SOBEWFF: The Q Kicks Off the Festival With Meaty Dishes, Dishing Chefs, and a Flavor Tie
Last evening, this year's edition of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival kicked off with the first big party, the Q.
All photos by Laine Doss Yes. There were 24 Sports Illustrated models at the Q, each one taller and more gorgeous than the next.
On the surface, the Q seemed like the familiar event that put the festival on the map -- a fete filled with barbecue provided by some of the best chefs in the country, accompanied by champagne and cocktails from the Moët Hennessy portfolio. But there were some important subtle changes that improved the experience greatly.
There were few lines and the wait, if any, was whittled down to a perfectly reasonable few moments. It took only about five minutes on line to get into the event, and food or drink lines were never longer than two minutes, tops.
The second improvement is the introduction of SavorBands. These wristlets, provided by Esurance, work something like the new Disney bands. Attendees are invited to tap their wrists to the computers provided at each chef's station, where they can rate the food they've eaten. Once home, guests can then go online to retrieve a list of the bites they've enjoyed and get recipes using a unique two-word code on their band (ours was mild-cola).
You can't have an event without swag. Groupon provided great custom tote bags, silk screened while you wait with your choice of yoga guru, meatballs and spaghetti, or martini. Perfect for (what else) carrying more swag including rainbow colored plastic champagne flutes provided by Chandon that come in handy for poolside parties and packages of flax seed.
Of course, everything pales in comparison to the food, chatting up celebrity chefs, and photo ops with some two dozen Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. Though everything we sampled was delicious, we did discover some extra juicy morsels -- and juicy gossip.