If the number of slain bottles and shimmying hips was any indication, there were more than a few rough wake-up calls this morning for the 1,500 or so attendees at Thursday night's fifth annual New Times Pairings. The event, held on three levels at the Broward County Convention Center, boasted more than 40 restaurants and food vendors and as many wine and beer pairings. Plus liquor samplings, live music, and giveaways.
It was a lot of eating and drinking, but the five Pairings judges managed to get it done. Those sampling the cuisine in an official capacity were: Laine Doss (New Times food writer), Zach Fagenson (a New Times restaurant critic), Christine Najac (author of the Food Lovers' Guide to Miami & Fort Lauderdale and editor of southfloridafoodandwine.com), Renée Quinn (chair of JA World Uncorked wine and food event), and James Carras (Himmarshee Village Association, head of the Greek Festival in Fort Lauderdale, and longtime judge at New Times Beerfest). Find their official picks after the jump.
Best Sweets: The Gelato Shoppe Petrini took the most votes, as judges dug the assortment of flavors the Boca-based sweets shop brought to the event and the pairing with NV Caposaldo Sweet Moscato. Other sweet treats that had attendees buzzing (and are worth a mention) were the beer truffles from Lush Confections which were matched with an assortment of brews from Florida Beer Co.
Most unique bite: YOLO and its Mediterranean-inspired octopus carpaccio was matched with the Seeker Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand 2011. One judge noted this was an "excellent pairing" for the dish, which incorporated paper-thin slices of octopus with a farro grape tomato and feta salad.
Most decadent: New to Pairings, but ready for the show was Rebel House, which earned kudos for its indulgent crispy lamb belly with green mango "kimchee," spicy peanuts, and rebel hoisin. The dish was paired with a Pali Wine Co. 2009 Riviera Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast.
Best Overall: The Grill on the Alley scored big with braised short ribs served atop horseradish mashed potatoes and paired with Messenger Red Wine #1.
Other notable dishes that drew rave reviews came from El Jefe Luchador (tacos de barbacoa with smoked mushrooms, pickled onion and corn salsa fresca and truffle crema), Lauderdale Grill (ahi tuna nachos), Old Heidelberg Deli (an assortment of grilled sausage and canapes), Sea Level (spicy tomato gazpacho), and Steak 954 (cucumber gazpacho).
What was your favorite dish of the night? How 'bout the best libation? Let us know in the comments, and find a few more fun images from the event, after the jump.
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