Local Legendary Burger @ Hard Rock Cafe Tampa

Full disclosure: I was invited by the Hard Rock for a complimentary tasting of their new burger. The opinions expressed are my own based on my experience.

This past Monday I visited the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe, to taste their Local Legendary Burger: Old Bay Burger. The idea of the burger is to prepare something in-house that has “local flavor and flair”. During my visit I also tried an appetizer, drink special, and dessert.

Southwest Chicken Flatbread

I started off with the Southwest Chicken Flatbread as an appetizer. Flatbreads always sound great when I order them and they are usually disappointing. Not the case with the Southwest Chicken Flatbread at the Hard Rock Cafe. This was one of the best flatbreads I have eaten in the Tampa Bay region. It captured a nice mix of flavors and had fresh avocados served on top. The crust had just the right crunchy – not too crispy or too tough. I highly recommend this.

Summertime Blues drink

The Summertime Blues drink is a special added to the menu currently. It is made with Blueberry Real syrup, house-made lemonade, and Red Bull Yellow energy drink. The mixture is sweet and packed with plenty of energy. This beverage is non-alcoholic.

Local Legendary Burger

Local Legendary Burger

After the appetizer was gone, the main course arrived: the Local Legendary Burger called the Old Bay Burger. Named after Old Bay Seasoning – a product of Maryland where crabs are plentiful. The burger utilizes a crab cake mixture laid on top of the burger (important to note for anyone with allergies).

I really enjoyed this burger – it’s totally different from what you’d normally find on a menu and it’s really filling as you can see in the photograph. You can taste the seasoning in each bite and how the different parts of the burger interact. Part of me wanted to actually just have the crab cake part and cut out the beef just to see how that might change the mix of flavors – it was enjoyable regardless though. The chef also made a sauce to accompany the burger.

I’d love to hear people’s opinions on what they think of the Local Legendary at the Hard Rock Cafe and see how it compares to my experience.

Key Lime Pie

Finally, the meal ended with the dessert. The newest addition to the Hard Rock Cafe is their Key Lime Pie so I decided to go with that. The filling was reminiscent of a flan due to it being soft and almost like pudding. The taste was not too sour or sweet – somewhere in between. The crust was excellent and definitely the highlight of the dessert.

Thus the meal came to an end. There are plenty of new things worth trying at the Hard Rock Cafe whether you are looking for a snack or a meal.

Hard Rock Cafe. 5223 Orient Rd., Tampa, FL 33610. (813) 627-7757 seminolehardrocktampa.com

High West Dinner

High West Distillery Dinner Thursday at Hard Rock Tampa

This Thursday, July 28th, 2016 – Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino located at 5223 North Orient Road will host a High West Distillery Dinner in the Council Oak Lounge with a cocktail reception at 6:30PM and dinner promptly at 7:00PM. This event is for guests ages 21 years and older.

The four-course will showcase innovative culinary dishes paired with High West Distillery spirits including:  High West Distillery Silver Whiskey, High West Distillery American Prairie Bourbon, High West Distillery Campfire, High West Distillery Limited Release – Yippee Ki-Yay and High West Distillery Double Rye.

High West Whiskey

Each guest who attends will receive a commemorative bottle of High West Distillery Double Rye. There will also be a special performance by Josh Carroll.

Tickets cost $221 (including taxes and gratuity) per person and space is limited. Tickets can be purchased by calling (813) 627-6630.

High West Distillery began in 2009 and was opened in Park City, Utah – becoming the first distillery in Utah since 1870, pre-prohibition era. The distillery was founded by David, a biochemist with a passion for whiskey, and his wife, Jane Perkins. The High West Master Distiller, Brendan Coyle, has a Master’s of Science in Brewing and Distilling Science from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland and began his career at Red Rock Brewing Company.

For a list of awards/accolades of High West check out this page: http://www.highwest.com/awards-accolades.php

Follow Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Twitter @SHRTampa.


Tostones, Inc. food truck opening next week

Tampa will have a new food truck hit the streets next week called Tostones, Inc Food Truck. Tostones, Inc. will serve a variety of dishes with tostones as the main ingredient. Tostones, for those who don’t know, are twice-fried green, ripe plantain slices – they are crispy and delicious and found in many Spanish speaking countries cuisine.


Tostones dish

Some tostones dish flavors to be sold on the truck include:

  • Beef Picadillo
  • Buffalo Chicken Wing
  • Chicken Salad
  • Latin Pork
  • Tostones Nachos

In addition, the food truck will sell a number of different sandwiches using the same toppings used in their tostones dishes with Cuban bread.

