2017 SOBEWFF Kicked off in Fort Lauderdale This Year

Anne Burrell and fans. Photo by Lynn Kalber.

SOBEWFF kicks off with Chef Anne Burrell

Anne Burrell and fans. Photo by Lynn Kalber.
Anne Burrell and fans. Photo by Lynn Kalber.

First of all, it didn’t rain. And for the kickoff event of the 2017 South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Wednesday, that was a big deal. (Last year was a different story.) Celebrity chef Anne Burrell—with her gorgeous snowy hair and big smile—was at the Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale. It was a beautifully cool night because the rain had moved through, and there were 15 restaurants kicking it up a notch.

In addition to starting the entire SOBEWFF, this was part of the Fort Lauderdale series, and it filled everyone with great food, good music and the longest craft cocktail line I’ve ever seen.

Grilled octopus. Photo by Lynn Kalber.
Mediterranean octopus. Photo by Lynn Kalber.

I stuck with the Whispering Angel rose, but made the rounds of all the food tables. Lots of seafood. Lots of cobia (?!), some interesting combos (Wild Sea Oysters, scallops and seared monkfish liver, for example) that tasted great, and one table I went back to for seconds. And thirds. It was Executive Chef Jeff Pfeiffer’s Mediterranean octopus from Lobster Bar Sea Grille, and it was amazing. Imagine grilled Spanish octopus, pickled red onion, extra virgin olive oil, Santorini capers and Greek olives. A perfect bite, with the tender grilled octopus, the zip from the onion, the bite from the olive and the slight pop of the salty capers.

Jonathan Capo and stracciatella. Photo by Lynn Kalber.
Jonathan Capo and his stracciatella. Photo by Lynn Kalber.

Another bite worth mentioning was Executive Chef Jonathan Capo’s Stracciatella with heirloom tomato, fresh berries and a balsamic fluid gel that sounded medical, but really tied the dish together with a sweeter note. That was Capo and his crew at Steak 954, and they wowed diners for the second year in a row.

The lobster toast from Kuro (in the Seminole Hard Rock Casino), with Chef Alex Becker, is worth mentioning, and was worth waiting for.

So was the kickoff of SOBEWFF.

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