10 food journalists to follow on Twitter

Food Twitter has always been entertaining, but the world of food media is finally advancing and recovering from some tumultuous years (thanks Web 2.0).

New voices and personalities are appearing online, including plenty of writers that I personally enjoying reading on a regular basis both in newspapers and on Twitter.

Many of these writers are also incredibly funny and interesting people in general. One thing you’ll notice about food writing is how it is evolving from simple reviews or critiques to more thought-out pieces that reflect the people writing about it and their cultural roots…and I love that.

In a world where the media industry seems to constantly be in upheaval, there is quality content being rolled out all the time that could always use more love (and a paid subscription).

Here are 10 food journalists to follow on Twitter:

  1. Noah Cho (@NoahReservations): Noah writes a column called Bad Kimchi for Catapult that I can connect to on so many levels after living in South Korea in 2011 and coming back to an America that is experimenting and popularizing kimchi. His writing is very personal and enjoyable to read and he actually led me to start throwing American cheese in my ramen and boy is it good.
  2. Soleil Ho (@hooleil): The new food critic at San Francisco Chronicle is entering a giant food void that has been left post-retirement of Michael Bauer, who ruled SF for 32 years. Soleil is a partner in the Racist Sandwich Podcast, which explores race and food issues. Although she hasn’t published her first article yet, her tweets and social media posts are entertaining and she is very active in the food media ecosystem. From what I can gather, her style will be completely different from the previous era of food and that’s a good thing as the food media industry is evolving.
  3. Joseph Hernandez (@joeybear85): The current Travel Editor at Thrillist and former Food Writer at Chicago Tribune knows his food. There are not too many Filipino food writers on the internet nowadays and Joseph’s story about his experiences growing up are a great read.
  4. Gowri Chandra (@gowri_chandra): Gowri probably consumes just as much food media as I do and is a great person to follow to stay updated on what is happening around food online. Her hot takes are actually good. She also contributes to a number of publications including Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Thrillist, Los Angeles Magazine, L.A. Weekly, Vice, and more.
  5. Dan Q. Dao (@danqdao): My experiences with New York are limited, but Dan provides interesting commentary that makes me think of what I would encounter should I head to NYC someday. He is funny, sassy, and writes a good number of pieces for Food & Wine and other publications as a contributor.
  6. Serena Dai (@ssdai): Serena writes for Eater New York and sparked quite a debate recently when Yelp came for her local Thai neighborhood spot. Her tweets are very relatable as someone writing in the food industry.
  7. Gustavo Arellano (@GustavoArellano): Gustavo tweets a ton (215K+ tweets) but his opinions and responses about food are truly great. His stories and commentaries on Mexican food should not be missed including a recent one about Vegan Pozole. He is also the author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.
  8. Carlos Frías (@Carlos_Frias): It’s a little surprising that there isn’t more Twitter activity in Miami for food considering how quickly restaurants open and close there and how many interesting concepts exist there. Also the unusual things that happen in Miami (think Florida Man) are constantly hitting the press. Carlos keeps everyone updated on Miami’s food scene as the Editor at Miami Herald Food and Miami.com. He writes and produce tons of engaging content in that sassy Miami vibe that I’ve come to love. Carlos is also a James-Beard Award winner.
  9. Mona Holmes (@monaeatsLA): This writer from Eater LA has some spicy tweets that I enjoy reading. Her tweets are’t always about food, but they generally involve something happening in the food sphere.
  10. Andrea Chang (@byandreachang): I am so happy that LA Times is beefing up their food content with a print food publication back in the market as a long time fan from the East Coast. Andrea Chang is the Deputy Food Editor there and there has been noticeably great coverage lately from her and her colleagues Peter Meehan (@pfmpfmpfm), Lucas Peterson (@lucaspeterson), and more. I’m rooting for this team and you should too. Go subscribe!

BONUS: Lauren Lee (@lauren_lee_la): This Audience Engagement Intern for LA Times sparked a battle across the internet this week about french fries that did not miss a single timeline and led to some interesting conversations between myself and a brand I hardly ever engage with: Checker’s. She has a promising future.

