Monday, February 19, 2018
Restaurants

Tampa bakery celebrates Valentine's Day with reality-check cupcakes

First there was a bad break up. Then there was the long-distance relationship. Anne Vela, co-owner of Tampa's Cafe Hey, had lots of inspiration for her Anti-Valentine's Cupcakes.

She's added to the lineup every year for the past four. Available at the cafe for $4 for four and $10 for 10 cupcakes, these confections fit the bill for lonely-hearts parties or just a bittersweet consolation if Cupid's arrow hasn't found purchase this year. Orders for anti-Valentine's treats are being taken now, and even for bittersweet sentiment, it's best to call soon.

Yes, there's the Long Distance Relationship (delicate and bittersweet pink grapefruit glaze and black tea cake) and the It's Not You, It's Me (corn cake with banana fondant), but she's added ones like the I Am Soooo Happy for You! (with bitter melon and aloe, it's white on white cake with pearl and sparkly sprinkles), which, she says, "A lot of girls get really into. It's supposed to look like wedding cake, but it's really bitter."

Vela says the spicy ones go over well. There's the Hurts so Good (cinnamon and red chili chocolate cake with chocolate cinnamon ganache) and the Burning Sensation (Sriracha chocolate cake and sichuan pepper chocolate sesame frosting).

"There are two guys every year who come in and get the Burning Sensation for their friends," says Vela, adding that an anti-Valentine's cupcake called Broke and Alone at 2:30 Saturday Morning (malt cupcake with raspberry icing) brought some unexpected notoriety. A nod to tall cans of Joose 12 percent malt liquor made in fruity flavors, it caught the eye of Joose producers last year.

"It's an homage to the malt liquor you get from the corner store. They thought it was awesome. They even sent us a care package. It was funny for us."

The biggest seller has been the Eat Dirt, which she describes as a "chocolate fudge chocolate fudge fudge brownie with sour gummy worms," just about the definition of sweet revenge.

"This has been an opportunity for us to be creative around the shop. We came up with flavors that would go against this canned Hallmark celebration."

Cafe Hey is located at 1540 N Franklin St., Tampa. Orders can be placed by calling (813) 221-5150.

Comments
Review: Platt Street Borough is casual Tampa dining with high standards

Review: Platt Street Borough is casual Tampa dining with high standards

TAMPAIt wasn’t that long ago that Platt Street was a bit of a conundrum for restaurateurs: Not exactly downtown, without the dense auto traffic of Kennedy, and far enough off the South Howard main drag that it didn’t entirely qualify as part of SoHo....
Published: 02/19/18
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
Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters opens in South Tampa, plus learn how to roll sushi at Kelp

Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters opens in South Tampa, plus learn how to roll sushi at Kelp

LOVE STUNT: SUSHI ROLLSIf you dropped the ball Wednesday and did bubkes for your sweetie, here’s a tip: Through Sunday at Kelp in South Tampa, couples can dive into a reservations-only chef-led art of sushi rolling class that comes with bottomless sa...
Published: 02/14/18
Out of time this Valentine's Day? Five ways to still have a romantic meal

Out of time this Valentine's Day? Five ways to still have a romantic meal

Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, and that means your odds of scoring a reservation at a popular restaurant are roughly equal to the odds of you opening your own restaurant in time for dinner. Thinking about showing up somewhere with no reservatio...
Published: 02/13/18
Review: 2nd & Second will serve you 24/7 in St. Petersburg

Review: 2nd & Second will serve you 24/7 in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURGAn older couple sits at a booth, hunched over mugs of coffee, occasionally murmuring in a way that seems more soliloquy than conspiracy. Outside at a table, two travelers pay their tab, plates streaked with cold yolk. They ask for direc...
Published: 02/12/18
Review: Maybe the Lure can beat the odds at this unlucky South Tampa location

Review: Maybe the Lure can beat the odds at this unlucky South Tampa location

TAMPA - This will be my fourth review of restaurants in this space, all of them more or less favorable: Bistro Bleu (a sophisticated New American charmer), Marrakech (Yay! We have almost no Moroccan food here! Bring on the tagines!) and Catrinas Taco...
Published: 02/05/18
Here's what you can eat at the Armature Works' new Heights Public Market

Here's what you can eat at the Armature Works' new Heights Public Market

TAMPA — "This project will change the DNA of Tampa." Bold words from Ferdian Jap, co-owner of Zukku, one of 14 vendors who began selling their food and drink to the public Thursday at the anticipated Heights Public Market at the Armature Works...
Updated one month ago
Valentine’s Day ideas for Tampa Bay foodies: wine and chocolate, berry picking and more

Valentine’s Day ideas for Tampa Bay foodies: wine and chocolate, berry picking and more

PICKING: BERRY FASTLooking for something fun, yet competitive, to do with your sweetie in advance of Valentine’s Day? Wish Farms and Monte Package Co. are collaborating on the fifth annual Strawberry Picking Challenge this weekend.The main event Satu...
Published: 02/01/18
Updated: 02/07/18
A salute to Tampa Bay's Top 50 restaurants of the year

A salute to Tampa Bay's Top 50 restaurants of the year

Every year, I cull through thousands of words about the local restaurant scene from Times food critic Laura Reiley. I edit her weekly restaurant reviews, salivating over the best of them and making note when she leans over and says, "Oh yeah, you wou...
Updated one month ago
The list is here: Our 2018 edition of the Top 50 Restaurants of Tampa Bay

The list is here: Our 2018 edition of the Top 50 Restaurants of Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay’s Top 50 Restaurants has arrived, and so has the Tampa Bay food scene. The highly-anticipated annual list from food critic Laura Reiley contains some surprises this year, in restaurants that made it and ones that didn’t. Our foo...
Updated one month ago