Saturday, December 27, 2014

Changes hit downtown St. Pete drink scene

St. Petersburg's Station House, Octave and @548 have the latest in food and drink news.

Posted By on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 5:17 PM

The Station House eatery occupies Café Alma's old basement-style digs. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • The Station House eatery occupies Café Alma's old basement-style digs.

American cocktail cuisine. That's the focus of the Station House restaurant, which is part of a five-story downtown St. Pete mixed-use development at 260 First Ave. S.

The restaurant, headed by Alex Gilmour and Ro Patel, held its soft opening 4 p.m. Wednesday, and is housed in the building's cozy ground-floor space, formerly occupied by Café Alma.

Regionites may pair their craft cocktail creations with fare like "Grits + Grunts," Station House's reimagined shrimp and grits dish.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Naked burger, more on Clementine Café grub lineup

Clementine Café reveals a few menu offerings before its launch next month.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Clementine Café sits within the Ybor Daily Market space on Seventh Avenue. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • Clementine Café sits within the Ybor Daily Market space on Seventh Avenue.

As Ybor City's open-air Clementine Café finalizes the menu for its January opening, owners Brian and Misty Sommers shared a few highlights with CL.

With grass-fed beef and poultry, along with organic produce, the offerings — cooked up by Brian inside an old-school Airstream trailer — will have a clean eats vein. But the simple yet elevated dishes fall under what one might classify as "porch grub," comfort food diners could see themselves chowing on at home with loved ones.

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Wicked 'Wiches to open restaurant, bar on SoHo strip

Tampa's Wicked 'Wiches & Brew is the Bay area's latest food-truck-turned-restaurant.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 2:55 PM

The Wicked 'Wiches restaurant-bar will serve local beer and a revolving menu. - TODD STURTZ
  • Todd Sturtz
  • The Wicked 'Wiches restaurant-bar will serve local beer and a revolving menu.

On Thursday, Jan. 29, the region's 5-year-old Wicked 'Wiches food truck will launch Wicked 'Wiches & Brew, its brick-and-mortar restaurant-bar, in Tampa.

Operating until midnight during the week and 'til 3 a.m. on the weekend, 'Wiches & Brew will offer a rotating lineup of gourmet sandwiches, carried over from the mobile kitchen, in Urban Cantina's former space at 223 S. Howard Ave.

Items like the signature Fatt, Toast and Wood Fired Flat sandwiches will anchor the new restaurant's menu alongside house-made pickles and several kinds of hand-cut fries (and dipping sauces).

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Year in Listicles: 6 things that will ruin a Cuban sandwich

Pray for humanity.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 9:21 AM

CL ARCHIVE
  • CL Archive

A proper Cubano, as you know, consists of roast pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and dill pickles. And while some of us happen to be fans of fusion Cuban sandos — like the Stone Soup Company’s Jueban or the West Tampa Sandwich Shop’s Honey Cuban — purists don’t want none of your hybrid-ness.

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The Year in Lists: 5 new joints that totally killed it in 2014

*clap emoji* *clap emoji* *clap emoji* *clap emoji*

Posted By on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 8:10 AM

As determined by this year’s four-stars-and-up reviews by CL Restaurant Critic Jon Palmer Claridge.

Roux
Quail and sweet potato waffles. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Quail and sweet potato waffles.

When it comes to Creole gumbo, “the proof, as they say, is in the ‘roux,’” opined Claridge. “And Roux’s roux rocks.” He also cheered the tasty Abita-battered alligator bites in a spicy cayenne rémoulade, and the wood-grilled trout meunière with flavorful maque choux.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Year in Listicles: 18 mac 'n' cheeses that are better than your boo

Love is important, but so is pasta.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Holy Hog's offering at the Mayor's Mac & Cheese Throwdown in Tampa was made with five cheeses and smoked veggies. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Holy Hog's offering at the Mayor's Mac & Cheese Throwdown in Tampa was made with five cheeses and smoked veggies.