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Seasons 52 Valentine’s Day menu tasting

Full disclosure: We were invited to Seasons 52 for a complimentary tasting of their Valentine’s Day menu options and a variety of dishes on their regular menu in exchange for our opinion. Opinions are our own and are not the opinions of Seasons 52 or its affiliates.

We popped over to Seasons 52 in Tampa for a tasting of their Valentine’s Day menu items and a few items off the regular menu. Here are thoughts on the things tried:

Starters

  1. Pinot Noir & Mini Riondo Prosecco paired with Flatbread Mushroom “Four mushroom” Goat cheese, truffle oil, scallions, four different mushrooms.

From the start we were served Pinot Noir as well as given a Mini Riondo Prosecco. Our server, Adam, recommended to pair the wines with one of their flatbreads on the menu. We felt that we needed to try the four mushroom flatbread, due to the umami flavors coming out of the cooked mushrooms and goat cheese being a perfect match for our wine.

Main Course

The presentation was wonderfully done, with my first bite I took a sip of wine and was met with satisfaction, just the right saltiness, buttery-flavor joined with the natural umami od the mushrooms as well as fresh greens to bring balance to the dish. It was truly a pair made from heaven. I wanted to gobble it down, but there was more food on the way.

  1. Grilled Artichokes with preserved lemon hummus – Celery hearts, radishes, green olives

          I was extremely curious to try the preserved lemon hummus as well as seeing how well it would pair with a grilled artichoke. To my surprise I was taken back by how delicious it was, the lemon hummus joined with the artichoke packed a flavorful punch that also went well with the starting wine. I truly enjoyed the presentation of the dish and the colors that popped such as the radish and the variety of beautiful color greens.

  1. Wood grilled Handline Tuna
    • Mint tabouli, tomato salad, preserved lemon hummus.

The wood grilled handline tuna was recommended immediately by our waiter. Morgan had no hesitation that this would be an amazing dish to have if you were looking for a seafood dish for your evening. Served on a bed of mint tabouli with an appealing, wood-grilled, handline tuna-seared to perfection with a beautiful display of tomatoes on top. The lemon hummus complimented the mint tabouli with wood-grilled seared tuna. It is a perfect rendition of sea meeting land joined by the natural flavours coming from the tomato. This is must order from Seasons 52!

  1. Slow braised Beef Short rib
    1. Stone ground cheddar grits, heritage carrots, horseradish crema

The slow braise Beef Short rib was the first recommended dish if seafood wasn’t an option. The presentation was beautifully done, the three different colored carrots appealed to my eyes, but I knew that the delicious gleaming slow-braised beef short rib was the star of the bowl. Seasons 52 literally blew me away with not just taste, but also the beauty of the dish. As I took my first bite, iIwas overwhelmed with the flavors, from the horseradish crema, combined with the cheddar grits, applied to the short rib, my mouth just continued to water as I chewed the delicious combination.

  1. Mac N Cheese
    • Cave-aged Gruyere cheese sauce, panko crust

You can never go wrong with a Mac N Cheese that is piping hot! The cave-aged gruyere cheese sauce had a beautiful rich creamy and slightly nutty taste. Gruyere cheese is usually found in fondue , so I knew what was coming towards my tastebuds. Absolutely an amazing combo that I truly enjoyed!

  1. Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

            Brussel sprouts cooked right is always delicious. Brussel sprouts cooked with a caramelization? Now that’s a star side dish, honestly it made me so happy, the profile of the flavors complimented each other so well. During my meal,  I found myself joining the flavors with the main meals that really continued to make my salivate.

  1. Maine Lobster Tails

The Maine Lobster was phenomenal, the grilled marks and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper with a coat of butter is always a magical flavor combination. It was extremely fresh and applying the roasted lemon to the tail joined the flavors like a proposal on the day of St. Valentine.

