Oktoberfest, when the kegs are tapped and they roll out the best of the wurst, often gets me wistful about schnitzel, sauerbraten and sachertorte.
Really, there aren't that many places in Tampa Bay to scratch the sauerbraten itch. But Beate Klobucar, who hails originally from Stuttgart, Germany, can hook you up at Cafe Vienna. Look around the forest green dining room, flanked at the front by a bar lined with personalized beer mugs and wine glasses, and it's clear: This place has devoted regulars. They find their mug, have it filled with a Spaten pilsner or Franzikaner weissbier, and then consider — am I in the mood for a bratwurst and sauerkraut, or maybe stroganoff over thick squiggles of spaetzle? 5625 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 527-6404.
For its sheer array of beers (400 bottled and 55 on tap), Mr. Dunderbak's is the destination. It's a longtime favorite for University of South Florida students out carousing, with a menu of sturdy German rib-stickers (sausages of all stripes, spaetzle, an impressive schnitzel lineup) as well as straight-up American fare for those who are schnitzel-phobic. 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa; (813) 977-4104.
Of course, the 900-pound gorilla for Oktoberfest shenanigans is St. Petersburg's Hofbrauhaus, opened last September in the historic Tramor Cafeteria. People dance, people sing, people spank each other vigorously with wooden paddles. Servers in expensive dirndls spill copious cleavage and one guy trails behind the wandering oompah band smacking spoons rhythmically against his thighs. Sausages, from the tender poached weisswurste to the frankfurter-style dogs and the slender roast pork Nurnberger rostbratwurstl, are pleasant and hearty. And with the house beers, you choose between the original (an easy-drinking bottom-fermented lager, 5.1 percent alcohol), a dunkel, the hefeweizen, a hefeweizen dunkel or the Oktoberfest beer. 123 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg; (727) 898-3333.
FLORIDA: EXPLORE THE BOUNTY
Thursday at the Epicurean Hotel from 7 to 9 p.m., three of Florida's biggest culinary boosters, shown from left, Katie Farmand, Pam Brandon and Heather McPherson, host a delicious night traversing all that Florida has to offer gastronomically. The authors of Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans and Good Catch: Recipes and Good Catch: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the Best of Florida's Waters will take guests on a journey through recipes and stories about farmers, purveyors and more.
The evening's menu includes roasted red pepper bruschetta inspired by Varri Green Farm in Okeechobee; goat milk panna cotta with arugula, a savory starter inspired by Terk's Acres in St. Augustine; sauteed shrimp and feta inspired by Tarpon Springs' Greek heritage; heirloom tomato salad inspired by Teena's Pride in Homestead; and pecan pralines with dark chocolate and sel gris inspired by Paisley Pecans in Paisley. Courses are paired with alcoholic beverages. $70. 1207 S Howard Ave., Tampa. (813) 999-8700.
Dalí: IMMERSION DINNER SERIES
In conjunction with the Dalí's special exhibition "Ferran Adrià: The Invention of Food," the museum hosts a lineup of epicurean experiences. A series of curated "Immersion Dinners" take place weekly at the Dalí throughout October and November during the exhibition's run and feature seven innovative chefs from the Tampa Bay region, each with a range of styles and celebrated for unique vision and creativity. On Oct. 12, Jeremy Duclut of Cassis American Brasserie is cooking; on Oct. 19 Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill is in the kitchen; and on Oct. 25 Greg Baker of the Refinery and Fodder & Shine will present a dinner.
Each weekly event begins at 6:15 p.m. with a private gallery viewing of the Ferran Adrià exhibition, followed by dinner and live music at the museum. Tickets are available at thedali.org/immersion and are $150 per person; seating is limited. Dalí Museum, 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg. (727) 823-3767.