Thursday, March 26, 2015

Drink More Wine: Wine-volution

Breaking down the bottle variation phenomenon.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 2:55 PM

Cork and air ingress contribute to differences in the same bottles of wine. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Cork and air ingress contribute to differences in the same bottles of wine.

Recently, a friend related the all-too-common story of how a wine that enthralled during a special trip to (insert romantic vacation destination here) was a disappointingly different experience when she opened the “identical” wine at home.

Perhaps the differences may be ascribed to the emotional dislocation of the moment. I mean, doesn’t everything taste better in (insert romantic vacation destination here)? However, bottle variation is a real phenomenon, with a complex matrix of causes.
Unlike, say, Coca-Cola, which tastes the same from can to can, wine is alive.

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Smooth transition: Tequila on the sixth day of spring

Three easy-to-make tequila cocktails to help guide you into spring's warmer months.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 9:03 AM

  • Keepitsweetdesserts.com
If you need more proof that tequila isn't just for salt-rimmed margs and rounds of shots, look no further than 1800 Tequila's springtime cocktail recipes.

The brand shared three of its simple drink formulas with CL, which are fit for easing you into the season's warmer months.

Spring Fever
Makes 1

2 ounces 1800 Silver Tequila
1.5 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake well. Strain into a glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Burgers, loquats stars of upcoming Bay area food fests

New Port Richey's loquat festival and Safety Habor's beer and burger battle are set for April 4.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 4:55 PM

Locally made loquat pies, dressed-up burgers and craft brews will be showcased throughout two Tampa Bay food festivals Saturday, April 4.

The earliest gathering, happening from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at New Port Richey's Market Off Main, is the 2nd Annual Florida Loquat Festival. Last year, the event attracted hundreds, and its organizers plan to at least double the turnout this time around.

In case folks missed CL contributor David Z. Morris' lovely ode to the loquat, all they need to know is that it's an egg-shaped, native-to-the-state fruit celebrated by many.

This editor's friend even calls the loquat his "fuzzy little dream fruit."

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On the menu: Tampa tours Brooklyn through cocktails

Fodder & Shine patrons to get a taste of Brooklyn during a Manhattan-sampling journey Tuesday.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 2:39 PM

Fodder & Shine's A Tour of Brooklyn event will be held in its outdoor lounge. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Fodder & Shine's A Tour of Brooklyn event will be held in its outdoor lounge.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, regionites will toast to the day's end during Fodder & Shine's prix fixe Cocktail Camp tasting, hosted by bar director Kamran Mir.

Offering variations on the traditional Manhattan cocktail, which calls for rye whisky, sweet vermouth, bitters and a maraschino cherry, Mir will lead patrons on a $15 sampling tour through Brooklyn, New York, neighborhoods (think Bensonhurst and Carroll Gardens) in the restaurant's open-air lounge.

Each drink may be purchased a la carte after the event.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sawgrass Tiki, Ray's Vegan Soul team up for afternoon tea

Teas and light bites set for Sawgrass Tiki Bar's low-tea soirées with Ray's Vegan Soul in St. Pete.

Posted By on Sat, Mar 14, 2015 at 12:17 PM

One of the mini desserts Milton whips up: red velvet cupcakes. - RAY'S VEGAN SOUL VIA FACEBOOK
  • Ray's Vegan Soul via Facebook
  • One of the mini desserts Milton whips up: red velvet cupcakes.
St. Petersburg's Sawgrass Tiki Bar & Tea House and Ray's Vegan Soul are looking to bring low tea, or afternoon tea, back in style, with good food, of course. The two businesses plan to collaboratively host recurring tea gatherings at Sawgrass' Grand Central District space, and the first will be held Saturday, March 28.

After Sawgrass was involved in a Wordier Than Thou literary pub crawl around the neighborhood, many of the folks who stopped in came back and said, "Let's do a daytime thing," according to Sawgrass co-owner Susan Bridges. She said the tea events will help kickoff the bar's extended hours during the day.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Five knock-your-clogs-off St. Patty's Day drink recipes

Lucky you. We know what alcoholic delights you're downing on St. Patrick's Day.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 1:59 PM

St. Patrick's Day is just on the other side of the rainbow, and the sound of leprechauns clicking their heels can be heard if you're lucky enough to come across a four-leaf clover, or if you've been browsing the magical land of Pinterest lately (like I have).

