There were whitecaps in the Sauvignon Blanc glasses on the sixth floor of the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Thursday night, but that didn’t stop the clambake crowd.
While Emeril Lagasse of TV fame handed out his Ora King Salmon “Stuffies” (quahog, courice, molho cru), the high winds kicked up long hair as South Beach Wine & Food Festival fans of the Crave Fort Lauderdale series kicked their appetites into high gear.
“For small bites, I’m very full,” said one guest, and that was the point.
Co-host Executive Chef Jorge Ramos of the Conrad had nibbles at two tables, a savory pork and clams with mojo-brined Berkshire pork belly, razor clam “Escabeche,” mofongo crumbs and cilantro aioli—and then there was dessert.
The other fame name there was Charm City Cakes’ Duff Goldman, working with sweets and bantering with guests. His dish: Fluffernutter sundaes with peanut butter ganache, marshmallow cream, fried Texas toast, vanilla ice cream, blueberry sauce. I think I may have had two helpings.
Ramos had a sweet table with multiple options, and some of us may have lingered there a while as well. His Just Desserts included dulce de leche mini doughnuts with candied bacon and Key lime curd; foie cheesecake pops with Nutella, hazelnut-cherry brittle; guava-yuzu pop tarts, cream cheese icing sprinkles; and pineapple rum-coconut push pops.
Other standouts: Padrino’s Cuban Cuisine’s tropical ceviche, Jeremy Shelton of Steak 954 with his fried clam steamed bun, Doug Reiss’ (Boatyard) seared scallops, Chris Palmer’s (American Social) Ipswich clam roll and New England clam chowder, and Debbie Skinner’s (Kelly’s Landing) lobster roll sliders.
Here’s a list of the bites; some are on regular menus, others were experiments. The crowd was fine with being foodie guinea pigs.
- Laura Padrino, of Padrino’s Cuban Cuisine: tropical ceviche with fish, pineapple, peppers, onions and cilantro.
- Mike Hampton, Hot & Soul: pickled shrimp and black-eyed peas with a fried mustard seed vinaigrette.
- Jorlian Rivera, S3 restaurant: Florida spiced rum clambake
- Doug Reiss, Boatyard: seared scallops, root vegetable hash with balsamic sauce
- Toby Joseph, Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille: pork belly and clams
- Jeremy Shelton, Steak 954: fried clam steamed bun, pork belly, spicy mayo
- Adrienne Grenier, 3030 Ocean: Cavatelli and Clams, handmade spinach pasta, Littleneck clams, garlic bread crumbs
- Steve Menter, El Vez: tostada de Mariscos, lobster, shrimp, snapper ceviche, crab with salsa verde and habanero-piquillo aioli
- Carl Schaubhut, DTB: Clamato and Creole courbouillon gazpacho
- Paula DaSilva, Burlock Coast: clams and tasso, collards, charred lemon and butter broth
- Chris Palmer, American Social: Ipswich clam roll and New England clam chowder, crispy fried whole Ipswich clams on a housemade butter roll with lemon aioli,
- Debbie Skinner, Kelly’s Landing: lobster roll sliders, Maine lobster meat served cold, with mayo on toasted, buttered roll
- James Cawley, Shooters Waterfront: Aunt Gigi’s Cape Cod chowdah, roasted corn, potatoes, clams, lobster, shrimp and bacon in chowder, served in French bread bowls from Gran Forno Bakery on Las Olas
Lynn Kalber was raised in Boca Raton and has always worked in Palm Beach and Broward counties. She is a career journalist, with 26 years at The Palm Beach Post alone, where she wrote feature and food articles, edited the food section and wrote about wine as part of the Swirl Girls. She lives in West Palm Beach with her husband, writer and author Scott Eyman.