With Thanksgiving only a week away, those of us who aren't dining in a restaurant for the gut-busting holiday may be busy planning elaborate menus or stocking up on cans of green beans and pumpkin puree (not to mention, box upon box of wine).
Regardless of your responsibilities to get your plans on track for a day of feasting -- followed by a few hours of "resting" on the couch like a sack of mashed potatoes -- you probably have a few hours to break out of the house, or away from Publix, to do something fun this weekend.
In the efforts to help you prepare your appetite for the coming food decathlon, here are a few food and drink events this weekend in Broward and Palm Beach Counties:
Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop -- Don't worry about getting safely from Point A to Point B (and Points C, D, and E). The Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop magically transports you between ten bars in Fort Lauderdale, with your fare treating you to one free drink at each participating bar. The bus, or, more accurately, trolleys, run from 6 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 954-697-0115 for details.
New Times Link Up -- Meet your fellow food blog diehards at this monthly "thank you" to Clean Plate Charlie fans and social media sharers. The party is 6 to 8 p.m. at Da Big Kahuna, 17 S. Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Free snacks, Pinnacle vodka drinks, and cotton candy shots provided. RSVP to skip the line.
Tequesta Fest kick-off party -- More than ten food trucks will be on hand at the kick-off party for Tequesta Fest from 6 to 10 p.m. at Paradise Park. Admission is $5. Beer and bands will be part of the evening.
2011 Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine, and Tailgate Festival -- The testosterone-friendly food event is 5 to 11 p.m. at Pompano Beach Amphitheatre. Admission is $75
The Festival of Chocolate -- Bask in the glory of the good stuff with everything from chocolate sculptures to demos, and hands-on activities. The festivities are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Palm Beach County Convention Center and admission is $8 to $12.
Food trucks at Tequesta Fest -- Tequesta Fest from 1 to 7 p.m. at Paradise Park will include carnie rides and more than ten food trucks, in addition to other family-friendly activities. Admission is free to $10.
The Burgies 2011 -- Burgers are on the brain, it seems. Clean Plate Charlie recently contributed its take on South Florida's best burgers, and the Burgies this weekend will recognize some of the finest hamburgers in the land. Burgies will be handed out in more than 20 categories, including Best Food Truck Burger and Best Burger of the year. You'll be able to buy burgers from various South Florida purveyors, or choose from a variety of cuisine options from more than 40 food trucks. The event is 5 to 10 p.m., with awards being handed out at 8 p.m. at Magic City Casino, 450 NW 37th Ave., Miami. Admission and parking are free, but, of course, bring cash for the grub.
The Festival of Chocolate -- The second day of the Festival of Chocolate runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Admission is $8 to $12 and chocolate treats are $1 to $5.
"Paul & Young Ron Show" Tailgate Party -- As part of Paul and Young Ron's 17th Annual Holiday Food Drive, the guys will be at the Dolphin Stadium for a live radio broadcast, a tailgate party ($5 per person) with food from local restaurants, and collecting non-perishable food items. The action takes places 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.