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Dining Guide Food Events Restaurant News

Snobachi Grand Opening NYE 2017

Thai Rolled Ice Cream is taking Tampa by storm at the moment (just head over to IceSmile and try to wait in line for 2 hours) and newcomer Snobachi Handcrafted Ice Cream is leading the movement over into Ybor City at 2206 East 7th Avenue next to Shrimp and Co.

This shop offers ice cream and frozen yogurt bases with over 25 flavors and is owned by military veterans of the United States Air Force and Army.

Snobachi also offers what they call Dragon Breath: a combination of liquid nitrogen and dippers such as brownie bites, popcorn, and marshmallows. When you eat the dippers – your breath will release a smoke from the nitrogen chill.

Check out the menu: http://www.snobachi.com/portfolio.html

Snobachi’s Grand Opening will be held this New Year’s Eve 2017 starting at 2:30PM and runs all day long until 2AM. The first 50 customers will get 50% off their SnoRolls. Social media check-ins and shares will also unlock discounts for customers.

Some photos of Snobachi Handcrafted Ice Cream via Facebook:

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For more information contact Snobachi at (813) 284-6071

Snobachi

Facebook RSVPhttp://www.facebook.com/events/238138119943072/

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Dining Guide Drinking Adventures Restaurant News

Hotel Bar now serving Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa has a new spot now open called Hotel Bar. The bar is a classy establishment that serves libations created by famous hotels around the world and also gourmet food.

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During my visit I tried the Hotel Nacional made with cana brava, giffard peche, pineapple, and lime. The cocktail comes from Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana, Cuba. You’ll find other cocktails on the menu from countries including England, Japan, France and a nice selection from New Orleans.

The food menu includes lamb tartare, wagyu ragu, roasted lemon chicken, and prime rib as well as finger food such as deviled eggs and pita chips with various dips. Late night diners can enjoy a late night fare menu.

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The bar and restaurants fits in perfectly with the growing community around Downtown and offers a new spot to go out for a group outing or drinks after work. The ownership comes from Fly Bar & Restaurant who has been serving Downtown Tampa for years.

I am looking forward to big things to come from Hotel Bar and all of Downtown Tampa as our city keeps growing.

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Photos via Hotel Bar instagram

Name: Hotel Bar

Address: 200 N. TAMPA STREET, TAMPA FL 33602

Phone: (813) 533-2650

Hours: Open daily / 4PM-3AM

Website: http://hotelbartampa.com/

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Food Events Restaurant News

Chef Marc Murphy and Chef Anne Burrell hosting demo, dinner

Chef Marc Murphy and Chef Anne Burrell are hosting a culinary demonstration and dinner at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa located at 5223 North Orient Road Tampa, Florida 33610 on Saturday, November 12th, 2016 beginning at 6:30PM.

Tickets cost $150 per person and can be purchased by calling (813) 627-6630 or via e-mail at info@greysalt-restaurant.com. Space is limited.

Guests will be treated to hors d’oeuvres during the demonstration at 6:30PM and enjoy a 4-course dinner at 7:30PM inside Grey Salt. Guests will also enjoy a special “Meet & Greet” with celebrity chefs inside in the VIP Plum Lounge.

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Chef Anne Burrell is the host of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” and “Worst Cooks in America – Celebrity Edition.” She was also one of Iron Chef Mario Batali’s sous chefs in the “Iron Chef America” series and appears on other shows on the network such as “Beat Bobby Flay,” “Chopped” and “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

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Chef Marc Murphy serves as the Chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants (Landmarc & Ditch Plains) and Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy, and is the Chef and partner at Kingside in the Viceroy Central Park as well as the Chef and partner of Grey Salt at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. He is a regular judge on the Food Network’s top-rated show, “Chopped” and “Chopped Junior” and has appeared on “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Beat Bobby Flay,” and the Rachael Ray show among others. He is also the author of “Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking.”

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Food Events Restaurant News Reviews

Portillo’s Tampa NOW OPEN

Portillo’s opened their first location in Tampa this past Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 at 2102 East Fowler Avenue. I couldn’t resist stopping by to check out what was happening and grabbed a hot dog with some fries. I ran into Mark Sharpe from the Tampa Innovation Alliance during my visit. Look for some information about that shortly on CarlosEats.com.

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The location has the same exact design as the one over in Brandon, leaning towards a ’30s Prohibition-style and definitely is going to bring some new people to the neighborhood surrounding USF. The employees were just as friendly as the other location and the same attention to quality was obvious. Online ordering and a drive-thru are a plus, especially in the busy area around USF.

