Busch Gardens Christmas Town starts November 17th

Are you feeling the holiday spirit? It’s 67 degrees today in Tampa and I am already sipping on an eggnog latte. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will bring back their annual Christmas Town series starting this Saturday, November 17th.

Christmas Town favorites will return including Santa’s House presented by Coca-Cola and Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland.

New for Christmas Town this year:

  • Brunch with Santa: Christmas-themed dining experience for the whole family. Some items on the menu include fried chicken and waffles with apple butter, butternut bisque with cinnamon cream, and chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. Santa Clause will make an appearance with a photo opportunity. Adults can enjoy unlimited mimosa and “Build-Your-Own-Bloody-Mary” upgrades. The event will occur on select dates at Serengeti Overlook Restaurant 
  • “Christmas Is…” holiday show at Dragon Fire Grill joining Christmas on Ice, Elmo’s Christmas Wish, the Holiday Hills Band, Carols of the Bells light show, and Christmas Town Sing-A-Long Train
  • Christmas Town Village will be located in a new location this year. Find it inside the Gwazi Pathway with holiday merchandise and treats for-sale. The Jingle Bell Express miniature train will be in town. Winter whiskey and wine tastings will be available for adults of age. 

My favorite part of Christmas Town is all the lights and of course the snow. The holiday train is also something I really enjoy. It really gets you in the mood for the holidays.

Here is the schedule for Christmas Town 2018:

 Find more information at ChristmasTown.com.

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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.

Where to celebrate 4th of July 2018 in Tampa Bay

4th of July brings lots of excitment and American pride. Fireworks and partying are at the top of the agenda as well.

Wondering where to go and get your dose of red, white, and blue? I have you covered.

Here are some places throwing events for 4th of July this Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 in Tampa Bay:

  • Aloft Hotel: Every Wednesday is Wine Down Wednesdays at Aloft Tampa Downtown and this 4th of July is no different. The event will feature $20 regular admission and $10 reduced entry with RSVP. Guests will enjoy bottomless wine, champagne, craft beer, and appetizers from 5PM-9PM and drink specials afterwards. Fireworks begins at 9PM. 100 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 898-8000
  • American Social: Celebrate Independence Day at American Social with food, drinks, music, and fireworks. The waterfront access of American Social makes this a great spot to view fireworks. Drink specials include $4 Tito’s Vodka and Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey as well as $3 Bud Light/Budweiser all day. 601 S. Harbour Island Blvd. Suite 107, Tampa, FL 33602 (813) 605-3333
  • American Victory Museum & Ship: Celebrate Independence Day at this 4th of July Family Funfest from 6:30PM-9:30PM. There will be music, games, food, beer, wine, contests, and giveaways. American Victory Museum provides a voyage to American Maritime History. Tickets range from $7-$13705 Channelside Dr., Tampa, FL 33602
  • Astro Skate of Brandon: This local Brandon skating rink will offer $5 admission on 4th of July from 1PM-6PM (skate rentals extra). FREE all-you-can-eat hot dogs from 1PM-2PM and a singing contetst for “God Bless America” with a $25 cash prize. 750 W Robertson St, Brandon, FL 33511. (813) 681-3635 
  • George M. Steinbrenner Field: There is no sport more American than baseball and the Tampa Tarpons have a game scheduled against the Clearwater Threshers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Doors open at 5PM with the game kicking off at 6:30PM. Tickets range from $5-$8 and there will be specials including $3 16 oz. Budweiser / Bud Light drafts and $5 for 6 chicken wings. FREE Admission for current and former EMT Specialists, Firefighters, Police, and Military Personnel. 1 Steinbrenner Dr., Tampa, FL 33614
  • Hollander Hotel Downtown St. Petersburg: Feel like getting wet? Hollander Hotel will have a pool party on 4th of July with DJ Dutch from 1PM-5PM. No cover. 421 4th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 873-7900
  • Museum of the Fine Arts, St. Petersburg: The MFA Cafe has a special buffet planned for 4th of July at 6:30PM. On the menu: Brown sugar and chipotle rubbed beef brisket, Carolina hickory smoked chicken quarters, BBQ pulled pork sliders, Sweet cole slaw, Grilled bbq gulf shrimp salad sliders, Charred corn aioli, Grilled corn on the cob with cilantro-lime butter, Build your own red, white and blue cupcake bar, and more. Enjoy fireworks after the feast. $46 for adults and $23 for children. Limited-seating. Call (727) 822-1032 for reservations. 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
  • The Sail: Channelside’s usual 4th of July festivities are on hold this year as construction continues on the plaza. The Sail located a few miles down the Tampa Riverwalk will have food trucks for 4th of July and a front-view of Downtown Tampa fireworks. Catch Casablanca Fusion, Sugar Shack Tampa, and Sexton’s Pizza from 11AM-9PM and The Bacon Boss, The Melt Machine, and Just Smokin BBQ from 5PM-11PM serving some street eats. There will be live music and drinks at the bar. 333 S Franklin St., Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 274-7778
  • Shephard’s Beach Resort: Shephard’s Beach Resort on Clearwater Beach has as weekly Wednesday night club party called NEON BEACH at their Wave Nightclub. The event will offer $2 drinks all night long starting at 9PM right after the fireworks go off on the beach. Guests must be 18 years or older to enter. There will be a relaxed dress code. 619 S. Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 (727) 442-5107

Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender Competition 2018 Miami

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender (MIB) Cocktail Competition at Racket in Wynwood.

Bartenders showcased their talents and the winners move on to London (the home of Bombay Sapphire) for the finals and the chance to win $10,000, a digital feature in GQ, and other Conde Nast digital properties.

Cocktail competitions are awesome because you get to see bartenders push themselves to the limit. Bartenders have that same creativity that chefs show in the kitchen and the same passion too. The United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) helps to promote that and USBG Miami helped to partner with this event.

Bartenders are judged on flavor, appearance, bartender presentation, and imagination. The key to these competitions is to make something new, while also staying true to the spirit that you’re competing with. Due to these requirements, the people’s choice award will often not be the same as the one the judges choose.

Last night’s winner for people’s choice was Evan Lewis from Taquerias el Mexicano in Miami. His cocktail is called “Queen’s Bouget” and incorporates Bombay Sapphire Gin, Blueberry “Gin-ager”, Lemon Aquafaba, Blueberry Cardamom syrup, Sparkling Elderflower Liqueur, topped with a Floral Candy Orchid. This drink made gin truly fun to drink.

The winners of the Southeast judging contest who will move on to London are:

  • Derek Stilmann from Beaker + Gray in Miami. His drink is called “Who I Am” and incorporates elements of his life into each ingredient. The cocktail has Bombay Sapphire Gin, Spiced Milk Syrup, Lustau Cream Sherry, Gunpowder Tea, Orange Liqueur, Absinthe Salt, and Rose Mist.
  • Cody Henson from El Coyote Charleston with “Ceylon Fix”. This drink includes Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lemon Juice, Pineapple Syrup, and Doctor Possner’s New Star Soda.

https://twitter.com/carloseats/status/1012472994583797760

4th Annual Peach Festival this Saturday at Keel & Curley

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Keel & Curley Winery located in Plant City. I have been compensated for my time.

This Saturday, May 12th is the 4th Annual Peach Festival at Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City located at 5210 Thonotosassa Road.

The event has FREE admission. It event will run from 8AM-6PM and feature U-Pick Peaches & Blueberries, Food & Craft Vendors, Peach Cider, Peach Wine and Blueberry Wine Bottle Specials for $10, Live Music, and more.

Some of the vendors include:

  • Stanford’s Jerky
  • Ben’s Soft Pretzels
  • Jessi’s Flaming Fruit Sauce
  • Lobster Maine-iacs
  • Alessi Bakery
  • Cotton Kraze
  • Aunt Neci’s
  • The Tea Jug
  • The Best Thai Food
  • & More

Parking costs $5.

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/552397481827222/

 

11th Annual Blueberry Festival wraps up this weekend

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City. I have been compensated for my work. Any opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect Keel & Curley Winery.

Keel & Curley Winery’s 11th Annual Blueberry Festival will wrap up this weekend on Saturday, April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd. Last weekend drew thousands to the blueberry farm in Plant City.

Families and friends spent the day out on the farm picking blueberries and drinking blueberry wine and beer as well as food from trucks and vendors. Vendors were selling blueberry butter, blueberry jam, blueberry hot sauce, blueberry grilled cheese sandwiches…to name a few.

Keel & Curley is Florida’s second largest winery and makes over 20,000 case of wine a year. It is essentially Florida’s wine country located just over Interstate 4 on Exit 17 near Dinosaur World.

Joey Fatone from *NSYNC showed up last Saturday at the event and wowed visitors as he cooked up some hot dogs and Brooklyn food aboard his food truck Fat One’s Hot Dogs and Italian Ice. He was friendly and took plenty of pictures with fans and guests alike. The food truck will be back this weekend to wrap up the festival.

