Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lecture highlights CIW achievements, decrease in farmworker exploitation

“Our Food/Our Table: From the Ground Up” was one of seven programs featured during the Florida Holocaust Museum’s annual Genocide and Human Rights Awareness Month.

Posted by on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Huddled over a bucket, Lupe Gonzalo demonstrated how she and other farmworkers positioned themselves while harvesting tomatoes from Florida fields. Working in agriculture for 12 years, a bucket was her only tool.

During “Our Food/Our Table: From the Ground Up,” her April 12 lecture at the Florida Holocaust Museum, Gonzalo said farmworkers spent entire workdays hunched over. Before the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a worker-based human rights group, launched its Fair Food Program, farmworkers collected tomatoes and filled, overfilled, their buckets as quickly as possible to meet growers’ demands.
CIW member Lupe Gonzalo, right, talks with guests after her presentation at the Florida Holocaust Museum. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • CIW member Lupe Gonzalo, right, talks with guests after her presentation at the Florida Holocaust Museum.

Gonzalo, a member of the CIW who has been educating farmworkers on their rights since 2011, said workers used to wake up at 3:30 a.m. Parents rose even earlier to drop their children off at another worker’s home.

Those seeking work congregated in large parking lots. By 4 or 4:30, growers started selecting who they wanted to employ for the day. Although workers arrived at the tomato fields around 6, they were not allowed to begin working until 10:30. Gonzalo said they were not paid for being idle.

Women could not lean forward in a certain way if people were standing behind them in the fields, she said. Sexual harassment and abuse were common. She referred to violence against women, pre-CIW, as “our daily bread.”

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Integrate This: Ginger

Posted by on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Some words connote optimism, like little rays of linguistic sunshine.

In my world, ginger is one of them.

Ginger-mottled kittens and ginger snaps. And you can’t forget the feisty Ginger from Gilligan’s Island.

Tina Louise as Ginger on Gilligans Island.
  • Tina Louise as Ginger on Gilligan's Island.

Ginger root brings me the most mental and medicinal bang for the buck when choosing fresh, healthful lifestyle accoutrements.Fresh, candied, pickled or in capsules, the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale is a medicine cabinet of well-being, readily available in markets worldwide. Ginger is feisty.

This wonder spice has time-tested digestion-friendly properties, in addition to its numerous other health benefits. In India, ginger is liberally used in daily life. Ginger-infused chai is a household favorite, and it’s grandma’s antidote of choice for battling cold and flu. Served on millions of dining tables across the subcontinent, you’ll see slivers of fresh ginger that have turned a soft pink from being soaked in lemon juice and salt: a zingy accompaniment to any cooked meal.

Ginger has been used in China for over 2,000 years to help digestion and treat diarrhea, nausea and stomach upsets. It's also been a key plant in Ayurvedic medicine, a system of traditional medicine native to the East. Over 2000 years ago, ginger was exported from India to the Roman Empire, where it became valued for its therapeutic as well as culinary properties. After the fall of the Roman Empire, ginger continued to be traded in Europe where its supply was controlled by Arab traders for hundreds of years. During medieval times it became a popular ingredient in sweets.

During the 13th and 14th centuries black pepper and ginger were among the most commonly traded spices. By the 16th century, one pound in weight of ginger in England would cost the equivalent of one sheep.

As Western civilization becomes more frustrated with hidden dangers in our food sources, particularly GMOs and other processed foods, folks are becoming more aware of the choices one can make in historically helpful natural foods. Grocers' shelves are suddenly crowded with fancy ginger ales sporting big, bold flavor, from Maine Root Ginger Brew to Reed's Extra Ginger Brew.

Ginger candy is experiencing a surge in sales, both in crystallized and mint form. Newman’s Own Organics Ginger Mints are a constant companion of mine.

Today, ginger is also used as a flavoring by the food and drink industry, as a spice and flavoring in cooking, and for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.

Just think ginger ale for that upset stomach; ginger contains a chemical that is also used as an ingredient in antacid, laxative and anti-gas medications. (Though personally, I see ginger ale’s added sugar as inflammatory, perhaps counterintuitive to overall well-being.) Ginger is commonly used to treat various types of “stomach problems,” including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as loss of appetite.

