FOTF visit the Top Chef Tour, Ft. Lauderdale

On Friday, June 3rd Foodies on the Fly headed down to Huizenga Park in Ft. Lauderdale to view Bravo’s  Top Chef Tour.  When we arrived we immediately spotted the Top Chef tent which housed two cooking stations, one round judges table and seating for lucky audience members.  We quickly placed our names on the list to ensure we would be comfortably seated inside the tent as opposed to standing outside in the sweltering heat.

The competing Top Chefs were Chef Tiffany Derry and Chef Kenny Gilbert, both of Season 7.  Hosted by Bravo, with judges Chef Carlos Fernandez, Top Chef Season 2, Lisa Scott Founds, Winterfest (The Greatest Show on H2O – World’s Most Watched Boat Parade in Ft. Lauderdale), and a producer from Top Chef.

The completion was done quickfire style where the contestants had 15 minutes to create a dish out of a limited supply of ingredients, while utilizing the main protein, chosen by Top Chef groupies online. South Florida chose wild salmon as the main component. The clock started ticking and the chef-testants got to work, while being peppered with questions from the audience. Surprisingly both competitors chose to do a variation of curry. Tiffany chose to pan sear her salmon with curry and ginger and paired with fresh corn succotash. Kenny opted to serve his poke style with curry and quinoa on an endive. Typically while the judges taste test – we’re sitting at home salivating, well not today!

Chef Tiffany Derry's pan seared salmon

Chef Kenny Gilbert's poke style salmon

The audience wasn’t forgotten and we received samples of each too! Tiffany’s preparation was perfectly spiced and was beautifully complimented by the succotash. The crisp summer flavor of sweet corn was perfect on such a scorching day. Kenny’s salmon was accented with jalapenos, quinoa, and curry on an endive leaf.  A portable bite, full of color and maybe a bit too much heat for the afternoon sun, Kenny was edged out by Tiffany for the win. It was a close call, but the FOTF girls would have to agree.

After the event the guests were able to get signed photos of the chef-testants and play an array of games including a hole in one and an aroma challenge.

Check back here to see when they will be in your city.


The Education Fund’s 25th Anniversary Celebration and Charity Auction: The Art of Found Objects

Last Friday Foodies On The Fly attended The Education Fund’s 25th Anniversary Celebration and Charity Auction: The Art of Found Objects at the beautiful Moore Building in the Miami Design District.

The Education Fund’s mission is to design and implement initiatives to improve our schools and bring excellence to public education in Miami-Dade. They operate up to a dozen initiatives at any given time to increase student achievement and have raised over $38 million for public schools. These funds have benefitted over 390 schools, 22,000 teachers, and 340,000 students in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Many of the pieces up for bid at The Art of Found Objects Charity Art Auction were made from materials found in The Education Fund’s Ocean Bank Center for Educational Materials. This warehouse and distribution program collects surplus inventory and supplies from local businesses and makes them available gratis to the teachers and students of Miami-Dade Public Schools. Each item is one-of-a-kind, created and donated by the teachers, students and professional artists in the community. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the student and teacher pieces directly benefit the visual arts programs in our public schools.

There were almost 400 silent auction items, including found art pieces (check out our favorites here) and luxury items such as hotel getaways, restaurant gift certificates, massages, memberships and more. The first and second floor of the Moore building was filled with over 500 revelers who bid up until the last second to win these coveted items. There was a little over 2 hours to compete for items on the second floor and an hour and a half for the bottom floor. In the name of charity some items outbid the valued price while others, who didn’t wish to wait, simply committed to “OWN IT” for a fixed price. (Note: The Foodies on the Fly girls placed our bids on two beautiful pieces by Hiroshima Soto, a Teacher at Edison Park Elementary, but were outbid.) The auction turned out to be a big success and a Golin Harris representative confirmed that the event raised over $100,000. 

The evening also honored The Education Fund’s Public School Alumni Achievement Awards to 25 community leaders who graduated from Miami-Dade public schools, including the President & CEO if The Children’s Trust, Modesto Abety, Santana Moss, Washington Redskins All-Pro Wide Receiver, and Congresswomen, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Frederica Wilson of the United States House of Representatives, among others.

