A nonprofit founded by former youth pastor Jason Sowell, Current is an almost entirely student-run organization that assists low-income families through initiatives like home makeovers and the Laundry Love Project, a unique solution to a basic human need.
Laundry Love crews turn neighborhood laundromats into ad hoc community centers, putting coins in the slot for those unable to pay for clean clothes themselves and providing activities for families while they wait.
The next Laundry Love Project will take place tomorrow, Dec. 3, at Big Wash Coin Laundry, 908 E Waters Avenue in Tampa from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jason says volunteers are always needed, so stop by and join the fun. While you're there you can learn more about Current's upcoming Laundry Love road trip to Orlando and its annual Christmas trip to help the needy families of Las Vegas.
With roughly 400 awards in the Readers' Poll and Critics' Pick lists combined, we weren't able to hand everything out during last night's show — and even some of the folks who were there to accept couldn't maneuver their way through the throngs to pick up their awards on stage. (Sorry, SideBern's.) So, if you didn't receive your award yet — and you can find the entire list right here — come by our offices at 1911 N. 13th St. (above Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor Square) anytime between 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and pick them up. Or — contact Lily Reisman at 813-739-4815 or email@example.com, and she'll help arrange a delivery.For more pictures, check out the Loafies slide show.
Creative Loafing's annual Best of the Bay extravaganza turns 21 this year, so now that we're finally legal we're holding the BOTB awards show, The Loafies, at a bar — on the 21st.
Join us Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 7 p.m. to whenever at the multi-level, multi-media Czar Imperial Theatre in Ybor City. We'll be announcing winners of our Critics' Picks and Readers' Poll in categories like Best Politician (and Best Worst Politician), Best Breakout Visual Artist (and Best Place to Show Your Butt), Best Chef (and Best Band to Drink Whiskey To) — and we'll be handing out the first copies of the Best of the Bay 2011 issue.
36 hours to go! We'd previously announced a deadline of 4 a.m. tomorrow for the end of voting in this year's Best of the Bay Readers' Poll, but figured who but robo-voters would be up at 4 a.m.? So now all you human beings have a chance, too — our biggest Readers' Poll ever closes officially once and for all at 11:59 p.m. Wed. Aug. 31.
That means you still have a chance to vote for your favorite restaurants, newsmakers, dog parks, head shops, bizarro local news stories and more. We've already alerted you to some of the close races and top vote-getters; so log in and be counted!
Plus, you can now get an amazing deal on our annual Best of the Bay Awards Show, The Loafies.
You have less than 48 hours to vote in the Best of the Bay Readers' Poll 2011, which closes on Wed. Aug. 31 at
4 a.m. 11:59 p.m.
We told you last week which races are the tightest — and it looks like someone paid attention, because things have changed in categories like Best Italian Restaurant and Best Gym.
Well, here's some more intel you might find of interest — the categories drawing the biggest number of votes, plus a few that could use a little love. And remember: There's still plenty of time for a dark horse to pull ahead in the poll's final days.
• Hair and there: In Goods & Services, voters are flipping their wigs for the Best Hairstylist and Best Hair Salon categories. Best Clothing Boutique (Women) is also a hotly contested race. And in what may be an indication that huge institutions=huge votes, we're seeing big tallies for Best Hospital and Best Department Store. But if you've got a favorite Pilates Studio, it's time to stand up (or stretch out?) and be counted.
• If you lived there, you'd be voting now: Love where you're living? Two contenders are currently tied for first place for Best Apartment Complex — so it's time to get off the couch and get out the vote.
• Big appetites: The votes are pouring in like gravy for categories like Best Breakfast, Best Pizza and Best All-Around Restaurant (a new category this year). But vote counts for Best Middle Eastern Restaurant and Best Soul Food could use some fattening up.
Have you voted in this year's Best of the Bay Readers' Poll? If not, you'd better hurry: The poll closes at
4 a.m. 12:59 p.m. on Wed. Aug. 31. The tally so far has already broken records, and with less than seven days to go, we're expecting all of the races to go right down to the wire.
Here's some hints on where things stand:
Best City: Tampa, St. Pete or Clearwater? We added this new category thanks to a staffer who's a passionate advocate for his side of the Bay, and it's turned into one of the biggest vote-getters ever. While some voters want to think more holistically ("Aren't they just one big city that doesn't want to admit it?") and others are rejecting the three cities altogether and suggesting alternatives — "Temple Terrace (and no, that's not the same as Tampa - waaaaaaay different)" — we are seeing a fierce fight that at this point any of the three could win.
Worst Local Politician: For years, one public servant has had a lock on this category. She's once again showing strength, but this year she faces a competitor who may have out-worsted her.
For the 21st time, we're asking our readers to get online and make their voices heard on who/what/where to see/do/eat/play/shop/make fun of in Tampa Bay. And, since dining out seems to be a big deal in the Bay, we at the CL Food & Drink section are humbly requesting your votes. We don't care who or what you choose, we just want your opinion on the hard-hitting topics, like "Who has the best burger?," "Which chef throws it down the most skilfully?," "Where's the best spot to abuse a Happy Hour menu?," and so many more.
