Raising Dough, reading stories 

An explanation of a CL cover, plus a report on a literary Saturday night.

The cover of this week’s print edition of CL (see image at right) looks kind of like an ad for Datz — because, well, it sort of is. The eclectic South Tampa restaurant placed the winning bid for the most hotly contested item in CL’s 2012 Holiday Auction: a Creative Loafing cover.

But what about that logo, which looks a lot like Datz’s logo, but isn’t? Is it a clever allusion to the amount of Dough the auction raised for The Children’s Home? Or the amount of Dough shelled out by the Perry family, owners of Datz, who were, bless their hearts, top bidders for other items as well?

Neither. What you’re looking at is the logo for Datz’s new affiliated operation. Anyone driving down MacDill has noticed that there’s a big shrouded, oval-shaped sign in the parking lot outside Datz’s next-door neighbor, the bakery formerly known as Kalupa. We’ll bet that before long the shroud will have dropped and the Dough will have risen.

Meanwhile, we have this moderately informative explanation of Dough, sent to CL food editor Arielle Stevenson by Kate Perry:

“Datz purchased Kalupa’s which is now permanently closed,” Perry said in an email. “Datz is developing a completely new concept for the space but intends on producing their own breads and cakes for use at Datz within the next few months.”

A side note re Stevenson and Datz: I was heartily in agreement with Stevenson’s culinary wish for 2013 that the bacon-in-everything craze be over already. But then I tried a drink at Datz called Eberson’s Old-Fashioned, a concoction named after the architect of the Tampa Theatre that features, among other ingredients, Buffalo Trace bourbon, muddled cherries and, yes, a skewer of candied bacon. Which sounds awful, maybe, but tastes fantastic, hitting all the right notes: savory and sweet, bourbony and yes, bacony. Hey, let’s put bacon in everything! (Sorry, Arielle.)

By the way, the total amount raised by CL for The Children’s Home, including the proceeds from the auction and the Christmas concert at Skipper’s, was over $20,000 — our biggest haul yet in the four years of holding the auction. Thanks again to all the businesses and bidders who helped make this donation possible.

Last Saturday night, a convivial group of creative writers and their fans gathered at CL Space to honor the finalists in the Creative Loafing Fiction Contest, and to find out which of the top 10 Ybor stories was voted the best by CL readers.

As we revealed in our Jan. 3 Fiction Issue, Cully Perlman won the Judges’ Prize for “The Tabaquero’s Squirrel,” and it was a distinct pleasure to hear him read it aloud. We included a glossary with the online version of “Squirrel” as a key to its multiple Spanish phrases and historic references, but Cully’s rapidfire, lyrical delivery required no translation.

Paul Guzzo — journalist, filmaker, Tampa historian and one of the contest judges — also read. His story — from his collection The Dark Side of Sunshine — was astonishing, all the more so because it’s true. If you don’t know the link between the criminalization of marijuana and a grisly Ybor ax murder, then pick up this book, whose subtitle explains its appeal: Murder, Mayhem, Militias, Marijuana, Mafia and The Mons. Almost all of the 10 finalists were on hand to accept plaques and praises, and their backgrounds were as varied as their stories, from a TECO copywriter to a USF professor. The Readers’ Choice winner was a case in point: David Rojas is an engineer with two count ’em two degrees from USF, one in engineering and another in English. His story “Cigar City Angel Dust” enchanted readers with its mix of present-day detail and romantic legend.

Congratulations to David, Cully, the rest of the top 10, and all who entered. You showed us the many sides of Ybor, where there’s always more than meets the eye.


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