Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekend Platter: You, mead, cider & more

Jazz with brunch, chili recipes face off and more during these weekend food and drink events.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Guests at last year's Cider & Mead Fest. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • Guests at last year's Cider & Mead Fest.
From adult beverage tastings to an anti-Super Bowl party spread, add these five events to your food and drink roster, which already includes drink specials, Mardi Gras celebrations, the Bacon Battle and Localtopia.

Hosted at Nielsen from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, the second year for Sampling Science: The Engineering Behind Craft Beer will feature 50-plus local craft beers for tasting alongside educational beer talks. The proceeds will benefit the student chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the University of South Florida's Society of Women Engineers. Tickets will be sold at the door. $30. 501 Brooker Creek Blvd., Oldsmar,

Embrace the wonders of citrus at this Aprons Cooking School lesson, also hosted at 6:30 p.m. Friday. New techniques will be taught, and all levels of home cooks are welcome. Orange and pilsner mussels, lemon sorbet and lemon-thyme poached chicken are on the menu. Check out CL news editor Kate Bradshaw's piece on Florida's citrus industry while you're at it. $45. 7835 Gunn Highway, Tampa, 813-926-4465.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Nine Grand Central, EDGE eateries take on bacon battle

A monthlong contest will determine which St. Petersburg restaurant delivers the best bacon dish.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 12:54 PM

We're sure the Bacon Battle entries will go way beyond bacon-wrapped dates. - SAM CRAIG VIA FLICKR
  • Sam Craig via Flickr
  • We're sure the Bacon Battle entries will go way beyond bacon-wrapped dates.

Restaurants in St. Petersburg's EDGE and Grand Central districts are feeding the region's bacon obsession (yes, we have one) through a monthlong food competition.

What challenge have they committed to? The inaugural Bacon Bacon, which will crown the local eatery that cooks up the best bacon-inflected dish. The Burg Bar & Grill, Brooklyn South, Engine Rose, Kings Street Food Counter, Old Key West Bar & Grill, Punky's Bar & Grill, Ricky P's Orleans Bistro, Urban Brew & BBQ, and Urban Comfort are the competitors.

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Rays center fielder to tackle 35-ounce ribeye for a cause

Thursday night, Smokey Bones will challenge Kevin Kiermaier to finish new 35-ounce steak dinner.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 8:53 AM

Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier - KEITH ALLISON VIA FLICKR
  • Keith Allison via Flickr
  • Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier

Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays has agreed to take on the latest Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill item: a 35-ounce smoked ribeye dinner.

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Geared up: A look at the new Tampa Beer Works

East Tampa's Tampa Beer Works brewery is focusing on small-batch beer with artisanal flair.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 2:43 AM

Tampa Beer Works head brewer Bob Hunt behind the brewery's intimate bar. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • Tampa Beer Works head brewer Bob Hunt behind the brewery's intimate bar.

New beer. New atmosphere. New philosophy. That’s what’s been going on inside a brewery in East Tampa’s manufacturing district since January.

Though Tampa Beer Works technically emerged from the defunct ESB Brewing at 333 N. Falkenburg Road, they bear little resemblance to each other. ESB’s change in ownership and beer philosophy prompted partners Francis Booth and Grayson DeGraff to make some adjustments. The new brewery’s launch was originally slated to coincide with Tampa Bay Beer Week next month, but DeGraff decided to pull the trigger early.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Opening month announced for Brew Bus in Seminole Heights

An update on Brew Bus's new brewery, tasting room and terminal planned for Tampa.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 2:31 PM

The remodeled 4101 N. Florida Ave. will also act as Brew Bus's terminal. - BREW BUS
  • Brew Bus
  • The remodeled 4101 N. Florida Ave. will also act as Brew Bus's terminal.

On Wednesday, the Tampa-based Brew Bus revealed a more specific slated opening date for its new tasting room and brewery. Following its $250,000 renovation of the space at 4101 N. Florida Ave., the brewery tour operator will open the doors in March.

Florida Avenue Brewing Co. previously occupied the Seminole Heights space, which is also set to function as the Brew Bus terminal after the remodel. The upgraded 20-barrel brewery will allow Brew Bus to produce Florida Ave. beers — as well as its own — in one place. New Florida Ave. can designs, logos and recipes are planned for the third quarter of 2016, according to a news release.

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Five Courses: Home slices in Clearwater, Tampa & more

New pizza and Italian restaurants around the area, plus more in food and drink.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 1:16 PM

Clearwater Beach's Opal Sands Resort will house Sea-Guini and Sand Bar. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • Clearwater Beach's Opal Sands Resort will house Sea-Guini and Sand Bar.
Two new waterfront food and drink destinations — Sea-Guini and Sand Bar — will occupy the soon-to-open Opal Sands Resort on Clearwater Beach. The luxury hotel, which offers panoramic views of the Gulf, is set to open at 430 S. Gulfview Blvd. this month.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sea-Guini, a coastal-influenced restaurant serving innovative Italian and seafood offerings, will highlight seasonal delicacies. Focal points of the fine-dining concept include a large brick pizza oven and homemade pasta-making station, and cocktails and local craft beers will also be on hand.

Sea-Guini Executive Chef Todd Holender, known for creating dishes with artistic quality and complex flavor profiles, made his way to the state’s west coast to join the Opal Sands family by way of the Florida Keys.

