Punkcade NYE Party 2019 at Lowry Parcade Tampa

Seminole Heights video game arcade and bar Lowry Parcade located at 1213 West Waters Avenue in Tampa is throwing a Punkcade New Year’s Eve Party to celebrate the coming of 2019 starting at 8PM on December 31st, 2018.

The party theme is based around classic beat’em’up video games from the 16-bit era such as Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, and Final Fight.

Costume ideas include leather, spikes, spiky hair, dyed hair, excessive belts, chains, combat boots, piercings, and attitude. The best solo or couple duo will win a $40 giftcard from Lowry Parcade.

No cover charge.

Punkcade NYE New Year's Eve Party at Lowry Parcade Tampa

All games will be 1 token and some pinball machines and arcade cabinets will be free for the event.

VAMP the video game violinist will be providing music for attendees. Here’s hoping there is some Yuzo Koshiro in that mix.

Please enjoy this Yuzo Koshiro Streets of Rage mix as well:

Visit Lowry Parcade at www.lowryparcade.com

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Havana Heights New Years Eve 2019 Tampa

Feel like turning up the heat this New Year’s Eve in Tampa?

Head over to Seminole Heights and join Mandarin Heights and Bodega at 5901 North Florida Avenue for their Havana Heights New Year’s Eve 2019 party.

The theme is Havana and they want you to dress to impress. There will be classic cars and the event will decorated throughout. Live music and a DJ will be on-site. Enjoy cigar rolling.

The party will run from 8PM until 2AM right into 2019.

Tickets are now on-sale and includes an open bar and and food from Bodega Seminole Heights. Tickets are $100 per person.

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2QSmiqM

Note: Gratuity is not included in ticket price. Please tip your servers.

Guide: 10 Places to Eat and Drink in Seminole Heights

Did you hear that Tampa is now ranked one of the most hipster cities in the United States?

If we’re talking hipsters, Seminole Heights has taken the mantle from Ybor City in the past few years as restaurants, bars, breweries, and cafes have popped up all over this small town that supports local busines.

Here are 10 places to eat and drink in Seminole Heights when you visit:

1. Brew Bus Brewing / Florida Ave. Brewing: Brew Bus has quickly grown to be one of the most successful businesses in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. The owners have Exectuive Chef Max Sherard making gourmet food in the kitchen and plenty of beers rolling out of the brewery all the time. They also recently added craft cocktails to the menu. You can jump on the Brew Bus here and ride all around town to some of Seminole Heights less parking friendly businesses. It’s a good hub to the neighborhood. 4101 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33603 (813) 990-7310  

2. Angry Chair Brewing Co.: One of the most popular local breweries in town. Parking is a conondrum, but you did jump on the Brew Bus like I told you above right? Angry Chair has craft beer fans lining up hours before release parties and most people in town will tell you it has grown to be one of their favorite local breweries. 6401 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 (813) 238-1122 

3. Chop Chop Shop: No one can deny that what is cooking in this kitchen is delicious. The cuisine is a mixture of Japanese and Korean inspiration and whatever the chef is cooking up in the kitchen. No complaints from hungry fans who happily call in orders and show up to eat whenever they get a chance. 6605 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 (813) 770-7306 

4. The Independent Bar & Cafe: I hope you’re noticing a theme that Seminole Heights is a bit of a watering hole. The Independen has long been a local stronghold in the neighborhood where you’ll see local business owners and residents grabbing a beer and having a blast. 5016 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33603 (813) 341-4883 

5. The Refinery: Always give credit where credit is due. The Refinery was one of the first restaurants to take a risk inside Seminole Heights and helped to form the foundation of the restaurants all over Florida Avenue now. It’s unfortunate that the original location is now closed as I was a fan, but you can find them a few blocks away now in the former Fodder & Shine spot. The burger is my go-to. 5910 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 (813) 234-3710 

6. Revolution Ice Cream: After making a name for themselves in Brandon, Revolution Ice Cream brought their delicious desserts to Seminole Heights and saved many people a trip on I-4 or I-75 and that’s truly a miracle. Their ice cream incorporates many local businesses into their flavors and they are constantly changing and evolving. 6701 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 (813) 513-5053 

