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NEWS: Reservations now available for SF Restaurant Week opening and closing dinners

San Francisco, CA – Reservations are now open for Eat Drink SF’s opening and closing dinners for SF Restaurant Week at The Vault Garden, Oct. 23, and at EPIC Steak on Nov. 1. Menus and pricing details are below. 

Opening dinner: A Taste of San Francisco Friday, Oct. 23, 5 to 8 p.m. The Vault Garden, San FranciscoThis socially distanced outdoor dinner features a collaborative multi-course experience designed by all-star chefs Robin Song of The Vault Garden, Jason Halverson of Hi Neighbor Group, Staffan Terje of Perbacco and barbacco, Reem Assil of Reem’s California, Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie and Routier and Angela Pinkerton of Pie Society and Pinkerton Confectionery. This one-night-only meal includes a welcome beverage and two desserts. $175, including all taxes, fees and gratuity. Tickets on OpenTable [View the menu here]

Closing dinner: A Waterfront Surf and Turf Experience from Waterbar and EPIC Steak: A Night of Gratitude Sunday, Nov. 1, 4 to 8 p.m. EPIC Steak, San FranciscoIconic San Francisco Bay views and live music from The Henry Coopers accompany a welcome cocktail and a sumptuous five-course surf and turf menu from the culinary teams at EPIC and Waterbar, led by acclaimed Executive Chef Parke Ulrich. Courses include Maine Lobster Beggar’s Purse, Venison Carpaccio & Crispy Oysters, Roasted Bone Marrow and Dungeness Crab Gratin, Classic Beef Wellington & Smoked Uni and Fall Apple Galette. Specialty cocktails featuring Maker’s Mark and Sipsmith Gin will also be offered.$127, including all taxes, fees and gratuity. Tickets on OpenTable.

Virtual events with ChefsFeed Eat Drink SF 2020 is coming to your home thanks to ChefsFeed. The line-up will include Kim Alter of Nightbird, Simileoluwa Adebajo of Eko Kitchen, Samir Mogannam of Beit Rima and Rebecca Pinnell, formerly of Bon Voyage! Details coming soon.

Find more information visit them online at sfrestaurantweek.com.

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NEWS: Early voting starts today in Hillsborough County

Vote By Mail has been breaking records in Hillsborough County this election, but it’s not the only option. For voters who prefer to vote in person, Early Voting begins Monday in Hillsborough County. In Hillsborough County, Early Voting is open for 14 days, from October 19 through November 1, 7AM to 7PM, including weekends.

Hillsborough County voters can choose from any of 26 Early Voting
locations to vote. This is different from Election Day, when voters must vote in the polling place assigned to their precinct. Each Early Voting location will also have a curbside, Vote By Mail drop-off tent for voters who want to turn in their Vote By Mail ballots in person.

“We are a large county and I want our voters to have plenty of options, so I’ve added extra sites and we will be open the maximum number of days and hours allowed by law,” said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. “In these uncertain times, I encourage voters to vote early if you can. If you get sick, or someone you care for gets sick, you may not be able to vote on Election Day.”

Early Voting for the General Election includes two new sites, at Amalie Arena and Raymond James Stadium. The voting sites in those locations will be similar in size to other large Early Voting sites in the county,
including the sites at several libraries and the University Area Community Center.

The elections office has taken extensive measures to ensure the health and safety of in-person voting, and has posted a video preview on the 2020 General Election page of their website.

Only a limited number of people will be allowed inside to ensure social distancing, and surfaces will be cleaned throughout the day. Poll workers are required to wear masks at all times, and face shields or plexiglass barriers will provide additional protection.

Supervisor Latimer asks that all voters wear masks and will have them available for voters, if needed. And, voters will get their own combination stylus/pen to sign in and mark their ballot.

“With ongoing cleaning and limited capacity, in-person voting will go a little slower, but once voters are inside the polling place, they should be able to move through quickly,” said Supervisor Latimer.

Voters should bring a Florida Driver License or other acceptable photo and signature ID for voter checkin. If they forget their ID, they can vote a provisional ballot to be verified by the elections office. The full
list of accepted IDs, along with a list of Early Voting locations, can be found on the Early Voting page of VoteHillsborough.org.

“The drive-up Vote By Mail drop-off tents are a contactless way for voters to cast their ballot in person, so I expect this option to be popular. We’ve sent out more than 405,000 Vote By Mail ballots and we want to
see those voted ballots come back in,” said Latimer.

Voters can still request a mail ballot online at VoteHillsborough.org or by calling (813) 744-5900.

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List: Tampa Bay + Orlando Restaurants maintaining social distancing rules despite Governor DeSantis

For some strange reason the Governor of Florida decided to move Florida into Phase 3 of the reopening from Coronavirus. There are no statewide rules on capacity or restrictions in restaurants in bars. Just weeks ago bars and breweries were closed due to the spike they contribute to the pandemic.

