Rest in Peace to Bem Bom Food’s Chef Chico Mendonça

I learned about the death of Chef Chico Mendonça today from Bem Bom Food in Orlando in the news. He died at the age of 57 from cancer after a 7 month battle, according to the Orlando Sentinel

I first tried Bem Bom Food during the first World’s Largest Food Truck Rally EVER (I know the name is a little crazy) in Tampa at the Florida State Fairgrounds off 301 and MLK. It was a crazy time and we were trying to bring 100 food trucks to Tampa to break the world record that was set in Miami previously. 

We had nothing to offer the food trucks, except a chance to be a part of history.

Convincing trucks in Tampa to come was surprisingly a pain, local trucks didn’t think they could make any money that day with so much competition and were being booked up for competing events despite our efforts. 

We were lucky though and had an incredible amount of media coverage from local television, a great media partner (RIP Tampa Tribune), and the City of Tampa’s support from former Mayor Bob Buckhorn who wanted to put Tampa on the map for food trucks as many other cities sought to ban them.

Many trucks drove in from out of state to help us break the world record, but Bem Bom was from Orlando. It was the first Portugese food truck I had ever tried and indeed my first Portugese meal. One thing I will never forget is how delicious that Piri-Piri Chicken Prego chicken sandwich tasted as I bit into it. It featured local chicken tenderloins with piri-piri marinade, melted island cheese, pico de gallo, and piri-piri sauce. Superb.

When Jeff Houck, former food writer, at the Tampa Tribune called me to ask me what I was most excited to try at the event, I said Bem Bom Food.

The sandwich was a mixture of all the things Bem Bom had experienced up to that point and between all the craziness, being blown away by delicious food was part of why I had agreed to participate in the whole thing. I felt a bit like a local food hero that day, riding on top of a double decker ice cream bus called Tropiccool with over 75 food trucks (including Bem Bom) in tow on Interstate 4 from Downtown Tampa to the fairgrounds.

Over 30,000 people showed up that day on August 31st, 2013 to enjoy food from over 100 food trucks and a massive traffic jam ensued that stretched for miles. We were successful at showing that food trucks and local food mattered. The trucks who came were rewarded with long lines of hungry customers that spent a fortune. It is probably one of the craziest things I have ever done in my life so far (I’m sure there is more to come though). 

After that day, Bem Bom contacted me when they were featured on Eat Street on the Cooking Channel a few years later and I made sure to put in a good word. I sent in photos for stories to outlets and I hoped to one day catch-up again in Orlando, but we never saw each other again. I always heard good things and could see their popularity though.  

Bem Bom will go on in Orlando with Chico’s legacy in mind and I am definitely going to make a trip to remember a friend who took a chance on me when I was still new to food and trying to make my own changes to the world with an optimistic mind.

If you’re like to donate to their GoFundMe – you can here:

McDonald’s workers strike for $15 an hour in Orlando during nationwide push

McDonald’s workers in Orlando held a strike with Fight for $15 on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021, joining a nationwide protest movement that has picked up steam as the nation struggles to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Fight for $15 Florida
Fight for $15 Florida

McDonald’s employee Jamelia Fairley says, “We went on strike to demand $15 today, not in 2026. For a $15 minimum wage today and for McDonald’s to hear our demands for our rights to be protected at their workplace as well.

She went on, “Right now they are paying $11 an hour. I have been working at McDonald’s for 4 years and they started paying me $11 an hour, I don’t think that’s right.”

On Coronavirus protocols Fairley said, “We are demanding PPE as well. We still wear masks and gloves. In the beginning they weren’t demanding it. They had us wearing coffee filters and hair nets.They weren’t really taking it serious.”

One big issue has been paid time off during the pandemic, both to stay home when sick and to get vaccinated. Fairley says, “They told us that we would only have 18 hours of paid time off and sick leave.” and “No, they are not offering paid time off to get vaccinated.”