But ginger’s benefits are more far-reaching in both a preventive and medicinal manner. With its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can bring relief for everything from sore joints to microcirculatory channels of the body. Float some ginger essential oil in your bath to help aching muscles and joints.

Other uses include pain relief from arthritis, menstrual pain, upper respiratory tract infections, cough and bronchitis. It's also sometimes used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain.

Some people pour the fresh juice on their skin to treat burns. The oil made from ginger is sometimes applied directly to the skin to relieve pain.

To help clear those pesky sinuses that flare up from time to time, ginger tea works wonders. An especially strong brew can feel like temporary “wasabi nose,” and clears nasal channels instantly. Ginger is also thought to improve the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body

According to Cephas Gilbert of Cephas’ Jamaican Hot Shop in Ybor City, using fresh ginger root to make tea is most beneficial.

“As with most food sources, using something fresh and live is going to promote the most health and nutritional benefits,” Gilbert said. “Why waste your time with something that has been sitting in warehouses and store shelves for months?”

Gilbert knows. Drinking ginger root tea since childhood in his native Jamaica, Gilbert was introduced to this daily staple by his grandmother and mother, who made brewed it daily. Since opening his 4th Avenue restaurant over 33 years ago, ginger root tea has been a consistent staple and customer favorite.

Alain Del Rio, produce associate at organic market Rollin’ Oats in Tampa, has seen a significant increase in consumer consumption.

“Since around the first of the year, we have definitely seen an upswing in ginger and tumeric root,” Del Rio said. “We used to sell about a half a case a week and now we sell a full case, 20-30 pounds a week.” Del Rio is a daily devotee. “I juice every day with a half of a piece of ginger, a carrot and a bunch of spinach. It packs a world of good.”

Produce associates at Clearwater’s Nature’s Food Patch have also noticed a significant increase in ginger sales, and ginger uses are inquired about frequently by their patrons. Of the 11 fresh organic juices on their menu, five include ginger; their Gingerlicious Smoothie is a patron favorite.

Alexis Springer, mom to seven-year-old Julian, served him ginger tea the past several days to combat his upper respiratory/flu symptoms.

Alexis Springer and son, Julian, sip ginger root tea at Cephas Jamaican Hot Shop.
  • Kimberly DeFalco
  • Alexis Springer and son, Julian, sip ginger root tea at Cephas' Jamaican Hot Shop.

“I’ve been an advocate of ginger for a long time,” said Springer, a former health food store associate. “I’m glad Julian likes it and he seems to be getting better. One of nature’s gifts.”

Brian King, a long-time devotee of ginger tea, aloe vera, and clean food, unprocessed food, is a frequent patron of Cephas Jamaican Hot Shop.
  • Kimberly DeFalco
  • Brian King, a long-time devotee of ginger tea, aloe vera, and clean food, unprocessed food, is a frequent patron of Cephas' Jamaican Hot Shop.

Hey kids, do try this at home. Ginger Tea — Variations on a theme.


Raw ginger, sliced, amount to strength preference
3 quarts of water
Juice from 1/2 lime, or to taste
Honey, agave nectar or other sweetener (personal preference is stevia)
Variations or additions can include cinnamon sticks, green or any flavor of tea or fresh fruit slices (or whatever you imagine)


Peel the ginger and slice thinly to maximize the surface area. This will help you make a very flavorful ginger tea.

Boil the ginger in water for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger and more feisty tea, allow to boil for 20 minutes or more, and use more slices of ginger. You really can't overdo it, so feel free to add as much ginger and simmer it for as long as you want.

Remove from heat and add lime juice and honey, agave nectar or other sweetener to taste.

The secret to making a really flavorful ginger tea is to be generous with the ginger — more than you think you will need. Be creative, sip, savor, relax and repeat.

User Beware:

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the use of herbs can interact with other herbs or medications. Therefore, it's important to talk to your doctor before taking ginger. You should not take ginger if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications (such as Warfarin or aspirin). Side effects of consuming ginger are rare, but may include:

Stomach upset
Mouth irritation

Those with celiac disease should also heed caution. Once again, consult your physician.

Ginger Tip of the Day: Avoid the "sprouting ginger counter garden" by freezing freshly-purchased ginger in air-tight bags or containers.

Honor Thy Earth. Earth Day,Tuesday, April 22.

Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in over 192 countries.

