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December dining: Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival, Miami brushes up for Art Basel

Welcome to the latest edition of Hot Plates, your monthly guide to food events and dining promotions around South Florida. The Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival returns for its 12th year Dec. 13-16. Hanukkah began at sundown Sunday, and the eight-day Jewish festival of lights runs through Dec. 10. Check back later this month for a roundup of my restaurant picks for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Try not to overindulge.

Dec. 3-10: Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant in Boca Raton, 9942 Clint Moore Road, is getting into the Hanukkah spirit by offering a dozen free potato pancakes to those who buy three dozen for parties or family gatherings. The “lotsa latkes” deal includes apple sauce and flavor options of plain, sweet potato, zucchini and spinach. Ben’s also offers a Hanukkah catering package for six people ($139) that includes matzo ball soup, salads or cole slaw, brisket or chicken, mini latkes and dessert. Call 561-470-9963 for information.

Dec. 3-8: Art mania descends upon Miami-Dade with Art Basel and Miami Art Week, and many restaurants are embracing the creative vibe. At Cantina La Veinte in Miami, 465 Brickell Ave., a special collaborative menu featuring artistic culinary creations from five Miami chefs will be offered at dinner for six nights. Among the dishes: a Florida Tripletail Art Attack with turnip-beet puree ($32) from host chef Santiago Gomez; grilled octopus and prawns ($28) from chef Carlos Garcia of Obra Kitchen Table; and lobster salad with avocado, egg, trout roe and pesto ($26) from chef Deme Lomas of Niu Kitchen and Arson. Call 786-623-6135 for reservations.

Dec. 4: The Cook and the Cork restaurant in Coral Springs, 9890 W. Sample Road, hosts a Chilean wine dinner 7-9:30 p.m., with former NFL player Mathias Kiwanuka, co-founder of Wandering Wines. The cost is $107 and includes a five-course dinner with wine pairings. Call 954-227-2665 for reservations.

Dec. 4-8: Chef Norman Van Aken’s Three restaurant in Wynwood, 50 NW 24th St., Miami, will offer a special, nine-course Art Basel tasting menu for $95 (plus tax, tip and drinks). It is limited to those sitting at the kitchen counter, and will give diners a chance to dishes prepared and interact with chef de cuisine Juan Garrido and Van Aken. The journey will include a hamachi tartlet, plantain blini with caviar, smoked beets, truffle-glazed grouper and roasted foie gras with vanilla and black garlic. Call 305-748-4540 for reservations.

Dec. 5: Gatsby’s Joint, a speakeasy-style bar and restaurant, 2460 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, marks Repeal Day, the anniversary of the end of Prohibition, with a new happy hour menu and live music. From 5 to 7 p.m., wines by the glass and beer will be offered at $3.50, house drinks at $4 and signature cocktails at $7. Bar bites will be offered at $6 to $8, including meatballs with ricotta, margherita flatbread and spinach-and-hummus dip.

Dec. 6: Chef Ralph Pagano’s Naked Taco restaurant, 1111 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, will host a Food Porn Art Exhibit 7-11:30 featuring provocative shots of humans and food from three photographers. Pagano, acclaimed pastry chef Max Santiago and James Beard Award-nominated chef Brad Kilgore created the food items featured in the exhibition. Details at Eventbrite.com or call 305-534-8455.

Dec. 9: Art Basel week will close in raucous style at Kiki on the River’s Sunday Funday. Starting at 1 p.m., Kiki on the River, a Greek-Mediterranean restaurant at 450 NW North River Drive in Miami, will celebrate The Art Plug Power House with artists including RhymelikeDimez, CB Hoyo and Ketnipz. Their art will be featured in the restaurant and on Van Dutch Yachts’ custom-wrapped boats docked on the Miami River. Call 786-502-3243 for information.

Dec. 13: NYY Steak at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5550 NW 40th St., will host an Orin Swift Cellars wine dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Cocktails will be followed by a five-course meal paired with Orin Swift wines. Stan Gross of E&J Gallo Wine will be on hand to discuss the wines. Dinner courses will include pepper-seared sea scallops, cranberry pecan-stuffed Berkshire pork tenderloin, cacao-charred venison loin; and vanilla sea salt-crusted A5 Japanese Wagyu strip. The cost is $200 (plus tax and tip). Call 954-585-5379 for reservations.

Dec. 13-16: The Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival keeps growing, with a high-powered roster of acclaimed chefs and TV personalities (Daniel Boulud, Robert Irvine, Duff Goldman, Nancy Silverton, Marc Murphy, Michelle Bernstein) and multiple events spread over four nights around Palm Beach County. Most are already sold out, but $185 tickets remain for two opening-night (Dec. 13) events, a Caribbean-themed dinner at Avocado Grill in Palm Beach Gardens, and an Italian “gravy” dinner at Cafe Sapori in West Palm Beach. Tickets ($85) also remain for the Grand Tasting on Sunday, Dec. 16. The 2-6 p.m. event takes place at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., and features bites and sips from scores of restaurants and wineries.

Dec. 15: Holiday boat parades abound throughout South Florida this month, but the biggest of all is the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, which runs from Port Everglades northward on the Intracoastal to Pompano Beach starting at 6:30 p.m. Waterfront restaurants along the route will be mobbed and will require reservations, some with hefty minimums. Bokamper’s, 3115 NE 32nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, will offer VIP seating and a four-course dinner starting at $99, plus tax, tip and drinks. Call 954-900-5584 for reservations. Traffic will be brutal, with drawbridges locked. Plan accordingly.

Sometime before Dec. 25: Pitbull’s new Miami Beach restaurant, iLov305, is scheduled to open in the days before Christmas. The restaurant, at 1060 Ocean Drive, will be a multi-level party. Dale!

mmayo@southflorida.com, 954-356-4508. Follow my food adventures on Instagram: @mikemayoeats. Sign up for my weekly dining newsletter at SouthFlorida.com/EatBeatMail. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/LetsEatSouthFlorida.

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