The Friday night gala of the Florida Winefest was changed last year- to resounding forks up—for a newer format at the Ritz-Carlton. This year continued that favorable flow, as chefs from various Ritz Carlton resorts and hotels from all over the world served impeccable cuisine ranging from Russian caviar to whole soft shell crab and Wagu short ribs.
Soft-shell crab at the Friday-night dinner.
Saturday, another day, another chance to eat wonderfully prepared fresh foods. I noted a clear pattern of fresh and simple. Both the Crow’s Nest and Ezra were serving spring pea vichyssoise, both light and flavorful and a perfect pairing for those indulging in a glass of bubbly. New this year to Winefest, Nancy’s BBQ was serving her melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork sandwiches, and judging by the lines at her station, it was a hit and a perfect pairing with a full-bodied cabernet. Bbq and big bold reds may be the new trend.
First of all, you tell me Stag’s Leap, and I am there. Second, I had the great honor of Mr. Chatterbox himself, Bob Plunket, as my date. How could I go wrong? The dinner was a creative blend of interactive cooking via television sets throughout the dining room capturing Ritz-Carlton chefs from around the world plating the dishes and describing their ingredients. We tasted poached lobster and Dungeness crab with California avocado and citrus, vanilla bean vinaigrette and confit of suckling pig with corn and trotter beignet, to name a few.
My dinner date, Mr. Chatterbox.