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Scumbag CNBC video advocates denying restaurant servers full tips to save money

Tipping your servers is vital people. It should not be a game where you’re trying to save money. A new video from CNBC advocates saving money by doubling the tax percentage or tipping on a pre-tax amount to skirt below 20% in any way possible. Either way, it is a bad look to look to your tip amount as a way to save money.

Servers depend on their tips for survival and although it is an unfortunate part of our food system, it is truly awful to plan to save money at restaurants by looking to avoid tipping.

There are so many ways to save money, order what you can afford, share with someone else at the table, etc. Please don’t penalize servers because of your financial situation. It’s wrong. Many servers have to share their tips with other staff in the restaurant they work in and when you tip them less you are actually lowering their overall pay as well. This is bad.

Thank you.

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Carlos Eats nominated for Best Local Blogger by A-List

Carlos Eats has been nominated on Channel 10’s A-List for Best Local Blogger.

If you would like to help me in the polls visit my page at:

Thanks again for your support! Make sure to vote in the food categories for your favorite local restaurants and eateries. 🙂

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Tampa Bay Restaurants & Bars on Twitter

Last Updated 02/25/12

Today’s technologically savvy society has led many restaurants and bars to find their way onto Twitter. This is a list of restaurants and bars in Tampa Bay who are using Twitter to interact with customers.

Bern’s Fine Wines

Bern’s Steak House

Burger 21


Cafe Hey

Ciccio’s Lodge

East Coast Pizza

Fly Bar

Gaspar’s Grotto

Island Girl Cakes

J. Baja’s Mexican Grill

Jaymer-Q Southern BBQ

The Lime

Ocean Blue Sushi


Pizza Fusion

The Rack

The Refinery

Rumbero’s Bistro

Renzo’s Gourmet


Sushi Tsu

Taco Bus

Tampa Bay Brewing Company

Tarpon Turtle

Taste Cafe


Tomo Sushi

The View at CK’s

Villa Rina Pizza

Don’t see your restaurant listed? Send an e-mail to

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Tampa Bay becomes a Yelp Elite City

Yelp was the first food community I joined online back in 2006 after I was introduced by a Xanga friend living in San Francisco. Since then I have gone on to write over 500 reviews on Yelp and been a member of their Elite squad since 2006 as well. Yelp always had aspirations for Tampa and sent me free Yelp goods (including a t-shirt and hoodie) during my first few years as a member. I was one of the first reviewers, plowing my way through Tampa Bay. Reviewing every restaurant and business I interacted with.

Despite all the reviews Yelp Tampa never seemed to kick-off. I began losing interest as I noticed no sense of community was being built in Tampa like other cities. Over time Yelp grew and in 2009, a few consistent members began to have Unofficial Yelp Events (UYEs) around town. I joined a few and some dining trails included an Asian tour, pizza tour, and many trips to The Wat Thai Temple. Many Yelpers were bitter that Yelp would not allow them to become Elite members because Yelp did not recognize Tampa as an Elite city.

The Yelp Tampa crew on the 4th of July in 2009 at Pine Tree Karaoke Cafe (now called One Family Korean Restaurant) during our Asian tour weekend.

They continued reviewing and contributing for years on, hoping that Yelp would finally someday give Tampa Bay a chance. Finally, earlier this year Yelp announced it would be hiring a Community Manager for Tampa Bay…a sign that Tampa would soon be developing into a Yelp Elite city. Yelp Elite members contribute regularly to the site and have exclusive events they can attend around town, usually at local restaurants or bars with exclusive promotions and it is a great way for Elite members out of town to meet the locals. The Community Manager helps organize official events and find events around the city to promote on the website. A foodie network is vital to this growth.

This week an Events tab appeared for Yelp Elite members to submit events and Review of the Day (ROTD), a way to recognize excellent reviews, also appeared on the home site for Tampa. It’s exciting to think where this could go and how this can help Tampa’s food scene grow as the powerful social media site Yelp backs the way. I know I’ll be motivated to keep contributing as much as possible. Congrats Yelp Tampa reviewers! Your hard work has now paid off.

