• Burger lovers get their fill at 2nd annual Burgerliscious festival

    Posted on November 11th, 2012 mbokor No comments

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    Foodies savored gourmet burgers from over 20 of Coral Gables’ finest restaurants while enjoying live music and entertainment at the second annual Burgerliscious festival on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park.

    “Burgerliscious showcases how great the culinary community is in Coral Gables. There’s something for everyone here,” said Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. “My favorite thing about Burgerliscious is the camaraderie amongst the restaurants. There’s a bit of friendly competition.”

    Enjoying the cool weather and laid-back atmosphere, approximately 1,200 guests selected from an array of burgers and sliders, which they washed down with beer or soft drinks from 6 to 10 p.m. at the park, 2810 Ponce de Leon Blvd. The grounds were lined with tents and booths, showcasing an array of masterpiece burgers. Cars were sprinkled throughout the lawn, courtesy of South Motors BMW, giving guests a glance at the latest in automotive technology and luxury.

    As they advanced from station to station, many guests stopped to pose for pictures. Popular photo-ops were the Ben & Jerry’s booth, featuring a carnival cutout of Jimmy Fallon showcasing his “Late Night Snack” ice cream, along with the Cool de Sac display, where Zaky, a costumed canine character, charmed guests.

    Musical entertainment was provided by The Stage, featuring Mad World Orchestra and DJ Mayner. The Burgerliscious festival kicked off Miami Live Music Month, a premier program of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

    Mad World Orchestra, a South Florida 80’s alternative music band, played a set of crowd-pleasing songs, including With or Without You by U2 and Surrender by Cheap Trick. DJ Mayner followed with Michael Jackson hits and some party favorites of the Miami club scene.

    True to its name, Burgerliscious put some of the Gables’ juiciest sliders and burgers in the mouths of guests. However, the event was not limited to traditional beef-made burgers.

    Vegetarian and fish selections, such as salads, sushi, and chips with humus, were also available. After sampling the entrees, guests could select dessert options of brownies or ice cream.

    “The food was great! I tried just about everything,” said Regina Starrett, whose favorite slider was the non-traditional ahi tuna burger from Sushi Maki. “The people here are wonderful and so is the music. It’s very casual, fun, and uplifting.”

    After sampling each burger, guests and a panel of judges, made up of food writers, chefs and civic leaders, voted for their favorite.

    Among the judges was Mayor Jim Cason, who called himself the “bürgermeister” (“mayor” in German), throughout the night as he sported a cheeseburger-style hat. “This is a fabulous event that brings together people from all over South Florida,” said Mayor Cason. “It’s truly a beautiful time and lots of fun.”

    The Dome Restaurant Bar & Lounge won over the public’s taste buds with its tasty selections, earning it People’s Choice title, while the burgers from Shula’s 347 Grill were crowned Best in Bun.

    Additional participants included Angelique Euro Café, The Bar, Burger and Beer Joint, The Café @ Coral Gables | Books & Books, Christy’s Restaurant, Coral Gables Senior High School Culinary Arts Academy, Crave, 1862 Room at the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables, Elevation Burger, JohnMartin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, Morton’s the Steakhouse Pao Town, Pincho Factory, Rok:Brgr, Route 9, Seasons 52, Shake Shack, Sushi Maki and Tarpon Bend Raw Bar & Grill

    The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Samuel Adams and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau partnered to present the event. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation to help support local small businesses.

    Burgerliscious was sponsored by Sam Adams, the city of Coral Gables, Brown-Forman Beverages, the Naked Grape and the Coral Gables Chamber.

    Photos by Betty Alvarez / Events Photographer

     

  • Foundation gala brings ‘Club Monaco’ to Coral Gables

    Posted on October 14th, 2012 mbokor No comments

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    The Coral Gables Community Foundation held its 21st anniversary fundraising gala, featuring a Club Monaco casino theme, on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Dr.

    Festivities began at 7 p.m. as guests streamed into the foyer, where they were treated to music sung by Tony Fernandez, who also served as DJ for the night. An open bar sponsored by Bacardi U.S.A. awaited guests inside.

    Some 250 friends of the foundation were in attendance, donning black-tie apparel and mingling throughout chandelier-lit rooms adorned in casino-style decor.

    “Tonight’s gala is a wonderful way to support the foundation. It does so many good things,” said former Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick, a former chair of the foundation. “We are very invested in this organization and what it has done. The foundation really helps draw the community together.”

    Attendees bid on a series of silent and live auction items, ranging from a seven-day stay at a luxurious international resort to earrings provided by Coral Gables’ own Snow’s Jewelers.

    Casino chips were available to guests, who used them for an array of table games, such as American roulette, blackjack, Caribbean stud poker and craps.

    “This is a delightful event!” said Christine Rupp, acting director of the Coral Gables Museum. Her boyfriend, Dean Richardson, agreed. “We played blackjack and bid on jewelry. We’re having a very great time.”

    Once everyone was seated in the ballroom, the foundation’s chair, William A. “Bill” Bonn, welcomed guests and introduced five distinguished citizens who were being honored for their leadership and service to the community.

    “During the past 21 years, the foundation has done much to better the lives of those who live, work, study and/or play in the ‘City Beautiful,’” said Mr. Bonn. “These five individuals have demonstrated extreme talent, generosity, patience and devotion in their respective fields of endeavor and to the communities in which they have worked and lived.”

    The night’s award ceremony honored community leaders in five categories:

    •Willy Bermello Legacy Award: Robert J. “Bob” Fewell, for his generous contributions to the Coral Gables community, including $2 million to the Coral Gables Museum

    • Community Award: Wayne E. “Chip” Withers, for his 20 years of service as a city commissioner and piloting the formation of the Coral Gables Museum

    • Culture Award: Steven “Steve” H. Krams, for spreading artistry throughout Coral Gables and allowing it to flourish via the Coral Gables Art Cinema

    • Education Award: Dr. Joyce J. Elam, for her impact on community education after serving as executive dean of Florida International University’s College of Business for 15 years

    • Sports/Entertainment Award (posthumous): Paul T. Dee (accepted by Cathy Zuckerman Dee), for his impact on and involvement in the athletic community as University of Miami athletic director and general counsel

    Once the award ceremony reached its end, dinner was served. Guests dined from a menu featuring delicious selections, such as a steakhouse Caesar salad, beef tenderloin with butter-poached lobster tail and a dessert platter.

    Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, led the gala’s live auction. Applause filled the room as bidders showed their support for the foundation and walked away with valuable prizes. The silent auction wrapped up afterward.

    Marielena Villamil and John Allen, members of the foundation’s board of directors, chose the night’s winning raffle tickets for such prizes as a Bacardi beach package, romantic weekend package, sports fan package and Coral Gables package. Music then resumed and guests took to the dance floor for a fun-filled night of communal celebration that lasted until 1 a.m.

    Founded by community leaders in in 1991, the Coral Gables Community Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those who live or work in Coral Gables. All of the gala’s proceeds benefit the foundation.