Congrats to Katie! New giveaway: Flamestone Grill $25 gift card

Katie is the lucky Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza gift card winner! She writes a blog called She Likes Ruffles, He likes Truffles. You can follow her on twitter @SheLikesRuffles. Congrats again!

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Don’t despair if you didn’t win the gift card. I still have many gift cards and freebies to giveaway in coming weeks. We’re going to start it off today with a $25 Flamestone gift card giveaway. Here is a little information about Flamestone in case you unfamiliar with it: “FlameStone is a casually sophisticated American Grill that places an emphasis on cooking with nature’s most basic elements: Fire & Stone”. We use natural cooking techniques such as grilling over an open fire or preparing our guacamole using lava stone, to give our food exceptional flavor and taste”. Checkout their website, urbanspoon, and twitter.

This contest will run until Wednesday, August 3rd 2011 at 11:59PM. Just like the previous contest, you must comment below with your contact e-mail in order to be eligible to win and the winner must reply back within 3 days of winning as well.

There are a total of (4) entries you can receive in this contest. Here is how to enter:

1) Follow Carlos Eats on Foodspotting. If you don’t have an account you can easily Facebook connect and make one in seconds. Foodspotting is used to tag photos of food to restaurants. If you want to know more about Foodspotting read my blog about it.

2) Tag my Facebook fan page and let me know what your best meal this summer has been. Summer is sadly drawing to an end soon. 😦

3) Subscribe to Carlos Eats via e-mail and I’ll check and verify if you’re on.

4) Reply back to me on Twitter and tell me about a restaurant I have been missing out on trying that you love.

Remember your odds are increased if you do all four entries, but you can still have a chance without doing all of them as well. Good luck!

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The Generous Pour Event @ The Capital Grille – #TCGPour11

I attended the Capital Grille’s Generous Pour Preview Event on Monday night. The Generous Pour Wine Event will occur from July 12th to September 4th, 2011 at Capital Grille locations. This event will feature a collection of nine wines from around the world, each hand-selected by The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier, George Miliotes, one of only 173 Master Sommeliers in the world. Guests can enjoy as many wines from the list as they like for only $25 per person with dinner.

The preview event occurred at Capital Grille locations around the country and was an opportunity for select media to taste the wines on the list and pair them with the dishes provided with recommendations and a live webcast from George Miliotes. Participants used the Twitter hashtag #TCGPour11 to discuss the event and could ask questions to Mr. Miliotes via his twitter username @TheWineExpert.

This post is longer than usual due to the complete menu we explored, in addition to the wine pairings we compared. Feel free to skip ahead to what interests you most. I have broken the post down by course.

We were immediately greeted when we arrived and taken to a private room in the back for the event. The room had a single table with chairs around and a television screen where Mr. George Miliotes would soon be introducing us to the wines we would be tasting. The waitress assigned to us was great and quite knowledgeable about all the wines and dishes. She was always smiling and was a nice addition to the experience.

There were many ways Capital Grille could have executed this event and, in my opinion, they chose to make it as intimate and involved as they possibly could.  The conversations with George over Twitter were extremely interesting as he advised other media members. Originally the webcast almost felt unreal, until I checked my iPod Touch and saw the questions he was answering posting live by fellow local users in Orlando and Atlanta. He answered one of my questions in regards to a sweet red wine, but not too sweet…recommending  a sparkling Shiraz like the black chook.

Hors d’oeuvres

The first thing we were offered were three hors d’oeuvres: smoked salmon on onion pita crisps, fresh tomato and mozzarella crostinis, and wild mushroom and boursin crostinis. The wine paired with the three was Marquis de la Tour, Cremant de Loire Brut, France.

All three hors d’oeuvres were appetizing and light and the Marquis de la Tour was light and not empowering the hors d’oeuvres. The salmon was pleasant in taste and smoked just right, there was no fishy aftertaste. The wild mushrooms and boursin crostinis were tasty as well. Our personal favorite was the fresh tomato and mozzarella crostinis. They left a “WOW” factor in your mouth after each bite and complemented the sparkling white wine’s light and crisp taste perfectly.

The bread they brought us during the wait for the appetizers was also delicious, although we had to leave some space for the appetizers, entrees, and desserts soon to come.

Appetizers

For the appetizers and entrees,  two wine pairings were suggested for each dish and Mr. Miliotes encouraged us to make our selection on whether we preferred new world or old world wines with our food. The two appetizers being provides were pan fried Calamari with hot Cherry peppers and prosciutto wrapped mozzarella with vine ripe tomatoes. The two wines being offered were La Cana Albarino or Chateau St. Jean, Belle Terre.

For the calamari, we chose the Chateau St. Jean, Belle Terre wine as our favorite. Although the La Cana Albarino washed it down best, we felt the Chateau St. Jean provided the best finishing touch. We chose the La Cana Albarino as our choice for the mozzarella. It had a subtle taste we really enjoyed. The calamari was excellent and full of flavor. In the past few years I have started eating calamari regularly and this one did not disappoint. The mozzarella wasn’t too heavy and still had a great texture.

