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Miami This Week: Eating While Blindfolded and a Farewell Tour

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It's more than just stone crab at the South Beach Seafood Festival

Courtesy South Beach Seafood Festival

It's more than just stone crab at the South Beach Seafood Festival

Here are the five coolest things to do in and around Miami this week

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It’s going to be a celebrity-driven week in Miami. Two celebrity chefs are holding events over the weekend: local chef Adrianne Calvo hosts a Dining in the Dark fundraiser, while Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli opens her new restaurant, the Driftwood Room, at the Nautilus Hotel. Then the area’s most famous seafood, stone crab, takes center stage at the South Beach Seafood Festival. And as if that weren’t enough, the famed Buena Vista Social Club will be here on their farewell tour. If all the glitz is too much for you, take a break and head to Tampa for some surprisingly great craft beer. 

October 23| Fundraiser
Chef Adrianne Hosts Dining In The Dark Ball
Chef Adrianne Calvo is the hottest local chef you’ve never heard of. She trained under Thomas Keller, was the youngest chef to cook for the United Nations, and has published two cookbooks. But her restaurant’s location, in suburban West Kendall, has kept her under the radar for most diners. This week you can get to know her food and raise money for the Ronald McDonald House, an organization that provides housing to families of children receiving urgent medical care. Attendees to Dining in the Dark, a prohibition-themed fete at the Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables, can pick from two different experiences: a dance party with light bites and cocktails, and the main dining in the dark event, a multi-course meal eaten while blindfolded.
7 p.m | Westin Colonnade | 180 Aragon, Coral Gables | (786) 354-7679 | from $150 | website 

October 22 | Concert
Buena Vista Social Club Concert
Fresh off a performance last week at the White House (the first by a Cuban musical act in fifty years), the Buena Vista Social Club is coming to the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall on their farewell tour. The Cuban band, now formally called The Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, is disbanding after two decades of touring the world together, but before they do, they will take the stage and perform the music that brought Cuban big band to the American music scene.
8 p.m. | Knight Concert Hall | 1300 Biscayne Boulevard | Tickets start at $45 | website 

October 21 - 24 | Food Festival
South Beach Seafood Festival
It’s officially stone crab season. What better way to celebrate than with a whole weekend devoted to South Florida’s local seafood at the South Beach Seafood Festival? Come out and celebrate with thousands of other crab addicts who have been counting the months until October’s stone crab season. Live music, culinary demonstrations, and chef competitions will take over 7th and Ocean Drive for the weekend. Kick off the fest with a four course dinner at iconic seafood spot Joe’s Stone Crab.
Hours Vary | Entrance at 7th and Ocean Drive | from $35 | website

AFAR Local is published every Wednesday, so check back for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more. Planning a trip? The AFAR guide to Miami has you covered. 

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October 23 | Restaurant Opening
Driftwood Room by Alex Guarnaschelli
You’ve seen Alex Guarnaschelli on the Food Network, and now you can taste her Cobia Crudo with pickled peppers or Florida Head-On Shrimp for yourself at the Driftwood Room, one of her three new spots at Nautilus, a SIXTY hotel. The restaurant will fuse Guarnaschelli’s interest in the cuisine of Southern France with a high-end Miami spin. The hotel, designed by Morris Lapidus and originally opened in the 1950s in the heart of the Art Deco district, has been restored to feel like a luxury beach house (albeit an enormous one with 250 rooms). Before dinner try the Dark and Stormy Slush, which is also available to hotel guests at the poolside cabanas.
Driftwood Room 1825 Collins Avenue | (305) 503-5700 | website 

Weekend Escape
Tampa may not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re imagining yourself drinking a beer this weekend, but it should be. Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing is regarded as the best craft brewery in Florida. You’d be hard pressed to find a beer snob to argue with that. The trip to the Cigar City tasting room and tour is worth the four hour drive or quick flight all on its own (just $129 on American Airlines if you book quickly). The brewery serves dozens of beers in-house that never make it outside their bar, and you can even take home limited-run beers. 

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While you’re there, eat at the iconic Bern’s Steakhouse and visit the restaurant’s storied wine cellar, which holds more than half a million bottles of wine. Make sure to make a reservation, and don’t skip the palatial dessert room, which has 48 individually enclosed booths for listening to music while you eat. Pick up the phone in your booth to request a song from the live pianist. The next morning, head over to the Oxford Exchange, a restored stable that now houses a restaurant, coffee shop, boutique, tea company, bookstore, and more.

Patricia Guarch Wise is a Miami native and the blogger behind Miami Nice. Her interests include paella, paranormal activity, Proenza Schouler, and her Pekingese named Bonnaroo.

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