Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Drinks & denim: Blind Tiger announces Nov. 13 grand opening

Caffeine and Coppertail Brewing pours to be offered at The Blind Tiger Cafe's official launch.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

The Blind Tiger Cafe rests in a restored brick building on East Seventh Avenue. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • The Blind Tiger Cafe rests in a restored brick building on East Seventh Avenue.

On Monday, Ybor City's Blind Tiger Cafe at 1901 E. Seventh Ave. announced its grand opening from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13.

The cafe's official debut will highlight coffee and Coppertail Brewing Co. offerings.

Designer Roberto Torres of Black & Denim Apparel, a locally run clothing company that manufactures in California, is behind The Blind Tiger. It's a mixed-use retail concept that'll carry beverages, baked goods and items from Torres' apparel line, including T-shirts and leather products.

Bites by Piquant, as well as Buddy Brew Coffee and TeBella Tea Company pours, will outfit The Blind Tiger's bill of fare.

While Torres' staff will manage the coffee and tea bar, as reported by 83 Degrees in August, he'll run CoWork Ybor, the co-working space next door at 1903 E. Seventh Ave.

Once open, CoWork will be a shared, skill-honing workspace for area creatives.

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Liquid assests: Cotherman Distilling Co.'s local spirits

A Tarpon Springs couple goes all in to make their Dunedin distilling dreams a reality.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

DISTILLATION DUO: Michael Cotherman and Tara Cupp. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • DISTILLATION DUO: Michael Cotherman and Tara Cupp.

Michael Cotherman and Tara Cupp sold their house after determining how much it would cost to launch the region’s latest craft distillery, Cotherman Distilling Co.

“Most of our life savings has been spent on opening this,” Cotherman said.

Cotherman Distilling is the wife-and-husband duo’s first foray into owning a business. Last year, they bought a former plumbing warehouse at 933 Huntley Ave. in downtown Dunedin, sat down with the city’s Development Review Committee and hired contractors.

Although the couple have run into some surprises in developing the 3,000-square-foot space (“Some things are prerequisites for other things,” Cotherman said), production day is getting closer.

He and Cupp, with their permits and licenses in tow, are waiting on final inspection and code approval. After that, they’ll generate a Holy Trinity of spirits: vodka, gin and whiskey.

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Restaurant review: Welcome home to Green Springs Bistro

Green Springs' Safety Harbor bungalow mixes Gulf Coast and Mediterranean flavors in a charming setting.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 1:05 PM

OPEN SESAME: Seared mahi mahi crusted with sesame seeds was cooked perfectly. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • OPEN SESAME: Seared mahi mahi crusted with sesame seeds was cooked perfectly.

There’s something very comforting about a restaurant housed in a reclaimed bungalow. Perhaps its multiple, intimate dining spaces lend themselves to charming design. Or maybe it harkens back to childhood memories of visiting special relatives. For me, I can’t help thinking of the wonderful Brigtsen’s in uptown New Orleans near the river bend. Or, closer to home, the winsome Chef T’s Garden Grill in Lakeland. Just entering the front door piques your expectations for something special. At Safety Harbor’s Green Springs Bistro, colorful horizontal beadboard-lined rooms with beachy themes and works by local artists catch your eye. And the bar has a humorous ceramic fish practically engulfing a bottle of wine.

GSB celebrates Gulf coast cookin’ with a touch of the Mediterranean thrown in. A teasing demitasse of tomato-bean bisque prepares our palates. Then, chef Paul Kapsalis honors his Greek heritage with two terrific appetizers. Saganaki — oven-roasted kefalograviera (a firm Greek sheep’s milk cheese), bathed in olive oil in a sizzling cast-iron skillet (from whence the name comes) — arrives at the table with a golden brown crust, and our server squeezes fresh lemon and shouts “Oooopa!!!” with a flair, leaving the table to luxuriate in the warm, oozing cheese with fresh country bread.

There’s also beneli, a Greek flatbread (“pizza before it was round and covered with sauce”) topped with two types of Greek cheese, plus some portobello and tomato slices. The crust is crisp on the bottom, with a chewy soft center and plenty of flavor.

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Tampa's venerable Lauro Ristorante closes

The upscale Lauro Ristorante served northern Italian grub for 33 years before closing its doors.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM

South Tampa's Lauro Ristorante sports a farewell message to longtime patrons. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • South Tampa's Lauro Ristorante sports a farewell message to longtime patrons.

The all-caps lettering below Lauro Ristorante's signage in South Tampa, which used to form brief phrases like "Lunch 11:30-2" and "Open Mother's Day," now reads: "No longer in business. Thank you all."

Lauro Medaglia, who started the traditional northern Italian restaurant 33 years ago, couldn't be reached for comment. The restaurant's phone number is no longer in service, and its website is disconnected.

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Don't call me Cronut: Dunkin's 'Croissant Donut' out Monday

Say hello to Dunkin' Donuts' glazed not-Cronut for a limited time starting next week.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 10:09 AM

  • Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts' latest baked confection, the Croissant Donut, will premiere Monday at participating locations across the country. 

For a limited time, the croissant-doughnut hybrids will be offered every day while supplies last.

