Food and Restaurants

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ask the Locals: Wilton Morley of Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 6:02 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Wilton Morley is the co-owner of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, a South Tampa pub and restaurant inspired by Morley’s native England, his theatrical roots and London in the swinging ’60s.

A 62-year-old Seminole Heights resident, Morley grew up in show business. He is the son of the late English actor Robert Morley, an Oscar-nominated character actor who perfected the art of comic bluster in a 60-year career on stage and screen. Wilton's grandmother, Gladys Cooper, was also an Oscar-nominated actress, remembered fondly as Mrs. Higgins to Rex Harrison's Henry in My Fair Lady.

As a 20-something, Morley staked out a career as a theatrical producer in Australia, where he cast the hotheaded, unknown Russell Crowe in one of his first theatrical roles. After living for a brief spell in Italy, Morley moved to Tampa, where he fell in love with the sun and easy living. In 1991, he opened his South MacDill watering hole with Rick Craig, a retired U.S. Marine colonel.

Favorite neighborhood restaurant: The Rooster & the Till. “I like the way it’s set up, with the chefs behind this long bar. They talk to you while you’re sitting there. It’s an interesting place to have in Seminole Heights.”

Favorite steamy nightclub: San Carlos Tavern. “It’s got a Havana kind of feel with fascinating salsa dancers. It’s a well-kept secret. You wouldn’t expect a salsa dancing nightclub next door to the Rooster & the Till.”

Favorite place to buy a tailored suit: Bespoke & Co. “Those of us at the bar call the owner [David Kahn] the Tailor of Panama. He’s the kind of guy who gets out a good bottle of wine when you walk in the door. It’s a very English business.”

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Friday, May 9, 2014

The juice is loose

Posted By on Fri, May 9, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Swami Juice proprietors Kim Dionision, (holding son Peyton), Kelly Koleos and Kerry Hanan.
  • Kimberly DeFalco
  • Swami Juice proprietors Kim Dionisio (holding son Peyton), Kelly Koleos and Kerry Hanan.

Swami Juice, Tampa’s newest juice venue, joined the region’s growing cold-pressed, organic juice scene on April 26.

Sisters Kim Dionisio and Kelly Koleos and their business partner Kerry Hanan, who are all yogis, run the shop at 2832 S. MacDill Ave. In the teachings of yoga, swami means “saint,” “sage” or “master."

Following months of product promotion at markets and Tampa Bay events, Dionisio, Koleos and Hanan are cautiously optimistic about their recognition.

“Almost every walk-in customer returns,” Koleos says. “Word-of-mouth and convenience are essential.”

Located two blocks west of Bayshore Boulevard, Swami Juice attracts a sector of the area’s fitness-oriented population. The shop also anticipates customers eager to negate the effects of a less-than-stellar lifestyle.

Offering one, three and five-day juice cleanses, Swami Juice shares the dedication of other businesses that educate the public on the benefits of cold-pressed juices and overall health.

St. Petersburg’s Squeeze Juice Works, believed to be the first cold-pressed juice establishment in Tampa Bay, plans to open a South Tampa location mid-June.

Squeeze Juice Works proprietors Kelly Lessem and Amy Losoya view juicing’s recognition as more generational than trendy.

“Baby boomers are more aware of health benefits now, as are their children,” Lessem says. “Now nutrition and juicing aren’t viewed as a niche market or one that is associated with fringe cultures.”

Having lived in Los Angeles, Hawaii and Seattle as a yoga instructor, massage therapist and nutrition student, Lessem saw the juicing movement — more specifically, cold-pressed juicing — grow exponentially.

Cold-pressed juicing involves fruits and veggies being pressed between plates rather than shredded by the blades of a centrifugal juicer. Advocates of the cold-pressed technique say that friction from juicer blades heats the juice, resulting in the loss of nutrients and enzymes.

At Swami Juice, the machine grinds the produce — locally harvested and certified organic whenever possible — before shooting it into a woven bag. Then the produce is squeezed between two panels until liquid runs into a pan, through a filter and into a vessel. Raw and unpasteurized, Swami Juice products have a shelf life of four days.

While many customers stop in for a pick-me-up of the Ginger Shot (ginger and pineapple) and the Ray of Sun (turmeric and orange), others choose Swami Juice for a meal replacement or snack. Yo Greens (kale, chard, spinach, cucumber, celery, sprouts, ginger and lemon) and Sweet Treat (pineapple, strawberry, orange, ginger and lime) are two of Swami Juice’s most popular squeezes.