Eco-Fest 2014, held April 12 at Lowry Park, is one of the area’s largest celebrations. Organized by Learning Gate Community School, the City of Tampa and the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability, Eco-fest drew thousands to this year’s events.

Words of Wisdom from a really smart person.

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”
― Winston Churchill

Great local harvest updates. Big Bear Farms in Plant City, established in 1990 as a conventional farm, the proprietors stopped using chemical pesticides by 1991. By 2004, all chemical fertilizers ceased. Big Bear Farms is a family-owned and operated certified organic fruit and vegetable farm. They operate under the strict rules of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and are certified by Quality Certification Services (QCS). You can sign up for their harvest updates or visit the farm. bigbearfarms.mysite.com

Also, www.localharvest.org offers regional signups for weekly updates on current harvests, farmer’s markets, family farms, CSAs, farm stands, and u-pick produce in your preferred area.

Sustainable Farming: Art for Advocacy Mon., April 21, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. A gallery show featuring local artists and visual arts students from Gibbs, Pinellas County Center for the Arts. All works were created specifically for the show, and so express in some way, the artist's understanding of sustainable farming. A percentage of all art purchased at the event will be donated to Sweetwater Organic Community Farm.

This exhibit will be held at Stetson University College of Law (1401 61st St. S, Gulfport, FL). Admission is free.

Free lecture: Natural Stress Relief Mon., April 21, 6:15 p.m. at Rollin' Oats Tampa location. Dr. Robert Linde — AP, RH, Doctor of Oriental Medicine — discusses secrets to stress relief using resources from the earth.

Got Moringa! Thurs., April 17th, 6:30 p.m. at Clearwater's Nature's Food Patch. Permaculturists of The Edible Garden Nursery will instruct on the multi-purpose benefits of the Moringa plant and why everyone should have this tree in their yard.

Free Cooking Class: The Whole Coconut Thurs., April 24, 6 :15 p.m. at Rollin' Oats Tampa location. Mindful Meals personal chef Emily Golden Drews will educate on use of coconut in whole food recipes.

Stay in the loop with area outdoor market updates. Tampa Bay Markets, Inc. and St. Pete District Markets, a collective of community farmers’ markets featuring locally grown foods, crafts and live music. Both are also on Facebook.

Granny’s Remedies: Keep those pearly whites even whiter with sage leaves and strawberries. Rubbed on one's teeth, it will help remove tartar and stains.

Documentary pick of the week: The Beautiful Truth is about a teen-aged Alaskan native determined to prove or dispel what Dr. Max Gerson wrote in his 1958 controversial book, A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, following thirty years of clinical experimentation. After countless interviews with doctors, skeptics, cancer patients, and members of Gerson’s family, it became clear to 15-year-old Garrett Kroschel that a cure for virtually all cancers and chronic diseases does exist — and has existed for over 80 years. (Available on Amazon Prime and Netflix, it can also be viewed for free on topdocumentaryfilms.com.)

Just to be clear: I am not a healthcare professional, but a passionate advocate of natural health and voracious reader and lecture/seminar attendee. I just want to learn and share.

Let’s help keep each other in the know. If you have any suggestions, news events or feature ideas please email me at Integratethiskimberlydefalco@gmail.com. 

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

RumFish Grill & Bar to open at Guy Harvey Outpost after May 16

Construction for Guy Harvey’s new restaurant on St. Pete Beach at 6000 Gulf Blvd. is underway.

Posted by on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 4:07 PM

From left to right, Keith Overton, Guy Harvey, Wade King and Brett Raymer discuss RumFish Grill & Bar's massive aquarium, which is the main feature of the dining room. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • From left to right, Keith Overton, Guy Harvey, Wade King and Brett Raymer discuss RumFish Grill & Bar's massive aquarium, which is the main feature of the dining room.

In a blue Guy Harvey long sleeve, Keith Overton faced a sea of hard hats at the Guy Harvey Outpost on Wednesday, April 9. The TradeWinds Island Resort president stood on what will become an outside bar, with a 4,500-square-foot deck and stage for live music, at the outpost’s new restaurant, the RumFish Grill & Bar.

Marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey, as well as Wayde King and Brett Raymer of Animal Planet’s “Tanked,” a series that follows the duo’s aquarium manufacturing business, stood nearby. King and Raymer built the 33,500-gallon aquarium located in the restaurant’s main dining area.

