5th Annual Tampa Bay Margarita Festival this Saturday!

Looking for something fun to do this Memorial Day Weekend? The 5th Annual Tampa Bay Margarita Festival is this Saturday, May 27th, 2017 at Curtis Hixon Park from 12PM-11PM. The 21+ event will feature Barenaked Ladies as the main act.

The 21+ event will feature Barenaked Ladies as the main act with live music all day from other acts. Tickets are on sale and start at $25. Buy tickets: http://ticketf.ly/2qaFAGj

Full drink list: http://www.tampamargaritafest.com/margaritas

This year there is a new RFID wristband system that features no more topping up (if using a credit card), no more waiting in double lines, no more refund fees, and no more waiting for refunds.

There will be a new double bartender system implemented to help shorten lines and increase drink turn-around time.

The event is pet-friendly as well!

Check out the Margarita Run before the event begins -registration gets you into the race, a t-shirt, and one Zignum Mezcal Margarita drink at the festival: http://www.tampamargaritafest.com/margarita-run

Tequila enthusiasts can check out the Grand Tequila Tasting (a separate add-on) which will feature over 30 tequila brands for $25: http://www.tampamargaritafest.com/tequila-tasting

Tampa is currently projected to be sunny and warm on Saturday – perfect for an outdoor event.

Event name: 5th Annual Tampa Bay Margarita Festival

Venue: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Date & Time: Saturday, May 27th, 2017 12PM-11PM

Address: 600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL 33602

Ages: 21+ only

Buy Tickets: http://ticketf.ly/2qaFAGj

Website: http://www.tampamargaritafest.com/

CL HighBall Another Round This Thursday!

Looking to start your summer off with some of the best cocktails in town?

Local newspaper Creative Loafing is bringing their CL HighBall cocktail competition to Tampa this Thursday, May 11th from 7PM to 10PM at the Rialto Theatre in Tampa Heights next to Foundation Coffee and Hidden Springs Ale Works brewery.

Over a dozen restaurants and bars from both sides of Tampa Bay will feature unlimited craft cocktails with vodka, whisky, rum, or gin for this summer event and be competing to win the title of “Tampa Bay’s Best Cocktail”.

The winning cocktail will be featured later this year at CL’s Best of the Bay Awards Party in September.

Tickets are $25 in advance for General Admission and $40 at the door. VIP tickets are available for $50 in advance and $80 at the door if available. VIP includes an extra hour of sampling and VIP-only appetizers from Casey’s Craft Bar Kitchen.

This event is for participants ages 21+ only.

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2qLcNM6

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Ybor City Museum Society. The Ybor City Museum Society is committed to “its mission of preserving, promoting and celebrating the unique cultural heritage of Ybor City, one of only three National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida”. Learn more about the society at ybormuseum.org

Here is a video from the fun in St. Pete earlier this year:

Event Name: CL HighBall Another Round

Venue: Rialto Theatre

Address: 1617 N. Franklin St. in Tampa

Date & Time: Thursday, May 11th, 2017 7PM to 10PM

Ages: 21+ only

Buy Tickets: http://bit.ly/2qLcNM6

Website: http://www.cltampa.com/highball

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/406121439767056/

Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen in Brandon

This past weekend I dined at Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen in Brandon across the street from Portillo’s.

Our new favorite Cajun spot!!

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The restaurant is fairly new and opened back in 2016 and is part of a small chain of restaurants that are also found in Winter Park and Altamonte Springs. My family is hooked on their food and I found out why during my visit.

Prices are fair and the quality is excellent. My Aunt has been to New Orleans a little over half-a-dozen times and praised the food –  I’m sure this would vary from person to person.

What I can say is that I enjoyed my food – the Rita’s Chicken which is panko-crusted chicken with lemon sauce over dirty rice ($15.25).

The portions here are huge and easily shareable between two people – not a problem. The server and bartenders encountered were all friendly and even during their slow times the restaurant was nearly at capacity.

😋😋😋😋😋 @tibbysrestaurant #tampa #brandon #foodies #beignets #tampaeats #CarlosEats

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For dessert we enjoyed beignets covered in powdered sugar. I don’t think there are too many places in Tampa where you can grab these and I usually stop for some at the Poor Porker in Lakeland on trips to Orlando. It wasn’t quite the Poor Porker – but still delicious and a shorter drive (If the Poor Porker is reading this – please come to Tampa).

Overall – I enjoyed my food and experience and will return soon. There’s a lunch menu and daily happy hour plus plenty of drink specials. Interesting menu items for future visits include the Jambalaya, Po’Boy selections, Chicken & Waffles, Fried Catfish, Cajun Shrimp Pasta, and Gumbo selections.

Restaurant name: Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen

Cuisine: Cajun

Neighborhood: Brandon

Address: 1721 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511

Phone Number: (813) 315-8443

Menu: http://tibbys.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017_TibbysMenu-Brandon_Online-Only.pdf

Happy Hour: 4PM-6PM Daily

Website: http://tibbys.com/

Festa Italiana 20th anniversary this weekend!