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TBO Tweetup @ Fly Bar and Restaurant

I had the pleasure of attending the TBO Tweetup yesterday at Fly Bar and Restaurant. The event was a nice opportunity to meet new people, interact with people active in social media in Tampa Bay, and meet the people who make it happen at TBO, the Tampa Tribune, and WFLA, News Channel 8. The breeze and sunset setting on the rooftop of Fly Bar gave a nice backdrop to this event and was certainly part of some excellent planning by TBO.

There were some freebies, such as flash drives and pens as well as Yankees tickets given away. The best thing given away though was the free food from Fly Bar that TBO provided at their event! Fly Bar and Restaurant has been on my list for some time now and this was the perfect opportunity to sample some of their food.

Fly Bar’s Roasted Garlic Frites were very tasty. They had two dips available and the Chipotle ketchup was the superior choice. It was hard to stay away from the food booth because many of their appetizers were enjoyable to munch on and the garlic frites were among those free appetizers that were hard to resist.

The homemade hummus mixed with feta, tomato, red onions, and served with pita wedges was also excellent and hit the palate in just the right spots. I normally do not eat too much hummus, but I love onions and the mixture in their hummus was excellent.

The Kobe Beef Sliders were delectable little snacks. The mushrooms and onions on top enhanced the taste of the meat and the meat was cooked just right, retaining some great Kobe flavor to it.

I am not quite sure what this menu item was, but it was enjoyable. Oozing with what seemed to be a cream interior. My friend and I both noted that it tasted infused with some kind of alcohol, but we were unsure how to pin down the taste. The cream might have been a little overbearing if it was not for the tomato/marinara sauce served with it, complementing the dish quite well.

My favorite choice at the TBO Tweetup was the samples of ahi tuna with what appeared to be tomatoes and cilantro sauce. The tuna was excellent and perhaps the best ahi tuna I have enjoyed in quite some time. Ahi tuna tends to be a hit or miss with many restaurants and my past experiences have leaned more towards miss. The thing that really made this choice my favorite was the mix of flavors when sampling the dish. The ahi tuna, tomato, and cilantro sauce all bring about different tastes in your mouth all at once and leave a savory aftertaste.

Overall, the TBO Tweetup was an excellent event and I hope to attend a future tweetup. Fly Bar and Restaurant had some awesome food to sample and I look forward to visiting them again with some family and friends and enjoying another day on their rooftop deck in Downtown Tampa. I am really thankful to Karen McCallister and the rest of the TBO organizers for putting on this event.

Fly Bar on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Fly Bar and Restaurant

Address: 1202 N Franklin St. Tampa, FL 33602

Phone Number: (813) 275-5000

Neighborhood: Downtown Tampa


Twitter: @FlyBarTampa


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Tampa Bay Bars & Restaurants on Facebook

Last Updated 03/13/11

Today’s technologically savvy society has led many restaurants and bars to find their way onto Facebook. This is a list of restaurants and bars in Tampa Bay who are using Facebook to interact with customers.

Bella’s Italian Cafe

Big Belly Burgers


California Tacos To-Go

Cafe Kili

Cappy’s Pizza

Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant

The Columbia

Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken

First Choice BBQ

Hiro’s Tokyo Steakhouse

Island Girl Cakes

Jaymer-Q Southern BBQ

Mel’s Hot Dogs

Ocean Blue Sushi *new*

The Rack


Sushi Tsu

Taco Bus

Tina Tapa’s

The Venue

West Tampa Sandwich Shop

Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar

Don’t see your business listed? Send an e-mail to

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Tampa Bay Blogger Shoutouts

I’ll take some time each week to highlight some bloggers and critics in the area or outside of the area who I think deserve some recognition and attention.

A California Girl’s Quest to Fall in Love with Florida ( This blog written by a NorCal blogger who is now living in Florida is a great concept. She relates some of her blogs back to her experience living in California and is indulging in the traditions of Florida such as Cuban cafes. Her blog highlights some places I never heard of prior so + points for that.

The Cheat Seat ( Man this guy cracks me up! A humorous blog about bars and drinking/getting drunk. Stationed in the Tampa Bay area, this blogger attempts to uncover the best (and worst) bars while risking his liver. I can’t read one of his posts without laughing, even reviews where he hated the place are funny. Check his blog out. My current favorite is Magnum Wine Gets You Crunk (Unless you are white).

