Tampa Bay Taste Bud Blog
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 14:59
Foodie Heaven are the two words that come to my mind when describing my most recent dining experience at The Melting Pot. From the salads to the all of the different fondue options, The Melting Pot sure knows how to wine and dine their customers.
All of us food lovers began our dining experience with three unique cheese fondues: Tomato Cheese Fondue, Spinach and Artichoke Cheese Fondue, and Cheddar Cheese Fondue. All of the cheese fondue paired well with the dippers which included bread bites, apple slices, and vegetables. Initially, I was questionable about the apple slices dipped in cheese, but it ended up tasting phenomenal.
After the cheese fondue bowls were licked clean, the next course was a choice of salad. I was not adventurous and just decided to choose the typical “Caesar Salad”. But, let me tell you there was nothing typical about this salad. They top the salad with delicious Parmesan-encrusted pine nuts, I could have eaten a whole container of these pine-nuts by themselves.
Next came the entrée course, everyone was able to make a selection of three items. No matter what kind of food mood you were in The Melting Pot offered a variety of entrée options from Atlantic Salmon to Chicken Potstickers. Out of all the entrees I chose, the Chicken Potstickers were love at first bite. They were so crisp and yummy and everyone in at our table agreed they were delicious.
Accompanying the entrée was The Melting Pot’s signature dipping sauces. The most popular sauce was the “Green Goddess” which is a blend of cream cheese, sour cream, onions, chives and parsley. A friend sitting next to us suggested stuffing the Green Goddess in the mushroom cap then frying it. After trying this, I would not eat my mushrooms any other way.
I live my foodie life by the quote “Life is short, eat dessert first.” So my favorite part of the meal was the last course, dessert. There were fresh strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, Rice Krispies Treats®, marshmallows, pound cake and brownies just waiting to be dipped in the Yin Yang Chocolate Fondue, Flaming Turtle Chocolate Fondue, and Peaches N’ Cream. After trying every possible dessert in ALL the different fondues, it is safe it say that I was official in a food coma.
Friday, 19 July 2013 08:48
Today’s Dine Tampa Bay “Foodie Friday” sneak peek comes from Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant located by International Plaza in Tampa. This national winery which opened in Tampa in March, will feature a $25 three-course prix-fixe menu during Dine Tampa Bay Restaurant Week featuring some of its signature dishes.
The restaurant features handcrafted wines with pairing suggestions for all dishes, upscale yet casual dining, full-service bar, Napa-style tasting room and retail gift store. This week, we had the chance to dig in and preview some of the Dine Tampa Bay menu items.
For the first course guests are given a choice of a Chopped Wedge Salad, Chicken Pot Stickers or multiple soup selections. We were lucky enough to try two of the three options and we chose the Chopped Wedge Salad and the Chicken Potstickers.
The Chopped Wedge Salad is a signature dish at Cooper’s Hawk. Garnished with red onion, sweet grape tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles and warm apple wood smoked bacon and even those who are not huge fans of blue cheese will surprisingly enjoy this tasty combination. The red wine herb vinaigrette along with the creamy Salemville blue cheese balances the salad well without your palate being too overwhelmed.
The Chicken Potstickers were amazingly delicious! Full of flavor with chicken, ginger, cabbage and sesame and served with a sweet and spicy mustard sauce then drizzled with their classic ginger soy sauce, a very tangy treat that finishes off the dish well.
Moving on to the second course, we opted for the Maple, Mustard, and Pretzel-Crusted Pork Medallions and the Gnocchi Carbonara which were both favorite menu items of our server. The third option was the Soy Ginger Salmon, which we are sure seafood lovers will enjoy!
The Pork Medallions were glazed with a maple, mustard and pretzel crust and plated with Mary’s Potatoes, signature whipped potatoes with butter and cream, and jumbo asparagus. Foodies (especially pretzel lovers) will love the uniqueness of this dish.
The Gnocchi Carbonara, was the biggest hit at the table! The gnocchi, a house made ricotta dumpling, was tossed in a rich creamy parmesan garlic sauce with crispy pancetta, rotisserie chicken, sage and fresh peas.
Finishing up we had a battle to decide between the three dessert choices. The third course offers a choice of Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries, Cooper’s Hawk Signature Chocolate Cake or a Classic Crème Brulee. We opted for the Cheesecake since the menu said it was the “Best Cheesecake in Town.” We can officially say it lived up to its title and even though we were completely stuffed, no crumb was left behind.