It wouldn’t be a Foodies on the Fly review without a nod to the food at the event, which was outstanding.  As we reported back in April, the menu presented at the Art of Found Objects event was a collaboration between the Robert Morgan Educational Center’s culinary arts students, helmed by Chef Paul Galadza and a handful of Miami’s own top chefs including: Chef Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s, Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, and Cindy Hutson of Ortanique on the Mile. Each of the famed chefs spent a day with the students at the Robert Morgan Educational Center and taught them a few of their recipes which were then beautifully translated at the event by the talented culinary arts students. Whole Foods generously sponsored all the edible delights and serving items needed to ensure that the event was only prepared with the finest quality ingredients. The epicurean feast included: Island Curried Crab Cakes, (spicy, bold, and very tasty)  Shrimp Tiradita (perfectly cooked with a creamy garlic infused sauce- recipe by Chef Bernstein here), Bacon Wrapped Dates with Gorgonzola (crispy bacon, paired with savory cheese and a sweet chewy date- these were our favorite!), St. Louis Style BBQ Ribs (sauced and smoked to perfection) and more (over 20 options in total) in addition to petit fours and cake pops at the end. If the evening was any indication these students are going to have a bright future in the culinary world. Who knows what Miami hotspots they might be opening up in their future?

The event was a resounding success, filled with upbeat music, good food and beverages (provided by Bacardi & Schnebly Redland’s Winery), and aisles and aisles of unique pieces of art, perfect for your home or office. We will be sure to mark our calendars for next year, and sharpen our bidding pencils.

Nibble and Sip: A Wine and Cupcake Pairing

If you can eat it, you can pair it with wine, and Thursday night was no exception!

On May, 19th, The Grateful Palate in Ft. Lauderdale held a Cupcake and Wine pairing with the amazingly talented Spiked Bakeshop, a new alcohol infused cupcake shop owned by the creative husband and wife team, Matthew and Heidi Depante.

From 6pm on, wine enthusiasts and cupcake connoisseurs were invited to sip a carefully selected vino and nibble on delectable cupcakes while mingling at the bar, chatting with friends, and lounging on the plush chairs and love seats around the restaurant. As an additional benefit of the evening, a small discount was provided on all main entrées after guests completed the pairing event.

The night was a huge success and the laid back setting made everything very relaxed and enjoyable. We were pleased to attend and cannot wait to see what they pair next.  Cheers!

What we sampled:

Strawberry and Champagne with Casa Ibidini, Insolia Sicily
The wine pairing started with a glass of Casa Ibidini, Insolua Sicily and a mini Strawberry and Champagne cupcake. This pretty pink cupcake had a sweet smell of strawberries and a light airy texture. The champagne and vanilla flavors intermingled brilliantly and the frosting was neither overpowering or too sweet. Paired with a sweet white wine with lemon zest and apricot undertones this combination rated high on our on list of favorites.

Strawberry and Champagne + Cappuccino Shooter

Cappuccino Shooter with First Drop, Blend, Australia
The second pairing included a glass of First Drop, Blend Australia and a Cappuccino Shooter cupcake. The strong aroma of the cupcake was amazing.  You could smell the chocolate and coconut before the cupcake left the plate. Kahlua and Malibu were the main liquor in the cake and their flavors were incorporated perfectly to make this cupcake a dream to consume. We were told only real chocolate is used when making the cupcakes instead of the usual cocoa powder and you could definitely taste the difference. The flavor was strong but not over powering and perfectly subdued with the white wine.

Margarita with Salt paired with Oltrepo Moscato, Italy
The third pairing on our list was the Margarita cupcake and a glass of Oltrepo Mascato. The sweet vanilla lime cake was light and fluffy and the equally delicious frosting had a hint of citrus. Our cupcake sample was sprinkled with salt and it was an amazing addition.  You could taste the ting of salt but is was so subtle that it made you crave more. The sweet and slightly sparkling Moscato perfectly complemented each other and together they created a pleasing combination of sweet and savory. We first tried this cupcake at the Las Olas Wine & Food Festival and were excited to see it debut again. Unfortunately, we were only allowed one cupcake per pairing so we savored every morsel and went on to the next one. 

Margarita Cupcake + Chocolate Martini Cupcake

Chocolate Martini with Luigi Scarani, Sangre de Guida, Lombardia Italy
The last tasting of the evening was a chocolate martini cupcake paired with Luigi Scarani, Sangre de Guida. Chocolate and vodka were the two key ingredients in this cupcake. The strong taste of vodka that is usually found in a”real” martinis was very faint but not absent and the chocolate was creamy and smooth. The fruity red wine was a great companion to the chocolate cake and a perfect ending to a delicious night.  

Taste of the Nation Food Truck Expo at Feeding South Florida

This afternoon a handful of Miami based food trucks drove north to Feeding South Florida’s Pembroke Park location (just off Hallandale Beach Blvd.) to host a lunch and donate part of their proceeds to the Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation.

