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SBWFF 2011: Food Porn from Wine + Dine + Design

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Photo by Riki Altman
The Blue Group started with this green dish. And that was the beginning of the confusion.
Wine + Dine + Design was held last night in the ever-growing Design District, home to a handful of our city's most popular eateries. Here's how the event worked: Ticketholders gathered in front of Vino E Olio and were grouped into three lines, one for the folks who would start their adventure at Fratelli Lyon, one for the Sra. Martinez folks, and one for Michael's Genuine. The problem was, no signage existed and the staffers in charge of dividing the groups weren't dressed in any sort of uniform. Can you say "clusterfuck?"

Yeah. It was a confusing mess and the situation didn't get much better after our colored wristbands were secured. Folks didn't know when they were supposed to mosey over to their first stop, and especially after two glasses of complimentary Champagne and a smattering of Vino appetizers, the crowd looked like an ant colony confused into delirium by a spoonful of salt even after an announcement was made signaling the beginning of the event. But we eventually figured out the game plan and were led by our celebrity team leaders to our starting seats.

The Red, Blue, and Green groups each tried a seafood selection at their first stop, followed by poultry and game meat, and then beef. Then they all gathered for a dessert orgy at the Ornare furniture showroom. Here's what the teams ate and who fed us:

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Photo by Riki Altman
Blues started at Fratelli, where Ken Lyon (left) was paired with two-time James Beard winner Andrew Carmellini (right) of New York's Locanda Verde. Channel 7's Belkys Nerey cheefully led the group along throughout the night. We enjoyed a beautifully presented bowl of red snapper, clams, and Louisiana shrimp, paired with crunchy croutons. Reds feasted on redfish Courtboulion at Sra. Martinez and Greens got seafood stew at M.G.F.D.

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Photo by Riki Altman
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Photo by Riki Altman
Our second course, prepared by the two Michaels, Schwartz (left) and Symon (far right), comprised a savory wood oven-roasted and smoked quail with marscarpone polenta and pickled chile salad. Reds got pan-braised quail at Fratelli and Greens enjoyed lardon-wrapped rabbit at Sra.

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Photo by Riki Altman
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Photo by Riki Altman
An exhausted, but still smiling Michelle Bernstein and her hubby, David Martinez, recoup after the last group is served.
The final course comprised of two Michelle Bernstein specialties: short rib and tongue tacos. N'awlins legend John Besh worked with her to create the smoked, then grilled beef and spicy tacos, which were paired with salsa verde and jicama. Reds enjoyed braised beef cheeks and Greens got Barolo-braised beef at Fratelli.

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Photo by Riki Altman
Chef Scott Howard from San Francisco's Brick & Bottle created a palette of splendid sweets, including whoopie pies with curry peanut butter cream, butterscotch pudding with cashew brittle, and coconut lemongrass bubble tea with basil tapioca balls.

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Photo by Riki Altman
Noonan (left) and Adler
Style and design icons Simon Doonan and hubby Jonathan Adler were spotted enjoying the event, along with Jorge and Darlene Perez.

Though Wine + Dine + Design was definitely fun and creative, we're still scratching our heads wondering why locals would shell out $250 per ticket to eat at restaurants they can enjoy all year long.

However if a large number of ticketholders were paying locals, we suggest Schrager consider hosting this event a few times throughout the year to raise even more money for FIU. The chefs seemed to have a blast and the diners appeared happy to take little strolls between courses. Just sayin'...

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