Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, located I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa, has a few options available for hungry visitors at four of its dining destinations:
Council Oak Steaks & Seafood: Steakhouses and Valentine’s Day dinner pretty much go hand-in-hand. Council Oak is offering specials such as strawberries and baby greens ($15), tournedos of filet and lobster ($90), king-crusted Chilean sea-bass ($70), and a dark chocolate pot de crème or wild berries and citrus sabayon for dessert ($11 each).
The Rez Grill: You’ll find quality, original cocktails and delicious food by Chef Frank Anderson at The Rez Grill from 4PM-10PM. Valentine’s Day specials include cocoa-nib crusted filet mignon ($75) and warm valrhona chocolate cake for dessert ($14).
Fresh Harvest Buffet: If you’re looking for a buffet option before or after hitting the slots, Fresh Harvest is offering a special buffet on Valentine’s Day from 4PM-9PM for $40 per person. Seminole Wild Card members can enjoy a $5 discount at the buffet. ELITE and XCARD members can enjoy comp. dollars for Valentine’s Day. There will be a carving station, Cucina Italiana, noodles, greens, dessert (called “Sweets a la Mode”), and more.
Hard Rock Cafe: Guests at this Hard Rock staple can enjoy a grilled filet mignon and lobster special ($40).
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a AAA Four Diamond rated property and offers seven award-winning Zagat-rated restaurants, including the upscale dining venues Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and The Rez Grill.
Alexander Abell came up with a novel idea for Startup Weekend in Tampa that propelled him and his associates into the startup ecosystem.
The app is called lunchpool and the goal is to “take back the lunch break” and make users more productive and connected through a healthier, happier, and more fun work environment.
The concept is simple: take out the lunchpool app and search for a coworker who has common interests and make a plan to have lunch with them.
Users will mark themselves as DTL (Down to Lunch) to show they are available for lunch. Interests can range from food preferences, dietary restrictions, television or movie preferences…to name a few.
Now you can finally find that coworker that watches Game of Thrones and talk all about it at lunch without someone staring at you lost and clueless.
Once you connect with someone you can become “lunch buddies” and put them in your network or shortlist for repeat lunch plans. The app also allows you to setup meeting insurance and require a deposit before lunch. If the person does not show up, the money will be donated to a mental health charity.
Some goals for corporations and HR departments that lunchpool seeks to solve include:
breaking silos and fostering inclusion and diversity
improving on-boarding speed and efficiency
supporting internal innovation by connecting workers
increasing employee happiness to boost productivity
increasing retention and lowering turnover-rates
Lunchpool will integrate with Google Calendar, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft Outlook to ensure your plans are communicated well.
The app will first focus on corporate networking and offer branded networks in a Business-to-Business (B2B) focus. Abell says the eventual goal of the app is to connect the public for lunch in a later stage of development.
What options will be available to diners? Lunchpool will recommend restaurants nearby to eat at with a focus on quality restaurants that can handle lunch crowds first.
Abell envisions lunchpool offering a special priority line in the future for users and discounts for repeat and loyal customers. The possibilities to integrate into the food industry are numerous.
Lunchpool has not had its first seed funding round yet, but plans to seek funding once the app has been introduced into corporations and begins to see user adoption. Currently the app is in beta and accepting requests for testing.
The potential to change the way people interact is there. Abell noted that today’s working population is more reclusive largely due to smartphones and the internet and tends to have a more difficult time conversing with people they may not know. This is especially true for millennials and younger generations. Lunchpool can change that.
Most people recognize that networking is the key to success in your career and business and lunchpool has the opportunity to help break down a wall and help people connect and be successful.
Here are some statistics about networking from HubSpot:
85% of available positions are filled through networking
1 out of every 4 people fail to network at all
9 out of 10 people say small meetings are a preferred method of communication
100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships
Clearly there is a big need for an app like lunchpool. Plus – who wants to dine alone?