7. Rooster & The Till: If you want a truly gourmet experience, Rooster & The Till is arguably one of the best restaurants in Tampa offering that. Be prepared to spend some money, but you’ll want lick your plate as you taste their creations. 6500 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 (813) 374-8940 

8. Lowry Parcade: We nerds needed a spot to join together and Lowry Parade has provided done just that. Where else can you catch a rock band playing Mega Man on a speedrun, sip a local craft beer, and hit an arcade or pinball machine. I hope Lowry Parcade grows and expands so they can increase their selection and add some more fighting games and retro throwbacks, that’s my dream personally. 1213 W Waters Ave, Tampa, FL 33604  (813) 915-9180

9. The Mermaid Tavern: This dive bar is much more of the core, original feeling that Seminole Heights was founded on. This is a great spot to catch up with friends or unwind. DJs spinning regularly. 6719 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 (813) 238-5618 

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10. Spaddy’s Coffee Co.: Every neighborhood needs local coffee and Tampa wouldn’t be a hipster town without our coffee scene. Spaddy serves local roasts from Zeal Coffee Roasters and offers a wide menu of choices. His truck is open early and has really grown into the neighborhood. One of the great things about Seminole Heights is the local feel of it and Spaddy embodies that feeling all the way. 5206 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33603 (954) 829-2111 

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Whatever Pops sells quality grilled cheese sandwiches

I haven’t had a chance to stop in at Whatever Pops in Seminole Heights yet.

However – I just tried their grilled cheese for the first time today at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa located at 600 North Ashley Drive, which is running for the next 7 weeks and features ice skating, vendors, and food from vendors like Whatever Pops.

The grilled cheese I had was phenomenal. Excellent mix of cheeses and sourdough bread. Gooey and yet crispy at the same time. Every last bite. Maybe one of the better grilled cheese sandwiches I have enjoyed in Tampa. Serving at $6 is a reasonable price for a specialized market as well.

The order came out quickly as well.

The only thing I was sad about was that they ran out of tomato soup. That will most certainly be a reason to return in the near future though.

The attendant at the stand told me sales in Seminole Heights are down 40% ever since the Seminole Heights Serial Killer made the news. People from all over town are coming over to try and support, but she said regardless sales are still down and fall during the night at levels that are hurting business.

Please keep the local Seminole Heights businesses in mind if you’re trying to pick a place to eat or shop at. Maybe consider ordering some catering or delivery from them if you’re not able to stop by.

Seminole Heights is one of the reasons our local food scene in Tampa has grown over the years and it would be a shame if those businesses were to close because of something completely beyond their control.

Visit Whatever Pops in Seminole Heights at 5127 North Florida Avenue Tampa, FL 33603. Reach them at (813) 559-7677.

3rd Annual Putts & Pints fundraiser this Saturday

Brew Bus Brewing will host their 3rd Annual Putts & Pints fundraiser this Saturday, September 30th, from 11AM-4PM.

The brewery will be transformed for a day into a 9-hole mini golf course to raise money for charity. Proceeds will benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer.

Music will be played in-house by a DJ for the brewery and a live musician will be at 10th hole.

The 1st place winner at the fundraiser will win a trophy. Awards will also be given to the best dressed team.

Brew Bus has also partnered with Cigar City Brewing to brew a Gooseberry & Grapefruit IPA for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The craft beer will be sold at Brew Bus on draft or in six-packs as well as at Cigar City and select locations around town.

Tickets range from $10-$15 per person and can be purchased online.

Buy tickets: http://puttsandpints2017.eventbrite.com/

A full lunch menu will also be available including Mojo Roasted Pork Butt, BBQ Spiced Smoked Chicken, Mac & Cheese, Bacon Jalapeno Corn Bread, Baked Beans, Coleslaw, and a vegetarian option by request.

The event is sponsored by USAmeriBankPeople InclivingHRCheney BrosFreedman’s Office FurnitureAdver-T Screen Printing & EmbroideryCommercial Products, McMery Roofing, McMullen Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Keg Craft, Air GasVologyRP&G PrintingThe RIPITT FoundationShea Barclay GroupCreative LoafingJ.J. Taylor Distributing and Gray Robinson Attorneys at Law.

