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.


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.  

Meatless Monday-South Florida Restaurant Edition

The dreary weather from the weekend has cleared and another Meatless Monday is upon us. But who wants to be stuck in the kitchen when the sun is shining and the air is still reasonably cool? To give you a reason to escape the indoors without sacrificing you meatless morals, we’ve listed a few South Florida vegetarian friendly restaurants for you to enjoy. You can thank us later!

The Raw Kitchen, 509 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach (561) 820-0144
Located between North Rosemary Avenue and North Quadrille Boulevard this veggie-fied restaurant serves an array of Vegan and Vegetarian meals including the Asian Noodle Bowl ($16) noodle zucchini with julienned carrots,  spinach, mushrooms, scallions and red peppers in a ginger garlic sauce, Spinach Pizza ($17) sprouted buckwheat crust, housemade nut cheese, fresh garlic, spinach and sliced mushrooms, and Banana Obsession, ripened banana ice cream with raw cacao sauce and candied pecans.  The restaurant is open daily for lunch from 11:30AM – 4PM and dinner is served Wednesday – Saturday from 5PM-10PM

Darbster, 8020 South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach (561) 586-2622
This hip bistro serves up an innovative menu that is sure to please both vegetarians and mainstream diners.  The waterside deck offers guest an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and the reasonably priced menu makes taking a break even more enjoyable.  Some options include the Kale Salad ($8) kale, seeds, sprouts, lady slipper apples with a light dressing, Enchiladas (11.95) cheeze and onion in an authentic sauce with beans, rice, & fresh guacamole, and a variety of desserts priced from $4.50 -7.25.

Sublime Restaurant and Bar, 1431 North Federal Highway (954) 615-1431
Located in Fort Lauderdale, this swanky eatery serves up posh vegetarian fare that has locals and celebrities coming back for more.  Their award winning menu includes Crispy Eggplant Rollatini ($11) “ricotta”, “mozzarella”, garlic and “butter”, BBQ Cheddar Brick Oven Pizza ($12) house-made bbq sauce, red onions, cheddar “cheese” and cilantro, plus sushi, salads, and desserts.

Juice and Java, 21316 St. Andrews Blvd, Boca Raton (561) 825-2230
This bright cafe is a hop, skip, and jump away from the Boca Town Center mall and offers guests a massive menu of meat-free options. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Juice and Java has you covered. Check out our review here to see for yourself.

Mac n’ Vegetarian Food Truck, Roaming the streets of Miami (305) 791-6226
We heard that there is a food truck roaming the streets of Miami serving up vegetarian cuisine. Their menu includes 4 Cheese Mac ($5) cheddar, fontina, gruyere and percorino, Veggie Mac ($6) lite cheddar, parmesan, portobello mushrooms and roasted garlic and broccoli plus gluten-free sides and a creative list of drinks.

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

In The Biz-BizBash Review

Last Tuesday marked the second annual BizBash Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Foodies On The Fly had the privilege of attending. BizBash is an amazing event that is a must for event planners, marketing professionals, catering managers or anyone else interested in innovative ideas, noted speakers, and networking opportunities.

This year’s expo featured engaging general sessions from Lifestyle guru Steve Kemble and event mastermind Lee Schrager, educational flash sessions from industry leaders, and a hands-on Design Lab.

Gorgeous table design by Jose Graterol Designs

Aside from listening, learning, and interacting, there was also a trade show filled with vendors including the drool worthy Donut Divas (they served fried Oreos!), celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein’s catering company MBC, and Café Ala Carte, a made-to-order coffee cart.

So what did we learn… Professional speaker Ken Okel spoke about boosting productivity. The 35 minute class focused on achieving your career goals and overcoming obstacles that can interfere with your success.You can view Ken’s full presentation here.

Speakers Gladys Mezrahi, president of Indigo Events and Erik Mintz, general manager of Constant Contact shared the stage and discussed the importance of online marketing and how to break cultural barriers.

Some interesting points include:

  • The most important thing to remember when dealing with clients from different cultural backgrounds is to do your research! It is not unusual for a breakfast meeting to begin at 10am in Mexico, while 7am is customary in Columbia.
  • If you are planning on sending out an invite for an event, 60 days is plenty of time.
  • Don’t overwhelm your customers with emails. Segment your email list.

We had a great time listening to America’s sassiest lifestyle guru, Steve Kemble. He clued us in on red carpet secrets, celebrity gossip, and hints to attract celebrities to events.  It’s all about the money, honey! Some interesting tidbits he divulged included Kim Kardashian’s morning ritual of an oatmeal/yogurt/honey/avocado facial (Recipe to come), Oprah’s favorite thing is none other than Spanx, and if you want to get a celeb at your next shindig, you can up your chances by affiliating your event with a charity or a cause.