Guests can enjoy:

  • FREE ADMISSION
  • U-Pick Blueberries (8AM-4PM)
  • Live Music
  • $10 Blueberry Wine
  • Two Henry’s Brewing Co. Blueberry Beer & Cider
  • Limited-Edition Strawberry Shortcake Wine
  • Food & Craft Vendors
  • Kids’ Activities
  • & more

Event Name: 11th Annual Blueberry Festival

Venue: Keel & Curley Winery

Address: 5210 Thonotosassa Rd., Plant City, FL 33565

Dates & Time: Saturday, April 21st, 8AM-6PM, Sunday, April 22nd, 8AM-4PM

Ages: All ages welcome

Cost: FREE to attend, $10 parking

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/896744867165660/

TBBW: Sons of CANarchy Pub Crawl – 3/7

Ready to drink your way around Ybor City? Head out for the Sons of CANarchy Pub Crawl on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018. 11 breweries, both national and local brands, will participate and serve 11 beers at 5 different bars around Ybor City. The event is FREE to attend.

The events kick off at 6PM at The Bricks of Ybor. The schedule is as follows:

6PM: The Bricks (1327 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33706): Brew Hub, Sierra Nevada

7PM: Reservoir Bar (1518 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): Bell’s Brewery, Two Henry’s Brewing Co.

8PM: The Brass Tap (1600 East 7th Ave. E-113, Tampa, FL 33605): Dogfish Head Brewery, Crooked Thumb

9PM: Boneyard (1823 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): New Belgium Brewing, Brew Bus Brewing

10PM: The Dirty Shame (1929 East 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605): Terrapin Beer Co., Cigar City Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 Guide

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 is going to be one for the books. There are tons of events lined up to enjoy for the celebration of Tampa’s growing craft beer scene.

Per the website “The inaugural Tampa Bay Beer Week was established in 2012, and has since hosted thousands of events ranging from large-scale festivals to beer tastings, beer dinners and more”.

“The success of TBBW has been a major factor in the continuing growth of the Tampa Bay area craft beer community. Tampa Bay Beer Week begins on the first Saturday of March and ends 8 days later. It has become the premier Beer Week destination in the Southeast”.

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This is my guide to the events going on and my recommendations:

Visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TampaBayBeerWeek/

Tampa Theatre WineFest 2018: Wine’s World This Week

Tampa’s historic Tampa Theatre located in Downtown Tampa will have their 16th Annual WineFest: Wine’s World 2018 event this week. The event is Tampa Theatre’s largest annual fundraiser.

The event will kick off on Thursday, March 1st with a screening of Wayne’ World at 7:30PM. On Friday, March 2nd guests will enjoy a special Wine Pairing presented by Mise En Place Chef Marty Blitz.  The stage of the Tampa Theatre will be expanded to host these special guests.

The main event will occur on Saturday, March 3rd with the two-tiered Wine Tasting. Guests can enjoy dozens of independent restaurants and wineries and bid on special auction items (note: the auction is already open for bidding).

Pre-bidding: http://www.bidpal.net/TAMPATHEATRE

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The Premium Tasting is from 7:00PM-8:00PM and features exclusive wines for a limited audience. The Grand Tasting is from 8:00PM-10:00PM. The Premium Tasting is already SOLD OUT, but the Grand Tasting still has tickets available while supplies last.

Buy tickets to The Grand Tasting: https://tampatheatre.ticketforce.com/orderticketsarea.asp?p=1884&a=2&src=eventperformances

Participating vendors:

  • 1895 Bar – Kitchen – Market
  • American Social Tampa
  • Anise Global Gastrobar
  • Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria
  • Bizou Brasserie
  • Breakthru
  • Cape Classics
  • Carne Chophouse
  • Ceviche
  • Cremaschi Wine Imports
  • Cru Cellars
  • Culinary Creations
  • CW’s Gin Joint
  • Daughters Wines
  • District Tavern
  • Dominio de Punctum
  • Duchessa Lia
  • Ella’s
  • Folio Wines
  • Hess Winery
  • J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc.
  • La Crema Winery
  • Little Donut House
  • Mettler Family Vineyards
  • Michael David Winery
  • Noble Wines
  • O Cocina
  • Oberan Wines
  • On Swann
  • Opici
  • Oxford Exchange
  • PRP Wines
  • RNDC
  • Si-am Thaimerican
  • Sokol Blosser Winery
  • Southern Brewing
  • Terroir Wine Group
  • Totara Wines
  • Villa Sandi

The event is sponsored by Mise en Place, APG, Bank of America, The Bank of Tampa, Casper’s Service Company, Creative Contractors Inc., DeBartolo Family Foundation, Florida Health Care News, Growman Brand, Gray Robinson Attorneys at Law, Harris & Hunt P.A., HCP Research Strategy Marketing, Mutual of Omaha Bank, Phelps Dunbar LLP, Quarles & Brady LLP, Nichols Geegan King of Raymond James, Shumaker, Southwest Airlines, Silva & Associates, Tampa Steel Erecting Co., TECO, and more.