As if you really need an excuse to eat copious amounts of rainbow sprinkles, amateur and professional St. Patty's Day revelers are incorporating the edible decorations, as well as other festive ingredients, into the following five recipes. 

Have ye green food coloring ready, or prepare to be pinched.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Five Courses: Diner craze

Two new diners in St. Pete, plus more Tampa Bay comings and goings.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 4:52 PM

GREEK GOODS: The Burg Diner, larger than owner Bill Georgiou’s flagship, pays homage to heritage. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
  • Meaghan Habuda
  • GREEK GOODS: The Burg Diner, larger than owner Bill Georgiou’s flagship, pays homage to heritage.

Bill Georgiou’s Burg Diner opened in St. Petersburg on Tuesday in the former home of Cuban Delight Cafe at 2950 49th St. N. The diner, operating in soft-opening mode this week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., is the younger sibling of Georgiou’s Burg Bar & Grill. 

Growing up in a breakfast-and-lunch joint as a kid, Georgiou, who headed Maria’s Greek Family Restaurant before The BB&G, told CL he’s been dying to get back into the diner biz. He said he wasn’t looking for a specific place, just that his mother wanted him to launch a little diner similar to what she used to run up north.

The 48-seat restaurant highlights Greek-inflected fare, including omelets and pita breakfast sandwiches. While the first week will feature just lunch and breakfast, dinner will eventually be offered, too.

Georgiou retained most of the street-scene mural on the building's 30th Avenue facade. He likes keeping things from the past, and The Burg Diner seems to be a testament to that.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Counter culture: Kings Street Food plans next-gen diner fare for St. Pete

Hot dogs, shakes and other diner-style items to be offered at St. Pete's Kings Street Food Counter.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 12:29 PM

Owner Stephen Schrutt with his English bulldog King, who the new restaurant's named after. - KINGS STREET FOOD COUNTER
  • Kings Street Food Counter
  • Owner Stephen Schrutt with his English bulldog King, who the new restaurant's named after.
It's been more than three years since Stephen Schrutt's flagship eatery the Avenue opened its doors to downtown St. Pete with casual comfort foods, and the restaurateur's ready to unleash another dining concept in the city's EDGE District featuring more perennial favorites: diner-style street grub.

The spot won't be slinging bagels or omelettes, though, he told CL.

When the Everything Dolce dessert bar left 937 Central Ave. (where Cafe Bohemia operated until 2012), relocating to St. Pete Bakery on Fourth Street, Schrutt couldn't pass up the vacant indoor-outdoor space. He said he's always been interested in the building's patio, as well as its location in the EDGE. Steve's Tavern and The Edge Lounge & Tapas are among the new project's neighbors.

"I see a lot of foot traffic here on weekends," Schrutt said, adding that he thinks the district's becoming a foodie destination but needs a "dinery" place. "[The EDGE] has a cool neighborhood feel."

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

TBBW 2015: Coppertail's new tasting room debuts

Some celebrated Beer Week's start at the Coppertail Brewing Co. grand opening in Ybor.

Posted By on Sat, Mar 7, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Coppertail's tasting room features tall windows that look into its brewhouse. - JAMES OSTRAND
  • James Ostrand
  • Coppertail's tasting room features tall windows that look into its brewhouse.

Friday night, area craft beer enthusiasts kicked off Tampa Bay Beer Week with celebrations on both sides of the bay, and around 4 p.m., this editor headed to the invitation-only portion of Coppertail Brewing Co.'s grand opening in Ybor City.

Located near Ikea inside a former mayonnaise factory, Coppertail invited friends and family, as well as local faces and businesses (Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Commune + Co. among them), to drink to its huge, artfully crafted headquarters.

The two-story brewery began serving its creations from a temporary tasting room in September, before the brews hit retail shelves about three months later.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Annual St. Pete Beer Breakfast combines two much-loved offerings

More morning eats and brews set for the fundraising Beer Breakfast at St. Pete's Mandarin Hide.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 12:43 PM

  • Wikimedia Commons
Jared Repka's annual Beer Breakfast, founded 13 years ago and growing every year, will offer more beer and breakfast foods for a cause from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 28.

Held at downtown St. Pete hotspot The Mandarin Hide, the no cover-charge tradition will donate its proceeds to Tampa Bay Watch, which received $8,000 from the event last year and is headquartered in Tierra Verde.

During past Beer Breakfasts, raffles were featured, and Repka crafted custom T-shirts for featured organizations such as Suncoast Hospice, the Children's Dream Fund and the Florida West Ballet.

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