Guests Indulge In a Feast Among the Grapes
Wine flowed and empty plates piled up at the Diabetes Research Institute's (DRI) 13th annual Feast Among the Grapes event, co-hosted with Wine Spectator magazine and held at Parrot Jungle Island. More than 1,000 guests tried tasty teaser plates of food from 30 of Miami's top restaurants and caterers, while sipping on vintage domestic and imported wines, teas and liquors.
Planner and director of special events for DRI Elizabeth Cohen had high expectations and was ready for action. "We're very critical of our own events, she says. "We're always making adjustments."
The entrance leading to the hall where the tasting took place sported a balloon arch created by Balloons and Beyond. Just inside, tables filled with silent auction items lined the walls, offering everything from sports memorabilia to jewelry and fine art. Upon entering the magnificent ballroom, which overlooks the Port of Miami, guests were greeted by the sounds of a six-piece band called The Fit.
Seafoam green balloon columns with large burgundy balloon toppers dotted the room, which was otherwise devoid of color. Tightly packed tables were dressed in white tablecloths to ensure the food would stand out. Space was tight—the only open areas were the dance floor in front of the stage and a curtained-off space for the V.I.P. champagne reception provided by ME Productions.
And this night, it really paid to be a V.I.P. They were treated to top-ranked restaurant tasting selections and gift bags containing items from Giorgio Armani, Hershey Foods and GBS the Beauty Store. They also received decorative martini glasses, each etched with artist Romero Britto's insignia (produced by A 1 Of A Kind Design). Each glass was also filled with his signature drink, "Britto-tini", made of Limoncello, Midori and sparkling wine garnished with frozen red .phpberries. Outside of the V.I.P. room, attendees wandered around the ballroom, randomly stopping at tables. They tasted everything from Japengo's electric sushi roll, made of tempura eel with a chipotle aioli and crab topping to CrepeMaker's triple threat, a decadent dessert of banana, sliced strawberries, Nutella and whipped cream. Guests were asked to vote on which restaurant offered the best selections and which had the best table display. The winner on both counts was Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe, who offered a luscious fettuccine pasta dish served from a hollowed-out Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel.
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