Sunday, October 19, 2014

Teams gear, beer up at Brew Mile Friday night

This reporter wasn't ready for Brew Mile's shenanigans at Bright House Field.

Posted By on Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 6:30 AM

HOPPY CAMPERS: (L-R) Kim Marshall, Casey 'Baller' Reagan, Courtney Hester and Caleb Reagan after the race. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • HOPPY CAMPERS: (L-R) Kim Marshall, Casey 'Baller' Reagan, Courtney Hester and Caleb Reagan after the race.
I'm not a runner. I'm also not a beer chugger. But I did both alongside my costume-studded compatriots during the Brew Mile Friday evening at Bright House Field. And they looked good.

Tutu-clad DIYers who fashioned their homemade skirts from tulle, various superheroes and what looked like a troupe of plaid-wearing Joe Dirts — some of them chugged and sprinted the whole way, and others began walking long before the third checkpoint — all gathered for the love of craft beer. Plenty of it outside the race, too.

Pushing through half of my last brew during the race, heart thumping and all, I thought, no one's in this for the run. Right?

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

All in the family: Marcella Hazan's son to host Sarasota cooking classes

Learn homestyle Italian cooking tips from Giuliano Hazan, in his Sarasota home kitchen.

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2014 at 8:18 AM

  • Andrea Hillebrand, photographer, in collaboration with Peter Bernard
Chef Giuliano Hazan is the son of Italian culinary icon Marcella Hazan. Like his mother, Giuliano possesses a cookbook author and cooking instructor pedigree.

For a sixth year, he plans to teach a series of hands-on Italian cooking lessons starting Tuesday, Nov. 18. Limited to nine students per session, the intimate classes will happen at Hazan and his food historian wife Lael's riverside abode in Sarasota.

According to a news release, Hazan — who was born in America but speaks Italian as his first language — said people have traveled from destinations like New York, Boston and Chicago for his cooking classes. He's also instructed lessons around the globe.

Students will prepare a four-course meal as Hazan teaches them about Italian ingredients (the freshest and best) and cooking techniques. The dishes will be paired with Italian wines.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

New beans in town: Java's Coffee holds two-day grand opening

The new Java's Coffee & More set to celebrate its official Palm Harbor launch for two days.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Java's, the latest coffee joint to launch in Palm Harbor, is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 to 8 Saturday and Sunday. - JAVA'S COFFEE & MORE VIA FACEBOOK
  • Java's Coffee & More via Facebook
  • Java's, the latest coffee joint to launch in Palm Harbor, is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 to 8 Saturday and Sunday.

Palm Harbor's newest coffee shop, Java's Coffee & More, quietly opened its doors around the beginning of last month at 2706 Alt. 19.

Nestled in the Key West Plaza next to Rum Runners, Java's offers classic caffeinated liquids like espressos and lattes, as well as Q-Bean organic coffee. Smoothies, pastries (a whole deli case), salads and sandwiches fashioned with Boar's Head ingredients also outfit its lineup. 

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

A taste of fall: Apple Pie Caramels

'Tis the season to whip up artisan caramels in your kitchen.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 10:39 AM

  • Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
You remember something like a homemade caramel. It's soft, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth. It might have a story weaved within, or carry a chain of memories that can't be disconnected.

The wait is hard to forget, too. Waiting for a freshly crafted caramel to cool is tortuous after you've had a whiff of its buttery, warm smells.

I don't have my own caramel recipe, but cookbook author Sandy Arevalo has pages of them. Tastes like blackberry and ginger, French toast with bacon and strawberry cheesecake outfit Arevalo's book Artisan Caramels (Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, 2014).

The Illinois resident shared her recipe for apple pie caramels, included in the cookbook, with CL. If it doesn't feel like fall to you yet, it will once these apple and spice flavors hit your taste buds.

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World of Beer's monthlong Beer School in session

Test your global beer IQ at this brewniversity by World of Beer Brandon.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 8:10 AM

  • Wikimedia Commons
Through Sunday, Nov. 9, World of Beer Brandon is encouraging patrons to drink in school — during its Beer School, that is.

A number of scheduled, and impromptu, courses allow craft beer novices and enthusiasts to challenge their global brew IQs. According to a press release, students should follow World of Beer Brandon on Facebook to stay updated on the curriculum.

The online Ultimate Beer Quiz — filled with cameos from brewers headquartered in locales like New York, Belgium and Florida's own Tampa — will ask a series of video questions to test-takers, with topics starting at beer basics. Those who finish with a perfect score will be included in a drawing to win a $500 World of Beer gift card.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tampa ranks No. 2 in Best Beer Town battle

Cities in Michigan, North Carolina and Oregon also made the Best Beer Town contest's top five.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 5:31 PM

  • CL Archive
Tampa (well, really Tampa Bay) was named the second-place winner in USA Today and 10Best's Best Beer Town competition, which kicked off its online voting Sept. 15.

The region beat out other U.S. craft brew hot spots such as Fort Collins, Colorado, and Asheville, North Carolina.

"Tampa is home to more than 30 breweries and brew pubs," reads 10Best's description of the city on its website, "With more opening every day.

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Second Engine No. 9 to heat up St. Pete, changes at Dunedin House of Beer & more

Munching through the latest in restaurant news.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 4:51 PM

BURGER KING: "Downtown's too overkill for me," said Engine No. 9’s Jason Esposito. "It's not feasible for what I wanna do." - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • BURGER KING: "Downtown's too overkill for me," said Engine No. 9’s Jason Esposito. "It's not feasible for what I wanna do."

