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Birria tacos arrive in Tampa at Jimmy’s Tacos Ybor City

Birria. Oh sweet birria. The tacos from Jalisco have arrived in Tampa at Jimmy’s Tacos. These tacos have taken San Francisco by storm with the Quesabirria, a cheesy birria taco creation. These tacos have legs on social media.

Birria taco at Jimmy's Tacos.

What is birria? It is essentially a stew usually made with goat meat but sometimes made with chicken or beef. It essentially means savory and boy is it savory. The stew makes for a great dip or flavor enhancer. Birria tacos are soaked in the sauce and loaded with the meat. Jimmy’s Tacos serves a pretty tasty one. Quesabirria is still in the works though.

Jimmy’s Tacos opened recently across from El Puerto in Ybor City in a part of Ybor City that was left for dead after the 2008 financial crisis, but has been getting steam lately with a new brewery BarrieHaus, a new cafe called Ybor Beverage Co., and a number of other small businesses that previously would not have crossed so far off 7th or 8th Avenue.

Jimmy’s Tacos is one of the closes things I have experienced to Mexican food from California in Florida. There are taquerias now all over Tampa, but most of them are just average to me, nothing like what I’m used to or expect in Mexican food.

Carne Asada burrito at Jimmy's Tacos

When you taste the carne asada at Jimmy’s Tacos, it has that zest, that spice that you rarely ever taste in so-called carne asada at other restaurants in Tampa, but I know this flavor too well from spending time on Mission Street in San Francisco. All the tacos I have tasted thus far have been delicious and the burrito is actually excellent as well. Well-balanced, not too much rice and plenty of meat.

You’ll spend about $3 per taco but guacamole is included, their burrito will run you about $10 so I would budget about $10-12 for a visit. Their horchata is actually pretty flavorful.

It almost seems too good to be true to have something like Jimmy’s Tacos in Tampa. All I can hope is that they’ll succeed and maintain the commitment to true flavors and food. The owners are originally from Los Angeles and have experience in restaurants there.

I highly recommend Jimmy’s Tacos.

Jimmy’s Tacos. 1604 N 17th St, Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 242-0242.

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Guide: Halloween 2019 in Tampa for Adults

This is a guest post by Brandie McCallum.

Remember the fun and excitement leading up to Halloween when you were small? Finding just the perfect costume, making plans with friends in hushed tones, and the anticipation of the sugar rush? All of that is can be yours again!

Grab your besties and get ready to find all the treats that come with being an adult in Tampa.

For those of you that have little ones and are planning a little family fun…head over to the Tampa Riverwalk for their annual Trick or Treat. Your kiddies get the excitement of trick or treating and you get a lovely stroll with a tasty beverage.

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Now, for those of you who are ready to find your spooky and are over 21…Downtown Tampa will not let you down! Don’t forget to haunt responsibly. ProTip: Use Uber or Lyft to avoid the hassle of parking or spending time with the Tampa PD.

Bizou Brasserie in the Le Méridien Tampa Hotel is ready to tantalize you with their Halloween goodies! The creative mixologists there are making sure you get all the treats and none of the tricks. Making it a mesmerizing start to your escapades.

Event link: http://www.facebook.com/events/440220863262678/

Maybe you and your ghouls want to haunt a few more spots? Grab your tickets for the annual Downtown After Dark Halloween party happening Saturday, October 26th from 10PM-2AM. For those over 21, the block party covers most of Downtown Tampa and each spot is ready to haunt you! Some featured bars include GenX Tavern, Four Green Fields, and Spain Restaurant Toma Bar.

Tickets: http://bit.ly/2oZhhjC

Is Downtown Tampa not your thing? No worries, there are few places that will haunt your evening. Starting with the delightfully haunted Plant Museum. Where you can connect with the dearly departed and delve into the eerie past, head over to the old Tampa Bay Hotel and join the team at the Henry B. Plant museum for a rare after dark visit.

Or grab your Lyft and haunt Sparkman Wharf for an evening on the Haunted Wharf on Saturday, October 26th from 7PM-11PM! The event is free and open to the public with live performances and $5 parking at the garage nearby.

