Categories
Articles Restaurant News

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/

Categories
Articles Restaurant News

Oishi Sushi & Thai Thani Shutting Doors July 31st (Channelside)

Oishi Sushi and Thai Thani located in Channelside announced today that they will be closing their business for good on July 31st, 2017 after 13 years of business due to the Channelside demolition occurring in the plaza as the next phase of Jeff Vinik’s plans for Downtown Tampa begin.

They invited their loyal customers to visit them over at Asiatic Street Food + Noodle Bar in Ybor City and to come visit them in Channelside in these finals weeks of operation.

Surviving 13 years in Channelside is certainly an accomplishment for the Oishi Sushi and Thai Thani owners that experienced many challenges from the 2008 Financial Crisis and the boom and slowdown of Channelside District over the years including the closure of the Channelside Cinemas theatre.

Channelside suffered many hardships for local businesses that operated in the plaza over the last decade and went from a busy nightlife and restaurant to scene to an empty part of town – especially as the Tampa Port Authority battled over plans to change the Channelside Plaza.

36844493_aj6lv-b3vuqgh6yzj6a2fpx-4_qpiwlo6o-q8z3ot0i.jpg48619120_ZUK8GoXTwU9jfJ86eFaR_4rsGjEWQ7w3CFfaAciKg14

Hopefully the owners will open another sushi and Thai restaurant in the future and bring their recipes to the food scene again.

Categories
Restaurant News

Oishi launches early bird sushi happy hour (Channelside)

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Oishi Sushi located in Channelside. I was invited to taste the sushi in exchange for writing up a post about their new sushi happy hour and for my opinion on their sushi. Any opinions written are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the sponsor.

oishi4

Oishi Ultimate Japanese Cuisine located in Channelside has launched an early bird sushi happy hour for hungry fans to enjoy sushi at more than reasonable pricing. The special is every day from 4PM-7PM except during special events.

Enjoy Gyoza, Shumai, and Karage (Japanese Fried Chicken) for just $4 during happy hour. Sushi rolls are $5 or $6 and include favorites such as the Rainbow Roll, Volcano Roll, Hi-5, Rock Lava, and more.

Hibachi is also discounted during the early bird special to $12-$14.

It had been some time since I visited Oishi (or Channelside) and was really impressed with how good everything tasted.

Oishi seems less busy now that the Tampa Riverwalk has taken much of the thunder of Channelside, but the product still tastes fresh and approachable.

I remember a similar thing happening in the past with Qachbal’s Chocolatier downstairs. The shut down of the movie theater in Channelside really hurt the local businesses there.

Love boat sushi from Oishi

oishi2

oishi3

oishi6

During my visit I tried the Double O Roll, Fire Fighter Roll, Hurricane Roll, and Sex on the Moon.

I normally wouldn’t order sauce on my sushi and keep my rolls fairly simple, but these rolls had balance and you could taste each part well. The caviar and roe on top of the rolls was a nice touch.

My favorite roll I tried was the Hurricane Roll ($11.50) which is spicy octopus, conch, avocado, and fish egg inside a roll topped with white and red tuna, onions with spicy mayo, and eel sauce on the side. I am not normally a fan of octopus – but I gobbled it up.

Another favorite was the Sex on the Moon ($12.95) which has cream cheese, asparagus, avocado, eel, shrimp tempura, smelt roe with tuna, tempura flakes, eel sauce, spicy mayo, caviar, scallion, and sesame. Cream cheese and asparagus in my sushi rolls are not my thing normally, but I was impressed at the flavor combination. I recommend it.

If it was up to me, I would have some live music and try to have more events and promotions to bring people back to Channelside – the plaza is still great for having events – it has to compete more now that the Riverwalk is busy with tourists and locals though.

I hope local businesses like Oishi pull through – if you haven’t been in awhile I recommend heading back for a taste – the happy hour is more than fair.

See full happy hour menu:

early-Bird-Menu

BONUS: Since Oishi is located next to Thai Thani – they also have delicious Thai Tea 🙂

oishit5

Restaurant Name: Oishi Ultimate Japanese Cuisine

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi

Neighborhood: Downtown Tampa, Channelside

Address: 615 Channelside Dr. Tampa, FL 33602

Phone: (813) 228-9202

Website: http://oishitampa.com

 

 

Categories
cocktails Dining Guide Food Events

New Year’s Eve 2017 Party @ Anise Global Gastrobar

Anise Global Gastrobar in Downtown Tampa, located at 777 North Ashley Drive across from Curtis Hixon Park, will host their annual New Year’s Eve Party from 9PM-2AM this Saturday, December 31st.

