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NEWS: Tampa chefs VS. Bobby Flay airing December 26th on Food Network

Tampa chefs, Chef Rosana Rivera and Chef Ricardo Castro will take their talent to the masses in America on Thursday, December 26th when they compete on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay”. The chefs currently own Xilo Mexican at The Hall on Franklin and focus on serving fresh Mexican-inspired cuisine. I stopped by last weekend to sit down with Chef Castro and discuss how they got here and where they are going.

Chef Rivera and Castro are best known for their past project called Piquant, a popular French bakery concept that was located first in Hyde Park Village and then West Tampa. The project was supplying the Tampa Bay area with fresh breads and pastries and certainly a local pioneer in that space where French bakeries are far and few between.

Their Kouign-Amann was a personal favorite and when I went west to San Francisco, I was amazed and how the ideas that Rivera and Castro brought to Tampa Bay area are so huge out there and still mostly unknown out here. Piquant went through various cycles, but was ultimately closed much to my dismay.

When Chef Rivera and Chef Castro opened Xilo at Hall on Franklin, I wasn’t sure what inspired the move to Mexican cuisine. Castro explained to me that the idea to make Mexican food came from their unique past. Castro was trained at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York City and he volunteered at a church where he was trained on Mexican sauces and cuisine.

Rivera previously worked for a corporation that regularly flew her around Mexico and exposed her to many of the regional cuisines of the area. When deciding on a concept, Mexican came to them as something both different for the area and something that they could both uniquely bring to the table.

Slowly the chefs have added items to the menu that are representative of their love for Mexican cuisine including brunch options such as chilaquiles. They are one of the only vendors that are open during breakfast at the food hall.

When the chefs entered Hall on Franklin they also took control of the Kofe Tampa shop and have slowly moved into coffee as a business, with prior experience selling their own proprietary roasted blend at their bakery. Soon they will move toward plans to provide their coffee on a bigger scale with a more wholesale focus.

Their coffee can best be described as a truly Latin roast with bold espresso flavors.

The future may hold more restaurant locations in the Tampa Bay area, although the chefs are still considering potential locations across the state of Florida. They are well-traveled and have received much of their inspiration from past culinary projects and mentors. Hopefully their love for baking will also be a part of these next moves.

One thing that is clear is that both these chefs are passionate about food and are passionate about baking. Their debut on the Food Network is a great win for Tampa and also for themselves. Latinx representation is still lacking on Food Network and in the food industry in general.

Let’s hope they can beat Bobby Flay. Catch Chef Rosana Rivera and Chef Ricardo Castro on Food Network at 10:30PM EST on Thursday, December 26th. Free tickets are available to their watch party on Eventbrite that will run from 8:30PM to 11:30PM at Hall on Franklin.

Xilo Mexican. The Hall on Franklin. 1701 N Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602.

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Articles cocktails Food Events

Celebrate 10 years of USBG Tampa Bay's Repeal Day Gala on December 7th

The end of Prohibition (December 5th, 1933) has always been an important moment in the cocktail industry and this year marks 10 years that the U.S. Bartenders Guild (USBG) Tampa Bay has celebrated the occasion with their Repeal Day Gala.

This year’s gala will happen on Saturday, December 7th at The Cuban Club.

The theme is the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, an event that fell on the centennial anniversary of the city’s birth. The fair was about looking into the future of the world.

The event has grown from 35 people gathered in the Don Vicente Hotel’s basement speakeasy to a multi-floor event at The Cuban Club in Historic Ybor City.

Over the past three years, an average of 700 guests have been in attendance. Organizers share, “2019 is looking to be our fairest and most spectacular gala ever.”

The event is not only a gala for industry personnel and industry leaders in the cocktail world, Repeal Day now includes an educational component with seminars days before the party. Speakers from all over the nation come to enlighten others with their experiences and knowledge.

Tickets are available now and start at $100. Discounts are available for USBG members with proof of membership. They can be purchased online at EventBrite: http://bit.ly/2P5EKs2

The official website is located to at repealdayparty.com.

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Events Food Events News

NEWS: SouthShore Seafood and Arts Festival coming November 2nd and 3rd

The SouthShore Seafood and Arts festival is coming this November 2nd and 3rd to E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin. Over 15,000 people attended the festival in 2018. Organizers are offering a group rate of $3 for 20 admission tickets. The festival is kid and pet-friendly (pets must be on leashes).