Slated to open soon after its episode of “Tanked” airs on May 16, RumFish will be “the draw of Tampa Bay,” Overton said, calling it “a high-end dining experience.”

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Hyde Park/SoHo: Food & Drink

Eats, beverages and nightlife in one of Tampa's most unique and walkable neighborhoods.

Posted by on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 1:04 PM

  • Todd Bates

717 South Everything from Italian fare to seafood and steaks, with cocktails and more than 400 bottles of wine from across the globe. In CL’s Ask the Locals insiders’ guide, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon called 717 South his favorite South Tampa hangout (a distinction it will eventually have to share with Ava, the Italian restaurant Maddon is scheduled to open in the condo complex across the street on Aug. 1, in partnership with 717 owner Michael Stewart). 717 S. Howard Ave., 813-250-1661, 717south.com.

Ashworth Artisan Chocolate Visit this choco-emporium at Hyde Park Village to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether cravings call for dipped, nutty or caramel-filled, Ashworth’s hand-crafted selection of chocolate bars, fudge, turtles and more has you covered. 1605 W. Snow Ave., 813-251-6764, ashworthartisanchocolate.com.

Bella’s Italian Cafe A SoHo mainstay for close to three decades, Bella’s serves classic, homemade Italian crowd-pleasers. This spot is equally cozy when dining for two or with a crowd. 1413 S. Howard Ave. #100, 813-254-3355, bellasitaliancafe.com.
Bern’s Steak House A Tampa classic equally beloved for its aged steaks, encyclopedic wine list and fabled upstairs dessert room. While the interior may bear something of a resemblance to Disney’s Haunted Mansion, the service and food, despite the price tag, fuel diners to return and tourists to flock. 1208 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-2421, bernssteakhouse.com.

Boca Opened by Gordon Davis and Kevin Enderle of Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club and other Bay area eateries, Boca occupies a well-traveled Hyde Park corner and espouses a passionate farm-to-table philosophy. Fresh seasonal ingredients are supplied by local growers to create an inventive menu that encourages a communal dining experience. 901 W. Platt St., 813-254-7070, bocatampa.com.

The Bungalow Restaurant and Bar Florida-style cuisine in a brick-walled landmark built in 1919. Yucca fries, Caribbean chicken, coconut tequila shrimp tacos and more. $5 food and drink specials on Tuesdays starting at 5 p.m. 2202 W. Kennedy Blvd., 813-253-3663, bungalowtampa.com.

Ceviche One of the area’s earliest proponents of tapas-style Spanish cuisine, Ceviche now has branches all over Florida. Hyde Park/SoHo is where it all started, however, and the restaurant is still known for its varied menu and signature sangria. Food and drink specials, live music and dancing occur throughout the week. 2500 W. Azeele St., 813-250-0203, ceviche.com.

Cheap A restaurant-bar that doubles as a late-night lounge on the SoHo strip. From sushi and seafood to “pigzas” (stone-seared pizzas worth pigging out on) , Cheap has a little something for everyone. 309 S. Howard Ave., 813-258-5878, cheapinsoho.com.

Ciccio’s/Water Healthy casual cuisine with Cali-Asian fusion. Choose from rice bowls, wraps, stir-fries, sushi, salads and more. The menus carry a number of dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options. 1015 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-8406, cicciorestaurantgroup.com.

CineBistro Upgrade dinner-and-a-movie in this Hyde Park Village spot, where servers take your orders (Banh Mi sliders, Moroccan-spiced lamb chops) and bring them to you as you relax in a cushy recliner. Pricier than popcorn and movies at the mall, but fun. 1609 W. Swann Ave., 813-514-8300, cobbcinebistro.com.

CopperFish Another brainchild of SoHo Hospitality Management’s Davis and Enderle, CopperFish delights with fresh, simple seafood in a rustic yet intimate setting. (Read the review on p. 29.) Saturdays and Sundays offer brunch and football starting at noon. 1502 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-6789, copperfishtampa.com.

Daily Eats A hip little diner that serves up breakfast — bowls, French toast, omelets — all the time. Other offerings include burgers, mac and cheese, pulled barbecue sandwiches and salads. 901 S. Howard Ave., 813-868-3335, cicciorestaurantgroup.com.