Haunting Armature Works is bringing in an orchestra on Wednesday, October 30th from 6:30PM-7:30PM that promises to be the largest in Florida to play for an hour. Fall under the spell of bewitching favorites like Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain. Make sure to check out their events calendar for the other Halloween events!

This time of year, everyone questions which wine goes with M&M’s or is candy corn better with merlot or pinot grigio, Society Wine Bar is going to answer those questions for you! Join them for their annual wine and Halloween candy pairing evening at either location on October 30th from 7PM-9PM. RSVP is not required but strongly suggested.

Grab your wicked and wild friends to decide which haunted Tampa adventure will captivate your old Hallows Eve adventures. Mind your manners, watch for the ghosts that will be stepping out to join you while out for your thrills and chills! Don’t forget to tag us at Carlos Eats during your haunts.

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Articles Food Events

First Annual Ford’s Taste of Latino event recap

I stopped by the Taste of Latino today for their food festival for a few hours. Hundreds of people showed up for a beautiful Sunday in Historic Ybor City. One of the cool things about the event was the wide variety of people who showed up there. There was food from around Latin America including arepas, paella, empananas, flan, Cuban coffee, and more.

The event was organized by Latin Times Media and sponsored by Ford.

Here are some photos from the event:

Delicious paella from Nonna’s Artisan who went on to win one of the trophys for Top Latino Chef.

I didn’t plan to judge, but ended up judging after being asked to help. How could I say no?

This rice went really well with the flank steak and plantains, although it was a little dry on its own.

It wouldn’t be a Latin festival in Tampa without a Cuban Sandwich. Tampa is the home of the Cuban Sandwich and the organizers of Taste of Latino also plan the annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival every spring, which is a qualifier for the World Food Championships.

I tried these ceviche tacos from Las Palmas (winner of the Cuban Sandwich Festival) and they were pretty good. Plenty of spices.

Flan was one of my favorite things here. One of the highest scores I gave out. I love good flan.

Chef Aldo Mosquera was one of the winners for Top Latino Chef at the Taste of Latino. It wasn’t totally shocking since his paella and empanadas were delicious.

Like I said! Great stuff.

 

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Articles Events Food Events

NEWS: Taste of Latino coming Sunday October 20th to Ybor City

The first annual Taste of Latino is coming Sunday, October 20th to Centennial Park in Ybor City from 11AM-6PM. The event is organized by Latin Times Media, creators of the Cuban Sandwich Festival and is presented by Ford.

Taste of Latino flter

Food will be featured from around Latin America with countries such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Peru, Venezuela, and more represented. Award-winning chefs will be present at the event.

Live music and dance performances will occur around the event from Revelacion Salsera, Cukiara, Salsa Aerobics, XTreme Dance, and more. Be sure to bring cash for all the vendors who will be selling food from around the world.

Competitors will compete for who makes the best flan, paella, arroz con pollo, arepas, ceviche, and more.

The event is fitting Ybor City, which was once known as the “Cigar Capital of the World”, and home to numerous immigrants from Latin America. Over 950 historic buildings fill Ybor City and are the foundation of where the Cuban Sandwich was created long ago in Tampa.

Paella

VIP  tickets to the event are available and start at $20. VIP guests can taste contest entries from competitors for the best latino food, complimentary refreshments, and hangout with VIPs, celebrities, and media.

Event Name: Taste of Latino

Venue: Centennial Park

Date & Time: Sunday, October 20th, 2019, 11AM-6PM

Address: 1800 E. 8th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

Cost: FREE General Admission, VIP starting at $20

Buy VIP tickets: http://bit.ly/2BapTX2

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/405448503389654/

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NEWS: Support Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Saturday at 22nd Street Coffee

This is a sponsored post for 22nd Street Coffee. Opinions are my own and do not reflect those of the sponsor.

22nd Street Coffee in Ybor City will have a Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Saturday, October 12th, 2019 from 7AM-2PM. Proceeds from the event will go to supporting the American Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer.

22nd Street is located just off the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway just across from Brisk Coffee Roasters and near IKEA Tampa.

