October 15th not only marks the middle of October, but the beginning of the seven-month stretch otherwise known as stone crab season. Joe’s Stone Crab is open for business, premier restaurants all over town are serving up the delicious claws, and the weather is cooling. All is right in the Magic City.
Should you be looking to get your stone crab fix but haven’t managed to secure a table at Joe’s this weekend, skip the takeaway and opt for the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival instead, which comes just once a year — you’ve got 210 days to go Joe’s.
The brainchild of Tony Albelo, the second annual Coconut Grove Seafood Festival returns this year after an inaugural success to the charming and peacock paraded greens of Peacock Park.
Seafood fanatics will find a pretty generous spread of vendors, including Casablanca’s, Monty’s Raw Bar, Ralph Pagano’s Alba’s Seaside Italian and Naked Taco, with new additions being added every day. Choose from bushels of shrimp, oysters, crawfish, lobster, clams, Bahamian cracked conch, ceviche, paella and Jerk grilled fish as you listen to live music this upcoming Sunday, October 19th. A VIP
A Coconut Grove Wharf brings the spirit and air of San Francisco’s fisherman wharf’s to the neighborhood, fully outfitted with fishmongers who’ll guide you through the selection of fish available for purchase to take home. Don’t be taken aback if they happen to spring up a recipe on your as they wrap the fresh catch of the day — that’s their bread and butter.
You can also watch the pros cook up their seafood specialties on-site at the Milam Kitchen Lab, a welcome addition to this year’s festival. Chefs Oscar del Rivero from Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar, Igor Ferraro from La Bottega, Alex Lopez from Calamari and Michael Cerny from Truluck’s will take the stage and do what they do best.
Besides all the seafood and games, local exhibitors will proudly showcase art, jewelry and décor from the beginning of the festival at 11 a.m. till sundown when the festivities wrap up.
Tickets for the festival are $20 at the door ($15 online) with items inside based on consumption, unless you decide to go the VIP route, which gives festivalgoers access to the Rums of Puerto Rico Island experience for $65. Celebrating everything you love about the Caribbean island, the VIP experience means everything in the private lounge area is on the house. That includes a mojito bar, rum punch and coquito bar, an aged rum sipping bar fully equipped with cigar pairing and hand rolled stogies. As for the edibles, coconut rum paella, Puerto Rican frituras with rum infused sauces, lemon and coconut rum ceviche, and a rum cake station all await your close attention.