Did I mention that if you get engaged at Seasons 52 you get to enjoy a free champagne toast every time you dine for a year?             

It’s the perfect idea to propose love!


Dessert:

For dessert you can indulge with the various of flavor, such as: a strawberry shortcake with fresh cut strawberries topped with whip cream or a chocolate pudding smores shot with a graham cracker for the extra crunch.

My favorite dessert was the carrot cake, oh my goodness the flavors were amazing! It was creamy and packed with flavor. It is probably the best carrot cake I have ever enjoyed.

Seasons 52 also offers pecan pie, a tiramisu, and a coconut cookie cake, which were all wonderfully delicious as well.

Overall, we had a great time at Seasons 52. Check them out!

Restaurant Name: Seasons 52

Neighborhood: WestShore

Address: 204 North Westshore Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33609

Cost: $$

Phone Number: (813) 286-1152

Website: http://www.seasons52.com/

Review: WTR Pool & Grill Tampa

Hello!! My name is Natalie Kass and I’m a fellow travel blogger based in Tampa (see: Journey to the East). Last week, Carlos invited me to experience WTR Grill’s new dinner menu debut. I made it just in time to snag some beautiful photos with the setting sun, and dinner began shortly thereafter.

As a Florida native, I’m very familiar with beach hotels/restaurants. In fact, I’ve visited this location twice before and never knew about WTR Grill because the space was totally unrecognizable. Beachside venues are made to be transformable so they can accommodate diverse events — from weddings, to concerts, to formal events — which is why I never noticed the restaurant side of it!

The general aesthetic of beachside venues are always “beach themed,” meaning, light blues, soft lighting, and beach artifacts as decor. Usually, you can only get what I call “beach food” which might include burgers, fries, and chicken tenders — strictly casual dining items. However, WTR Grill’s new dinner menu offers more sophisticated dining options like NY Strip and Steamed Snapper!

In my opinion, the aesthetic of WTR Grill does not accurately reflect the upscale dining experience they’re trying to sell. For example, there was a large, empty space in the middle of the restaurant and ship rope hanging from the ceilings.

If they want their space to be cohesive with their menu, I would suggest keeping it traditional and elegant: fill the empty space with tables lined with nice tablecloths (rather than keeping the tables bare), and remove the ship rope and perhaps replace with a lattice design.

The actual dinner was served in 3 courses with 3 dishes each. Here is my review of all the menu items:

First course:

  • Chef’s Soup of the Day — Cajun style soup with sausage and okra

This soup is perfect for cold weather. Chef Joe Garcia explained that it was one of his sous chef’s homemade recipes that had been in her family for generations — you can definitely taste the love! The Cajun broth itself is loaded with spices and anchors the rest of the ingredients. If Florida gets hit with another cold front — I’m going back for seconds.

  • Apple Panzanella Salad

I was most skeptical about this dish because I don’t usually like fruit mingling with my veggies, but this salad actually turned out to be one of my favorites of the night! The sweet apples and tangy dressing were perfectly balanced — I ended up having 2-3 portions!

  • Kale Caesar Salad

While I wasn’t a huge fan of the kale itself (it had a lot of dressing on it), I really liked the baked cheese and multigrain bread that came along with it. The baked cheese was similar to a soft, cheese cracker and the multigrain bread was freshly baked, but I would order these 2 items as an appetizer without the kale.

Second Course:

  • Crispy Brussel Sprouts

Whenever I roast brussel sprouts at home, they have this distinct “roasted” taste, so I was expecting that when I tried this dish. However, these brussel sprouts maintained their fresh, green color. Not only that, but the bacon accompanying it was high quality and delicious!

Out of all 3 appetizers, if I were trying to get my greens in for the night, I would choose the Apple Panzanella Salad.

  • Caribbean Shrimp Lettuce Wrap

I was really looking forward to this dish as I anticipated a “mango-chili-salsa” experience….but it just wasn’t. The lettuce made the wrap taste bitter, so I decided to ditch the lettuce and just eat the shrimp and glaze. Still, there could have been more flavor — whether in a sweeter mango or a spicier glaze.

