It’s off to the races this weekend at Churchill Downs for the 142nd annual Kentucky Derby. Though the race itself is only a matter of minutes, Derby fanatics turn it into the biggest party of the year. Right up there with finding the floppiest hat you can wear without tipping over is pinning down your viewing party menu. We’ve got dessert covered on race day, with boozy and minty sweet treats inspired by the Southern cocktail favorite the mint julep. Trust us, even after the horses cross the finish line, you’ll find any excuse to down these refreshing, bourbon-spiked desserts.
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Chefs took center stage last night to celebrate the 2016 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards, which are two years into a three-year stint at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. Hometown pride was on full display, with Chicago’s high-concept culinary temple Alinea taking home the Outstanding Restaurant award. Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped kick off the evening, kidding, “Chicago is known for cuisine and the way we count ballots, so you might as well all go home — we won.”
The television industry has the Emmys, the movie industry the Oscars, the theater industry the Tonys. In the food world, the James Beard Awards recognize the very best of what’s new and craveworthy, from cookbooks and food videos to what’s on the plate at big and small restaurants alike. Tuesday night the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards took place at New York City’s Pier 60, where hundreds of culinary legends, industry newcomers and food fans came together to celebrate the role food plays in media of all kinds.
We’re back from the beach, now in New York City instead of walking around the seaside tents and tasting all manner of Italian bites, juicy burgers and smoky meat that the South Beach Wine & Food Festival had to offer last weekend. Though the Festival’s landmark 15th year may have officially ended with Sunday night’s Lucky Chopsticks event, showcasing Asian-inspired eats, we’d still like to daydream about the days and nights we spent digging into fried bologna, burgers dripping with cheese sauce and thick-cut bacon. Join us as we look back on these and more of our most-memorable savory and sweet selects from a jam-packed weekend.
The beauty of brunch is that there’s no need to decide in which direction you want to take the meal — sweet, savory, breakfast or lunch — instead, just enjoy all of the above (and perhaps a cocktail as well). That was the scene this morning on Day 4 of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival; after a weekend of late-night soirees and beachside bashes, festivalgoers woke up to the promise of an epic feast at Trisha‘s Southern Kitchen Brunch, featuring a down-home menu of Southern classics from chefs across the country.
Food Network’s baker extraordinaire Duff Goldman is known for crafting over-the-top desserts at his own bakery, Charm City Cakes, and judging them on various baking championships. So it’s no surprise that when he hosts Sweet 15: A Dessert Party, the sugar showing is going to be downright epic. During the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Saturday night, just as partygoers felt their meat sweats fade and started to crave another bite to eat, Duff and some of the most-famed pastry chefs and bakeries from across the country took over the elegantly adorned The Villa Casa Casuarina for an epic late-night soiree that was enough to make any sweets lover smile.
Not one to present any ordinary dessert, of course, Duff showed up with a cotton-candy display featuring his Grapefruit Meringue Crumble Push Pops (pictured above). These layered beauties boasted the showstopping presentation you’d expect from Duff — and, perhaps more importantly, all the expert tangy, creamy flavors and crispy texture, thanks to the crumble atop each pop.
After digging into a combined mountain of meat at Friday night’s Burger Bash, we thought Saturday night seemed like as good a time as any to showcase — wait for it — more meat. Food Network’s own resident super carnivore, Michael Symon, hosted the sold-out Meatopia, which featured all manner of beef, pork and chicken cooked over an open flame. This meat lovers’ paradise is new to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival — just two years old — but that didn’t stop fans from packing the seaside tents and waiting in line for their taste of the succulent, slow-roasted ribs, strips and tips the chefs were dishing out. “Just the smell of this place makes you happy,” Michael, a longtime lover of meat in its many forms, proclaimed from the stage as he welcomed partygoers to the event. And indeed the smoky scent was something to behold — even blocks away fans could get a whiff of what awaited them.
Salmon, shrimp, tilapia, clams — they’re all good seafood options, of course. But for many, the pearl of the edible underwater world is the oyster. For seafood novices and connoisseurs alike, however, oysters can be a bit of a mystery. To get to the meat of the oyster you must unlock the hard shell (easier said than done), which not only holds the tender, cool bivalves inside but also the saltwater-like juices, aka the liquor of the oyster.
Friday night, FN Dish was on hand at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival‘s Oyster Bash at Lure Fishbar right in South Beach. This sold-out soiree put one particular oyster in the spotlight: Island Creek Oysters, which hail from just up the Eastern seaboard in Duxbury, Mass. On their own these briny beauties boasted a clean, crisp, slightly salty taste, and they were being shucked on-site as quickly as festivalgoers could throw them back. Area chefs were on hand as well to dress them up, and what resulted were half-shells filled with flavors like smoky chorizo, rich lemon butter and bright saffron.
We caught up with a host of the event and the executive chef of Lure Fishbar, Josh Capon, for an oyster primer. Read on below for an introduction to these slurpworthy treats.
With a sandy seaside backdrop, dozens of roaring grills, and tables outfitted with ketchup and mustard, the scene was set for a Burger Bash tonight at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which is celebrating its 15th birthday in Miami all weekend long with the likes of Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri and Alex Guarnaschelli. As burger lovers packed the expansive tents and got their hands on the between-the-bun creations before them, FN Dish was on hand to take in the sights, smoky smells and, of course, all the beefy, meaty tastes that only this fan-favorite Bash could provide.
Rachael Ray was once again on hand to host the sold-out tasting, and this year proved especially significant, as it marked the 10th anniversary of Burger Bash. In celebration of this landmark milestone, the Festival team wowed Rachael on stage with not only her own Bash award but also an oversize burger cake made by none other than cake-baker extraordinaire Buddy Valastro. FN Dish was on hand tonight and we caught up with Rachael to dish about the longtime success of the event. “I think that the Burger Bash is a fun idea because we challenge the world’s greatest chefs to put their talents on a, well, on a hug — on a bun,” she told us. “And it makes food more accessible and presents the chefs in a whole different light.”
Giada De Laurentiis Ushers In the 15th South Beach Wine & Food Festival with Italian Bites on the Beachby Maria Russo in Events, February 26th, 2016
Think beyond burgers, chicken tenders and frozen cocktails because when Giada throws a beach party, the name of the game is Italian fare. She kicked off the South Beach Wine & Food Festival last night with Italian Bites on the Beach, a seaside soiree worthy of the festival’s landmark 15th anniversary. Featuring everything from pasta and pizza to sweet tiramisu-inspired treats and flowing red wine, this sold-out event brought together chefs from across the country for an evening of walk-around tastings and dancing in the sand to a live band.