Inaugural Whiskey Tampa Foxtrot on October 14th

Bern’s Steak House and Epicurean Hotel are having their inaugural Whiskey Tampa Foxtrot on Saturday, October 14th, 2017 at the Epicurean Hotel located at 1207 South Howard Avenue.

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The event will feature over 200 handcrafted whiskeys and artisan foods from local restaurant to complement the tasting. Educational seminars will also be held by industry experts. The event is for ages 21+.

Whiskey List: http://whiskeytampafoxtrot.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/WHICKEY-LIST3.pdf

Restaurant partners include: Bern’s Steak House, Haven Tampa, Elevage, Locale Market, Parkshore Grill, and Rooster and The Till.

Tickets are now on-sale. VIP Admission is $150, General Admission (GA) is $95 and seminars cost $20. VIP includes early admission and exclusive bottle tastings and a special Markers Mark VIP Lounge.

Buy GA: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whiskey-tampa-foxtrot-general-admission-tickets-37734171924

Buy VIP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whiskey-tampa-foxtrot-vip-tickets-37734384560

Buy Seminar Tickets: http://whiskeytampafoxtrot.com/#Seminars

Proceeds will benefit Operation First Response. The mission of Operation First Response is to serve all branches of our nation’s Wounded Heroes/Disabled Veterans and their families with personal and financial needs.

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HIRING: Seminole Hard Rock seeks over 50 new team members for new fine dining restaurant

Seminole Hard Rock & Casino Tampa located at 5223 Orient Road will be opening a new fine dining restaurant later this year with a projected opening date of December 2017 and is now searching for applicants for over 50 new positions.

Available positions include Managers, Servers, Bartenders, Barbacks, Bussers, Food Runners, Cooks, Hosts, and Hostesses. Training for positions would begin in early November.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have “exceptional guest service and communication skills”, and “at least one year of guest service experience”.

Interested applicants can inquire at http://www.gotoworkhappy.com.

Franklin Manor celebrates first anniversary this week

Franklin Manor will celebrate its first anniversary this week with a number of events starting on Wednesday, September 20th through Sunday, September 24th.

During the last year, Franklin Manor has been a major hotspot for people heading to Downtown Tampa to party and to brunch. The area around it is set to grow quite rapidly with a new condominium finishing work in the near future and a number of other projects in development.

#frosé all day 🍾

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Here is what Franklin Manor has planned for the week:

  • Wednesday, September 204pm to 1am – Hospitality Night Launch w/ Special Guest Jonas Blue: Franklin Manor kicks-off its one-year anniversary week and new Hospitality Night with special guest, British DJ Jonas Blue.  The night will also debut a special $8.00 hospitality food menu, and 50% discounts on select drinks for all guests who work in the hospitality industry. Happy Hour specials from 4pm to 8pm.
  • Thursday, September 214pm to 1am – Throwback Thursday Night: Franklin Manor’s weekly Throwback Thursday night will feature complimentary Stoli vodka cocktails and Corona beers, as well as complimentary sliders for all guests from 8pm to 9pm.  DJ Jaime Ferreira will spin the iconic hits and classics from the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s.  Happy Hour specials from 4pm to 8pm.
  • Friday, September 224pm to 3am – Special Guest DJ Irie: Popular Miami music artist and icon DJ Irie returns for a special DJ set.  Happy Hour specials from 4pm to 8pm.
  • Saturday, September 234pm to 3am – Special Guest DJ Jason Smith: The “celebrities’ choice DJ” Jason Smith will headline the patio stage.  Happy Hour specials from 4pm to 8pm.
  • Sunday, September 2411am to 6pm – Happy Bday Frose’ Day: A birthday party commemorating Tampa’s original Frose’, a delicious frozen rose’ wine cocktail will coincide with Franklin Manor’s weekly brunch.  Guests who wear the color pink will be treated to complimentary Frose’ samples and dessert.  DJ Jaime Ferreira and Goofy White Kid with 93.3 FLZ will provide the sounds for the celebration.