At the Sand Bar restaurant and bar, where patrons will have direct access to the beach, lighter, more casual cuisine will be featured. An extensive tropical cocktail program, as well as draft beer, will accompany the food lineup.

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Restaurant review: TamPiz is hard to resist

With pizza and French pastries, Tampa's TamPiz is uneven but still charming.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 12:44 PM

ON THE RISE: The Gautheron brothers, Tommy and Kevin. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • ON THE RISE: The Gautheron brothers, Tommy and Kevin.

“Immigrants, we get the job done!”

So say the Marquis de Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton as they exchange a high five in the new Broadway phenomenon tracing the rise of our “ten-dollar founding father.” Given Donald Trump’s recent immigration diatribes, the audience responds with a hearty laugh. But Lady Liberty’s siren song still attracts dreamers.

Count among that group two young, 20-something French brothers, Tommy and Kevin Gautheron, from Lyon (France’s foodie capital), who follow in their countryman Lafayette’s footsteps, in this instance to embrace Florida sunshine and try their hand at the American Dream.

When Cafe European, opposite the University of Tampa, closed last August, the Gautherons snatched up the space with visions of pizza and French pastry. They renovated, adding Bakers Pride pizza deck ovens and a pool table to lure students across Kennedy Boulevard.

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On the Sauce: Kombucha Florida Mule

A spin on the traditional Moscow Mule that calls for kombucha and grapefruit.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 12:04 PM

  • Chris Fasick

So, we survived another Gasparilla. Hopefully, you followed my lead two weeks ago and began hydrating in advance so your Sunday wasn't as painful. Me, I woke up with a slight headache, chugged a pot of espresso, ate a greasy breakfast and went on a 6-mile hike, which is only 6 more miles than I've hiked in the past year, but I digress.

If you're also like me and about one month behind on kicking off your resolution, now might be a good time to pretend to start. Between the holidays and having a hard time breaking those less-healthy habits, I feel like my body (read: liver) could use a break. This week, I bring you an awesome mean, green juice reci… err, take on a Moscow Mule, featuring kombucha.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Valentine's Day: Classic, unconventional ways to celebrate

However you wish to spend V-Day, the Bay area has something for you and your sweetheart(s).

Posted By on Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 4:47 PM

Valentine's Day meals and more await around the Bay area. - SIMON_SEES VIA FLICKR
  • Simon_sees via Flickr
  • Valentine's Day meals and more await around the Bay area.

If you're looking to dine out with that special someone on Valentine's Day, take a look at CL's working list of restaurants and other local spots offering romantic feasts, as well as some unconventional ways to celebrate. The gatherings take place Feb. 14 unless otherwise noted, and prices are listed per person.

Bay Area Renaissance Festival Take advantage of the Renaissance Festival's themed (and strategically planned) weekend of chocolate and wine at MOSI. Treats from chocolatiers, bakers and other sweets-makers will be highlighted alongside activities like a couple's pie-eating contest. Tickets are available online$9.95-$89.95. Feb.13-14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 11315 N. 46th St., Tampa,

Beach Bar Restaurant
 Make it the ultimate Valentine's Day and dine waterside. Beach Bar Restaurant's holiday menu will feature a variety to choose from. Start with lobster bisque or a baby bistro salad, followed by Florida crab-crusted grouper or wild mushroom risotto, among other items. Finish on a sweet note with a chocolate torte or sorbet. Reservations can be made online$50. 7700 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, 813-281-8900.

The Bends An encore installment of the hip bar's "Drake Night" (as in the singer) will hit the downtown St. Pete hangout for V-Day. Drake cocktails, valentines, tunes and surprises are promised, and the Champage Papi toast is set for midnight. Free, money for drinks. Feb. 13, 10 p.m. 919 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-202-8931.

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Coming right up: Mardi Gras merriment around the region

A working guide to this year's Fat Tuesday celebrations — everything from tastes to parades.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 1:06 PM

King Cakes from Tampa's Alessi Bakery. - ALESSI BAKERIES VIA FACEBOOK
  • Alessi Bakeries via Facebook
  • King Cakes from Tampa's Alessi Bakery.
Where Tampa Bay revelers should go for King Cake, street festivals and other Mardi Gras finds. The celebrations, which continue through Fat Tuesday on Feb. 9, kick off as early as, well, now.

Alessi Bakery The bakery is already churning out traditional King Cake in flavors like apple, cheese and raspberry. Doughnuts, decorated with purple, gold and green, were also teased on Alessi's Facebook page. 2909 W. Cypress St., Tampa, 813-879-4544,

Roux Here, too, regionites may start purchasing King Cakes made by the Louisiana-based Joe Gambino's Bakery, as well as other Creole-Cajun bites. 4205 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-443-5255,

Ricky P's Orleans Bistro Mardi Gras and the EDGE District restaurant's fourth anniversary will unite for a four-day bash. At 5 p.m. Friday, a Lousiana crawfish boil and live music will be featured, while a second line parade with a "Purple Reigns" theme, costume contest for prizes, and performance from the TBone Hamilton Band will take place beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, expect a jazz brunch with complimentary beignets, plus free King Cake and more music on Fat Tuesday. Free, money for food and drinks. 1113 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-821-4061,

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