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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Tacos, Chili, and Rum Cocktails: Just a Taste of Taste of Winter Haven 2024

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Tacos, Chili, and Rum Cocktails: Just a Taste of Taste of Winter Haven 2024

by James Coulter

Homemade sirloin chili. Topped with cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. Served alongside warm bread pudding with bourbon sauce. And to drink, a rum cocktail made with light and dark rum.

Does this sound like a good bite to eat worth waiting in line twice for? Well, Beth Nunez of Lucille’s American Cafe can attest to that. She saw several attendees at this year’s Taste of Winter Haven do exactly that at her serving table.

“We had a lot of people come by the booth twice, a lot of familiar faces and regular customers, as well as some new friends,” she said. “I think it was a great turnout. I think it was packed. I think we had a long line for a long while, And a lot of the other vendors did as well.”

Lucille’s American Cafe was one of the several dozen local eateries that served good eats at this year’s Taste of Winter Haven, a fundraiser hosted by the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce at Venue 650.

“I think it is a great event for the community to come together and be able to experience all of the different businesses have to offer,” Nunez said.

Other food choices that evening included garlic parmesan wings from Duke’s Winghouse, blueberry scones from Richard’s Fine Coffee, and birria and fish tacos from the Elite Catering Company.

Chef G of Inner G Cafe served red bean hummus and chickpea salad, along with blueberry lemonade and tea, as some of the selections from her vegan, plant-based menu. She assumed her vegan food would not be popular that evening, yet she ended up having a hard time serving enough food that evening.

“It has been amazing and just unexpected,” she said. “Everyone has been open-minded trying the food. I am so excited. It is exceeding expectations. It is great to see new faces. A lot of people do not know about us, so any opportunity for networking I am down for.”

This year’s event managed to sell out with more attendees than ever, having sold more than 500 tickets, said Sara Beth Wyatt, President and CEO of the Winter Haven Chamber. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Chamber and its many services and programs for the local community.

“All of our local restaurants jump in and participate,” she said. “We are truly able to give everyone a real taste of Winter Haven and all we have to offer in our community of culinary ventures. We are excited to have this event back next February, and we cannot wait to see everyone again in 2025.”

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