Share Our Strength® is a national nonprofit that is ending childhood hunger in America. Share Our Strength’s goal is to end childhood hunger in America. Working with others, we believe we can do this by 2015. It’s not enough to make sure America’s children have enough to eat; we must make sure they are getting the nutrition they need to live healthy, active lives.

Great food, close location, excellent cause, we are on our way!

The Ono sandwich - It means "tasty"

The Slow Food Truck
On the menu:
The Ono – it means “tasty” $7

What we thought: After trying the mini caramel bacon cupcake, and short rib slider, we decided it was time to go for a full size sandwich. We chose the Ono, a pulled pork sandwich with grilled pineapple, ham, and crispy shallots on top. The pork was perfectly seasoned and moist. The pineapple gave a kick of sweetness (and who could resist grilled pineapple, certainly not us), which balanced out the salty crispy fried shallots. Final verdict, the Ono is definitely tasty.

Website: Slow Food Truck
Twitter: @SlowFoodTruck
Like on Facebook
Slow Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Custom grilled cheese sandwich

Cheese Me Mobile
On the menu: Customize your own Grilled cheese sandwich. Starting at $6.

What we thought: For our second trip to Cheese Me Mobile, we decided to customize our creation. Although the McShane was fantastic, pairing it with the Ono might be a pork overload! We chose melted buffalo mozzarella and beefsteak tomatoes on thick cut whole wheat bread. The combination was amazing. The quality fresh ingredients at Cheese Me Mobile will keep us coming back again, and again.

Website: Cheese Me Mobile
Twitter: @CheeseMeMobile
Like on Facebook
Cheeseme Mobile (Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

Lemonade & Pina Colada Smoothies

Blue Tree Café
On the menu: Lemonade Smoothie, Pina Colada Smoothie $4 ea. (small)

What we thought: On a hot afternoon like today, we needed to cool off quick., so we headed over to the Blue Tree Café truck for smoothies. We opted for the lemonade and pina colada smoothies respectively. The lemonade was sweet, tangy, and icy. The pina colada, was sweet and creamy. Both were made to order while we waited and served with a smile.

Twitter: @BluTreeCafe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake

Clarabelle’s Cupcakes
On the menu: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake 2.50

What we thought: We love cupcakes and were definitely excited to try out Clarabelle’s for dessert. While sitting by the truck deciding which to chose, a very nice woman stopped by and offered us one of her cupcakes. What a sweet day, indeed! We chose the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake. The cake was light and airy and held a chocolate chip cookie surprise at the bottom. It was topped with a generous mound of vanilla buttercream frosting and garnished with a cookie slice.  It was perfection in a cup. Clarabelle’s we will be following you!

Website: Clarabelle’s Cupcakes
Twitter: ClarabellesToGo
Like on Facebook

After enjoying an amazing food truck catered lunch, the FOTF girls were invited (along with all the visitors) to tour the Feeding South Florida facility and hear a little more about what they do for the community.

Feeding South Florida was founded in 1981 as the Daily Food Bank and has been working to reduce hunger by reducing waste.

They solicit donations of food from a variety of sources – farmers, processors, grocers and restaurants among others – and distribute it through a network of not-for-profit agencies including daycare centers, homeless shelters, residential homes for the physically and mentally challenged, assisted living facilities for the elderly, youth programs, soup kitchens and emergency food pantries.

The result? Feeding South Florida distributes approximately 1.8 million pounds of food each month to hungry South Floridians, including children and the elderly, the unemployed and the working poor, the disabled, the homeless, and victims of natural disasters, illness and violence.

You can help by donating food, money, or time at the Feeding South Florida facility. Get more info here.

Here’s the tour:

Feeding South Florida facility

Feeding South Florida Warehouse - Lend a Hand!

Feeding South Florida's Kids Count Teacher's Store. All items no cost for the community.

A family helped by the efforts of Feeding South Florida

This Weekend: Can’t miss events in Palm Beach, Broward & Miami Dade Counties

Friday, May 13th
Sushi & Summer Stroll from 5:30PM – 8:30 PM

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
400 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL   33446

Sushi & Summer Stroll  – Walk around the beautiful grounds of the Morikami Museum and Gardens at your own pace and listen to the sounds of the Taiko drums in the background. Prefer to take a seat? For only $2 additional purchase a seat for the Taiko drumming performance by Fushu Daiko. Hungry? Grab a bite in the Cornell Café where they serve a delicious assortment of sushi, noodles, teriyaki, and more. This event reoccurs once a month through September.