The DrYnk This spot is part bar, part lounge, part nightclub. DJs spinning, special events, 3-D lighting effects, the works. 302 S. Howard Ave., 813-347-9141, thedrynksoho.com.

The Dubliner Irish Pub A popular Irish bar located just off Howard Avenue. Pub delicacies, such as nachos, soup and cold brews, can be found here, with live music Wednesdays through Saturdays. 2307 W. Azeele St., 813-258-2257, thedublineririshpub.com.

Ducky’s Enjoy the game on one of multiple 60-inch screens scattered around this boutique sports lounge, co-owned by Rays star Evan Longoria. And don’t miss out on the four-lane mini bowling. 1719 W. Kennedy Blvd., 813-254-6160, duckystampa.com.

Edison Food + Drink Lab Executive Chef Jeannie Pierola's experimental but always exciting spirit flavors everything from the “large format” entrees (like “caramelized sea scallops + chorizo crusted bone marrow”) to the cocktails (like Fire from Lima, a Pisco concoction recently featured in CL’s Drinking Issue). 912 W. Kennedy Blvd., 813-254-7111, edison-tampa.com.

Élevage CL restaurant critic Jon Palmer Claridge was blown away by Èlevage, part of the Epicurean hotel opened in late 2013 by the Bern’s/SideBern’s team, declaring, “Chad Johnson and Élevage have clearly thrown down the gauntlet.” 1207 S. Howard Ave., 813-999-8726, epicureanhotel.com.

Evos Burgers, wraps, salads, shakes and “airfries,” baked sans deep fryer. Fast food without the high calories. 609 S. Howard Ave., 813-258-3867, evos.com.

Fitlife Foods Healthy (and very tasty) pre-packaged meals from a locally based franchise that launched in 2011. 504 S. Howard Ave., 813-512-8915, eatfitlifefoods.com.

Four Green Fields Another popular Irish pub, this one known for its signature thatched roof and its popularity among journalists and politicos. Irish favorites such as potato leek soup, corned beef and shepherd’s pie are available alongside draft beers and live entertainment. 205 W. Platt St., 813-254-4444, fourgreenfields.com.

Gourmet Pizza Company When CL had its offices just north of Kennedy, we ordered from Gourmet Pizza all the time, and we still have fond memories. South Tampa denizens get to enjoy it all the time. Gluten-free options are available. 610 S. Armenia Ave., 813-258-1999, gourmetpizza-company.com.

Green Lemon Part of the CRG mini-empire, Green Lemon (formerly Lime) serves modern Mexican cuisine, street tacos and all. Fiesta Hour every day from 2 to 7 p.m. 915 S. Howard Ave., 813-868-5463, cicciorestaurantgroup.com.

Hugo’s You’ll find inexpensive comfort food at this family-owned Latin restaurant. Some believe Hugo’s has the best Cuban sandwich in Tampa Bay. Judge for yourself. 931 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-2842.

Indigo Coffee The Hyde Park Village branch offers free Wi-Fi and a coffee blend that uses hand-picked Arabica beans. 716 S. Village Circle, 813-250-0345, drinkingindigo.com.

Irish 31 The pub neighbor of CineBistro (in the former home of the Wine Exchange), Irish 31 is known for its five renditions of boxty, an Irish potato pancake, plus flatbreads, sliders, salads and more, with brunch on Sundays. Wine, beer and signature cocktails, too. 1611 W. Swann Ave., 813-250-0031, irish31.com.

The Kennedy This nightclub hosts DJ events and live performances with VIP seating, a dance floor and drink specials. A dress code is enforced. 2408 W. Kennedy Blvd., 813-259-9669, thekennedysoho.com.

Koto Japanese Steakhouse Tableside pyrotechnics and sushi specials where Whaley's Market used to be. 533 S. Howard Ave., 813-964-6808, kotosteakhouse.com.

The Lodge A restaurant-bar and late-night hangout that puts twists on American staples, like Thai popcorn chicken and barbecue mac and cheese. 516 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-5634, cicciorestaurantgroup.com.

MacDinton’s An oft-crowded sports bar beloved by soccer fans, MacDinton’s is a popular singles spot and a reputed rite of passage for University of Tampa students upon turning 21. Patrons line up outside way before drink specials start, waiting for that coveted wristband. 405 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-8999, macdintons.com/SoHo-Tampa.