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Event name: 3rd Annual Putts & Pints

Neighborhood: Seminole Heights

Date & Time: Saturday, September 30th, 2017, 11AM-4PM

Cost: $10-$15

Address: 4101 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33603

Buy tickets: http://puttsandpints2017.eventbrite.com/

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/190145294844781/

Spaddy’s Coffee Co. celebrates 1 year anniversary in Seminole Heights

Spaddy’s Coffee Co. will celebrate its 1 year anniversary on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 in Seminole Heights. I’ve been fan of Spaddy’s Coffee ever since I met the dude at the Seminole Heights Japan Festival. The staff is always friendly and the coffee and tea are always good.

The event will run all day starting at 10AM with coffee service beginning at 8AM as usual. Live music will play beginning at 11AM featuring ARi CHi, Mia Bury, and Jinx.

BBQ will be served all day courtesy of Ultimate Pavers. Ice cream will be available for purchase from Revolution Ice Cream. Mother Kumbucha will be there serving samples of their kombucha.

Giveaways will be held throughout the day for visitors.

Happy Birthday to Spaddy’s!

Event Name: Spaddy’s Coffee 1 Year Anniversary

Neighborhood: Seminole Heights

Address: 5206 N Florida Avenue Tampa, FL 33603

Date & Time: Saturday, September 2nd, 2017, 10AM-?

Cost: FREE to attend

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/109561206408319/

Taco Traveler delivers world class eats

I stopped by The Taco Traveler food truck today for Taco Tuesday at C. 1949 Florida Beer Garden. The two have teamed up for a weekly Taco Tuesday event as of late. It was my first time visiting either business.

The Taco Traveler is a local food truck that started last year serving tacos inspired from around the world.

To be honest, I’m surprised there are not more taco trucks in Tampa Bay considering how popular Mexican food is and how easy you can blend it with other cuisines. In world history, Mexico was an important connection between the Eastern and Western worlds and many flavors and spices traveled through Mexico to other nations.

Let me mention also that The Taco Traveler isn’t trying to play towards traditional Mexican cuisine, but the dishes it puts out do capture the flavors I want in my food.

The Taco Traveler has a few standard menu items and rotating specials.

On the list were the Korean BBQ Taco, Banh Mi Taco, Tex Mex Taco…to name a few. I went with the Tex Mex Taco which was the Taco Tuesday special ($2) and the Korean BBQ Taco ($4.50 with tax). Both surpassed my expectations and impressed me.

They offer a choice of flour or corn tortillas and the correct answer to that question is always corn tortillas.

The sad part about corn tortillas is when they rip – but that’s what forks are for!

Tacos - Korean BBQ Taco and Tex Mex Taco

The Tex Mex Taco comes with your choice of beef or chicken, cheese, shredded lettuce, house-made salsa, sour cream, and green onions. What impressed me about it was the quality of the beef I ordered and the seasonings of it – it was excellent down to every last bite.

The salsa was also quite tasty.

Then there was the Korean BBQ Taco which came with pickled red cabbage, Korean BBQ, sriracha aioli, kimchi, queso fresco, and green onions. It was INCREDIBLE and I was truly happy with this taco.

I’m a bit of a Korean food snob having lived in Seoul in the past, but this taco was definitely what I wanted and how I imagine a Korean taco would taste. It made me start thinking about all the other possibilities of what can be done using Korean cuisine when applied to other categories.

Can I also say that more places in Tampa should use queso fresco? It’s such an amazing topping to food dishes and you hardly see it on menus here.

The prices were reasonable considering they are a small trailer food truck. I had two tacos and felt pretty full. I would like to try their nachos in the future.

I will definitely return in the future for more tacos.

C. 1949 was also quite an experience. The bar menu was huge and the staff was friendly. They had a ton of local options and the draft beer and local list was filled with tons of choices and varieties and many new craft beer choices that are just recently hitting the market.

It’s obvious that the management of C. 1949 cares about providing quality craft beer to their customers.

The atmosphere at C. 1949 fits Seminole Heights as a neighborhood and has that hipster vibe down.

The lighting and actual decor is modern and the bar itself is spacious, well air-conditioned, and has plenty of seats. Outdoor seating is nice although it was certainly be more enjoyable when Florida cools down a bit.

