When I started the Burger Beast Blog I had no idea I’d get into event producing and curating. When I had a few events under my belt I met with Lee Schrager (founder of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival) for lunch at Sparky’s. He asked what I was up to and I mentioned the slew of events I had plans for and he said, get out while you still can.
Many years later I think about our conversation, one that was much more involved than just that comment and realize he was right in some ways. It’s always fun to come up with a great idea and bring in these restaurants and food vendors to participate but it takes months and many long days and nights to produce these events.
The x-factor for the events are the personalities and egos of some of the folks involved, I’ll leave it at that. Unfortunately it’s a reality with these things.
Anyways…below are 5 events that we (I) had conceived but never happened for one reason or another, it’s always fun to look back and think what might have been.
5 Burger Beast Events That Never Happened:
Right after the 1st Croquetapalooza in October of 2014, El Mago de las Fritas’ Barry Hennessey came up to me and suggested I try doing an event with Cuban Coffee. The following day I thought of the name “Con Espumita” which means pretty much “With Foam” in reference to a Cuban Espresso.
I envisioned an event revolving around Cuban Coffee and Coffee flavored snacks with a competition between Cuban Restaurants to see who had the Best Cuban Coffee in Miami. Our plan was to have a recreation of a Ventanita (those windows you find outside Cuban cafeterias & restaurants) and have the competitors serve the judges through there. The event morphed into SugaPie which is happening on Sunday December 13th sans the competition but with the addition of Craft Beers.
At one time I was curating a food truck event in Immokalee, Florida and I pitched the idea to do a Cuban Sandwich Battle. I thought the location was a pretty good & neutral middle ground between Miami, Tampa and their battle for Cuban Sandwich supremacy. Lee Schrager and I were at Azucar Ice Cream Company when he asked if I had any events that might lend itself to a SoBe event.
I spoke to him briefly about the Cuban Sandwich Battle and another event I had in my head, the Midnight Medianoche Party. I’ve always been partial to the Medianoche (just like a Cuban Sandwich but with a Sweet Bread). He had a spot that would be perfect for it and next thing I know the event was on the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival lineup as Medianoches & Mixology.
I had an idea to do something similar to what you find at all these farmer’s markets around South Florida in downtown Hollywood at Arts Park. Coral Gables had just had their first and very successful Artisan Food Fest at the Coral Gables Museum.
Tom from Copperpot’s (R.I.P. to the company not the man) was helping me with the curating but unfortunately the event didn’t happen. The political game from a few restaurants in downtown Hollywood was too strong to overcome the obstacles being thrown my way so I thought it be best to put the kibosh on it, which I did.
P.S.: I got a little lazy with the name on this one.
The Street Food movement was in full bloom in South Florida. This was before it became known as the Food Truck movement which would explain why Florida’s longest running event (4 years & counting), the Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival had that name until recently.
The Miami Street Food Fest was going to be South Florida’s first foray into Food Truck Events. I had a partner for this and everything was going great until the disagreements sprung up around the handling of the event so we split up.
I ended up getting asked by the Miami Herald to curate the Food for an upcoming event with the Adrienne Arsht Center called the Fall for the Arts Festival. I used that opportunity to round up all the Food Trucks and from there, we were off to the races.
I had a great relationship with the guys who owned the Nacho Mama’s Food Truck and they wanted to produce an event that featured Food Trucks, Tacos and Craft Beer. I called up my friend John Linn (who was at Brown Distributing at the time & is now Brand Director at Funky Buddha Brewery) to help out with the beer. I then called my buds at the Riverwalk in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and asked if they’d be interested in hosting the event at Esplanade Park. We began to sell tickets and then for reasons still unknown to this day, the Nacho Mama’s guys cancel the event a few days before.
It’s a good thing that happened as the demise of TacoStock led to the creation of my yearly event El Main Evento. Next year is El Main Evento’s 5th and it’s not only going through an overhaul but it’s also moving to Broward County.
Plus One That Will: