Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Terlatophiles: Napa winemakers talk vintage, more in Tampa

An Epicurean gathering spilled wine expertise from Napa's Kimberlee Nicholls and Elizabeth Vianna.

Posted By on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 1:20 PM

Terlato Wines' Carl Walker introduced wine mavens Vianna (left) and Nicholls (middle) before their panel discussion. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • Terlato Wines' Carl Walker introduced wine mavens Vianna (left) and Nicholls (middle) before their panel discussion.

About a year after their six-part PBS show, Vintage: Napa Valley 2012, debuted, California winemakers Elizabeth Vianna of Chimney Rock and Kimberlee Nicholls of Markham Vineyards held a Winemaker Symposium at the Epicurean Hotel Thursday afternoon.

Their more-documentary-than-reality-show series, also featuring Rutherford Hill winemaker Marisa Taylor (all three are part of Terlato Wines' portfolio), showcased the gurus and their Napa wineries behind the scenes during the 2012 harvesting season. That year, copious crop loads of quality fruit were acquired.

To restaurateurs and vino enthusiasts in the Epicurean's classroom theater, Vianna and Nicholls discussed their winemaking philosophies, oak barrels, their beginnings in the industry and more.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Meet the Brewers: Ben Romano of Angry Chair

Angry Chair Brewing's beer and style echo Seminole Heights' DIY ethos.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 10:35 AM

  • Julio Ramos

Angry Chair is among the latest breweries to open in Tampa, in what is still a major upswing in the Bay area craft beer scene’s popularity. The brewery and tasting room are located in the heart of hip, hip Seminole Heights, in a stylish old ’40s clock shop (with original ’20s Florida pine from the building repurposed into the custom bar), right on heavily trafficked foodie-haven Florida Avenue.

So yeah, the timing is there. The location is there. The aesthetic is right there.

But what about the beer?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Brass Tap pours for Ybor, Florida Cane Distillery's new gin & more

The Brass Tap, Florida Distillery and Harbor Dish Cafe have the latest in food and drink news.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 5:31 PM

The Brass Tap's Ybor site right off Seventh Avenue. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • The Brass Tap's Ybor site right off Seventh Avenue.

The Brass Tap opened the doors of its seventh Bay area location to Ybor City's Centro Ybor complex at 1600 E. Seventh Ave. Monday.

Housed below Hamburger Mary's, the beer-cigar-wine joint, with a tap list of about 60 craft beers and more in bottles, also serves up bar bites like flatbreads, warm dips, pretzel pizzas (which seem to be all the rage, at least in the fast-food world) and panini.

The beer-bar chain operates in additional out-of-state locales, including Ohio and Arizona.

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Catch Alton Brown on his Edible Inevitable Tour

Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall to host food whiz Alton Brown's Edible Inevitable Tour Feb. 3.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 5:46 AM

  • Food Network
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, Food Network darling Alton Brown will bring his quirky, science-y take on food to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The stop is part of his live, and all-ages-friendly, Edible Inevitable Tour.

Food writer and host of the Cutthroat Kitchen series, Brown has ties to several other Food Network TV shows, including Good Eats and Iron Chef America.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Spring Restaurant Preview 2015: Spots opening soon

Eateries on tap around the springtime on both sides of the bay.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 4:18 PM

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’: The future home of Urban Comfort, Urban Brew's sibling. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • KEEP ON TRUCKIN’: The future home of Urban Comfort, Urban Brew's sibling.

Those who can’t get enough of chef-curated cheese selections, clean eating and craft beer are in luck. While Tampa Bay experienced a series of stunner restaurant openings in the fall last year, a medley of casual and upscale dining destinations are set to tantalize palates further.


Owners Misty and Brian Sommers will use organic ingredients, along with grass-fed beef and poultry, in the gluten-free items at their Ybor City eatery. Within Clementine Café’s open-air dining room at Ybor Daily Market, chef Brian will cook up dishes inside a retro-fitted Airstream trailer. Although 30 seats will accommodate eaters, there will be a walk-up counter for take-away orders. 1920 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-382-5575,


A downtown Safety Harbor joint that plans to rethink traditional restaurant models. At the nonprofit Harbor Dish, founded by Christina Sauger, diners will pay for their meals through suggested donations or a volunteer program, which will involve busing tables, washing dishes and the like. The menu will change daily and integrate organic ingredients when possible. 123 Fourth Ave. S., Safety Harbor, 727-796-8286,

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Food-slingers, breweries team up for more beer feasts

Spring is (sort of) in the air, which means a fresh lineup of beer dinners throughout the region.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 3:28 PM

  • Tyler Killette
No matter the menu offerings (cured pork loin, vanilla bean cheesecake, Cajun shrimp), Tampa Bay has a serious affinity for complementing its craft beer with grub.

Beer-pairing dinners happened at Tampa Bay Brewing Company and The Independent during past Tampa Bay Beer Weeks. Cigar City Brewing's Eggs & Kegs brunch, which premiered at TBBW in 2013 and became a recurring event, typically sells out in advance. And many other food and drink establishments offer brews alongside multicourse meals to create the ultimate taster's paradise.

Keeping pace with CL's Spring Arts Preview, here's a look at five upcoming beer dinners regionites won't want to miss.

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Restaurant review: Fodder & Shine's grub is straight outta history

Authentic no-fuss cracker cuisine is dished up in a charming setting at Tampa's Fodder & Shine.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 3:27 PM

YUMMY BUNNY: A delicious stew of rabbit and cornmeal dumplings. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • YUMMY BUNNY: A delicious stew of rabbit and cornmeal dumplings.

If you really want to put the cuisine of Fodder & Shine into context, you should take a trip to Pinellas County’s Heritage Village prior to eating in Seminole Heights. There, you’ll find the county’s oldest structure, a typical Florida “cracker” log home from the pioneer period. It was built in 1852 by Capt. James McMullen.

You see, the fabulous Bakers ­— chef Greg and Michelle of Refinery fame and acclaim — are bravely letting you travel back in time to survey the state’s cracker cuisine, popular from just before the Civil War to the beginning of the Great Depression.

The menu reflects 18 months of research into heritage food recipes that merge the African, Irish and Scottish eats of cracker families (named for the cracking whips used to herd cattle). With authenticity assured, ingredients are sourced from farmers and ranchers across the state.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Meatless Monday: Snag free Chipotle for Sofritas purchase Jan. 26

Chipotle Mexican Grill to offer diners a free entrée deal with their meat-free Sofritas orders.

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 6:39 PM

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill
On Monday, if Chipotle Mexican Grill diners purchase a vegan Sofritas item (burrito, bowl, salad or taco order), they'll be able to present their receipt for a complimentary entrée of their choice during another visit.

The deal will be offered at Chipotles throughout the Bay area to promote the fast-casual chain's newest menu offering, according to a news release. Folks may redeem their free entrée between Tuesday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Feb. 28.

First introduced to several markets in spring 2013, Sofritas incorporates organic tofu braised with roasted poblanos and more.

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Fusion Bowl, Hablo Taco bring food favorites to Tampa

Tampa's Hablo Taco and Fusion Bowl have the latest in food and drink news.

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 5:50 PM

The spring roll, with shrimp and pork belly, from Fusion Bowl. - FUSION BOWL 504 VIA FACEBOOK
  • Fusion Bowl 504 via Facebook
  • The spring roll, with shrimp and pork belly, from Fusion Bowl.
Two new restaurants, Fusion Bowl and Hablo Taco, joined Tampa's dining scene with a pair of beloved eats: noodles and tacos.

Nestled in Cafe De Soto's former space at 504 E. Kennedy Blvd., Fusion Bowl serves up Vietnamese-inflected breakfast and lunch daily.

Offerings such as beef pho, stir-fried udon and mango mochi outfit the cozy cafe's food lineup, while iced Thai tea and Vietnamese coffee are featured among the beverages.

Though downtown Tampa's Fusion is open, its grand opening will kick off at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Ulele scores spot on Emeril television show

Watch Ulele on Emeril's Florida via the Cooking Channel this month.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 5:08 PM

Executive chef Eric Lackey cooks behind Ulele's open grill. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Executive chef Eric Lackey cooks behind Ulele's open grill.

Celebrity chef and restauranteur Emeril Lagasse was charmed by the Columbia Restaurant Group's Ulele, it seems. The restaurant, which operates along the Hillsborough River, will be featured on the "Waterfront Favorites" episode of his Emeril's Florida TV series.

Influenced by the state's multicultural heritage and early residents, the "ū-nique" elements of Ulele's menu will be highlighted by Lagasse, who talked with owner Richard Gonzmart about the Tampa Heights eatery.

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