Guests can expect excellent craft cocktails from some of the best bartenders in town and gourmet bites. The event starts late enough to make plans earlier in the day before heading to the party.

Anise NYE Party

14504864_1618322371797380_8711266331485274112_n

Photo credit @antone2382 on Instagram

14726293_1441386125875010_8650631722662100992_n

Photo credit @vintranasianman on Instagram.

Tickets are on-sale and cost $60 per person for admission. Admission includes a welcome cocktail, buffet, drink specials, and a champagne toast. Tables are also available and vary from $180-$480. For more information contact Anise at (813) 225-4272.

Purchase tickets at: http://www.aniseglobal.com/tickets/

Categories
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.

hotel4

hotel1

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.

hotel3

hotel2

hotel5

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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/

Categories
Food Events

Ginger Beard Coffee turns one

Local Downtown Tampa cafe, Ginger Beard Coffee, turns one year old on Thursday, July 14th, 2016. They will be raffling off a chance for free coffee in celebration. If you haven’t been yet, Ginger Beard Coffee is located inside Pourhouse Tampa in the Grand Central at Kennedy which is located at 1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112.

Ginger Beard Coffee serves excellent nitro brew coffee – my personal favorite there is the Cubano which will send a jolt of energy through your body. Check out this video I shot there a few months back with an explanation from one of the owners:

Ginger Beard Coffee Flyer

Categories
Food Events Food Holidays

Valentines Day Dining in Tampa Bay

It would seem that almost every restaurant in Tampa Bay is having some kind of Valentines Day special for the big day of love. Here is a listing of some of the specials I have noticed, for the late-minute diner like myself. Even if you don’t have a Valentine – you might want to have a bite on some of these deals.

Bernini: This delicious Italian restaurant in Ybor City is offering 1/2 price pastas and entrees all week long until 7PM. $2 Finlandia Martinis. (813) 248-0099

BurgerMonger: Famous for its delicious Akaushi Kobe Beef – BurgerMonger will be giving away chocolate-covered strawberries to couples (while supplies last) on Valentines Day. They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – and a BurgerMonger burger sure does please my stomach! (813) 968-6860

Cafe Kili: Dixie Blue will play an eclectic mix of country, early rock and roll, and cajun songs for visitors starting at 7PM. Special drinks will be on the menu including the Red Velvet Frappe and Raspberry White Mocha.  (813) 988-2879

Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant: The usual $4 tapas menu will be in effect Tuesday at Ceviche, in addition to two lovers specials: Mixed Grill and Mixed Fish specials for $39. First-come, first-serve basis. Numerous locations around Tampa Bay and Orlando.

Datz: Special cocktails, entrees, and desserts will be sold for V-Day. Some examples are pink polka dot pancakes and cherry martinis. (813) 831-7000

Fly Bar & Restaurant: Open 4PM-3AM. Patio dining and rooftop deck in Downtown Tampa. Live jazz music from 8-11PM and dinner. (813) 275-5000

Origami Sushi (Hillsborough): Free dessert on Valentines Day. Happy Hour 3-7PM with $1 sushi rolls. All beverages reduced price. (813) 878-2145

Pelagia Trattoria: This hidden Italian restaurant in the International Plaza will have a special Valentines Day menu available fro 5:30-10PM. Some things on the menu include lobster bisque, veal osso buco, and Godiva chocolate cake. (813) 313-3235

The Rack: Valentines Day blues troubling you? The Rack will have happy hour all night long on Valentines Day, in addition to their regular Tuesday specials. (813) 250-1595

The Refinery: Special Valentines Day menu available at this hot spot Tampa restaurant. The steak tartare sure caught my eye. Make sure to call ahead – they may already be filled to max capacity. (813) 237-2000

Senor Taco: Lots of buzz online for this Pinellas Park Mexican restaurant lately. Taco Tuesday brings tacos to the amazing price of $1. (727) 289-7080

Soobak: This excellent Davis Island Asian restaurant is offering a 5-course Valentines Day dinner which includes salad, appetizer, sushi, choice of meat, and dessert for $35 per person (+tax). Be sure to call ahead as space is limited. (813) 258-3377.

SoHo Sushi North: USF-area SoHo Sushi will feature a $55 (+tax) special for couples featuring 2 soups, 2 salads, 2 drinks, 2 sushi rolls, and dessert. (813) 977-8744

Spain Restaurant & Toma Bar: Offering a 4-course pre-fix menu for $45 per person (+tax) includes 1 alcoholic beverage, appetizer, salad , entree, and dessert. Live romantic music from 6-9PM. Regular menu also available. (813) 223-2831

Wimauma: The current talk of Tampa Bay. Special Valentines Day menu available for $40 per person (+tax).  (813) 793-1687

Categories
Food Events

Tampa Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta this Wednesday 01/04/12!

