South Beach Wine & Food Festival Day 1: Models, Bottles & Bacon Sundaes

South Beach Wine & Food Festival is officially on in beautiful Miami Beach, FL, and Latina and The Latin Kitchen's staffers are on the ground seeing, eating and drinking what all your favorite Latin chefs, wineries and spirit brands are serving up in 2014.

Even before festivities officially began on Thursday, February 20th, Botran Rums took over the Cardoza Hotel in South Beach on Wednesday night to celebrate its partnership with Emilio Estefan, who is a spokesperson for the brand. Emilio told Latina he likes to drink his rum straight but also likes mixing it with coconut water. And with rum this delicious, we can see Emilio's point in wanting to drink it straight. 

Things officially heated up on Thursday (it's 80 degrees in SOBE, people!) with a friendly competition between the 2014 Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and chefs (a likely pair, no?), who took part in the 2nd Annual Celebrity Chef Volleyball Tournament. Dominican beauty Cris Urena teamed up with chefs like Spike Mendelsohn, Chris Santos, Victor Albisu & more to raise money for the Armed Forces Foundation.

On the mainland, Real Housewives of Miami stars Alexia Echevarria and Marysol Patton were treated to a special pop up dinner by Buddha Bar, who set up shop at Miami's new hotspot Seasalt and Pepper. The Cuban Barbie doll was looking absolutely gorgeous in a black crop top and watercolor pleated skirt. Inside, guests dined on spicy tuna tacos, delicious sushi, Kobe sliders and more.

Later that night, the party continued at BBQ bash on the beach The Q and Flaunt, the continuation of the party poolside at the gorgeous Delano hotel. Guests sipped on the best champagne including Moët & Veuve Cliquot with cocktails by Belvedere Vodka & Hennessy, all with their each unique South Beach Miami (read: Latin) twist.

Late night, festival goers with stamina (and room in their stomach) finished the night off at Chef Jose Mendin's Pubbelly Late Night, where a red bell pepper cocktail (above left), cuban sandwiches, croquetas de jamon and mini bacon ice cream sundaes stole the show.

Check back tomorrow for more SOBEWFF coverage along with The Latin Kitchen - we'll be bringing you live updates online and on social media all weekend long!

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About this author1

Dan Koday, Executive Content Director

Dan Koday is a New York City based writer, editor and digital content expert. His work has been featured in SeventeenLatina, Logo’s NewNowNextCosmoGirl and The Latin Kitchen, amongst many other prestigious publications. Dan currently holds the title of Executive Content Director for Latina, responsible for overseeing its digital and print content strategies for Latina – the #1 entertainment, fashion, beauty & lifestyle brand for acculturated U.S. Hispanic women – and TheLatinKitchen.com – a recipe, entertaining & how-to site that celebrates Latin cuisine.

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