There will be a wide-variety of seafood available at the festival including stone crabs and a variety of other seafood dishes from the Gulf and beyond.

The event is organized by the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce.

Photo via SouthShore Seafood & Arts Fesitval

There will be boats and RVs, arts and crafts, educational displays, commercial exhibits, and tons of interactive kids entertainment for families to enjoy. Over 150 vendors will be present at the event.

Food trucks and vendors attending include:

Event Name: SouthShore Seafood and Arts Festival

Date & Time: Saturday, November 2nd, 10AM-5PM, Sunday, November 3rd, 10AM-5PM

Venue: E.G. Simmons Park

Address: 2401 19th Avenue, N.W., Ruskin, FL 33570

Cost: $5 adults, Kids 12 & under FREE, Active Military FREE with ID, $2 parking per car to enter park, parking is free afterwards.

Website: https://www.ruskinseafoodfestival.org/

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/516486122476272/

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Articles Events Food Events News Restaurant News

NEWS: Savor St. Pete festival coming November 2nd and 3rd

Savor St. Pete is bringing their food and wine festival to Downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday, November 2nd and Sunday, November 3rd at North Straub Park.

The event was previously known as Clearwater Beach Uncorked. It will be a showcase of Tampa Bay chefs, restaurants, breweries, and a wide variety of wines.

Savor St. Pete is sponsored by City of St. Petersburg, Publix, and Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater. The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is the official hotel partner for the event.

“We look forward to creating an extraordinary level of excitement in the ‘Burg,’” said Tammy Gail, festival founder and producer. “We are bringing elements that will ramp-up the cool factor that SAVOR ST. PETE will feature.”

Tickets are now available for general admission on both Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3. General Admission guests are welcome on-site from 1PM to 4PM. GA tickets are $75 per person per day.

All event guests receive a limited-edition wine glass, custom tote bag, and exclusive access to the Grand Tasting Village that is located within a 30,000-square-foot tent. 

Restaurant Partners:

  • Bavaro’s
  • BJ’s
  • Brio Italian
  • Bulla Gastrobar
  • The Library
  • Red Mesa Restaurant Group
  • Marchand’s Bar & Grill
  • Paul’s Landing
  • Roy’s
  • Sweet Charlie’s
  • The Birch & Vine
  • Watercolour Grill & House
  • Teak St. Pete

Wine, Brew, and Spirit Partners:

  • 3 Daughters Brewing
  • 19 Crimes
  • Bacardi
  • Big Storm Brewing Co.
  • Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer
  • Bonanza California
  • Casamigos Tequila
  • Cayman Jack
  • Conundrum
  • Chateau St. Jean
  • Days of Youth Wines
  • Des Amis Napa Valley
  • Deutsch Family
  • District 7
  • Don Ramon Tequila
  • FitVine
  • Fleurs de Prarie
  • Florida Beer Co.
  • Folktale Winery & Vineyard
  • Four Roses Bourbon
  • Francis Ford Coppola Winery
  • Golden Winery
  • Islamorada Beer Company
  • Josh Cellar
  • Justin Vineyards & Winery
  • Keel & Curley Winery
  • Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
  • Landmark Vineyards
  • Matua
  • Mer Soleil
  • Metz Road
  • Ole Smoky
  • Pusser’s Rum
  • Ranch 32
  • Ron Barcelo
  • Ryder Estates
  • San Sebastian Winery
  • Scheid Family Wines
  • Sea Sun
  • Shaw
  • Stella Artois
  • Stella Rosa Wines
  • Stephen Ross Wine Cellars
  • Sterling Vineyards
  • Stokes’ Ghost
  • Tito’s Vodka
  • Two Henry’s Brewing Co.
  • Two Henry’s Hard Cider
  • VDR
  • White Claw
  • Ziami
  • Ferrari Carano
  • Vida de Louie Tequila
  • Manifest Distilling
  • Island Grove Wine Company
  • St. Petersburg Distillery
  • Banyan Reserve Vodka
  • Tippler’s
  • Old. St. Pete
  • Tanqueray
  • Washington State Wine
  • Redemption Rye
  • Swamp Head Brewery

Follow Savor St. Pete on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. The event hashtag is #SavorStPete. 

Event Name: Savor St. Pete

Venue: North Straub Park

Address: 400 Bayshore Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Cost: $75+

Ages: 21+

Buy tickets: http://www.freshtix.com/events/savor-st-pete

Website: http://savortheburg.com/

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Articles Events Food Events News

Guide: Halloween 2019 in Tampa for Adults

This is a guest post by Brandie McCallum.

