Thursday, February 7, 2013



By Doc Lawrence

Chefs Celebrate A Successful 2012 Festival

MIAMI BEACH—Few places combine gourmet lifestyles with a never-ending race in the fast lane like this high energy, very exciting city. I’ll come here at the drop of a hat never needing a business reason. Pleasure is the cardinal principle here, and how you find it is up to you. Food, wine, cocktails, jazz, celebrities, are intermingled with some of the world’s great art galleries and performing arts centers. Great restaurants seem to outnumber the mediocre, a warning that this is not a good place for gimmicks or empty hype.

Yes, money talks here, but there are ways to enjoy much of the good life without emulating Donald Trump. One is the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, a global event that transcends almost all the others. I’ve been attending and writing about Sobe’s events here since it began and from the inception, Sobe (locals call it that) has “winner” stamped on its future.

This is a scouting trip which allows time to visit old friends and familiar places like the Fontainebleau, a luxury hotel that always set the bar high. Elvis and the Rat Pack performed here and it hasn’t lost any of that magic touch. The Foundry has doors and windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and the jazz at Van Dyke Café harkens to Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

Art Basel is more than an annual event The world's premier international art show for modern and contemporary works features nearly 300 leading galleries from North America making Miami Beach one of the fine art centers on the planet.

It’s time for lunch-oceanside, of course. The only challenge isn’t excellence, it is being torn between so many places and having so little time to enjoy them all. Monty’s has wonderful food, a view like no other and is a place where you might run into Hollywood celebrities or sinister smugglers. That’s part of the charm of South Beach.

Sobe starts soon. Look for more than a few stories.

Enjoy the delights of Key West. The story is a tour of the island and some highlights of the Key West Literary Seminar.

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