Lee Schrager offered an inside look into the SoBe Wine and Food Festival. Did you know it takes over 1000 people to produce the event and none of the celebrity chefs are paid for attending!

We also learned that next year SoBe Wine and Food will say goodbye to BubbleQ and hello to a new event called Red, White, and Q.  Can’t wait!

So much information was packed into one day, but the lessons learned will definitely last forever. Don’t panic if you couldn’t make this years event, BizBash will return to Florida next year and there are additional events scheduled throughout the country. Check here for more details.

Rocco’s Tacos – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

After an unsuccessful trip to Miami to track down the food trucks on Friday, Foodies on the Fly headed north to Ft. Lauderdale. Our new destination, Rocco’s Tacos-1313 East Las Olas Blvd (954-524-9550), the recently opened Mexican restaurant and Tequila bar on Las Olas. After two hours in the car we couldn’t wait to try the infamous eatery.

We arrived around 2pm, were quickly seated, and started our order with Tableside Guacamole ($12). Unfortunately ours was prepared out of sight, a disappointment but overlooked once we started dipping the lightly seasoned tortilla chips into the wonderfully prepared creation. (Side Note: Rocco’s guacamole and chips make everything better!)

The two items ordered included the Spinach Salad with Honey Lime Chicken and the Durango Combination entrée. Two very different options, picked since they were something we haven’t tried at the other two locations.

The Contenders!
Durango Combination ($14) BBQ pork tostada, crispy tortilla bottom layered with a mound of juicy, smoked pulled BBQ pork, topped with a light dash of sour cream sauce and pickled red onions. Skirt steak taco, soft tortilla filled with grilled skirt steak, lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro, pickled red onions & cotija cheese (This cheese is so good!). Quesadilla con queso, tortilla filled with chihuahua cheese and grilled. Very delicious on its own, but top it with some guacamole and BBQ pork YUM!

Spinach Salad with Honey Lime Chicken ($12) Cabarales Blue Cheese, crispy bacon, thinly sliced green apples, watercress, red onion and red chile vinaigrette. The creamy blue cheese, crisp apples and tender honey lime chicken was a flavorful combination and definitely recommended if you are looking for a lighter option for lunch.

The verdict:
Rocco’s tableside guacamole and chips alone are reason enough to visit, but their pork is hands down, the best in South Florida. It is so moist, flavorful, and delicious. Aside from our picks, Rocco’s serves tacos, burritos, hamburgers, and much more. A must try if you are looking for a casual Mexican restaurant with a fun atmosphere in Ft. Lauderdale. For more information, check out their website!


Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

Taco Tuesday-Nacho Bizness, Ft. Lauderdale

Foodies on the Fly made the trek down to Ft. Lauderdale to try Nacho Bizness, a small taco trailer parked outside of the Maritime Professional Training School on 1915 S.W. 1st Street.

The mobile kitchen serves breakfast and lunch with a slight twist. Taking the ordinary taco and burrito and adding a little flare of flavor. Since it was Taco Tuesday ($2 tacos!), we decided to indulge and we tried everything on the menu.

We started with the Yum Yum, a spicy Korean pulled pork taco with spicy chilled cucumber, chipotle sour cream, sweet chili oil and cilantro.  It was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy and ranked high on our favorite list.

Next up, the Rodeo, carne asada with black bean and corn salsa, guac, cilantro, chipotle sour cream and sweet chili oil, the fresh ingredients really stood out and the meat was tender and delicious.Then there was the Earth Day, grilled zucchini and squash, black bean and corn salsa, guac, sour cream, and cilantro, the mix of ingredients was a vegetarian delight and a must try if you are on a meat free regimen. The last taco was the Spring Break, Baja grilled fish with pineapple honey slaw, guac, chipotle sour cream, cilantro and sweet chili oil, fresh and delicious described this masterpiece.

With one more selection to try we opted for the Marley burrito as the finale which consisted of chicken with chipotle sour cream, pineapple honey slaw, guac, cilantro, and sweet chili oil plus black beans and rice wrapped in a homemade flour tortilla. A flavorful combination that you have to experience to understand!

Our final verdict: A delicious and inexpensive fresh meal. Nacho Bizness is full of flavorful tacos, burritos, and bowls and if you are in the neighborhood it is a must try!

Check out their website here and let them know your favorite foodies sent you!