“We’re demanding workers and union rights as well. We are demanding them to respect us by paying us $15 an hour so we can support our home. Protect us with the PPE. Give us actual paid time and sick leave that we need for our families as well. We need union rights.” 

Fight For $15 notes that the reason why there is paid time off at all is because this McDonald’s is corporately-owned, but that most franchisees do not offer any paid sick leave at all. During the pandemic, it has been noted that lack of paid sick leave in the United States has been a major driver for infections and spread.

Florida’s legislature passed a law providing immunity to businesses from Coronavirus-related lawsuits. It defines a “COVID-19-related claim” as “any claim for damages, injury, or death filed against a person, business, school, governmental entity, or religious organization that “arises from or is related to COVID-19.” It is part of a series of laws that sought to protect businesses at the cost of workers. 

McDonald’s recently announced that they will raise wages at corporate-owned locations, under pressure from a lack of applicants as restaurant workers rethink jobs after a difficult pandemic in what has led to finger-pointing game between restaurant owners, politicians, and workers as restaurant associations and lobbyist groups seek to stop any push for equity by workers.

However, the vast majority of McDonald’s locations are owned by franchisees who are not currently committing to raising wages or forced to participate by corporate. 

Orlando Weekly recently reported that Orlando is now less affordable than San Francisco, which is infamous for out of control rent prices that swallow multiple paychecks, thanks to a Coronavirus housing freeze. They reported, “the Orlando-Kissimmee metro would require a person to work 75.5 hours to pay rent on the average area apartment, just beating out San Francisco’s 73.4 hours.”

This problem in rent and living costs is being exacerbated by the influx of new people moving to Florida every day. Florida voters approved an increase to $15 an hour by 2026, but unfortunately the cost will certainly have risen by the time that comes. Workers say they cannot wait and are calling on McDonald’s to take action now. 

Sources: Orlando Weekly, New York Times, JD Supra

PDQ based in Tampa launches new loyalty program and app for customers

PDQ, also known as People Dedicated to Quality, has launched a new loyalty program and app for customers of its chicken franchise. Guests can customize and save their PDQ orders, pay in advance to skip the line, store PDQ gift cards, track their point earning status, and redeem for free items earned through purchases.

Those who sign up will receive a welcome offer of three free tenders with purchase after successfully registering and a free meal to enjoy in their birthday month. Registered users earn 10 points for every $1 spent and earn food rewards when reaching certain levels.

“We are excited to introduce our new loyalty program and App to our raving fans,” said Frank Rappa, PDQ Chief Marketing Officer. 

“Our team members who are People Dedicated to Quality are obsessed with delighting our guests’ cravings, and this new MyPDQ points program and App enhances the guest experience by making it even better and easier to enjoy their PDQ favorites.”

The MyPDQ app is now available free for download on the App Store and Google Play under “PDQ Fresh Food”.

The new App and MyPDQ points program are available at all PDQ locations except the PDQ Food Lab, Amalie Arena, PNC Arena, Raymond James Stadium and Tampa International Airport. PDQ is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, where guests can enjoy favorites for dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, delivery, and catering. 

PDQ also launched a limited-edition Banana Shake with Oreo Cookie® earlier this month on May 11th. The Banana hand-spun shake with Oreo Cookie® is a blend of all-natural vanilla ice cream, spun with bananas and Oreo crumbles, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The shake is available for a limited time for $3.99 for a small and $5.29 for a regular size.

The shake is available at all PDQ locations except the PDQ Test Kitchen, Amalie Arena, PNC Arena, Raymond James Stadium and Tampa International Airport.

PDQ South Tampa

PDQ was founded in 2011 with the first location in Tampa, Florida on October 30th, 2011 and is headquartered in Tampa as well. It has grown to over 63 locations in the United States of America with locations in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York.

Outback Steakhouse co-founder Bob Basham and MVP Holdings CEO Nick Reader are the two principal owners of PDQ. PDQ also has sandwiches and salads in addition to chicken tenders fresh in-store, every day. 

