12/04/13 Human Interest
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Debutante Ball
The 25 young women joining the ranks of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla debutantes presented since 1947 brought beauty and ambition to the formal rite of passage. Gabby Gostigian, 20, studies zoology and microbiology at the University of Florida. Katie O'Drobinak, 19, will be a Chinese-speaking business major when she graduates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Look for the work of Shannon Albrink, 20, Tisch School of the Arts student at New York University, at a future film festival. Elly Straske, 19, is already acting and stage-managing at Georgetown....
12/04/13 Human Interest
HYDE PARK — Visitors to six historic Hyde Park homes Sunday will see how contemporary owners are creating their own memories while observing old traditions in 100-year-old homes.
The annual Hyde Park Home Tour offers an inside view of some of the fine restoration work in Tampa's first suburb.
Wraparound front porches, high ceilings, hardwood floors, vintage hardware and light fixtures reflect the period when the houses were built, renovated according to strict design guidelines....
11/29/13 Human Interest
Joining the board of directors of a Baltimore runaway shelter where she volunteered as a crisis counselor foreshadowed Dr. Donna Petersen's path to dean of the USF College of Public Health. "It was almost like I was being shown the way but I didn't make the connection at the time," she said. "Public health professionals work with the whole community, removed from one-on-one interaction." • Petersen, 53, has advised more than 25 state health departments, written a textbook on needs-assessment and written dozens of publications and book chapters on maternal and child health. Her influence, starting with the intensity of a crisis hotline during grad school, extends to the training of the next generation of public health leaders. • In August, she added another position to her 40-page curriculum vitae, stepping up as interim CEO of USF Health when Dr. Stephen Klasko resigned. Professional accolades abound, for her services on federal, state and county health care advisory boards and task forces. Two achievements stand above all, she told Tampa Bay Times reporter Amy Scherzer: her daughters, Kerry and Morgan Alexander....
Amy Scherzer's Diary: Wine, Women & Shoes; Alzheimer's & the Arts; Trashy Flashy; H.B. Plant Museum cocktail buffet11/27/13 Human Interest
Trashy Flashy Fashion Show
Yellow Pages folded into evening gowns; old magazines and Target shopping bags were recycled into dresses, skirts and topss at the Trashy Flashy fashion show benefit for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. Designer Neva (the Diva) Durham repurposed a 1964 wedding gown, adding rose petals, feathers and pearls. Every creation used at least 75 percent recycled materials. Many designs sprang from the imaginations of Alonso and Riverview High students....
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — Locally grown products, fresh from farms and gardens, will have diners crowing about the Rooster & the Till, opening in early December on Florida Ave and Lambright Street in Seminole Heights.
The restaurant's small plate menu emphasizes charcuterie, house-crafted sausage and ham, and artisanal cheeses. "Humanely raised goat, lamb, duck, pork, beef and chicken will be sourced locally," said co-owner chef Ferrell Alvarez. "Cooked with love and care."...
11/20/13 Human Interest
A bathtub floozie flopped high on top of the bar, beckoning guests into the Eye Ball, a high-class gin joint celebration of Lions Eye Institute's 40th anniversary. CEO Jason Woody welcomed 235 guests to gamble at blackjack and slots, dine on paella, dance to the Vodkanauts and raise more than $100,000 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. Landon McClellan, 6, whose cornea transplant was paid for from the 2012 gala, visited the speakeasy scene Nov. 9, just one of 60,000 tissue recipients given the gift of sight by supporters of the eye bank and its Ocular Research Center....
TOWN 'N COUNTRY — Insomnia, an occupational hazard in the hospitality industry, was the icebreaker for bartender John Urbanski and cocktail server Melanthi Patrick.
It must have been 4 a.m. when he caught her Facebook post. She, too, had given up counting sheep.
With one eye on the computer screen and another watching The 'Burbs on TV, John messaged Mel the suggestion that the silly Tom Hanks movie might induce sleep....
TAMPA — No time to see and be seen at Oxford Exchange?
Buzz down the block to O.E. Market for gourmet grab-and-go pastries, soups, salads, sandwiches and drinks.
Scones, cinnamon rolls, muffins and granola are freshly baked, with several gluten-free options. Sandwich choices include turkey with roasted cauliflower, chicken meatloaf with feta, and pork belly with creamed kale, $10 each....