The Grand Opening of Tostones, Inc. will take place at Pierhouse at Channelside located at 1226 East. Cumberland Avenue Tampa, FL, 33602 on Thursday, July 28th, 2016 from 5PM-8:30PM. RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/1051203154971648/

To book Tostones, Inc. Food Truck call (813) 817-8239 or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tostonesinc

Dave & Buster's

Dave & Buster’s arcade coming to Brandon

Popular game arcade and sports bar, Dave & Buster’s, is making plans to come to Brandon after years of speculation of when they would arrive in the Tampa Bay market. The 40,000 square-foot facility features a restaurant and 412 parking spots.


The restaurant serves American food fare including burgers, ribs, steak, seafood, sandwiches, and salads. Alcohol options includes wine, bottled beer, local beer, and spirits.

Let’s hope they bring the new Dance Dance Revolution over to the Brandon location (cue: 90’s and early 2000’s memories).

Major local competitor GameTime just finished a remodeling worth $1 million in Ybor City that includes high-end modern materials and furnishings, 65 TV’s, and new attractions and games. Time will tell if Dave & Buster’s has any impact on their business.

The greater Brandon area has been rapidly building new apartment complexes and home projects keeping in line with all the new business coming to the area with TopGolf and Bass Pro Shops already established in the area. In addition, this fall Goodrich Quality Theaters will open a multiplex in Gibsonton and Xscape Theatres will open in Riverview on the corner of Progress Blvd. and I-75 soon as well. Previously the only option for Brandon residents was AMC Regency 20.


Izakaya Japanese pub ‘Noble Rice’ now open

Tampa residents can enjoy a whole new experience with the soft opening of Noble Rice, an izakaya or Japanese style pub in South Tampa on Platt Street. These pubs normally serve Japanese appetizers and beer/sake wine to customers in an intimate setting used for socializing or meetings.

The restaurant is aiming for a traditional Japanese environment and menu with some inspiration from the south. Head Chef and Co-Owner, Eric Fralick, feels “southern comfort food and Japanese comfort food are so compatible, they were meant to be together”.

Fusion dishes include Sake Ribs utilizing Japanese sake to kick up a southern favorite and Tan Tan Men Wings inspired by buffalo wings. Many of the traditional dishes also incorporate fusion elements into them.

Traditional Japanese izakaya finds include yakitori (meat and vegetable skewers), takoyaki (octopus balls), gyoza (pan-fried dumplings), yamakake (grated yam), and a number of nigiri/sushi options. Ramen lovers will also find a variety of Shoyu ramen soups (soy-sauce base).

It wouldn’t be a true izakaya if we were not also discussing the drink selections. Sake lovers can find a wide-selection of rice wine. Noble Rice serves a Japanese distilled spirit, called shochu, which is derived from a variety of ingredients including sweet potato, barley, buckwheat, and sugar cane. Popular local craft beer will also be available on tap.

Here is a current list of beer/wine (7/21/16):


  • Satsuma Shiranami – Sweet Potato
  • Hakutake Shiro Kome -Rice
  • Chiyonosono 8,000 Generation – Rice
  • Kintaro – Roasted Barley


  • Ama No To Heavens Door
  • Junmai
  • Kikusui Blue Junmai
  • Southern Beauty
  • Born Gold Konteki Pearls of Simplicity
  • Tozai Snow Maiden Nigori
  • Hiko’s Reserve Junmai
  • Eiko Fuji BanRyu
  • Sword of the Sun


  • Cabernet Savignon – Grayson Cellars
  • Pinot Noir – Block Nine
  • Chardonnay -Annabella
  • Sparkling – Francois Montand Brut

Beer on Tap (rotating to local companies)

  • Big Storm – Wavemaker
  • Coppertail – Free Dive
  • Coppertail – Unholy Tripple
  • 3 Daughters- Beach Blonde
  • Darwin- Parata Pils

Bottled Beer

  • Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Nest Red Rice Ale
  • Seadog Blue Paw
  • Stella Artois
  • Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider
  • Motorworks – V Twin

Here are some photos via Noble Rice Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NobleRiceCo/




Blood Orange Ramen


Noble Rice. 807 W Platt St, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 284-7423 noblericeco.com

Ginger Beard Coffee turns one

Local Downtown Tampa cafe, Ginger Beard Coffee, turns one year old on Thursday, July 14th, 2016. They will be raffling off a chance for free coffee in celebration. If you haven’t been yet, Ginger Beard Coffee is located inside Pourhouse Tampa in the Grand Central at Kennedy which is located at 1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112.