PDQ Chicken Tender basket

Reader told Fox 13 Tampa Bay in a 2019 interview, “You can have a great concept and a great building,” Nick said, “but if you don’t have a great team or, we call ’em, people dedicated to quality, you can’t survive in this industry. It’s just too competitive.”

PDQ is committed to creating deep roots in its local communities and has given over $6 million in dollars and in-kind donations to local charities, schools, and organizations since it opened its doors. 

Sources: Fox 13 Tampa Bay

Exploria Stadium in Orlando moves to full-capacity in June as vaccinations rise

Exploria Stadium, the home for Orlando City SC of Major League Soccer and the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League, will open to a full capacity in June 2021.

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Beginning with the Pride’s June 20th match against NJ/NY Gotham FC and Orlando City’s home game against the San Jose Earthquakes on June 22nd, all seats in the stadium will be available, subject to the respective league’s current rules and guidelines. 

“Over the last year, our fans have been incredible in taking the necessary steps to keep our community as safe as possible so we can eventually bring Exploria Stadium back to the full capacity and, today, we’re excited to announce that that moment has arrived,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. 

“With the rates of vaccinations growing each day across Central Florida, as well as the continued safety protocols in place from both our local authorities, MLS and the NWSL, we can’t wait to welcome a full stadium of supporters back to our beautiful venue to cheer on our teams.”

Most Season Ticket Members and Partial Plan holders will have access to their originally selected seats, which will be uploaded into Season Ticket Member accounts.

Select seats located near player areas such as benches and the competition tunnel will not be available due to league COVID-19 protocols. Season Ticket Members who are impacted will be contacted directly by a representative from the Member Services team. 

Health and safety protocols will remain in place for all Orlando City and Pride matches; including hand sanitization stands placed throughout the building, strict cleaning and sanitation implemented before, during, and after events; and increased cleaning staff presence. 

In addition, the Club will also continue to operate in accordance with both the MLS and NWSL medical protocols. 

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Single game tickets for all regular-season matches from June on will be available to the general public beginning on Friday, May 21st, for Orlando City and Tuesday, May 25th, for Orlando Pride. Season Ticket Members will be notified this week regarding exclusive pre-sale access to single game tickets.

A limited amount of inventory remains for City’s May 22nd match for those looking to become ticket plan holders. For more information on ticket plans, please call 855-ORL-CITY.

Over 9.6 million people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 so far in Florida with their first dose and the vaccinations continue to rise around the nation as the fight against the virus continues.

Barnie’s based in Orlando launches limited-edition Lemon Cookie coffee

When life gives you lemons, make coffee. Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., based in Orlando’s Winter Park, has launched a limited-edition Lemon Cookie medium roast coffee with 100% Arabica coffee. It features a creamy, buttery, sugar cookie taste punctuated with a hint of sweet lemon. The lemon tart taste hits right at the end on each sip. It’s not too often you see the flavors together and it certainly makes me think of summer.

Enjoyable both hot and iced (I even used it to make some pretty great cold brew), a 6-ounce cup has less than five calories, is sugar-, fat-, nut- and gluten-free, and is also available in decaf. Barnie’s says they were inspired by the flavors of Italy.

Barnie’s Coffee and Tea Co.

“Our research found that dessert coffee is very popular among today’s consumers and our customers. We wanted to create a coffee that is a little lighter on the palate than decadent chocolate or caramel, and a bit sassier, too,” explained Barnie’s Director of Coffee Programming Dustin Finch.

“Surprisingly, coffee and lemon go very well together,” Finch continued.

“Lemon is one of the flavors that has been mixed with coffee since the beginning of, well, coffee. Italians have embraced the combination of coffee and lemon cookies; they’ve been enjoying them with their espresso forever. For example, a Café Medici consists of lemon rind, sugar, and an espresso. The lemon sweetens up the coffee and gives it a little zing.”