11/13/13 Human Interest
Starlight Gala Dinner Show
Luckily, there was no shortage of doctors in the house, on call to revive swooning Harry Connick Jr. fans at the Starlight Gala Dinner Show. Co-chairmen Mike and Elena Azzarelli nearly needed CPR when Connick canceled a Clearwater performance two days earlier. But the New Orleans heartthrob was in fine voice Nov. 7, grooving on piano, trumpet and bongos at Florida Hospital Foundation's "celebration of Greater Tampa Bay medical leadership." CEOs from four area Adventist Health System hospitals mingled with 990 black-tie patrons packing the Tampa Marriott Waterside. Guests understood the cash bar at the ritzy gala was in accordance with Adventists' beliefs. Record-breaking proceeds came from silent and live auctions, sponsorships and $500-and-up tickets, some including a photo op with handsome Harry and a room at the hotel, not with Harry....
11/06/13 Human Interest
A New Orleans Vieux Carré setting invoked le bon temps at the Pavilion, an extravagant evening that has accounted for more than $5 million for exhibitions and education at the Tampa Museum of Art since 1981. Saturday's streamlined — not mainstreamed — affair pictured Bourbon Street and Preservation Hall across 24- by 14-foot screens. A University of South Florida jazz band paraded umbrella-swaying patrons down museum stairs and through the atrium. Perhaps coincidentally, the fanfare touted a Mardi Gras nod with many Gasparilla royals in tow (Jim Ferman, Dick Beard, John Brabson, Mike Annis, Stella Thayer, Janice Straske, Michael Carrere)....
PALMA CEIA — Zoom up to the drive-through window, settle on a sofa or perch at the communal table at Kahwa Coffee's newest location — and first freestanding site — opened in a former Wendy's on Henderson Boulevard near Neptune Avenue on Oct. 25.
The menu is short: coffee, espresso, cappuccino, a few breakfast sandwiches, quiche and maybe some fruit. Also tea, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed orange juice and lemonade....
10/30/13 Human Interest
Cigar City Gala
Co-chairmen Mary Lib and George Howell partied like it was 1513, any minute expecting Ponce de León to discover the Cigar City Gala at the Tampa Bay History Center. He would have found a 16th century Spanish court, and conquistadors and American Indian enactors greeting 350 black-tie and guayabera-garbed guests Oct. 19, including honoree Judge E.J. Salcines. Columbia Restaurant chefs explored La Florida gastronomically, from tapas to chorizo balls to paella Valenciana and dulce tres leches and marzipan desserts. Historical photos and maps on giant LED screens extolled 500 years of Florida life; recent photos depicted the nearly 5-year-old museum's history. After 9, a lively crowd of $75-a-ticket supporters arrived for a late-night buffet and the Shawn Brown band, doing their part to help the gala net $60,000.
USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy...
PALMA CEIA— Mozzarella di bufala, ricotta, gorgo, smoked scamorza, burrata, toscano . . . Antonio Casamento will make and sell 15 kinds of cheese when he opens Mozzarella Bar in mid November. His tiny shop — a couple of barstools, a bistro table and a refrigerator case — sits at the end of a row of storefronts, hidden behind another row of small storefronts, at the corner of Henderson Boulevard and Neptune Avenue....
10/23/13 Human Interest
Broadway Ball at the Straz Center
Cocktails in view of a Central Park backdrop, dinner fit for a Trump, dessert at disco Studio 54 — the Broadway Ball raised the curtain on a new season at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Board chairman Martin Silbiger dedicated "An Evening in New York With Michael Feinstein" to the late civic leader Dottie Berger MacKinnon. "She represented all that Tampa is," said Straz CEO Judy Lisi as presenting sponsors Erika and Don Wallace and many of the 350 guests blinked back tears....
WESTSHORE — French pastry treats called macarons, not to be confused with American macaroon coconut cookies, come in 18 colorful flavors at Le Macaron, opened Oct. 11 at WestShore Plaza, next to P.F. Chang's.
The small, round, lightly crisp shells are made of finely ground almonds and egg whites. Inside goes creamy ganache (chocolate), cream or fruit jams.
Most popular: Madagascar black vanilla and Belgian chocolate....