Meaner Wiener Hot dogs for every taste: Chicago, Coney, chili, they're all here. Plus sliders, Philly steaks, Italian beef, milkshakes and more. 500 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-0214, meanerwienertampa.com.

Mise en Place The restaurant that introduced Tampa to upscale contemporary cuisine, thanks to the inspired cooking of Marty Blitz and the leadership of Maryann Ferenc. And the food's just as good as ever. 42 W. Grand Central Ave., 813-254-5373,

Nature's Table Hyde Park Village’s healthy alternative to fast food offers plenty of vegetarian-friendly soups, salads, wraps, panini, smoothies and more, along with classic carnivore fare like chicken salad. 1622 W. Snow Ave., 813-254-9288, naturestable.com.

Oxford Exchange The gorgeous new complex has become the go-to spot for power lunches in the sun-filled restaurant, quiet afternoon tea or coffee from TeBella and Buddy Brew — and now, Thursday suppers. 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., 813-253-0222, oxfordexchange.com.

Panera Beach A spacious, familiar SoHo hangout, perfect for study groups and those who don’t have to report to the office. 709 S. Howard Ave., 813-253-5888, panerabread.com.

Piquant French-inspired everything in the space formerly occupied by Restaurant BT. Dishes include petit cassoulet and seared smoked scallops, and the bakery is a prime source for that addictive item known in other spheres as the Cronut and here just called a croissant donut — in other words, the best of both worlds. 1633 W. Snow Ave., 813-251-1777, piquanthydepark.com.

Ribit’s Bar-B-Que Stop by this gas station-turned-barbecue joint after a bar crawl or two along the SoHo strip. Alabama-style pork ribs, pulled pork that pays homage to North Carolina, brisket, smoked sausage and chicken. Oh, and a Cajun-esque crawfish boil on Fridays and Saturdays. Open for lunch Tues-Fri. and from 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Wed.-Sat. 401 S. Howard Ave., 813-817-4909, ribitsbbq.com.

Royal Palace Thai The Damrongs opened Royal Palace more than 20 years ago, bringing authentic Thai recipes and flavors to the Bay area. Medleys of sour, sweet, salty and bitter dance throughout the dishes. 811 S. Howard Ave., 813-258-5893, royalpalacethai.com.

Sally O’Neal’s Pizza Hotline One of the progenitors of the gourmet pizza movement, Sally’s has been providing Hyde Park with white and custom pizza options (as well as pasta dishes) since 1985. They’ve got a gluten-free dough option, too. 1319 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-0220, sallyonealspizza.com.

Schakolad Chocolate Factory The venerable "custom retail chocolate boutique" prides itself on making all its chocolates on the premises. 408 S. Howard Ave., 813-259-1099, schakolad.com/store10.

SideBern’s The younger sister of iconic steakhouse Bern’s is CL critic Jon Palmer Claridge's choice for “the number one restaurant in all of Tampa Bay.” 2208 W. Morrison Ave., 813-258-2233, sideberns.com.

SoHo Tavern A neighborhood restaurant-bar with ties to Italy, Ireland and America that are reflected through its menu. 2221 W. Platt St., 813-253-5900, sohotavern.com.

Starbucks The spot for SoHo people-watching. 715 S. Howard Ave., 813-250-9223, starbucks.com.

Swann Avenue Market & Deli Locally owned with a grand craft beer and wine selection, the deli makes classic sandwiches like Cubans and Reubens, as well as custom orders. 1021 W. Swann Ave., 813-251-5000, swannave.com.

TC Choy’s Asian Bistro From the popular dim sum menu heavy on traditional delicacies to sushi and updated Asian classics, TC Choy’s substantial menu has something for every fan of Eastern tastes. 301 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-1191, tcchoysbistro.com.

Timpano Italian Chophouse This surf-and-turf destination features a raw bar with carpaccio and tartar, aged beef, seafood, flatbreads, pasta and more. Live entertainment Tuesdays through Saturdays. 1610 W. Swann Ave., 813-254-5870, timpanochophouse.net/tampa.

Tiny Tap Tavern The epitome of a dive bar. Four beers at most on draft, with a couple bottles of wine stored underneath the bar. Regulars haunt Tiny Tap, but newbies aren’t treated like strangers. 2105 W. Morrison Ave., 813-258-5212.