That old Airstream trailer in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg has found a new tenant. The revamped space will function as the kitchen for a second eatery by Engine No. 9's Jason Esposito. He's still tinkering with the name (Engine 929, perhaps?) but is pushing to debut next month.

The property at 2901 Central Ave. formerly housed the Airstream Grill and La Creperia Cafe (which is slated to open a new Pinellas outpost at Gulfport's Sea Breeze Manor B&B at the end of this month). Esposito said that the original Engine No. 9 on MLK Street North doesn't accommodate outdoor seating, so his new site will fill that void, catering to families and the city’s pooch-loving community.

Where the first Engine No. 9 has more of a sports-bar vibe, Esposito envisions an inviting, unified beer-garden atmosphere at the new establishment, with trees planted around the perimeter to separate diners from the road. The restaurant’s focus will be its outdoor dining and lounge areas, with a small bar inside and seating to complement.

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Restaurant review: Bascom's has the beef

Clearwater's Bascom's Chop House offers traditional steakhouse fare, and then some.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 3:40 PM

THE BIG RED ONES: Bascom's offers a variety of steak cuts. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • THE BIG RED ONES: Bascom's offers a variety of steak cuts.

As CL reported last week, my favorite fine dining restaurant in the Bay area (SideBern’s) is undergoing the culinary equivalent of sex reassignment surgery. I’m supportive of trans-cuisine transitioning, but despite being on the record as a confirmed admirer of wine and charcuterie, I must admit I shed a tear knowing that small plates are on the rise and my degustation fetish is an unwelcome kink. Since there’s no culinary equivalent to Dan Savage, my only self-help option is to get back to basics — aged beef and big, chewy red vino.

As you cut through the CVS parking lot on Ulmerton Road and head toward Bascom’s Chop House, you can’t miss the huge banner that screams “famous martinis, fine wine, dock fresh seafood.” Oh, and steaks.

Bascom’s is old school, which is readily apparent in the decor. It’s a guy’s place, with the clubby feel of dark wood. Add crisp linens, crystal stemware, and servers in white shirts with black bow ties, and you can practically hear “Tradition, Tradition!” ringing in your ears.

Since Bascom’s is fine dining with old-fashioned appetizers (in addition to more modern offerings), we jump at the chance to have oysters Rockefeller and escargot en croûte. black-sesame tuna, which came into vogue (and stayed) since, completes the package.

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Cold-front grub

Fiery spots to nosh at when there’s a chill in the air.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 3:16 PM

The Reuben sammie from Lonni's. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • The Reuben sammie from Lonni's.

Chunky soups and hot sandwiches make for timeless cold-weather favorites. But lip-smackin’ barbecue, spicy noodles and fresh-baked desserts are also cozy go-to staples used to curb the season’s chillier streaks. With joints that cater to those seeking sit-down service or take-away eats, here’s where to dig into hearty fare once the region gets another taste of lower temperatures.

220 East Baked brie, French onion soup, chicken entrees, stir-fry and burgers (get the bleu cheese) join 220 East’s medley of delectables. The restaurant will cook your catch, too. 220 E. Davis Island, Tampa, 813-259-1220,

Capo De Monte An Italian market showcasing hot subs and pressed paninis alongside six cheesesteaks all-the-way dressed (cheese, onions, mushrooms, roasted peppers). 8400 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, 727-394-7800.

The Dunedin Smokehouse No-frills barbecue coated with sauces made in house. Phil and Tammy Renaud’s smokehouse features an outdoor patio fit for cold-weather merriment, live music and way more. 471 Main St., Dunedin, 727-736-2227,

Eddie & Sam’s Pizza This pizzeria creates its pies with imported water from NYC. More than 20 toppings can dress your slice of choice, and something tells us the other grub is just as killer. 203 E. Twiggs St., Tampa, 813-229-8500,

El Puerto Restaurant & Grill An array of Latin food that spans land and sea. Pastas, stews, grilled sandwiches and more. 1623 E. Fifth Ave., Tampa, 813-248-8222,

Encanto Mexicano Modernly twisted Mexican classics. Choose from a range of soul-warming fare, including shredded beef burritos, chicken tortas, enchiladas and potato flautas. 1991 Drew St., Clearwater, 727-449-2445,

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bourbon legends: Maker's Mark, others hit Tampa fest Dec. 6

Another round of drinks, barbecue and music in store for Tampa's Bourbon and Brew Festival.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Ten bourbon brands, including Jim Beam and Angel's Envy, are on tap for the Bourbon and Brew Festival with more to be announced. - BIG CITY EVENTS VIA VIMEO
  • Big City Events via Vimeo
  • Ten bourbon brands, including Jim Beam and Angel's Envy, are on tap for the Bourbon and Brew Festival with more to be announced.

Gather 'round for more maple-bourbon and bacon cocktails, mango-bourbon slushies and country-music toe-tappin' at the second annual Bourbon and Brew Festival, happening from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.

More than 5,000 people are expected to flood The Heights Waterfront for bourbon-fueled merriment, according to a news release. Last year, the event drew around 4,000.

An $18 presale ticket gets festival-goers cocktail tastes crafted with big-name bourbons, including that Maker's Mark Mango Slushie. Prepare to sip on Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Calumet and other barrel-aged liquids.

The Grand Bourbon Tasting — a sampling of more than 40 bourbons and whiskeys that range from mass produced to ultra rare — will highlight brands like Angel's Envy, George Dickel and Lexington until 6. Tasting tickets are $40 and come with a commemorative rocks glass.

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