South Beach… What can you say? Home of Scarface, weekend partiers and celebrities, and of course The Wine and Food Fest. Every year thousands of foodies embark on a culinary adventure that will tantalize their taste buds until they surrender their stomachs for mercy to the food Gods. For the first time in my life I was able to tag along with these crazed food lovers to a city that truly does not sleep, and thanks to Electrolux it made it an even more unforgettable weekend.
In my 32 years of life I have never endured a winter as brutal as this one, but when I stepped off of that plane from a brisk 20° Chicago wind to a welcoming 85° burst of heat, the cold Chiberia weather became a distant memory. Once I got to the Shore Club right off the Collins strip, it was go time and precious wine was waiting to be consumed. I was able to taste a few wines from Schrader vineyards in Sonoma County, California that were never in distribution to the public, and were dang good! There is nothing like starting off a great food trip with good wine, nothing, but soon it was over and like Jay-Z says, “On To The Next,” which was the Beach Burger Bash.
This sand and beer filled event would satisfy all of your burger fantasies until you are literally dreaming about cow pastures all night, and to be honest I was a bit burgered out by nights end. But one of the coolest attractions of the night was checking out the Electrolux rolling kitchen. Think Xzbit of Pimp My Ride meets a movable doublewide! It was a mobile trailer that pops open to showcase all of the latest appliances! Equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, stovetops, ovens, and washer and dryer, you could literally live in this thing! The culinary staff was whipping up some insanely tasty seared ahi tuna burgers with seaweed salad garnish and a delightfully evil cinnabon bread pudding! They whipped up this killer caramel pecan glaze to top off the bread pudding on an induction stovetop. If you aren’t familiar with induction, let me school you for a second. It cooks faster and cleaner than any cooking element known to man. It can boil water in less than 90 seconds. It’s so green that it pays for itself after a few years. As a chef I love gas, but if electric was my only option it would be induction no questions asked! Don’t believe me, see for yourself at Electroluxappliances.com
While this event on the beach was well underway, there was actually a competition going on for the best burger. I tried some dang tasty ones, but I have to say that the Ramen Burger was really tasty with its umami flavors. However at nights end Rachel Ray announced that Michael Simon had won best burger. I don’t believe I got to try his but given that Food Network puts this show on every year, there may have been some bias, but I can’t be certain 🙂
So as night was turning in, I had the chance to catch up with one of the programmers from Food Network that I have not spoken with in 5 years and believe it or not he knew exactly who I was, which put me on cloud 9 all weekend! Well it was time to clock out , so a quick stroll back to the hotel from the beach and a not-so-good night of sleep, thanks to some all nighters who thought my hotel floor was a night club, I woke up to some more craziness! Stay tuned for day 2…