TAMPA — Scroll, click, eat, drink.
Tableside menu iPads let diners control their orders at Carmel Café & Wine Bar, which opened Tuesday on Swann Avenue at Henderson Boulevard.
The food arrives very quickly, said founding partner Terry Ryan, "but you make the dining experience at your leisure. So if you want everything to come at once, order from one MenuPad."
Guests use the tablet-based technology to scroll through photographs and descriptions of "mod Mediterranean." Entrees average $8 to $10, including seafood pasta, mussels, salmon and chicken choices, plus meatballs, burgers, lamb and veal sliders and several vegetarian options. Dessert standouts are chocolate lava cake and cannoli.
Hummus, spreads and flatbreads, available as small or large plates, are especially fun for table sharing.
The mezze platter is a favorite of Chris Sullivan, the Outback Steakhouse executive who has now opened four Carmel Cafés. The others are in Clearwater, Carrollwood and Sarasota.
Wednesday seems to be the happiest of Happy Hours, with certain wines and flatbreads for $5 from 5 to 7 p.m.
On Sundays and Mondays, a prix fixe, four-course dinner serves two for $24.95. Coming soon: wine-pairing dinners and weekend brunch.
Adding to the sleek vibe are several oil paintings by Albert Alfonso, and one by his brother Carlos, of Alfonso Architects, designers of the restaurant. And don't miss the photographs by Al Hurley lining the back hallway. The restaurant seats 160 and features a full liquor bar offering wine in 3-, 6- or 9-ounce servings. Speciality cocktails include watermelon granita and gingered pear.
For now, dinner only is served daily from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Lunch service starts Sept. 17.
Carmel Café & Wine Bar is located at 3601 Swann Ave. Visit carmelcafe.com or call (813) 964-6889.
Coton Colors has new flagship
Hand-painted pottery platters sold at Coton Colors celebrate "Happy Everything" — birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Ceramic pumpkins, party hats, snowman, butterflies and 100 other designs can be attached with Velcro for any occasion.
The colorful tabletop pieces, plus mugs, cookie jars, message boards, plate stands and much more, fill the company's new flagship store, opened this week on Kennedy Boulevard, east of Howard Avenue. A ribbon-cutting party is set for Sept. 7.
Store owner Marcie Parks is the sister of Laura Johnson, who started Coton Colors in her garage in 1995 in Tallahassee. Today, 3,000 retailers carry the creative giftware.
Parks runs the personalized ornaments division, offering 175 designs. She expects the store will become one of FedEx's biggest shippers in Tampa.
Coton Colors, 1101 W Kennedy Blvd., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Visit coton- colors.com or call (813) 254-1251.
Sixth area Yogurtology opens
The opening of the sixth local Yogurtology franchise drew more than 500 people to Gandy Boulevard and MacDill Avenue on Aug. 11. It featured 12 flavors of frozen yogurt, including salted caramel and oatmeal cookie, 60 toppings and 15 sauces and syrups.
Each concoction is weighed, priced at 49 cents an ounce.
The newest location offers contemporary lounge seating inside and a spacious, Astroturf-covered patio outside.
The seventh location at 12400 N Dale Mabry Highway will open in a few weeks.
Yogurtology, 3017 Gandy Blvd., is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit yogurtology.com or call (813) 839-4200.
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