Knitted Knockers of Tampa Bay will be present at the event and there will be information about breast cancer provided from non-profits.

The mission of Knitted Knockers is to “connect volunteer knitters and crocheters with breast cancer survivors to offer free Knitted Knockers to any woman who wants them”.

Breast cancer is a very important issue to me, my cousin died earlier this year from the disease and unfortunately she did not catch breast cancer early enough in her body. That’s why awareness is so important and vital to fighting this illness.

22nd Street Coffee will feature a special “Pink Drink” for the day made with chocolate and strawberry with pink whipped cream.

Here are some facts to know about breast cancer:

  • 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. in 2019 as well as 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. (National Breast Cancer Foundation)
  • Estimates indicate that 42,260 deaths (41,760 women and 500 men) from breast cancer will occur this year. (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the United States, after lung cancer.
  • Since 1989, the number of women who have died of breast cancer has steadily decreased thanks to early detection and treatment improvements. (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Make sure you come out and support the fight against breast cancer on Saturday!

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Event name: Breast Cancer Awareness Day at 22nd Street Coffee

Venue: 22nd Street Coffee

Address: 208 N. 22nd St., Tampa, FL 33605

Phone: (813) 304-0373

Date & Time: Saturday, October 12th, 2019, 7AM-2PM

Cost: Free to attend

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/2132238487079941/

Website: http://www.22ndstreetcoffee.com

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Articles Reviews

Al’s Finger Licking Good Soul Food now serving up tasty southern eats

Most people have heard of Al’s Finger Licking Good BBQ in Ybor City, but a few months ago they opened Al’s Finger Licking Good Soul Food while I was out of town and the buzz has been muted since then. The online footprint of the new spot is not too big and Google seems to confuse the listings, but if you make the trip along 7th Avenue to 23rd Street there is a surprise waiting for you with great food.

Swee Tea from Al's Finger Lickin' Good Soul Food

From fried chicken and baked chicken to pork chops, turkey wings, fried green tomatoes, and boiled peanuts with neckbones, Al’s Soul Food is offering eats you won’t find easily find around Tampa Bay. I was personally happy to enjoy a great sweet tea with my food after spending far too much time out of the south.

Collard Greens from Al's Finger Lickin' Good Soul Food

Mac and Cheese from Al's Finger Lickin' Good Soul Food

Fried Chicken at Al's Finger Lickin' Good SOul Food

I ordered a quarter of fried chicken during my visit (all white for a $0.99 upcharge) which came with two sides and cornbread. I went with mac and cheese (+$0.99) and collard greens as my sides of choice.

You can also find black-eyed peas, fried okra, green beans and potatoes, potato salad, french fries, white and yellow rice on the menu. Fridays also have an offering of cole slaw and grits. Daily specials are offered on the menu from Wednesday to Sunday and they have lunch specials as well.

Soul food isn’t my specialty since it is so uncommon here, but what I do know is good food and that is exactly what I enjoyed at Al’s Soul Food. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the attention to detail was exact. The collard greens were flavorful and the mac and cheese was unlike a mac and cheese I have enjoyed anywhere else and completely satisfying. Not super cheesy, but just enough.

Corn Bread at Al's Finger Lickin' Good Soul Food

Menu at Al's Finger Lickin' Good Soul Food

The best part was that this all tasted like home-cooking, it wasn’t overly greasy or acid-inducing. The corn bread was absolutely delicious and a perfect started to the meal. I enjoyed every last lick of my fried chicken down to the last piece of fried goodness. I was in a happy place, I looked around at the somewhat empty dining room during my visit and thought to myself how has nobody reviewed this place? There are still two major publications left in town.

Then I remembered I am a writer and I can do that myself. So here’s my thoughts: Get in your car and drive to Al’s Finger Licking Good Soul Food as soon as possible. You won’t regret it. Places like this deserve all our love and cash. Tell a friend. For as much as this town claims to love chicken, here is a spot doing it right.

