San Francisco, CA – Reservations are now open for Eat Drink SF’s opening and closing dinners for SF Restaurant Week at The Vault Garden, Oct. 23, and at EPIC Steak on Nov. 1. Menus and pricing details are below.
Opening dinner: A Taste of San Francisco Friday, Oct. 23, 5 to 8 p.m. The Vault Garden, San FranciscoThis socially distanced outdoor dinner features a collaborative multi-course experience designed by all-star chefs Robin Song of The Vault Garden, Jason Halverson of Hi Neighbor Group, Staffan Terje of Perbacco and barbacco, Reem Assil of Reem’s California, Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie and Routier and Angela Pinkerton of Pie Society and Pinkerton Confectionery. This one-night-only meal includes a welcome beverage and two desserts. $175, including all taxes, fees and gratuity. Tickets on OpenTable [View the menu here]
Closing dinner: A Waterfront Surf and Turf Experience from Waterbar and EPIC Steak: A Night of Gratitude Sunday, Nov. 1, 4 to 8 p.m. EPIC Steak, San FranciscoIconic San Francisco Bay views and live music from The Henry Coopers accompany a welcome cocktail and a sumptuous five-course surf and turf menu from the culinary teams at EPIC and Waterbar, led by acclaimed Executive Chef Parke Ulrich. Courses include Maine Lobster Beggar’s Purse, Venison Carpaccio & Crispy Oysters, Roasted Bone Marrow and Dungeness Crab Gratin, Classic Beef Wellington & Smoked Uni and Fall Apple Galette. Specialty cocktails featuring Maker’s Mark and Sipsmith Gin will also be offered.$127, including all taxes, fees and gratuity. Tickets on OpenTable.
Virtual events with ChefsFeed Eat Drink SF 2020 is coming to your home thanks to ChefsFeed. The line-up will include Kim Alter of Nightbird, Simileoluwa Adebajo of Eko Kitchen, Samir Mogannam of Beit Rima and Rebecca Pinnell, formerly of Bon Voyage! Details coming soon.
Dunkin’ and DoorDash announced today that delivery is now available through DoorDash at approximately 3,500 Dunkin’ restaurants across the United States with expansions planned in the coming months.
As part of an introductory promotion guests who spend $10 or more (excluding taxes and fees) on Dunkin’ through DoorDash will be eligible for a free 25-count box of Dunkin’s MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats and a $0 delivery fee* from September 15th, 2020 to September 21st, 2020. Limit one per person.
“Dunkin’ guests know they can count on us to offer the most convenient ways to enjoy their favorite coffee and food items. We are excited to kick off the fall season by continuing to expand our delivery footprint, teaming up with DoorDash for yet another way to keep Americans running by delivering their daily Dunkin’ order right to their doorstep.”, says Brandy Blackwell, Director of New Business, Delivery & Catering, for Dunkin’ U.S.
To place a Dunkin’ delivery order on DoorDash, customers can simply download the DoorDash mobile app or go to DoorDash.com, , select their nearest Dunkin’ location, choose their food and beverages, customize them just the way they like, and checkout. Their Dunkin’ order will then be delivered contact-free.
“That first sip of coffee is what gets most of us going in the morning, and even though our morning routines look a bit different these days, we’re excited to make it easier for Dunkin’ fans everywhere to enjoy their favorite classics from the comfort of their couches, home desks, or wherever they start their day,” said Toby Espinosa, Vice President of Business Development at DoorDash.
“Dunkin’ selected DoorDash for our commitment to operational excellence and ability to further enhance their already strong off-premise offerings at store locations across the country.”
Dunkin’ was founded in 1950 and is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced regular/decaf/flavored coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin’ has earned a number one ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 14 years running and has more than has more than 13,100 restaurants in 41 countries worldwide. The company is based in Canton, Massachusetts.
PSL season continues with Pumpkin Spice Lattes now at Starbucks locations nationwide and as well as in Canada. This is the 17th year that the drink will be featured at Starbucks locations.
The pumpkin spice industry is worth over $500 million according to the Forbes. This is the earliest that the coffee industry has moved to begin the fall season.
Pumpkin Spice Lattes feature real pumpkin sauce, signature espresso and steamed milk with the celebrated flavor combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Available hot, iced or blended.
