The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival celebrated local talent and venues with innovative tastings and events scheduled throughout Palm Beach County. Venues included hotspots like Buccan, Swifty’s Pool at the Colony Hotel, The Four Seasons, Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy, Eau Palm Beach, Avocado Grill, PGA National Resort, Cafe Boulud, Aioli, and an all-day outdoor experience at The Square in West Palm Beach.
Favorite local chefs of mine included Clay Conley of Buccan/Grato/Imoto, Rick Mace of Tropical Smokehouse, Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford who will soon be opening his own steakhouse The Butcher’s Club at the newly redesigned PGA National Resort, and of course none other than Daniel Boulud who visited his eponymous Cafe Boulud at the Brazilian Court for a special brunch put on in collaboration with Daniel Boulud, Clay Conley, Marcello Fiorentino, Julie Franceschini, Jose Gamez, Rick Mace, and Dieter Samijn.
Here’s a look at the events I attended as well as some additional photos of the festivities.
A DINNER AT TROPICAL SMOKEHOUSE
Chefs: Bryan Forgione, Larry Forgione, Marc Forgione along with Rick Mace
Rick Mace of Tropical Smokehouse (3815 Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach) hosted New York-based brothers Marc & Bryan Forgione (I’ve heard great things about Marc’s NYC restaurant in Tribeca) along with their father Larry Forgione for a smoke-driven 4-course tasting dinner highlighting local Florida ingredients. Almost everything for this meal came smoked with an emphasis on the FL BBQ style that Tropical Smokehouse is known for with dishes including Cobia Collar, Spicy Wahoo Dip, Dirty Bird Pork Ribs, Anguilla Style Spiny Lobster, Popcorn Alligator (my personal fav), Smoked Oxtail, Fire-roasted Duck Breast – very rich and indulgent, and Beef Cheek and Wild Boar Sausage served with some bomb plantains! And for dessert? Key lime pie, a wonderful guava empanada, and the best flan I’ve ever tasted. And yes, we ate ALL of that paired with beers by Boulevard Beer. The portions were more than generous, and we snuck home some of the oxtail and duck as well as empanadas for breakfast.
One interesting tidbit that I picked up this evening was that Larry Forgione is very particular about his duck and sources from a small family farm in Pennsylvania, Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, which happens to also be a favorite of many top restaurants including Wolfgang Puck’s establishments, Morimoto, and Hakassan—which I have to tell you has the world’s best cold duck salad with pomegranates. The duck breast included in this meal was prepared on the more rare side, but very rich and tasty.
BUBBLES & BITES: A YACHT ROCK EXPERIENCE
Chefs: Lindsay Autry, Jeremy Ford and Miguel Santiago
I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I only recently found out about the Yacht Rock genre (thank you Peloton) but it is now something I strongly support from a dress-code and vibe perspective- especially after seeing how cute everyone looked in the captain’s hats given out at this event (here I even learned from a fellow guest about the first ever all-female Yacht Rock band: The Yacht Rockettes). As compared to the other PBFWF events, this one tended to have a little more emphasis on the party and less on the food, with the exception of Jeremy Ford’s dish which was a deliciously prepared Koji Ribeye with Crispy Truffle Bravas and Smoked Beef Fat Hollandaise. Although the new lobby of PGA National had not yet been revealed when the event took place, we got a glimpse inside Jeremy Ford’s new restaurant, The Butcher’s Club, which features buttery leather booths and a very retro golf-club type feel. DJ Rey Verges kept the chill vibes for the cocktail party going as guests sipped champagne and custom cocktails and explored the various stations including a giant ceviche/poke bar made of ice. In a separate area, we stumbled upon a Cadillac activation where we took a look inside the beautiful new Escalade and best of all– a Woodford Reserve tasting bar where a very kind brand ambassador talked us through a tasting of all their varieties including the double-oaked.
The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival takes place annually in Palm Beach. Tickets start around $150/event. For details and next year’s schedule visit https://www.pbfoodwinefest.com/ .