South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s first foray into Broward County was with a single dinner in 2015. It was a hit, making clear the hunger for more festival events north of the main attraction.
Cue the Taste of Fort Lauderdale series, which will return for the second year with seven events Feb. 22-26. It stands to prove that when it comes to cuisine and cocktails, the city shines as a destination.
“Fort Lauderdale has come a long way in introducing great chefs and great restaurants,” says Larry Carrino, who does marketing for the series. “These are exceptional restaurants. You can bring any of them down south and they would thrive.”
The 16th annual festival, hosted by Food Network and Cooking Channel, will feature five nights and three days of nearly 100 foodie events between the two counties. The lineup includes intimate dinners, signature tastings, seminars and late-night parties. Tickets, benefiting the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, are available online at sobewff.org or by calling 877.762.3933. They’re all-inclusive, so all you need to bring is an appetite.
For those interested in the festival, but looking to stay closer to home, here’s the lowdown on the Broward-based events slated this month.
About: Kick off the Taste of Fort Lauderdale series with Anne Burrell, the spiky-haired host of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America.” More than 15 of Broward County’s best restaurants are coming together to serve up their most noteworthy bites.
When: Feb 22; 7 p.m.
Where: Bonnet House Museum & Gardens; 900 Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale
Dinner hosted by Marc Murphy, Raúl Esparza and Chris Miracolo
About: For this “dressy casual” event, S3 executive chef Chris Miracolo will collaborate on the menu with restaurateur, author and Food Network “Chopped” judge Marc Murphy. Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza (best recognized for his role on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), also will be a dinner guest.
When: Feb. 23; 7-10 p.m.
Where: “S3” Sun Surf & Sand Restaurant; 505 N. Fort Lauderdale Blvd.
From the Chef: “Given that S3 is known for its seafood, high-quality cuts of meat and sharable plates, guests can expect an eclectic mix of all. It’s going to be a fun and interactive night, with great food and a great vibe. We’re pumped about our third year hosting a SOBEWFF event in Broward, and promise it will not disappoint.”
Dinner hosted by Amanda Freitag and Angelo Elia
About: Guests can expect traditional Italian courses from chef Angelo Elia, owner of Casa D’Angelo, with a twist from chef Amanda Freitag, a “Chopped” judge with a passion for chocolate. Elia is known for creating an authentic-yet-modern Italian experience by reimagining the classic recipes that have been passed down to him throughout the years.
When: Feb. 23, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Casa D’Angelo Ristorante; 1201 N. Federal Highway
Point Royal Clambake hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian and Valerie Bertinelli
About: Restaurateur, Food Network Iron Chef and “Cooks vs. Cons” host Geoffrey Zakarian is introducing his new restaurant, a “seafood palace” named Point Royal at the Diplomat Resort & Spa, with a clambake. Valerie Bertinelli and Cooking Channel’s “Extra Virgin” Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos will also host the stationed seafood dinner party.
When: Feb. 24, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Diplomat Resort & Spa; 3555 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood
Drink Fort Lauderdale: Cocktail Time Machine Experience
About: This new event will have guests experiencing nightlife through the ages. The best mixologists and bartenders from the tri-county area whip up martinis, mai tais and other classic cocktails dating to the 1920s. Between drinks, enjoy late-night bites from a curated selection of food trucks and carts.
When: Feb. 24, 10 p.m.-midnight
Where: FATVillage; 521 N.W. First Ave., Fort Lauderdale
A North Carolina Sisterhood
About: A trio of renowned North Carolina chefs—Vivian Howard, Andrea Reusing and Ashley Christensen—will join chef de cuisine Gavin Pera and pastry chef Ryan Cross from Burlock Coast for an event that fuses culinary influences from the Tar Heel State with the flavors of South Florida.
When: Feb. 25, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Burlock Coast at The Ritz-Carlton; 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
From the Chef: “My parents live in Washington D.C., and when we take a trip to see them, we always plan on stopping for a meal in North Carolina. It doesn’t matter where you go—if you love southern food, especially barbecue—it’s the place to be. We are going to use Palmetto Creek pork for our dish. It’s Florida’s premier pork ranch, and you just can’t find better quality. … We try to keep it simple and let the pork shine.”
Bloody Mary Brunch
About: On Oscars Sunday, Broadway star and trained chef David Burtka and Emmy Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris headline a boozy brunch by the beach.
When: Feb. 26, noon-2 p.m.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton