Review: Coppertail Brewing S & V Kitchen a great place to eat and drink

Full disclosure: I was invited to Coppertail Brewing for a complimentary menu tasting in exchange for my opinion of their menu. Opinions are my own and do not reflect Coppertail Brewing.

Coppertail Brewing located in Ybor City has been serving food from the Stein & Vine Kitchen (known as S & V Kitchen for some time now). I visited recently to give the menu a taste. What I found was plenty of great food that paired well with their beer. How about that?

The meal started off with the potstickers. Potstickers are one of the things that you’ll find on plenty of menus but are often ruined. Sometimes they are soggy or fried too much. These were perfect – and it went perfect with an assortment of beers ranging from sours to lighter beers. The dish is seasonal and rotates on and off the menu, but to me it was good enough to be a regular item.

Then came the Drunken Shrimp made with Coppertail Unholy Trippel. I was a little skeptical of this dish when I first saw it, but oh my god this was the best sauce ever. I wanted to put it on everything. This is simply the best menu item they have and I will definitely be ordering this one in the future. They could sell this sauce…it’s that good. Yum.

From this beer flight there was some German inspiration and some sours mixed in. The BOMP! was by far the winner and I just had to have a glass of that with my food. Coppertail always has an interesting mixture of beers on the menu, but that BOMP is something special.

HECK YES.

Back to the food.

Stein and Vine has always had an arrangement of spicy burgers. This one packs the heat and I’d recommend tuning down the sauce if you’re heat sensitive. However those who love the heat will love this Sriracha Bomb. Burgers and beer makes perfect sense especially with summer coming – I’m hoping to see some more burger ideas on the menu for that!

Then there was the Schnitzel Sandwich. My favorite of the two entrees I tried. Schnitzel and German beer is just perfect. The price was fair and the portion was great. I was dipping my tator tots in that drunken shrimp sauce because ITS DELICIOUS. I am a fan of this sandwich and I hope it eventually would make its way to the standard menu. German food and beer just makes me happy.

Overall, the options at S & V Kitchen are excellent for Coppertail Brewing. There is definitely some culinary genius going on here and I think the more they incorporate the beer in the process the better! I’m a fan and can’t wait to go back soon for more.

Restaurant Name: S & V Kitchen at Coppertail Brewing

Neighborhood: Ybor City

Address: 2601 East 2nd Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

Phone Number: (813) 247-1500

Website: http://coppertailbrewing.com/the-food-1/

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Ocean Prime unveils new terrace, dining room

This is a sponsored post for Ocean Prime. I was invited to visit the restaurant for a dinner tasting to experience the new terrace and dining room and to check out additions to the menu and share my opinions with my readers. Opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Ocean Prime.

Ocean Prime recently finished a re-design to their terrace and dining room.

I visited the restaurant on Monday to experience and see it for myself. It is quite beautiful and features outdoor seating that can sit up to 80 guests with lakefront views. New high-top tables have also been added by the outside bar. The design is modern. Private dining is available in the terrace. The interior added improved woodwork and new seating, light fixtures, and fresh paint.

Dining at Ocean Prime has been a pleasure since they first opened and this visit was also enjoyable. Our waiter Brian Atwood was excellent and very helpful when going over the wine menu.

He recommended a Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 2014 which seems to be an exceptional year for California wines. The wine was excellent with our meal. It’s always helpful to have a waiter that understand good wine.

We started our meal with the Prime Roll ($18) which features Tempura Shrimp, Cream Cheese, Scallions, and Beef Carpaccio. Ocean Prime is a restaurant you wouldn’t expect great sushi at, but it truly delivers on sushi just like it delivers on steak and seafood. I voted for Ocean Prime in the 2015 Sushi Battle as a Judge and would gladly vote for them again after enjoying this roll.

I will normally shy away from cream cheese in my sushi rolls, I feel like it detracts from the main ingredient – but they perfectly matched the flavors here. The prices of the sushi rolls are not much more expensive than you’re mid-tier restaurants, but with much better quality.

The Teriyaki Salmon ($37) at Ocean Prime is also excellent. Ocean Prime is a seafood restaurant, but even their Polynesian influences beat out some of the best known Polynesian restaurants in the business, even in the higher-end restaurant space. Attention to seafood quality and sauce are the key here. I recommend this dish for a lighter dinner.

Would it really be a tasting at a steak and seafood restaurant without a steak? This special is the 30-day dry aged ribeye steak (MKT) and it had incredible marbling and was packed with fatty pockets from the dry aging process. The black truffle with it was quite an addition. Truffle always has a strong flavor so you might want to keep it to the side.