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew returns to the menu, crafted with Starbucks® Cold Brew sweetened with vanilla syrup, topped with a pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping.
Fall bakery items are also on menus nationwide with the pumpkin trio: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Pumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread.
There is also a number of pumpkin spice-flavored ground, packaged, and ready-to-drink products now available and NEWStarbucks® Maple Pecan Flavored K-Cup® Packs + Ground Coffeeand Starbucks® Salted Caramel Mocha Flavored Creamer.
Hopefully this brings this cheer to people. Happy PSL!
BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi is opening their first Tampa location near USF in September 2020.
The 100-seat, 2,800 square-foot eatery will be located at 5103 East Fowler Avenueacross from the new Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and University of South Florida campus. Fans of the Florida-based chain have long been asking for a location to open in Tampa.
“Our first BENTO location opened in the small college town of Gainesville 18 years ago in 2002 and was an almost instant hit amongst the University of Florida student crowd. Following that success, we’ve opened in college communities across Florida from UNF Jacksonville to UCF Orlando to FSU Tallahassee to USF St. Pete. Tampa has been one of our highest-requested cities so we were ecstatic to have found a spot that would be easily accessible for USF Tampa students,” says Johnny Tung, co-founder.
The Tampa location will offer plenty of outdoor seating, and will feature BENTO’s signature red sushi bar, warm wood tones, and brass accents reminiscent of modern cafes and lounges found in Japan & Taiwan.
“We’ve been eyeing Tampa for a very long time. Being an economic hub in West Florida, and home to a major University as well as several well-established sports teams, we’re thrilled to finally be able to call Tampa our new home. Notably, there’s an amazing emerging food culture that we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of. The Fowler location will certainly not be the last in the area. We’re hoping to open up three more Tampa locations in the near future,” says Tung.
BENTO Tampa will mark the concept’s 17th location, and the second in the Tampa Bay area following its downtown St. Petersburg debut in the fall of 2018. It will be joining a lineup of 16 other locations across Florida including restaurants in Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Davie, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, Tallahassee, Kissimmee, Winter Park, and BENTO’s newest location in Oviedo.
The concept has no plans of slowing down with six more locations expected to open within the next year. Stores are planned in Dania Beach, Lake Nona, Wellington, Jacksonville Beach, Downtown Jacksonville, and Sarasota – all projected to open before 2020 comes to a close.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, BENTO has been proactive in adapting its operation to accommodate off-site dining. The launch of BENTO’s new company-wide online ordering site, in particular, is making social distancing a whole lot easier for the brand’s loyal customers.
The new ordering platform allows users to skip the line, schedule an order in advance for pickup or delivery, and pay with just a few clicks. Users also have the option to save their favorite orders, and take advantage of online-exclusive deals. There is also a mobile app version coming soon.
Following this wave, future locations will be featuring a new pick-up window for a more contact-less experience.
Get your taste buds and outfits ready, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) season is upon us and will return by Wednesday, August 19th, to Dunkin’ Donuts. It is the earliest that the season has ever started as brands rush to bring back the autumn season.
On the menu…
NEW Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte: Spicing up the brand’s fall lineup is an exceptional seasonal sip worthy of even the most fanatical “fallower,” Dunkin’s new Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte. Elevating PSL to another level of enjoyment, the Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte – available hot or iced – combines rich, smooth espresso with pumpkin and vanilla flavors, topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and cinnamon sugar topping.
NEW Chai Latte: Dunkin’s fall celebration includes a new option for tea lovers, offering a sweetened chai tea blend with spices including cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg combined with milk.
Pumpkin Flavored Coffees: The classic cup for fueling up in fall, Dunkin’s pumpkin flavor swirl is available in its hot or iced coffee, Chai Latte, Cold Brew, espresso drinks, frozen coffee, and frozen chocolate.
Apple Cider Donut and MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats: Dunkin’s Apple Cider Donut features an apple cider cake ring tossed in cinnamon sugar. For a bite-sized serving of seasonal sweetness, guests can also enjoy Apple Cider MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats.
Pumpkin Donut, MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats, and Muffin: Fall isn’t complete without the classic treat of Dunkin’s Pumpkin Donut, a glazed pumpkin cake donut that can also be enjoyed as MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats, along with Dunkin’s Pumpkin Muffin, topped with white icing and sweet streusel crumbs.
Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich: To help feed fall cravings, Dunkin’ is bringing back its Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich, featuring five half-slices of maple sugar seasoned bacon, egg, and white cheddar cheese served on a warm, flaky croissant.
Satisfying Snackin’ Selection:
NEW Stuffed Bagel Minis: Bagel lovers can go small this fall, as Dunkin’ introduces Stuffed Bagel Minis, mini bagel rounds filled with plain cream cheese and served warm. Stuffed Bagel Minis are available in two varieties, Plain and Everything Topping.
NEW Steak & Cheese Rollups: Dunkin’ is adding steak to its lineup of rollups, which also include Ham & Cheese and Bacon & Cheese varieties. Steak & Cheese Rollups, which come two per order, include delicious steak and American cheese rolled up in flour tortillas.
NEW Maple Sugar Seasoned Snackin’ Bacon: Dunkin’ is also putting a seasonal spin on its beloved Snackin’ Bacon. Guests can enjoy eight snack-sized slices of bacon specially flavored with maple sugar seasoning. Each order comes in a sleeve, making it easy to enjoy on the go.
PSL at Home: Guests can also take the taste of pumpkin home with Dunkin’s Pumpkin K-Cup® pods, available at participating Dunkin’ restaurants nationwide for a limited time. Additionally, Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® pods and packaged coffee will be available in grocery stores and other retailers nationwide for a limited time this season.
All items will be available by August 19th nationwide. Happy PSL!
Three popular food brands are joining forces this summer to give $10,000 to five local restaurants in celebration of National S’mores Day: Hershey’s, Jet-Puffed, and Honey Maid.
The trio is calling on small, hometown restaurants and their staff to showcase their favorite S’mores dessert on their menu (new or existing) for a chance to win one of five $10,000 prizes. Restaurants have until Monday, August 24th to enter.
“We are overwhelmed by the love people have had for S’mores this summer. During the current pandemic, many families have turned to the connectivity and comfort of making S’mores as a way to get through this challenging time,” said Bill Maclean, senior marketing director, Hershey’s brand.
“We wanted to say thank you and bring attention to all of those local restaurants who have been affected. We want to provide some relief while celebrating these restaurants, their recipes and their love of S’mores.”
The rules to enter for businesses are:
Post a picture or short video to Instagram or Twitter showcasing your most creative S’mores recipe. The treat MUST at least be made with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and Honey Maid Graham Crackers or Graham Cracker Crumbs – the classic S’mores ingredients!
Make sure to tag @hersheys @kraftjetpuffed @honeymaidsnacks and use the hashtag #SmoresGivesBackContest. For the caption of the posted photo or video, tell why your restaurant deserves to win a prize, and how the prize would be used to impact the restaurant and its employees.
No Purchase is Necessary to enter. For full details of eligibility and entry, including judging criteria, see the Official Rules. Contest ends 11:59:59 PM EDT on August 24, 2020. Void where prohibited. Must be age of majority or older to enter. Entries submitted on behalf of restaurants.
COVID-19 has impacted numerous industries around the country. One of the hardest hit industries is the bar industry where bartenders have constantly found themselves in shutdowns with rent still due and clothes that needs washing.
Recently, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation closed bars and breweries around the state as virus cases continue to spin out of control due to very little regulation or engagement from Tallahassee.
I talked recently with Justin Gray from the United States Bartenders’ Guild chapter in Tampa Bay, a long time supporter of the industry and one of the best local bartenders I know.
I wanted to get the story behind how they ended up partnering with a non-profit called Current Initiatives and their Laundry Project which is “committed to educating and mobilizing communities to be Hope Dealers” for a project called A Drink Pocalypse that is raising money for bartenders and also for Current Initatives.
Supporters can purchase videos on cocktail techniques from experts around the Tampa Bay at the low cost of $10 and help support the industry and those who need it most.
Carlos Eats: What’s the story behind the partnership between USBG Tampa Bay Chapter and Current Initiatives?
JG: There isn’t a backstory – there is the reality of restaurant closures and the response to COVID-19. It was unexpected and something that none of us knew how to prepare for.
When it happened more than anything it was kind of a sense of emergency. I don’t think it was something light-hearted. We need something now.
USBG and bartenders…we’ve had meetings and conversations. A Drink Pocalypse happened in late April, while restaurants and bar were initially closed in March. We as an industry hadn’t figured it out.
