Tampa's Capital Grille recently announced the launch of the Cocktail Conservation Society, whose first order of business is mixing up some great cocktails to benefit four historic sites in Tampa.
The four-week lounge event will feature classic cocktails from Tampa's Golden Age as the Alhambra of the South. Featured cocktails include the mule, strawberry mojito, Pimm's cup, real dill, and rye old fashioned. Every week, a portion of the proceeds from these cocktail will be donated to a different historic Tampa site.
Proceeds benefit the Tampa Theatre (Sept. 9-15), Tampa Union Station (Sept. 16-22), The Cuban Club (Sept. 23-29), and the Italian Club (Sept. 30-Oct. 6).
"The Cocktail Conservation Society program is an innovative way to bring awareness to some of Tampa's historic gems," said the Tampa Theatre's Jill Witeckii of the project in a press release. "As a long-time Tampa institution, the Theatre is thrilled to work with partners like The Capital Grille who are looking for creative ways to give back to their community and introduce these Tampa landmarks — not to mention these classic cocktails — to a younger audience."
The Cocktail Conservation Society begins Monday, Sept. 9 and ends Sunday, Oct. 6. The Capital Grille is located at 2223 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa, 813-830-9433.
Sure, you've been to food truck rallies before, but how many of you can say you've been to the largest food truck rally in the world? Score plenty of food (and bragging rights) on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Florida State Fairgrounds where there will be loads of tasty treats!
More than 100 food trucks from across the country will convene at this event, including: Enjoi Sweets & Company, Thai One On, Sweet G BBQ, Off the Griddle, Inside Scoop, The Pastrami Project, LizzieCakes, Grumpy's Diner, Wrap-N-Roll, The Mediterranean Grill of The Palm Beaches, Snow Caps, Sarge's Smokehouse BBQ, Roaming Gourmand, Loafin' Around Cafe, Maggie On The Move, Tiki Cone, Dub & Jimbos Cajun Invasion, El Cubanito Subs, Mayan Food Truck, Pitas on The Run, Alaska Mike's Yukon Fry Bread, Red Zeppelin, Disco Donuts, The London Fish & Chippy and so many more.
The Cuban Sandwich Show, up and running through Aug. 8, is an annual hodgepodge of arts and cultural events around Tampa that occur over the course of a month — it’s a little whimsical and has a whole lotta talent. Expect “amateur historians, poets and other joyful fabricators of the truth” at events centering on film, visual arts, music, culinary arts, poetry, and other miscellany. It's basically for curious individuals who seeks to understand Tampa with a focus on its varied personalities, historical and idiosyncratic charms.
This year's highlight, hands down, is the Les Is More film series dedicated to late-great Tampa-based documentarian Les Blank (pictured), who will be honored with screenings at Grownman Brand Studios in Seminole Heights.
Event coordinator and founder of the Tampa Artists and Writers Group, David Audet, touts the series as a truly unique event for cinephiles in the Bay area. He goes on to say that it's "a chance to immerse yourself in non-corporate, human-scale films. In the audience you will be rubbing shoulders with some of the top creatives on either side of the Bay."
Said Luis Gottardi of Art Taco: "This is an event I can endorse without reservation."
Audet also released this statement about Blank:
At the 7th Annuall Pinellas Pepper Fest, the folks from Tahiti Joe's Hot Sauces passed out samples of hot sauce-based Jell-O shots and strawberry margaritas.
Robin Sandell, Tahiti Joe's sister, said their hot sauce-infused drinks give people another way of tasting the goods outside of the usual dipped chip. Their top seller is the Maui Pepper Strawberry Meltdown.
"On the heat level, it's almost at the top. It's excellent on funnel cakes," said Sandell. "There is no mild," she added, grinning.
Held at Pinellas Park's England Brothers Bandshell, the pepper fest gathered hot sauce creators and tasters alike.
Any thirst for spicy and unusual foods could be slaked at Buffalo Bob's Big Game Meat Snacks. Ron Freyer, the man behind the tent at Buffalo Bob's, noted that festival goers seemed to favor their spicy alligator jerky.
"It's a spicy fest, you know," said Freyer.
Along with vendors, the pepper festival also played host to two competitions including an amateur hot sauce competition and pepper eating contest. But less than an hour before the contest began, only five people dared to sign up to challenge their palate.
"I have five (people signed up), and the target is 12," said contest sponsor Debbie Brown. Luckily, by 2 p.m. when the pepper eating was slated to begin, all 12 spots were taken.
Contestants had three minutes to eat as many jalapeno peppers as possible. Then they had to keep them down for five minutes without vomiting. Anyone who puked during the five minutes had to start the entire process over again.
Joanie Corneil and Bill Shumate, owners of Square 1 Burgers, are both from Oklahoma. This weekend, Corneil and Shumate are raising money for not one, but two great causes.
For families and victims of the recent Oklahoma tornado, $1 will be donated for every Okie Dog or double-dipped onion rings order. The fundraiser runs from Friday, May 24 to Monday, May 27, and proceeds go to the Red Cross for Oklahoma Disaster Relief Fund.
Sidebern's Executive Chef Chad Johnson strode into the dining room with a full Berkshire pig (from the nearby Summerfield's Pasture Prime) draped over his shoulder. Everyone at last week's Knob Creek Big Flavor Dinner dropped their Manhattans and gathered around a demonstration table. And with three knives, and seemingly little effort, Johnson showed the room "how to butcher a pig."
He showed us what parts of the pig most Americans will eat, and then showed us how much of the pig is leftover, which is a lot. Johnson is a chef unafraid of American's texture-frigid palates and he uses almost every part of the pig to his culinary pleasure.
The entire menu was suited to follow the grand entrance, every course laden with little piggie goodness.
We began with lard poached prawns with crispy trotters (fried pig's feet in lieu of croutons), fava beans, and egg vinaigrette.
There's a food revolution afoot in the Tampa Bay area, and the folks involved want to see the demise of processed preservatives, and the rise of locally grown produce and whole foods. Ybor City's Roosevelt 2.0 is one of the base camps for these pro-active people and next weekend they are hosting an event that gives you the chance to enjoy fresh, local and delicious produce (plus some wine, beer, music and other nifty things).
That's problematic for the blossoming brewing industry in the Sunshine State. A standard growler holds 64 ounces of beer or about four glasses of beer, a 32 ounce growler is about two beers, and a gallon growler is about eight beers.
Joey Redner, CEO and founder of Cigar City Brewing, said people on vacation (otherwise known as beer tourists) bring their 64 ounce growlers from home, and Cigar City must refuse to fill them.
"Some people think we were just trying to sell them a new 32 ounce growler," Redner said during our interview last month. "But then we have to explain that it's actually illegal for us to fill that size."
Senate Bill 1344, which was proposed by Pinellas Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, passed in the Senate Regulations Committee. The bill would legalize the standard growler size in Florida. Similar legislation in the House of Representatives, HB 715, had its first reading at the beginning of March.
The 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival began Thursday and runs for 11 days. The event takes place in Plant City, the winter strawberry capital of the world according to the city's website. The Florida Strawberries Growers Association says the sweet fruit is available from December through April every year and is grown on approximately 8000 acres around Florida.
Whether you call them flapjacks, hot cakes, or short stacks, it's hard not to love pancakes. And free pancakes? Well, those taste even better.
Today (Feb. 5), get a a free short stack of pancakes from the International House of Pancakes from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
In lieu of pancake payment, consider leaving a donation. Monies collected today will go to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities. This year, IHOP is trying to raise $3 million. Free pancakes and a good cause? This is a no brainer.