On Friday, May 2 the 19th annual Las Olas Wine and Food Festival kicked off, where hundreds of people enjoyed food and drink samplings from some of South Florida's top restaurants. More than 40 tables of wine, beer, food -- and more -- were available.
Clean Plate Charlie was on hand to capture some of the best displays of the evening, which included special dishes by Fort Lauderdale chefs and offerings from some of the most celebrated wine makers in the world.
Keep reading for a look at restaurant exhibit tables including 3030 Ocean, Angus Steak House, American Social, Canale Restaurant and Bar, Dos Caminos, Giraffas and Big City Tavern.
After more than a decade, it can be hard to keep an event fresh and new -- especially in an area already saturated with non-stop activities, festivals, celebrations and more. This year, new presenting sponsor brands, including William Hill Estate Winery, helped make a lasting impression, while LaMarca Prosecco hosted an elite lounge for the first time. There was even a special early-era shave and style lounge presented by New Amsterdam Vodka, who offered hot shaves on the street all night long.
Giraffas, a Brazilian steakhouse, will be opening its third Broward County location at 420 N. Federal Hwy. in Fort Lauderdale. For the festival they served a shrimp stroganoff from the "Brazilian kitchen" portion of the menu, where European and Brazilian cooking techniques fuse to offer an exotic twist. Giraffas is probably best known for its picanha (a popular cut of beef in Brazil) burgers, a five-step ordering process that allows you to customize everything from the cooking temperature to toppings like mixed greens, egg, gouda cheese and a house special garlic mayo.
Big City Tavern, located off Las Olas, took center stage to show everyone their pastas are fresh and always homemade. That includes everything from the bucatini served with jumbo shrimp, bacon, mustard greens and fresno peppers in a pomodoro sauce, to the orecchiette with Italian sausage, rapini, tomato and mint in a garlic white wine sauce.
The Ritz offered up a taste of its Via Luna restaurant, which translates to moon path in Italian. The restaurant is presented as an elegant Italian Grill off Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard where you can enjoy sweeping ocean views. The menu highlights both meat and seafood, from a slow braised veal osso buco and saffron risotto, to a fresh seafood cioppino.
Myapapaya Juicery and Kitchen was on hand to share a taste of its all-organic, made-from-scratch whole grain bowl. A raw food meal, it is a healthy combination of brown rice, red and white quinoa, avocado, carrots, peppers, red cabbage, scallion, tomato, Atlantic dulse, sea sale and coconut oil. Feeling healthy? They also offer a number of fresh pressed juices, cleanses, artisan sandwiches, superfood smoothies, vegan soups and easy grab-and-go snacks.
The Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille took a menu favorite out for a taste test at the festival. Chefs offered a taste of the cornmeal fried oysters off the starter menu, served with a chipotle remoulade, fresh cilantro and pickled peppers.
The Riverside Hotel's restaurant, Indigo, took the opportunity to serve its citrus poached shrimp with pickled green tomatoes and a chipotle tartar sauce. A neighborhood staple of Las Olas, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu fuses flavors from classic cuisine and more exotic dishes for a one-of-a-kind experience.
A chef outside American Social displays rice cakes under a heat lamp for tasters to sample as they pass by.
The Royal Pig Pub and Kitchen served up a hefty helping of their New Orleans BBQ shrimp, made with an Abita beer braise, homemade andouille sausage, sweet potato grits and served with a crunchy French dipping bread.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.
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