Overall, this was an amazing dining experience and a must-try for everyone, even the regulars and the $25 Dine Tampa Bay menu is a deal! Our suggestion is to get there about 30 minutes early to take part in the tasting room experience. Make a reservation today on Dine Tampa Bay’s website through Open Table.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
4110 West Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, FL 33607
Monday, 01 July 2013 09:44On behalf of the Dine Tampa Bay Restaurant Team, we would like to say a HUGE thank you to all the foodie bloggers that braved the storm and attended the foodspotting event at Datz! The overall display and taste of everything from the cocktails to the intermezzo course of Frito Pie grilled cheese was phenomenal. Personally, this was my first foodspotting event and let me tell you Datz exceeded my expectations in every possible way.
Also, check out some of these awesome blog posts from some of the bloggers that attended the Event:
Click HERE to read a blog post from Ruffles and Truffles by Katie
Click HERE to read a blog post from Carlos Eats by Carlos
HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE!
Sunday, 23 June 2013 00:00
Do you like croissants? Do you like doughnuts even more? Well, if you answered “Yes!” to both of these questions, you are going to want to keep reading. A “cronut” is a trademarked name for half a croissant and half doughnut. The cronut was invented by a Manhattan baker named Dominique Ansel and has been a hit in New York. However this pastry is not exclusively found in New York, you can go try one at Piquant in Hyde Park Village.
Ricardo Castro, co-owner of Piquant said that they have been selling these hybrid treats for a few weeks and it seems like the Tampa market is responding well. Don’t wait and go get one today! Treat yourself, it is Monday and you deserve it!
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 10:43
Father’s day is quickly approaching this upcoming Sunday. Have you planned anything wonderful for your dear ole dad? If not, do not panic. Take him out to a great restaurant and enjoy scrumptious food. Also, I am about to tell you about some fabulous foodie deals around the Tampa Bay area to check out.
Stop by Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar from 11:30am to 3pm and treat your dad to a three-course meal that he will love for only $36.95 per guest. On top of a delicious meal, dads will receive a $25 gift card that can be used for a future visit at Flemings. For more information, the menu, and to make reservations click HERE.
Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine is having a two-course brunch menu for $29.95 on father’s day. Also, dads will receive a $25 dining card to use during a future visit at Roy’s. To view the menu and find the location nearest you click HERE.
Charley’s Steakhouse is offering King of the Bone for King of the Home. This deal is exclusively for dads and includes a free 22oz. Bone-in Strip served with their signature house salad & Garlic-Cheese Butter Bread (YUM!) For more information and to make reservations click HERE.
**For more restaurant deals for dad click HERE.
Monday, 10 June 2013 12:34
Café Dufrain is celebrating ten wonderful years on Tampa’s waterfront with a new menu! The new menu will feature regional and sustainable food offerings, summer cocktails, and unique wine and beer selections. Along with the launch of the new menu, there are exciting events coming up at this café, so do not miss out!
Venture into Café Dufrain on June 18th to sample their new summer cocktails from 5:30-7:30pm. I cannot think of a better way to beat this summer heat than tasting a few tropical drinks. Also if you sample a summer cocktail you really enjoy, then you can buy an entire one for half off! I love this concept. I absolutely hate when I am at dinner and a drink sounds really good on the menu, but in reality it does not taste as good as it sounds. This event actually gives you the opportunity to test the cocktail before ordering.
In addition to the cocktail samples, Café Dufrain will also be hosting “Dog Days of Summer” with The Humane Society of Tampa Bay, and Sea Dog Brewing Co. This event will take place on Saturday, June 22nd from 3:00-5:00pm. There will be Sea Dog Beer Specials, Doggie Pools, Raffle, Adoptables, and much more! A portion of the Proceeds will benefit all the animals at The Humane Society of Tampa Bay. You are even allowed to bring your four legged friends to the event. What can be better than hanging out with your furry friend and raising money for a good cause?
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 00:00
This past weekend, restaurateur Steve Westphal has earned a prestigious tourism honor. Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce recognized Westphal, owner of Parkshore Grill, 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House and the Hangar in St. Petersburg and the Pub in Indian Shores Tourism Person of the Year. Westphal, was a former waiter at the newly closed Wine Cellar over 25 years ago. Now, he is thought of as a major contributor to the local restaurant business and the revival of Beach Drive.
