Your Year-Round Guide to South Florida's Best Food Events

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Photo by Georgia Handy
For more on South Florida's food scene, check out New Times' Taste guide, hitting newsstands Thursday, February 21.

Sure, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival might be lighting up Miami-Dade this month -- but when it comes to the tricounty area, Broward and Palm Beach have way more street cred when it comes to celebrating food and booze. From casual fun like Beerfest or BaconFest to swanky shindigs like New Times' Pairings or the Boca Food & Wine Fest, with all the action happening locally, our counties would totally win a culinary smackdown.

Here's the lowdown on some of our area's best annual food- and booze-focused festivities:

BaconFest, February 23
For fans of the crispy pork product, bacon might just be nature's perfect food. That's certainly the attitude driving the creators of BaconFest, the ultimate ode to Porky Pig and his brethren.

Attendees will get to nosh on bacon-related treats from 20 South Florida dining destinations, including Kapow! Noodle Bar, Sybarite Pig, the Melting Pot, and Ms. Cheezious food truck. Chef Todd Fischer from the Discovery Channel's United States of Bacon will be one of the judges for the chef throwdown, where contestants will compete for best-of in both sweet and savory categories.

And what's a baconfest without the most famous bacon of all? Kevin Bacon and brother Michael -- the Bacon Brothers -- will perform live, along with the Dan Band (from the movies Old School and The Hangover). Festivalgoers can also play carnival games, scope out a bike show featuring 50 "hogs," and ride a mechanical pig named Harley who hails from Georgia.

The fest runs 6 to 10 p.m. at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. The festival is now sold out, but a limited number of entertainment-only tickets will go on sale Friday, February 22 at 8 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com.

Beerfest, April 6
This New Times annual ode to brew brings 4,500 young professionals and devoted beer drinkers to downtown Fort Lauderdale to drink, eat, and be merry.

Now in its 16th year, Beerfest offers more than 100 of the world's best beers (including local craft brews) and a prime viewing area complete with Jumbotrons so attendees can catch the Final Four basketball action -- plus sweet live tunes too.

The VIP section -- for serious beer snobs -- will offer craft beers not available for GA, unlimited food samples from local eateries, liquor samples, and killer views of the stage. And drinking is that much more fun when a good cause is involved -- a portion of proceeds will benefit the Starlight Children's Foundation.

Beerfest runs from 6 to 11 p.m. at Huizenga Plaza, 32 E. Las Olas Blvd. General-admission tickets cost $30 prepaid online, $40 at the door; VIP tickets cost $65 prepaid online, $75 at the door. Visit facebook.com/pages/New-Times-Beerfest.

Las Olas Wine and Food Fest, April 19
Come April, Las Olas will be overrun with food, booze, and crowds jonesin' for both. The hungry hordes will descend on Fort Lauderdale's main drag to chow down on goodies from more than 70 of South Florida's top dining destinations. Alongside the eats, Premier Beverage Co. will serve Wine From Around the World at 45-plus tables. Visitors can score samples of the hottest new labels, varietals, and vino experiments.

New Times will administer the Clean Plate Charlie Awards -- named after our food blog, CleanPlateCharlie.com. Twelve judges, including our food critics and local chefs, will trot out their taste buds and dole out awards for culinary excellence, presentation, and popularity. All proceeds from the fest benefit the American Lung Association's local lung health programs -- so leave the cigs at home.

The event runs from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on April 19 along Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $100 for the festival, $275 for Prive. Visit lasolaswff.com.



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