Al's Finger Lickin' Good Soul Food

Restaurant Name: Al’s Finger Licking Good Soul Food

Neighborhood: Ybor City

Cuisine: Soul Food

Address: 2302 E 7th Ave. Tampa, FL 33605

Phone Number: (813) 405-8920

Hours: Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30AM-6PM, Friday/Saturday 11:30AM-8PM, Sunday 12PM-6PM, CLOSED Monday and Tuesday

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Articles Restaurant News

8th Annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival Winners

The 8th Annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival was a success yet again. Competitors came from all around to compete for the World’s Best Cuban Sandwich. Cuban Sandwich Festival is a precursor to the World Food Championships. This year’s event was held in Historic Ybor City at Centennial Park which is where the event was first hosted 8 years ago.

The winners of the event are split into categories that competitors participated in.

Tampa Historic Sandwich:

  1. Las Palmas Latin Grill: This is a small restaurant near Wesley Chapel and New Tampa serving Cuban food. 6431 E County Line Rd Suite 104, Tampa, FL 33647. (813) 803-3903. laspalmaslatingrill.com
  2. First Harvest Deli
  3. GloriRod’s Coffee Shop: Lowry Park coffee shop named after Figuereo matriarch founded by Juan and Kir Figuereo, Gloria that serves sandwiches, pastries, empanadas, and salads, among other things. They claim their secret is their pork, which is marinated with Gloria’s secret recipe and slow-roasted until it melts off the bone. GloriRod’s opened in late 2018 and found the Cuban Sandwich Festival via Facebook, they wanted to enter due to the important of the Cuban Sandwich to history and culture in Tampa. 7901 N. Armenia Ave Ste B, Tampa, FL 33604. (813) 650-1332. glorirodscoffeeshop.com

Non-Traditional Cuban Sandwich:

  1. That’s My Dog: Mobile food truck from South Florida in the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami area. facebook.com/thatsmydogfoodtruck
  2. Smokin Showin Catering: Two firemen who love to cook based out of Land O Lakes. They do a variety of bbq including smoked pork, chicken, meatloaf, ribs, and more.  (813) 294-9892. smokeshowincatering.com
  3. Firebread

Popular Cuban Sandwich:

  1. Cuban Spot: Houston food truck serving up Cuban eats. Originally from Miami, but living in Texas for 14 years. These minds behind Cuban Spot have no formal kitchen training, but are passionate about Cuban food. Owners say the Cuban population is rising little by little in Houston due to the cheap cost of living. Cuban Spot’s founders were tired of all the taco spots in Texas and decided to create a spot for Cuban food 4 years ago in 2015. Initially focusing on Cuban dishes such as Cuban fritas, the Cuban Sandwich became a shining star for them and after being called the best by their customers, they decided to enter the Cuban Sandwich Festival. They credit their success on their modifications to their Cuban bread, their flavorful and juicy pulled park, and using hot pork instead of cold slices. (713) 679-3802. thecubanspot.com
  2. Tampa Sammich, LLC: Local sandwich standard serving up Cubans made with La Segunda Bread. (813) 447-4316. facebook.com/tampasammich
  3. This Little Pig: Food stand specializing in creole, bbq, fusion. Chef John originally hails from Miami and worked at the Brennan’s at Palace Cafe, Bourbon House, and Dickie Brennan’s Steak House in New Orleans. After reviving and running Maple Street Patisserie Et Deli on Magazine Street, Chef John held the Executive Chef position at Upperline restaurant before coming back to Florida to be closer to family and raise children in Tampa. This Little Pig does pop ups at local breweries and “open format” catering. Chef John used his influences from Miami and Tampa to guide him in this sandwich that uses in-house cured and smoked Tasso, pork roasted in traditional mojo, a dijon/majo blend, and crispy garlic dill with salami and swiss served on historic La Segunda Cuban bread with butter and foil wrapped cobblestones. This Little Pig also offered a Po’ Boy version with lettuce, tomatoe, and spice creole comeback sauce – a nod to their time in New Orleans. (813)526-3497 facebook.com/thislittlepigbbq

World’s Best Cuban Sandwich:

