the country is ideal for growing grapes. In addition to gentle winters and moderate summers, the lack of phylloxera, hail and bird attacks also contributes to the success of Chile’s growth in wine making over the past several decades. Twenty years ago, there were seven wine regions; today there are 16. Santiago explained that though it took some convincing, the regions are now classified in three groups based on the characteristics of the wines. That was done so wine makers could easily speak about their wines in such a way that would help promote their vineyards in a meaningful way. Those classifications are Costa, Entre Cordilleras, and Andes.

That’s when we began tasting the eight different wines in front of us, each chosen to represent the different viticulture regions of Chile. Santiago and Fred both led the tasting, speaking about the wineries and characteristics of each wine and how it was made. We started with a Sauvignon Blanc from Siegel made in the coastal area of Leyda. It was explained that the cold temperatures from the Pacific Ocean were key to growing this grape to perfection. Sauvignon Blanc is the #1 exported grape variety from Chile.

 

We were then asked to compare two different coastal Pinot Noirs from Valdivieso and Tabali. While I’m not exactly a wine expert, it was not difficult to see and taste the differences. Fred explained that one of the areas had more variations in temperature and wind than the other. In addition, the soils in the two regions are very different and impart different characteristics to the wines. So same grape but different outcomes.  Pretty cool!

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Fred continued “geeking out” on soil as we tried a Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Morande, grown in the “alluvial” soil of Maipo, representative of the foothills of the Andes. We were then given a Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec blend from Viu Manent which sparked a little comparison to the Malbecs of Argentina. We were told that some of the best Malbecs in the world come from this Chilean region called the Colchagua Valley. However, these wines are very different than what you would find in neighboring Argentina as the climate and soil and age of their vines are not the same.

Finally we arrived to a wine made by Santiago, MontGras Antu Syrah. “This is the best wine of the night, hahaha,” quipped Santiago. He explained this was grown on a famous hill in the volcanic soil of Colchagua and would be classified as an Entre Cordilleras wine. My wife and I actually agreed that the sweet fruity aroma and delicious flavors made this our favorite of the evening. Also from Colchagua, we tasted a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend from Montes. Fred said this is a very well-known wine in the United States.

Our final wine of the seminar was another from MontGras, their Reserva Carmenere. We were told that Carmenere grapes are unique to Chile, though originally a French grape variety that was killed by phylloxera. Apparently, Chilean wine makers thought they were making Merlots though it was discovered that in fact it was a Merlot/Carmenere blend. Today, the best Carmenere wines are grown in sandy soil in a warm and sunny climate that allows the grapes to grow to a very ripe stage. This ensures a wine with round tannins and uniquely spicy characteristics. We liked this wine a lot too.

The evening then shifted to a tasting with many Chilean wineries. We tasted some additional wines and learned about some of the goals that each winery was pursuing. For some, it was just to get their name out in front of importers. We ate some cheese and fruits and hors d’oeuvres and mingled. It was an educational evening and fun to learn about one of Chile’s most important products!

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Miami Rum Renaissance Grand Tasting 2014

Yesterday, April 26, 2014, I attended the first day of the Miami Rum Renaissance Grand Tasting (Check out my recap). Except for all of the vendors simultaneously running out of rum a bit  early, I had a terrific time. And I definitely had enough rum for any one individual. Here are some photos of the event.

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Wynwood Night Time Graffiti Tour

I recently went to an event in Wynwood thrown by Goose Island Beer Company. After it was over, Ed Roberts and I walked over to Wynwood Brewing for a beer (and back). I took a lot of pictures of the graffiti since I had never been in the area before. I know, I’m probably the first person to post a bunch of these pictures, right?

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