“Those new to juicing tend to steer towards juices that are sweeter,” Koleos says. “We slowly introduce them to other options to acclimate their palate.”

Hanan, a holistic health coach and alumna of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, joins her partners in educating customers on the benefits of general juicing and, more specifically, cleansing.

“We suggest those new to cleansing to start with a general elimination precleansing of processed foods, dairy, sugar and meat,” Koleos says. “We recommend a one-day cleanse to test the waters.”

As the brainchild of Koleos, who often juiced with her boyfriend, Swami Juice has locations in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. Family and friends make up their staffs.

Swami Juice is grab-and-go only for now. The shop features all-natural, gluten-free bakery items from Tampa-based Base Culture, and plans to add acai bowls and superfood smoothies to its menu.

“The market has definitely responded to us,” Dionisio says. “We’ll continue to evolve as we learn more from our customers.”

Customers receive a free juice for every 12 bottles they return for recycling. Swami Juice provides delivery with a minimum order of six bottles.

Another cold-pressed juice bar called the Urban Juice Co. will open at 510 N. Franklin St. in Tampa later this month.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ask the Locals: Greg & Michelle Baker of The Refinery

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:07 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

In a city saturated with “safe” restaurant chains, Greg and Michelle Baker kickstarted a creative culinary juggernaut. Their Tampa eatery, The Refinery, is largely regarded as one of the top restaurants in the Bay Area. It’s been nominated three times for a James Beard Award, in 2011 for Best New Restaurant, and in 2012, 2013 and 2014 for Best Chef. Greg is the much-lauded chef, and Michelle is the general manager.
They opened The Refinery in a converted two-story bungalow on North Florida Avenue in 2010, catapulting Seminole Heights into a cooler, hotter frontier. Founded on the premise that everyday folks can eat like highfalutin’ foodies without breaking the bank or valeting their car, the small playful restaurant quickly grabbed the attention of discerning food critics and superstar chefs. Chef Mario Batali ate there two years ago.
The tattooed, dog-loving couple have held true to the premise that their gourmet dishes — often described as modern American — change depending on whatever locally grown ingredients are in season. The approach has been so successful that the Bakers have a second restaurant in the pipeline, Fodder & Shine. The new place will serve authentic Florida cracker cuisine, (gator, heirloom beef, pickled veggies, Gulf-caught seafood, etc.) and open later this year in an old auto repair center up the street from The Refinery. If previous success is any indication, this new fodder is bound to shine.

The best places to commune with nature: Hillsborough River and Manatee Springs. Michelle: “We’re really big water sports people. We love to kayak the Hillsborough River. It’s beautiful and in our backyard.” Greg: “I’m drawn to the springs. The first freshwater spring I ever saw in Florida was back when I was a Boy Scout and we went camping at Manatee Springs State Park.”

The best place to show your employees a good time: Tubing down Rainbow River. Michelle: “This was our first big staff trip. Greg and I had whistles like camp counselors. We spent a lot of time making sure our employees didn’t drown. They were so hammered.”

The best time warp: Tarpon Springs. Michelle: “We love to go to the sponge docks. It’s like the last vestige of the old Florida tourist trap. You’re right at the mouth of the Anclote River and the Gulf of Mexico, looking at the tackiest crap you’ve ever seen. We always get gyros from Mykonos. We love that flaming saganaki.”

The best way to add a kick to your cooking: VSpicery in Tampa. Michelle: “She [Val Herzog] has every spice you can think of, and if you’re visiting from out of town you can easily pack them in your suitcase.”

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lust List 2014: Victoria Rozzi

Owner and bartender, The Bends, 31, engaged.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Editor’s Note: You know a photo shoot is off to a good start when Beyoncé is blaring through the speakers and the twist-off bottle of Spumante sparkling wine is flowing.

Are people surprised when you tell them how old you are?
Yes! I love when I tell guys that.

So you own the Bends?
I am one of the four owners of the bends. I’m the female face.

What is your favorite drink?
Tequila and bubbly, like prosecco. I used to drink Jameson but we broke up.

Your hubby-to-be, Matt Kaye [she, Kaye and two others own the Bends together], is originally from here, right?
We’ve been together for seven years and every few months he’d take me to Florida. I fell in love with St. Pete. I love the beach. We do staycations all the time, usually the Sirata because of their Jacuzzi. I’m a floozy for a Jacuzzi.