  • Smoked Salmon Dip

I, personally, am not a huge fan of Salmon or Lox sandwiches, which is what this dip reminded me of. I took one bite and decided it was not for me. For those who do like it, though, the dip was creamy and had lots of Salmon slices in it.

Third Course:

  • Pepper Crusted NY Strip Steak

When I used to work at a steakhouse, the chef taught me “If a steak is cooked right, you don’t have to put sauce on it!” Since then, I’ve never used A-1 sauce or any other kinds of sauces. Additionally, I usually order filets or sirloins, so I was excited to try a different cut. To my surprise, the strip came paired with a mushroom gravy which I decided to try “just for fun” — I am so glad I did because the gravy completes the steak! By itself, the steak was just okay (again, I prefer a filet or sirloin), but with the gravy? Amazing!!!! I would order the NY Strip again as long as it comes with the gravy.

  • Steamed Florida Snapper

Oddly enough, as a Floridian, I’m not a huge seafood fan. But when Chef Garcia explained that the Snapper was steamed with just a little bit of white wine and minimal spices, I decided I would try the fish. I was surprised by how much I liked this dish because I didn’t taste anything overly fishy at all! In fact, it tasted really clean. Additionally, the jasmine rice underneath was a nice touch because it soaked up all the flavor. As a non-seafood lover, I have been proven wrong and would definitely come back to order this.

  • Seafood Pasta (scallops / shrimp)

Usually when I eat a red-sauce pasta, I can taste the acidity from the tomato which is why I usually go for a creamy alfredo sauce. This seafood pasta, however, even though it was made with a red sauce, actually tasted sweet! I don’t know how they did it, all I know is that I went back for seconds! This dish is not overly fishy and it was my favorite dish of the night — I’ll be back soon to order it again.

Dessert:

  • Waffle Cone with Brownie & Ice Cream

The homemade waffle cone was crisp and not stale at all. I think the brownie inside was mixed with cookie dough because it wasn’t just a chocolate – it was chocolate, cookie, ice cream, and whipped cream all in one. I ate mine and my partner’s!

Overall, I enjoyed dining with a nice view of the Tampa Bay. I would most likely come back to WTR Grill after a day at the beach so I could enjoy something more sophisticated and creative than regular old “beach food!”

Restaurant Name: WTR Grill

Cuisine: American, Seafood

Neighborhood: Rocky Point

Address: 7700 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, FL 33607

Phone Number: (813) 281-0566

Menu: http://wtrpool.com/pool-grill-menu/

The joy of Peachey’s Baking Co. at Florida State Fair

One of the best reasons to look forward to the Florida State Fair and fair season is Peachey’s Baking Co. (known in the past as Amish Baking Co.). They made my list for 7 items to check out for Florida State Fair 2019. The donuts and pretzels at their stand are just incredible.

Rolling Stone claims Peachey’s Baking Co. donuts puts Krispy Kreme to shame and I completely agree. Owners, Sadie and Nate Peachey, are truly masters at the art of making donuts and pretzels. The dough is so soft and tasty. It just melts in your mouth.

They started off as a food truck in Sarasota, Florida and now travel around to festivals around the country.

Donuts from Peachey's Baking Co. at Florida State Fair 2019

Carlos Eats team member, James Thach, went out to meet with the owners and shoot some content that will make you hungry.

Drool more

SF Beer Week 2019: Anchor Brewing Battle of the Bands

Today I had the pleasure of attending the Anchor Brewing Battle of the Bands at SoMa StrEat Food Park for the Battle of the Bands, a part of San Francisco Beer Week 2019.

Today was my first at the SoMa StrEat Food Park and I was impressed with all the food trucks and the park itself which was well-positioned for some terrible weather that mostly included cold winds and rain. There were heaters and plenty of covering from the wet weather…I have not seen this done in Florida.