Tampa Bay Food Monster ( This Tampa blogger also employs humor throughout his blog, but uses it on food/restaurant reviews instead of bars and alcohol. His blogs are entertaining and although we have different opinions on certain restaurants, I still enjoy reading his reviews. He made me want a Red Robin burger.

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How To: Research Restaurants Before You Dine

Many people search Google for restaurant reviews and are not sure about where they should be looking for reviews or the reputation of where they are looking. Big cities have a number of resources for residents, but coming from a smaller place like Tampa we only have a few guaranteed spots to research restaurants before you eat. Here is my guide to researching restaurants that pretty much anyone should be able to use.

1. Yelp

Yelp ( is a great restaurant review site for a number of reasons. Each restaurant has an individual page filled with reviews, photos, and owner input as well. Cities also have home pages where you can view the top places in each city and the talk of the town. One of the things that makes Yelp stand above the top though is the sense of community it has. Even some smaller cities have active Elite Yelpers that regularly review restaurants and businesses. If you message someone asking for help or post in the Talk thread you will likely get a reply helping you out. You can check each persons page and see if they like what you like and also how reputable they are. Do they have only 1 review and say that a restaurant sucks? If they do you may want to question their recommendations. You can take Yelp with you on the go through their phone applications as well. Yelp Tampa can be found at:

2. Urbanspoon

Urbanspoon ( has city pages just like Yelp does. Urbanspoon is not quite as flashy though and most people simple use a button to decide whether they like or dislike a restaurant. This allows for more user feedback, but at the same time lowers what you can get out of it. Like Yelp you can view each users page and check their reputation. Urbanspoon also does a good job of separating businesses into neighborhoods so it is easier to find the top place in Brandon or Ybor City. There is still an ability to review businesses, which some people take advantage of, and Urbanspoon has just started to allow reviews of specific menu items so you can find out just how the Chicken Marsala is at a restaurant. Urbanspoon also has phone apps that you can carry with you on the go. To visit Urbanspoon’s Tampa page visit:

3. Urbanspoon Blog Leaderboard

One feature that is unique to Urbanspoon is their blog leaderboard ( This feature lists the top blogs according to the city you are currently reading about and also the number of views/posts on the blog. You can also take it to a worldwide-view and see the top blogs around the world. This may help to find more personal reviews if that is what you are searching for. There are few other good listings of local food blogs so I suggest this for those of you searching for local blogs in your area. Urbanspoon’s Tampa Blog Leaderboard can be found at:

4. Chowhound Message Boards

Chowhound ( uses a much simpler site than that of Urbanspoon and Yelp, but it is still quite efficient. They have their main pages for big towns and then you can head into their message boards for information from some of your local foodies tips and recommendations. Frequent topics will be about the top restaurants in a food category or places to take someone for Christmas, for example. There is a search bar at the top where you can search for a restaurant you are trying to find out about or you start a thread asking about a place as well. Chowhound’s Florida Board can be found at:

5. Foodspotting

Foodspotting ( is a relatively new site that keeps getting better everyday. You can search specific menu items in an area using their website or app and then look at how a dish actually looks at a restaurant and read comments people post about that menu item. If you have the app on your iPhone you can also upload photos to it while you are out and tag it to a restaurant, or wait until you are home and upload your photos manually using their upload form. You can search by city as well and few the latest things spotted in town. Tampa’s foodspotting page:, FL/

Depending on which city you live in there may be other resources you can use, such as Zagat and Thrillist. Foursquare‘s growth has allowed more tips to allow on business pages as well. However, if you live in a smaller town or area then you still have all the resources I listed above so get researching and have a great bite to eat!

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I was looking around at foodie websites on delicious the other day and came across Foodspotting. It’s a website where you can e-mail or upload pictures of food you eat or just see and then people can vote on the food depending on if they want the food, or have eating the food before (nom). There is a leaderboard for who updates the most and there is a point system. Similar to Foursquare there are badges you can earn and like Gowalla there are certain trips you can go on of places to go to called guides. It looks like a pretty neat service so I will be playing around with it here and there. It’s even in Japan. Thought I’d give the heads up in case someone is interested in joining up.

My Foodspotting Page
You can visit my page at

They also have an iPhone app.