I’m raising my glass to this one! I had a pretty great first time at the Downtown Food and Wine Fest for a not-so-frequent drinker!
The 9th Annual Downtown Food and Wine Fest took place in Orlando, Feb. 25-26, 2017 at Lake Eola. This two-day festival celebrates things that makes us happy: food, music, local vendors, and of course, wine!
Let me tell you…the food was AMAZING. From restaurant chains like Kobe to local venues like Tapa Toro and The Naked Cupcake, there was a huge variety.
The Food and Wine Fest offered two ticket options: General Admission, which gets you into the festival, and General Admission with the Wine Tasters Club Lanyard, which includes five 2 oz. wine samples and a 6th pour of a specific wine. I definitely went with the second option since I wanted to see what all the commotion was about!
I threw on my wine tasting lanyard, ready to go!
Inside the Food and Wine Festival, I purchased tickets in exchange for food and drinks, so I did not use any money with the vendors. Guests could purchase 20 tickets for 10 bucks, and around 4 tickets would get us a meal, 1 ticket would get us a bottle of water.
Festival Food Tastings
First of all, I have to give a huge shout-out to Chipotle…they gave guests FREE tacos. FREE. That’s right. And coupons for free burritos. They started off the festival right!
Next up, Siro Urban Italian Kitchen served up some meatballs and handcut fries. This was AMAZING. I ordered a second batch of this later in the day because it tasted like great, homemade food.
This local Spanish favorite served up some delicious grilled shrimp skewers and vegetarian paella (rice dish).
The Naked Cupcake
I tried a cupcake called “Churrolicious” from The Naked Cupcake. It’s “naked” because they make custom cupcakes from scratch! This was a cute little cupcake with some cream and caramel drizzled on top. Yum!
The Tipsy Cookie
I tried a triple chocolate espresso cookie (WOW!), and a strawberry daiquiri sugar cookie. The Tipsy Cookie‘s slogan is “Don’t blame it on the cookie!”
Other vendors included Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (this line was ridiculously popular the entire day!), Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, Kona Grill, Fish on Fire, STK Orlando (with a party zone), Gringos Locos, Foxtail Coffee, and more!
Onto the “wine” of the Food and Wine Fest!
My lanyard gave me access to try five 2 oz. tastings, plus one pour of Fruits and Wine by Monicigale.
Lost Angel Chardonnay
More like Chardon-NO. I was NOT a fan of this. It tasted bitter, and I did not finish this. Next!
Quintessential Tropical Mango Moscato
This tasted Mosca-totally great!
Pere Ventura Rose
The rose got a thumbs up since it was a light-tasting wine that didn’t make me feel sick!
Quintessential Pascual Toso Cabernet
Another caber-NAY. I threw this one out. Again, I don’t drink alcohol on the regular, so it has to be something sweet and worth it!
Quintessential Tropical Mango Moscato
This sounds familiar…of course! I had a second sample of this wine since it was so good the first time around! Moscato has quickly become my favorite.
Fruits and Wines Rose and Strawberry
Hooray! Something sweet and tasty. This was my favorite wine sample of the day. This was the most popular booth since everyone with a wine tasters club lanyard was obligated to try it as their 6th pour. It was definitely worth the wait!
Honorable Mention Tasting:
Pure Leaf Pomegranate Tea
I drank at least 10 samples of this tea, maybe even more than that, during the festival. I’m not kidding. That tea was DELICIOUS. The sample cups were small too…so, maybe it wasn’t THAT bad.
I took one sample. Then I came back for a second sample after eating. By the third sample, I felt guilty…for drinking free tea samples. So I was relieved when I heard one of the members say to the group of us standing there, “Take one, take two. Come hang out with us all day!” So I did.
Food and Wine Fest Entertainment
A few local acts played during the day, such as Adam Moreno and Matt Shenk, and then some more mainstream acts lit up the night.
Folk duo Johnnyswim played later in the night (and they were great!).
Gavin DeGraw headlined Saturday night. Originally, I didn’t even plan on staying the whole night, but I had so much fun that I stuck around to hear some good ole “I Don’t Wanna Be” throwback.
I outdid myself at the Food and Wine Fest, compared to my “crazy” two drinks at the ICEBAR! I had a blast, and I can’t wait till next year’s event!
Were you at this year’s Downtown Food and Wine Fest? Do you have a similar event in your town? I’d love to hear about it!