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What’s happening in Tampa Bay food: I Like It Hot Festival, wine tastings, Beer and Bow Ties

Nab a bottle of Farmhouse As F#&k Deux at Saint Somewhere or eat for a cause during the Columbia’s Community Harvest, too.
The I Like It Hot Festival will return to Largo's Minnreg Hall for its 19th year this weekend, sampling everything from sauces to salsas. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times (2008)]
Published Sep. 11
Updated Sep. 11


Now in its 19th year and billed as Florida’s biggest hot sauce celebration, the I Like It Hot Festival returns with all sorts of fiery fare. You’re invited to sample everything from sauces to salsas before making a purchase. This spicy showcase also promises pepper plants, live music and close to 10 friendly competitions for both vendors and attendees. The Extreme Lolly Lick-a-Thon, scheduled for Sunday, is an annual favorite. $5, kids 12 and younger free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Minnreg Hall, 6340 126th Ave., Largo. (727) 318-2157.

Bryan Ward of Orange Springs tends to pepper plants at the ninth annual I Like It Hot Festival in Largo. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times (2009)]


Saint Somewhere Brewing Company’s big collaboration beer is back. You have three chances to score a 375-milliliter caged and corked bottle of Farmhouse As F#&k Deux, created by the Tarpon Springs brewery and 37 brewers from Tampa Bay and beyond. Each beermaker contributed some dry ingredients and two bottles of bottle-condition brew to pull of the “farmhouseish, goldenish" sour. No limit. 4-9 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2-9 p.m. Saturday. 115 S Ring Ave., Tarpon Springs. (813) 503-6181.


Head to liquor store American Spirits for the Wine and Pizza Pairing Party, where pies supplied by the nearby Gratzzi Italian Grille are paired with multiple vino styles. $15. 6-8 p.m. Friday. 280 Third St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-8700.

Bandit Coffee Co. bids the sticky, sweaty season farewell at its End of Summer Bash. Expect to sip eight Progress Wine Group selections, four still and four sparkling, as well as down picnic-style eats like smoked pork or tempeh sliders. A $5 discount on bottles is included with admission, as is access to the Grand Central District coffee shop’s canned beer and wine buckets and $3 Miller High Life. $15. 7-10 p.m. Thursday. 2662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Let the Champagne Splash presents a free bubbly tasting alongside Champagne flights at another Grand Central District hangout: Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe. You’re asked to don a glittery, gold or all-around snazzy outfit. No cover. 3-6 p.m. Saturday. 2927 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 800-2810.

Cru Cellars adds “Electives,” educational seminars focusing on one theme, to its Cru University syllabus. The next one is titled What Is Natural Wine? Led by sommelier Matt Turner and wine director Zach Groseclose, the class takes you through samples of natural wine as well as what to know, and ask, before buying a bottle. $35. 6-8 p.m. Sept. 18. 2506 S MacDill Ave., Tampa. (813) 831-1117.

Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe calls St. Petersburg's Grand Central District home. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times (2017)]


The fifth annual Beer and Bow Ties offers a curated mix of beer, small plates by popular local restaurants and liquor. Live art and music and photo-ops complete this swanky fundraiser for suicide prevention and awareness. Benefits Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. $100, $150 VIP. 7-11 p.m. Friday. Armature Works, 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. (813) 964-1964.


Ocean Prime has united a couple of go-to menu items to offer one tempting happy hour special. The upscale seafood and steak chain’s International Plaza outpost serves half-off bubbles and oysters in its lounge or on its terrace on Saturday, pairing oysters and frozen granita, $11.50 for a half dozen, with $10-or-less glasses of Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs or rose. (A bottle runs you $50 or less.) Noon-4 p.m. 2205 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa. (813) 490-5288.

Oysters and frozen granita at Ocean Prime, part of International Plaza in Tampa. [Courtesy of Ocean Prime]


Show your support for nonprofit organizations around the state with your stomach during the Community Harvest, now in its 22nd year at the Columbia Restaurant. If you grab lunch or dinner from any Columbia location through the end of the month, the legendary eatery has pledged to donate 5 percent of your check to the participating charitable cause of your choice. The Columbia donated more than $227,000 to 100-plus organizations in Florida in 2018, according to its website. In addition to Ybor City, the Columbia operates locally in downtown Tampa, Clearwater Beach, at Tampa International Airport and in Sarasota. Runs through Sept. 30. 2117 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 248-4961.


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