Food News

Taste Notes: Crabfest in Fort Lauderdale Among Leap Day Highlights

After a successful first year, the DownTowner's Crabfest returns this Saturday.
After a successful first year, the DownTowner's Crabfest returns this Saturday. Photo courtesy of the DownTowner
Leap Day happens every four years. Plus, the DownTowner’s Crabfest happens once a year.

So, that makes this Saturday, February 29, where both of these occasions are happening, that much more special.

After a successful launch in 2019, Fort Lauderdale waterfront institution The DownTowner is bringing its Crabfest back for another spin. Starting at 11 a.m. and wrapping at 11 p.m.-ish, its stretch on the New River will be morphed into a lively street festival affair.

Roger Craft, of the Sunchase Group, which owns the DownTowner, said last year's inaugural Crabfest was a "huge success" and he's anticipating another big crowd this weekend.

At the core of the fest will be fresh Florida stone crabs for purchase in various forms, including crab cakes, crab bisque, crab rangoon, and crab ceviche. On the entertainment front, the DownTowner AllStar Band will perform at 2 p.m. and the World-Famous Kat Riggins Band will rock the stage at 6 p.m.

And now on to more news and notes from South Florida’s culinary scene.

click to enlarge If your birthday falls on Leap Day, Suviche is offering $50 in free grub. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SUVICHE
If your birthday falls on Leap Day, Suviche is offering $50 in free grub.
Photo courtesy of Suviche

Leap in. Okay Leap Day babies, you’ve been waiting four years for your moment to shine. If your birthday happens to fall on this Saturday, you’re in for a major treat courtesy of Suviche. Bring in your ID to its Fort Lauderdale location on Leap Day and you get a free meal (up to a $50 maximum spend on its sushi-meets-Peruvian menu). If you happen to be down south (in Doral, South Beach, Brickell, or Wynwood), there are Suviche locations that will treat you there, too.

Press here. Press & Grind Café has opened its second Fort Lauderdale location. The independently owned juicery and coffee bar opened the weekend of February 15 at 1300 SE 17th St. and is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Among its favorites and features are Brazilian acai bowls, fresh-pressed juices, a hearty breakfast croissant, and colorful murals by artist Rigo Leon.

Think outside of the icebox. For our artsy friends out there, you have a chance to make your mark on one of the region’s most beloved culinary institutions. Miami Beach staple Icebox Café, renowned for its seasonal cuisine and expansive dessert shop, will open a new location in Hallandale Beach — though the opening date has not yet been announced. The restaurant is looking for an artist to paint three murals under the theme of People, Food, Plants and is accepting rough sketches via email — [email protected] — through February 28.

Tarpon anniversaries. Two big anniversaries will happen at Fort Lauderdale’s Tarpon River Brewing in March. First, on Sunday, March 15, the Flamingo Flea will celebrate its first year of hosting arts and crafts markets that regularly feature 40-plus vendors. For the Flamingo Flea event, the first 25 guests who show up wearing flamingo attire will receive a special gift. On Saturday, March 21, the brewery itself will host a backyard barbecue and eight live bands in celebration of its second anniversary.

click to enlarge In homage to Little Italy's Feast of San Gennaro in New York City, Gulfstream Park goes red, green, and white in March. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GULFSTREAM PARK
In homage to Little Italy's Feast of San Gennaro in New York City, Gulfstream Park goes red, green, and white in March.
Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Park

News and notes. On the mark-your-calendars front, the San Gennaro Feast takes over Gulfstream Park from March 19 through 22. The fest will feature more than 60 amusement rides, live music, and, yes, heaping platefuls of Italian food. ... Taylor Made Cafe is joining ReplayPolo to host brunch on Sunday, March 8 benefiting ReplayPolo's efforts to adopt and retrain retired polo ponies as  therapy animals, kid training horses, and to do other equine-related work. Brunch will feature an array of items, accompanied by Gracida wines and music by local favorite Tom Blake. The fundraiser runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., ahead of Sunday's Gold Cup tournament play at International Polo Club in Wellington. ... Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar will soon hold manager and chef interviews for its new Fort Lauderdale location, slated to open in Fall 2020. The hiring event will take place on Sunday, March 1 from 2 to 6 p.m. and Tuesday, March 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the restaurant location at 800 E. Las Olas Blvd.
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.