I had reservations about getting press passes to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. First of all, if you listened to Podcast #7, you know my opinion of the festival’s douche-bag-in-chief, Guy Fieri (pictured below looking quite the DB). Secondly, an event of this magnitude and tailored to the faux-foodie-with-hundreds-to-burn-on-a-day-pass set seemed like exactly the kind of event we could pretend doesn’t exist on Beached Miami. Thirdly, it seemed inevitable that the spectacle of thousands of yuppie satyrs stuffing face was going to quickly activate my fear-and-loathing gland, and that, lacking David Foster Wallace’s genius to turn the experience into a timeless piece of writing (“Consider the Sand Flea”?), I’d end up simply complaining about it and inciting a few such yuppie satyrs to reply with mildly indignant comments.
So I went. And boy was I wrong! Kidding of course. Exactly as expected. In fact, the only surprise was how bad the food was. I tried about every vendor in Grand Tasting Village and nothing registered above “demi-divine” in the Official Foodie’s Guide to Verbal Food Appraisal (a must-read for all who aspire to the Iron Chef judge’s table). Seriously, I wouldn’t regurgitate a single hors d’oeuvre and say “Try that.”
Not more than a few sandy steps into one of the two main tents, I was about to try my first bite — a rum-soaked brownie — when a woman with a lecherous eye gasped, “Isn’t it fantastic?” in blatant disregard to the fact that the brownie had yet to cross my lips and in a way that made me wonder if Lee Schrager had boosters planted around GT Village. I should have turned back there, my friends, but I went forward, into the munching masses, the red-toothed swishing swarm. Somehow I have lived to tell about it, and, no matter the appeal of sobewff’s siren song (“Mambo No. 5″ with kettle drum accompaniment), I almost certainly wouldn’t tempt fate again. For staged debauchery is a step away from chaos, and I will not have my obituary read: “Husband, brother, beloved son. Trampled under sandal by a live audience of Guy’s Big Bite.” On to the pictures.