cocktails · Food Events

CL HighBall Another Round This Thursday!

Looking to start your summer off with some of the best cocktails in town?

Local newspaper Creative Loafing is bringing their CL HighBall cocktail competition to Tampa this Thursday, May 11th from 7PM to 10PM at the Rialto Theatre in Tampa Heights next to Foundation Coffee and Hidden Springs Ale Works brewery.

Over a dozen restaurants and bars from both sides of Tampa Bay will feature unlimited craft cocktails with vodka, whisky, rum, or gin for this summer event and be competing to win the title of “Tampa Bay’s Best Cocktail”.

The winning cocktail will be featured later this year at CL’s Best of the Bay Awards Party in September.

Tickets are $25 in advance for General Admission and $40 at the door. VIP tickets are available for $50 in advance and $80 at the door if available. VIP includes an extra hour of sampling and VIP-only appetizers from Casey’s Craft Bar Kitchen.

This event is for participants ages 21+ only.

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2qLcNM6

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Ybor City Museum Society. The Ybor City Museum Society is committed to “its mission of preserving, promoting and celebrating the unique cultural heritage of Ybor City, one of only three National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida”. Learn more about the society at ybormuseum.org

Here is a video from the fun in St. Pete earlier this year:

Event Name: CL HighBall Another Round

Venue: Rialto Theatre

Address: 1617 N. Franklin St. in Tampa

Date & Time: Thursday, May 11th, 2017 7PM to 10PM

Ages: 21+ only

Buy Tickets: http://bit.ly/2qLcNM6

Website: http://www.cltampa.com/highball

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/406121439767056/

Food Events · Restaurant News

Ciccio’s Gasparilla Brunch & Brews – 1/28

This Saturday, January 28th, is Gasparilla and Ciccio/Water is celebrating with a special event called Ciccio’s Gasparilla Brunch & Brews from 10AM-2PM at 1015 South Howard Avenue. Guests will also enjoy a live DJ set.

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The event will feature a $35 All-You-Can-Eat-And-Drink Beer & Brunch celebration. Cash only. Tickets can only be purchased at the door. Parking will cost $20 with limited spaces available.

Don’t forget your pirate gear!

Use #TurnTampaTeal to score a FREE drink at the party.

Proceeds will benefit The Teal Recovery Project, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that focuses on fundraising, educating, and empowering women battling cervical cancer.

Event name: Ciccio’s Gasparilla Brunch & Brews

Date & Time: Saturday, January 28th, 2017, 10AM-2PM

Address: 1015 South Howard Avenue Tampa, Florida 33606

Cost: $35 to attend, $20 parking, Cash-only

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1773892346265765/

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

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Photo credit @antone2382 on Instagram

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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/

Food Events · Food Holidays · Food Trucks

Plant City Food Truck Rally this Black Friday 2016!

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally. I have been compensated for my time and writing. Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally works with more than 100 food trucks and books them for events, corporate and private catering, among other services.

Hey Foodies! Once you finish your Black Friday shopping this holiday on November 25th, head over to the Plant City Main Street Food Truck Rally from 5PM-9PM for a wide-range of gourmet food from local food trucks including burgers, barbeque, pizza, dessert, and more.

Plant City Main Street Food Truck Rally

There will be Santa photo opportunities on-site. The event is held in conjunction with Plant City Main Street and presented by Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally.

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1866000460300805/

Participating Food Trucks:

Food Events · Food Trucks

Plant City Food Truck Rally October 28th!

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally. I have been compensated for my time and writing. Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally works with more than 100 food trucks and books them for events, corporate and private catering, among other services.

Make plans for this Friday, October 28th, 2016 from 5PM-9PM for the monthly Plant City Main Street Food Truck Rally. Over 10 food trucks will head into Plant City Main Street for this food event. Check out photos from last month’s food truck rally here: http://www.plantcityobserver.com/photo-gallery/photo-gallery-plant-city-main-street-food-truck-rally. The event is sponsored by Plant City Main Street.

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Participating food trucks:

Event name: Plant City Food Truck Rally

Date & Time: Friday, October 28th, 2016, 5PM-9PM

Location: Corner of Drane Street and N Palmer Street

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/1694458727548860/

Food Events

Sushi Battle Tampa Bay 2016 Recap

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Big City Events. I have been compensated for my time and writing and am involved in the event discussed in this post. I helped to promote the event and was a Judge during the event for the restaurants. These opinions posted in this blog are my own and do not represent the views of Big City Events or the participating restaurants.

