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Last weekend, the 11th Annual Downtown Food and Wine Fest took place at the beautiful Lake Eola. The ticketed event was several blocks long and included a cigar lounge, outdoor concert stage, and dozens of food and wine booths.
With over 30 Orlando-based restaurants and 50 different wine choices, it was hard to decide what to try. While the choices were fairly inexpensive, they were all paid for using pre-bought tickets. These tickets were on top of the $20 admission price. Each ticket was $2, but there were a few food choices that only cost one ticket. Most items were 2 to 4 tickets ($4 to $8). It was hard to estimate how many tickets I would need, so I had to go back to the booth to buy more.
One of the things that stood out to me was the variety of options. I am a vegetarian and many of the festivals I go to don’t have much I can eat. I was surprised to find several high-quality vegetarian and vegan choices at the event. Among the things I tried were samosas from Spice Affair, a Falafel Lettuce Wrap from Dandelion Café, a small ice cream sample from the Greenery Creamery, and strawberry ragoons from Florida Ragoon. This was a lot of different food, but keep in mind that many of the portions were small.
The vast amount of alcohol options ensured there was something for everyone. Domestic beers were available at a few booths, but the wine options were the star of the weekend. I tried to pair my wine with what I was eating, but everything looked tasty. The wines I tried during the festival included Kungfu Girl Riesling, Myx Peach Moscato, and Island Grove Moscato.
Very few booths offered cocktails and mixed drinks. I decided to try a Touch Key Lime vodka and pineapple juice cocktail for three tickets. It was generously poured, and I liked that I could choose what to mix it with.
I went late on Sunday, and the laid-back atmosphere of Lake Eola at sunset was very nice. The music selection was 80’s themed. As someone who was born in the ‘80s, this was right up my alley.
Had I gotten there earlier, I may have relaxed in one of the booths at the cigar lounge and enjoyed it a bit more. The cigar lounge had a few different choices with decent pricing, but I prefer hookahs with flavored tobacco if I’m going to sit for a long period of time.
In my opinion, the annual Downtown Food and Wine Fest is worth checking out and I will likely go next year. Even if you are underage, you can still find several delicious dishes that are packed with flavor. If you are old enough to drink with friends, you could easily spend the day at the festival and get your money’s worth.
Image courtesy of @marsjo via Pixabay.