Urban Cantina Fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, churros and more in hearty portions. Try the torta (Mexican sandwich) with breaded steak. 223 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-8226, urbancantina.com.

Wine Exchange This bistro and wine bar in Hyde Park Village presents diners with more than 40 types of wine from around the world. Food options include Cajun-stuffed meatloaf, chicken marsala and wasabi pea-crusted tuna. The patio is a lovely spot for an al fresco lunch. 1609 W. Snow Ave., 813-254-9463, wineexchangetampa.com.

World of Beer South Tampa Part taphouse, part sports bar and part all-around hangout destination, the SoHo location of this rising brand boasts a selection of up to 500 beers. 402 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-6800, http://wobusa.com/locations/south-tampa.

Yard of Ale More than 20 beers on tap. Along with local and domestic brews, edible fare includes nachos, oven-baked subs, pizza and calzones. 406 S. Howard Ave., 813-251-4433, yardofale.com.

Zudar's Awesome sandwiches at a beloved Tampa deli on the outskirts of Hyde Park. 201 W. Platt St., 813-250-6272, zudarsdeli.com.

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St. Pete Brewing Co. is Tampa Bay's newest craft brewery

Posted by on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 10:27 AM


The long wait is over.

St. Pete Brewing Co. opens today with its first five beers on tap in a cozy tasting room steps away from the brew house, where the sixth beer, an ESB, sits in a fermenter almost ready to go.

Long wooden oars crossed over a lighted anchor are mounted behind the bar, and a collection of photos on the pale yellow walls documents the run up to the opening of Tampa Bay’s newest craft brewery. Beers are listed on skateboards — an homage to the skate shop that once filled the space.

“I never thought I’d see this day come,” said head brewer/partner Jon McCracken during a soft opening Wednesday night. “Every roadblock — we’d get by one and three would come up. I don’t think it’s settled in yet that we’re finally open.’’

The brewery, St. Pete’s fifth, located at 544 First Ave. N. around the corner from Cycle Brewing and down First Ave. from Green Bench Brewing, has been highly anticipated by not only its fans but its neighbors, an art gallery and Italian restaurant that hope it will help draw folks from Central Avenue. The two signature beers the brewery has produced on a contract basis are now brewed in-house along with solid new styles McCracken has developed.

The Orange Wheat is already on tap for the first time at Tropicana Field. The first beers in the tasting room include the dry Grateful Stout — McCracken is a Deadhead — with balanced notes of coffee and chocolate. The Orange Wheat has a tad more orange flavor and aroma under McCracken’s new tweaked recipe. A pale ale, a blonde and a solid IPA (Northern Brewer and Chinook hops) round out the offerings.

Owner Tom Williams was smiling broadly that his brewery was finally opening. “We’re excited to see what will sell here,” he said, gesturing around the tasting room.

Check Facebook for details about St. Pete Brewing’s opening.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fired up: CopperFish turns up the heat on SoHo's incendiary restaurant scene

SoHo's CopperFish Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar combines winning ingredients with an open flame.

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Grilled oysters are a signature dish. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Grilled oysters are a signature dish.

I’m really glad that I’m not a restaurant entrepreneur. It’s got to be a little bit like being a Vegas high-roller. You need guts ‘n’ money and, well, the stakes are high. Case in point is Hyde Park’s 1502 S. Howard Ave.

When I visited in September 2012, it housed the nuevo latino Samba Room, which earned a rapturous review and the BOTB imprimatur as “Best New Restaurant.” The food was thrilling, but the market didn’t meet expectations and it shuttered within months.

So the SoHo Hospitality folks regrouped. They took the best ideas from their restaurant portfolio, i.e. fresh and local from Boca and craft cocktails from Ciro’s, and threw in the excitement of open flames to launch CopperFish.

CopperFish's namesake conversation piece. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • CopperFish's namesake conversation piece.

As I approach the entrance and pass the huge, shiny namesake sculpture that’s large enough to make any true angler proud, my nose sends a lighting bolt to my brain. It’s the arresting sense memory of a roaring fire. The smoky allure immediately conjures images of being joyfully snowbound in my days up north. Grateful as I am now to have traded the scourge of winter and the polar vortex’s brutality for sun and sand, it’s an elemental scent that harkens back to the birth of civilization. And it permeates every inch of CopperFish.

