While the entertainment industry turned to LA for the glitz and glamour of the 81st Academy Awards, the best and brightest stars of the culinary world gathered in Florida over the weekend for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
The four-day festival kicked off on Thursday night with the highly anticipated Burger Bash. Reigning Burger Bash queen, Katie Lee Joel, handed her crown over to the new king, Top Chef four's Spike Mendelsohn. His Coletti's Smokehouse burger (with Applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings, and chipotle BBQ sauce) swept the competition.
Other highlights included a special dinner with the king and queen of Spain, a barbecue hosted by Tom Colicchio, a tribute to Emeril Lagasse, an Oscars viewing with Bobby Flay, several grand tastings, and countless demonstrations.
To check out a huge gallery of images of all your foodie favorites, read more
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival hosted by Food Network and Food and Wine magazine kicks off today in Florida. One of the hottest tickets is to the wildly popular Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray. In October, I checked out the New York competition that Katie Lee Joel won with her Logan County Burger.
Tonight, Joel will defend her title against last year's South Beach winner, Michael Schlow. Since I won't be present at the SOBE Burger Bash, I decided to treat myself by making Schlow's monster of a burger.
The Schlow burger is more complex than Joel's burger and involves fried onion rings, melted cheddar cheese, and a creamy horseradish sauce. The recipe says that the 9-ounce patties make "two fat-boy burgers" and trust me, after eating one of these babies (I made it through half), you'll feel like a fat boy.
However, this incredible burger is worth it. It's a masterpiece of flavors: the crispy onions are slightly caramelized, the lightly seasoned ground beef is tender, the mayonnaise is tangy and provides a much-needed moistness. If you or a loved one is a burger fanatic, make this burger. There's a reason it won the Burger Bash — quite simply, it's absolutely delicious. Want the recipe? Please, read more
I wish there were a dozen of me so I could be at every single one of this week's events. Case in point: I'm going to have to choose between the Grilled Cheese Invitational and a clam chowder cook-off. Life is full of the most difficult decisions! Meanwhile, Orange County is gearing up for its restaurant week, and, on the opposite coast, Miami will soon be abuzz with its South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
Are you going to any of this week's events? If we've left anything off our list, feel free to chime in below!
- Indio, CA: Riverside County Fair — Feb. 17-22
- New York, NY: NYC Restaurant Week — Feb. 17-22
- San Francisco, CA: Around the World in 80 Sips — Feb. 19
- Miami, FL: South Beach Wine and Food Festival — Feb. 19-22
- San Antonio, TX: San Antonio Wine Festival — Feb. 20-22
- Chicago, IL: Chicago Restaurant Week — Feb. 20-27
- San Francisco, CA: POP Party — Feb. 21
- Santa Cruz, CA: Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-off and Festival — Feb. 21
- San Francisco, CA: NorCal Grilled Cheese Invitational — Feb. 21
- Orange County, CA: Orange County Restaurant Week — Feb. 22-28