There was a sense of urgency.
Carlos Eats: So survival pretty much?
JG: Sam Adams did something. Guy Fieri too. However too many people are impacted for one of those to have an actual lasting effect. Seeing how many people lost their jobs nationally, there is no way for those programs to guarantee that the assistance would come into our zip codes.
We wanted to do something where all funds would be kept right here in Tampa. Open to anyone throughout the Bay Area. The candidate pool was smaller.
That’s what drove us.
Carlos Eats: How can people help?
JG:Current Initatives has been around. When the restaurant closures happened, they extended their programs to include the hospitality programs.
What a lot of people aren’t thinking about. One of the most unfortunate things is the number of places that are permanently closed. We aren’t counting how many places have closed permanently or indefinitely.
Even though some restaurants are open, we are going to continue to provide help as long as we can.
Cocktail videos from bartenders from M. Bird, Copper and Shaker, the best bars in Tampa will show you different cocktail techniques. The video is a learn video.
As a bar manager or owner, you can purchase this video and they have incredible techniques that can be implemented. Sales go directly to Current Initiatives.
Carlos Eats: What do you think the state or city should be doing to help?
JG: I don’t want to make this sound like it is only a bartender phenomenon. If I can get sick at a bar, I can get sick anywhere else. The policy is inconsistent.
The situation is like this: either people go hungry or people lose their lives. Either people pay rent or people pay their lives. It’s an impossible situation and it is absolutely necessary that institutions – that they be there.
Stimulus checks can be good or bad. We need to halt rent payments. Our government has to care enough about us. The numbers in Florida are record breaking, at the same time people cannot afford not to have money.
None of us citizens are able to stop the coronavirus. There is nothing we as citizens can do besides looking at our government. Please continue to provide support. People are not able to work.
It’s time for us to look at how the government can continue to extender rent or mortgage deferments. The government is the only one who can help us.
Everyone needs help.
The more people that buy the video the better.
I then wanted to get more of the story behind Current Initiatives so I talked with the Founder Jason Sowell. He is a native Floridian who has worked in the non-profit sector for 20 years. He is a public speaker, writer, non-profit entrepreneur, missionary, wedding officiant & podcast host.
Carlos Eats: Can you start off with the history behind Current Initiatives?
JS: Current Initiatives started 12 years ago. Our first initiative was The Laundry Project. Out of learning stories about families that live in the area, I learned laundromats are expensive and not a fun place.
Lots of families struggle between groceries or laundry. I sought to turn laundromats into community centers and provide free laundry for those in need. I had big expansions plans for new locations and citizens, then the pandemic happened.
Things shut down. I pivoted back to Tampa – which is my home that I love. Recognizing that it is not just lower income families. People are out of work. The hospitality industry is hit hard. People will struggle to do their laundry.
I sat down with Mayor Jane Castor and TPD and I said we need to keep doing this. I told them I hope they will keep laundromats an essential business.
Carlos Eats: Would volunteers be helpful?
JS: We typically use volunteers, but shut down most of it due to the pandemic. A few bartenders and servers are personal friends that were laid off and hadn’t participated before then offered to help.
The hospitality industry got involved as volunteers and for 3 months teams of hospitality workers have worked 3 days a week to help in laundromats. 1 day a week is for hospitality workers. Bartenders went to bars and restaurants and told people about the project. Whoever needs can sign-up.
Carlos Eats: How can the general public help?
JS: Donations are what we are seeking. People can contact to volunteer when things get better. The need has been great. Typically we do 80 projects in a year, but in 16 weeks we have done 48 projects. Much more than usual. We don’t have plans to slow down.
Carlos Eats: What policy solutions could be used to help?
JS: A huge block of citizens who use laundromats are there by force. Prices at laundromats are what they are due to policy decisions. At home you pay for water by the gallon, but laundromats pay in tiers which strains operators and raises prices on citizens. It’s a slim-margin business.
Carlos Eats: How else can the government make a difference?
JS: Government assistance is usually only for food. People cannot use it for household supplies. Nor can they use it at a laundromat which is a problem.
Also – lower-income families are operating on cash. Politicians are pushing cashless which is harder on lower-income families who may not have bank accounts for contact-less payments and the hospitality industry which is paid in cash from tips.