For more information, contact Franklin Manor at (813) 487-9990 or stop by at 912 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602.

Hurricane Irma: AJ’s Press GoFundMe for Employees

During Hurricane Irma, local Tampa sandwich shop AJ’s Press was damaged by the storm.

The damage will take at least 2 weeks to fix which will impact the employees who work there. In response, AJ’s Press has setup a GoFundMe for their employees and to help cover damages that will not be covered from the storm.

Donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/ajs-press-pay-for-team-2-wks-close

Spaddy’s Coffee Co. celebrates 1 year anniversary in Seminole Heights

Spaddy’s Coffee Co. will celebrate its 1 year anniversary on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 in Seminole Heights. I’ve been fan of Spaddy’s Coffee ever since I met the dude at the Seminole Heights Japan Festival. The staff is always friendly and the coffee and tea are always good.

The event will run all day starting at 10AM with coffee service beginning at 8AM as usual. Live music will play beginning at 11AM featuring ARi CHi, Mia Bury, and Jinx.

BBQ will be served all day courtesy of Ultimate Pavers. Ice cream will be available for purchase from Revolution Ice Cream. Mother Kumbucha will be there serving samples of their kombucha.

Giveaways will be held throughout the day for visitors.

Monday morning started right @spaddyscoffee #tampa #seminoleheights #shoplocal #coffee #supportlocal

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Happy Birthday to Spaddy’s!

Event Name: Spaddy’s Coffee 1 Year Anniversary

Neighborhood: Seminole Heights

Address: 5206 N Florida Avenue Tampa, FL 33603

Date & Time: Saturday, September 2nd, 2017, 10AM-?

Cost: FREE to attend

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/109561206408319/

The Hall on Franklin now in soft opening in Tampa Heights

Have you heard the buzz? Tampa Heights is booming. Ever since Ulele opened doors, businesses have been flocking to the area and tonight The Hall on Franklin had a family and friends night, which I attended.

This new food hall is now in soft opening and you should definitely be patient as they figure out their kinks and get this show going, but there is much to be excited about.

What’s a “food hall” you ask? It is essentially a business that sells a variety of food from different stands indoors. The first concept of it’s kind in Tampa Bay was the Locale Market in St. Petersburg which is owned by Chef Michael Mina.

The Hall on Franklin is different in concept and combines different food entrepreneurs and chefs together into one building. It was hard to imagine how it was all going to come together until I experienced it for myself tonight and I have to say I was completely impressed and surprised at the quality establishment that has surfaced.

I visited nearly every stand tonight for a bite and drink and found that all the food was of excellent quality. Despite being a family and friends night and having the stress of POS systems, the staff was completely friendly and hospitable.

The Hall on Franklin is what would happen if you dreamed of all your favorite things in one place without having to drive around. You can visit the kiosks yourself to order food or have a waiter bring you food.

Parking is available on the street or via valet which will hopefully be a regular thing.

The best part? The quality is only matched by the prices that are fair and allow you to actually try all the great spots inside the building with tons of options from sides, different sized entrees, drinks, and desserts. I happened to meet developer Jamal Wilson during the preview who told me that is exactly what they were going for.

Some thoughts:

Poke Rose: Finally some real poke in Tampa. Every last bite was delicious and packed with flavor. Make sure to ask about spicy levels. Chef Jason Cline left me happy and I can’t wait to come back for more.

North Star Eatery: I have followed Xuan since Anise Gastrobar opened (one of my favorite bars in Tampa) and I am never disappointed with her business acumen. The pork yakitori was an excellent side dish and I look forward to coming back to try her ramen in the future and of course some Stinky Bunz.