1. Mott & Hester Deli Co.

2. Holy Hog BBQ
Jalapeño Mac n Cheese.

3. Cassis American Brasserie

4. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe
Vegan Mac & Cheese, during Soul Food Sundays.

5. Urban Brew & BBQ

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Drink More Wine: Demystifying bubbles

And why our food critic is forever drinking those fizz-filled bottles.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM

GLORIOUS SPARKLERS: Explore an array of bubblies to discover one that fits your fancy. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • GLORIOUS SPARKLERS: Explore an array of bubblies to discover one that fits your fancy.
With the holidays upon us, my thoughts turn to sparkling wine. The king of sparklers is obviously Champagne. But all sparkling wine is not created equal, and real Champagne only comes from that particular region in northeast France centered in Reims and Epernay. Because of the cool northern climate, these wines made from chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier are high in acidity and extremely crisp and dry, with tiny pinpoint carbonation. Most of the bubbles that you are familiar with are produced as non-vintages — meaning the grapes are blends from different years. Each well-known Champagne house produces its own style so that what you buy from year-to-year has a similar taste, unlike most wine, which will vary due to the growing conditions for grapes during a particular season.

Real Champagne from France is going to set you back around $40 (give or take) for popular U.S. brands, including Veuve Cliquot, Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouët. I happen to also be a fan of Mumm Cordon Rouge (with the distinctive red stripe on the label) and Lanson Black Label. They both have yeasty notes that remind me of great vintage champagnes like Dom Pérignon. The key is to try a range and see what fits your personal taste. The bubbles help cleanse your palate between bites, so Champagne goes with a wide range of foods, but most notably caviar, lobster, smoked salmon, oysters and fried foods.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New owners take over A Taste For Wine next year

Beloved St. Pete wine bar A Taste For Wine will get new ownership after 19 years with its current.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Drinkers may order A Taste For Wine's beverages by the glass, bottle or case. - A TASTE FOR WINE VIA FACEBOOK
  • A Taste For Wine via Facebook
  • Drinkers may order A Taste For Wine's beverages by the glass, bottle or case.

A Taste For Wine owners Rochelle Smith and Erin Shim will transition their downtown St. Pete wine bar to new owners after the holidays, "as it is time for new pursuits," according to a newsletter sent to patrons Tuesday.

Housed in a charming upstairs space, with a balcony that overlooks Central Avenue, A Taste For Wine has been owned by Smith and Shim since 1995.

"We thank you for 19 years of wonderful times, tasting wine, great conversations, friendships and learning from so many of you," the email continued.

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The Year in Listicles: 21 boozy weekend brunches worth waking up for

Where to score breakfast, or lunch, with a side of alcohol.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 1:05 PM

The Bloody Ella from Ella's garnished with a smoked pork rib. - ARIELLE STEVENSON
  • Arielle Stevenson
  • The Bloody Ella from Ella's garnished with a smoked pork rib.
Bottomless mimosas. Bloody Mary bars. Margaritas. Bellinis. Oh, and eggs.

1. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe

2. CopperFish

3. Datz

4. Red Mesa Cantina

5. Irish 31

6. Oystercatchers

7. Sono Café

8. Marchand’s Bar and Grill

9. Gaspar’s Grotto

10. The Refinery

11. The Oyster Bar

12. Island Way Grill

13. The Queens Head

14. 400 Beach Seafood & Taphouse

15. Jackie’s On Corey Bistro & Catering

16. Rusty Pelican

17. Bon Appetit Restaurant & Bar

18. The Living Room on Main

19. Castile

20. Oxford Exchange

21. Bamboozle Tea Lounge

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The Year in Listicles: 10 things that opened in Tampa Bay that weren't breweries

You won't believe how many non-brewery bizes opened this year.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:39 PM

JULIO RAMOS
  • Julio Ramos

Have you heard? Craft beer is huge in Tampa Bay — so huge that approximately 98.3%* of all local businesses opened in 2014 were breweries. Just take a look at that map! But what else sprang to life around the area this year? Let’s take a look.

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