The live acoustic musician outside was great and fit the overall vibe. C. 1949 seems to be doing lots of events lately and you can see more about it on their website if you’re interested: http://c1949.com/

New Year’s Eve 2017 Dinner at Ox & Fields Restaurant

Celebrate the coming 2017 New Year in food paradise with Ox & Fields Restaurant + Bar on December 31st, 2016 from 4PM-11PM.  There will be two pricing options to choose from: Enjoy a 4-course dinner for $50 without beverages or upgrade to a wine pairing with your 4-course meal for $75.

Here is the menu for NYE 2017:


Amuse Bouche:
Chef Selection Small Bite

First Course: (Choice of)
“Steak and Eggs”: Ox-braised Short Ribs, Grits, Poached Egg, Natural Jus
Tuna Crudo: House-cured Vegetables, Sesame Crisp, Citrus-Shoyu Reduction
Cremini Caps: Tofu Stuffed Baby Portobello, Scallion Emulsion
Pairing: 99 Rosas Chardonnay-Viognier 2015

Second Course: (Choice of)
Fork and Knife Caesar: Romaine, Tomato Confit, Garlic Buerre Custini, House-made Caesar
The Fields Salad: Heirloom Tomato, Gem Greens, Cucumber Ribbon, Sesame Crisp, Scallion Dressing
Pairing: Michael Lynch Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Intermezzo:
Chef Select Cheeses and Spreads
Pairing: Rose-infused Cocktail

Third Course: (Choice of)
Crisp Skin Snapper: Orzo Ragout, Asparagus, Oyster Mushroom, Miso Fumet
Coffee Crusted Hanger: Potato Mousseline, Braised Greens, Raibow Carrots, Rosemary Jus
Roasted Squash Ravioli: House-made Spinach Ravioli, Kale, Squash Ragout, Parmesan
Pairing: (Choice of) – Cote du Rhone Grenache-Syrah 2015; Red Puro Malbec-Cabernet 2015

Fourth Course: Dessert
Chocolate Cake, Stout Ganache, Berry Jam, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Pairing: Bubbles

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Reservations can be made on OpenTable: http://www.opentable.com/r/ox-and-fields-reservations-tampa?restref=342361

New Yummy House on Hillsborough Avenue first impression bleak

Tonight my friends and I decided to dine at the new Yummy House on Hillsborough Avenue. Everyone was excited to come out and try this new location. It is located only a few minutes away from the original Yummy House on Waters, but meant to deal with the strong demand for their food. We pulled up at around 7:45PM and the parking lot was completely full. We had to park in the parking lot next door and then walk to the building. From the exterior the building looks very stylish and this place is clearly different in appearance of the original.

We entered the restaurant and were impressed with mirrors hanging on painted walls and a fancy wine deck behind the hosting counter. The restaurant was busy, but it seemed to be moderately less than usual with the larger dining space. The hostess greeted us and took our name and party size, telling us our table would be ready in 20 minutes. We were surprised to hear such a low wait time and decided to wait outside. 30 minutes passed and the hostess came outside looking for someone, determining that we weren’t who she was looking for. She told us 20 more minutes. We waited another 10 minutes before the hostess came out and told us our table was ready. Excited as ever we entered the restaurant.

Once inside, the hostess told us we could be seated at a table towards the middle of the left-side of the dining room. She pointed and we went and sat down. Minutes passed and then the hostess told us we were the wrong party and she had us get up and move. We moved to the main waiting spot and the hostess approached us five minutes later sitting us at another table, once again not leading us to the table and leaving us there before coming back and escorting us once again back to the waiting room. This whole process was beginning to get on my nerves.

Finally, after a few more minutes we were told where our real dining table was and that we had to wait for two men to leave so they could clear it. After they left, we were seated at a different table and then we proceeded to wait 20 minutes as waitresses and waiters passed us by without one person coming by to ask us what we wanted to drink or what we wanted to order. While we waited we noticed other people seated around us receiving service much faster.