Festa Italiana will celebrate their 20th anniversary this weekend in Ybor City.

The opening event, Wines of Italy, has already taken plan and the weekend will bring plenty of delicious feasts and events on Saturday with the main event happening Sunday, April 9th, at Centennial Park from 11AM to 6:30PM.

Over 35 of Tampa Bay’s top restaurants will participate in the festival. Italian singer, Zucchero, will headline the cultural food and wine festival on Sunday. Proceeds will benefit the Italian Club Restoration Fund.

The Italian Club was founded in 1894 that was created to unite the Italian community in Tampa to overcome social and economic challenges when they first arrived in the area. The mission of the group is to preserve and honor the culture, traditions, and heritage of the Italian community and maintain the historical facility as a memorial to the working class immigrants.

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Tickets can be purchased online via Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/festa-italiana-the-main-event-20th-anniversary-feat-zucchero-tickets-29982099266

Children ages 12 and under are FREE to the main event. Centennial Park is located at 1800 East 8th Avenue Tampa, FL 33605.

Ceviche Paella Porch Party Sundays: $25 Unlimited Sangria and Paella

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant about the Paella Porch Party series they are currently hosting. I have been compensated for this article. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Sundays in South Tampa are getting more upbeat with Ceviche’s Paella Porch Party series being held on Sundays from 11AM-4PM. Enjoy unlimited paella and endless house sangria (white/red) for $25 during this special event.

For those who haven’t tried Paella – it is a Valencian rice dish from Spain. The name of the dish comes from the Old French word paelle which means pan and the Latin word patella meaning pan. The dish is often cooked in a large pan with all the ingredients cooked to perfection. It can also be cooked in small pans for personal servings.

House sangria normally goes for $7 a glass and around $20-$40 a pitcher and the Paella on the menu is normally over $20 – making this a great deal for Sunday Brunch attendees.

I’m personally a fan of Ceviche’s sangria and have celebrated numerous occasions there with friends – it definitely stands as one of the top places to get sangria in Tampa Bay.

Ceviche South Tampa is located at 2500 West Azeele Street Tampa, Florida 33609. Ceviche was founded in 1997 as the original tapas restaurant in the region.

Visit Ceviche online at http://www.ceviche.com/tampa/

Ruth’s TasteMaker Dinners: DAOU Vineyards & Winery

Ruth’s Chris Steak House recently began hosting a new dinner wine series called Ruth’s TasteMaker Dinners. The restaurant is teaming up with 6 pairing partners at 106 locations for this series including DAOU Vineyards & Winery, Johnnie Walker Whisky, Chateau Montelena Winery, Marchesi Antinori, and more.

I will check out the DAOU Vineyards dinner this Friday evening as a guest at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Look for my write-up afterwards.

On the food menu: Jerk-Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Honey & Soy Glazed Atlantic Cod, Coffee & Chocolate Braised Short Rib Ragout, Petite Filet Mignon, and Molten Chocolate Cake.

On the wine tasting list: 2015 Chemin de Fleurs, 2015 Chardonnay, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Cabernet Reserve and Pessimist.

Reservations can be made online at: http://www.ruthschris.com/promotions/daou-wine-dinner

DAOU is located in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles in California on a 212-acre hilltop estate and has a focus on creating Bordeaux style wines that combine Old World wine traditions with New World techniques. DAOU has a mission to produce first-growth Cabernet Sauvignon that will rival many of the greats.

The family business is run by brothers Georges Daou and Daniel Daou.

A look at the menu:

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Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach’s Ocean Hai Supports Local Charities

The next time you dine at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach‘s Ocean Hai restaurant, sit at table #31 to support Pinellas County local charities.

Bamboo + 💚 #werklife #bcvsocial #foodstyling #bcvtravels

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The program “You Dine, We Donate” will select a new local charity every month to feature and donates all net proceeds from food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases at the assigned table to a cause. Here is the upcoming list:

  • April: Autism Awareness Month – Tampa Bay Chapter
  • May: Troop Rewards
  • June: Pinellas County Lifeguards
  • July: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
  • August: Pinellas County Schools
  • September: Eckerd Kids
  • October: Hooked on Hope
  • November: Clearwater for Youth
  • December: Arts for Life

Not a bad view for lunch!

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Ocean Hai is the signature restaurant at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach serving Asian-fusion cuisine with inspirations from Asian countries such as Japan, Thailand, and China.

Chef de Cuisine John Capponi previously worked at Tampa’s On Swann in Hyde Park Village as Executive Chef and as Executive Sous Chef at Skytop Lounge in Pennsylvania.

The Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach is located at 100 Coronado Drive and is ocean-front. Clearwater Beach was recently named #4 on the 2017 “Top 10 Traveler’s Choice Beaches in the United States” by TripAdvisor.

Visit Ocean Hai online to book a reservation at http://www.wyndhamgrandclearwater.com/dining/ocean-hai