It has been exactly one year since Armature Works opened its doors to the City of Tampa in Tampa Heights.
The historic building and food hall changed the city for the better and gave many restaurateurs and food brands and opportunity to shine on Tampa’s waterfront just outside of Downtown Tampa.
The venue has also served as a coworking space, event space, wedding venue, and more.
One of the owners and operators of Armature Works, Taryn Bruck, reflected on the past and future of the facility:
“We have learned a lot over the past 365 days and look forward to making your experience at Armature Works better than the last. Our success is attributed to our incredible vendors, hard-working team, and most of all our loyal AW fans! We can’t wait to show what we have in store for 2019!”
I talked to a few of the businesses inside the Heights Public Market. Heights Public Market, HPM for short, is the food hall portion of Armature Works. The hall has thousands of customers walk through every week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I spoke with Stephanie Swanz, owner of Empamamas, and she told me:
“This past year has been one of the most rewarding times of my life and I am forever grateful to Chas, Taryn, Adam, and Frank for the opportunity and believing in Empamamas. Not only has Armature Works become one of the most desirable places to visit in Tampa, but it has completely changed the landscape of the neighborhood and I’m so excited to see their future projects unfold over the next few months”.
Graze 1910 has served over 90,000 eggs to hungry diners in the Heights Public Market according to owners, Ray and Lauren Menendez. If you haven’t enjoyed a mimosa and avocado toast with an egg for breakfast, you should. I did for Valentine’s Day 2018.
Clifford Barsi, Vice-President of Social Enterprises and Food Services at Metroplitan Ministries, reflecting on the past year:
“Metropolitan Ministries is very thankful for the opportunity to expand our Social Enterprise concept, ‘Inside the Box Cafe‘, through the generosity of Armature Works owners/developers: Chas Bruck and Adam Harden. They have given us a platform for our Culinary Program to get exposure for our students and to gain foodie acclaim for our in-house brined, cured, roasted, and smoked meats. That’s Good Food, Doing Good with the help from Good People! #Training+Jobs+Hunger Relief = Good Food Doing Good!”
Felicia “Phe” Lacalle , owner of Hemingway’s, told me this:
My experience at Armature Works has been nothing less than extraordinary, to be in such a spectacular place and to open a modern Cuban restaurant that instills nostalgia in such a beautiful city with amazing history is a blessing! We couldn’t have done it without the support of Armature Works, our amazing guests, and my fabulous staff.
“It’s been an amazing year at Armature Works, and we are so proud to be part of the wonderful space they’ve created here! For Cru, it’s been a great opportunity to engage with guests about wine – helping them to find that perfect glass of wine to enjoy, while also introducing them to new things. The Show & Tell space has been a hit for our Cru U wine classes and walk-around tastings”
Here are some upcoming events at Armature Works:
Saturday, February 9th from 9AM-1PM – Heights Morning Market: Shop around for locally sourced and grown produce, meats, seafood, artisanal food items, packaged jams, sauces, and more on the Armature Works lawn.
Saturday, February 9th from 2PM-4PM: Chinese New Year: Armature Works will celebrate Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Pig! Watch live performances and enjoy some great from Asian vendors inside the Heights Public Market.
Wednesday, February 13th from 5:30PM-9:30PM – Heights Night Market: Live-music and local vendors will rock the night away in front of the Hillsborough River. This event occurs every 2nd Wednesday of the month.
Thursday, February 14th from 7PM-9PM – Valentine’s Movies on the Lawn – Hitch: Looking for something low-key on Valentine’s Day. Celebrate the day outside at Armature Works with a free public screening of Hitch. Don’t forget your lawn chair or blanket. Popcorn and drinks will be available for purchase as well as food from the 14 vendors inside Heights Public Market. First-come, first-serve. Arriving early is recommended.
Wednesday, February 20th from 6:30PM-9:30PM – Sushi Battle Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay’s hottest sushi competition is back and this year it’s at Armature Works. Restaurants will compete for who makes the best sushi, while attendees will feast on all the sushi they can eat. 21+ event. Tickets are now on-sale.