Remember the fun and excitement leading up to Halloween when you were small? Finding just the perfect costume, making plans with friends in hushed tones, and the anticipation of the sugar rush? All of that is can be yours again!

Grab your besties and get ready to find all the treats that come with being an adult in Tampa.

For those of you that have little ones and are planning a little family fun…head over to the Tampa Riverwalk for their annual Trick or Treat. Your kiddies get the excitement of trick or treating and you get a lovely stroll with a tasty beverage.

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Now, for those of you who are ready to find your spooky and are over 21…Downtown Tampa will not let you down! Don’t forget to haunt responsibly. ProTip: Use Uber or Lyft to avoid the hassle of parking or spending time with the Tampa PD.

Bizou Brasserie in the Le Méridien Tampa Hotel is ready to tantalize you with their Halloween goodies! The creative mixologists there are making sure you get all the treats and none of the tricks. Making it a mesmerizing start to your escapades.

Event link: http://www.facebook.com/events/440220863262678/

Maybe you and your ghouls want to haunt a few more spots? Grab your tickets for the annual Downtown After Dark Halloween party happening Saturday, October 26th from 10PM-2AM. For those over 21, the block party covers most of Downtown Tampa and each spot is ready to haunt you! Some featured bars include GenX Tavern, Four Green Fields, and Spain Restaurant Toma Bar.

Tickets: http://bit.ly/2oZhhjC

Is Downtown Tampa not your thing? No worries, there are few places that will haunt your evening. Starting with the delightfully haunted Plant Museum. Where you can connect with the dearly departed and delve into the eerie past, head over to the old Tampa Bay Hotel and join the team at the Henry B. Plant museum for a rare after dark visit.

Or grab your Lyft and haunt Sparkman Wharf for an evening on the Haunted Wharf on Saturday, October 26th from 7PM-11PM! The event is free and open to the public with live performances and $5 parking at the garage nearby.

Haunting Armature Works is bringing in an orchestra on Wednesday, October 30th from 6:30PM-7:30PM that promises to be the largest in Florida to play for an hour. Fall under the spell of bewitching favorites like Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain. Make sure to check out their events calendar for the other Halloween events!

This time of year, everyone questions which wine goes with M&M’s or is candy corn better with merlot or pinot grigio, Society Wine Bar is going to answer those questions for you! Join them for their annual wine and Halloween candy pairing evening at either location on October 30th from 7PM-9PM. RSVP is not required but strongly suggested.

Grab your wicked and wild friends to decide which haunted Tampa adventure will captivate your old Hallows Eve adventures. Mind your manners, watch for the ghosts that will be stepping out to join you while out for your thrills and chills! Don’t forget to tag us at Carlos Eats during your haunts.

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Articles Food Events

First Annual Ford’s Taste of Latino event recap

I stopped by the Taste of Latino today for their food festival for a few hours. Hundreds of people showed up for a beautiful Sunday in Historic Ybor City. One of the cool things about the event was the wide variety of people who showed up there. There was food from around Latin America including arepas, paella, empananas, flan, Cuban coffee, and more.

The event was organized by Latin Times Media and sponsored by Ford.

Here are some photos from the event:

Delicious paella from Nonna’s Artisan who went on to win one of the trophys for Top Latino Chef.

I didn’t plan to judge, but ended up judging after being asked to help. How could I say no?

This rice went really well with the flank steak and plantains, although it was a little dry on its own.

It wouldn’t be a Latin festival in Tampa without a Cuban Sandwich. Tampa is the home of the Cuban Sandwich and the organizers of Taste of Latino also plan the annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival every spring, which is a qualifier for the World Food Championships.

I tried these ceviche tacos from Las Palmas (winner of the Cuban Sandwich Festival) and they were pretty good. Plenty of spices.

Flan was one of my favorite things here. One of the highest scores I gave out. I love good flan.

Chef Aldo Mosquera was one of the winners for Top Latino Chef at the Taste of Latino. It wasn’t totally shocking since his paella and empanadas were delicious.

Like I said! Great stuff.