The voting for Creative Loafing's 2011 Best of the Bay Readers' Poll is just weeks away, and we'd like your input.
Check out last year's winners. What categories should we add? What categories should we retire? Any predictions for this year's results?
We're in the process of putting together the ballot right now, and the polls will open on July 28. Tell us what you're hoping to see on the ballot in comments below, or go to CL's Facebook page.
Tampa Bay has an array of restaurants that represent different cuisines from around the globe. So put away your passport, save yourself an expensive flight overseas and check out some of the best ethnic fare the Bay area has to offer as picked by our CL staffers and faithful readers.
Best Fish & Chips: Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Palma Ceia
Anglophiles on both sides of the bay have known for years that when only the perfect fish and chips will do, Mad Dogs is the destination. Greasy, but not too greasy, with that batter thats crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside. The chips are great big slabs of salty golden awesome, and the portions are heroic. The whole meal is so authentic it oughta come wrapped in newspaper. There are a couple of other places in the area that come pretty close, but Mad Dogs has been doing it so well for so long that their perfection is second nature. 4115 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-832-3037, maddogs.com
Best Dinner and a Movie: Bollywood Cafe, Westchase
At first, it seemed like Bollywood Cafe would be all schtick and little substance. This new Westchase restaurant promised internet kiosks at every table, Bollywood flicks on the patio and food that seemed silly at best. But the menu turned out to be better than expected, with serious Indian dishes sharing space with bizarre but satisfying Indo-American fusions like chili paneer fries or tandoori penne vodka. Its just the kind of fun but tasty fare you need to carry you through 90 minutes of massive, highly energetic choreographed dance numbers on the big screen in the courtyard. 9648 W Linebaugh Ave., Tampa, 813-926-4000, bollywoodcafe.us
Best "Why Didn't I Think of That" Fusion Restaurant: Nitallys Thai-Mex Cuisine, Downtown St. Pete
A risky idea pays off handsomely for this spicy Grand Central space, and for St. Pete diners as well. The folks at Nitally take two of the boldest ethnic cuisines out there and cross-reference them both subtly like serving a peanut chicken dish with tortillas and outrageously (like their curry burritos). Theres also plenty of more traditional Thai fare on the menu for the less adventurous, and its wonderful, but its those epicureans willing to take a chance on chorizo fried rice or the stunning panang mole that really benefit from Nitallys unique culinary perspective. 2462 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-321-8428, thai-mex.net
Best Lunchtime Thai: Sumo's Thai Cafe, Downtown Tampa
Only open for lunch, this family-owned bistro serves contemporary Thai food in a pleasant atmosphere. Perfectly browned spring rolls with a delicate spicy-sweet sauce and uniquely refreshing main dishes are sure to send you back to the office with a smile. Its a bargain, too even with an appetizer and drink, youre not likely to break $15. 301 E Twiggs Ave., Tampa, 813-849-7866
Here it is, the best in libations in the Bay, where to get them and who to get them from as chosen by the CL staff and our faithful readers.
Best Way to Get Drunk for $2: Reservoir Bars Mr. Purple shots, Ybor
A down and dirty dive bar on the Ybor City strip that always merits a drop-in before a show, Reservoir Bar serves up the tastiest little jolt of liquor you can find in town for two bucks. It tastes like grape Dimetapp and were certain we dont really want to know whats in there but Mr. Purple does his work every time. Chase em down with the cheapest PBR tall boys on Seventh Ave. 1518 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-248-1442, resbar.com
Best Place to Chase the Green Fairy: James Joyce Irish Pub, Ybor
If you like bawdy singalongs to live traditional Irish music, the James Joyce is your kind of place. But for a real treat, try a taste of their absinthe. You know what they say: Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder. 1704 1/2 E Seventh Ave, Ybor City, 813-247-1896
Best Artisanal Cocktails: Ocean Prime, West Shore
With bartenders becoming mixologists and liquor being subjected to what New York Times food critic Frank Bruni has called an infuse-a-palooza, one might expect the double-digit drinks at the upscale chain Ocean Prime to be too over-the-top trendy to bear. But thats not the case. Someone at OP knows that less is more, creating cocktails like the cucumber gimlet and whiskey clover that are models of sublime simplicity smooth, refreshing and potent, with none of the medicinal tang that so often comes with such newfangled test-tubey preparations. International Plaza, 2205 N West Shore Boulevard, Tampa, 813-490-5288, oceanprimetampa.com
Best Locally Produced Craft Beer: Cigar City's Jai Alai IPA