Street Meet Tacos Truck at SoMa StrEat Food Park in San Francisco.
Carne Asada Super Taco from Street Meet Taco Truck in San Francisco at SoMa StrEat Food Park.

I tried the Street Meet Taco Truck which is originally from San Bruno. They were selling some a super taco with rice and beans for just $5 and I couldn’t say no to that. The carne asada was tasty and it was a great meal. I always appreciate when food trucks offer lite items that can allow you to visit other trucks and see what they have.

The Sarap Shop, Filino-American Food Truck food at SoMa StrEat Food Park in San Francisco.

My friend tried The Sarap Shop, which is a Filipino-American food truck with a number of unique offerings including vegan sisig. Their Why You Laing dish features Taro leaves with coconut milk sauce and looked really good. You can an egg to anything in true Filipino fashion.

Anchor Brewing was serving a number of their beers at the event. I had the California Lager (4.9% ABV) which certainly matched its description as crisp and clean in flavor. It was a great beer to enjoy on a cold day. Anchor Brewing is San Francisco and America’s oldest craft brewery that goes back to 1896 an was sold in 2017 to Sapporo Holdings for $85 million.

The best part of the whole event though was going over where the crowd was rocking out to a number of bands though with your beer and having an excellent time. People in San Francisco love to dance everywhere and this was no exception.

It was a good day.

Product Review: Hangover Over

Full disclosure: I was sent a package of Hangover Over for a product review from the manufacturer. These opinions are my own and do not reflect Hangover Over or any affiliates.

Recently I connected with the owners of Hangover Over on Instagram for a product review. They shipped me the product to try for my readers.

I am always down to try a product that can help prevent hangovers, having had many myself during the college years of my life.

Hangover Over seeks to use activated charcoal, Vitamin C, B Vitamin Complex, Electrolytes, Vitamin D, White Willow Bark, and Valerian Root Extract to achieve this goal of detoxing the body.

Ingredients:
Activated Charcoal 250 mg
Vitamin C. 600 mg
B complex (the whole B complex B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B12)
Electrolytes (4 of the 5)
Calcium
Magnesium, potassium, and sodium
Vitamin D 1000 units
White Willow Bark 325 mg
Valerian Root Extract 300 mg

Most people interested in health products have probably heard of these ingredients as they aren’t exactly a secret. I have personally never used activated charcoal for a detox, but decided to give this a shot.

As far as taste is concerned, it certainly tastes like a health product. Hangover Over uses mango and orange flavors. It also uses a small amount of sugar (3 grams) and splenda for added flavor.

I think I would prefer a more banana-like taste to the product, just to make it a little better to drink. Still it wasn’t half-bad for all the vitamins and ingredients inside.

I don’t even think a fruit flavor is necessarily needed for taste and would be really interested to see what sort of future flavors appear for a product like this. Perhaps something with coconut would also help support the health message around this product. The owners are currently working on their second flavor at this time.

The main active ingredient in Hangover Over is activated charcoal, which is still being studied by medical researchers but has been used recently to help remove toxins from people with various illnesses or poisoning including things like malaria.

White Willow Bark is supposed to work similar to aspirin and it really makes sense to include in a hangover drink if you’re trying to avoid pain the next day. Likes all things it is best in moderation.

Valerian Root is meant to induce sleep and reduce anxiety. Anyone who has ever had a hangover knows sleep is one of the keys to fighting off a day after drinking. Anyone who has drank Gatorade to try and stop a hangover knows electrolytes are a key to re-hydrating the body.

Hangover Over is meant to be taken as a response to drinking and less as a daily supplement or product. No more than 3 bottles should be taken with 24 hours. People taking it should consult their doctor if they have pre-existing conditions or are pregnant/nursing children.

As far as Hangover Over’s background, it was created by two women from Florida.

Maria Lafalce has worked in the healthcare field as an RN for 10 years and always wondered why more products weren’t available with these ingredient that can help people detox. Her business partner, Linda Pinzon, is a life-long friend and MBA graduate that lives in Miami. Both of them know each other from living in Colombia and they are both Florida residents now and entrepreneurs to boot.