Last night was the 2nd Annual Sushi Battle Tampa Bay presented by Sapporo at the St. Pete Coliseum located on 4th Avenue North in Downtown St. Petersburg. Restaurants participated in a competition for who has the Best Sushi in Tampa Bay with a category decided by the audience and one decided by judges. Sake distillers hosted a special tasting upstairs and group sake bombs were enjoyed downstairs. The event was organized by Big City Events.

Have you been to our sake tasting? Well don't miss out.@ the #TampaBay #SushiBattle! #CarlosEats #foodies #sushi #food #events

A post shared by Big City Events (@bigcityeventsfl) on

 

Participating restaurants included Ocean Prime, YO! Sushi, Pisces Sushi and Global Bistro, iThai Sushi, Kona GrillYume Sushi Restaurant, Wabi Sabi Fusion Cafe, and Ciccio/Water. Restaurants provided sushi samples to guests while they enjoyed Japanese cultural performances from Tampa Taiko, a live DJ set from DJ Fresh, sumo wrestling, and other festivities.

Sushi by the boat load@ the #TampaBay #SushiBattle! #CarlosEats #foodies #sushi #food #events

A post shared by Big City Events (@bigcityeventsfl) on

 

Each restaurant brought something different to the table and the event definitely evolved from the year before with a larger venue and and a more controlled audience. Most of the restaurants also did good planning and many of them were still serving sushi samples well into the final parts of the event. The categories for judging the sushi were presentation, creativity, and taste for event judges. In addition, there was a people’s choice award.

 

I was torn between Ocean Prime and Wabi Sabi Asian Fusion as my two favorite sushi spots as a judge at the event. Ocean Prime has such delicious sushi rolls, the quality was really there – but the creativity was a little bit mixed for me. They went with a more traditional kind of sushi roll at least as far as the design goes. Wabi Sabi Asian Fusion provided 5 different types of sushi to people at their booth and each one showcased creative sushi chef talent that I really enjoyed. I want to definitely take a trip to Palm Harbor sometime to visit Wabi Sabi in the near future.

 

Another top choice for me at the event was Pisces Sushi and Global Bistro, they brought a truly delicious sushi roll to the event. It was somewhere between the delicious taste of Ocean Prime and the creativity of Wabi Sabi for me. Pisces ended up winning the judges category of the competition.

I was actually unaware that Ocean Prime served sushi prior to being involved in this event. Regardless of my top choices – all the restaurants did a good job and provided more than your California Roll to the event – many restaurants provided multiple options which was great for the consumer and there was variety in the types of fish presented.

 

Tampa Taiko stole the show again and provided excellent Japanese taiko drumming performances throughout the event. I’ve been working with Tampa Taiko on events since I was part of the Japanese Club at USF back in 2009 and they have always been a supportive community member that puts everything they have into their work.

The Japanese Club participated in the event again and tabled with the help of the Japanese-America Society of Tampa Bay and shared a booth with the Foodies Club that helped spread the event on social media using the hashtag #SushiBattle on Twitter and Instagram.

The judges are coming in. Who will win this year #TampaBay #SushiBattle! #CarlosEats #foodies #sushi #food #events

A post shared by Big City Events (@bigcityeventsfl) on

 

Overall, the Sushi Battle Tampa Bay improved from last year and in my opinion it was a fun night filled with a variety of food, drinks, and entertainment. I’m looking forward to seeing where the event goes in the future and am thankful to everyone who helped make it a success for a second year in a row. It can only go up from here.

Food Events

Beer & Burger Throw Down this Saturday!

The Beer & Burger Throw Down is happening this Saturday, September 17th, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium (4201 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33607) from 12PM-6PM. Over 15 restaurants and food trucks will be on-site selling $3 burger samples and full-sized burgers as well.

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Proceeds will benefit the Animal Coalition of Tampa, which aims to create a community where dogs and cats are safe and treated with respect and value. Participants will get to vote for the Best Burger and Best Brew of the Day.

Participating restaurants/vendors:

  • James Joyce
  • Eats! American Grill
  • Wow That’s Fresh
  • Square 1
  • Daily Eats
  • Carmel Kitchen
  • Prime 19 Grill
  • Bar Louie
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse
  • Freddy’s Steakburger
  • Mobile Peluso
  • Jimmy’s Slider Truck
  • Got Lobstah!
  • Georgia Big Boys BBQ

Tickets cost $10 and includes multiple craft beer samples and several free event features. Kids also get FREE admission. Buy tickets: http://conta.cc/2a5lkP4

Features at the event include an adult game zone, 2000 square foot kids fun area, custom built dog park, and college football screening.