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Lost weeknight

A tale of friendship and forgetting in Hyde Park.

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 11:45 AM

MacDinton's in SoHo. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • MacDinton's in SoHo.

I think it was when I tried to shift in the back of the cop car and noticed my balls sticking to the cold vinyl-upholstered seat that I finally began to sober up. It had been a long, strange Wednesday evening in Hyde Park.

It started simply enough, with 5 p.m. Bottomless Wine Night at the Bungalow. For $10, you had two hours to drown yourself in all the cheap reds or whites you could handle. It was the perfect setting for another prolifically drunken evening.

My old band, The Lion Faced Boy, had just gotten back from tour. We were still trying to crest the booze-filled wave we’d been riding for months. I'd come home with a chip on my shoulder and a high-water mark on my liver that told me “excess” was not in my lexicon.

So we drank. And then we drank some more.

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Come thirsty to the Tiny Tap

Tippling and talking at the Tiny Tap Tavern, Hyde Park’s venerable neighborhood dive.

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 11:44 AM

The Tiny Tap Tavern at 2105 W. Morrison Ave. - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • The Tiny Tap Tavern at 2105 W. Morrison Ave.

Right off South Howard Avenue, SoHo strip crawlers will find the Tiny Tap Tavern.

If they’re lucky enough (or unlucky enough, some might say), they’ll wander in.

The Tiny Tap sits incongruously at 2105 W. Morrison Ave. in an aged, yellow concrete building among higher-end Hyde Park haunts like SideBern's and its ilk. Yet this gas station-turned-neighborhood staple, one of the oldest bars in Tampa, is also one of the most beloved.

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Interview: Frank Strunk III

Metal artist Frank Strunk III turns 50 this weekend with a celebration at St. Pete's Ale and the Witch.

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 11:43 AM

The Ale and the Witch is celebrating Frank Strunk III's 50th birthday this weekend. - ARIELLE STEVENSON
  • Arielle Stevenson
  • The Ale and the Witch is celebrating Frank Strunk III's 50th birthday this weekend.

Metal artist Frank Strunk III turns 50 this weekend.

There's a party in his honor, FrankFest (Sunday, April 13, at the Ale and the Witch), with beer, music, food, art and more. I met Strunk 10 years ago at a swing dance and later worked for a short time as a carpenter in the space adjacent to his studio. The harden-industrial artist has a soft spot for the creative spirit, and has encouraged myself and others to pursue our passion on more than one occasion. 

He has a way of challenging those around him to do better. And love or loathe him, Strunk and his art elicit a response. That's the purpose of art. Strunk spoke with Creative Loafing about some revelations he's had in his 20 years as an artist in St. Petersburg. 

Frank Strunk III: I'm Frank Strunk III. I'm an artist, and I'm about to turn 50 years old. I live in St. Petersburg, Fla. I'm an American artist. I'm by no means a Florida artist. 

Is that caveat important?

It's important because my work is informed by our nation. I don’t do fish. I’m a metal artist, probably the only metal artist in the state of Florida that doesn’t do fish.

When did you decide you were going to be an artist?

I used to work construction, I've always worked with my hands. At the end of the day, I'd put any excess metal scraps in the truck and try and make stuff at home. It was awful for a long time. You have to be bad for a while. It's a pipeline. If you're lucky, you'll have someone critique you gently enough as opposed to just slamming you. Because in the art world, people slam you. 

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spend a Sunday on the Deuces

A weekly farmers market intends to remake history along 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg.

Posted by on Sun, Apr 6, 2014 at 11:12 PM

A view of the Deuces Live Sunday Market, located just off 22nd Street South. More than 20 vendors set up shop at the market's debut. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • A view of the Deuces Live Sunday Market, located just off 22nd Street South. More than 20 vendors set up shop at the market's debut.

The Deuces Live Sunday Market, a new outdoor farmers market in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg, premiered on Sunday at 22nd Street South and Ninth Avenue.

As visitors approached from down the street, “Rock the Boat” by the Hues Corporation and other R&B classics could be heard. Market spectators lounged in folding chairs in the shade as children danced together in groups, keeping pace with the tunes being broadcast from a large stage.

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