Admission Fees:
$7 for adults (ages 18+)
$5 for kids (ages 4-17)
FREE for members & kids 3 & under

Saturday, May 14 
Great American Bake Sale & Fairchild’s Artist in Bloom Exhibition
 from 9:30AM – 4:30PM
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden 
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: 305.667.1651

Great American Bake Sale & Fairchild’s Artist in Bloom Exhibition
Head to the beautiful Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables this Saturday for a day of strolling the expansive gardens and viewing of their extensive collections of rare tropical plants (including palms, cycads, flowering trees, tropical fruit trees, vines, and succulents).
This weekend only they are also hosting the Fairchild’s Artist in Bloom exhibition with over 150 original oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors and botanical illustrations for viewing and purchase.

After spending the day in the garden you’ll surely have worked up an appetite, so stop by the National Blogger Bake Sale, presented by Share our Strength to help End Childhood Hunger and pick up a treat or two from our fellow South Florida Bloggers, Bakeries, and Restaurants including:  Cupcakes Nouveau, 2 Girls and a Cupcake, Freakin’ Flamingo, Dunkin’ Donuts of South Florida and more! Don’t forget to enter to win a gift certificate for WokStar Eleanor Hoh’s wok cooking classes for 2, or dinner for 2 at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. Another beautiful day in paradise surrounded by nature, accompanied by baked goods to support ending childhood hunger: sounds like a sweet deal to us.

Admission Fees:
Admission to Fairchild includes all of the garden exhibits and a narrated tram tour (subject to availability).
When available, walking tours and shuttle service are also included in admission.

Adults  $25
Seniors (65 and over)   $18
Children 6-17  $12
Fairchild members and Children 5 and under are Free

Sunday, May 15th
Downtown Open Market from 11AM – 4PM

Royal Palm Place Monument Piazza
308 S. Federal Hwy
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
Corner of S. Federal Hwy & S. Mizner Blvd.
(Same location as Saturday’s Boca Raton Green Market)

Head over to Royal Palm Plaza this Sunday to support your local artists, crafters, independent designers, musicians, vintage and antique dealers, specialty food and unique local businesses! It is fun for the whole family, including pets too. With over 50 vendors you are sure to find things like:

  • Vintage clothing and accessories
  • Natural bath and body goodies
  • Handmade indie crafts
  • Specialty pets items
  • Handmade & vintage jewelry
  • Flea market finds
  • Art
  • Baked goods…. and more!
  • Including a visit by Feverish Ice Cream

Admission Fees:
FREE event & parking

Presented by StitchRock (Indie Craft Fair & Bazaar & Family Vintage (Vintage Clothing, Accessories, Jewelry & Home Décor for the Entire Family).

Sunday, May 15
Battle of the Brides from 11AM to 1PM
Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel
1140 Seabreeze Blvd.,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Grab some popcorn or a Corona and watch 50 blushing brides battle it out to win a dream wedding at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel.  The event starts promptly at 11am and includes a bouquet toss, cupcake eating contest, and a bridal tug-of-war. The last bride standing will win a 75 person dream wedding at the Sheraton and with over 50 competing brides we are sure there will be some hair pulling, name calling, and bridezilla moments you won’t want to miss. Oh and rumor has it one of the Foodies On The Fly contributors might just grab her designer knee pads and most reliable pair of stilettos to battle it out…

Admission fees:
FREE to attend 

Everything is Bigger in Boca: Gourmet Food Truck Expo

The Gourmet Food Truck Expo took place in Boca Raton last night and it was a huge success. We heard there were over 800 2000(!) people in attendance and we believe it! The traffic on Airport Road was backed-up to Glades and cars were being redirected into neighboring parking lots. Although parking was relatively easy, the movie theater had plenty of room; the lines to order food were unbelievable! The food was worth the wait.

The event was filled with trucks and foodies from all over Palm Beach county waiting patiently (and sometimes impatiently) in lines that lasted over an hour. Since this wasn’t our first (Food Truck) rodeo we planned ahead. We knew where we wanted to go and what we wanted to order. So, we schlepped our bistro table, pink chairs, tablecloth, platter, and candelabra through the crowded parking lot (in heels mind you), set up, and strategically split up, so we could order from two different trucks without wasting any time.

Our trucks of choice, Dim Ssäm à gogo and The Mexican Gourmet. When things quieted down we also tried Feverish Ice Cream.

Dim Ssäm à gogo by Sakaya Kitchen – The line of hungry patrons awaiting this Asian fusion truck was considerably longer than many of the other trucks, so we queued up with high expectations.