Entrees

Most preview events allowed the media to pick one entree, but due to a few no-shows at the Tampa location, we were able to test out the wines with all three entrees!

The bone-in kona crusted dry aged sirloin with shallot butter was phenomenol. Our favorite of the three entrees. It has a fantastic taste to it, the waitress noted that Capital Grille ages their steak in-house and they do it well. I ordered it medium and the deeper you went into the steak, the better it tasted. It has a smokey like taste that went fantastic with the wine we chose: The Chalk Hill Estate, Cabernet, Savignon, Sonoma, which had a volcanic chalk taste. The wine perfectly finishes the sirloin.

The salmon was our second favorite. Now I love sushi, but I tend to hate cooked fish. Something about it always leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. However, Capital Grille’s cedar smoked salmon with tomato fennel relish left no bitter aftertaste and was filled with a savory, lemony flavoring that left me in awe. The Byron Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, 2009 was paired with the salmon for it’s moisture and although white wines are normally paired with seafood, we found the Byron Pinot Noir to be a great addition to the salmon.

The 10 oz. filet mignon was enjoyable, but perhaps the only dish we felt we could have been replicated at another restaurant, though the wine pairing was what really made this dish awesome. We appreciated the crunchy texture to the spinach, it wasn’t soggy and flavorless. The lobster macaroni and cheese was also delightful, with large pieces of lobster present throughout.

The filet was cooked medium and our choice wine for this dish was Tarima Hill, Monastrell, Alicante, Spain, 2009. It had a subtle taste that didn’t overpower the taste. The vanilla taste was a nice final touch.  The wine is new and we were among the first people around the United States to try it. You can now enjoy it at Capital Grille locations until it becomes commercially available in August.

Desserts

As if we could still manage to eat after sampling so much food…it was time to eat dessert! The two dessert choices: flourless chocolate espresso cake and strawberries Capital Grille were served with RL Buller, The Portly Gentle, which is an Australian take on classic Port dessert wine.

Both desserts were great with a fresh taste to the fruits. They were a nice to end to our meal and the flourless chocolate espresso cake was so good,  I attempted to finish it all despite being completely full. It was a solid dessert packed with flavor. We also feel this dessert best matched the wine pairing.

Overall, the food and hospitality at Capital Grille was great and the wine pairings were even better. When we left we were given wine bottles with gift certificates as a token of their appreciation along with with the leftovers of food that have stocked my fridge, truly a generous pour event. The $25 summer deal for these wines is great for diners and wine aficionados to fully explore their dishes.

The 9 wines featured for $25 during The Generous Pour from July 12th to September 4th are:

  • Marquis de la Tour, Cremant de Loire Brut, France
  • La Cana Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2010
  • Chateau St. Jean, Belle Terre, Sonoma, California, 2008
  • Freemark Abbey, Cabernet Bosche, Rutherford, California, 2003
  • Chalk Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, California, 2006
  • Byron Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, California, 2009
  • Conte Brandolini Vistorta Merlot, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, 2006
  • Tarima Hill Monastrell, Alicante, Spain, 2009
  • RL Buller, the Portly Gentleman, Australia



The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Capital Grille

Neighborhood: Westshore

Address: 2223 N West Shore Blvd Tampa, FL  33607

Phone Number: (813) 902-2911

Website: http://www.thecapitalgrille.com/Locations/Tampa/Main.asp?Location=Tampa

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Metromix’s #WellDoneMix Tweetup

I had the pleasure last week of attending a tweetup in Carrollwood hosted by Metromix and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. The #WellDoneMix event hashtag was a play on Anthony Coal Fired Pizza’s catch phrase “Our pizza is well done”. The event was a tasty networking event. When I came inside I was greeted by Metromix employees and won an awesome bag filled with swag, such as t-shirts, a cup, plastic shot glass, and more as one of the first seven people to arrive. In the back of the restaurant, Anthony’s provided pizza, meatballs, wings, and salad for visitors at no cost to tweeters.

My personal favorite was the “fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, and basil” with no sauce. Normally I don’t enjoy pizza without tomato sauce, but this pizza tasted as fresh as its name and wasn’t heavy or greasy. Although I do enjoy greasy pizzas at times, I don’t the stomachache I get later that day, and the food at Anthony’s left me feeling great. The pizza had a thin crust and was cooked just right. My second favorite that I sampled was their pepperoni pizza.

A small specialty pie at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is normally $16.25 and a large specialty pie is normally $19.25. I became full after my second slice with some of the salad and meatballs on the side. While perhaps not the cheapest pizza around, it did taste good and was a good change from your usual pizza chains. In other words, I wouldn’t mind spending the money for a pizza like this. There is an Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Brandon I have yet to visit. The only other pizza places out in the Brandon area I really enjoy are Cappy’s Pizzeria and occasionally Marco’s Pizza.

There was a line of hungry tweeters behind me (and my camera battery was dead -__-), so I apologize for the blurry photos. I’ll link to the Metromix page where you can view the professional pictures at the bottom of the page.

