Foodie purists or fried-food-faint-of-heart, move along. These aren't the droids you are looking for.
Ever long for a traditional fried seafood dinner without glam or fuss? People who have been in Tampa a while may miss the likes of the Colonnade, Seabreeze or Mirabella's seafood eateries. At one time, they dominated the seafood scene in the old Tampa. There were no fancy imported clams or fish flown in fresh daily from foreign lands. They offered a classic battered and fried plate of ocean harvest. I had a craving for some and went looking. My quest took me to Blue Sea Seafood Market and Restaurant is in surprising part of town. Here's the scoop...
Every year Creative Loafing sponsors a holiday auction to benefit the Children's Home in Tampa and typically handles some pretty fab merch. Last year they auctioned off a chef's tasting dinner at Rooster and the Till. It was a chance to help the Children's Home and have a night of food at one of the best restaurants in the area. Bidding on it was a no-brainer! Was it pricey? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Read on....
Every once in a while I get to spend time with fellow foodies and today was one of those times. Kiera Andrews, better known as on social media as @thisbabeeats, hosted a four hour tour of three food halls in Tampa for 30 foodies. Each stop offered samples of delicious food and drink, and lots of opportunities for meeting, greeting and Instagram- ing! See more...
With waves of new culinary hot spots hitting the Tampa Bay area is easy to pass over the types of food that have been the foundation of this community for a long time. Al's Finger Licking Good Soul Food opened in December and serves dishes that brings me back to my Southern roots. Fried and baked chicken? Check! Pot roast and liver and onions? Check! Collard greens, black-eyed peas, fried okra? Yaas! Read more..
The Tampa Bay Times and food critic Laura Reiley celebrated the announcement of her top 100 restaurants for 2019 with a bash at the Franklin Food Hall Thursday night. A mix of a who's who of Tampa's culinary world and their admirers feasted on a generous offerings of delicious delights from some of the kitchens at the hall. Traditionally the Times and Reiley have revealed a 50 best restaurants list, but she says due to the remarkable increase in quality establishments they broadened the field to 100 for her retrospective tally for 2019. See the entire story and video here
We walk in to new Bull Market on Himes Avenue with a sense of curiosity. Is it a market or a restaurant? After all the windows say Eat, Drink, Shop, Local. The former convenience store that morphed into the Vietnam Oriental Supermarket sat empty for years. In 2015 the South Tampa Fresh Market opened here for a short stint but closed following a huge loss due to hurricane Irma in 2017. Enter Bull Market.
During all that time frame (2011 - 2018) a former Farm Stores at Himes and Gandy Blvd.- in the adjacent lot- a drive through coffee shop called Baristas opened, and in late 2017 Big Island Poke took over offering poke and acai bowls, again for drive through only.
With the shuttering of the market and the need for a place to prepare warm dishes and have seating for customers, the owners of Big Island Poke opened Bull Market. More..
The venerable folks over at the House of Ciccio have brought yet another fast food hybrid eatery to South Tampa. On December 16 Ciccio Cali opened it's doors in the former Pei Wei location on South Dale Mabry Hwy. serving food inspired by tours of the California culinary landscape. There are other Cali locations in Brandon, Tampa Palms, and St Pete. This newest location differs from the others by not changing over to table service for dinner, preferring a counter service model. The interior is a nice makeover from the former Asian spot. More..
The Seminole Heights Asian food favorite Chop Chop Shop opened in its new digs in late October. Originally an Ayre's Diner (there were several around Tampa in the '50s and '60s) it's a place where Elvis Presley reportedly ate, tying it to local folklore. If you listen closely you may still be able to hear Blue Christmas echoing in the background. The diner housed Nicko's Fine Foods from the 1980's until it closed in late 2017. Read on...
I'm pretty sure, at least for the foodies that I know, a positive review for Farmtable Cucina is a no-brainer. It is a known quantity to the local food world and was established by culinary rock stars Michael Mina and Don Pintabona in 2014. The overall consistent quality and variety of Locale Market, home to Farmtable Cucina in downtown St. Petersburg, is pretty much unmatched in these parts. I have reviewed some of the other stations in the market like the Poke bowl and the Hamburger counters, as well as their seafood low country boil last year. They are all consistently well done. Here's more
In the former home of Your Pie, The Nest Neighborhood Kitchen opened it's doors on November 26 to little fanfare. According to co-owner Perry Dube (who was working the front counter) they are keeping the noise down about being open while they work out the kinks (invariably a smart move). I just happened to see the "open" sign when driving by went in. The store has been in the planning since at least May 1, 2018 when the "opening soon" sign appeared. It worth the wait. The Nest offers a creative menu putting their own spin on traditional and unique dishes using some in-vogue ingredients (e.g.pimento cheese, and impossible burger meat) and it's really good. See more
02/01/2019 UPDATE- This store closed without notice.
There's a new Giant in South Tampa. Hey Giant little biscuits started serving their small portion delights from their new shop on South Dale Hwy this week. The buttermilk two-bite morsels were perfected in the Seminole Heights store before bringing them to the new location. Owners Jesse Thompson and Lee Valenti started their food venture as a community based learning center and grew in to serving biscuits and waffles during the day. As the food enterprise gained traction they began doing pop-up events which garnered even more popularity, culminating in opening a second location. The Seminole Heights location continues as a learning center in the evenings.
According to its website, Mad Dogs and Englishmen is dedicated to London celebrating the end of the postwar mid 60 's turmoil. Indeed it has been a staple in British pub fare in South Tampa on MacDill Avenue for over 25 years. They serve a righteous fish and chips, a decent Shepherd's pie, and always have an ample supply of Guinness for thirsty pub crawlers. See more...
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You've seen them, and maybe even taken them. Those really bad food photos uploaded everyday don't have to happen. With a little practice and some simple tips you will get better food photos in no time!
Chip Weiner is a Tampa food blogger and an award winning freelance photographer specializing in portraiture, food photography and photojournalism . He has been a photography instructor for over 10 years and teaches Tampa photography classes throughout the year. Have a suggestion for a food event or restaurant? Contact him here
For information on photography classes and workshops, feel free to call me or look under the Tampa Photography Classes section of my website. Photo 101 is by far the most popular! I also give private individual lessons on camera operation and making better photographs and would love to work with you one on one to make you a better photographer. Photography instruction gift certificates are also available. They make great gifts for the photo enthusiast in your life. Let's talk about what you need! 813-786-7780. See you in class!
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