Festa Italiana 20th anniversary this weekend!

Festa Italiana will celebrate their 20th anniversary this weekend in Ybor City.

The opening event, Wines of Italy, has already taken plan and the weekend will bring plenty of delicious feasts and events on Saturday with the main event happening Sunday, April 9th, at Centennial Park from 11AM to 6:30PM.

Over 35 of Tampa Bay’s top restaurants will participate in the festival. Italian singer, Zucchero, will headline the cultural food and wine festival on Sunday. Proceeds will benefit the Italian Club Restoration Fund.

The Italian Club was founded in 1894 that was created to unite the Italian community in Tampa to overcome social and economic challenges when they first arrived in the area. The mission of the group is to preserve and honor the culture, traditions, and heritage of the Italian community and maintain the historical facility as a memorial to the working class immigrants.

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Tickets can be purchased online via Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/festa-italiana-the-main-event-20th-anniversary-feat-zucchero-tickets-29982099266

Children ages 12 and under are FREE to the main event. Centennial Park is located at 1800 East 8th Avenue Tampa, FL 33605.

Ceviche Paella Porch Party Sundays: $25 Unlimited Sangria and Paella

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant about the Paella Porch Party series they are currently hosting. I have been compensated for this article. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Sundays in South Tampa are getting more upbeat with Ceviche’s Paella Porch Party series being held on Sundays from 11AM-4PM. Enjoy unlimited paella and endless house sangria (white/red) for $25 during this special event.

For those who haven’t tried Paella – it is a Valencian rice dish from Spain. The name of the dish comes from the Old French word paelle which means pan and the Latin word patella meaning pan. The dish is often cooked in a large pan with all the ingredients cooked to perfection. It can also be cooked in small pans for personal servings.

House sangria normally goes for $7 a glass and around $20-$40 a pitcher and the Paella on the menu is normally over $20 – making this a great deal for Sunday Brunch attendees.

I’m personally a fan of Ceviche’s sangria and have celebrated numerous occasions there with friends – it definitely stands as one of the top places to get sangria in Tampa Bay.

Ceviche South Tampa is located at 2500 West Azeele Street Tampa, Florida 33609. Ceviche was founded in 1997 as the original tapas restaurant in the region.

Visit Ceviche online at http://www.ceviche.com/tampa/

Ruth’s TasteMaker Dinners: DAOU Vineyards & Winery

Ruth’s Chris Steak House recently began hosting a new dinner wine series called Ruth’s TasteMaker Dinners. The restaurant is teaming up with 6 pairing partners at 106 locations for this series including DAOU Vineyards & Winery, Johnnie Walker Whisky, Chateau Montelena Winery, Marchesi Antinori, and more.

I will check out the DAOU Vineyards dinner this Friday evening as a guest at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Look for my write-up afterwards.

On the food menu: Jerk-Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Honey & Soy Glazed Atlantic Cod, Coffee & Chocolate Braised Short Rib Ragout, Petite Filet Mignon, and Molten Chocolate Cake.

On the wine tasting list: 2015 Chemin de Fleurs, 2015 Chardonnay, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Cabernet Reserve and Pessimist.

Reservations can be made online at: http://www.ruthschris.com/promotions/daou-wine-dinner

DAOU is located in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles in California on a 212-acre hilltop estate and has a focus on creating Bordeaux style wines that combine Old World wine traditions with New World techniques. DAOU has a mission to produce first-growth Cabernet Sauvignon that will rival many of the greats.

The family business is run by brothers Georges Daou and Daniel Daou.

A look at the menu:

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Ciccio’s Gasparilla Brunch & Brews – 1/28

This Saturday, January 28th, is Gasparilla and Ciccio/Water is celebrating with a special event called Ciccio’s Gasparilla Brunch & Brews from 10AM-2PM at 1015 South Howard Avenue. Guests will also enjoy a live DJ set.

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The event will feature a $35 All-You-Can-Eat-And-Drink Beer & Brunch celebration. Cash only. Tickets can only be purchased at the door. Parking will cost $20 with limited spaces available.

Don’t forget your pirate gear!

Use #TurnTampaTeal to score a FREE drink at the party.

Proceeds will benefit The Teal Recovery Project, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that focuses on fundraising, educating, and empowering women battling cervical cancer.