Bake’n Babes: I first tried Bake’n Babes at Ginger Beard Coffee a few weeks ago in an affogato. Their ice cream rivaled Revolution Ice Cream, no lie. Lord – I tried the Bacon Beer Battered Cupcake tonight though and it was one of those moments where you pop food into your mouth and feel instant delight. This is a sweets empire in the making.

The Heights Melt Shoppe: I split a Philly Sub with a friend and could not stop putting it in my mouth. Every last bite was excellent. Wow.

The Collection: The bar is beautiful inside The Hall on Franklin. The bartenders were very friendly and easy to talk to. There is a happy hour (YES) and plenty of cocktail creations on the menu that I want to try. For tonight, I tried their signature beer “The Hall Pass” ($6) which is made in a partnership with Hidden Springs (keeping it local) and has hibiscus, yuzu, and cucumber. Anyone could drink this delicious craft beer.

Ko-fē: Tonight I had a butterscotch cappuccino made with Buddy Brew beans. They plan to roast their own beans in the near future. The barista noted their espresso machine is not to be messed with.

The only booth I missed was The Heights Fish Camp (we were way too full!) – but the lobster corn dog nuggets and fish and chips will be something to look forward to in the future.

Something great has been released into the City of Tampa with The Hall on Franklin and I have good feelings.

Visit The Hall on Franklin online at http://thehallonfranklin.com/

7th Annual Food & Wine Weekends Launch Party

Last week I visited The Waldorf Astoria Orlando for a private media launch party to the 7th Annual Food & Wine Weekends.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek offer a special menu every year for 9 weekends during the Epcot® International Food and Wine Festival. This year runs from September 8th to November 12th.  The prix fixe menus are priced from around $40-$60 and include 4 courses of eats.

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Things we tried include braised short ribs, risotto, carved beef tenderloins, chocolates, macarons, cocktail creations, sushi rolls, poke bowls, and more.

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It would be impossible to highlight all the food in a blog post, but let me say that my favorite thing was Chimay Braised Beef Short Rib with Risotto, Porcinis, Melted Leeks, Butter Squash, and Horseradish Gremolata.

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The short ribs came off the bone in a way that made my mouth drop and each bite was insane. This will be part of The Taste of La Luce at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

The sushi rolls from Zeta Asia at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek were also delicious and hard not to keep eating. Guests were able to meet hotel staff and chefs who make it all happen. The staff is diverse and clearly a melting pot that is helping to land their restaurants on the top of some local lists in Orlando.

We also tried their private label Pinot Noir – Leatitia which is a Bonnet Creek Reserve from Arroyo Grande, California. It was incredible and I found myself going back for seconds, thirds, and more. You must try it if you visit these hotels.

The hotels are also in the process of making their own craft beer and have already created their own whiskey and tequila in collaboration with major national brands like Patron and Knob Creek. This attention to detail definitely shows an sharp focus on the customer experience that exemplifies the goals of hospitality.

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They showed us a signature Bulls & Bear’s Spicy Margarita during our visit made with Patrón Barrel Select Añejo Tequila, Green Chartreuse, St. Germaine, Organic Agave, Lime Juice, Gracias A Dios Mezcal, Avocado, and Egg White.

For a full list of the planned events for Food & Wine Weekends and to see full menus visit them online at: http://www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com/food-wine/

Farmacy Vegan Kitchen + Bakery expands to Channelside

It hasn’t been too long since Farmacy Vegan Kitchen + Bakery opened doors at Duckweed in Downtown and this weekend the concept expanded into Duckweed in the Channelside District.

The partnership between the two defined this expansion and the location is conveniently located to plenty of parking, residential living, and an upcoming neighborhood that will soon be packed with many who have a stake in the future of Tampa.

I, myself, was unaware that there is plenty of parking in this area and noticed when I visited that quite a few restaurants and cafes have been setting up shop in the Channelside District.

The neighborhood is quiet and mostly filled with residents walking their dogs.

Farmacy features a variety of ready-to-eat food and smoothies that are all 100% vegan.