Saturday, February 23rd from 3PM-8PM – One Year Birthday Bash: Armature Works will celebrate its one year anniversary as Tampa’s largest food hall and historic venue.
WTR Pool & Grill located at 7700 West Courtney Campbell Causeway inside the Godfrey Hotel in Tampa has launched a new dining menu for 2019 that is now available to the public.
Menu prices start at $7.99 for starters and move up to $36 for a special prix-fixe menu.
Matthew McCahill, Food & Beverage Director at Oxford Hotels and Resorts in Chicago, has worked with WTR Pool & Grill Executive Chef, Joe Garcia, to curate this menu that is inspired by Florida and meant to appeal to large audience throughout Tampa Bay.
Chef Joe Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the food industry and previously worked for Grille 116. He is originally from Dallas, Texas.
New menu items include a Maple Chicken and Waffle cone, Florida Bayou popcorn, Strawberry Shortcake French Toast, Beignet Donut Burger, and a Titan Power Bowl.
The Florida Bayou popcorn features buttermilk battered gator tail with creole remoulade. The dish mixes Chef Joe Garcia’s New Orleans background the popular Florida gator.
Some menu items I want to try in the future are the Walkerswood Shrimp & Grits and the Miso Glazed Scallops. Both look incredible and from the ingredient list seem like they would complement my taste buds.
The prix-fixe menu has several options including Apple Panzanella Salad, Pepper Crusted New York Steak Strip with truffle shallot demi, Seafood pasta made with fresh diver scallops, and more.
Looking for a special place to spend Valentine’s Day 2019 in Tampa? I have you covered.
Here are some options for ways to spend a meal or some time with someone special. Make sure you make your reservations early as Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days in the restaurant industry.
Rooster & The Till: One of Tampa’s hottest restaurants in Seminole Heights is offering a 4-course prix fixe meal for $60 per person with an optional wine pairing for $30 per person. Space is limited and reservations must be made by phone (813) 374-8940 6500 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604
Noble Rice: One of the best sushi restaurants located in South Tampa is offering a Valentine’s Day Omakase dinner starting at 5:30PM on February 14th. Tickets are $165 per person and are very-limited (already 50% sold!) to keep a romantic atmosphere. Omakase will feature 14 bites including toro, otoro, A5 wagyu beef, uni, and their top of the line seasonal fish with dessert included. Add a sake & champagne pairing for $65 per person. Book your reservation on Tock. 807 W. Platt St., Tampa, FL 33606
Coppertail Brewing Co.: Take your special someone out to a Valentine’s Night Market at Coppertail Brewing in Ybor City. The event will run from 6PM-10PM and feature 60+ makers in the backlot. Sip some local craft beer while you stroll through the market. Check out more info at the new Coppertail Market website: www.coppertailnightmarket.com2601 E. 2nd Ave., Tampa, FL 33605
Yacht StarShip Cruises: Escape to a cruise on the bay with Yacht StarShip for Valentine’s Day with your significant other. Lunch and dinner cruises are available and start at $49.95. Tickets include food, live entertainment, roses, champagne, and more. Check out their website for all the options available.
