Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gourmet sprinkles: Sea Salt opens at Sundial early 2015

Wine tower and 80-foot-long raw bar to be highlights of Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli's Sea Salt St. Pete.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Fabrizio Aielli cooking at Sea Salt No. 1, with a wall of jarred salts from locales like El Salvador and Bali behind him. - SEA SALT
  • Sea Salt
  • Fabrizio Aielli cooking at Sea Salt No. 1, with a wall of jarred salts from locales like El Salvador and Bali behind him.
The popular Naples-based Sea Salt eatery announced mid-January 2015 as the tentative opening date for its second location at downtown St. Pete's Sundial complex.

Sea Salt, owned by celebrated restaurateurs Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli, will occupy a 12,000-square-foot space upstairs, according to a press release, alongside the retail and dining center's other restaurant concepts.

With indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate 300, a 20-foot-tall wine tower and an 80-foot-long raw bar will be among the upscale seafood joint's highlights.

The wine tower, supposedly one of the tallest in North America, will hold 6,000 hand-curated bottles to complement chef Fabrizio's cooking, while the raw bar carries more than 20 kinds of the continent's best-loved oysters, including the Wellfleet, Caribou Island and local Gulf varieties.

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A penny more: Food Chains film highlights CIW, farmworker justice

New Food Chains documentary on U.S. farmworkers debuts Friday at Tampa's AMC Veterans 24.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Before the Fair Food Program, workers filled more than 153 buckets per shift to meet the equivalent of minimum wage, said CIW member Lupe Gonzalo. - SCOTT ROBERTSON
  • Scott Robertson
  • Before the Fair Food Program, workers filled more than 153 buckets per shift to meet the equivalent of minimum wage, said CIW member Lupe Gonzalo.

Around this time 54 years ago, broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow revealed the plight of U.S. farmworkers in his celebrated documentary Harvest of Shame.

And now, a new film titled Food Chains will do the same, premiering 8 p.m. Friday at Tampa's AMC Veterans 24. The showing is just one of more than 25 across the country.

The documentary — directed by Sanjay Rawal, and co-produced by actress Eva Longoria and journalist Eric Schlosser — revolves around the Fair Food Program, a successful human rights campaign founded by a group of Florida-based farmworkers known as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

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Holiday Auction Week Two: Locale, Coppertail, Kahwa and more

Ten days of irresistible stuff. Bid and help the kids.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Locale_withpintabona_copy.jpg

Week One of CL's Holiday Auction for The Children's Home isn't even over yet (that happens Sunday), but we're already launching Week Two, loaded with great items that'll give winning bidders a lot to brag about.

Snag an eight-course gourmet dinner at one of the most hotly anticipated new restaurants in Tampa Bay.

Quaff growlers of beer all year from Ybor City's newest brewery.

Explore one of St. Pete's most artful neighborhoods with a bundle of goodies from 14 shops and restaurants and an exclusive guided tour.

Plus VIP passes to a slew of Tampa's biggest booze-and-music fests, a year of Kahwa coffee, a Guy Harvey Outpost getaway, a Skatepark of Tampa package, even a huge CL print and online ad deal. And lots, lots more.

Bidding runs from Thurs. Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. to Sun. Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. Subsequent auctions run Nov. 27-Dec. 4 and Dec. 4-14. All proceeds benefit The Children's Home and its programs for abused and neglected children.





 

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two ultimates: Holiday gifts for chocophiles & artistic chowhounds

Land chocolatey sweets and a food-meets-arts package from CL's Holiday Auction while you can.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
CL's sixth annual online Holiday Auction kicked off last week. If you've managed to go without bidding on one of our ultra-cool, and highly coveted, items, now's the time act — our first lineup of goods disappears 9 a.m. Sunday.

Waiting too long could cost you two ultimates: A hefty (and tasty) package of confections and assorted cocoas, and a Dunedin-centric food-meets-arts bundle.

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Midtown Sundries closes, Pow to replace Wood Fired Pizza in St. Pete

St. Pete staple Midtown Sundries and nearby Wood Fired Pizza have the latest in food news.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Midtown's chicken wings appetizer. - VALERIE TROYANO
  • Valerie Troyano
  • Midtown's chicken wings appetizer.
Midtown Sundries, a 300-seat mainstay in downtown St. Pete for 16 years, abrubtly closed its doors Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

A note reportedly posted on the restaurant's window said, "It has been a great run but our 16th year proved to be too much to overcome."

Meanwhile, the neighboring vacancy at 344 First Ave. S., where Peter Taylor's Wood Fired Pizza operated until last month, will house owner Philippe Theodore's new pizzeria concept, Pow.

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Party like it's 1933: Tampa hosts bigger Repeal Day

The reimagined four-day Repeal Day Conference & Gala will hit Tampa Dec. 4.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Last year's Repeal Day Party imbibers celebrate the Volstead Act's termination. - KEVIN TIGHE
  • Kevin Tighe
  • Last year's Repeal Day Party imbibers celebrate the Volstead Act's termination.