According to the breakfast-all-day chain, its Croissant Donut isn't modeled after NYC chef and bakery owner Dominique Ansel's trademarked Cronut that debuted more than a year ago.

"Are we copying a specific bakery in New York? The answer is no," said John Costello, Dunkin's president of global marketing and innovation, in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Disney gets eats by celeb chef Morimoto, The Boathouse

Two new waterfront eateries are slated to open at Orlando's Disney Springs in spring 2015.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM

An exterior rendering of Schussler Creative's waterside noshery called The Boathouse. - THE BOATHOUSE
  • The Boathouse
  • An exterior rendering of Schussler Creative's waterside noshery called The Boathouse.

Regionites who plan to travel to Walt Disney World this spring will notice two new waterfront restaurant concepts at Disney Springs, the park's reimagination of Downtown Disney.

The two-story Morimoto Asia restaurant is headed by celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, who folks likely recognize from the Food Network's Iron Chef, and The Boathouse is the entertainment-meets-dining brainchild of Steven Schussler, creator of Disney's Rainforest and T-Rex cafes.

Morimoto owns other eateries in locales such as Boca Raton and Mexico City, but the one coming to The Landing, formerly Pleasure Island, will be his first pan-Asian venture, as reported by the Disney Parks Blog.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Free until close: Coffee from Kahwa on Henderson

Kahwa Coffee's Henderson store is pouring free coffee for its anniversary.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM

  • Todd Bates
Kahwa Coffee, one of the region's most frequented java joints, is slinging complimentary coffee until 7 p.m. at 3928 Henderson Blvd. in Tampa.

The free deal celebrates the Henderson store's one-year anniversary. Unlike Kahwa's five other locales, it's outfitted with a drive-through window.

The local coffee empire has also stationed its new Kahwagon food truck outside Hyde Park's Chase bank at 614 S. Howard Ave. It's serving up free brews, too, until 1.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Slews of brews: Seven spots for beer this weekend

7venth Sun's three-day tapping, unlimited pours at Brewers' Tasting Room and more.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Party hard with Clearwater's 1-year-old microbrewery Saturday. - PAIR O' DICE BREWING
  • Pair O' Dice Brewing
  • Party hard with Clearwater's 1-year-old microbrewery Saturday.

CL never gets tired of beer. From canine-friendly gatherings to Halloween- and pumpkin-inspired events to what seem like endless keg tappings, here's our top picks for those looking to throw a couple back this weekend.


7venth Sun Brewing's three-day, Halloween-themed tapping party, 7 Feet Under, kicked off its "Farmhouse Fright Night" at noon. The events will showcase more than 50 beers, and continue through the weekend with "Digital Climax" Saturday and "Oh the Horror" Sunday, highlighting session brews. Inside and out, the festivities begin at noon both days. Patrons should use Dunedin's downtown lots for parking. There will be no growler fills or samples of specialty beers. Noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Free, money for beer. 1012 Broadway, Dunedin, 727-733-3013.

Hot Schtuff, the latest brew from Three Palms Brewing, will debut with a bottle release party. At 7.8 percent alcohol, this stout's got hints of brown sugar, cinnamon and the infamous ghost pepper. 5 p.m. Free, money for beer. 1509 Hobbs St., Tampa, 888-813-4856.

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It's The Great Florida Craft Beer Guide, Tampa Bay

Beer writer Mark DeNote to present his must-carry Florida beer guide at Inkwood Books.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

  • Seaside Publishing
Floridian craft beer enthusiasts and novices have a new staple for their book collections: Mark DeNote's The Great Florida Craft Beer Guide (Seaside Publishing, 2014).

DeNote, a beer writer and the editor of, will showcase his well-traveled suds guide, and first book, at Tampa's Inkwood Books at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Last week, the author told South Florida's Sun Sentinel that the state is undergoing "the rebirth of artisanal beer." And the Bay area sees it. A growing number of drinkers are gathering 'round tasting room barstools, filling up their growlers and discovering new tastes.

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Meet the brewers: Julia and Ken Rosenthal of Pair O' Dice Brewing

Experience and detail help this Pinellas craft-brewing couple succeed.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM

WHAT A PAIR: Julia and Ken Rosenthal of Pair O' Dice. - KEVIN TIGHE
  • Kevin Tighe
  • WHAT A PAIR: Julia and Ken Rosenthal of Pair O' Dice.

Given Pair O’ Dice Brewing’s name and graphics, one might be tempted to assume proprietors Ken and Julia Rosenthal are big fans of gambling.

Nope. The Clearwater brewery and tasting room’s identity is actually a twist on the couple’s love for their home state. The two met while both were engineering students at the University of Florida, and while their subsequent work and travels took them across the country, they always looked forward to their trips back home to Ken’s Pinellas stomping grounds.

“We always knew we’d come back at some point,” he says. “And every time we packed our bags to come back here, we’d say we were heading back to paradise.”

After stints working at different Anheuser-Busch facilities — Julia in operations and Ken in the brewhouse — and catching the craft-beer bug early by visiting then-emerging scenes in cities like Austin, Texas, and San Diego, they returned to the Bay area and began meticulously homebrewing their own beers, and planning their new business venture.

Paradise. Pair O’ Dice. Get it?

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