The Clean Plate Charlie team and plenty of South Florida food devotees will spend tonight sipping, sharing, comparing notes, and possibly loosening waistbands at the 4th Annual New Times Pairings event from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
Time is limited to get advance tickets ($45 for general admission, or $80 for VIP) online, or you could try to secure a $55 ticket at the door. Chow down on offerings from 40 hot venues that are each perfectly matched to a complementing wine, cocktail or craft beer. Not surprisingly, this is a 21 years and older event.
If you've got room left on your social plate this week, there are lots of food and drink events taking place throughout Broward and Palm Beach Counties (plus one Miami event that made the cut, just cause there's not a lot out there like it). Read on to see what trouble you can get up to this weekend in South Florida:
Casino pub crawl -- Forget counting down the shopping days 'til Christmas; the drinkers out there want to know how many rotations on the Earth's axis remain until St. Patrick's Day arrives and all social niceties are forgiven for 24 hours. According to the folks who've planned the Irish-themed pub crawl at Seminole Casino of Hollywood, this is the halfway mark to St. Patrick's Day and thus, an appropriate cause to ramble from bar to bar in search of alcoholic levity. The crawl from 6 to 9 p.m. is $20 at the door ($15 if you pay online before 2 p.m. Friday) with proceeds benefiting the efforts of Young Professionals for Covenant House. The entry fee will get you one free drink at each participating bar or restaurant and free entry to the after party at Pangaea.
Florida Marine Flea Market and Seafood Fest -- This three-day nautical enthusiast's dream event isn't just about trading in gently used boats and fishing rods - there's also plenty of fresh sea-dwelling eats to be found as well. With vendor guidelines that expressly prohibit standard carnival fare like chicken tenders and snow cones, the seafood festival is designed to actually push seafood above all else. The festival is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. Admission is $7 for adults, free to kids 12 and younger.
Beer Snob Bicycle Pub Crawl IV -- Before heading down to the Magic City to jump on board this urban bike phenomenon, take a moment to ascertain if any of your sober and responsible friends possess a bike rack on their vehicle. No? All the more reason to monitor your booze intake on this ride from 4 to 9 p.m., which takes riders on a eight (or so) mile tour of some of Miami's hippest bars in the following order; Zeke's Roadhouse, Burger & Beer Joint, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, Sparky's Roadhouse Barbecue and The Filling Station. You ride at your own risk in this 21 and older event, so consider a bike lock, lamp and helmet to be part of your gear for the evening. This is a crawl, not a critical mass, so traffic won't be blocked off.
Halfway to St. Paddy's Day -- Is severely limiting the number of days in which it is socially acceptable to guzzle crap beer dyed the color of AstroTurf simply unconscionable? Perhaps that is why bars have taken to celebrating the halfway mark to America's favorite excuse to puke on your friend's shoes. Tim Finnegan's Irish Pub in Delray Beach will mark the halfway point from noon 'til close with drink and food specials and live music and Irish dancing. But wait, you say, "There's a halfway to St. Patrick's Day event on Friday, too, so which is the actual halfway mark?" Who cares, really, when you can get a $4 Irish Kiss Martini or shot of Tullamore Dew all the same?
Gourmet Truck Expo in Boca Raton -- It's not often a food truck rally will make its way to little ol' Boca, so when one does appear, expect the crowds to follow. More than two dozen food trucks are expected to participate in the Gourmet Truck Expo gathering from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Boca Center, including DimSsam A Gogo, Latin Burger, Nacho Bizness and Ms Cheezious.
National Cheeseburger Day -- The explosion of the social buying movement only confirms what we already knew: people like to get food, drinks - and perhaps teeth whitening services - at 50% off the original price. You won't need a printer or a Smartphone to take advantage of Grease Burger Bar's dining deal when the West Palm Beach eatery sells burgers at half off on Sunday in celebration of National Cheeseburger Day.
IndoPak Fest -- Get your curry/samosa fix at this beachside cultural festival from noon to 8 p.m. on Fort Lauderdale Beach. In addition to Indian and Pakistani eats, the 7th annual IndoPak Fest also has music, dance, fashion and other cultural festival standards.
Hollywood Beach Latin Festival -- Head down the coast and you'll encounter another beachside cultural festival with lots of love for food, music and dance. The free, kid-friendly festival on Hollywood Beach is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with performances by popular Latin artists and kids activities.
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