SBWFF 2012: Antonio Banderas, Andrew Zimmern, and Plenty of Food Carts

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Lee Klein
We spoke by phone with Lee Schrager this week about upcoming new events at the 2012 South Beach Wine & Food Festival (February 23 through 26). Monday was part one; today we talk about BubbleQ losing its Bubble, the one-of-a-kind affair at 1111 Lincoln, and the grand closing party that looks to be one of the highlights of the long weekend.

New Times: Let's begin with this year's big finish.
Lee Schrager: Our closing party -- brand new -- will be food carts on the beach (officially called Trucks On The Beach). On Sunday night, we'll have 23 of the top carts in South Florida, and one from outside Florida.

What's that going to look like?
Imagine the BubbleQ tent or Burger Bash tent with the carts and live local bands. Andrew Zimmern is hosting that.

No BubbleQ this year -- just a Q?
We have retired the BubbleQ and it's back to the Q. Rather than being a champagne only event, it is now going to be all the great wines and spirits from the Moet USA portfolio [hosted by Emeril and Guy Fieri]. Plus we have a late night party called Q After Dark.

Dim Sum Disco is retired too?
We're giving Dim Sum Disco a break after five years.We are going to be doing a Dolce Asian Lunch at the Setai [with Charles Phan of SF's renowned Slanted Door].

Dim Sum and Let Them Eat Cake at 1111 Lincoln were a couple of the better parties in recent years.
The Epicure event, Party: Impossible, will take place at 1111 Lincoln. We love the 1111 venue, so we're coming back. It's a really cool garage. We're basically recreating an afternoon at Epicure [Gourmet Market] -- all the best prepared foods you can find in market will be there.

Antonio Banderas is going to be there with his wine?
Antonio Banderas will be there with his wife and his wine.

Have you tasted the wine?
Just this week. I have to tell you something, I liked the wine a lot. That has nothing to do with Antonio Banderas. I think he's a good actor but I wouldn't -- I mean when I tried Madonna's wine years ago I hated it. And I know Madonna; I don't know Antonio. But the wine was good.

Where will the tasting be?
Probably at the tents for one day. And we also have the Wine Seminars all weekend.

What to you think will be the first events to sell out this year?
(Long pause) Paula Deen Brunch, but only because it's smaller. Burger Bash, Carts, Q.

You have a favorite among the new events?
I love food cart food, so I'm excited about that. We do it in New York and it's really successful. (New York City Wine & Food Festival begins in just over a week -- September 29). And last year I didn't get to appreciate the 1111 space since it was kind of like my birthday party. I'm looking forward to being back there this year. And of course Sunday night I'm a little calmer and I get to sit down and really eat a meal -- so I'll love the Sunday Supper.

Sunday Supper?
That's right, it's new. God. we've got a lot of new events. It's funny, when you're planning them you don't think about that, but when you hear it out loud it sounds like a lot. It will be an outside, family-style Sunday supper on the deck of the beautiful Standard. The Meatball Shop from New York will be there, and we'll be also use some of our favorite meatballs locally. So Michael D'Andrea from Macaluso's will be involved, and Steve Martorano from Cafe Martorano. It's really a family supper, with Sunday gravy and that type of thing.

After the inaugural South Beach Wine & Food Festival had finished, did you ever think, "Geez this is going to get big!"
I never expected we'd be back for a second year. Seriously. I'm not a long-term thinker. I work best year by year.We still don't have a five year plan...ten years later.

Tickets for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival go on sale October 24.

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