Gregg and I are just getting back from an unforgettable weekend at the South Beach Wine + Food Festival. And since The Taste is airing tonight (new time! 9pm), what better time to tell you about our little #TeamLudo reunion?
Our weekend started with The Best of the Best event, held at the Fontainebleau. Being from South Florida, I've attended a few different events over the years and this one was one of my favorites for sure. (Another favorite is BubbleQ, I think now called The Q - can't beat BBQ and bubbly!) To start, this event was indoors, which was different than many of the other events I've attended, including BubbleQ. It's two huge rooms filled with top chefs and wineries from all over the country offering tastes and pours of their goods. When Jordan is there pouring their Cab, you know you're in the right place! It was awesome to see chefs like Anita Lo and Marc Forgione ... and my BFF Todd Erickson, of course! One of my favorite bites of the night was Francois Payard's macarons ... hitting the dance floor with him and Ludo at Hyde later that night wasn't exactly a low-point, either. ;)
So, yeah ... later that night, we met up with Ludo at a VIP chef after-party at the SLS Hotel. The three of us spent major quality time that night. It was so great seeing Ludo and catching up with him. He is the "king of the pop-up" after all, so getting the chance to tell him what we're up to with ABODE was amazing. He was so supportive and gave us great advice. Loved hearing about his new restaurant in LA - can't wait to go visit. We also had some fun, of course, dancing and letting loose ... this is South Beach, you know! A night I will never forget ...
When Nobu's Drew Nieporent recognized Gregg and I, for instance, and told us we were his favorites on The Taste ... yep, definitely won't be forgetting that!
Saturday we spent more time with friends, and more time at the SLS! And then back again on Sunday, I'm not even kidding, to meet Ludo for brunch on Sunday morning before heading over to the Grand Tasting event with him. I've been to this event before and it's not my personal favorite, but it was cool to check it out and run into more friends. It's one of the main events of the festival, held in big tents on the sand on both Saturday and Sunday. Similar concept to The Best of the Best event with different restaurants and wineries set up offering samples. I don't find there to be too much food going on, so my opinion is that this event is more about the drinking.
A trip to Miami wouldn't be complete without a meal at Joe's Stone Crab, especially since Gregg hadn't ever been there. We had a great meal with friends, including Steven Leeds who we also met on The Taste! If you're ever in Miami, this place is a must. There are other locations with the same name licensed by a restaurant group (in Vegas, for one) but they are not the same! There is only one Joe's, and it's quintessential Miami.
We had such a great time that we are seriously considering how we can become snowbirds - are we too young for that? ;)