A perfect combination

On the menu: Kimchi Egg Rolls with Ginger Hot Sauce (2) $6 and Angus Beef “Kalbi” Short Rib Taco (2) $7

What we thought: The egg rolls were crispy on the outside and had a satisfying crunch when bitten into. The interior revealed an array of fresh veggies (all vegetarian) and it paired well with the ginger hot sauce, that was sweet and spicy.

The short rib tacos were just utterly amazing, and an excellent value, as they came two per order and were each full size. The soft flour tortillas housed Angus beef that tasted like it had been marinating for days, and was paired with a spicy sauce for a bit of a kick. Topped with cilantro, crunchy bean sprouts and sesame seeds these tacos were absolutely delicious and absolutely, positively worth the wait!

Website: Dim Ssäm à gogo by Sakaya Kitchen
Twitter: @SakayaKitchen
Like on Facebook

The MexZican Gourmet – The long line at this food truck didn’t detour us from waiting either. We’ve seen The MexZican Gourmet around at other truck roundups and always wanted to try them out, so we knew we had to suck it up and wait.

Puebla Chicken Tacos

On the menu: Puebla Chicken tacos  (2) $5

What we thought: The made-to-order tacos were piled high with tender chicken and layered on a soft corn tortilla. Topped with fresh cilantro, onions and served with a small sample of an amazing hot sauce, these tacos were simply delicious! And they perfectly completed our Mexican-Asian Food truck experience.

Website: The MexZican Gourmet – Simply Authentic
Twitter @TheMexZican
Like on Facebook

Watermelon Popsicle

Feverish Ice Cream – Small truck, big flavor. It’s not the size of the truck that matters… In this case Feverish’s owners opted for a smaller truck purposely and is one of the top 10 eco-friendly Food Trucks in the US.

On the menu: Watermelon Popsicle $3

What we thought: To cool down our taste buds after our Asian-Mexican fusion dinner. It was ultra-refreshing and full of big sweet watermelon pieces. A perfectly sweet ending to the day. As the days are getting hotter, we highly suggest a trip to Feverish to cool off.

Website: Feverish Gourmet Popsicles and Ice Cream
Twitter @FeverishMiami
Like on Facebook  

Want more reviews? Click here.

Las Olas Wine and Food 2011

Las Olas Wine and Food

The 16th Annual Las Olas Wine and Food Festival was held on Friday, April 29th on Las Olas Blvd with proceeds from the event benefitting the American Lung Association in Florida.

This year, the street festival had over 60 restaurants and 40 wine tables and Foodies on the Fly was there to sip, swirl, savor, and tweet about every last morsel.

Although it was a little hard holding a Blackberry (the phone not the fruit), a plate full of food, and a wine glass…We managed to snap some pictures throughout the evening and listed a few of our favorite things from the event.

What we sampled:

Shula's on the Beach, Las Olas Food and Wine

The line to try Shula’s on the Beach was long but worth every minute we spent waiting. They served a sample of three delectable dishes: Sauteed mushrooms, beef filet and horseradish mousse.  The beef was tender, flavorful and perfectly paired with the savory mousse and mushrooms.

Dos Caminos, Las Olas Wine and Food

Dos Caminos
the newest addition at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale teased guests with their freshly prepared creamy guacamole. The appetizer was served with two house-made crispy tortilla chips but one scoop was definitely not enough!

Fresh Mozzarella from Da Campo Osteria by Todd English – We heard about their signature fresh-made mozzarella (rumor has it, they pull the mozzarella table side at the restaurant…)and were really excited to try it out at the event.  The warm cheese, freshly pulled while we were waiting in line was paired with truffle balsamic and was better than we could have imagined. If you couldn’t make it to the event you are in luck. This incredible treat is served daily at their restaurant, located in Ft. Lauderdale. A must try if you are cheese fanatic.

Cupcake Battle, Las Olas Wine and Food

This year The New Times introduced a Cupcake Battle and area bakeshops competed for title of Best Tasting, Best Decorated, and Fan Favorite. We tried them all and although our favorite cupcake, the Margarita Cupcake by Spiked Bakeshop didn’t win, we were happy to indulge in such a sweet event.

Slow Food Truck, Las Olas Wine and Food

Slow Food Truck
graced the streets of Las Olas and served up mini short rib sliders, The bite sized sandwich was topped with watercress and cheese. Amazing!

The Chocolate Coconut Lollipops from Chef George was the last dessert we tried.  Served on a stick, similar to the infamous cake pops, the truffle was rich, chocolatey and the perfect conclusion to an eventful night!

If we missed anything you liked, please forgive us..or better yet, leave us a comment. We are always looking for food/restaurant suggestions