Put together hungry people, Miami Dolphins legends, and 22 high-end restaurants and you have the annual Gridiron Grill-Off Food and Wine Festival in full swing. Although the goal was to see which restaurant got the most votes, it's much more than that.
The Gridiron Grill-Off was created in 2010 by John Offerdahl, former Miami Dolphins player, and his wife, to positively impact South Florida. The festival has raised money to "Feed the Needs of Kids in Crisis" to help foster care and homeless agencies throughout South Florida.
So I was eating and drinking for a good cause!
Think of the festival as a giant tailgate, which makes sense with the amount of football players walking around. Each tent had a different restaurant with samples of their dish and a pairing of wine to make it taste like heaven.
Out of all the things I drank and ate, honestly everything was absolutely delicious. My mouth is watering again just writing this. My only complaint is that because it is so hot in South Florida, I wish there were more tents or covered area so people could eat and drink without sweating it all out. The Biltmore had cold towels to wash your hands (and face) and it was my saving grace.
There was free parking, which makes up for everything.
My favorite restaurants were tied between Pelican Landing and Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa's 'And Fish Kitchen and Bar'; the latter is opening soon, but this was a teaser. These two plates were the ones I kept thinking about as I walked around, which says something big.
Pelican Landing's Louisiana Style BBQ Shrimp with Candied Pork Belly & Jumbo Lump Crab Fried Rice was actually to die for. The shrimp was a little spicy, but just enough to be tolerable. It was hard to leave this station knowing how much more I had to eat but it was THAT good.
And Fish Kitchen and Bar's Lobster Ceviche Taco, Prime Strip Steak & Smoked Salmon Labneh was also incredible. I was already full by the time we got to it and yet, I ate about three of these plates. The steak was perfectly warm and juicy and complimented the lobster ceviche taco really well.
As for the drinking portion of the day, it's a tie between Bacardi and Angry Orchard. The Bacardi cocktail, 'Autumn Breeze', tasted like a refreshing drink; I couldn't taste the alcohol but you know, that means the bartender did their job. Angry Orchard's 'Crisp Apple' was exactly what I needed on the hot day.
Overall, I'd come back to this festival in a heart beat. The music was entertaining, football players incredibly nice, and the food left me speechless.
Consider me Gridiron Grilled Off. Until next year.
1806 NE 6th St, Pompano Beach, FL 33060