A 4-pack of Hangover Over retails for $29.99 as is being sold online and in-stores.

Hangover Over is currently retailing at Armature Works at Inside the Box and is coming soon to Sparkman Wharf, PINCH Kitchen Miami, Liquivida Lounge Miami, The Hochstein Medspa Miami, Bulk Food Superstore in Sun City Center, and Tarascos Mexican Bar and Grill in Greenville, South Carolina.

Hangover Over is in the process of moving to using environmentally bottles that are 100% recyclable and works closely with Ecopazifico and 4Ocean.

Overall, this product has promise. I think more conclusive studies on activated charcoal may bring this product further into the limelight in the future, but I would watch this product if I were in the retail business.

You can visit their official website for more information at www.myhodrink.com

Dining Guide: Valentine’s Day 2019 in San Francisco

Valentine’s Day is the second-busiest day in the year for restaurants after Mother’s Day.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spent $143.56 on Valentine’s Day just two years ago and that number keeps increasing every year with nearly $4 billion spent annually on an evening out. There are dozens if not hundreds of event around San Francisco Bay Area for Valentine’s Day 2019.

Here are Valentine’s Day events happening around San Francisco that I think are worth checking out, in case you’re still looking for plans:

  • Valentine’s Day at Le Colonial: Enjoy an a la carte menu with a number of specials and also a 4-course prix-fixe menu for Valentine’s Day for $85 (excludes tax and gratuity) from 5:30PM to 11:30PM (last reservation at 10:45PM). Choices include Lemongrass Chicken Two Ways, Grilled Halibut, Roasted Duck Breast, or Grilled Filet Mignon ($10 up-charge). Live music will be provided by Mark Robinson’s jazz trio from 7PM to 10PM. 20 Cosmo Place San Francisco, CA 94109. (415) 931-3600 lecolonialsf.com
  • Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu at ROOH!: Feeling like Indian? Me too. ROOH! will have a special tasting menu to enjoy for the occasion with many items including Chickpea Cake, Duck Sheek Kebab, Double Baked Soufflé , Tandoori Cauliflower, and more. Reservations can be made online. 333 Brannan St #150, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 525-4174 roohsf.com
  • Night of The Thousand Candles at La Mar SF: Enjoy Valentine’s Day at La Mar SF with their thousand candle celebration and their 3-course prix-course meal for $85 per person. Some menu items include seasonal Dungeness crab, Diver Scallops, and Chocolate Mousse. Pier 1 1/2 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105. (415) 397-8880. lamarsf.com
  • Valentine’s Day at Alexander’s Steakhouse: Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like a steakhouse. Alexander’s will be open from 5:30PM to 9:30PM on Valentine’s Day and have a $149 (tax and gratuity not included) multi-course prix-fixe menu featuring shared dishes and top-quality beef. Diners can add a wine pairing for an additional $69. Guests will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling rosé and each couple will be given a long stem rose at the end of their meal. 448 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 495-1111. alexanderssteakhouse.com
  • Valentine’s Day Starlight Cruise: Red and White Fleet is offering a special cruise in celebration of Valentine’s Day for $95 per person. The experience includes champagne on arrival, a romantic buffet dinner, live entertainment, and complimentary beer and wine. Buffet items include Roast Chicken, Santa Maria Carved Tri-Tip, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Spinach and Feta Pasta, and more. Red and White Fleet cruises are some of the most amazing trips I’ve been on across the San Francisco Bay Area with stunning views of Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, and San Francisco all lit up at night. redandwhite.com
  • Valentine’s Day Bakery Pop-up at Harmonic Brewing: M. Denham Baking Co. will have a bakery pop-up at Harmonic Brewing in Potrero Hill on Valentine’s Day from 3PM to 7PM. Whole cakes and pies can be pre-ordered until Sunday, February 11th. Pre-orders get 10% off. On the menu: Oat Flour Chiffon Cake with passion fruit, buttercream, and lime leaf and Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie with walnuts. 1050 26th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 872-6817. mdenhambakingco.com
  • Valentine’s Day Beer & Chocolate Pairing: Triple Voodoo Brewery near Dogpatch is having a special beer and chocolate pairing on Valentine’s Day from 6PM to 9PM that includes 4 beers and 4 truffles from Recchiuti Confections. Tickets are now on-sale for $17. The pairing lasts an hour. 2245 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 598-8811. triplevoodoo.com
  • Romance from the Sky – Valentine’s Day at Cityscape Lounge: Get that beautiful city backdrop for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day. Cityscape Lounge is located on the 46th floor of Hilton San Francisco Union Square and is offering a special evening for $99 per couple (tax and gratuity included). The event includes reserved window seating for 2 for up to 1 1/2 hours, 2 glasses of Moët & Chandon Champagne, red or white wine, or specialty cocktails, a long-stemmed rose, and a dessert. Tickets are available now. 333 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. (415) 923-5002 cityscapesf.com
  • Coffee & Jazz at Farley’s Coffee: Head over to Farley’s Coffee in Potrero Hill for some coffee and jazz on Valentine’s Day from 7:30PM to 9PM with James Everett. Admission is free. Bring a bottle of wine to celebrate the occasion. 1315 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 648-1545. farleyscoffee.com