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The food was great – as expected. The Portillo’s hot dog includes mustard, relish, celery salt, freshly chopped onions, sliced red ripe tomatoes, kosher pickle and sport peppers piled onto a perfectly steamed poppy seed bun. Portillo’s offers plenty of options at an affordable price and I know I will be a frequent customer at this location. Recently I’ve been hearing about ribs at this location and that I need to try it – and that is the next thing on my list!

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Overall, I’m super excited for Portillo’s to be in the neighborhood and looking forward to them being a big part of the growing community around here. Welcome to Tampa Portillo’s!

Restaurant Name: Portillo’s

Address: 2102 E Fowler Ave. Tampa, FL 33612

Phone Number: (813) 540-9001

Website: http://www.portillos.com/locations/tampa/

Menu: http://bit.ly/2dl4Hma

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Restaurant News

Buya Ramen shop opening August 10th

Word on the street: St. Petersburg’s first full-on ramen shop and izakaya, Buya Ramen, is opening for business on Wednesday, August 10th, 2016 at 4PM. The shop is located at 911 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida 33705.

Reservations are now being accepted online through OpenTable: http://www.buyaramen.com/

The ramen and izakaya scene is certainly seeing an uptick in Tampa Bay. Ramen has been taken the U.S.A. by storm for years with Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC setting the stage for a ramen renaissance of sorts. The trend took some time to catch on in the Tampa Bay area but has proven to be successful with Ichicoro and Japanese Kitchen Dosunco leading the way to ramen-mania.

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Like BUYA RAMEN on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/buyaramen/

Follow BUYA RAMEN on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/buyaramen/

Tweet BUYA RAMEN @buyaramen

Photo credit: Buya Ramen on Facebook

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Restaurant News

Shake Shack looking to open location in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Business Journal (TBBJ) reported earlier this summer that Shake Shack is looking to open at least one location in the Tampa Bay area. They are joined by a number of competitors in the area serving fast-casual gourmet burgers including Burger 21, Burger Monger, BurgerFi, and a planned Wahlburger’s entry into the market. Most of these burger chains are concentrated on Dale Mabry Highway and in South Tampa along Howard Avenue. The TBBJ held a poll recently asking where people would like to see Shake Shack open up.

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Personally, I think Shake Shack would be a good choice in the university area along Fowler Avenue or on Bruce B. Downs in New Tampa. There is a true lack of gourmet burgers in this area with the only options being Five Guys and maybe Burger 21 further along Bruce B. Downs heading towards Wesley Chapel. The addition of Portillo’s to the university area in late September/early October sets the stage for new restaurants to open in the university area.

There also seems to be few gourmet burger locations in the Brandon area besides Ford’s Garage and Square 1 Burgers in a densely populated area. The Brandon area is booming lately with new movie theaters, Dave & Buster’s, and new apartment complexes appearing rapidly.

No doubt the first location will also draw in plenty of traffic to wherever it opens and provide an economic advantage to that area. Parking considerations should hopefully drive Shake Shack to a location that will allow plenty of access. My visits to Shake Shack in Winter Park were always met with congested parking (where it shares space with Trader Joe’s market) when that location opened in 2014.

Wherever they decide to open – let’s hope it opens soon! I am ready to chow down.

Photography credit: Evan Sung

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Restaurant News

Dave & Buster’s arcade coming to Brandon

Popular game arcade and sports bar, Dave & Buster’s, is making plans to come to Brandon after years of speculation of when they would arrive in the Tampa Bay market. The 40,000 square-foot facility features a restaurant and 412 parking spots.

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The restaurant serves American food fare including burgers, ribs, steak, seafood, sandwiches, and salads. Alcohol options includes wine, bottled beer, local beer, and spirits.

Let’s hope they bring the new Dance Dance Revolution over to the Brandon location (cue: 90’s and early 2000’s memories).

Major local competitor GameTime just finished a remodeling worth $1 million in Ybor City that includes high-end modern materials and furnishings, 65 TV’s, and new attractions and games. Time will tell if Dave & Buster’s has any impact on their business.

The greater Brandon area has been rapidly building new apartment complexes and home projects keeping in line with all the new business coming to the area with TopGolf and Bass Pro Shops already established in the area. In addition, this fall Goodrich Quality Theaters will open a multiplex in Gibsonton and Xscape Theatres will open in Riverview on the corner of Progress Blvd. and I-75 soon as well. Previously the only option for Brandon residents was AMC Regency 20.

