Floridians licked nine million McDonald's vanilla cones last year.
All those swirled, reduced-fat soft serves. All those drips caught just as they roll down the side of the cone's paper sleeve. All those car seats in receipt of the ones that escaped.
Those who saw the 2016 Michael Keaton film The Founder about McDonald's entrepreneur Ray Kroc have a vague idea that the multi-billion-dollar empire's success was about switching from real ice cream to something called INST-A-MIX, a space-age product like Tang....
10/18/17 Food & Dining
Save the date: SUNDAY SUPPER
This just might be the dinner of the year. The Bern's family of restaurants has organized a James Beard Foundation fundraiser to fund the Bern Laxer Memorial Scholarship for culinary students in the state of Florida for a number of years. But this week they announced the second annual Sunday Supper on Nov. 12, an epic evening bringing together 25 of our most notable local chefs....
10/18/17 Food & Dining
When Locale Market opened in Sundial St. Pete in Dec. 2014, it was the most-hyped, most-anticipated gourmet market/food hall/culinary playground Tampa Bay had ever seen. Since then, celebrity chef-owner Michael Mina has done what every entrepreneur does in the face of challenges: tinker.
It's happening again. On Thursday FarmTable Kitchen, the second-floor restaurant, will be rebranded as FarmTable Cucina, a full-service 100-percent Italian restaurant....
10/16/17 Food & Dining
Wesley Chapel is said to be one of the fastest growing areas in the country, due to the perfect cocktail of available and affordable land, broad but upwardly mobile demographics and easy access to other parts of Tampa Bay. And while malls and brick-and-mortar retail centers have taken a big hit in the past couple years, largely failing to stem the tide of online shopping, the Shops at Wiregrass is booming....
10/11/17 Food & Dining
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort's Fred's Cellar has been underutilized for some time, starting as a private club for members and more recently re-envisioned as a speakeasy. But here's something — for one night only — that seems to be a glorious repurposing of the grand space.
Thursday it becomes a Puerto Rico Pop Up Restaurant benefitting those affected by the recent hurricanes. The evening will feature a plated menu featuring traditional Puerto Rican cuisine such as empanadas, pastelon casserole, carne frita and coquito flan, all washed down with craft pina coladas featuring local favorite Don Q rum....
10/11/17 Food & Dining
Rick Parsons has been moving around St. Petersburg for some time.
First he was brick-and-mortar free, testing out the local culinary waters with a booth at the Saturday Morning Market for his Cajun-Creole stylings. Then he put down roots in the In Your Belly Deli space, opening the eponymously named Ricky P's. What was mostly a po' boy joint, it was swiftly joined by a second humble location inside Bob Lee's Tire & Mobil Co. further down Fourth Street N. Then he took on the large and ambitious space that had formerly housed Savannah's Café in the EDGE District. He closed that down after 4 and a half years when rent skyrocketed and relocated last year to Bayview Plaza, renaming the project Ricky P's Creole Kitchen....
10/11/17 Food & Dining
DRINK FOR THE FISH: BREWS BY THE BAY
Dive into the Brews by the Bay beer and food festival, a benefit for the Florida Aquarium's education, animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. Enjoy the aquarium's exhibits as you nibble dishes from restaurants like Ciccio Water and Bavaro's Pizza, sip coffee from Buddy Brew and try treats from Nothing Bundt Cakes and beers from local and regional craft breweries. There is also live entertainment. 8 to 11 p.m. Friday. $50 advance, $60 day of; $45 members. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000....
Restaurant review: Bob Heilman's Beachcomber on Clearwater Beach is an oldie and, yes, still a goodie10/09/17 Food & Dining
The packet's front is stamped: "LIBRARY MATERIALS MAY NOT BE CHECKED OUT OVERNIGHT." It is chubby, gapping with yellowed St. Petersburg Times clippings date-stamped, the restaurant name underlined in red grease pencil. Bob Heilman's Beachcomber had a whole lot of clippings in 1959, the year a fire gutted the restaurant on Mandalay Avenue and they rebuilt, bigger and better, Clearwater Mayor Alex D. Finch presiding over the ribbon cutting. There was a safe crack and a burglary, both in 1963. And then there were the accolades and reviews....
10/05/17 Food & Dining
This weekend, Tampa's historic Alessi Bakery throws its own birthday party, and it will require a lot of candles.
Alessi has been operating almost continuously since 1912, when Nicolo Alessi, originally from Italy, opened a bakery on Cherry Street and delivered Italian and Cuban bread by horse and wagon. It is as much a part of the fabric of Tampa as Gasparilla or Cuban sandwiches or scachatta (a Sicily-by-way-of-Tampa culinary oddity, cold, pizza-ish bread squares). Come to think of it, four generations of Alessis have sold a whole mess of Cubans and scachatta every Gasparilla....
10/04/17 Food & Dining
IRMA RELIEF: HOG'S BREATH IN WESTCHASE
Tampa Bay Brewing Co., one of the region's oldest independently owned and operated craft breweries, will host a daylong fundraising event and concert to benefit the Florida Keys in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The brewery seeks to raise $25,000 through on-site sales, a silent auction and a three-hour ticketed concert on Saturday. Proceeds will go to the Community Foundation for the Florida Keys....
10/02/17 Food & Dining
In the way it took many of us a while to understand that a contemporary food truck was capable of driving metaphorical circles around the old-school "roach coach," there's a learning curve with the food halls that have proliferated in American urban centers. They are not, for instance, like mall food courts or a collection of flea market vendors. And yet most of them are not precisely sit-down restaurants either....
Paul Bunyan, not real.
John Henry, possibly real.
Johnny Appleseed, totally real.
This American legend, born John Chapman, was a missionary for the New Church and a nurseryman who introduced apple trees to big swaths of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Ontario and what is now West Virginia. He was born in 1774 and died in 1845, and somewhere between 1837 and 1845 he planted an apple tree on the property of the Algeo family in Nova, Ohio....
09/28/17 Food & Dining
Let's get caffeinated.
Friday is National Coffee Day and loads of the usual suspects offer special deals (Dunkin' Donuts, the industry goliath, selling more than 1.9 billion cups of hot and iced coffee globally every year, is offering a sweet deal: BOGO on a medium or larger hot coffee). But it's a good moment to consider all the great coffee we have in the Tampa Bay area these days, some stalwarts like Kahwa and Buddy Brew (also doing a BOGO on cold brew), but with many newcomers. Oh, and fun fact: Americans now buy more cold coffee drinks than hot....
09/27/17 Food & Dining
Could it be that Irma made folks thirsty? With October(fest) approaching, there are a bunch of ways to heft a pint or two in celebration of the season.
HALFWAY THERE BEER FESTIVAL
On Saturday, Tampa Bay Beer Week presents the Halfway There Beer Festival at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. This event brings together breweries, brewers (both professional and home brewers) and enthusiasts. It seeks to spotlight some of the best craft breweries, national and international, with a focus on beer made right here in the Tampa Bay area. More than 50 breweries and homebrew clubs will be pouring both one-offs and old favorites. Noon. 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $50-$75. tampabaybeerweek.com....
09/27/17 Bars & Spirits
Craft beer drinkers, prepare for Irma IPA.
What started with spaghetti models has ended with 15 barrels of Irma-themed beer, produced as part of a statewide collaboration in St. Petersburg this month. Brewers expect sales of the beer to earn tens of thousands of dollars in aid to Hurricane Irma storm victims in Florida.
It may be one of the first times both brewers and vendors have pulled together to brew for charity....