Last night, the eighth-annual Pairings took over the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) from 7 to 10 p.m. with more food, drink, and fun than ever before. As the name implies, Pairings was all about the perfect pour to go with the perfect bite. Andrew Lampasone of boutique wine shop Wine Watch was tasked with curating the perfect selection of beer, wine, and cocktails to go with every single dish at the event. With more than 40 restaurants participating, it was a richly rewarding experience.
Some of our favorite local eateries — as well as some newcomers we're looking forward to trying — were on hand offering signature dishes. Those restaurants include Adena Grill, Cafe Maxx, Crepe Maker, El Agave Taco Bar, El Jefe Luchador, Fork & Balls, French Quarter, Green Spot Kitchen, Hardy Park Bistro, Market 17, S3, Steak 954, SuViche, and YOLO.
The event also featured live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and appearances by top chefs from Broward and Palm Beach counties, making it an event not to be missed. Best of all, a portion of ticket purchases benefits Voices for Children of Broward, the New Times' official charity partner of Pairings 2015.
If you weren't able to attend South Florida's favorite foodie event at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts last night, we've got some highlights from the evening right here.
An early glimpse of the menu had us excited to try a number of selections from The Restaurant People's family of restaurants, including S3 and YOLO. Our favorite came from Boatyard, the group's latest waterfront dinging concept set to open next month. The dish of the evening: yellowfin tuna tacos with a mango jicama relish and a drizzling of wasabi cream and sweet chili sauces.
El Agave Azul creators opted to highlight their latest concept, El Agave Taco Bar, located at 2306 East Oakland Park Boulevard. Not yet open, it's billed as a modern, Northern-style Mexican taqueria that promises to take you on a flavor trip directly to Monterrey. Follow them on Facebook, and sign-up online at Agave-TacoBar.com to receive a special invite to the restaurant's VIP hour during its upcoming grand opening event.
Stache 1920's Drinking Den in Fort Lauderdale presented a pop-up bar in the VIP lounge where a team of mixologists prepared a number of craft libations including the night's favorite, pictured here. The drink of choice: a blackberry sage Tom Collins, a mix of fresh muddled fruit, gin, lemon juice, sugar, and topped off with a splash of carbonated water.
Although there we so many succulent samples to choose from, the slow-roasted prime rib steak from Adena Grill & Wine Bar was a favorite this year. The mini-sandwiches were made with 100 percent grass-fed/grass-finished beef, and topped with a fresh truffle aioli and frisee salad, and stuffed between the restaurant's own homemade soft rolls.
Last night offered event-goers a rare treat: a taste of the "original" rose wine direct from Saint Tropez, France, now exclusively available stateside in South Florida for the first time in over six decades. Known as Maison Angelvin, the wine has been family-produced in a quaint village nestled against the azure blue of the Mediterranean Sea, an area renown for its sun-drenched beaches and temperate climate. In this paradise, the Angelvin family has been harvesting some of the varietal's finest grapes for decades. These treasured grapes produce a uniquely pale and delicate rosé wine, specific to Provence, and the only type made according to the Angelvin method. These special wines were not available in the US (until now), with sales launching several weeks ago in Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach counties where they can be purchased at select local retailers including Wine Watch in Fort Lauderdale; Wine Wave in Delray Beach; A1A Fine Wine & Spirits in West Palm Beach; and Hamptons in Palm Beach.
For even more photos from last's night's event, check out our slide show of New Times' Eighth Annual Pairings.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.