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Restaurant News

Izakaya Japanese pub ‘Noble Rice’ now open

Tampa residents can enjoy a whole new experience with the soft opening of Noble Rice, an izakaya or Japanese style pub in South Tampa on Platt Street. These pubs normally serve Japanese appetizers and beer/sake wine to customers in an intimate setting used for socializing or meetings.

The restaurant is aiming for a traditional Japanese environment and menu with some inspiration from the south. Head Chef and Co-Owner, Eric Fralick, feels “southern comfort food and Japanese comfort food are so compatible, they were meant to be together”.

Fusion dishes include Sake Ribs utilizing Japanese sake to kick up a southern favorite and Tan Tan Men Wings inspired by buffalo wings. Many of the traditional dishes also incorporate fusion elements into them.

Traditional Japanese izakaya finds include yakitori (meat and vegetable skewers), takoyaki (octopus balls), gyoza (pan-fried dumplings), yamakake (grated yam), and a number of nigiri/sushi options. Ramen lovers will also find a variety of Shoyu ramen soups (soy-sauce base).

It wouldn’t be a true izakaya if we were not also discussing the drink selections. Sake lovers can find a wide-selection of rice wine. Noble Rice serves a Japanese distilled spirit, called shochu, which is derived from a variety of ingredients including sweet potato, barley, buckwheat, and sugar cane. Popular local craft beer will also be available on tap.

Here is a current list of beer/wine (7/21/16):

Shochu

  • Satsuma Shiranami – Sweet Potato
  • Hakutake Shiro Kome -Rice
  • Chiyonosono 8,000 Generation – Rice
  • Kintaro – Roasted Barley

Sake

  • Ama No To Heavens Door
  • Junmai
  • Kikusui Blue Junmai
  • Southern Beauty
  • Born Gold Konteki Pearls of Simplicity
  • Tozai Snow Maiden Nigori
  • Hiko’s Reserve Junmai
  • Eiko Fuji BanRyu
  • Sword of the Sun

Wine

  • Cabernet Savignon – Grayson Cellars
  • Pinot Noir – Block Nine
  • Chardonnay -Annabella
  • Sparkling – Francois Montand Brut

Beer on Tap (rotating to local companies)

  • Big Storm – Wavemaker
  • Coppertail – Free Dive
  • Coppertail – Unholy Tripple
  • 3 Daughters- Beach Blonde
  • Darwin- Parata Pils

Bottled Beer

  • Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Nest Red Rice Ale
  • Seadog Blue Paw
  • Stella Artois
  • Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider
  • Motorworks – V Twin

Here are some photos via Noble Rice Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NobleRiceCo/

Yakitori

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Blood Orange Ramen

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Noble Rice. 807 W Platt St, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 284-7423 noblericeco.com

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Restaurant News

Bokuchoi Ramen launched – first Japanese ramen restaurant in Tampa Bay

My good friend in Tampa informed me that a ramen restaurant opened in August and she was surprised at how great it tasted.  As you know, I had some great ramen here in Seoul at Gaya-Gaya and South Korea has no short supply of ramen shops. The idea of a ramen restaurant in Tampa interests me. I hope this small operation can find its place in our great city of Tampa. I investigated and learned about the restaurant owner and his plans.

You can read the article on Creative Loafinghttp://cltampa.com/dailyloaf/archives/2011/10/11/bokuchoi-ramen-restaurateur-brings-first-japanese-ramen-restaurant-to-tampa

Check out Bokuchoi Ramen on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BokuchoiRamen

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Restaurant News

Mema’s Alaskan Tacos closing shop, last day to visit October 14th

Mema’s Alaskan Tacos, a popular taco eatery in Ybor City that opened shop in 2004, is closing down and having their closing bash Friday, October 14th, at 4:00PM. There will be a limited menu with tacos, nachos, burritos, and beer. They will stay open until they run out of food and beer. Restaurateur Sean Godin’s grandmother, Mema, learned how to make their tacos in Alaska during the 1950s.

Mema’s Facebook page reads:

“To all of our loyal customers.I want to thank you for the good times. Our closing is an unfortunate result of many things, most of all the deadstill economy and rising prices. Rather than sacrifice quality and service, the decision was to close the doors. So, thank you Tampa, for everything.”

I personally was only able to visit Mema’s Alaskan Tacos once during my many years of living in Tampa, but the experience was a positive one. I still remember the great taste of their chorizo taco and the refried beans. For many years I remember reading the raving reviews online (over 100 on Yelp) and always being curious about the late-night taco shop in Ybor City. Mema’s Alaskan Tacos will be missed and I am sad I will not be able to have their tacos one last time  before they close shop.