Lemon Cookie joins a long history of innovative, award-winning flavored roasts and more than 20 flavors now available online at Barnie’s website, including Cool Café Blues®, Creamy Buttery Caramel, Barnie’s Café Blend® and America’s favorite holiday blend, the popular Santa’s White Christmas®.

Barnie’s Coffee and Tea Co.

The cost is $10.24 per 12 ounce bag, and other discounts are available depending on quantities purchased. Barnie’s is also offering free shipping on orders of $30 or more in the month of May.

Central Florida residents and visitors can enjoy Lemon Cookie and other familiar flavors during Barnie’s Cappy Hour at its Winter Park Café, held each week Monday through Friday between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Barnie’s is located at 118 South Park Avenue in Winter Park. Those who can’t make it to the cafe can visit them online to grab coffee.

The Left Bank Bistro in St. Pete hosts benefit tonight for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Left Bank Bistro along with owner, Susanne Byram, will host a benefit for Leukemia & Lymphoma tonight, May 17th, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in St. Petersburg. The event is called “L’Orange for Leukemia” and will help support Terri Hall, President of Doubletake Communications as part of a philanthropic competition for Man & Woman of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). 

The event will be held at the restaurant, at 1225 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street North St. Petersburg, with live music, silent and live auctions as well as complimentary Hors D’oeuvres. Cash bar proceeds will also benefit LLS. 

The public is invited to attend with all proceeds going toward Terri Hall’s Team “FightJerryFight’s goal to honor her lifelong friend who is currently battling leukemia and undergoing a bone marrow transplant. 

Terri L Hall, MWOY Candidate 2021

Each year, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has a Man & Woman of the Year Campaign. The campaign is a competition of twelve candidates (6 men and 6 women) who are nominated to see who can raise the most funds in a 10-week time period (April 1st – June 13th) to earn the title of Man or Woman or the Year.

“When Ronda Parag, publisher of Tampa Bay Metro Magazine nominated me, I was apprehensive about the stiff competition. I am honored and humbled with the enormous outpouring of support from Susanne Byram, and the amazing team we have assembled to work on the L’Orange for Leukemia event. 

Jill Plaice, Holly Walker and Lindsay Germann have volunteered their time and worked very hard for the last 2 months to ensure its success. Every dollar counts. It takes a village and this cause is something that’s very personal to me. Each donation will prevent someone from losing a child, sibling or parent or loved one, and allow LLS to continue funding lifesaving research,” said Terri Hall, MWOY Candidate for LLS.

To attend the event visit or to support the Team #FightJerryFight campaign visit:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is a global leader in the fight against cancer and since 1949, LLS has “invested nearly $1.3 billion in groundbreaking research, pioneering many of today’s most innovative approaches.” 

According to LLS, approximately every 3 minutes one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer and an estimated combined total of 178,520 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma in 2020.

The Left Bank Bistro is housed in a meticulously restored 1922 bungalow that features French cuisine along with signature cocktails named after the artists of the day. There is inside as well as outside seating for patrons.

8 Peruvian restaurants to check out in Tampa

The Peruvian restaurants in the Tampa Bay area do a good job of representing the various diverse climates and regions in Peru and their dishes, sometimes with a unique flair.

From the bustling amazons to the cool coastal waters, there is something for everyone. You’ll find chicken, beef, and fish on menus for a wide-range of diets. There are even Peruvian-themed bars and food trucks. 

Here are 8 Peruvian restaurants to enjoy in Tampa: 

Cuenelli’s Peruvian-style Rotisserie Chicken: I have been a long time fan of Cuenelli’s since they opened up shop over 10 years ago in Brandon. They have now relocated over by the Tampa International Airport in Town and Country and have an amazing chicken sandwich. Make sure to get the yellow sauce called Aji Amarillo. Prices are fair and they have family options for a whole chicken and sides. 4801 West Hillsborough Avenue, Tampa, FL 33614. (813) 888-8790

Happy Fish: This is a Peruvian fusion restaurant. They claim to have the “best fish and peruviand food of the area with the greatest Inca’s secrets and flavors”. They have Tallarin Saltado de Carne which is pretty much Peruvian lo-mein, Chaufa de Pollo, Picarones which are Peruvian donuts, Tacu Tacu con Lomo Saltado which is Peruvian beans and rice, a hearty dish. 4046 Fiesta Plaza, Tampa, FL 33607. (813) 871-6953.

