Grand Tasting Village: How to Navigate the SoBeWFF Big Event

Don't make rookie mistakes at the Grand Tasting Village.
For more on the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, check out New Times' Taste guide, hitting newsstands Thursday, February 21.

The Whole Foods Grand Tasting Village is like the open bar at a wedding reception. It's where everyone wants to be. And when 70,000 foodies gather en masse, you can bet your monthly food budget there'll be plenty of action.

One previous year, for example, we saw Paula Deen ride Robert Irvine like a bucking bronco. And there have been plenty of other unforgettable, Instagram-worthy, LOL-inducing moments over the years. Plus, the food is unforgettable.

To help you navigate the sea of eats, drinks, and slightly inebriated celebrity chefs, New Times has compiled a list of tips. Additional wisdom was provided by Devonie Nicholas, the festival's marketing and public relations director.

Drink water. There will be lots and lots and lots of booze on hand. Wine, beer, spirits -- and not the cheap stuff. So hydrate like hell to keep up. One drink, one bottle of water. Repeat all day. You don't want to crash and burn too early, or you'll be kicking yourself about everything you missed. And if the rest of this mild winter is any indication, it's likely to be steamy out there.

Skip the heels. Stilettos on sand are not an option. And besides, who wants to teeter around while downing cocktails all day? Not smart, ladies. In this scenario, comfort wins over fashion. Or at the very least, pack some foldable flats.

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