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Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/529900380545318/

Sponsors include:

  • GTE Financial
  • Big Storm Brewing Co.
  • Rent King Nebraska
  • Tampa Bay K-9 Solutions
  • 98 Rock
  • 620 WDAE
  • Newsradio 970 WFLA
  • Morgan Exteriors, Inc.
  • Creative Loafing Tampa
  • ShoutOUT Tampa Bay
  • Carlos Eats
Food Events

Summer of Rum Festival 2016 – September 3rd

9/2/16 Update: Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Hermine the event has been cancelled.

The Summer of Rum Festival is coming up on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 at Channelside in Downtown Tampa from 12PM to 11PM. The new space doubles the event size from previous years and will feature an improved VIP experience as well. The event is organized by Big City Events and is for ages 21 & older only.

Reel Big Fish will be headlining the event. They are one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. Local food trucks and food vendors will sell food around the event.

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Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. VIP costs $100 and $125 at the door (if available). VIP gets you unlimited drinks in the VIP tent, stage view, a seating area, and a cooled air-mist system to cool off.

Participating rum brands around the event:

  • Papas Pilar
  • Malibu
  • Bad Monkey
  • Yolo Rum
  • Ron Barcelo
  • Doc Brown’s Really Bad Rum
  • Koloa
  • Captain Morgan
  • Zacapa Rum
  • Carmelita’s Rum
  • Liquor 43
  • Bayou
  • Gubba Rum
  • Rhum Clement
  • Tanduay Rum
  • Dos Madaras
  • Appleton Estate
  • Chaste No. 850
  • Wicked Dolphin
  • Twisted Sun Rum
  • Florida Mermiad
  • Bumbu Rum
  • Prichards

Also as a bonus – VIP participants will receive 1 rum tasting pass good for unlimited rum tasting at the Island Rum Tasting, as well as a collectible Summer of Rum shot glass.  Additional rum tasting passes can be purchased. Rum tasting opens from 2PM to 6PM ONLY!  No refunds/cash value for unused passes.

Purchase tickets online: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1229913

There will also be a Rum Run before the event begins – more information: http://www.summerofrumfest.com/#!rum-run/lxapo

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

Food Events

Where to Ring in the New Years in Tampa Bay

Looking for a restaurant to spend New Years Eve with friends and family in Tampa Bay? I have you covered. :] Look below for some recommendations.

The Columbia – Ybor City: 3 dinner menu options for New Years Eve: Limited Ala Carte Menu, Dinner with Flamenco Dance Show, or New Years Celebration in the Ybor Cafe. You can make reservations here or call (813) 248-4961 for more information. St. Petersburg: Pre-fixed, 5-course menu for $49.95. The Columbia Cafe: Regular menu – open until 5PM on New Years Eve.

Donatello – Offering live music from Dwight Champagne, Jerry Kenny, and a surprise guest. Make reservations at (813) 875-6660

El Puerto Restaurant & Grill – Open until 2AM on New Years Eve for some delicious Latin American cuisine. They will provide the traditional Spanish 12 grapes of luck called doce uvas for customers as well.

The Fox – Offering a 4 course dinner, champagne toast, and party favors, in addition to live jazz music for $85/person or $170/couple. Walk-ins are accepted for $50 at the door with a champagne toast and party favors only. Call 813-289-8446 for reservations

Ocean Blue Sushi – Featuring a New Years party with the usual 1/2 off beers, wells, house win, sushi, and appetizers after 10PM in addition to $60 bottles of Absolut (bottle-service available), $30 bottle of champagne, $6 on all premium liquors/$4 on all absolut vodka, $4 Ocean Blue Cocktail Champagne, $2 jello shots. DJ Bootron will be spinning until 3AM.

The Rack – $10 all you can drink special from 11PM-1AM and 50% off everything for everyone after 1AM. Call 813-250-1595 for more details.

Spanish Restaurant & Toma Bar – New Years Eve dinner including a New Years hat and favors, glass of wine/sangria/beer, choice of appetizer, specialty house salad, entree, dessert, grapes, and a champagne toast at midnight with live music and flamenco dancing. $65 per person.