Senor Rocoto Peruvian Cuisine: Specializing in authentic Peruvian cuisine, Rocoto’s owners are originally from New Jersey and then relocated to Tampa. Check out their Papa a la Huancaina, Causa Rellena which is a layered potato dish with chicken or tuna, and a variety of ceviche options. The jalea seafood mix is also great. Expect to spend about $10 to $20 per dish. 5522 Hanley Road, Tampa, FL 33634. (813) 442-5065

Lima limón Peruvian Cuisine Tampa: Located right next to the Consulate General of Peru. They have Empanadas Peruanas, Tostones Rellenos, Tamales Peruanos, Sudado de Pescado, Picante de Mariscos, and Tallarín a la Huancaina which is Peruvian spaghetti (new world cuisine). Don’t miss the Alfajores. A number of breakfast options are also available. If you have a hangover, try the Leche de Tigre which is similar to the juice of ceviche. 2104 West Busch Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612. (813) 574-7509

Terra Sur: Terra Sur is more your upscale Peruvian concept and has been around for quite some time in Tampa and the prices reflect that. They sell your usual choices like Lomo Saltado, Anticuchos de Carne, Bistec a lo Pobre, and they also have Chaufa which is Chinese-Peruvian fusion food and essentially a take on fried rice. 5330 Ehrlich Road #103, Tampa, FL 33624. (813) 269-2694.

Meanchi’s Peruvian Inspired Sandwiches: Meanchi’s aims to bring you a portion of Peru’s culinary diversity through its famous sandwiches with a modern American twist. It is a Peruivan food truck. Sandwiches include Chicharron, Meanchini’s Way, Triple, La Carmencita – they are mixed with Peruvian ingredients and sauces. 4912 South Lois Avenue, Tampa, FL 33611. (813) 665-5801.

Pisco: If you like a sports bar environment, Pisco shows plenty of games and was a fun place to watch the last World Cup with a lively environment. It’s really a no frills restaurant right in the middle of all the good Latinx spots on Armenia Avenue. 7507 North Armenia Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604. (813) 305-7910

Pico Rojo Rotisserie: If you find yourself across the bridge in Pinellas and you want some Peruvian, Pico has a solid rotisserie chicken concept. They refer to themselves as a South American cafe, but it’s definitely Peruvian focused. 2475 McMullen Booth Road E, Clearwater, FL 33759. (727) 474-3826

The Epicurean Theatre in Tampa announces three new classes and a new programming partner

Looking for some new cooking classes to attend in Tampa? The Epicurean Theatre, located inside the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, has announced three new classes and a new programming partner for the foodie-themed hotel. 

Atlanta-based experiential agency Southern Culinary & Creative will become a partner to assist in securing a dynamic and innovative programming schedule. Outfitted with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, as well as two 70-inch screens for viewing, the state-of-the-art, 40-seat culinary classroom has become quite popular with locals and guests alike. 

Epicurean Theatre

In addition to the Epicurean Theatre in Tampa, Southern Culinary & Creative will spearhead programming for the new Epicurean Atlanta, scheduled to open in August 2021 with a similar 100-seat Theatre as a key property highlight.

“We will still be very hands-on and involved in sourcing the best programs and events for the Epicurean Theatre, but we’re very excited to add the expertise Southern Culinary & Creative is bringing to the table,” said Shawn Routten, General Manager of the Epicurean Hotel.

“We look forward to teaming up with our sister-property in Atlanta to continue delivering an incredible menu of local, regional and national talent for our guest’s and local communities to enjoy.”