 

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Articles Food Events

WEIRD: Candy Corn Pizza further sign of societal decay

Candy corn is probably the worst “treat” to grace the Halloween season and the annual rush to create food people don’t want has led to the Candy Corn Pizza push of 2019. BuzzFeed did an in-depth exploration into the phenomenon in 2018. Just when you think you’ve forgotten, candy corn comes back into your life.

35 million pounds of candy corn are sold every year according to the National Confectioners Association in 2015. Whether all this candy ends up in a trash bin somewhere is for another day and discussion.

The reaction to the abomination is about what you expect as a person who experiences daily online torment:

https://twitter.com/BrianManzullo/status/1185274662529437696

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Articles Food Events

NEWS: Dunedin Stone Crab Festival this weekend

The annual Dunedin Stone Crab Festival is this weekend at Edgewater Park. The food festival is free to attend. 20 vendors will serve up stone crab dishes and a variety of seafood for attendees.

Proceeds will benefit Homeless Empowerment Program (HEP), whose mission is “to  break the cycle of homelessness for any individual or family who comes to us for assistance.” Find out more about HEP at hepempowers.org.

The event is organized by Olde Bay Café & Dunedin Fish Market.

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Offerings will include:

  • local stone crabs (Florida caviar)
  • fish tacos
  • burgers and hotdogs
  • ceviche
  • crepes
  • blue crabs
  • Maine lobster
  • shrimp
  • Mexican food
  • Thai and Vietnamese cuisine
  • BBQ

Arts and craft vendors will be around the event and there will be live music for attendees to enjoy. All ages are invited to attend and the event is pet-friendly as well.

Make sure to bring cash or you can use the ATM at the event (for a fee).

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Event Name: Dunedin Stone Crab Festival

Venue: Edgewater Park

Address: 51 Main Street, Dunedin, FL 34698

Date & Time: Friday, October 18th, 5PM-10PM, Saturday, October 19th, 12PM-10PM

Cost: Free to attend

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1000507790338829/

 

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Articles Events Food Events

NEWS: Taste of Latino coming Sunday October 20th to Ybor City

The first annual Taste of Latino is coming Sunday, October 20th to Centennial Park in Ybor City from 11AM-6PM. The event is organized by Latin Times Media, creators of the Cuban Sandwich Festival and is presented by Ford.

Taste of Latino flter

Food will be featured from around Latin America with countries such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Peru, Venezuela, and more represented. Award-winning chefs will be present at the event.

Live music and dance performances will occur around the event from Revelacion Salsera, Cukiara, Salsa Aerobics, XTreme Dance, and more. Be sure to bring cash for all the vendors who will be selling food from around the world.

Competitors will compete for who makes the best flan, paella, arroz con pollo, arepas, ceviche, and more.

The event is fitting Ybor City, which was once known as the “Cigar Capital of the World”, and home to numerous immigrants from Latin America. Over 950 historic buildings fill Ybor City and are the foundation of where the Cuban Sandwich was created long ago in Tampa.

Paella

VIP  tickets to the event are available and start at $20. VIP guests can taste contest entries from competitors for the best latino food, complimentary refreshments, and hangout with VIPs, celebrities, and media.

Event Name: Taste of Latino

Venue: Centennial Park

Date & Time: Sunday, October 20th, 2019, 11AM-6PM

Address: 1800 E. 8th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

Cost: FREE General Admission, VIP starting at $20

Buy VIP tickets: http://bit.ly/2BapTX2

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/405448503389654/

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Articles Food Events

NAAAP hosting one year anniversary rooftop party July 18th in Downtown Tampa

The National Association of Asian American Professionals Tampa Bay (NAAAP) is celebrating their first anniversary on Thursday, July 18th, 2019 at Hampton + Home2 by Hilton Downtown Tampa from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. The event is being coined Rooftop Celebr*asian and is free to attend. Food will be provided by event sponsors including Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, Rice N Roll, Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi, On-A-Roll Sushi, and Tsunami Sarasota.

Participants are encouraged to bring their networking cards and enjoy food, drinks, and raffle prizes.

The mission NAAAP is “to collaborate with its communities to promote career advancement, engage in community service, assist in employment opportunities, enhance public awareness of our voice, and support businesses as it gives back to NAAAP members”.

Event name: Rooftop Celebr*asian

Venue: Hampton + Home2 by Hilton Downtown Tampa

Address: 1155 E. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL 33602

Date & Time: Thursday, July 18th, 2019, 6:30PM-8:30PM

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/387080268822366/

Get tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/rooftop-celebrasian-tickets-63526009003