Ginger Beard Coffee serves excellent nitro brew coffee – my personal favorite there is the Cubano which will send a jolt of energy through your body. Check out this video I shot there a few months back with an explanation from one of the owners:

Ginger Beard Coffee Flyer


List of Tampa Bay Restaurant PokeStops

Without a map for Pokemon Go – plenty of people are wondering where you can find PokeStops while going out. I am going to aim to make a list here of restaurants and cafes that are PokeStops or located right by one.

Last Updated: 7/20/16


  • Brandon/Riverview
    • Acropolis – 6108 Winthrop Main St, Riverview, FL 33578
    • Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen – 11135 Lake Brandon Village, Causeway Blvd, Tampa, FL 33511
    • Mellow Mushroom – 10959 Causeway Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511
    • World of Beer – 2878 Providence Lakes Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511
  •  Carrollwood
    • Bubba’s Sports Bar- 214 E Bearss Ave., Tampa, FL 33613
    • Cigar City Brewpub – 15491 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33624
    • O’Brien’s Irish Pub – 15435 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618
    • Pepo’s Jr. Cafe – 3879 Northdale Blvd, Tampa, FL 33624
    • Show-Me’s Sports Bar & Grill – 12836 Henderson Rd, Tampa, FL 33625
    • Twistee Treat – 3846 W Fletcher Ave, Tampa, FL 33618
  • Downtown Tampa
    • Ginger Beard Coffee – 1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112, Tampa, FL
  • Lutz
    • Mekenita Mexican Grille and Catering – 17623 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Lutz, FL 33548
  • New Tampa
    • Liang’s Bistro – 17515 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33647
    • Starbucks – 17525 Preserve Walk Ln, Tampa, FL 33647
    • Twistee Treat – 8810 New Tampa Blvd, Tampa FL 33647
  • Oldsmar
    • Chili’s – 3701 Tampa Rd, Oldsmar, FL 34677
  • South Tampa
    • Firehouse Subs – 2227 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33629
  • Temple Terrace/USF
    • Gaspar’s Patio Bar & Grille – 8448 N 56th St, Tampa, FL 33617
    • Jerk Hut – 926 E Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33612
    • Lazy Brew USF (former Graffiti Junktion) – 11401 N 56th St., Temple Terrace, FL 33617
    • Persia House of Kebabs – 1441 E Fletcher Ave #123, Tampa, FL 33612
    • TacoSon – 7521 N. 56th St, Tampa, FL 33617
    • Taco Bus –  2320 E Fletcher Ave, Tampa, FL 33613
  • Town N’ Country
    • Tokyo Chinese & Japanese Restaurant – 7911 W Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33615
    • Twistee Treat – 6900 Hanley Rd, Tampa, FL 33634
    • Vallarta’s – 9212 Anderson Rd., Tampa, FL 33634
  • Wesley Chapel
    • Tijuana Flats – 27709 Florida 56, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543
  • WestShore
    • Chipotle – 309 N. Westshore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609
    • Pelagia Trattoria –  International Plaza and Bay Street, 4200 Jim Walter Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607
    • P.F. Chang’s (lion statues outside) – 219 Westshore Plaza, Tampa, FL 33609
  • Ybor City
    • The Bad Monkey –  1717 E. 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605
    • Columbia Restaurant – 2117 E 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605
    • La Tropicana Cafe – 1822 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
    • Tampa Bay Brewing Co. – 1600 E. 9th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605
    • Tequilas (sit near entrance) – 1613 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

St. Petersburg

  • Downtown St. Pete
    • Pipo’s To Go – 8 – 4th St N, St. Petersburg, FL
    • Red Mesa Mercado – 1100 1st Ave N, St Petersburg FL 33705
  • Greater St. Pete
    • Tijuana Flats – 2117 66th St N, St Petersburg FL 33710
  • Pinellas Park
    • Chipotle – 3700 Park Blvd N, Pinellas Park FL 33781
    • Season’s Cafe & Bakery – 7261 US Hwy 19 N, Pinellas Park, FL 33781


  • Palm Harbor
    • LBC Palm Harbor – 35631 US-19, Palm Harbor, FL 34684

Have tips on locations? Send them to my e-mail CarlosEats[at]gmail[dot]com