Governor DeSantis is now calling for packed football stadiums in the middle of a pandemic that has killed more than 15,000 Floridians and over 219,000 Americans in just a few months.

Some restaurants and bars said they will still maintain rules though and the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County have pledged to maintain things like mask rules in place (for now). Here are some of the places that are pledging to maintain rules:

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NEWS: Golden Gate Restaurant Association creates new dining program for 2020

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association in San Francisco is announcing a new dining program to support the local restaurant program which has been struggling due to COVID-19. The dining program is called: “Eat Drink SF Presents: 10 Days of Dining, Culture, and Community”.

The program will begin with an opening dinner on Friday October 23rd and run through Sunday November 1st.

The itinerary will explore neighborhoods throughout San Francisco with a focus on outdoor dining, Restaurant Week-style prix fixe menus., exclusive to-go options, virtual demos and forums as well as ticketed outdoor seated dinners, while keeping a focus on the current SF Department of Public Health guidelines.

Eat Drink SF has been around since 2009 and was created to celebrate the SF Bay Area restaurant community as a “world-class culinary destination”. This year proceeds will go entirely to participating restaurants, chefs and bartenders without an additional charitable partner involved.

The first event will be at The Vault Garden in San Francisco on October 23rd from 5:30PM to 8:30PM (reservations soon to come). The final event will be at EPIC Steak in San Francisco on November 1st from 5PM to 8PM.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has existed since 1936 with a mission to “celebrate and empower the restaurant community through advocacy, education, marketing, events, and training”. It is a San Francisco-based membership organization comprised of restaurant members of all sizes and profiles.

For more information visit them online at eatdrink-sf.com.

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Statement: Small Businesses Aghast at Trump stopping COVID Relief Negotiations

Today President Trump announced an end to the stimulus talks with no hope before Election Day. Main Street Alliance Executive Director, Amanda Ballantyne shares this:

“For Trump to stop negotiations on urgently needed relief, stating he will only resume negotiations after he “wins” the election shows callous disregard for millions of Americans suffering extreme financial hardship. The President appears willing to take the economy down with him if he fails, at this point.

Small business owners across the country are aghast at the short sightedness of this refusal to move an aid package. The failed leadership of the Trump Administration to control the pandemic and keep the economy on track will drive many small business owners to close and lead to prolonged economic hardship for working families in this country. Main Street Alliance members and small businesses across the country have been clamoring for months that additional support is necessary to avert a prolonged, protracted, costly and livelihood destroying economic crisis.

Small businesses have waited far too long for needed relief, and the consequences of delay have meant hundreds of thousands of closures impacting the labor market and economy. This is no time for political brinksmanship. Senate Republicans must come to the table and take action.”

Main Street Alliance is a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues.

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NEWS: Celebrate Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary with Cold Stone

Cold Stone Creamery is partnering with Nintendo for Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary. Nintendo fans can enjoy their favorite Cold Stone treat in a special edition Gotta Have It® ice cream cup featuring their favorite character, Mario, during the promotion. The Mario-inspired Creation, Shake, Ice Cream Cake, and special edition cups are available at all participating Cold Stone Creamery locations and online ordering until December 15.

“We are thrilled to join together with Nintendo once again to commemorate the Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary with our super-premium ice cream,” said Sara Schmillen, vice president of marketing for Kahala Brands™, parent company of Cold Stone Creamery.

“Cold Stone and Nintendo both focus on bringing families together; so gather your loved ones, grab some ice cream, pick up your Nintendo Switch system and let’s start making memories that last a lifetime!”

  • Mario’s Super Birthday Blast Creation features Cake Batter Ice Cream® with Yellow Cake, Bright Blue Frosting and Star Sprinkles
  • Mario’s Super Star Shake features Cake Batter Ice Cream and Bright Blue Frosting with Whipped Topping and Star Sprinkles
  • Rainbow Road Rally features layers of moist Yellow Cake and Cake Batter Ice Cream with Star Sprinkles wrapped in fluffy Bright Blue Frosting

Cold Stone® will feature four Mario-inspired Gotta Have It cup designs. These collectible cups feature Mario through the years and are available in red, blue, green, and yellow, while supplies last.

“To commemorate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., we are excited to continue our collaboration with Cold Stone,” said Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“From fun ice levels to delicious ice cream, Nintendo and Cold Stone are offering cool treats this year for people of all ages.”

Cold Stone Creamery is also offering a multi-faceted sweepstakes (Nintendo is not a sponsor, co-sponsor or administrator of this sweepstakes) for fans. 5 customers, who enter the sweepstakes, will be awarded a grand prize package that includes one (1) $50 Cold Stone Creamery gift card and one (1) Nintendo Switch Prize Pack that includes one (1) Nintendo Switch system and twelve (12) download codes for digital Nintendo Switch games.

