Sunday, February 18, 2018
Features and More

On your radar: the Times Festival of Reading, the Clearwater Jazz Festival, Food Truck Wars and Oktoberfest

Times Festival of Reading: The book fest celebrates 20 years with dozens of authors, including Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane. It's all free Saturday at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. See the schedule at festivalofreading.com.

Food Truck Wars: The hot trend hits the big time when 40 food trucks from Tampa Bay and throughout Florida square off in different categories Saturday at Channelside Bay Plaza in Tampa. Visit foodtruckwars.com.

Date night

Clearwater Jazz Holiday: For the first time, the iconic four-day jazz festival on the waterfront in Coachman Park is not free. The closing night headliner is the Avett Brothers on Sunday, with Bonnie Raitt on Thursday, Mindi Abair on Friday and Esperanza Spalding on Saturday. $10 for a one-day pass, $15 pass for Saturday and Sunday, and $30 buys a four-day pass. (727) 461-5200.

Florida Orchestra: Busy weekend kicks off Friday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg with the Music of Simon and Garfunkel, with vocalists AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle doing Bridge Over Troubled Water and The Sound of Silence. $35–$75; (727) 892-5798. Saturday is a free Pops in the Park concert at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg and again at River Tower Park in Tampa on Sunday.

Kids and family

Pumpkin Toss: It's a hoot to watch the animals, stomp, chomp and pounce on their treat at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa at 11 a.m. Friday. Included with admission.

Tampa Bay Comic Con: Chandler Riggs, who portrays Carl Grimes in AMC's hit zombie show The Walking Dead, will meet and greet fans Saturday and Sunday at Doubletree Hotel by Hilton Tampa Airport. $10, 12 and younger free. (407) 619-2128.

SPCA Pet Walk: The 22nd annual walk Saturday along the St. Petersburg waterfront has a pet costume contest. $25, additional donations for SPCA appreciated; (727) 586-3591. Also Saturday, the Pet Masquerade Contest is in Hyde Park Village in Tampa. $5.

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Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Published: 02/17/18
Five things that make Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’ different and fun

Five things that make Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’ different and fun

TAMPA — Cirque du Soleil is back in town with a new show.The Montreal-based company always puts on an extravaganza, splashing around color with the abandon of a toddler playing with paint buckets and a storyline several layers deep, the artistic skel...
Published: 02/16/18
The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

It’s almost a sick joke. On the morning after Valentine’s Day, the second-busiest restaurant day of the year, chefs all over the country are hauling themselves out of bed early to find out: Did I make it onto this year’s James Beard Foundation list o...
Published: 02/15/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Once, if I’d received a recommendation to check out a lounge attached to a liquor store near the beach, I wouldn’t have been in much of a hurry to check it out. But I’ve learned that there’s frequently magic in these places. ...
Published: 02/15/18
Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Not long ago, it was all about the West Coast IPA. California breweries like Stone, Russian River and Bear Republic built empires on the style, favoring a dry IPA base and mountains of resiny, intensely bitter hops to craft aggressive brews that laug...
Published: 02/15/18
New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

Daily Dose Coffeehouse & Eatery opened earlier this month and offers South Tampa unique smoked coffee and a number of fresh, homemade breakfast items.Located in Fair Oaks Plaza at 3324 W Gandy Blvd., Daily Dose serves a different chef special everyda...
Published: 02/15/18
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

INTERNATIONAL PLAZA—After a long wait, the highly anticipated Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila bar is finally open for business at International Plaza’s Bay Street on Monday (Feb 12).Originally expected to open last September, owner Rocco Mangel said they g...
Published: 02/15/18
I sat through Disney's Hall of Presidents five times. It says more about us than Trump.

I sat through Disney's Hall of Presidents five times. It says more about us than Trump.

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom, walk up Main Street USA and hang a left at Cinderella’s castle. Enter the faux colonial Liberty Square, with its exact replica Liberty Bell and "liberty tree" adorned with 1...
Published: 02/15/18