On Friday, May 29th, 2015 It attended the OBIES: A Taste of South Florida food event and charity. It was hosted at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale in conjunction with the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy. The event included samples from over 30 local restaurants with pairings of wine, beer, and other spirits.

I want to stress how great this event was. Other food events I have gone to were a madhouse. People are always pushing, its hot, and some restaurants run out of food too quickly. For this event the air conditioning was blowing and the lines were short. It gave me time to look and taste the food, but also interact with the different chefs and servers. The restaurant embasadors were able to tell me about the concept, where they were located and what to try when I came in. I walked away with something delicious to eat, plus a business card and a connection to some of these great culinary establishments.

Not only was the food part of it great, the event tied in with student-athlete scholarship programs and the Make A Wish Foundation. Finally they had live music and raffles to keep people dancing and talking while the patrons tried the food and watched the awards.

At the end of the night the awards were given out to those restaurants whose dishes stood apart from the rest. The rundown was:

3030 Ocean took home two awards with its local wahoo, avocado, and fermented pepper sauce. For samples they weren’t afraid to give you a good portion of wahoo, which was topped on the avocado spread. I will admit it was definitely one of the top dishes I tried.

Ms. Cheezious has always been a favorite of mine. If we ever see their food truck at events we will always stop by and get one of the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. As the winner of the Miami-Dade best restaurant they add another award to their trophy case. Two years ago I was at the SOBE Wine and Food festival where they took home “Best Food Truck.” Since then, they have opened up their own restaurant in Miami making it easier get those sandwiches you crave.

I am not a huge fan of sweets but Misha’s Cupcakes really knew how to grab my attention. They had small towers of multiple flavors of mini cupcakes. Each had different colors and tastes, even some with candy on top or inside. With the large variety and quality of their baked goods it was no surprise that they took home the best dessert award.

Finally the People’s choice award went to American Social. This place holds a special place in my heart because I used to live right behind their first location in Fort Lauderdale. They took up residence in an empty location that every time I walked by I would say, “I hope they put a good restaurant there.” To my good fortune, they created a fun bar with plenty of tvs and a great menu for the foodies in Fort Lauderdale. Over the years I have seen their menu go from a small, but creative menu, to a larger award winning venue. Their red wine braised short rib slider with black truffle aioli, black pepper pecorino, chicory, and potato sticks was, well, award winning. It was the first thing I tried and stuck with me the rest of the night. Each dish I tried was compared to it and only a few could compete. It has been great watching this restaurant come so far and even open a second location in Brickell. Congrats you guys!
Fabio Viviani Before I end this post I really want to stress the great work that this event did. Their charitable donations will make a huge difference for many people. The Make A Wish segment of the event showcased a young girl cooking with chef Fabio Viviani. His enthusiasm and demeanor with the young girl was heartwarming as they made one of her favorite dishes, macaroni and cheese. Once the dish was completed they announced that she would also be going to Disney World.

So glad I got to attend this great charity event and sample a variety of delicious dishes South Florida has to offer.