SOBEWFF 2018: Lucky Chopsticks at The W Hotel for CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series

The 17th Annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Returned to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. this past February 21 – 25, 2018 raising over $2 million for the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality. As both an FIU alumni and a food blogger, the SOBEWFF is close to my heart.

This year, I checked out the third annual CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series of the SOBEWFF events which included an all-star schedule of events in Broward County, including the introduction [to Broward] of the Festival’s fan-favorite Lucky Chopsticks hosted by Andrew Zimmern.

The sold-out, newly expanded CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series featured series consisted of more than 10 events, including dinners, tastings, seminars, and more that took place at various locations throughout Broward County.  Personalities like multi-year World BBQ Champion Chris Lilly and celebrity chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse hosted events set amongst the elegant backdrop of the new Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, while television personalities like Kristin Cavallari hosted featured events during the series. Here are some of our favorite bites of the night from Lucky Chopsticks:


Pipeline Poke Nachos from Poke House Fort Lauderdale


Togarahi Salmon from Temple Street Eatery Fort Lauderdale


Toki Highball featuring Suntory Japanese Whisky on the rocks


Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich from Kuro at Hardrock Hollywood, FL


Duck Fried Rice from K Ramen. Burger. Beer of Miami Beach


Tuna Poke Tacos from ROK:BRGR American Kitchen – multiple locations in SoFla


Gekkeikan Sake sampled multiple types of premium sake


Rockstar roll from Sushi Rock Cafe Fort Lauderdale


Wagyu Short Rib Ramen from Buya Ramen of Tampa, FL


Tanuki Burger from Tanuki Miami


Karina Ramirez and Holli Lapes Ryan

I’m definitely a fan of both Andrew Zimmern AND asian cusine, so this was a winning event for me. I also appreciate how passionate Andrew Zimmern is about SOBEWFF in general and the funds raised for FIU. Not to mention that he’s also a really nice guy and is happy to meet his fans… I met him for the second time at this event.

SAVE THE DATE:  The Festival returns to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. for its 18th annual edition February 20 – 24, 2019.  Next year’s Festival will honor chef and restaurateur Nancy Silverton and chief executive officer of Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery Rhonda Carano at its annual Tribute Dinner at Loews Miami Beach, as well as welcomes back longtime partner Goya Foods in an expanded capacity as its official spice and olive oil partner.

About the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival

EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. All proceeds from the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management who also assist Festival organizers with sponsorship fulfillment, restaurant and exhibitor recruitment, logistics, and inventory as well as working alongside some of the world’s greatest celebrity chefs and winemakers. To date, the Festival has raised more than $26 million for the School. In September 2017, BizBash named the Festival the #1 Food & Restaurant Industry event in the United States for the fifth year in a row.

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival is produced by Florida International University and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information about the Festival, visit

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All images appearing in this post photographed by Holli Lapes, property of

Disclosure: I received a complimentary experience at the SOBEWFF Lucky Chopsticks event. All opinions are my own.

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