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See & Do

Mario Batali wants to get down to the pasta-cooking business

Saturday night was meant to be one full of surprises, and we should've known this once we arrived in South Beach and found a parking spot for under five bucks. Less than a $20 bill forked over for parking south of fifth street just a brief stroll away from DeVito, where that night's event was slated to take place? Sweet. My soon-to-be hubby/cook/photographer and I were elated and ready to get some good behind the scenes shots.

For foodies and lovers of pasta, nothing gets better than having Italy's favorite orange Croc-clad Iron Chef and New York City resident Mario Batali prepare a deliciously carb-filled meal to calm their growling tummies. For us, watching Batali arrive at the "Fettuccine and Fiorentina" event casually dressed in shorts and listing off names of friends who would join him at DeVito in South Beach that evening was a definite highlight. Bourdain plus one? Now that just made my ears perk up a little.

Best of the Best

me and howie image

The American Airlines Arena seemed an unlikely venue for a $300-a-ticket SoBe Wine & Food Festival event ("will there be a Hannah Montana concert?," a friend inquired). After all the arena is neither on SoBe nor does it serve the most gourmet of cuisine -- unless, of course, you're skyboxing. Which, in the case of Best of the Best, attendees kind of were. After being greeted with a cold glass of sake at the door, guests were first encouraged to mosey around the "pre-party" area (which was plagued by blinding flood lights in certain areas), where cigars and Setai dumplings were being passed out, then head inside and up the escalators to the main event, where guests got a breathtaking view of, um, a concrete arena floor being worked on, the jumbo scoreboard lying in the middle of the floor like a defeated sea creature.

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