At last a waitress arrived and she immediately asked us if we were ready to order…we had to tell her that we wanted something to drink. She then took our order down and placed it. We decided to have 2 orders of Salt & Pepper Calamari, Mongolian Beef, Honey Pepper Beef,  Hong Kong Style Pan-Fried Noodles (my friend, the birthday boy’s favorite at the other location) and Duck and Dried Grape Fried Rice. There was no Dim Sum on the menu (maybe still in the works) and the 3 for 20 promotion on Waters Avenue was also missing on this menu. The drinks came quickly and I noted that the busboy was kind enough to refill our water when it reached a half-way point, a nice touch to an otherwise hopeless service disaster.

Our first dish arrived. The waitress hailed our Salt & Pepper Calamari that all of us loved so much was here with our second order on the way. We served the food around the table and then took a hard look at what was in front of us and discovered we had shrimp not calamari. We brought it to the attention of the waitress and she was fuming that the order had been mistaken, running back to the kitchen. The waitress told us they would compensate us for the mishap so we went on and ate the shrimp, somewhat tasty…but no calamari.

Our Salt & Pepper Calamari arrived a few minutes later and was tasty, but not quite what you would normally expect from Yummy House. There was less seasoning and the consistency of the calamari wasn’t the same. Our second calamari was considerably better than the first, but still a miss on why people love the Salt & Pepper Calamari at Yummy House. The dish that normally steals the show didn’t deliver.

The Duck and Dried Grape Fried Rice was considerably better and very similar to what you would have at the original Yummy House. Moist and sweet, it was a Yummy House newbie friend’s favorite and something I feel a strong urge to have during a visit. We ordered some extra white rice and were charged a dollar each, my friends noted it was usually a free plus at the original. However, I normally do not order extra rice so I can’t completely comment on that.

My friend turned 20 earlier today and we wondered if maybe the new Yummy House had any kind of birthday policy. We asked the waitress and she grabbed a menu telling us we could pick something off the menu to receive for my friend. After she took the order, we began questioning if she was certain with what she was saying and when she came back she admitted there was no birthday offer or special and we were going to be charged for that item, which I immediately cancelled.

There was long delays between dishes and I assume this probably had to due with an overcapacity kitchen. The Hong Kong Pan Fried Noodles tasted average to me, my friend mentioned the sauce was made incorrectly. The Mongolian Beef packed some spice, but ultimately was quite delicious. We hit our next problem when the Honey Pepper Beef arrived, long after the rest of the dishes. The waitress announced it as “mushroom beef” and when I told her it was the wrong entree and we ordered Honey Pepper Beef, she ran back and had a discussion with the manager, returning to argue that the dish was actually Honey Pepper Beef. This beef tasted nothing like honey and took our dining visit to an all-new low. I was in no mood to continue this fight and was ready for the check to leave. I looked around and all the other diners looked unhappy as well. One particular couple was fuming and having a serious discussion with the restaurant manager.

The “Honey Pepper Beef”

Unfortunately, the waitress did not bring the check until closing time and only at my request after she asked us if we had received all of our food, because she honestly seemed to have no clue. When she brought us the bill, most of my friends paid in cash with only one card used and the 18% tip already added on (I can understand large parties need to tip more, I don’t gripe about that). Our bill rang up to $69 including tax and tip. When we put part of the bill on a card, she came to tell us we needed to pay $17 on the card, although we gave her $62 in cash. She didn’t seem to have a way to do the math using their register and when I told her to charge a set amount instead she simply ran the number I gave her. Once we paid the bill we exited quickly for this horrible dining experience on previously hopeful enthusiasts.

I understand that the Yummy House on Hillsborough Avenue is a new restaurant. It takes time to adjust to a new place and perhaps new servers and kitchen staff. Maybe in a few months this location will be better, but in the meantime, the old Yummy House is only a few minutes away and I don’t see a point in coming to the Hillsborough location and dealing with bad service and mediocre food based on the Waters Avenue recipes when the real food is just a short drive away. The interior was impressive, you could even bring a date here…with improved service and fine-tuning on recipes this Yummy House may become a favorite in time.

If you’re a Yummy House regular like myself and looking at this place excitedly, I wish you better luck than I had during my time at the new Yummy House.

Yummy House on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Yummy House

Cuisine: Chinese

Neighborhood: Seminole Heights

Address: 2620 E. Hillsborough Ave. Tampa, Florida 33610

Phone Number: (813) 234-4140

Website: http://yummyhousechinabistro.com/