The region, and more specifically, Tampa dwellers, can expect more rounds of swanky cocktail gatherings leading up to the 81st anniversary of Prohibition’s end on Dec. 5.

Locals are familiar with the annual Repeal Day Party thrown by Tampa Bay’s chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, where sippers have been encouraged to sport 1930s-style attire while reveling since 2010. But this year, the event’s morphed into a four-day Repeal Day Conference & Gala.

From Thursday, Dec. 4, to Sunday, Dec. 7, beverage industry gurus, bartenders and spirits enthusiasts will commune over reinterpreted classics crafted by local and guest mixologists, cocktail-pairing dinners held at six Tampa eateries, seminars from the pros, which cover topics like vermouth and DIY bar start-ups, and more.

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Restaurant review: Sushi dreamin' at Kaiko

Kaiko Sushi Bar serves classic rolls and Japanese fare to Clearwater, but the flavors don't sing.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 3:29 PM

**1/2
ON A ROLL: Kaiko's sushi platter with dragon, Scott and Christine rolls, and nigiri peeking through the background. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • ON A ROLL: Kaiko's sushi platter with dragon, Scott and Christine rolls, and nigiri peeking through the background.

The problem with being a foodie traveler (over time) is that it’s hard to forget peak experiences — those meals when all your senses are engaged and great chefs surprise you with their artistry — and approach each new table as a clean slate. I visit Kaiko with an open palate, but my vivid memories of a sushi feast I had courtesy of a friend on a visit to Manhattan last year cloud my expectations. Or, rather, raise the bar.

At its core, sushi seems a simple food — just some rice and a sliver of raw fish. So why isn't a sharp knife and one good hand enough to assure sushi mastery? The secrets are revealed in the fascinating documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which I highly recommend if you have Netflix access. Fish, rice and the attendant condiments are far more complicated than they seem to the untrained eye. Jiro is a shokunin, literally an “artisan.” It’s a weighty term; you won’t find shokunin sushi at Publix. Or, unfortunately, at Kaiko either.

The miso soup that starts our meal is simply broth without the additions of tofu, seaweed or scallions that might make it interesting. It sets the tone for the entire evening.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reservations Gourmet-To-Go says farewell, with love

Elke and Anthony Catania opened the Seminole Heights restaurant six years ago.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Co-owner and executive chef Anthony Catania. - SHANNA GILLETTE
  • Shanna Gillette
  • Co-owner and executive chef Anthony Catania.
At the end of the month, Anthony and Elke Catania plan to close Reservations Gourmet-To-Go in Seminole Heights.

"It is with heavy hearts but excitement for our future adventures that we write this to you," the Catanias said to patrons in an email Tuesday. "We just want to thank each and every one of you who has ever walked through our front door for your love and support and patronage."

The couple launched their restaurant, specializing in dine-in and prepared meals with a gourmet twist, six years ago.

Anthony told CL that he and Elke struggled with the notion of ending something they've poured their hearts and souls, and money, into.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Beer 101 to fuse libations, learning at St. Pete Brewing

Learn about the beer you're sippin' from St. Pete Brewing Company's Beer 101.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 4:52 PM

CL ARCHIVE
  • CL Archive
From 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, St. Pete Brewing Company will kick off the inaugural event in its Beer 101 series, aiming to teach patrons — novices and nerds alike — craft brew basics.

Every Monday, the brewery, which recently tapped its Bearded Pelican Porter, will cover topics ranging from beer production to pouring techniques.

Hospitality industry folks who attend the first hourlong class will sip $3 pints and flights (and score free pizza) in observance of St. Pete Brewing's hospitality night.

If patrons aren't into brew school, though, the brewery is set to host a bottle share, also its first, from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Those who contribute homebrews or rare beers to swap will receive $1 off a pint.

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Whisks up: Columbia Restaurant, Roy's craft Dessert First wins

Regionites tasted their way through Dessert First's Girl Scout cookie-inspired chef-off Friday.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 3:02 PM

InterContinental Tampa's Samoas whoopie pie and vanilla milkshake. - GIRL SCOUTS OF WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA
  • Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
  • InterContinental Tampa's Samoas whoopie pie and vanilla milkshake.

A sweets showdown ensued Friday night at Tampa's InterContinental hotel, where the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida held its annual Dessert First fundraiser.

After the cocktail-attired crowd and three judges roamed a ballroom full of silent auction baskets and, more importantly, local chefs' Girl Scout cookie-inflected desserts, guests voted for their favorites.

Defeating five other contenders, the Columbia Restaurant and Roy's came out on top with their one-of-a-kind treats.

Columbia chef Geraldo Bayona and his chocolate-covered Samoa Bomb were the judges' winning pick, granting the eatery the Golden Whisk award for a second year in a row. And the crowd's choice, a Silver Whisk, went to the Everything But the Kitchen Sink Peanut Butter Pie from Roy's chef Felicia LaCalle.

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