The Jalapeno Au Gratin ($12) is a perfect side. Utterly cheesy on top with plenty of potato inside. Initially you might think you can order another side, but I guarantee this dish is quite filling.

The food and drinks at Ocean Prime perfectly match the restaurant and the new upgrades to the terrace and interior only complete a great experience. Ocean Prime can fit both a personal and business atmosphere and I am consistently impressed with their dedication to quality.

I’ll be back soon.

Ocean Prime Tampa serves lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Dinner is served from 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sundays, dinner hours are from 5 to 9 p.m. 

The lounge is open daily, and happy hour is offered Mondays through Fridays from 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays from noon – 4 p.m. For more information, visit the website or call 813-490-5288.

To host your next gathering at Ocean Prime Tampa, contact event sales manager Jo Truett at PrivateDiningTampa@cameronmitchell.com or call 813-490-5288.

Tampa Bay Foodies Club – Discover Your Kraft

 

Did you miss the first Tampa Bay Foodies Club event last night at Kraftologee? Fear not – there is a recap on their blog! http://tampabayfoodies.org/2017/07/18/discoveryourkraft-kraftologee/

Many thanks to Buddy Brew Coffee, Kombucha Tampa, Sugar Sun Sweets, Coppertail Brewing, and of course Kraftologee for hosting such a great event to start the Tampa Bay Foodies Club.

If you haven’t heard yet, the Tampa Bay Foodies Club is an organization I recently started to help let people know about all the great things happening in Tampa Bay and all the awesome food and culture we have hidden in our city. There is so much there, but only so much I can write about and that is how this came about.

I hope you guys will check it out! http://tampabayfoodies.org/

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Cantina Laredo Tasting (Wesley Chapel)

Full disclosure: I was invited to Cantina Laredo for a tasting of their new menu items. My meal was provided at no charge in exchange for my opinion so please keep that in mind. Opinions are my own and do not represent the views of Cantina Laredo.

I recently visited Cantina Laredo at The Shops at Wiregrass for a tasting of their menu. The restaurant has been in the Wiregrass mall for a few years and serves what I would call contemporary Mexican cuisine. It isn’t traditional Mexican cooking, but a gourmet and modern take on it with various Mexican inspirations spread throughout.

We had the most excellent server in the house and her name was Rosie if you want to flag her down for your meal. She works most days and was completely hospitable, relate-able, and had a full understanding of the menu – easily able to make any recommendation or to answer any questions. I’d recommend her as a server.

The tasting began with appetizers.

The Ceviche ($10.49) features marinated fish and shrimp drenched in lime juice and Cholula with avocado and is gluten-free. Personally, I felt the portion for the appetizer could be larger considering that it is meant to be shared but the overall flavors were very good. Everything tasted fresh.

The Ahi Tuna Tacos ($10.29) came next and were also enjoyable, but also quite small for the price. Tuna appetizers are usually on the lighter side anyway so it wasn’t that surprising. The tacos would be a great snack with a drink if you’re not too hungry.

Both soups: Sopa de Tortilla and Arroz Con Pollo were both delicious and affordable at $4.99 a cup and $7.29 a bowl and I would recommend both soups. Mexican and Spanish soups in general when made right are really great meals and enjoyable.

One of the more popular things on the menu at Cantina Laredo is their freshly-made guacamole which I had with their queso appetizer ($9.49) and thoroughly enjoyed.

The guacamole is made table-side and uses Haas Avocados (as all guacamole should), jalapeno, tomato, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Queso fresco is added for this appetizer and is one of my favorite cheeses as a transplant from California.

We tasted a few cocktails during our visit and the one I will recommend you order is their Strawberry Mint Margarita ($12). That was delicious and all their margaritas packed a punch (you’ve been warned).

Moving on to entrees.

My two favorite things we tried were the Cascabel Ribeye ($29.99) and Camaron Poblano Asada ($24.99). The steak at the restaurant is clearly top-notch from the juiciness of the ribeye and the tenderness of the asada.

I get a little skiddish about ordering Carne Asada in Mexican restaurants nowadays because many of them have tough skirt steak that isn’t flavorful enough. Not a problem at all with the steaks I tried at Cantina Laredo.

The ribeye was completely juicy and definitely better than I have had at numerous restaurants around Tampa Bay. The bone-in ribeye is dry-aged for 21 days and brushed with a Cascabel sauce that I recommend on the side. It was a tasty sauce – but not one I would want to be drenched over my ribeye. I need to taste the juicy parts in my mouth by themselves – this steak needed no sauce and certainly no ketchup. 😉

There is nothing worse than ordering a steak and being disappointed and I will order the steak again in the future at Cantina Laredo after my positive experience.