Event name: Ciccio’s Gasparilla Brunch & Brews

Date & Time: Saturday, January 28th, 2017, 10AM-2PM

Address: 1015 South Howard Avenue Tampa, Florida 33606

Cost: $35 to attend, $20 parking, Cash-only

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1773892346265765/

Chef Mark Estee 4-Course Dinner & Tequila Pairing – 1/24

Vuelo Mexican Grill in New Tampa will host a 4-course dinner and tequila pairing on Tuesday, January 24th from 5PM to 9PM with restaurant Chef Mark Estee. The chef is a James-Beard Semifinalist for Best Chefs in America and has been featured on both the Cooking Channel and the Food Network.

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The cocktails pairings will feature Azuñia Tequila which is produced with 100% pure Weber Blue Agave grown in dedicated fields of the Jalisco lowlands. An exclusive export of Agaveros Unidos de Amatitán, the agave is aged for 8-10 years before harvesting and then proceed to use open-air natural fermentation.

On the menu:

  • Florida Rock Shrimp Tiradito with Citrus, Chiles and Corn
  • Luis’s Chicken Mole with Crispy Masa Cake and Chicken Chicharrón
  • Carne Asada with Salsa Verde and Smashed Potatoes
  • Warm Chocolate Cake with Cajeta Caramel Sauce

Tickets are available for $40 in advance and the pairing will be available for $50 on the day of the event. Walk-ins will be welcome and the regular menu will also be available.

Buy advance tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/meet-chef-mark-estee-four-course-chefs-dinner-premium-tequila-tasting-tickets-31106492356

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Orlando chefs host Filipino kamayan pop-up dinner

Three chefs in Orlando, Florida teamed up this past weekend to host a Filipino “kamayan” dinner called “Kamay or die” at The Guesthouse Bar on Mills Avenue.

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The chefs who hosted the event include:

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Kamayan is an eat-with-your-hands style feast that is popular in Filipino culture and has spread to the United States through a variety of pop-ups and restaurant dinners being held from California to New York City. Food is spread on banana leaves and no plates or silverware are traditionally provided.

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Dishes ranged from traditional Filipino food to Filipino-inspired food fare. Guesthouse bartenders served up Tiki cocktails to create a Pacific food feast experience.

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The menu included:

  • Rice
  • Adobo shrimp
  • Filipino style ribs
  • Whole fried snapper
  • Pinakbet
  • Bok choy
  • Baby octopus
  • Lechon Kawali (crispy fried pork belly)
  • Longanisa (Filipino sausage)
  • Lumpia (Filipino eggrolls)
  • Turon with vanilla ice cream covered in a purple ube coconut sauce

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Around 60 guests attended the feast. The chefs hope to host more events in the near-future.

Bloomberg noted last week that Filipino food is projected to have a great year in 2017 and Filipino food fans like myself are hopeful that this is just the beginning of Filipino dining to come.

San Francisco-based, Filipino-American, Chef Charleen recently won the Food Network show Chopped using Filipino cuisine to guide her to victory and winning the grand prize of $10,000.

Now to get some more Filipino food out west in Tampa Bay.

Photography courtesy of Jeff Kraus.

CL HighBall Cocktail Competition 2017 – 1/26

Local newspaper Creative Loafing will host a cocktail competition called HighBall 2017 on Thursday, January 26th, 2017 from 7PM to 10PM at Kozuba & Sons Distillery (a truly beautiful facility) in St. Petersburg.

The event will showcase local bartenders, distillers, and craft cocktail culture. Guests will enjoy more than 15 craft cocktail samples at the event. A portion of proceeds to benefit Current Initiatives and their projects, such as the Laundry Project, Hope For Homes, and Affordable Christmas.

General Admission Tickets cost $25 in advance and $40 at the door. VIP tickets cost $50 in advance and $80 at the door (if tickets are still available).

VIP guests will receive an hour of early entrance to the event, as well as a private VIP-area with exclusive food/drink perks. All participants will be able to vote for the “Tampa Bay’s Best Cocktail” contest.

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Buy tickets: http://www.cltampa.xorbia.com/highball

Sponsors and partners include Kozuba & Sons Distillery, Siesta Key RumTamiami Gin, & Ox and Fields Restaurant + Bar.

Participating bars: