On Friday, March 10, LaudyPop introduced the first-ever culinary and arts festival at Friends of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The event drew a crowd of artists and foodies by featuring a combination of culinary tastings, live performances and featured local artists. I had the opportunity to interact with local DJ’s, costume performers, stilt walkers while exploring the park and live witness painting and art installations that made my imagination “pop” with delight.
“We were inspired to develop an event that would show off Fort Lauderdale’s rising cultural and culinary scene in Birch State Park’s appropriately fun and whimsical setting,” said Danny Dapuzzo founder of LaudyPop. “We wanted to highlight the area’s hidden gems and give recognition to our local talent.”
Local restaurants were given a chance to creatively highlight their cuisines by serving them on “pop”-sicle like sticks or skewers to sample with a grab-and-go experience. Featured beverages ranged from handcrafted cocktails, bubbly Prosecco and locally brewed craft beer.
Park & Ocean Restaurant recreated a grilled cheese sandwich with mixed berry jam and cream cheese filling that was heaven to my taste buds. It had the perfect amount of jam and cream cheese — the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich!
Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur with Flor De Cana Rum had a hint of sweetness, and was so refreshing, I went back for a seconds.
Ocean 2000 Restaurant & Lounge The tuna poke was hands down was the most creative dish of the night. They put the “pop” in popsicle: tuna poke accompanied with pineapple, tiradito and avocado crema packed inside of the pop-like container.
Publix Aprons Cooking Schools’ fried pork belly with pickled Asian vegetables was a great combination of ingredients, wonderful flavors.
FLIPANYs Chefs Up Front – watermelon cucumber ceviche. This dish was a refresher in the mist of all of the savory dishes!
PS The seventh annual Chefs Up Front main events will be hosted at The Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables on Friday, August 18th and at The W Fort Lauderdale Hotel on Friday, August 25th
SKYY Infusions’ Bartlett Pear Vodka was so delicious. It’s “pear” vodka, so it counts toward my fruit consumption, right? Just to be safe, I made sure to take full advantage of the opportunity to achieve my 4 servings for the day. 😉
Bistro in Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach grilled tropical shrimp sticks with island jerk spices, avocado mash and mango rum relish. The jerk spices were a great combination with the rum relish that provided a sweet and spicy taste.
- pork and pineapple in a chimichurri sauce
- spicy sausage, roasted potato, shrimp and corn on the cobb.
- Pineapple infused beer
Funky Buddha never seizes to amaze me. The food was remarkable. The chimichurri sauce was a perfect match for the pork and the pineapple infused beer was crisp and tropical.
Paleta Pop-Up Ice Pop Shop chocolate cayenne and papaya honey flavors. These pops were very unique and bursting with flavor. The chocolate cayenne was smooth and creamy with a bite of spice at the end and the papaya honey was more like a fruit popsicle.
Dela Cruz Delights beef tenderloin with a pumpkin puree. I was a bit unsure about this dish at first. There was an extremely long line every time I passed the booth so I decided to give them a try and BOY the wait was worth it. I’m in love with butternut squash lately so the creamy pumpkin puree was my favorite part of the dish.
Local artists were scattered throughout the event adding a “pop” of color to the LaudyPop scene. Joshua Oliveira, an urban surrealist and muralist, gave us a taste of his artwork with a live painting. Guests were also able to show off their skills by painting their own masterpiece on a mannequin art installation.
A portion of the proceeds from the event are donated to Friends of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a non-profit organization that helps preserve, conserve and enhance the park through community support.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park can be found in the heart of Fort Lauderdale Beach on a 180-acre former estate located at 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304.
Briana Jackson is a contributor for The South Florida Sage. She has a passion for food and wants to share her experiences with other foodies. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @HalfPastHungry. All images appearing in this post photographed by Briana Jackson
Disclaimer: I received complimentary admission to Laudypop.