1. Hit the Highlights
Our strategy for going through the daunting list of more than 100 SOBEWFF events: First, check out the signature events, often hosted by big-name stars; then look for specialty dinners and other more-intimate events that interest you; finally, look for cool first-time soirees, like this year’s Taste of Puerto Rico.
2. Go Big or Go Small
Are you looking to party with your pals while your feet are in the sand, or do you prefer to rub elbows with a celebrity chef at a private dinner? Your answer may determine whether you wind up at the Grand Tasting Village or Michelle Bernstein’s Cobaya Underground Dinner.
3. Have a Plan
Look, there’s just no way you’re going to comfortably try all 30 or so samples of meat-on-bread at Burger Bash. Before you go, pick out some chefs or restaurants whose dishes you definitely don’t want to miss. And when you get there, take a quick spin to see if there are any others that catch your eye. Eat those first, before you hit your carb-laden limit.
4. A Day of Outfit Changes
Pack a change of clothes so you won’t have to stop at home between, say, Robert Irvine’s Bootcamp & Bites foodie workout and Marcus Samuelsson’s From Harlem to Overtown Brunch.
5. Dress the Part
Speaking of outfit changes, pay attention to the suggested attire at each event. You don’t want to be the person wearing flip-flops to formal dinners or stilettos on the sand.
6. Anything but Driving
It’s easy to avoid frustrating traffic jams or the dangers of drinking and driving: Book a rideshare service or take advantage of the festival’s free park-and-ride shuttles. Better yet: Book a room on the beach, giving you a private spot for those aforementioned wardrobe changes.
7. Prep for the Sun
For daytime, outdoor events, be sure to pack a hat, shades and sunscreen. And hydrate with something other than that tasty glass of rosé.
8. Babies or Babysitter?
Kids aren’t allowed at the SOBEWFF events where alcohol is served, so call your best babysitter ahead of time. Or bring the whole family to the fest’s kid-friendly events: Yappie Hour, Family Ice Cream Social and Fun & Fit as a Family.
9. Escape to Broward
If South Beach crowds aren’t your thing, head up to one of the 12 events this year in Broward County. Alex Guarnaschelli and Jorge Ramos host the Clambake on February 22 at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach.
10. Insta Famous
Influencers know that nighttime food pix bathed in your smartphone’s unflattering flash never look as good as you want them to. Natural light at daytime and sunset events is the key to the best snaps during SOBEWFF.
11. Celebrity Selfies
Want to get a pic with Bobby Flay but just realized the two events he’s hosting are already sold out? Here’s a trick: Figure out what other events his chef friends are headlining, and get to those. Star chefs regularly show up to hang at events where their friends are doing the heavy lifting.