Tampa's Epicurean Hotel, which opens in December, is now taking reservations for classes beginning Jan. 20. The demonstration classes start at $50 and top out at $125, and the schedule is set into February. Classes - including History of the Cocktail, Vodka 101 and Sustainable Winemaking and Seafood - will be held in the hotel's 32-seat Epicurean Theatre and will be taught by local experts as well as visiting chefs and wine authorities. The 137-room hotel, at 1207 S Howard Ave., is being developed in collaboration with the Bern's Steak House across the street. Among other amenities at the hotel will be restaurant levage, rooftop bar Edge and Chocolate Pi patisserie helmed by famed local pastry chef Kim Yelvington. Bern's Fine Wines & Spirits retail shop will also be at the hotel. Hotel reservations are also being taken now but many days in January through the 19th are booked already. Rooms range from $200 to $300 a night. To reserve a class or make reservations, go to epicureanhotel.com or call toll-free 1-855-829-2536.
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Le Macaron opens
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. Flavors include Madagascar black vanilla, rose and basil-white chocolate. The macarons are all gluten-free - some are dairy-free - and are handmade without preservatives or artificial flavors. Each petite pastry is 80 calories or less. Macarons are sold $2.10 individually, six for $12.60 or a dozen for $24. Le Macaron, 173 WestShore Plaza is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. till 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Call (813) 207-2029 or visit LeMacaron-USA.com
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VegiBus on the road
After 27 years of driving a truck, Jeffrey Daniel, now has 27 places to be each week - in his bus. The Ruskin resident owns a green and white vehicle he has dubbed the VegiBus, and he drives it door to door, mostly to senior communities. The climate controlled, mobile produce market offers farm fresh fruits, vegetables and potatoes at competitive prices and convenience not found anywhere else. Daniel tries to update his route on his website (vegibus.com). Right now, he gets them from Alabama, until the Ruskin crop is ready around February. He accepts cash, credit and requests for location No. 28. Call (813) 444-8287 if you would like to see the VegiBus.
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Largo to get new Publix
At the far southwest corner of Largo, there's the Indian Rocks Shopping Center. After the holidays, some changes are coming. The center at Indian Rocks and Walsingham roads is anchored by a Publix that's bookended by a Bealls Outlet and a Dollar Tree. Early next year, the aging Publix will be torn down. A more modern, 46,000-square-foot supermarket will rise in its place. Publix has not announced this, but construction plans have been filed with the city. Although the Publix will be demolished, all the other buildings in the center will remain. The Bealls and Dollar Tree on either side of the Publix will get a facelift.
- Amy Scherzer, Eric Vician, Mike Brassfield