The 20th annual celebration of Veritage Miami kicked off last night with more than 600 attendees coming together over food, drinks, and a great cause. The craft beer tasting was held at Wynwood Walls. (Ladies, if you want to meet a nice, good-looking boy, do yourself a favor and go to tonight's wine tasting event at Merrick Park.)
Proceeds from the four-day culinary soiree go towards United Way of Miami-Dade (a total of $11 million has been raised since the festival's inception), which in turn funds and supports programs to improve education, financial stability, and health.
But enough about charity. Last night's suds party poured over 120 types of beers that competed for the best brew of the night. The champion was, wait for it… Wynwood Brewing Company. Go local!
Other local players like Gravity Brewlab and J. Wakefield were also on site serving up their brews. Wakefield had a blood orange Berliner that was divine and perfect for the sultry, humid weather as well as a heavier root beer brown ale dubbed "baja panty" (panty dropper). Why is it called that? "Because it does the job of what it's supposed to do." Should you want to see for yourself, you can head over to the brewery the rest of the weekend as they'll be tapping both brews.
Restaurants also competed for the best bite of the night. The title went to last year's defending champion R House, who served the exact same thing: tuna avocado tartare with sweet chili and wasabi cream sauce.
We would have much rather seen Aaron Brooks from Edge Steak & Bar prevail for his original, inventive, and mouthwatering malted barley lamb ragu risotto that had every person who tried it come back with their tail between their legs for seconds. To which Brooks gladly said, "Of course, mate."
David Bracha's River Oyster Bar was another one who killed it. They were fire roasting oysters on the spot with sofrito butter, manchego, and chorizo. The bivalves were slurp worthy and flying off the racks. (We had six ourselves.)
Quality Meats introduced itself to the community with its "instant" bacon and peanut butter, which people were loving.
Instead of doing the expected ceviche, Cholo's whipped up a quinoa ceviche that was worth several repeat visits.
Shake Shack needs no introduction.
But if you wanted one of their shack burgers you had to wait the longest line In all of Veritage, which is no problem at all because it's Shake Shack.
Midtown newcomer and favorite Proof gave people a taste of what they do with a beef tartare with chickpea puree, baby pear, lemon oil, red wine, and chives. Like everything Proof does, it was tasty, but in an event like Veritage where restaurants have a chance to draw diners who've never been to their establishment, Proof's shaved Brussels sprout salad would have fared well with the weather and maybe even won them bite of the night.
Jimmy'z Kitchen pleased crowds with its cheddar cheese balls with guava.
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We're not sure what this guy was serving up but look at that hair.
Veritage Miami continues tonight with the fine wine tasting at Merrick Park from 7 to 9 p.m.