Good luck!

SF Beer Week 2019: The Brew Coop x Faction Brewing

Faction Brewing at The Brew Coop for SF Beer Week 2019.

It’s SF Beer Week 2019 and although I appeared to arrive too late to attend most events, there are a few that I am able to check out. Tonight – I checked out an event with The Brew Coop and Faction Brewing.

The Brew Coop opened recently off Valencia and 19th Street in the Mission District. The concept is a pour-your-own beer concept, think The Pub, but instead of having British beers it has craft beers from around California. Customers can get their own beer cards and load them with cash to use at the beer stations, pouring as much or as little as beer as they want.

Tonight was very lively at The Brew Coop with many customers coming in and out to drink and watch sports….mainly basketball on television. It certainly had that sports bar vibe with some hip-hop backdrops.

Faction Brewing held a trivia contest for some complimentary beer and the crowd was busy playing games and catching up with friends.

Winter Pilsner from Faction Brewing at The Brew Coop

I had a chance to chat for some time with the Sales & Marketing rep from Faction Brewing, Corey Hennegan. We talked about craft beer, the many differences between beer in Florida and California, and the history and mission behind Faction Brewing. I then tried Faction Brewing’s Winter Pilsner beer (7.2% ABV) which was so incredibly smooth, I was blown away by it.

I drink pilsners at most breweries, but none taste quite as good as this Winter Pilsner. Hennegan mentioned that it is one of the pride and joys of Faction Brewing. I highly recommend it and could easily drink it all day.

The Owner and Head Brewer of Faction Brewing, Rodger Davis, has been in the West Coast beer scene for at least 20 years and it shows. Brewers carry their experiences like chefs into their craft brews. I always notice subtle differences at Leaven Brewing in Riverview from KJ Lynch’s experiences at The Brew Hub and Ft. Lauderdale Brewing. It’s noticeable. Rodger Davis worked at Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro in the past as well as Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley.

After the Winter Pilsner, I needed some food so I ordered the Carne Asada Fries at The Brew Coop. When perusing reviews online, most people seemed to mention the Carne Asada Fries and I’m previously a fan of that dish from California Tacos-To-Go, which previously hailed from San Diego before their sale.

The style of the Carne Asada fries at The Brew Coop isn’t the same as SoCal style fries. It’s still good though. Their bar food is savory, flavorful, and filling without being greasy which is great. It truly went down well with the beer. You can’t say that about most dive-bars selling food.

Triple IPA from Faction Brewing

I enjoyed a Triple IPA from Faction Brewing with my Carne Asada fries and I was impressed that despite the hops – I enjoyed every last sip. I finally found an IPA I can love…not a small feat. It went really great with the fries as well. Beer pairing is a slight hobby of mine.

