Tampa Bay Food Fight 2018 a smashing success

Metropolitan Ministries had their Tampa Bay Food Fight 2018 charity fundraiser tonight at Armature Works in Tampa Heights.

St. Pete edged out Tampa for the best food city with chefs claiming victory from The Mill, Parkshore Grill, Locale Market, Dr. BBQ, Red Mesa, Il Ritorno, The Birchwood, and The Peabody.

Metropolitan Ministries raised $250,000 at the event and is still aiming for $300,000 as their goal to help them in their mission to fight poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

The proceeds help their Culinary Arts Program that teaches valuable skills to those seeking to improve their lives and work in the food industry.

You can donate at 
http://secure.metromin.org/site/SPageNavigator/ITB_Culinary_Arts_Program.html


Here are highlights from the evening:

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#tbff2018 #behope #tampabayfoodfight @levy.restaurants

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Restaurant News: Jubao Palace Noodle Bar and Center Bar now open at Hard Rock Tampa

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino recently re-opened the Jubao Palace Noodle Bar and Center Bar after renovations. The Noodle Bar has expanded from 16 seats to 44 seats and features a “new upscale and enhanced design.


Restaurant hours are 11:30AM to 4AM Monday to Thursday, 11:30AM to 5AM Fridays & Saturdays, and 11AM to 4AM on Sundays.

It is probably the only place you can grab late-night Vietnamese and Cantonese cuisine in Tampa. The re-design was done by Klai Juba Wald Interiors.

In addition, The Center Bar has a new and upgraded look designed by Wimberly with 12 TV’s set to sports broadcasting and 17 slot machines lining the bar surface. It can fit up to 90 people.

Tampa ranked #12 in foodie cities by WalletHub

Tampa was ranked #12 in “foodie” cities by WalletHub for 2018 beating out popular cities such as Chicago, Denver, and Charleston. This adds to a growing number of lists that Tampa is finding itself on.

Tampa’s food scene has grown incredibly since I began writing in 2010. The last 8 years have seen a growing food truck scene, explosion in craft breweries, and a healthy growth of so-called “third wave of coffee” shops around the bay area.

Local restaurants and national chains have made aggressive expansions across the city and many suburban areas such as Wesley Chapel and the Brandon/SouthShore area have experienced major growth in the last few years and the economy recovers from The Great Recession. 

There is so much more to come as well with the growth of Tampa Heights, completion of the Tampa Riverwalk, and Water Street Tampa opening in the next few years in Downtown Tampa.

Related – Guide: Top 8 Local Coffee Shops in Tampa and 10 Great Local Craft Breweries in Tampa Bay

Support Tampa Bay Food Fight October 16th at Armature Works

The Tampa Bay Food Fight is returning this October in the fight against poverty and hunger. Chefs from Tampa and St. Petersburg will put out their best food in the name of charity. Which city do you think will will win? The fundraiser will occur on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018 from 6:30PM-9:30PM in Tampa Heights at Armature Works (1910 North Ola Avenue).
 

The competition will be hosted by WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil and Radio Personality Mike Calta. Tickets are $125 and are now on-sale. Buy your ticket at tampabayfoodfight.org Participating Tampa restaurants include:
  • Elevage
  • CENA
  • Steelbach
  • Oystercatchers
  • Armani’s
  • Hemingway
  • Ava
  • Oxford Exchange
  • Bern’s Steak House
  • Inside the Box
  • Dough Nation
  • Cru Cellar
  • Graze 1910
  • World of Beer
  • Zukku Sushi
  • Ciccio Cali
  • Ocean Prime
  • Mise en Place
  • The Rez Grill
  • Rooster & The Till
  • Forbici
  • Haven
  • Chismis
Participating St. Pete restaurants include:
  • The Mill
  • Parkshore Grill
  • The Avenue
  • Noble Crust
  • Better Byrd
  • Hawker’s
  • The Birchwood
  • Big Storm Brewery
  • Mini Doughnut Factory
  • Il Ritorno
  • The Peabody
  • Locale
  • Dr. BBQ
  • Red Mesa
  • Ichicoro
The line-up is truly exceptional. The event is organized by Metropolitan Ministries and benefits Metropolitan Ministries and Inside the Box which are working to fight homelessness, poverty, and hunger.

Plan your perfect French party with Pinnacle® Vodka

This post is sponsored by Pinnacle® Vodka.

Most people are aware that French cuisine is one of the foundations of our culinary world, but what about libations and cocktails?

France has long been a leader in the spirit business including the vodka sector with Pinnacle® Vodka, an award-winning spirit. Pinnacle® Vodka comes from France’s Cognac Region also known as “Spirit Valley”.

It is the perfect foundation to your next France-themed party in your house.

Pinnacle® is the ultimate combination of quality and value. I often enjoy it on the rocks with some of my favorite foods.

