I was a little disappointed that I could not make it to more events at the Boca Raton Food and Wine Festival over the weekend. But I did manage to get there for the Sunday Jazz Brunch. At $75 a person, I thought the event was expensive, but I later learned that many tickets were sold through discount websites like Groupon, or purchased as part of a festival package.
First, the good: The brunch was a really nice way to spend the morning. Everybody there from the parking attendants to the ticket takers to the vendors were all surprisingly nice. (Hey, it is Boca, not exactly world renowned for niceness). People were friendly and happy to be there. There were quite a few food stations. Bagels with a Schmear brought bagels with seemingly every topping possible: scallion cream cheese, nova cream cheese, whitefish salad, egg salad and more. Best part? They realized they were outside and kept the salad-topped-bagels on ice packs. Abe and Louie’s was serving crab Benedicts and steak Benedicts. Alibi Catering was there with a smoked salmon BLT, complete with fried green tomatoes, and clearly had the best food at the event. I am looking forward to trying their restaurant soon. TooJay’s brought blintzes, although I didn’t think they traveled particularly well. The Silver Spoon brought a nutty sweet potato soup that was superb. The Crepeteria was making ratatouille omelet crepes, which were also good.
In addition to the food, there were also plenty of wine vendors. One of my favorites was Willamette Valley Vineyards, pouring both a Reisling and Pinot Gris. I went back for a few samples of the Pinot Gris.
OK, so for the less good: There was not an actual Champagne in sight. There was plenty of bubbly wine – and much of it very good, but none of it from France. The other thing that really bothered me was that this event was in the same parking lot as the Grand Tasting the night before, and many of the tables were not broken down from the previous event, making this one look like an afterthought, rather than an event all its own. Because of the setup the night before, the vendors with booths were all at the far end of the parking lot, making it a long walk for brunch goers to visit them.
Overall, it was a very nice event and the few complaints I have are all things that are easily correctable with a little forethought for next year.