We could have picked one of the specialty beers like Hunahpu or the Humidor series, but the Jai Alai is the workhorse of the Cigar City line. Plus from the hoppiness in the nose to the kicking bitterness in the taste, from the gorgeous hazy golden hue to the silken mouthfeel this beer is just plain amazing. Widely available in bottles or on tap throughout Tampa Bay. Cigar City Brewing, 3924 W Spruce St., Tampa, 813-348-6363, cigarcitybrewing.com
Best Draft Beer Selection at a Restaurant: Datz Deli, Palma Ceia
Besides offering over 70 different bottled beers, Datz has upgraded from six taps to 36 just in the past three months, offering an ever-changing lineup of import and craft brews on draft. Theres also a no crap on tap rule, never allowing cheap, fizzy, lite beer to take up precious tap space. And where else can you get a smorgasbord of gourmet meats and cheeses to chow down on while you throw back a few brews? 2616 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-831-7000, datzdeli.com
Best Gas Station Beer Selection: The new Rallys, 4th Street in St. Pete
We can already hear St. Pete hipsters hammering us for giving an award (for beer selection, no less!) to the new Fourth Street Rally station. Yes, we are aware that local stalwart Sheps is just a few blocks down the road and remains the go-to destination for Burgers in search of microbrews and hard-to-find imports. That said, sometimes you just need to grab a six while youre filling your tank, and thats where Rallys really shines. Instead of the usual gas-station suspects (Bud, Miller, Natty Ice), Rallys offers a $9.99 mix-and-match six-pack allowing you to build your own variety pack from the 150 varieties in stock everything from Anchor Steam to Woodchuck, and many brews in between. Theres also plenty of the usual gas station accoutrements (sandwiches, salads, a full coffee bar, foodstuffs, lotto, etc) to make the Rallys a welcome one-stop shop for Old Northeast residents. 2131 Fourth St. N (at 22nd Avenue N.), St Petersburg, 727-821-7660
Best Local Java: Kahwa Coffee, St. Pete
Downtown St. Petersburgers knows where to go for a caffeine fix, or when theyre in the mood to browse the Sunday paper over a latte and a croissant (and it doesnt start with an S). Kahwa is a local business that cares about quality and the community, roasting the beans at its facility in St. Pete and serving fresh brews at their two hip downtown locations. Kahwas signature blends are slightly sweet without being overly bitter, and the prices are hard to beat for the quality of product served. 475 Second St. N, 727-823-4700; 204 Second Ave S, 727-821-1942, kahwacoffee.com
Best Iced Coffee: Felicitous Coffee House and Vintage Boutique, Lutz
Felicitous coffee tastes great by itself, but theres also a myriad of flavors available to enhance your iced coffee experience, from white chocolate to raspberry and even peanut butter. But the best part is that the ice cubes are made from coffee, meaning no watered-down brew when youre only halfway through drinking. Genius. 19015 N U.S. 41, Lutz, 813-948-6540, felicitouscoffee.com
Best Coffee with a Kick: King Corona Cafe, Ybor
Talk about your hot coffee. Cafe Corona at Ybors King Corona Cafe will wake you up and then some, adding a cayenne-infused caramel sauce to its mix of coffee and steamed milk. The result is spicy-sweet (but not too sweet like so many of Starbucks calorific creations), and surprisingly refreshing even on a hot day. 1523 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-241-9109, kingcoronacigars.com
From the Readers' Poll:
Best Coffee Shop (The Please-Not-Starbucks-Again Award): Kahwa Coffee, St. Pete
Runners-up: Buddy Brew Coffee, Indigo, Cafe Hey
Comment: shut up, I love Starbucks
Best Neighborhood Bar, Hillsborough: The Independent, Seminole Heights
Runners-up: Maloneys Local Irish Pub, World of Beer, Tiny Tap Tavern
Best Neighborhood Bar, Pinellas: Old Northeast Tavern, Downtown St. Pete
Runners-up: Georgies Alibi, Orbit 19 Lounge, Dunedin House of Beer
Best Dive Bar: The Hub, Downtown Tampa
Runners-up: Emerald Bar, Tiny Tap Tavern
Comment: I avoid those, I want to live to see my grandchildren
Best Sports Bar: Fergs Sports Bar, Downtown St. Pete
Runners-up: Press Box, Beef OBradys
Best Draft Selection at a Bar: World of Beer, various locations throughout Tampa Bay
Runners-up: The Independent, Dunedin House of Beer, New World Brewery
Best Local Brewery: Cigar City Brewing, Tampa
Runners-up: Dunedin Brewery, Tampa Bay Brewing Company
Best Happy Hour: MacDintons Irish Pub, Hyde Park
Runners-up: The Chase Club, Grillsmith
Best Bartender: Demitry Lewis, The Chase Club, Westchase
Runners-up: Christina at Mahuffers, Kevin Gallagher at The Palm
Other nominees: Dude with the red beard at the Dubliner; the one with the huge tits at blur in dunedin
Best Martini: Blue Martini, West Shore
Runners-up: Orbit 19 Lounge, Timpano Italian Chop House, Café Alma
Best Margarita: Superfruit 1800, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Madeira Beach
Runners-up: Red Mesa, Estelas Mexican Restaurant
Best Beach Bar: Caddys on the Beach, Sunset Beach
Runners-up: The Undertow, Frenchys Original Cafe
Best Wine Bar: The Wine Exchange, Hyde Park
Runners-up: A Taste for Wine, Taps, The Grape
Best Place to Buy Booze: Total Wine & More, various locations around Tampa Bay
Runners-up: The Hub Package Store, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Luekens Liquors
Comment: Anywhere thats not Total Wine and More