After LL Cool J rocked the mic at Mahaffey on Thursday night, he stopped by Kristina's Cafe (3590 34th St. N, St. Petersburg, 727-526-6673) for some late-night breakfast.
He's pictured here with Kristina's night manager Elton.
In honor of LL's good taste in local spots, here's his 1996 song "Doin' It."
Crum's Bar and Grill in St. Petersburg, home to a vast selection of craft beers on tap and homemade potato chips, is closing. Thursday night, owners Chris Crum and Lanette Miller announced the bar would shut down until its final night on Saturday, June 15.
The Best of the Bay award-winning craft beer spot boasted more than 60 taps; offered affordable (and good) bar food; and hosted events like Beer School with the Florida Beer Company, live music, open mic night, and karaoke. Recently, Crum's was the backdrop to a live reading of Sylvia Plath's Ariel by literature mavens like Colette Bancroft, Natty Moss Bond, Roxanne Fay, and Gina Vivinetto.
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.
"No more GMOs! Monsanto has got to go!" shouted an estimated 250 protestors from the steps of City Hall and through the streets of St. Petersburg on Saturday. Across the bridge in Tampa, a crowd estimated between 250-300 people marched from Hyde Park to Curtis Hixon Park, carrying signs and shouting slogans denouncing the Monsanto Corporation. Locals joined in the March Against Monsanto, a global day of action with sister protests in 52 countries and 436 cities.
In Tampa, Greenpeace's Christine Wall said that people need and deserve the right to know what's in the food they eat, and denounced Monsanto's fight to put ingredients on the labels of the products they sell.
"The people need to know the dangers of GMO's," she said. "Genentically modified organisms pose a threat to our health, to our children’s health, and people need ot be made aware of that."
In St. Pete, the march took to downtown's people-packed Central Avenue and Beach Drive, ending at at Williams Park. Melissa Mitchell, 34, said she found out about the march right after the passage of "the Monsanto Protection Act." She attended the march with three friends from Tampa.
"GMOs are banned in most countries, or at least labeled," Mitchell said. "All we want are labels so we can decide for ourselves."
Mitchell said she works in the medical field, dealing mostly with cancer patients. She sees a link between cancer and GMO-laden diets.
"Monsanto has embedded itself in our government," Mitchell said. "The number one pest company in the world should not be in charge of making our food."
Angie Cruzado, of St. Petersburg, said she was raised eating a diet "very low in veggies and lots of meat."
"I used to have problems with depression," said Cruzado. "But since I started eating organic, and using natural products, I've felt a huge change in my health. Just from those simple changes."
Where once the words of Kitty Sanchez, "say goodbye to these, because it's the last time," rang all too true with us, the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together, now continues. Although the Tampa Bay area hasn't been graced like some cities with a banana stand, there's no reason why we can't enjoy what has often been the only profitable Bluth product.
Bluth's Frozen Bananas
Makes 6 servings
6 full size (1.55oz) bars of your favorite milk chocolate (I used Hershey’s in this recipe)
6 yellow bananas
2 cups peanuts
4 tablespoons coconut oil
6 Popsicle sticks
1 Ziploc bag
1 sheet of wax paper
1 microwave safe bowl
2 plates for coating bananas
1 healthy appetite for awesome
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.
Summer has arrived in Florida and growing season is on its way out, once again. While some farmers markets are closing for the summer, others are staying open so you don't have to worry about missing out on the delights of fresh and local food during the stretch of hot months. Below is a list of markets that remain open for the season.
AZALEA COMMUNITY FRESH MARKET Saturdays: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., year round. Science Center of Pinellas, 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-600-4223, azaleafreshmarket.com. This market offers food, arts, crafts and live music.
Before you drink up at the Sunset Tiki Party on June 2 at the Post Card Inn, try this classic tiki cocktail recipe at home from Dean Hurst, Director of Spirits at Sidebern's and the President of the Left Coast Bartenders Guild. Originally concocted (legend has it) by Donn Beach at Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood, it's rumored the Zombie was made to help a hung-over customer get to a business meeting.
The Zombie (c. 1956)
Makes one drink
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.
"Thousands of raving, stumbling drunks, getting angrier and angrier as they lose more and more money. By midafternoon they'll be guzzling mint juleps with both hands and vomiting on each other between races," Hunter S. Thompson wrote of the Kentucky Derby in his infamous 1970 piece (which you can read in its entirety here).
The Bleacher Report says that race horses Orb (7-2 odds) and Verrazano (4-1 odds) are favored to win the 139th Kentucky Derby this weekend. You'll need a mint julep to complete the Kentucky Derby experience even if you don't have a horse in the race. The classic Southern bevvie is the perfect summertime sip.
According to Friday's Time Magazine article on mint juleps, the word "julep" comes from the Arabic word meaning "rose water." But the drink lost the roses and the water somewhere along the way.
The exact recipe varies, but one definition from the 1968 Dictionary of Drink and Drinking says this of the julep:
“The exact composition and making of a julep is a subject upon which any two Americans (one of whom is not necessarily a true Southenah, sah) are prepared to do verbal battle instanter.”
Every year, 120,000 mint juleps are consumed over the two days of the race, according to the Kentucky Derby website. And it takes 10,000 bottles of bourbon and 1,000 pounds of fresh mint to make.