The fun will continue for even more fans as one-hundred (100) first prize winners will be awarded a first prize package that consists of one (1) $25 Cold Stone Creamery gift card and one (1) Nintendo Switch Prize Pack that includes one (1) Nintendo Switch system and five (5) download codes for digital Nintendo Switch games.

My Cold Stone Club Rewards® members will also receive My Nintendo Platinum Points* throughout the promotion.

For more information about the Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary, visit supermario35.com.

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NEWS: Armature Works to launch “The Drive-In at Armature Works” with Rooftop Cinema Club

Armature Works, Tampa’s largest food hall and event space, is joining forces with Rooftop Cinema Club to launch “The Drive-In at Armature Works”, a contact-free drive-in event in Tampa Heights District.

Audiences can enjoy a mix of modern and classic films every day of the week, two showings per night, including a full week of Halloween and Horror favorites. 

Family-friendly screenings will take place at 7:30PM followed by a second screening for the night-owls at 10PM.

Tickets will start at $22 per vehicle, regardless of occupancy. Parking will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis depending on ticket type, and audio can be picked up through local FM stereo.

Guests can order concessions or food and drinks online from their vehicles and will be notified for pick up.

Tickets and programming will be released this coming week. Locals are encouraged to sign up to Rooftop Cinema Club’s email database via rooftopcinemaclub.com/armature to be the first to know when tickets and programming are released, and to receive 10% off their first purchase. One lucky subscriber will also win unlimited drive-in movie tickets for the first two weeks of screenings. 

For more information visit Rooftop Cinema Club at rooftopcinemaclub.com.

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5 Pumpkin Spice Coffees To Order For Fall 2020

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Can you feel that in the air? It’s Pumpkin Spice Season. The sun is starting to go down earlier and pumpkins are invading all the grocery stores and home decor shops.

Although this year might be a little different with social distancing, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying pumpkin spice in the comfort of your home. I am already busy trying to improve the mood in my home.

Here are 5 pumpkin spice coffees to order for fall 2020:

  1. Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spice Flavored Ground Coffee, 11 oz.

Dunkin’ is one of the brands that originally made pumpkin spice so popular and they now have options you can enjoy at home like this pumpkin spice ground coffee. The coffee is 100% premium Arabica coffee. I personally bought this one recently at the store and enjoyed it. It’s ground coffee so it’s ready to go in your keurig or coffee machine. The flavor is so good it hardly needs any sweetener on top though I never say no to some oat milk.

2. Califia Farms Seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte Cold Brew Coffee with Almondmilk, 48 Oz

If you’re looking for a cold beverage with pumpkin spice, Califia Farms is a great option. This cold brew coffee made with 100% Arabica beans comes already mixed with almond milk for those of us on the go who don’t have time to make a batch of coffee at home. The price is more than fair and it is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, BPA-free, kosher, and vegan. Their mix is made with real pumpkin puree and spices as well. It being only 100 calories per bottle is also a huge plus for those of us trying to watch our weight at home.

3. DEATH WISH COFFEE Organic Pumpkin Spice Dark Roast Coffee Grounds [12 oz.]

Death Wish Coffee is popularly known for its strong brews and best practices used in production. This roast is Fair Trade and features Arabica and Robusta beans as well as chai, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger-infused spices. Pumpkin spice is really just a blend of all these great flavors and they use a cauldron-aged process to simmer the spices and extract the flavors into the roast. It’s more expensive than the competition, but if you’re looking for something organic and sustainable you will want to look into this brand.

4. Trader Joes Pumpkin Spice Coffee…14 Oz

I love Trader Joe’s products, but one of the hardest things can be finding the products online since they don’t do delivery. Their pumpkin spice coffee features orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla beans, and pumpkin spice oil with 100% Brazil Cerrado Arabica beans. It’s a medium roast so right between the Death Wish and Dunkin’ brands.

5. Bones Coffee Company Flavored Coffee Beans, Jacked ‘O’ Lantern Pumpkin Spice Whole Bean Coffee for Cold Brew Coffee, Low Acid Medium Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans (Whole Bean)

If you’re looking for something different, check out Bones Coffee Company based in Cape Coral, Florida. Besides having some great artwork on their coffee bags, this roaster offers artisan craft coffee in either beans or ground made with 100% Arabica beans. Their coffee is keto-friendly, vegan friendly, and dairy-free without added sugar or carbs. Their pumpkin spice coffee is a medium roast with low acidity but a sweet taste. This seasonal roast is only available for a limited time. The brand has a huge online footprint.

There you have it. 5 pumpkin spice coffees to order for fall 2020. Have fun and enjoy the season.

