The 8th annual Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Celebration came to the Pompano Beach Cultural Center and really shined where other food festivals fell flat.
The Cultural Center was used to perfection dividing out the massive crowd by using its multi-floors and setting up stations outside as well. Having vendors spread out while keeping adequate spacing for the lines to keep flowing is most important and Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Celebration did it flawlessly. Since the lines weren’t backed up like some over hyped Disney rides, we were able to not only try everything at the festival, but also go back two or three times to sample different items or relive our favorites.
The Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Celebration had a bevy of pallet praising foods from local fine Dining Establishments paired with over 200 fine wines & spirits, plus locally crafted brews and rums. Of course, I had my favorites, but with so many samplings and such a broad diversity there was something for everyone.
We picked up our blue led wristbands and our complimentary champagne glasses with holders and went upstairs. They had a fun little photo booth so we took our picture for a keepsake and then walked around. There was a room filled with top notch items for a live auction and a silent auction as well. So we browsed through the overstuffed gift baskets, the ornate paintings, a gorgeous grill and even a Fender guitar signed by the Charlie Daniels Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. The best live auction item was a six night safari all-inclusive stay in Ezulwini, South America.
We didn’t have the money to bid and since our bellies were as empty as our wallets, it was time to feast. We grabbed a sweet and mildly dry Pino Grigio and ate a deliciously creamy smoked Brie Dip along with a soft meatball in a sweet marinara sauce from Another Perfect Party. Spicing it up, we sampled some Salsa, Jerk and Avocado Dipping Sauces from Boss Jerk Hot Sauce. You could taste the Jerk ingredients in all of them, but the original Jerk Sauce sucker punched you with a shot of heat. Our taste buds thankfully cooled off with a refreshing cup of Funky Buddha Beer.
Now, it was on to the Bobby Rubino’s who is known for their famous BBQ Ribs and Onion Rings. It was okay if you got your hands a little messy while eating them, because you were licking them up, not letting a drop of their signature sauce go to waist. This was washed down with a Tuscan Red Wine that was rich was a hint of oak and berries. The Beehive Kitchen next served us some delicious Sweet Potato Glass Noodles with green beans over a fall apart lightly seasoned Ahi Tuna. However, the best seafood served at the Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Celebration had to be from Tropical Krave. It was a bowl of seafood gnocchi that had so many ingredients like crab and prawns mixed over coconut rice with homemade yucca and a thick curry sauce, but every ingredient complemented each other. This paired with some gin and blue curaçao mixed with citrus creating their Island Blue cocktail.
We tasted some more Jerk from the Tropical Grill on skewers with chicken and shrimp that were moist and casually slathered with their Jerk sauce. Adding to this was a refreshing Watermelon cocktail from Three Olives Vodka.
We then decided to walk a bit and check out the vendors outside, but still part of the Pompano Beach Cultural Center. Immediately, you smelt the smokiness of a grill and were led to Yakuza. Your nose and mouth thanked you as you enjoyed their Chicken Yakitori glazed with their sauce and displayed with perfect grill marks. Also, outside was Finley’s A Taste of the Bahamas. They had one of the best Cracked Conch Fritters I’ve ever had with some Bahamian Conch Chowder. We had a taste of some aged Patron looked over their huge selections. The Patron was strong, but the hardest hitting drink of the night had to go to Hill Billy 86 Proof Bourbon Whisky. It was smooth, but like swallowing fire. After that we settled down with a cup of Irish Cream Cold Brewed Coffee from the Blooming Bean Coffee Roasters.
Saving the best for last were three places that are equally spectacular in their own right. The first was the Sicilian Oven that handed out plates with the best tasting Cervellata sausage with peppers and onions that melted in your mouth. If that wasn’t enough they also forked out a Sicilian Salad with a homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette that would make Giada De Laurentiis do a curtsy.
Now, if you have a sweet tooth or an entire mouth full of them then AJKakes was their only cure. We dined on a Maple Bacon Cake, a Strawberry Champagne Cake and a Banana Pudding Shot. They were so good that I didn’t want to leave their table.
The winner of the Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Celebration was our favorite too and went to Spanx the Hog BBQ & Saloon. They gave out a Low & Slow BBQ Pork Sundae with some sweet baked beans made with bacon over a piece of cornbread. It was so good and simplistic, but done masterfully. Amazingly enough, their quick bite of Pork Bread Pudding served on a spoon was the single best bite I had all night and yes, I went back for seconds and maybe even thirds.
It was truly a sublime night, the Fine Foods were represented, the drinks flowed and the Pompano Beach Cultural Center carried with it an atmosphere of complete elation. There were all smiles everywhere you looked that’s when there wasn’t food and drinks being shoved into it. Everyone should plan ahead and look forward to their next one.