Much of the talk about Farmacy goes to the baked goods that they offer as vegan and gluten-free – not as common as you would think. There seems to also be an emphasis on wraps and acai bowls as well.

Check out the menu here: http://farmacyvegankitchen.com/menu/

The prices were not particularly overpriced (sometimes that is common with healthier food choices), but aren’t cheap either and clearly cater to the audience living in the Channelside District.

I ordered the Exotic Colada smoothie ($6.50) which is made with Pineapple, Banana, and Mango along with Coconut. It was refreshing, especially considering this inferno we’ve been living in lately for Summer 2017.

I wouldn’t say the smoothie was a game-changer compared to other smoothie bars, but was satisfactory for the price and I enjoyed it overall and wouldn’t mind ordering it again.

Travis is ready for you at Channelside! We will be offering an abridged menu of Smoothies, Acai bowls, Grab-and-Go and even select Baked Goods 🙂

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The employee I met at the Channelside location was also super friendly and easy to talk to and I thought that was an important part of my experience that I think will lead me back there.

Now at Farmacy: Donuts by the Dozen. That's right, the limits are off. Adopt as many babies as you wish! 🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩

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I still haven’t tried any of the food and will have to return one day for that to see how the wraps and baked goods hold up.

I recommend giving it a look if you find yourself in Downtown or near Ybor City.

Restaurant Name: Farmacy Vegan Kitchen + Bakery

Cuisine: Vegan, Bakery

Neighborhood: Channelside

Address: 111 N. 12th Street Tampa, FL 33602

Website: http://farmacyvegankitchen.com/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/farmacyvegankitchen/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Farmacyvegankitchen

Boba controversy at The New York Times

The New York Times created a controversy recently when they created a feature about bubble tea.

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The paper tried to claim that boba was something new which was a little strange because the paper featured the drink back in 2002 on rising food trends and also did an article about it in 2001.

It was lazy writing and completely ignored the fact that bubble tea has existed for decades. The response on Twitter and around the food sphere was swift.

It is not the first controversy the paper has recently created with food. Food critic, Pete Wells, slammed a California mini-chain called Locol in January that aims to help solve the food insecurity of those in poverty.

Restaurant industry leaders and writers were quick to condemn Wells for critiquing a chain from his elite position as the food critic of The New York Times. It would appear that the paper is having an issue lately relating to the general public and may have a diversity problem driving these tone-deaf articles.

At least they did the right thing and went to Boba Guys!

The paper has issued an apology: http://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/reader-center/our-readers-call-us-out-over-bubble-tea-they-are-right.html

Caffeine Roasters now open on Kennedy in South Tampa

Caffeine Roasters has moved into where Drama Burger once stood at 2420 West Kennedy Boulevard and is now open. Caffeine is also located in Downtown Tampa minutes from Franklin Manor at 212 East Cass Street. I am a fan of the Downtown location and also really enjoy the new space as well.

The expansion mirrors an expansion happening with many of the new coffee shop brands taking on Buddy Brew Coffee and Kahwa locally.

The menu is the same at both locations and the space has lots of seating from couches to tables and plugs and Wi-Fi available. The only downside of the new location on Kennedy is lack of parking – the place has only been open for a few weeks and parking already sucks.

On the positive side, they have a drive-thru so you can take your coffee with you if you can’t find parking.

The staff is very friendly and happy to explain the types of coffee they provide and the background of what they are doing – that was also noticeable when I visited the Downtown Tampa location in the past as well.

Last but most certainly not least, their coffee tastes great – I had an El Salvador roast during my visit and fully enjoyed it without hardly any sweeteners or add-ons. Check out Caffeine Roasters!

Restaurant Name: Caffeine Roasters

Neighborhood: South Tampa

Address: 2420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609

Phone Number: (813) 644-7245

Website: http://www.caffeineusa.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CaffeineRoastersTampa/

Twitter: @CaffeineTampa

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/caffeineroasterstampa/