Brew Coop Owner, Gore Song, told me the idea was to create food that can be enjoyed by customers with their beer without the harsh after-effects of bar food and I completely agree that this was the case. Prices will run you about $10-$20 total which is about standard for bar eats.

The menu was created by Tim Luym, a James Beard Rising Chef Nominee from Alchemy Bar. Chef Ronnie Taylor is also a part of Brew Coop, him and I are both acquainted from his work over at where I have eaten at in the past with my friend Jo from JBKollaborations.

I still have plenty of things to try on the menu, but I think repeat visits would be necessary. The Brew Coop is perfect to visit with some friends to split a few dishes and enjoy some brews, maybe watch a sports game. The noise level certainly spikes when it gets busy, but what sports bar doesn’t?

The location in the Mission District is next to many other San Francisco popular shop names like Boba Guys and Stonemill Matcha. Watching the transformation of the Mission District as former SF resident in the 90s is intriguing and also quite exciting.

I’ll be back.

Event Name: SF Beer Week: Wings x Faction Brewing

Bar Name: The Brew Coop

Neighborhood: Mission District

Address: 819 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Website: http://www.thebrewcoop.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebrewcoop/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/thebrewcoop/

Valentine’s Week 2019 at Seasons 52 Tampa

Seasons 52 is doing Valentine’s Day a little differently this year and celebrating an entire Valentine’s Week 2019 from February 10th to February 14th.

Valentine’s Day is the second most popular date to get engaged according to WeddingWire and is the inspiration for the grand finale of this week of love.

Here is a breakdown of the events they are having in celebration:

  • Sunday, February 10th – A Mini for your Mini: Children under 12 will receive a special mini dessert in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Some flavors include Mocha Macchiato and Pecan Pie.
  • Monday, Feburary 11th – Wine & Flatbread Special: Seasons 52 will run a $15 wine and flatbread special that features Loveblock Pinot Noir. Six flatbreads will be available to choose from.
  • Tuesday, February 12th – Galentine’s Day: Seasons 52 will offer a special for the ladies with Riondo Prosecco for $5.
  • Wednesday, February 13th – Endless Bubbles: Enjoy endless bubbles of Riondo Prosecco for $14.95 with the purchase of an entree. Select locations only.
  • Thursday, February 14th – Engagement Special: Get engaged at Seasons 52 and enjoy a complimentary champagne toast on every dining visit for a year.

Now if only I had someone to engage me this February 14th.

Restaurant Name: Seasons 52

Cuisine: New American

Neighborhood: WestShore

Address: 204 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609

Phone Number: (813) 286-1152

Cost: $$

Reservations: http://www.seasons52.com/reservations

Website: http://bit.ly/2UMCrM7

Sushi Battle Tampa Bay coming February 20th – tickets on sale

Sushi Battle Tampa Bay will occur on Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 at Armature Works in Tampa Heights and tickets are now on sale. The event is organized by Big City Events.

The battle for who makes the best sushi in Tampa Bay is not to be missed. The winning restaurant will win the “Golden Chopsticks Award”.

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2M8bdfF

The event will run from 6:30PM to 9:30PM. All guests must be ages 21 or older.

VIP guests will get an extra hour of private entry to the event. VIP also includes complimentary Sapporo beer and VIP-exclusive areas.

All guests will enjoy unlimited sushi samples from quality restaurants around town and plenty of opportunity to enjoy some sake and beer. All tickets include 1 sake bomb drink.

Entertainment includes taiko drummers, Godzilla, sumo suit wrestling, karaoke, sake tasting, and group sake bombs. DJ Fresh will be the Sushi Battle chairman.

Participating restaurants:

Don’t miss it!

Event name: Sushi Battle Tampa Bay

Venue: Armature Works

Address: 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 20th, 2019, 6:30PM-9:30PM, 5:30PM for VIP

Cost: $50-$85

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2M8bdfF

Ages: 21 years or older

Website: http://www.gotosushibattle.com/