Here are three upcoming events at the theatre:

Friday, May 14th, 2021: Balancing Act: Featuring James Beard nominated chefs Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster & the Till and Brittanny Anderson of “Top Chef” and Richmond, Virginia’s Metzger Bar & Butchery, this class highlights the art of balancing flavors, using acid to balance fat, salt to balance sweet, and sour to balance spice. The event includes a four-course tasting menu, which features Beef Tartare, Charred Caulilini, Seared Scallops, and Vanilla Panna Cotta. Event will run from 6PM to 8PM. The cost to attend the event is $100.

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021: Roman Renaissance: Street Food: Rome is known for its casual, affordable dining in trattorias and osterias, as well as right off the streets or in local mercados,  however, Roman street food is much more than pizza. Chef Greg Baker, who previously led The Refinery and Fodder and Shine in Tampa’s Seminole Heights, will lead guests through the essentials of Roman street food, with a modern spin. Tasting plates include Pizza al Taglio, the Art of a Proper Panino, Supli (Fried Risotto Fritters), and Carcioffi alla Giuda (Fried Baby Artichokes). Event will run from 4PM to 6PM. The cost to attend the event is $100. 

Saturday, June 5: Kuba Queen: A Taste of Tampa: Tampa’s culinary scene is one blended of many cultures and cuisines due to a rich history of immigrants and cigars. Cuban cuisine, however, reins in this city and has shaped the identity of Tampa’s own culinary personality. This seminar takes a look at the history of traditional Cuban cuisine and how it helped influence the City of Tampa. This class will be led by Cuban Queen Felicia LaCalle, chef and owner of Kuba Cocina (previously Hemingway’s at Armature Works), whose influences are strongly rooted in her abuela’s kitchen. The menu includes Deviled Crab Empanada with a Cuban-style Romesco, Plantain & Shrimp Ceviche, Braised Oxtail Tamal en Cazuela, and Cuban-style Bread Pudding (using La Segunda Cuban bread of course). The event runs from 4 PM to 6 PM. The cost to attend is $100.

Tickets can be purchased on the Epicurean Hotel’s website.

Epicurean Hotel lobby

In addition to their Epicurean Theatre, the food-focused Epicurean Hotel features Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar signature restaurant; EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge; Bern’s Fine Wines & Spirits wine shop; Evangeline full-service spa; and 5,200-square feet of flexible event space.

The Epicurean Hotel was developed in collaboration with Mainsail Lodging & Development and the legendary Bern’s Steak House and is the first newly constructed hotel property in the United States to join the prestigious Autograph Collection® of Marriott International, Inc.

10and10 Enoteca wine bar is now open at International Plaza in Tampa

Looking for a new wine bar to enjoy in Tampa? 10and10 Enoteca wine bar is now open at International Plaza in Tampa. Owner and sommelier, Bora, says he has always dreamed of owning his own wine bar and has spent over 25 years in the industry. The inside is a chic design that certainly would remind one of Europe, spacious and yet quaint. 

The wine menu and food menu are still in development, but already available for visitors. Reds, whites, and bubbles are available. 

Some wines on the list are Sauvignon Blanc Martinolles Pays D’Oc 2017, Pinot Grigio Neirano 2019 Italy, Chardonnay Martinolles Pays D’Oc 2019, Muscat Domain De Terra Vecchia, La Berceau Brut Rose, Arduini Prosecco, Christian Martin Blac de Blacs, Le Petit Pont 2018, Cabernet Sauvignon Jean-Claude Mas 2018, Pinot Noir Domaine Martinolles Pays D’OC 2018, and Solo Contigo Primera Amante Malbec 2016. The wine list is not yet available online. Wine glasses start at $8 a glass.

I stopped in for a quick visit earlier this week and enjoyed a stellar Italian espresso and a delicious Basque Chocolate Cake dessert was that simple yet decadent. Much of the wine you’ll find on the menu is hand-picked by Bora who says he prefers to work with smaller distributors and put a personal touch on the things available to provide something different.

