, 14th Annual Bern's Winefest
If you haven't bought a ticket to the 14th annual Bern's Winefest this weekend, you may be out of luck. Only a few tickets remained at press time ($115) and may be gone by now.
The four-day festival, Tampa's premier food and wine event, sold out quickly — Sunday's main gathering ($135) in 12 days, the VIP shindig beforehand ($250) in an hour, the 60-person Gala Winemaker Dinner at SideBern's Friday and Winemaker Dinner at Bern's Monday night each in a week ($300).
If you are going, organizers have added a couple of twists.
An iPhone and iPad app is available to guide you through the myriad temptations laid out in the two large tents on the grounds of SideBern's (2208 W Morrison Ave., (813) 258-2233). You can click on an interactive map to find out what's being served in one tent without leaving the other, or to see what all the fuss is about at that table across the way. Very handy (next year: BlackBerry and Android apps). There will also be old-school paper maps on hand.
Another new feature is an '80s-themed party Saturday night, with cocktails intended to evoke the decade of excess. Dean Hurst, noted cocktail maestro for SideBern's, is overseeing production of old faves like the Kamikaze and Sex on the Beach. The festival has included a "Saturday soiree'' for a few years, but never with a theme.
The Sunday "grand tasting'' will include, as always, some wine seminars, 1-ounce samplings from more than 200 wines (categorized by country of origin) and food prepared by chef Chad Johnson of SideBern's and chef Habteab Hamde of Bern's Steak House that complement each wine.
With so many wines, Bern's wine director Kevin Pelley (reluctantly) narrowed the list to five to look for: 2008 Carte Blanche Chardonnay (California), 2005 Penfolds Grange (Australia), 2007 Round Pond Cabernet Sauvignon (California), 2001 Bertani Amarone (Italy) and 2009 Melville Pinot Noir (California).
Tom Scherberger, Times staff writer
>> Ybor Tapas Trail
Eat your way along the Ybor Tapas Trail as part of the fifth annual Ybor Aficionado Days this weekend. Start at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Columbia Restaurant (right), 2117 E Seventh Ave., and head off to places like New World Brewery and the Bricks to sample classic Ybor cuisine. Seventeen stops in all. Then it's off to the After Party/Smoker at the Italian Club about 6:30 p.m. Since it's the 125th anniversary of the first cigars manufactured in Ybor City in 1886, expect some premium stogies, as well as rum, beer and wine samples, desserts and cafe con leche. Transportation provided.
On Sunday, jazz by the Les Sabler Trio sets the mood for the Ybor Jazz Brunch at 11:30 a.m. at the Columbia. There also will be a silent auction and Tapas Cooking Challenge judged by local celebrities.
Prices: Tapas Trail and After Party/Smoker are $35 in advance; $40 at the door. Jazz Brunch is $45. Both days in advance are $70. (813) 241-8838; www.ybor.org/
m Great American Pie Festival
Never-Ending Pie Buffet. Need we say more about the Great American Pie Festival? Well then, there are also pie baking and eating contests, chefs' demonstrations, Kids Creation Station where young bakers can create their own pies and PieCasso pie tin art. This annual celebration is the place for pie lovers to gather to taste the winners of Crisco's National Pie Championships, held Friday at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando. The festival starts at 11 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday at Lakeside Park, 631 Sycamore St., Celebration. Free admission, but the pie buffet is $10, $5 ages 65 and older and kids 6-12, and free for 5 and under. (407) 332-5212; www.piecouncil.org