I ordered the Acapulco Combination as my entree ($13.99). The tamale was delicious and tasted authentic and flavorful. I gobbled it up. The enchiladas were also enjoyable – although the sour cream sauce was better than the cheese enchilada and I would prefer two sour cream sauce enchiladas in the future.

I felt the crispy beef taco tasted decent, but needed more flavor – this could be solved by adding some sauce inside and some sour cream. I make crunchy tacos at home all the time and its easy to make them taste better – but you have to add more than just meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Sour cream is normally a game changer when this happens.

The rice and refried beans were both tasty with the entree.

For a lower price-point, the combinations make sense – but I definitely would long for the ribeye and asadas in the future.

The tasting then concluded with a wide-range of desserts including Mango Tres Leches ($7.29), Mexican Apple Pie ($7.29), and a Mexican Brownie ($7.29).

The Mango Tres Leches was tart and I am used to enjoying my tres leches soaked all the way in. For me it wasn’t my favorite, but the rest of my party loved it so it may depend on your taste.

The Mexican Apple Pie was excellent to me and had cinnamon ice cream on top that made it quite delicious. The Mexican Brownie was sizzling goodness – perfect for someone with a strong sweet tooth.

Overall, the menu has changed quite a bit at Cantina Laredo over these past few years and these new additions seem to be suggesting major changes within the menu. I like the experimentation and thought there were plenty of interesting flavors to try. Definitely different visits could yield different results depending on who you dine with and what they are looking for.

The new fajitas seem to be taking over every Mexican restaurant menu lately and I didn’t try them so that might be something for the future.

One interesting thing that I did not know is that Cantina Laredo features Happy Hour in the bar from Monday to Friday from 4PM-7PM and 9PM to closing as well as Saturday from 11AM-5PM. House margaritas are $5 during this time and appetizers are half-off. Domestic beers are $2, imported beers are $3, and well-drinks and house wines are $4 – which explains why every time my parents go shopping at Wiregrass they always end up drinking at Cantina Laredo.

I’d recommend giving Cantina Laredo a look if you’re in the Wesley Chapel area – they also have specials on Taco Tuesday with discounts on tacos and beer.

Restaurant name: Cantina Laredo

Neighborhood: Wesley Chapel

Cuisine: Mexican

Address: 2000 Piazza Avenue, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

Phone Number: (813) 907-3068

Website: http://www.cantinalaredo.com/location/tampa-florida/

Burger 21 VIB: Very Important Blogger “Slide into Summer” Tasting #B21VIB

This and many future blogs to come were saved by my good friend Jason Lawrence, who saved my hard drive from my former laptop (RIP). A big thanks to him! If you ever need IT work, Jason is your guy!

I was invited to Burger 21 for their VIB: Very Important Blogger “Slide into Summer” Tasting a few weeks ago. This tasting was a complimentary event for local bloggers. Burger 21 is frequently buzzed in Tampa by local diners (It is currently #1 in Tampa on Urbanspoon) and my excitement was built by many of my Twitter followers, who claimed Burger 21 has the best burger they have ever had. A bold statement indeed.

I made it to Westchase early to avoid the 275 rush hour traffic. The Veterans Expressway made the trip shorter than expected. It was my first time the neighborhood and Westchase is simply beautiful. Burger 21 picked a nice place to drop their first restaurant. I was the first one to arrive at the tasting. Two tables were reserved in the back of the restaurant for diners. Burger 21 has a diner feel to it, but is spotlessly clean and there are many windows that allow light into the restaurant…perfect for taking photographs at a food tasting event. I got hooked up to their Wi-Fi and was live-tweeting before I knew it.

As you can see I was about to have a food feast! Many other bloggers, writers, and social media personalities made it to the event. I was re-united with some old friends and I met many new people as well (some frequent readers of this blog). The staff at Burger 21 was completely hospitable to us and after a few minutes the first of our first of seven shakes arrived.

The first shake was the chocolate malted milk ball shake. Burger 21 paid attention to detail on their shakes. They only use Blue Bell ice cream in their shakes. They were all perfectly made to the smallest detail in appearance. Fellow blogger Tender B. and I both agreed that the sweetness was not over-powering. It was a nice starter, but the shake I was awaiting was the tiramisu shake. The food and shakes came out quickly and before I knew it the first slider arrived.

