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2008 South Beach Wine & Food Festival
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2008 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

In keeping with a seven-year tradition, swarms of foodies descended on South Beach for the 2008 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food festival this past weekend.  Rachel Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Giada DeLaurentis were on hand for the four-day long celebration.

Vegetarians need not have attended this year’s “Burger Bash” where guests dined on 17 unique renditions.  Though Radius of Boston officially beat out the competition, other noteworthy competitors included chef Laurent Tourondel (BLT) as well as chef Tim Love (Love Shack), who served up a flavorful patty topped with homemade pickles, bacon and the chef’s signature “love” sauce.

The gluttony persisted the following evening at the “BubbleQ” with champagne and barbecue, prepared by Patrick Neely (Neely’s Bar-B-Que), Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), and Kenny Callaghan (Blue Smoke) – to name only a few.

Though it had little to do with barbecue, we were partial to Tyler Florence’s grilled calamari with fennel over a fava bean puree as well as Zak Pelaccio’s brisket-laced burger finished with kimchee  (pictured right.)

But the most sumptuous feast of the weekend was had by attendees at Mario Batali and Jamie Oliver’s “Fettucine and Fiorentina” with an array of steaks and homemade pastas, including a superb rib steaks and penne Bolognese.  The festivities continued late into the evening at Gianni Versace’s mansion as guests mingled poolside.

Other highlights included a Jean-Georges Vongerichten tribute dinner and a tribute brunch recognizing chef Jamie Oliver’s charitable work toward improving food standards in school systems across the globe.

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl
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