Ybor City Wine Bar: This local wine bar in Centro Ybor is offering a Valentines Themed Wine Society event on February 13th from 7PM to 10PM. Guests will enjoy a wine tasting paired with chocolate and include Zin-Phomaniac Zinfandel and Chocolate Shop Red Blend among other surprises. Contact Ybor City Wine Bar at (813) 999-4966. 1600 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
Ciro’s: Tampa’s first speakeasy club in South Tampa is offering a special 4-course prix fixe menu for Valentine’s Day from 5PM-1AM. Tickets are $95 per person. Main-course dinner options include Grilled Lamb Lollipops, 12 oz. New York Steak Strip, or Pan-Seared Scottish Salmon. There is an option for a bottle of Henroit Champagne and half a dozen of chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to your table (plus two Henroit champagne flutes to take home) for $49. Seating is limited. Call to make reservations at (813) 251-0022. 2109 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606
Shrimp Boat: One of the best hidden secrets in Bloomingdale is offering Lobster and Prime Rib as a special on Valentine’s Day. Of course their shrimp dishes are all incredible as well. If you’re looking for a great meal at a casual restaurant in the Brandon/Valrico area, check out Shrimp Boat. (813) 571-5858 1020 Bloomingdale Ave, Valrico, FL 33596
Haven Tampa: Treat your Valentine to a special curated 5-course Chef’s tasting menu at $75 per person and add a wine or whiskey pairing for $45 per person. Available Valentine’s Day only. Reservations available on OpenTable. 2208 W. Morrison Ave., Tampa, FL 33606
Six Ten Brewing: Enjoy a beer and dessert pairing after you enjoy your Valentine’s Day dinner at Six Ten Brewing from 3PM-9PM. They will be releasing Manhattan, a Whisky Barrel Aged Sour Ale, that day as well. On the list: Raspberry Tart, Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Opera, Milk Chocolate Caramel, Coconut Chocolate Opera, Hazelnut Flan, Chocolate Mascarpone Tart, and more. 7052 Benjamin Road, Tampa, FL 33634
Terra Gaucha: This Brazilian Churrascaria is one of the best I’ve had and they offering a special offer to those who dine there on Valentine’s Day. A pass to return for a complimentary meal in the future. Come hungry because the meat flows non-stop at this steakhouse. Reservations available on OpenTable. 1108 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, FL 33629
Rusty Pelican: This waterfront dining destination on the Courtney Campbell Causeway is offering two options on Valentine’s Day: a V-Day gala or a romantic 3-course sit-down dinner menu. Reservations for dinner are available on OpenTable. 2425 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607
Seasons 52: Instead of just celebrating February 14th, Seasons 52 is doing an entire Valentine’s Week for 2019. Planning to get engaged soon? You might want to read more. 204 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609
FarmTable Cucina: This one is worth the trip across the bridge. Chef Michael Mina and Don Pintabona’s St. Petersburg creation is offering a 5-course meal for Valentine’s Day from 5PM to 10PM. Some notable items include Key West pink shrimp and Roasted Guinea Hen with Black Truffle. Dinner costs $85 per person with an optional wine pairing for an extra $45 per person. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling (727) 523-6297 or on OpenTable. 179 2nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Did I miss something? Feel free to e-mail me at carloseats[at]gmail[dot]com with any options I may have missed.
There are less than 10 days to go until the Florida State Fair comes back to Tampa for 2019 and they have a good amount of new food items coming for your waistline. Here are 7 new food items available this year.
Black Cherry Burger – Carousel Foods: Many of the past hits or mouth-dropping food items have come from Carousel Foods at the Florida State Fair such as the ramen burger and mac and cheese burger. This year they have a burger filled with cherries, basil, shallots, garlic, and a cherry orange relish on a brioche bun. Intriguing? Yes. Will it be tasty? We’ll find out soon enough.
2. Rainbow Grilled Cheese – The Giddy Piggy: This one is for the ‘gram as kids like to say. Rainbow everything is usually a huge magnet for Instragram influencers. This grilled cheese features Gouda, mozzarella, and provolone.
3. Cuban Pizza – Pizza Emporioum: It was only a matter of time before Miami’s crazy Cuban sandwich pizza traveled back across the state. This pizza features a Dijonnaise base topped with a mozzarella and Swiss blend, roast pork, ham, and pickles. Make sure to go and have a real Cuban Sandwich later around Tampa, where Cuban Sandwiches were created and home of the annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival.
