Summer Guide 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer dinner parties: It's not as hard as you think

If you can read and muster a bit of patience, you can throw a memorable epicurean shindig this summer.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 12:50 AM

Partying on a budget? Chinet works fine. - JON PALMER CLARIDGE
  • Jon Palmer Claridge
  • Partying on a budget? Chinet works fine.

Of all the communal celebrations centered on food and drink, I most love a dinner party — the chance to share great tastes and conversation with friends.

But despite the proliferation of TV cooking shows, far too few people feel up to the task. I’m here to tell you: that is utter nonsense! If you can read, you can host a memorable dinner party.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ulele's local flavor

The new restaurant on the Hillsborough River will pay homage to Tampa and the community’s evolution.

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Housed in Tampa Heights' historic steam-powered pump house, Ulele is the Columbia Restaurant Group's most recent undertaking. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Housed in Tampa Heights' historic steam-powered pump house, Ulele is the Columbia Restaurant Group's most recent undertaking.

Ulele, a Timucuan woman, pleaded with her father, the Ucita village’s chief, in 16th-century Tampa Bay.

The chief was about to execute Spanish explorer Juan Ortiz until Ulele threw herself over his body and persuaded her father not to follow through. She saved Ortiz’s life.

Almost eight years ago, at the recommendation of a resident Boy Scout, the former Magbee Spring, which once supplied Tampa with drinking water, was renamed Ulele Spring in her honor.

Richard Gonzmart and the Columbia Restaurant Group’s latest endeavor is also named after her. The spring flows right beyond its walls.

During a May 12 tour of the Ulele restaurant at 1810 N. Highland Ave., Keith Sedita, managing partner, said the eatery will tell the city’s history through its food. It’s the tale of the spring, of pioneers, of the people who used the Hillsborough River as a resource and inhabited the area long ago.

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Sippers for summer

Local eateries talk trends and recipes for summer cocktails.

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Oh, summer.

A time when all landlubbers want to do is find a little expanse of water to cool off in, cocktail in hand, if only for a moment. These drinks, however, can’t just have any ol’ simple syrup or fruit muddled into a glass.

According to Dean Hurst, director of spirits for Bern’s Steak House, SideBern’s and the Epicurean Hotel, a couple of trends his teams are integrating into their summer cocktails, which are in the works, include “getting funky” with sodas and steering away from vodkas and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, which jumped from $1.9 million in sales in 2011 to $61 million last year.

Hurst talked about creating citrus cordials, too. He said a grapefruit cordial, with the fruit’s zest incorporated, allows imbibers to be dynamic when drink-making without the use of lemon or lime juice.

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The scoop on indie joints with frozen treats

Soft-serve, shakes and snoballs worth melting for.

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 2:53 PM

La Unica Michoacana's lime "ice cream." - BRIAN RIES
  • Brian Ries
  • La Unica Michoacana's lime "ice cream."

You can get chain-made, marble slab-mixed ice cream anywhere, and these sweeteries provide more than just scoops. Mom and pop-run, here's a list of some locally loved shops that serve up frozen treats.

Amish Creamery Company For nearly eight years, owner Clint Herlein has been offering ice screamers 58 homemade flavors, 32 of them hand-dipped. Various cups, pints and half-gallon tubs may also be purchased as well as an assortment of other Amish goods. 200 150th Ave. #A, Madeira Beach, 727-397-8222,

Beach Snoballs Shaved ice, N’awlins style, with more than 60 flavors to choose from. Stuff ice cream in your snoball, whose ice is much finer than a snow cone’s, or splash it with sour spray. If treat-seekers are smart, as CL has written in the past, they’ll add sweetened condensed milk to their snoballs. Sometimes, the family-run shop even tops its offerings with complimentary gummy worms. 10927 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, 727-379-2653,

Bo's Ice Cream An ice cream staple for Tampanians since 1954. There’s walk-up and drive-through windows for ordering traditional soft-serve, sundaes, upside-down banana splits and more. Great for sharing stories and sweets with friends, even pooches, outdoors. 7101 N. Florida Ave., Seminole Heights, 813-231-7190.

Britans Yogurt Mill Britans serves Only 8-brand froyo, which contains 8 calories and 2 carbs per ounce, with flavors that rotate every three days, as well as Florida-made Working Cow ice cream. Originally launched as a yogurt shop in 1991, Britans’ also carries British and South African specialty items and holds a four-hour afternoon tea daily. 3861 Northdale Blvd., Tampa, 813-968-5373,

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