The 6th Annual New Times Pairings is what the Iron Fork should have been in Miami; fun, tasty, enjoyable, and crowd-controlled. This year, Pairings was held at the Broward County Convention Center. Across from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and within the Port of Fort Lauderdale. And yes – if you drove in you were getting ID’d by Homeland Security. It was the perfect venue. With 30+ restaurants and bars spanning the expanse of three floors and walking room for long lines and touring foodies and winos fit just right. There was even room for a DJ and a makeshift dancefloor. Okay so there wasn’t a dancefloor per say, but that didn’t stop the drunk cougars from dancing around the DJ.
Traditionally a wine event the 6th Annual New Times Pairings offered new entries. Many tasty craft beers and spirits made welcome appearances, which was definitely a plus. Of all the restaurants, bars, vendors and suppliers we have to say these were stand-outs amongst them.
A newly minted brick-and-mortar restaurant from the same namesake of the food truck. They served braised beef short rib tacos on a soft corn tortilla with their special B.C. taco sauce that made the taco both savory and satisfying.
The Daily Melt (Closed)
Served hot off the press (literally!) grilled cheddar/provolone cheese sandwiches stuffed with bacon and a slice of Roma tomato. Delicious!
El Jefe Luchador
Wowed us with their simple street-style tacos with tasty marinated meat.
Gran Forno Pronto
Stuffed us with their pulled chicken and pesto sliders on fresh-baked focaccia bread. Their huge loaves of bread on display made every lady wish for a larger purse so they could snatch a boule.
Christina Wan’s Mandarin House
Surprised us with a flavorful and refreshing Vietnamese lemongrass grilled pork chop salad.
Wowed us with authentic and perfectly seasoned Mexican cuisine. The Cochinita Pibil (roasted pork leg, marinated in Achiote sauce), Chicken in Red Mole Sauce, and the Corvina Fish Ceviche dishes burst with flavor and melted in your mouth.
Our wine favorites were 2010 Bodegues Ribas Sió Negre Vino de la Tierra Mallorca. A blended vino made with Mallorca’s “Black Vail” grape producing earthy notes of blackberry and licorice spice from a 300-year-old winery in Mallorca. We also enjoyed 2011 King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir. It had punchy flavors of cherry, cranberry and pomegranate and earthy notes of tobacco leaf.
By the end of the night, we were sipping on a wicked punch-drink concoction made with Mandarine Napoleon. A liqueur made with 10-year aged cognac and mandarin. This drink was super tasty. I can’t quite remember the name of the cocktail. I think it had fresh citrus juices and ginger beer, and those make for a great combination. A one-two punch if you will.
The only criticism of 6th Annual New Times Pairings was there wasn’t enough food and wines from the restaurants to last the entire night. We understand it’s easier to bring just enough and not waste food. We’re just saying bring just a bit more next time as we missed tasting about 80% of the top floor and it was just 8:45. Meanwhile, the event ran until 10pm. Thankfully, Rums of Puerto Rico kept the party going despite the lack of food with plenty of great-tasting drinks and a live band on the second floor!
Would we go back next year? Hell yes. Good job New Times!