There is patio seating outside that is being grown as well and they have some tasty looking croissants, sourdough bread, and pastries for those looking for a start to their day before shopping or heading to the Tampa International Airport. It’s impossible to miss as it is right up the escalator of the downstairs parking at the mall by Rocco’s Tacos. 

On the snack list you’ll find roasted pepper antipasto, cured manchego in olive oil, marinated ciliegine mozzarella, baked brie, octopus and eggplant, and many other dishes. 

It wouldn’t be a wine bar without cheese and you’ll find a variety of cheeses and meat cuts on the menu including Parmigiano-Reggiano 18 months, Pecorino Romano, Taleggio, Robiola DOP, Goat Gorgonzola, Valdeon Blue, San Simon, Cana de Cabra and Prosciutto Cotto, Prosciutto San Danielle (16 month)s, Guanciale, Speck, Pistachio Mortadella, Soppressata, Pork Collar Coppa, Spicy Salame.

I’m dying to try their panna cotta soon and I hope they roll out a full dinner menu in the near future. If you’re looking for a great place to go with a group or a great new vibe, you have to go check out 10and10 as soon as possible. 

10and10 Enoteca is located at 2223 North Westshore Boulevard Unit B217 Tampa, Florida 33607. You can reach them at (813) 687-7657. 

The current hours are 12PM to 10PM on Friday and Saturdays, 11AM to 8PM on Sundays, 12PM to 7PM on Mondays, and 12PM to 9PM Tuesday through Thursday. Certainly call ahead just in case the hours change in the near future. The best way to make a reservation is currently to call ahead. Enjoy!

Red Ribbon Bakeshop coming soon to Pinellas Park in Florida, Filipino desserts galore

A new Filipino bakery is coming soon to Pinellas Park in Florida called Red Ribbon Bakeshop as Tampa Bay sees more Filipino brands entering the local economy. There is no confirmed opening date just yet, but the bakery is already listed on Google and has signage up next door to Jollibee.

Photo Credit Ed Johnson

The planned location is at 4053 Park Boulevard North, Pinellas Park, Florida 33781.

They sell a variety of items including empanadas, cakes, rolls, pan de sal bread, butter mamon, ensaymada, which is soft, moist bread topped with butter, sugar and cheesy deliciousness, and a variety of other sweets and Filipino pastries including an Ube Overload Cake.

For those who don’t know, Ube is a purple yam that is often used in dessert dishes from the Philippines. Many people relate it to taro due to the color it has, but the taste of Ube is often sweeter – especially when applied to dessert dishes. One of the most common ways to find it around town is in ice cream form at your local Asian grocer.

Red Ribbon Bakeshop started in 1979 as a hobby-induced business in Timog, Quezon City. Quezon City is located on the Guadalupe Plateau, just northeast of Manila, in the Philippines. The first Red Ribbon location in the United States opened in 1984 in West Covina, California.

Photo Credit: Red Ribbon Bakeshop USA
Photo Credit: Red Ribbon Bakeshop USA

It has grown to over 450 outlets all over the Philippines and in over 30 stores in the United States, with locations in California, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas and Illinois.

Red Ribbon was acquired in 2015 by Jollibee Foods Corporation. Jollibee had a massive opening in Pinellas Park with long lines a few years ago right before the pandemic hit. Jollibee told The Manila Times during the acquisition, “Red Ribbon is a strong brand. It stands for high-quality cakes and pastries and enjoys a reputation for great tasting food just like JFC’s other brands. Red Ribbon will complement the fast-food segments we are at present serving.”

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jollibee pressed forward and opened over 12 Jollibee fast food restaurants across North America in 2020 and enjoyed double-digit sales growth. 28 new Jollibee locations are planned for 2021. The goal is to hit 300 stores by 2024. The growth of Jollibee and Red Ribbon no doubt will go hand in hand.

Source: The Manila Times