Thursday, July 19, 2018
Dining

Dining Planner: Crowning the king at the Cuban Sandwich smackdown

One Tasty weekend:

CUBAN SANDWICH FESTIVAL

Show your Tampa Bay fealty by attending the sixth annual Cuban Sandwich Festival at the Ybor campus of Hillsborough Community College, whereby a team of Cuban sandwich professionals will attempt to create the largest Cuban sandwich in the world at noon Saturday. (Okay, but how do you press that thing? A fleet of irons?) There's also a kids' Cuban sandwich smackdown and a Cuban sandwich eating contest. This is all preamble for the big event at 11 a.m. Sunday, the grown-up smackdown featuring restaurants from all around the world including London and Seoul, South Korea, competing for the title of world's best Cuban sandwich. Organizers are expecting 45,000 people to attend, many of them in direct conflict about what constitutes the perfect Cuban (up with mustard and Genoa salami!). There are celebrity judges (including a stunt man, but maybe he's uniquely prepared to taste all those sandwiches) and the crowd will name its own Cuban sandwich king or queen. 1320 E Palm Ave., Tampa. Free admission. thecubansandwichfestival.com.

TASTE OF CARROLLWOOD

On Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., head to George M. Steinbrenner Field for the annual Taste of Carrollwood presented by the Carrollwood Area Business Association. Enjoy free samplings from more than 30 area restaurants, with beverages for sale. It's a one-stop shop for finding out about local and independent restaurants, with family activities and an opportunity to run the bases of Steinbrenner Field. Free admission and food samplings. 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. (813) 264-0006.

TASTE OF SOUTH TAMPA

Also on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., the 12th annual Taste of South Tampa, a similar event, takes over the Tampa Garden Club. Tickets, $60, are all-inclusive and include beverage and food samples from dozens of South Tampa restaurants, with a beer garden, live entertainment, giveaways from sponsors and opportunities to win prizes while voting for the "best of South Tampa." For $90, VIP includes additional tastings, air-conditioned space and a swag bag. There is also a food drive at the event; bring boxed or canned nonperishable items to benefit Metropolitan Ministries. 2629 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa. (813) 637-0156.

COMING SOON: Another Another Broken Egg Cafe

Another Broken Egg Cafe continues its Tampa Bay expansion by opening a new location in Clearwater Beach on Monday. One of the fastest-growing breakfast and brunch concepts in the nation, it shows its Louisiana origins and Southern heritage in dishes like Bananas Foster French toast and peach cobbler pancakes. Brunch specialties include crab cakes with fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits. This latest outpost at 470 Poinsettia Ave. in Clearwater Beach joins the locations at 2554 N McMullen-Booth Road in Clearwater and at 4041 S Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. The new location offers a preview charity brunch Friday and Saturday benefiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Humane Society of Pinellas County. Reservations are required at tbtim.es/1956 as seating is limited.

NOW OPEN: Blake's Crab Cakes

As a onetime Maryland resident, I'm eager to check out this newcomer. Blake's Crab Cakes debuted not long ago at 7224 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Blake Rodgers grew up in the Baltimore 'burbs, prime crab cake territory. He has relocated to St. Petersburg and it sounds like a seamless marriage of Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. He's using all local blue crab, not frozen, in those nearly filler-free golden orbs. The rest of the menu fills in with things like mac and shrimp and shrimp Creole. (727) 289-2322.

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