The bacon cheddar slider and sweet potato fries. The slider was certainly much better than your average slider. I loved the bacon inside, but it was a little hard to compare the burger to a real burger when it was clearly made well-done and doesn’t have the complete properties of a true burger. The sweet potato fries were excellent! I seriously fell in love with them.They were a perfect mix of sweet and salty. I experimented with many of the sauces at Burger 21 and the Thai Ketchup was my favorite. It has a kick to it in a way that regular ketchup just cannot compare. True story: Since trying Burger 21’s Thai Ketchup I am dissatisfied with regular ketchup and feel like there is something missing every time.

The next slider was Burger 21’s BLT Turkey Slider with regular fries. I do not like turkey meat burgers…my Step-Dad makes them at home and those are the nights I tend to avoid the house, however Burger 21 actually did a great job on their BLT Turkey Sliders. The turkey meat was moist (something you don’t normally find in turkey meat after it has been cooked) and I actually enjoyed the slider. The regular fries were good, but could not compare to the amazing sweet potato fries. I would order the sweet potato fries on every visit to Burger 21.

The strawberry short cake shake was the next stop on this tasting adventure. One thing I noted was how fresh the fruit tasted. Anytime Burger 21 used a shake that incorporated a fruit you could taste the real fruit in the shake. They put just the right amount of sweetness for my taste buds. Some places add tons of sugars when fruits naturally sweeten a drink.

The Ybor City double espresso shake was delicious! I love food creations involving coffee, such as coffee cake, and this double espresso shake could stand alone without a meal. It had a coffee taste without a bitter after-taste. It made me think of the tasty coffee shakes I have at Cafe Kili – refreshing.

The black and bleu slider was my least favorite slider. It has a smoked taste and was quite dry. In my opinion it would benefit from some different toppings and a signature sauce.

The chocolate peanut butter shake was probably the only shake I disliked. The balance of chocolate to peanut butter was off and it ended up tasting more like peanut butter blended with sprinkles of chocolate. There was still more food and shakes on the way (including my anticipated Tiramisu shake) so I only had a few sips of the chocolate peanut butter shake before moving on.

Burger 21 is known for having some of the best hot dogs in Tampa and only uses Hebrew National hot dogs. From the 4 hot dogs offered I decided to go with the chili cheese dog with no jalapenos (I’m sensitive to spiciness -__- let’s hope I fix that in Korea). Losing the jalapenos did not detract from the taste of the hot dog. WOW. This has to be the best chili cheese dog I have tasted in Tampa Bay. Better than Mel’s Hot Dogs near USF, though a different style. The toasted bread bun was delicious as well and completed the chili dog.

Yum!

Finally, the tiramisu shake (monthly feature during my visit as well) arrived in front of me! My favorite dessert in the world was now in front of me in shake form. It was great! Fellow diner Chandra Lee and I agreed that it could not replace a true tiramisu, but in my opinion it came pretty close! I especially loved the presentation of the shake.

The banana foster shake rivaled the tiramisu shake well. Many people claimed it was their favorite. I think I could put in on the level of the tiramisu. The taste of banana was fresh as was the strawberry, but far superior in overall taste and mixture.

The final shake: the key lime pie shake came after all the others and everyone was stuffed before it arrived. I tried to evaluate it fairly, but decided I was far too full to fairly evaluate it. Maybe someday in the future.

Overall, Burger 21 has many great things on their menu. I enjoyed the sliders, shakes, and fries. The sweet potato fries were delicious and I fell in love with their Thai Ketchup sauce. My two favorite shakes were the Tiramisu and the Banana Foster shakes. I want to go back and try their burgers again someday with and see how a true burger fares against the sliders. I read online that their Ahi Tuna burger is excellent and I hope to try it one day.

Burger 21 is opening a new location on North Dale Mabry in Carrollwood this Fall so I imagine a burger battle will be brewing for who has the best burgers in Tampa. The Carlos Eats Team will be there to cover it when it opens.

#B21VIB guests:

@missdestructo (declaring it Destructo vs. Food)

@JeffHouck (with Son o’ Stew in attendance as well)

@ChandraLee

@WestchasePatch

@TenderB_WCCL(read his blog on the event)

@Tracyguida (read her blog on the event)

@DineTampaBay

@Antony511

@tampabayfood

Burger 21 on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Burger 21

Cuisine: American

Neighborhood: Westchase

Address: 9664 W. Linebaugh Ave. Tampa, FL 33626

Phone Number: (813) 475-5921

Website: http://www.burger21.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/myburger21

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Burger21