Eat It Up: The Most Notable South Florida Food Festivals of 2014
Mark your calendars for the most notable food fests in Broward and Palm Beach.
New Times Pairings: More food and wine than you can shake a tiny fork at.
There's a reason most of us chose the more laid-back and casual lifestyle of Broward and Palm Beach; our festivals are representative of our fun-loving yet easygoing scene. From informal parties like Beerfest and the Garlic Festival to fashionable fetes like New Times' Pairings or the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival, we have plenty of world-class culinary celebrations in our own backyard.
Here's the scoop on our favorite food- and drink-centered activities.
17th-Annual New Times' "Original" Beerfest, April 5
For 17 long years, New Times has been throwing one of the biggest bashes in South Florida with its annual Beerfest. (Yes, we loved craft beer before craft beer was cool!) This year, the party is heading to America's Backyard (100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale). The event includes unlimited samples of more than 100 beers, food, and a live music lineup that's bonkers: Internationally acclaimed reggae band SOJA (Soldiers of Jah Army) is performing on Revolution Live's outdoor stage, with L.A. hip-hopper Murs opening. VIP tickets include entry one hour early (3 to 4 p.m.) and access to the speakeasy-style lounge inside Stache, filled with unlimited liquor and food samples, beer-snob-approved craft brews, comfortable seating, and giveaways. General admission begins at 4, and the event lasts until 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 (VIP, $75); those prices jump to $55 and $90 respectively at the door. Visit newtimesbeerfest.com.
Las Olas Wine and Food Festival, May 2
Taking over idyllic Las Olas Boulevard, this event brings together the area's best chefs and restaurants for a night of indulgence on the famed Fort Lauderdale street. Gaggles of gourmands descend upon the road to drink wine, sip cocktails, and sample delicacies from more than 70 local eateries from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The VIP Prive party takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $100, $225 for VIP. Sponsored by Premier Beverage and the American Lung Association in Florida, proceeds benefit the ALA. Visit lasolaswff.com.
Boca Burger Battle, July 12
Summertime is all about grilling -- and good ol' American competition. Watch 20 local chefs battle it out for the titles of Best Burger and Best Alternative Burger at this Boca Raton festival. Celebrity judges (past years have included chef Dean Max and Sef "Burger Beast" Gonzalez) and 2,000 members of the public will pick their favorites from the contestants. Taking place at Sanborn Square (72 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton), it includes live music and unlimited food and booze. Tickets cost $55 per person; VIP tix, which include lounge access and early admission, cost $85. Visit bocaburgerbattle.com.
New Times' Pairings, September 18
After being held for two years at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center while the swanky Broward Center for the Performing Arts underwent improvements, this über-chic New Times event is moving back to its original -- and very refined -- turf. More than 40 of South Florida's best restaurants serve delectable dishes with expertly paired wines, craft beers, and cocktails. The seventh-annual event is expected to draw 1,500 local food and drink connoisseurs -- so this is the perfect opportunity to mix and mingle with like-minded sophisticates such as yourself. This year features a new VIP area on the club level of the center and cooking demos by local chefs. Prices and times TBD. Visit NewTimesPairings.com.