The meatballs, wings, and salad were great additions to the pizza. They complemented the flavors well.

The employees there were very helpful and happy to explain any of the pizzas to visitors. I noticed that the people handling their event were the catering staff. The Metromix employees were happy to come and chat, while snapping lots of photos of visitors. Metoromix had a giveaway at the end and I won 3 Blu-ray movies as well! Overall, this event was pretty cool and certainly something different for a restaurant to engage social media with a great local partner as Metromix. I would like to see more of these pop-up around town. I met a few local bloggers and tweetups are just a great place to network with people you might never meet otherwise.

Here is the link to the official photo gallery on Metromix: http://tampabay.metromix.com/events/essay_photo_gallery/metromix-and-anthonys-coal/2700018/content

Tweeters documented in attendance at #WellDoneMix:

@AnthonysCFPizza

@MetromixTampa

@fsutoby

@MealsandMiles (Checkout her blog post on the tweetup)

@TriCourt

@ZmandaB (Checkout some of the photos she sent me at the tweetup)

@jwilburg

@theashleygrant

@FLallday

@TwinsFanFL

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Neighborhood: Carrollwood

Cuisine: Pizza

Address: 13020 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33618

Phone Number: (813) 265-2625

Website: http://anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/

Twitter: @AnthonysCFPizza

Tampa Bay becomes a Yelp Elite City

Yelp was the first food community I joined online back in 2006 after I was introduced by a Xanga friend living in San Francisco. Since then I have gone on to write over 500 reviews on Yelp and been a member of their Elite squad since 2006 as well. Yelp always had aspirations for Tampa and sent me free Yelp goods (including a t-shirt and hoodie) during my first few years as a member. I was one of the first reviewers, plowing my way through Tampa Bay. Reviewing every restaurant and business I interacted with.

Despite all the reviews Yelp Tampa never seemed to kick-off. I began losing interest as I noticed no sense of community was being built in Tampa like other cities. Over time Yelp grew and in 2009, a few consistent members began to have Unofficial Yelp Events (UYEs) around town. I joined a few and some dining trails included an Asian tour, pizza tour, and many trips to The Wat Thai Temple. Many Yelpers were bitter that Yelp would not allow them to become Elite members because Yelp did not recognize Tampa as an Elite city.

The Yelp Tampa crew on the 4th of July in 2009 at Pine Tree Karaoke Cafe (now called One Family Korean Restaurant) during our Asian tour weekend.

They continued reviewing and contributing for years on, hoping that Yelp would finally someday give Tampa Bay a chance. Finally, earlier this year Yelp announced it would be hiring a Community Manager for Tampa Bay…a sign that Tampa would soon be developing into a Yelp Elite city. Yelp Elite members contribute regularly to the site and have exclusive events they can attend around town, usually at local restaurants or bars with exclusive promotions and it is a great way for Elite members out of town to meet the locals. The Community Manager helps organize official events and find events around the city to promote on the website. A foodie network is vital to this growth.

This week an Events tab appeared for Yelp Elite members to submit events and Review of the Day (ROTD), a way to recognize excellent reviews, also appeared on the home site for Tampa. It’s exciting to think where this could go and how this can help Tampa’s food scene grow as the powerful social media site Yelp backs the way. I know I’ll be motivated to keep contributing as much as possible. Congrats Yelp Tampa reviewers! Your hard work has now paid off.

http://www.yelp.com/tampa-bay

Tampa Bay Bars & Restaurants on Facebook

Last Updated 03/13/11

Today’s technologically savvy society has led many restaurants and bars to find their way onto Facebook. This is a list of restaurants and bars in Tampa Bay who are using Facebook to interact with customers.

Bella’s Italian Cafe

Big Belly Burgers

BurgerMonger

California Tacos To-Go

Cafe Kili

Cappy’s Pizza

Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant

The Columbia

Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken

First Choice BBQ

Hiro’s Tokyo Steakhouse

Island Girl Cakes

Jaymer-Q Southern BBQ

Mel’s Hot Dogs

Ocean Blue Sushi *new*

The Rack

Splitsville

Sushi Tsu

Taco Bus

Tina Tapa’s

The Venue

West Tampa Sandwich Shop

Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar

Don’t see your business listed? Send an e-mail to carloseats@gmail.com

Foodspotting

Foodspotting

I was looking around at foodie websites on delicious the other day and came across Foodspotting. It’s a website where you can e-mail or upload pictures of food you eat or just see and then people can vote on the food depending on if they want the food, or have eating the food before (nom). There is a leaderboard for who updates the most and there is a point system. Similar to Foursquare there are badges you can earn and like Gowalla there are certain trips you can go on of places to go to called guides. It looks like a pretty neat service so I will be playing around with it here and there. It’s even in Japan. Thought I’d give the heads up in case someone is interested in joining up.

My Foodspotting Page
You can visit my page at http://www.foodspotting.com/carloseats

They also have an iPhone app.