In addition, we cannot be more thankful for Steve’s support of Dine Tampa Bay since the commencement in 2010. Listed below is some interesting information regarding Steve Westphals restaurants and can be useful when deciding on a great restaurant to dine at:
• Parkshore Grill’s executive chef, Tyson Grant has received numerous awards and media recognition for his fresh dishes. Grant uses only the best ingredients when creating dishes and is dedicated to green practices.
• 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House has been noted in Tampa Magazine as “Best of the Bay”, in Metro Mix as “Best Seafood”, and listed in Top 20 Restaurants in the Florida Magazine. With all these awards you are guaranteed to order something fabulous.
• The Hangar Restaurant and Flight Lounge is considered Best of the Bay Breakfast by Creative Loafing. Also, the restaurant has Happy Hour 3-6pm Monday-Friday that is a deal no person could pass up.
• The Pub Waterfront Restaurant is definitely the place for food and fun! You can travel by boat or car to arrive at this restaurant. Just looking at the outdoor seating arrangement on their website makes me wish I was there drinking a cold beer and munching on some shrimp.
Monday, 20 May 2013 13:31
Dine Tampa Bay 2013 registration has officially opened for restaurants! We have already had a handful of restaurants sign-up including Bella’s Italian Café, Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Pelagia Trattoria, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine , and SHOR American Seafood Grill. These exquisite restaurants know the early bird catches the worm. Be sure to have your restaurant sign-up before June 14th to receive the discounted participation cost. Your restaurant does not want to miss out on this wonderful opportunity to showcase their stellar chefs and increase the number of patrons dining at your establishment.
This morning I received the menu that Pelagia Trattoria will be serving during Dine Tampa Bay and my mouth literally began to water. The sound of Godiva Chocolate Pyramid, White Chocolate Cheesecake, and Gelato and Macaroons instantly made me hungry again. Can Dine Tampa Bay hurry up and get here already? I do not know how I am going to survive this summer reading about all these scrumptious food!
Your restaurant definitely wants to have a piece of Dine Tampa Bay 2013 it is going to be delicious! So, sign-up today and be an early bird by clicking HERE!
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 00:00
Good afternoon fellow food connoisseurs! Ashley here, I cannot explain my excitement as we dive into Dine Tampa Bay 2013. My love for food and event planning made me realize this internship was a match made in heaven. The restaurants participants more than doubled last year and we can expect even more growth this year. This means more restaurants to try and even more food to enjoy!
As a college student, coming home for summer gives old friends the chance to catch up over a delicious meal and drinks. It has become a tradition among my best friends growing up to all go out to dinner with our moms. Bringing our moms is a definite plus, since they fit the bill it allows us to drink and eat as much as we please. Last night we all decided to meet at Bonefish Grill, one of my favorite places to go especially on Wednesday for $5.00 Bang. If you have not tried the Bang Bang Shrimp, your taste buds are missing out. You need to go today between 4pm and close, it is only $5.00 and worth every penny.
Every time I go to Bonefish Grill I never stray from my usual order, Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos with a side Caesar Salad and a glass of Jacob’s Creek Moscato. Upon placing my drink order the waiter suggested that I try The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay. The waiter could sense my hesitation, so he added that one of the creators of The Dreaming Tree Wine was none other than professional musician, Dave Matthews. That point right there had me sold. I have a passion for music and love the Dave Matthews Band. So, I went ahead and ordered a glass to try it out and see what it is all about!
I ended up drinking two glasses of The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay and enjoyed every last sip. I think it has even become one of my favorite wines and I highly recommend it for all you white wine-lovers. However, I wonder if the waiter did not mention Dave Matthews if I still would have ordered the drink. Would you have been influenced by the famous musician Dave Matthews if you were me?
Sunday, 05 August 2012 15:02
Just over a week ago, Bella’s Italian Café on Howard Ave. celebrated their 26th birthday! Quite a feat in the restaurant biz these days, but we aren’t surprised. Co-owners Bill Shumate and Joanie Corneil have over four decades of experience. Joanie has spent an impressive amount of time abroad gathering influences from Europe, ensuring their cuisine’s genuine authenticity. At Bella’s you can indulge in some of the most delectable antipastos, a wide-range of pastas and brick oven pizzas. And during Dine Tampa Bay Restaurant Week, you can enjoy their amazing three course menu for just $25! (Check it out here!)
To top it all off, they are offering great drink specials for the entirety of restaurant week to make your meal that much more special. Enjoy house wines for $5 a glass and Stella for $3.99!
Salciccia Al Forno- YUM!
Salciccia Al Forno- YUM!
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View the participating restaurant menus