4. Red Beans and Rice Funnel Cake – The Best Around: A new funnel cake arrives every year to test our willingness to take our appetites on a new horizon. The batter for this funnel cake has spices, red beans, and rice mixed into it. It is then topped with smoked sausage, peppers, onions, and beans on top. I almost want to throw some sour cream and guacamole on this bad boy. Maybe I’m on to something…
5. Giant Mozzarella Cheese Stick – Angela’s Pizza: One of the great pleasures of the fair is not second-guessing having a giant corn dog or a giant turkey leg. Now cheese fans have something for them with a giant mozzarella cheese stick that has over 1/4 a pound of mozzarella cheese inside. Hopefully some marinara comes with it.
6. Coconut Cream Doughnut – Peachey’s Baking Co. – You simply have not gone to the Florida State Fair if you have not stopped by Peachey’s Baking Co. for a delicious doughnut or pretzel. It is some of the best food I have had in my life. They were known before as the Amish Baking Co.
7. Fried Cookie Dough – The Happy Dough – Considering how popular cookie dough is now as a food trend, why not eat it fried? Flavors include classic chocolate chip, birthday cake, and peanut butter cookie dough.
What are you looking forward to trying at the Florida State Fair? I am personally dreaming of a footlong corn dog and some french fries right now…and now the wait begins.
Concert promoter turned restaurateur Sean O’Brien is one of the minds behind the upcoming Cass Street Deli. The neighborhood sandwich shop will feature a simple menu with a pastrami sandwich paying homage to New York’s Katz Delicatessen, a signature Reuben sandwich, corned beef sandwich, smoked turkey sandwich, hot dogs, sauerkraut made in-house, and more.
The motivation for opening Cass Street Deli comes from O’Brien’s own desire to have a traditional New York deli in Tampa. O’Brien spent years looking for the right location and seeking investors, but after visiting the Tampa Bay Jewish Food Festival, O’Brien hit the tipping point and decided he wanted to bring his dream to reality.
Like many restaurateurs, O’Brien hopes to share his own personal food cravings with others and hopes Cass Street Deli can be a home for Northerners looking for a piece of home in Tampa.
So far, the response has been quite positive with lines wrapping around the initial pop-up for Cass Street Deli at Nebraska Mini-Mart on Mondays in Seminole Heights. Chefs Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez have a history with O’Brien and helped him get his first location at their neighborhood market.
O’Brien brought on Suzanne Crouch from Ella’s to help him create his first food business. He also has Eddie Shumard, a former sous-chef from The Refinery, on-board as a partner for the deli.
Cass Street Deli will incorporate local elements of Tampa with homemade recipes from O’Brien’s Jewish mother.
The menu at Cass Street Deli will incorporate 4 hot sandwiches and 4 cold sandwiches as well as latkes, beet salad, cucumber salad. Look out for their matzo ball soup as well. The philosophy is to keep the menu simple, but focus on the quality of key menu items.
The North Hyde Park location will join other local businesses including The Lab Coffee and Hooch and Hive in a growing neighborhood just minutes from the new Julian B. Lane Park and Armature Works.
Cass Street Deli will be a fairly small shop with 10 seats for customers and O’Brien wants to push a to-go concept and catering for offices in nearby Downtown Tampa and South Tampa. The shop will also have a market which will sell house-made meat cuts, mustard, and bread for sale by the pound.
Cass Street Deli initially planned to open on National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day on January 14th, but like most restaurateurs, O’Brien has learned it’s safe to assume your target date is never actually your opening date.
Here’s where you can catch Cass Street Deli next until their opening:
Sunday, February 3rd – Brunch at Anise Global Gastrobar – Chocolate Babka French toast with Chantilly cream, “Pastramlet”, a pastrami and swiss omelette topped with a spicy mustard Hollandaise, and a basket of latkes from 11AM-3PM.
Saturday, February 9th – Blind Tiger Cafe SoHo – In celebration of national bagels cream cheese and lox today, Cass Street Deli will be bagels with cream cheese and lox from 8AM-12PM.