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NEWS: Dunkin’ now available for DoorDash delivery nationwide

Dunkin’ and DoorDash announced today that delivery is now available through DoorDash at approximately 3,500 Dunkin’ restaurants across the United States with expansions planned in the coming months.

As part of an introductory promotion guests who spend $10 or more (excluding taxes and fees) on Dunkin’ through DoorDash will be eligible for a free 25-count box of Dunkin’s MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats and a $0 delivery fee* from September 15th, 2020 to September 21st, 2020. Limit one per person.

“Dunkin’ guests know they can count on us to offer the most convenient ways to enjoy their favorite coffee and food items. We are excited to kick off the fall season by continuing to expand our delivery footprint, teaming up with DoorDash for yet another way to keep Americans running by delivering their daily Dunkin’ order right to their doorstep.”, says Brandy Blackwell, Director of New Business, Delivery & Catering, for Dunkin’ U.S.

To place a Dunkin’ delivery order on DoorDash, customers can simply download the DoorDash mobile app or go to DoorDash.com, select their nearest Dunkin’ location, choose their food and beverages, customize them just the way they like, and checkout. Their Dunkin’ order will then be delivered contact-free. 

2019 Product (Library Perspective) Image: Multi-Product – Strawberry Sprinkle Donut / Hot Coffee, branded paper cup (image + shadow + white background)

“That first sip of coffee is what gets most of us going in the morning, and even though our morning routines look a bit different these days, we’re excited to make it easier for Dunkin’ fans everywhere to enjoy their favorite classics from the comfort of their couches, home desks, or wherever they start their day,” said Toby Espinosa, Vice President of Business Development at DoorDash.

“Dunkin’ selected DoorDash for our commitment to operational excellence and ability to further enhance their already strong off-premise offerings at store locations across the country.”

Dunkin’ was founded in 1950 and is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced regular/decaf/flavored coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin’ has earned a number one ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 14 years running and has more than has more than 13,100 restaurants in 41 countries worldwide. The company is based in Canton, Massachusetts.

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Cobra Kai is my new favorite show on Netflix

I didn’t grow up watching many 80s films as a kid. I always heard of Karate Kid but cannot remember watching it in my youth. I knew who Mr. Miyagi was since he was legendary. I was a fan of Japanese culture though thanks to my father and growing up in San Francisco.

As a child, I enrolled in karate at a local dojo in my neighborhood, it was a short stint that never went beyond the white belt – but I fondly remember learning katas, sparring, and that one time I accidentally almost broke my sisters boyfriend’s nose while showing him a new move I learned from my sensei.

Yes – I thought it was pretty cool.

Karate was an important part of American culture in the late 20th century and although it might not be as popular today, clearly there is still an interest out there. Cobra Kai tells the story Johnny Lawrence, the high school cool kid who didn’t grow up to be such a hot shot and also Miguel Diaz, a Latinx kid who lacks confidence and becomes the first recruit to a new Cobra Kai dojo.

Lawrence is a good anti-hero, flawed and funny and he is far more entertaining than Karate Kid star Daniel LaRusso, who is stuck up and constantly whiny. The show centers around the never-ending feud between these two nearly 30 years after their first tournament. The dynamic between them is good and sometimes you even want them to become friends although the rules of the show won’t allow that.

Cobra Kai is a little strange for our current era – it doesn’t try to fit into the mold you see on so many shows but looks to its roots from the 80s to boost itself and that makes the show quite charming. The high school drama never gets too intense and there is plenty of karate action to compensate for any melodrama. This show is neither 13 Reasons Why (thankfully) nor is it Kill Bill.

When some shows try to make grown-ups interact, it can often feel forced and like a tangent from the actual story, but I very much enjoy watching Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso navigate their adulthood.

Also I like the idea dynamic between Miguel and Johnny. It’s almost like a big brother relationship over a fatherly one. Maybe its that they are both taking the crappy hand they have been dealt and making the best of it.

For me – I really liked watching Miguel Diaz. Maybe it reminds me of my karate childhood and the cool kid I wanted to be when I was little or how I felt wearing a katate gi.

Many of the shows characters are living in wealth, privilege, or are just plain whiny, but Miguel is down-to-earth and so are his friends. Like most kids they are looking for confidence and karate gives them that. In an interesting way Cobra Kai is more like LaRusso as a kid which is an interesting twist.

The way the show portrays younger kids today as stuck on social media and lacking social skills is pretty accurate as well. Kids could use some karate.

Plus I like watching them kick ass.

Cobra Kai is a well-written and acted show and the fighting choreography is good. We live in an era where people are hyper critical of every detail and it is very hard to make a show just entertaining, but I feel that Cobra Kai does that well and I am thankful for that. Over the weekend it hit #1 on the Netflix watch list.

I recommend Cobra Kai on Netflix and am looking forward to Season 3.