It was a beautiful, balmy evening at the Raleigh Hotel, as hundreds of fans of slow food and renowned chefs gathered poolside for Slow Food Miami's 2014 Snail of Approval Awards party.
Nineteen of South Florida's best restaurants and shops, each committed to providing food from the most local sources possible worked overtime to present amazing dishes to the locavores who gathered at their tables for a bite and the opportunity to vote for their most delicious dish.
Although it was difficult to choose, the votes were finally tallied with the judges and the "people" split. Event ambassador, chef Michael Schwartz (who, by the way, was awarded the first ever Snail of Approval) and guest host WSVN's Louis Aguirre announced the winners.
The People's Choice award went to Edge Steak & Bar and chef Aaron Brooks for the Key West shrimp, sauteed with pickled ramps, baby tomatoes, eggplant, and black olive crumbs.
The chefs' bite of the night award went to Todd Erickson and Huahua's Taqueria for the elote, freshly grilled corn topped with spicy mayo, cotija cheese, and cilantro.
Chef Michael Schwartz enticed event goers with bites from his restaurants, as well as his Michael's Genuine Home Brew.
The Cypress Room's royal red shrimp with coconut, lime, and puffed rice looked almost too good to eat.
3030 Ocean's Paula DaSilva presented a charred octopus with chickpea puree and goat cheese feta.
LoKal's Matthew and Priscilla Kuscher make a mean chili with Florida-raised beef.
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Sakaya Kitchen's Richard Hales served a Florida pink shrimp and Swank Farms kohlrabi "hot pocket" that was big on flavor.