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Lust List 2014: Cara Dozier

Culinary arts student, server at the Independent Bar & Cafe, 23, in a relationship.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 4:03 AM

You come across as reserved and not terribly vain. We weren’t sure you were going to go along with the Lust List.
Veronica [Danko, Independent owner] told me I had to do it [laughs]. She texted me while I was rock climbing at Vertical Ventures. If she hadn’t made me do it, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go through with it.
“I like to cook anything Asian, but my favorite food to eat is European dishes with sauces.” - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • “I like to cook anything Asian, but my favorite food to eat is European dishes with sauces.”

Where do you study culinary arts?
At the Art Institute of Tampa. I’m just one semester away from getting my bachelor’s. ... I took a break to visit my friend in London last year.

What’s your specialty?
I like to cook anything Asian, but my favorite food to eat is European dishes with sauces.

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Lust List 2014: Monika Sylvestre

Owner and baker, Monstirs Cake Shop, 26, single.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 4:03 AM

Editor’s Note: Monika arrived early for her photo shoot with a tray of chocolate chip and vanilla bean cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting.
“You're looking at a best frosting champion.” - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • “You're looking at a best frosting champion.”

How did you react to finding out you got on the Lust List?
It was the funniest thing. I was eating red velvet Pop Tarts and watching Adventure Time. I was like, ‘I’m on the Lust List?”

What made you want to bake?
My dad is a pastry chef, I’ve always baked. I do a lot of competitive baking in Wilton competitions. You’re looking at a best frosting champion.

What’s the best part about being a baker?
All the special events people have, weddings, birthdays, I get to be there.

The worst part?
It can be exhausting, and I have a day job so it can be challenging.

What do you spend your disposable income on after bills are paid?
Make-up, tattoos, and comic books. I love Adventure Time, any of the Dark Horse books. I love Neil Gaiman. I’m huge into comic books, I’ve got an Incredible Hulk tattoo.

How many tattoos do you have?
I have 80 hours of ink. My first tattoo was the Cheshire Cat, I was 15. My favorite tattoo is my chest piece, it’s a collage of all baking stuff.

What do you look for in a fella?
Substance, not substance abuse. They have to read.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Meet St. Petersburg's Three Daughters Brewing

Posted By on Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 1:05 PM

BREWED IN THE BURG: Three Daughters opens Saturday, December 14.
  • James Ostrand
  • BREWED IN THE BURG: Three Daughters opens Saturday, December 14.

Tampa Bay’s newest craft brewery, 3 Daughters, opens Saturday, December 14. They held sneak preview for a few hundred friends and supporters Thursday night.

Located in a former municipal plumbing supply building at 222 22nd St. S in the emerging Warehouse Arts District, 3 Daughters Brewing is the brainchild of Bella Brava co-owner Mike Harting. It includes a 30-barrel brewhouse (twice the size of Cigar City Brewing’s when it opened nearly five years ago), a 2,000-square-foot tasting room and plenty of room to expand.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holy Hog BBQ coming to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's food truck rally

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Holy Hog brings its BBQ to downtown Tampa.
  • Facebook
  • Holy Hog brings its BBQ to downtown Tampa.

Every month, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn hosts a food truck rally at downtown Tampa's Lykes Gaslight Square. Buckhorn always shows up and grabs a bite to eat from one of the Tampa Bay area's local food trucks in attendance.

For Wednesday, December 4, food truck rally attendees should take note of some of the new offerings. Tampa's Best of the Bay award-winning Holy Hog BBQ brings its "food truck" (it's a vehicle but not quite a food truck) filled with all the barbecue your midday tummy can muster.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Best of the day: Globe Coffee Lounge pop-up in St. Petersburg

Posted By on Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Nearly two years after closing, friends of the Globe Coffee Lounge reunited for a day of food, coffee drinks and dessert. The Local 662 on Central Avenue's 600 Block hosted the one-day-only "pop-up."

Former Globe owner/coffee maven JoEllen Schilke whipped up sheets of Supa-Fudgey brownies, orders of her infamous Sloppy JoEllen sandwiches, and plenty of chai lattes. There were, of course, plenty of pies.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

CL Holiday Auction: Bid on Jobsite nights out

Just a couple hours are left to bid on four tickets to two Jobsite plays with certificates for Refinery and Mad Dogs!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Many of our readers enjoy attending plays by the critically acclaimed Jobsite Theater Company and will typically go out for a nice dinner with friends before or after the show.

The CL Holiday Auction allows you the opportunity for these nights out while helping The Children's Home.

Talk about a win-win, right?

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