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A Taste of Tampa Bay

A glimpse at the people and places that make up our vibrant food scene.

 

  1. Restaurant review: Deccan Spice in Feather Sound is a gateway to the allures of Indian cuisine

    Food & Dining

    CLEARWATER

    Feather Sound's Tru Lounge, which was Flo Lounge before that, morphed into Grand Siam in 2012, a giant Thai restaurant owned by the folks who had Ban Thai restaurants in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon and Lakeland. It was lavish with dramatic fluted chandeliers and a long, polished wood sushi bar, but it …

    Some of the selections at a recent lunch buffet at Deccan Spice included chicken biryani, gobi masala and murgh masala.
  2. 3 new restaurants open: Deccan Spice Indian food, Farmacy Vegan Kitchen, the Cake Shop

    Food & Dining

    DECCAN SPICE

    Deccan Spice has opened at 2325 Ulmerton Road, in what used to be the elegant and vast Grand Siam space in Feather Sound. It's getting high marks so far for its traditional Indian lunch buffet, and offers a range of southern Indian dishes (vadas and dosas and idlis, oh my) seldom seen …

    Farmacy Vegan Kitchen + Bakery serves wraps, acai bowls, smoothies and juices and plant-based baked goods like strawberry cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Charles Rumph.
  3. Drink up this weekend: Tampa Theatre Barley's Angels festival, Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival

    Food & Dining

    Thirst quench: Barley's Angels

    Saturday night marks this year's beer-oriented major fundraiser for the historic Tampa Theatre. It's usually a good excuse to dress funny and drink overmuch, and this year is no exception. The theme is Barley's Angels, so get your Drew Barrymore or Lucy Liu on. Or, if …

    “Grilled Bloody Mary” recipe by Big Green Craig and taught by Egghead Josh Tahan of Riverview at a Big Green Egg cooking class called “Breakfast for Dinner” taught by Tahan at the The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium in Brandon, Saturday,  9/17/16.
  4. Review: Gulfport's Habana Cafe a Cuban staple after 20 years

    Food & Dining

    GULFPORT

    Mike McNally started working in the kitchen as a dishwasher when he was 17. He's 37 now and the head cook. Pokey Wynn and Martie Sanchez have been cooking and expediting in the kitchen for 16 years each. Sara Fernandez has been handling the dining room for not quite that long. The mural by Gulfport …

    An appetizer of lechon asado, slow-simmered pulled pork with onions, is served with toasted Cuban bread and a glass of white sangria at Habana Cafe in Gulfport.
  5. Need a quick food idea for Father's Day? We've got you covered.

    Food & Dining

    Dad's Day: The expected and unexpected

    A long bone cowboy ribeye steak at Council Oak at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Tampa.
  6. KFC to launch sandwich into space per 'Col.' Rob Lowe's speech

    Blogs

    Col. Sanders, played here by Rob Lowe, announced the space mission via an ad campaign.
  7. Restaurant review: At Olive the World Bistro, olive oils and vinegars enhance a small but smart menu

    Food & Dining

    TARPON SPRINGS

    There is not a ton of consensus about the best way to taste olive oils. Some say put a small amount of each in opaque cups so you aren't swayed by the color, swirl them around, slurp while sucking in air, swish them in your mouth, swallow. Then cleanse the palate, but with what? Crackers, bread, …

    Olive the World Bistro, 24 Hibiscus Street, in Tarpon Springs, was opened in September, 2015. The venture started as a destination to purchase high-end balsamic vinegars and oils but the husband-and-wife owners, Chris and Gini Aloise, wanted folks to taste their wares in the proper context, paired with a lineup of salads, pastas and paninis, and a growing list of wines and beers.
  8. 100 years after it disappeared, a giant Florida watermelon is brought back to life

    Food & Dining

    LAKELAND

    Under a mossy live oak on farmer Will Crum's farm, chef Greg Baker thumped a watermelon. They both listened — a low tone, a little hollow-sounding.

     Farmer Will Crum and Greg Baker, of The Refinery and Fodder and Shine, tasted their first Florida Favorite watermelon on June 8, 2017 at the Crum Brothers Family Farm in Lakeland, Fla.   The Florida Favorite is a hybrid of the Bradford and the Georgia Rattlesnake. Although it had fallen out of favor, Baker and Crum re-hybridized it. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
  9. Heights Public Market adds breakfast diner, MFA brings back Art + Beer Lounge

    Food & Dining

    Taken to new heights: Heights Public Market

    The 70,000-square-foot Armature Works building will be the centerpiece of the Heights development in Tampa.

  10. Cocktail-inspired drinks filter onto specialty coffee shops in Tampa Bay

    Food & Dining

    Filtering onto specialty coffee shop menus across Tampa Bay are cocktail-inspired drinks that put a twist on your traditional caffeine order. Fan of a gin and tonic? Try a cold brew and tonic. Like mint juleps? Give one with espresso, instead of bourbon, a shot.

    Espresso coffee tops off ice and ginger ale at Caffeine Roasters in Tampa for a drink similar to a gin and tonic. The shop also offers sparkling coffee, a blend of espresso and sparkling lemonade.
  11. Restaurant review: Food needs to catch up to appealing bar program and decor at Oldsmar's Suegra Tequila Cantina

    Food & Dining

    OLDSMAR

    In the Tampa Bay area we've had a fairly hefty influx of upscale, ambitious Mexican restaurants — O Cocina, Besito, Bartaco, Miguelito's, Red Mesa's growing empire. But it was some months back when I heard Boston celebrity chef Todd Hall was teaming up with City Fish Grill owners Craig and Matt Vario …

    Authentic barbacoa and lobster tamales are also on the menu, which contains plenty of good concepts.
  12. A Taste of Tampa Bay: St. Petersburg's Brick and Mortar

    Food & Dining

    Come with us into the kitchens of Tampa Bay area restaurants for a glimpse at the people and places that make up our vibrant food scene. This is a look at downtown St. Petersburg's Brick and Mortar (539 Central Ave.), opened by Hope Montgomery and Jason Ruhe in 2015. Read food critic Laura Reiley's tenderloin carpaccio, house ravioli stuffed with soft poached egg, leek and goat cheese mousse, white truffle oil, shaved parmesan at Brick and Mortar in St. Petersburg. [Photo by EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  13. Dining Planner: Tampa location announced for BetterByrd, Cider Press burger aims to convert omnivores

    Food & Dining

    V FOR VEGAN VICTORY: BLENDED BURGER

    Cider Press Cafe’s Beyond Burger is blended with mushrooms and garlic and topped with eggplant bacon-tomato jam.
  14. St. Pete Coffee Tours offer a glimpse into the world of local craft coffee

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — What started as a small gathering of friends is now a growing business that has people hyped about St. Petersburg specialty coffee.

    At Craft Kafe, Jason Waits explains Kyoto-style drip coffee during a St. Pete Coffee Tour in May.
  15. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    Soft pretzels are displayed with a beer at the Features Gastropub in the Riverview 14 GDX  theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue