Even if you’re not headed to the Wine & Food Festival, you can feel part of the Epicurean extravaganza. Alternatives to the official event include wine tastings and chef speakers appearances — many of them free.
Just a few blocks from the festival, get samples of Saaga vodka from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Portofino Wine Bank, 500 South Pointe Dr.; 305-532-1988. Try Roberto Cavalli vodka and Frida Kahlo tequila from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Both tastings are free.
Take a Spanish wine tour with wine educator Barry Alberts from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at Christabelle’s Quarter, 3157 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove; $15; 786-517-5299 or 305-793-3120.
Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo’s Top Chef, will discuss her book, Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, and sign copies at 1 p.m. Friday at Books & Books Bal Harbour, 9700 Collins Ave. Free; 305-864-4241.
Food Network chef Cat Cora signs copies of Great Gatherings, a compilation of recipes from Macy’s Culinary Council members, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday at Macy’s South Beach, 1675 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach. Free; 305-674-6300.
Chef Nick Biscoito of We’re Having a Party catering will prepare grilled tuna with basil pesto, spicy grilled salmon with mango, swordfish with citrus pesto and a turkey avocado wrap at 1 p.m. Saturday at Macy’s Aventura, 19501 Biscayne Blvd. Free; 305-662-3350.
Chef Angel Castro of Village Chalet will make grilled calamari at 1 p.m. Saturday at Macy’s Dadeland Home Store, 7675 North Kendall Dr., Kendall. Free; 305-662-3350.