Here are some suggestions on what to include in your next French-themed party alongside your Pinnacle® Vodka.

  • Cheese & Bread: Would it really be French without cheese and bread? Incorporate some Brie into your get-together. Brie is the best-known French cheese and is also known as “The Queen of Cheese”. Don’t forget some rye bread with it. These items are known to pair well with vodka.
  • French Phrases: Power up your French vocabulary for your get-together. Here are a few easy phrases you can wow your guests with.
    • Bienvenue (bee-ehn veh-noo) – Welcome
    • Merci (mehr-see) – Thank you
    • Comment allez-vous? (kom-mohn tah-lay voo) – How are you?
    • À la votre (a la voht-reu)! – to your health (a cheers saying)
    • Rentrez-bien, bonne soirée ! – Get home safe, good night!
  • French Music: Music creates a mood. Taking a quick search on music streaming websites will reveal tons of playlists for French dinner music. I’d recommend adding that to your party for an extra impact. France has many classic artists from various eras as well as quite catchy pop music these days.
  • French Art: Personally I’m a huge fan of Renoir from the Impressionism period, but France has long led in art and architecture in western civilization and you could find plenty of images to use as a backdrop to your get together.
  • Soccer: France made a huge win this year. If you need a backdrop for your get-together why not pull up one of their games and stream it on the television. France did an incredible job.

Amusez-vous bien! (Enjoy)

Drink Smart® Pinnacle® Imported Vodka, 40% Alc./Vol. Distilled from Grain, ©2018 Portfield Importers, Chicago, IL, USA; All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

100+ restaurants participating in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month 2018

Taking a trip to Orlando soon? Something delicious is cooking in “The Theme Park Capital of the World”.

Prepare to enjoy some serious dining deals for Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. 100+ restaurant will be offering three course prix-fixe meals for $35 per person. The restaurant month is sponsored by American Express and will run from Friday, August 24th to Sunday, September 30th.

It’s a great way to try restaurants that you’ve been wanting to experience. New additions for 2018 include first-time vegan options as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options.

$1 from every meal will be donated to a local charities Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.

According to Visit Orlando, “Proceeds from Magical Dining Month will help Best Buddies expand its programs into Orange County middle schools with high populations of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This mentorship program helps improve students’ quality of life and foster an inclusive middle school culture, by erasing the barrier that typically separates students with disabilities”.

Also: “Proceeds from Magical Dining Month will help the Down Syndrome Association expand its emergency and crisis fund, pay for potential medical needs not covered by insurance, and fund therapy scholarship programs.”

Some notable restaurants on the list include Morimoto Asia, Wine Bar George, K Restaurant, Pharmacy Orlando, Seito Sushi Baldin Park, and more. You’ll find everything from local hotposts to chains and even some steakhouses and upper-tier restaurants on the list.

Check out www.orlandomagicaldining.com for the full details, menus, and more.

News: Petit Piquant now closed. New concept in the works.

Scoop: Petit Piquant located near North Hyde Park is now permanently closed. The French-inspired bakery served a wide range of pastries, sandwiches, and coffee. I was personally a big fan of their Kouign-Amann pastries.

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Coming soon, Tampa! 🌮🌮🌮

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Rumor Mill: The owners Ricardo Castro and Rosana Rivera are pursuing a new business venture called Xilo Mexican Steet Food. The concept was first used a pop-up at The Hall on Franklin in Tampa Heights.

More details as I get them!

Check out Xilo Street Mexican on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/xilostreetmexican/

Check out Xilo Street Mexican on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/xilostreetmexican/

 

Guide: Where to eat and drink in Miami Beach

Miami Beach is a classic tourist attraction. Hotels are all along the strip with bars and restaurants just waiting for customers. It’s a little hard to navigate as well. Most bars are open late and many are open until 5AM with nightclubs filling in the party scene.

Here are some recommendations on where to go in South Beach when you’re there.

Uber Pool and Lyft will easily transport you around this area for less than $5 in most cases so avoid attempting to park if possible.

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LOCO FOR TACOS🌮❤️🎉 – droppin’ a lil #flashback here with these three beautiful and flavorful tacos from @bodegasobe 🤤🙌🏼 definitely craving ‘em rn😩 – from left to right is the avocado with refried black beans + mushrooms + lettuce + cotija cheese + red chili crema 🔹 the guajillo braised short rib with cotija cheese + charred onions + cilantro + potato sticks aaand salsa rosada 🔹the grilled mahi with charred pineapple + pickled red onion aand a chipotle-cotija dressin’ + a side of this heavenly thicc guacamole😲👅💦 – so so goood i can still taste it while writing this🤪 happyy wednesdayy✨ . . . . #love #happy #food #foodie #eats #sobe #bodega #southbeach #foodiesofmiami #miami #taco #tacos

