Medianoches & Mixology at South Beach Food & Wine Festival
Wynwood Walls featured one of the South Beach Food & Wine Festivals new events this year, a festival showcasing a classic sandwich that deserves far more attention than it gets, a sandwich more people should embrace as a treasure, one that needs to be respected in its implementation beyond Miami and its rumored origins in Cuba and Puerto Rico: the medianoche — Botran’s Medianoches & Mixology presented by Smithfield at Wynwood Walls hosted by Anne Burrell and Emilio Estefan to be exact. For the uninitiated, the medianoche is the über-Cubano: roast pork, ham, mustard, Swiss, and dill pickles pressed inside soft, sweet egg dough bread.
You want to root for old-school joints known for putting out great Cubanos and medianoches, and while Versailles and David's (two of Miami's well-known spots) weren't there, there were plenty of other good spots. Los Bobos Cafeteria was handing out bibs and offering a free lunch to whoever wore them and Instagrammed the moment (#powerofsocialmedia), and other spots in the line-up included Bread + Butter Counter, Cuban Guys, Daddy’s Grill Cafe, El Exquisito, Islas Canarias, Latin House Grill, Luis Galindo’s Latin American, and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. These were all spots curated by South Florida blogger Sef Gonzalez (known to most as the Burger Beast), and presided over by Food Network personality Anne Burrell (sporting a fairly-new haircut — still spiky, but closer cut on the sides).
It was a stellar spot for an event. Far removed from the characteristic mmm-ss, mmm-ss sounds of South Beach, Wynwood Walls offered an event where festival-goers could feel easy taking a deep breath while looking at graffiti and art by a variety of nationally and internationally known artists like Os Gemeos, Invader, Kenny Scharf, FUTURA 2000, Dearraindrop, FAILE, BÄST, Shepard Fairey, Aiko, Sego, Saner, Liqen, Nunca, Ben Jones, HOW & NOSM, Ryan McGinness, Jim Drain, Ara Peterson, Retna, Stelios Faitakis, Clare Rojas, The Date Farmers, avaf, ROA, Ron English, Jeff Soto, Logan Hicks, b., PHASE 2, Joe Grillo, COCO 144, Gaia, Vhils, Interesni Kazki, Neuzz, Swoon, Ben Wolf, David Ellis, Barry McGee, Brandon Opalka, and Friends With You.
There are far too few events dedicated to this kind of terrific sandwich, so it was a real treat for anyone passionate about them to be able to graze from one station to the next. But truth be told, the evening's standout wasn't from an old-school Miami joint. Rather, it was from one of Miami Beach's new classic spots: Pubbelly. Plenty of cheese, extra moist both inside and out, freshly-pressed, and presented with delicately-fried Manchego and pork croquette that featured a crisp exterior that barely held their contents.