Scenes from Las Olas Wine & Food Festival _ tuna

Scenes from Las Olas Wine & Food Festival

Eat. Drink, Charity.  The 22nd annual American Lung Association Las Olas Wine & Food Festival hosted a hungry crowd of more than 2,000 on Friday, April 21, and there was not an empty belly in the house.

Stretching east and west over five city blocks in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, 60 local restaurants served signature dishes, while 45 wine, beer and vodka vendors provided libations to keep the party going. 

And it was a party! 

New Amsterdam’s “Rhythm & Vine”, a roof-top bar themed soiree, offered a signature cucumber cocktail that kept the crowd cool.  Guests danced over to the Celebrity Cruise’s sponsored silent disco before refueling with the area’s finest in fresh steaks, seafood, and creative dishes.

Scenes from Las Olas Wine & Food Festival / contributed

Scenes from Las Olas Wine & Food Festival / contributed

The food.  The FOOD!  Indigo Restaurant’s “The Little Piggy” featured a 5-hour braised pulled pork served on a Hawaiian roll, topped with a black bean spread and an avocado, sweet plantain and cilantro salsa.  Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille had local foodies swooning over their ahi tuna and shiitake poke with ginger soy and sriracha aioli served over a fried sticky rice cake.  One of the most innovative dishes came from Roho Kitchen: perfectly seasoned, tender pork belly with sweet potato waffles and a bacon maple syrup.

The crowd rolled themselves over to the main stage for the Best of the Best Chef Competitions.  Chef Gavin Pera of Burlock Coast took home the Battle of the Beach: Seafood Style with his oxtail ravioli and scallop dish.  When it came to burgers, Chef Ryan Martin of 180 Degrees was the Miami Burger Champion, and Chef Carlos Nevarez from B Square Burgers and Booze beat four other acclaimed chefs to bring the Overall Best Burger title back to Las Olas!

Chef Winners at Las Olas Wine & Food Festival / contributed

Chef Dustin Ward of BLT Prime (l) and Chef Ryan Martin of 180 degrees at the DRB(r) at Las Olas Wine & Food Festival / contributed

Each guest partied with a purpose.  All ticket proceeds benefited the South Florida American Lung Association’s mission to fight lung disease.  With just over 2,500 tickets sold, the 22nd Las Olas Wine & Food Festival was hands-down one of the most successful – and most delicious – fundraiser the organization has hosted to date.

Missed out on this year’s festival?  No need to cry in your Krispy Kreme.  Tickets for the 23rd Annual Las Olas Wine & Food Festival will be on sale within the next couple of months.  Can’t wait for the fun?  Make reservations at the participating restaurants and get your foodie on!

By: Kate Jaramillo