There is a coin shortage due to a shutdown at the mint. Politicians need to get creative to get quarters to help families who need to wash their clothes. Bad policy can make things worse for people already struggling.
We as a society need to think about doing things in way that is dignifying for people getting help or empowering. Decisions during the coronavirus unintentionally are hurting lower-income families because leaders are not thinking things through.
Carlos Eats: I agree. The shutdown of bars and breweries is a perfect example of rushed decision making.
JS: Yes – that shutdown depends largely on license types. If you are coded for a restaurant you are allowed to operate, while other businesses close.
If I had to home in on a temporary measure we need to take, we need to make it easier for people out of work to get funds for things they need. Unemployment access.
Some bartenders have spent weeks and months helping other bartenders that need help, while struggling themselves to get on unemployment. That needs to change.
Carlos Eats: Thank you for your time. I know I learned a ton.
This week there were a number of stories happening around Black Lives Matter after the murder of George Floyd and in Tampa’s restaurant restaurant community it was no different.
A number of restaurants were navigating how to address the rising movement and protests or how to deal with the fallout of communicating about it to their customers.
The week began with a post from Lanfranco Pescante of Nocturnal Hospitality Group. A message posted online by him said “shoot them all” and drew condemnation from the local community including black leaders, bloggers, and others, led to Franco’s resignation, brought 500 protesters to Downtown Tampa at Franklin Manor, and eventually ended up leading to Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani cutting ties with all associated restaurants from the group including many upcoming concepts around the Tampa Bay area.
This fiasco ended with the indefinite closing of all properties including Franklin Manor, Osteria Tampa, Mole y Abuela, and upcoming concepts like Shibui and La Pergola. News reports have shown that Franco is now under FBI and state investigation. Investors and employees found themselves caught in a firestorm that led to almost 200+ people losing their jobs after months of COVID-19 lockdowns.
A former investor shares this:
Next, Oxford Exchange – a popular South Tampa eatery worth millions decided to wade into the debate happening and posted that they support all lives and African-Americans, but refused to say that “Black Lives Matter” which led to people fighting in their comments until eventually the brand relented and put #blacklivesmatter into the description.
It’s important to know that when your brand has decided to take a stand on an issue, you must think about the cause you are supporting. Black Lives Matter is an issue where you must actually say it to be effective and show your solidarity.
The important thing about politics is always that if you don’t want to get involved, simply say nothing at all.
After that, popular eatery Datz in South Tampa also found themselves in a social media controversy after an employee put up Black Lives Matter on their famous signboard without talking to the owners of the business.
This led to confusion and allegations and in the end the owners decided to go forward and post it on their page and explained that they felt it was “distasteful” for their employee to add the words without thinking about how it would be displayed first since the original sign was advertising breakfast.
Finally – an employee at Seminole Heights General Storetold Creative Loafing that they were fired because of posts they made online supporting Black Lives Matter.
Last night the nation witnessed another night of protests across the country after the death of George Floyd and many of them became violent in the evening.
Although Tampa saw a peaceful protest in the daytime with the Mayor of Tampa Jane Castor and Chief of Police Brian Dugan marching with protesters, as the evening approached the protests became more intense and led to several cases of looting including a burning of a Mobil gas station and then a fire at Champ’s across the street from the University Mall.
Saigon Bay is a local Vietnamese restaurant that has been a neighborhood eatery for decades and it’s location next to Champ’s led to damage of their building. University of South Florida students and staff, as well as those from the area know it well as a great place to enjoy a bowl of pho.
“As you may know Tampa got out of hand last night. My parents owned and built this restaurant from the ground up ever since I was born. We sold it a few years back to some wonderful owners that took the restaurant to another level. I’m incredibly heartbroken about the events that have occurred especially to something so near and dear to my family’s hearts, but please please everyone be empathetic towards one another.
In the video of George Floyd’s death, there was a man of Asian decent that was in the wrong and it reminded me how different it is for our race. Yes, we still deal with racism. However police brutality is something our race does not have to deal with. I’ve seen with my own eyes how my African American friends get treated differently than me even though I am a minority just like them.
Whenever I hear “All Lives Matter,” it’s total bulls***. At the end of the day, we all have to be kind towards one another. Love really does cure all. As for Saigon Bay, I am communicating with the owners to see how we can help as a community to help put back their business that they put their blood, sweat and tears into. #blacklivesmatter#bekind“