Thursday, October 16
It can also be one of the most crowded events.
Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd level on both Saturday's and Sunday's Grand Tasting. It's definitely been a problem the last few years in Miami, so it was great to be able to walk around freely and actually have some time to speak with the vendors.
Everyone entered through the "Target Welcome Area" and got their wristband, gift bag, and some chocolates and espresso (if you wanted it). You then had to wait to cross a very busy street to get over to the pier where the Grand Tasting tents were. Kind of a strange arrangement, but people seemed to deal okay.
A big thing to help ease the crowds seemed to be the event organizers' decision to break the public Grand Tasting into two separate sessions on both Saturday and Sunday. It was such a help!
Alex Guarnaschelli from The Cooking Loft was there all day Sunday representing her restaurant Butter. I complimented her on the show and was excited to hear it had been picked up for more episodes.
AND I'll be eating at Butter for the first time this Saturday. I'll be going for my birthday before Saturday Night Live. Can't wait!
Seriously, if there is one event to attend at a festival like this it's the Grand Tasting. Do it! Your stomach will thank you... even if your head doesn't the next morning when you wake up and realize you drank about 10 glasses of wine and a few shots between the hours of 11 and 3. You might even meet a Dancing With the Stars castoff like we did!