You can catch the Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta at Lykes Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa this Wednesday, January 4th of 2012. There are 4 newcomers that will appear this week.

Keepin’ it Reel – NEW
Jimmy Meatball – NEW
Americanwiener – NEW (featuring “The Buckhorn”: All beef wiener with chili, cheese and pickled jalapeno)
Bollywood Cafe– NEW
Maggie on the Move
Wicked ‘Wiches
The Killer Samich Truck
Burger Culture
Fire Monkey Food Truck
The Taco Bus

2012 is certainly going to be a good year for food trucks and food lovers!

Categories
Reviews Web 2.0

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

Website: http://www.flybarandrestaurant.com/

Twitter: @FlyBarTampa

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fly-Bar-Restaurant-Tampa-FL/369123911007

Categories
Reviews

The Columbia Cafe

My family and I dined at The Columbia Cafe tonight. It is located next to the Tampa Bay History Center. The outdoor patio doesn’t seem to be part of the restaurant at first glance. A branch of the famous Columbia chain, this cafe offers are more simplified menu and a beautiful waterfront view of Tampa Bay. Channelside is just a few minutes away from Columbia Cafe so we walked over from Channelside in just under 10 minutes. I honestly don’t think the restaurants in Channelside are appetizing so I think with some promotion it wouldn’t be difficult for The Columbia Cafe to steal the thunder for Channelside restaurants. Harbour Island restaurants are far superior to anything at Channelside.

Like many restaurants in this area, live music is available on Friday and Saturday nights (6-9PM here…an earlier show than some other places in the area, such as That’s Amore). Tonight there were two Spanish performers, a man running the instrumentals and a woman singing several covers of popular Spanish music, such as Olga Tanon and Celia Cruz. Her voice was pleasant, but more of a backdrop to make the mood then a show.

The waiter was quick to come and get our drink orders. He took a couple of minutes to bring us our drinks and then took our orders. We put our orders in. I decided to try their Chicken Salteado ($9.95). The food came out quickly and was on our table in less than 20 minutes. The waiter seemed pre-occupied for a portion of our meal, and just when I was starting to think that the waiter should come and check on our drinks he appeared and refilled my drink (almost like he read my mind or something). The restaurant was moderately busy, but there was still plenty of empty tables for Friday night. I don’t think many people are aware that Columbia Cafe is located here.

The warm Cuban bread at The Columbia is one of the reasons people love it so much and The Columbia Cafe does not disappoint. I negotiated with my little cousin and was able to have both my bread and hers, it’s just that good.

The menu reads the Chicken Salteado is “inspired by the Chinese who lived in Cuba in the 19th century, a very hot iron skillet with extra virgin olive oil is used to sauté boneless pieces of chicken, onions, green peppers, fresh garlic, mushrooms, diced potatoes and chorizo, splashed with a hearty red wine. Served with yellow rice”. The dish was still warm when it arrived on my table. The chicken was a little rough, but flavorful. The potatoes were great as were the vegetables. I was surprised that I actually did not like the chorizo on my plate (since I’m a fan of chorizo), perhaps it was just the way it was cooked. The yellow rice was moist, but a little plain. It might have been a little better with a side of black beans. I added some sour cream to give it a little more flavor. Overall, the dish was average but I probably would not order it again because it was just average. My Step-Dad had the 1905 salad which looked amazing. Maybe I will have that in the future.

One particular problem I identified during our visit was the portion of their children’s menu. My sister ordered my nephew chicken tenders and chips. They only gave him 3 pieces of chicken strips. We asked the waiter about the order and he confirmed that this is the standard…I honestly don’t know how they can even call this a meal. It was a good thing my six-year-old nephew was not hungry because it would have then taken two children’s menu items to fill him. My seven-year-old cousin had their macaroni and cheese, which was a more appropriate portion for a child.

Overall, The Columbia Cafe is a nice spot in Downtown Tampa. The view outside is fantastic at night (and I’m sure it is also great on a beautiful sunny Florida day). The menu leaves a little to be desired, but has the classic Columbia choices. There is a full bar and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. If this restaurant was open a little later and promoted better it could be a popular spot for the night scene in the area and easily dominate the area with its signature Spanish dishes.

Columbia Cafe on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: The Columbia Cafe

Cuisine: Spanish

Address: 801 Old Water Street #1905 Tampa, Florida 33602

Phone Number: (813) 229-5511

Neighborhood: Downtown Tampa

Website: http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/cafe.asp