Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Food & Wine Lover's Paradise

Today was an amazing day. My mother and I had tickets to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Grand Tasting, held in fabulous Miami Beach. The website calls it the Olympics of Gastronomy and it's very easy to see why. The event is put on by the Food Network and showcases the greatest restaurants of South Florida.

What happens is that restaurants and liquor companies come together and put together a booth where the hand out small plates - samples of their food. Everything was represented from sushi and certified Black Angus steak to fancy vodkas and tequilas. We ended up eating and drinking our way through two tents and a flurry of stands. The South Florida heat didn't even stop us or slow us down.

One of the highlights of the event is the fact that celebrity chefs give cooking demos. If you're one of the fast-growing fans of the Food Network, you'll know the likes of Paula Deen and Bobby Flay. Seeing them cook in person is pretty spectacular. Nothing was quite as spectacular, though, as Paula Deen dropping her pants on stage showing everybody what was underneath. As my mom puts it, "She's like that crazy, eccentric Aunt that everybody has and loves." It's so true. You just want to sit down with her at some great restaurant in Savannah and talk about anything. We were lucky enough to have her sign my mom's cook book afterwards.

This definitely was an event I hope to attend in the future. It was full of good food, good people, amazing wines and tons of fun.

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