Tuesday, February 19th – Crowbar – Cass Street Deli will be featured for Beer Garden Sessions with New Belgium Brewing and be serving Matzo Ball Soup along with 2 other menu items that are still to be announced.
SF Restaurant Week starts Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 until January 31st in San Francisco and is presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Participating restaurants will offer special prix-fixe menus during this time.
Lunch (2 courses) will cost $15 or $25. Dinner (3 or more courses) will cost $40 or $65.
It’s a great time to get out there and try a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try and get a feel for the restaurant at an affordable price. Over 100+ restaurants will be participating in SF Restaurant Week in 2019.
Some restaurant participating include Barbara Pinseria & Cocktail Bar, flour + water, Nami Gaji, PABU Izakaya, Sushi Ran, and more.
Diners who visit at least 4 restaurant can submit entries with proof to the official Facebook event page for a chance to win up to $1,200 in dining gift certificates to different restaurants.
The official hashtag for SF Restaurant Week is #SFRW – Follow SF Restaurant Week on Instagram @eatdrinksf and on Twitter @eatdrinksf
I have a deep love for hotel bars. Usually there is a relaxing environment to them that still speaks elegance and many times quality bartenders find themselves there enjoying a bit of a relief from busy nightclubs and dive bars. Daffodil restaurant bar inside The Orchard Hotel San Francisco and located just minutes from Union Square fits the bill.
The bar has a focus on sustainability and local and is still in the middle of blossoming and expanding its menu. One of their local products they serve is Lake Tahoe Vodka which is distilled in Mountain View, California and made with Lake Tahoe water. The bar aims to use farm-fresh ingredients whenever available as well in its cocktails.
The Orchard Hotel is inspired by “Orchard Road” in Singapore, one of Asia’s most famous shopping streets and a luxurious place to shop, dine, and explore. Owner, Mr. S.C. Huang and family, hope to recreate that feeling in their boutique hotel.
Many Americans were first introduced to Singapore last year when “Crazy Rich Asians” became a world-wide success and one of the best romantic comedies I have ever seen.
On the cocktail list you’ll find the Singapore Sling, La Mission Mary, Swiss Sidecar, Vesper Martini, and more with daily specials also available. The Singapore Sling was created in Singapore in 1915 at Long Bar inside Raffles Hotel and is a tasty gin concoction. If you’ve never had one I recommend giving one a try.
Beer fans can indulge in 21st Amendment Brewery from San Francisco, Ballast Point from San Diego, and it wouldn’t be a San Francisco bar without Anchor Steam. Wine enthusiasts can find a variety of California wines from Parducci Wine Cellars, Wilson Creek Winery, and Sterling Vineyards…to name a few.
Prices are fair for a tourist area in San Francisco and will range between $6 for a beer and $14 for a cocktail depending on your choices. Daffodil offers happy hour daily from 4:30PM-6:30PM and offers 1/2 price beer, house wine, and well-drinks.
USA Today‘s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards currently has Cigar City Brewing at TPA (Tampa International Airport) in the running for two categories: Best Airport Bar/Restaurant Atmosphere and Best Airport Bar.
Cigar City Brewing opened last year in the Airside C of Tampa International Airport and is serving and brewing local craft beer to airport visitors daily with Cuban food. Popular crafts such as Jai Alai, Invasion Pale Ale, Maduro, and Florida Cracker can be found at the airport brewery along with other selections.
Votes are accepted daily and Cigar City and TPA is looking for locals in Tampa and fans of the craft beer success story to help spread the word.
Cigar City Brewing was founded by Joey Redner in 2007 in Tampa and pays homage to the rich history of Tampa and Ybor City. It is one of the biggest supports of Tampa Bay’s craft beer scene that now includes over 100 breweries. Cigar City produces over 60,000 barrels of beer a year and has released over 6,000 individual brands of beer. Their annual Hunapu’s Day release party is one of the most popular and exclusive craft beer events in the country.