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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:

Categories
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/

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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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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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
Categories
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

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

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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.

Categories
Food Events

GrillSmith Carrollwood VIP Party on the Patio

Carlos Eats team member Jenn Nguyen visited GrillSmith in Carrollwood this Friday for their VIP event. Here is her post on the event.

Two bruschettas were served at the event: smoked salmon and portabello.  They both contained capers, basil, red onion, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.  I personally enjoyed the smoked salmon much more.  It was fresh tasting and unlike the portobello bruschetta, the flavor weren’t drowned out by the accompaniments.  My guest favored the portobello one.  He personally enjoyed the fact that he could taste all the flavors in the bruschetta.  The toast was on the oily side even though it did add a nice depth to the hor d’oeuvre.

Basil made another appearance in the Caprese stack.  A jumbo grape tomato (surprisingly flavorful) with basil and mozzarella (nothing special).  The salty, creamy mozzarella played well with the crisp, juicy tomato.

The fourth sample was the Spicy Thai Shrimp, the restaurant’s successful take on Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp.  A nice crunch to the succulent shrimp with a hit of tang to cut the rich Sriracha aioli.  The Creative Loafing freelance writer who joined me at the table noted that this was her favorite item even though she did not like fried foods.

The final sample item available was the Crab and Shrimp Cake.  Since no utensils were provided, it was a little hard to eat.  Unlike the Spicy Thai Shrimp, this fried item was quite greasy.  I thought the construction of the item was a little awkward; the breading was only on the outside and it was quite heavy.  The jumbo lump crab was plentiful and flavorful.  The shrimp was unnecessary especially because the crab overpowered the delicate shrimp.  It did serve as a great textural contrast.  There was a small bit of Sriracha dolloped on top, but did nothing for the crab and shrimp cake.

The signature cocktail we tried was the Signature Strawberry Lemonade. Made with Grey Goose Vodka, I expected it to have that lemonade twang with a smooth finish. Yet, it was surprisingly sweet and floral.

Overall, a good tasting! A talented artist, Shaun Hopper, was there playing his acoustic renditions of popular songs. I thought the service could have been a little bit more efficient; there were times when I had to hunt down a server to get an hor d’oeuvre.  There were giving out samples of cocktails (a Bacardi spiced rum with Coke and Orange flavored Grey Goose with Cranberry Juice) which the crowd enjoyed. The chef even made an appearance and mingled with the crowd to answer any questions. All in all, I had a great time and a memorable experience, no doubt.
Grillsmith on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: GrillSmith

Cuisine: American, Steakhouse

Neighborhood: Carrollwood

Address: 14303 N. Dale Mabry Highway Tampa, FL 33618

Phone Number: (813) 269-1500

Website: http://www.grillsmith.com/

Categories
Food Events

Grand Hilton Seoul Oktoberfest Festival 2011

The Grand Hilton Seoul will host their annual Oktoberfest festival this weekend on September 23rd and September 24th. There is much history behind Oktoberfest festivalsand they have been held since 1810 in Munich and eventually spread around the world through various other festivals based on the original. There will be beer, traditional German food, games, and the German “Paulaner Oktoberfest Band” performing live. The event starts at 6:00PM on both nights and the price is 120,000 KW (including tax and a service charge).

Some photos from Oktoberfest 2010 at the Grand Hilton Seoul:

Ah look at all that German food!

Location: Grand Hilton Seoul

Address: 201-1 Hongeun-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-710, Korea

Directions (Subway): Hongje Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Take Bus 01 from the station to the hotel. Hotel is about a 15-min walk from the station.

Phone number: (82-2) 3216-5656

Website: http://www.grandhiltonseoul.com

Categories
Food Events

Dine Tampa Bay Launch Party tomorrow! :)

Tomorrow, July 28th, is the Dine Tampa Bay Launch Party at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre from 6:00-9:00PM. There will be food samples from many restaurants and a chef competition as well. I will be there with a guest and I would love to see you come out too and support Tampa Bay restaurants. Tickets must be purchased in advance online at: http://www.visittampabay.com/meetings/index.cfm?action=Details&eventid=159

The restaurant week being organized by Dine Tampa Bay will last from Aug. 19 – Sept. 2, 2011 and features 57 restaurants in Tampa Bay. Checkout all the restaurants here: http://www.dinetampabay.com/restaurants