Welcome to the latest edition of Hot Plates, your monthly guide to food events and dining promotions around South Florida. October brings the start of Florida’s stone crab season (Oct. 15), which presages cooler temperatures, more traffic and bigger restaurant crowds as snowbirds return. With Halloween looming, pumpkin patches are sprouting and pumpkin spice flavors are everywhere, from lattes at Starbucks to cakes and rugelach at TooJay’s Deli. Scary times indeed.
Oct. 1: Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri, fresh from showcasing pastrami’d foie gras at the inaugural Actions for Change festival in Parkland, heads to Miami for a 7 p.m. collaborative dinner with Michael Schwartz at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, 130 NE 40th St., in Miami. Vetri will showcase items from his new cookbook, “Mastering Pizza.” Tickets cost $150 and include unlimited wine and beer.
Oct. 1-15: The first Seed Restaurant Week, actually a fortnight, will be held at more than two dozen plant-based restaurants and juice bars in South Florida. Multicourse lunches and dinners will be offered for $18 to $36.
Oct. 5: Brightline offers its second Tasting Train event, with a special journey to Miami Central Station featuring Antinori wines and food. Tickets cost $100 (no train ride), $150 or $200. The train departs West Palm Beach at 7 p.m. and Fort Lauderdale at 7:39 p.m.
Oct. 5-7: Oktoberfest celebrations continue with Oakland Park and Funky Buddha Brewery co-hosting their annual three-day bash, which includes the popular Dachshund Dash at 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission costs $5. Jaco Pastorius Park, 4000 N. Dixie Highway, Oakland Park.
Oct. 9: Metro Diner, a chain that started in Jacksonville, will open its third Broward location at 8390 Pines Blvd., in Pembroke Pines.
Oct. 15: Stone crab season begins, with the harvest of the sweet-meat crustacean running through May 15. Some fishmongers and restaurants get fresh claws delivered that day, but many offer frozen crabs until fresh shipments arrive the following day. It is best to ask (and wait for fresh).
Oct. 16-20: The South Beach Seafood Festival starts with a Oct. 16 dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab (sold out), continues with special and culminates with seafood offerings from over 20 restaurants noon-7 p.m. Oct. 20 on the beach. Tickets cost $45-$150.
Oct. 20: Smoke on the Water BBQ Feast and Competition takes place 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Esplanade Park, 400 SW Second St., in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free and open to all ages, and vendors will offer barbecue items starting at $5.
Oct. 20-21: The South Florida Seafood Festival takes place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Miami Marine Stadium, 3501 Rickenbacker Causeway, in Key Biscayne. Tickets cost $8-$22, with food and drinks additional.