  1. Chef Iliana Concierge Chef: Chef Iliana competes all over the country in food competitions. This will be her second time at the World Food Championships and she has won 3 golden tickets in total to the competition. She works with Fight2Feed to create competitions to help feed people in need in 26 cities. She signed up for the Cuban Sandwich Festival as a way to challenge herself and competed with the support of her family this year who she cooked with as a family exercise. She also won the Kissimmee Cuban Sandwich Festival earlier in 2019. www.facebook.com/conciergechefevents
  2. Cuban Spot: Houston food truck serving up Cuban eats. (713) 679-3802. thecubanspot.com
  3. Los Cochintos
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8th Annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival coming March 30-31st

Are you ready to eat all the Cuban sandwiches? I sure am.

The time is coming for the 8th Annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival on Saturday, March 30th and Sunday, March 31st in Tampa, Florida. Tampa is home to the original Cuban Sandwich.

Competitors will arrive from around the world including countries as far away as South Korea to compete for the best traditional and non-traditional. New to this year is the Home Chef Competition.

The event is organized by Latin Times Media.

Taste of the Cuban Sandwich

Saturday will feature the Taste of the Cuban Sandwich at Centro Asturiano on the edge of Ybor City with 25 vendors serving Cuban sandwiches from 11AM to 6PM. The organizers will break the world record for the largest Cuban sandwich with a sandwich that will be over 175 feet long.

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The sandwich will be donated to feed the homeless per festival tradition.

Taste of the Cuban Sandwich offers FREE admission for attendees and is family-friendly.

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There will also be a KIDS Cuban Sandwich Showdown organized by Junior Chefs of America.

International Cuban Sandwich Festival

Sunday is the big affair with the International Cuban Sandwich Festival competition happening at Centennial Park (1800 East 8th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605) in Historic Ybor City from 11AM to 6PM.

Over 100 food, cultural, and business vendors will fill the historic park for a day to remember. Live music and performances will occur throughout and their will be domino tournaments. Come hungry! General Admission is FREE.

VIP tickets are available and includes sampling of the Cuban Sandwich contest entries and refreshments as well as mingling with judges, red carpet access, and more. Tickets start at $25 for kids and $45 for adults. Family packages are available. Buy VIP: http://bit.ly/2HK8fxV

Event name: 8th Annual Cuban Sandwich Festival

Date & Time: Saturday, March 30th, 11AM-6PM and Sunday, March 31st, 11AM-6PM

Buy VIP tickets: http://bit.ly/2HK8fxV

Ages: All ages welcome

Website: http://www.thecubansandwichfestival.com/

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Articles Food News

International Cuban Sandwich Festival seeks home chef entries

The International Cuban Sandwich Festival, held annually in Tampa is seeking home entries for this year’s festival which will occur on Sunday, March 31st, 2019 at Ybor City’s Historic Centennial Park. The festival is now in its 8th year.

The organizers of the festival are seeking home chefs or someone with an incredible Cuban recipe to enter their competition. The new category is officially called: “Homestyle Cuban Sandwich Smackdown Contest!”

There will be cash prizes and media packages for winners of the new category.

Interested participants can send an email to vpadilla@latin-times.com. Hurry because entries are limited.

For those who don’t know, the Cuban Sandwich was created in Tampa by immigrants in the last 1800s who worked in Ybor City’s cigar factories. Ybor City was home to a number of immigrants during this era with community buildings such as the Cuban Club and Italian Club. Those buildings can still be seen today in Ybor City.

Despite some controversy with Miami, Tampa is the home of the Cuban Sandwich and has been served since at least 1905 in restaurants there.

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Party Like Its 1999 NYE Party at The Bricks Ybor

Want to spend New Year’s Eve in a throwback? The Bricks Ybor located at 1327 East 7th Avenue is hosting a “Party Like Its 1999” New Year’s Eve Party going into 2019 on December 31st, 2018 from 10PM to 3AM.

Hits from the Late 90s and 2000s will be spinning from DJ Kamran Mir all night long.

Enjoy a champagne toast at midnight and watch the ball drop.

No cover charge. The event is for ages 21 and older only.