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Bodega Taqueria y Tequila: This place is unassuming from the outside, but behind the front and through a few doors is a beautiful bar with libations and food as well as music spinning until 5AM. The best part about this place is their daily happy hour from 6PM to 8PM which features loaded tacos for $2 and $6 cocktails as well as $4 chips and salsa / $5 mezcal and tequila shots. There is a $35 minimum for card so make sure you bring cash or use the ATM there if you don’t mind paying a fee. These were some of the best tacos I have enjoyed in a long time. The ribeye and mahi mahi tacos were excellent. I enjoyed a Maduro Old Fashioned. I highly recommend this spot. Note: 18% Gratuity and 7% Sales Tax will automatically be added to your bill. 1220 16th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (305) 704-2145 http://www.bodegasouthbeach.com/

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Cocktailbar #miami #gt

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Employees Only: Quality craft cocktails await at this speakeasy hidden behind a psychic / tarot card room. The best seats are at the bar in my opinion just because its beautiful, but service was also great tableside. Drinks are fairly priced for Miami Beach and they pack a punch. The Hurricane was enjoyable. 1030 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (786) 264-3945 http://employeesonlymiami.com

Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company: You’ll find this beautiful neon lit bar in Collins Park area. The best time to go is during happy hour from 4PM to 7PM where you can enjoy a fantastic Classic Daquiri for $5 as I did or even Tommy’s Margarita for $8. You’ll easily spend $20 a drink in the off hours which is pretty average for Miami. 237 20th Street Suite B, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (305) 763-8217 http://mysweetliberty.com/

The Broken Shaker: Socialites can enjoy a tiki bar with craft cocktails at The Broken Shaker at Freehand Hotel. There is plenty of people mingling and on dates so it may not be the best bar for someone flying solo. The drinks here are strong, inventive, and flavorful. It might be one of the best bars I have been to and I would go with a crowd or some friends for sure. Expect to spend $15-$20 on a drink. Happy Hour is only for hotel guests as is the pool area. 2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33140 (305) 531-2727 http://freehandhotels.com/miami/broken-shaker/

Moshi Moshi: If you want a reasonably priced Japanese restaurant in South Beach, Moshi Moshi will fit the bill. It’s located right next to Española Way. They deliver and are open-late. Lunch specials here are under $8 which is a steal for South Beach. I enjoyed a takoyaki (octopus balls) during my visit and it was superb as well as Crunchy Krab Ceviche which wasn’t ceviche at all but a great assortment of imitation Krab, crunchies, avocados, eel sauce, and spicy mayo. Sushi rolls start at $5 and many are under $10. 1448 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (305) 531-4520

Rosseta Bakery: This local bakery in Miami has excellent Italian breads and pastries as well as a beautiful interior and is a great place to get work done and wake up in the morning with a coffee after a long night of drinking and partying in Miami Beach. You must try the prosciutto croissant sandwich. It is life-changing. The staff is incredibly friendly and they were playing Destiny’s Child and Beyonce songs at 7AM. I can get behind that. 929 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (786) 216-7795 http://www.rosettabakery.com

CL Tampa Margarita Wars happening Friday July 27th

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Creative Loafing Tampa. Any opinions expressed are my own and do not represent Creative Loafing.

Get ready to party like it is Cinco de Mayo this month. Local newspaper Creative Loafing Tampa will have their annual Margarita Wars competition on Friday, July 27th from 7PM to 10PM at TPepin’s Hospitality at 4121 North 50th Street in Tampa.

Guests will sample margaritas from more than 15 mixologists around town and vote for “Tampa Bay’s Best Margarita” while enjoying Mexican bites from top restaurants.

Margaritas are one of the most popular drinks in the United States and Americans drink up to 185,000 margaritas per hour according to The Nibble.

In fact, The United States is the number one tequila market in the world beating even Mexico. Not only that, but the South accounts for 34.9% of all margarita sales nationwide. It makes sense considering how hot it is.

Tickets start at $45 and are now on-sale. VIP attendees will enjoy an hour of early entry as well as other perks.

This event is for ages 21+ older only.

Now to go look for my sombrero.

Buy Tickets: http://tampabayeventtickets.com/events/54636603/margarita-wars-2018

Participating restaurants and bars include:

  • Beach Bar & Restaurant
  • Besito Mexican
  • Brew Bus Brewing
  • Bungalow Restaurant & Bar
  • Casa Tina
  • Copper Shaker
  • Datz
  • Epicurean Hotel
  • First Chance Last Chance Bar
  • Haven
  • Iberian Rooster
  • Parks & Rec
  • Pisces Sushi & Global Bistro
  • Rasoi Indian Cuisine
  • The Avenue Eat + Drink
  • The Bricks
  • The Living Room on Main
  • The Mill
  • World of Beer
  • & More

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1322485457897217/