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A guide to Tampa Bay’s best food and drink events this weekend

Flavors of the Gulf and two stone crab fests embrace Florida seafood, plus a mac 'n' cheese fest, Top Local Chef and a gardening class.
The John's Pass Seafood & Music Festival will return to Madeira Beach for its 38th installment this weekend. But the Friday event, Flavors of the Gulf, is a big draw for gastronauts. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times (2016)]
The John's Pass Seafood & Music Festival will return to Madeira Beach for its 38th installment this weekend. But the Friday event, Flavors of the Gulf, is a big draw for gastronauts. [SCOTT KEELER | Times (2016)]
Published Oct. 16

COME TO CHEDDAR: MACARONI & CHEESE FALL FESTIVAL

That season switch means it’s time to get cheesy. Taste some of the best mac around at the Macaroni & Cheese Fall Festival, an annual showcase of local food trucks. Participating mobile kitchens compete for the titles of Best Mac and Cheese and Sweetest Treat while the crowd enjoys samples and live music. Inflatables are also open to toddlers and older kids. Best part? You use your People’s Choice ballot to determine the winning food trucks. Benefits Benevolution Foundation. No cover, food and drink additional. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. SunWest Park, 17362 Old Dixie Highway, Hudson. (727) 518-4659.

SHRIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE: FLAVORS OF THE GULF

Now in its 38th year, the three-day John’s Pass Seafood & Music Festival puts a spotlight on Florida seafood, offering a variety of food trucks all weekend long and even more grub through the Flavors of the Gulf event. A big draw for gastronauts set to the festival soundtrack of live music, Flavors of the Gulf pairs dishes by top area restaurants with craft beer brewed locally and beyond. Benefits A Reel Future. $40, $60 two. 6-10 p.m. Friday. John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, 12902 Village Blvd., Madeira Beach. (970) 708-7997. johnspassseafoodfest.com.

CRABULOUS: CRAB FEST

P.J.’s Oyster Bar welcomes a first in its inaugural Crab Fest. To celebrate this week’s launch of Florida stone crab season, the St. Pete Beach favorite plans to offer three days of specials. They include a $25 stone crab dinner and a $13 stone crab app, plus a $20 snow crab dinner, a Dungeness crab dinner for $25 and a $35 king crab dinner. Expect Crab Fest drink and dessert deals like $6 pumpkin cheesecake and $6 Bloody Marys with spicy green beans, too. Free, food and drink additional. Friday-Sunday. 7490 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 367-3309. pjsoysterbar.net.

Crab Fest will bring a $25 stone crab dinner and a $13 stone crab app, among other weekend specials, to St. Pete Beach favorite P.J.'s Oyster Bar. [Courtesy of Kelli McFarland Umstead]

LOCAL GOODNESS: DUNEDIN STONE CRAB FESTIVAL

The two-day, family-friendly Dunedin Stone Crab Festival is a small but mighty seafood soiree, thanks to all of its local goodness. Fewer than 30 vendors, among them arts and crafts merchants, drive the 18th edition of this biannual event, as does live music. Look forward to 20 restaurants serving stone and blue crabs as well as fish tacos, ceviche, Maine lobster, burgers, hot dogs and barbecue. Craft beer and wine complete the highlights. It all takes place under the trees at Edgewater Park. Free, food and drink additional. 5-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday. 51 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 451-9214.

FOOD FIGHT: TOP LOCAL CHEF

Another chance to try one-off dishes from 10 local chefs, then crown your favorite as the winner. This year, Top Local Chef competitors include Darren Bloom (St. Petersburg’s Birch & Vine), Wendy Ohlendorf (Gulfport wine lounge Vintage), David Puatu (Castile in St. Pete Beach), Rand Packer (Tampa’s Mekenita Cantina) and Jason Gordon (St. Petersburg kitchen and juicery the Brass Bowl). $25 and up. 5-7:30 p.m. Sunday. Manhattan Casino, 642 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 637-5586. toplocalchef.com.

USE YOUR GREEN THUMB: GROWING MICROGREENS

During the South Shore Regional Library’s next gardening workshop Growing Microgreens, learn to produce sprouts and microgreens on your kitchen counter at home year-round. No experience is necessary to attend the class led by master gardener Annie Marie Boehm, who shows you how to score edible crops using minimal supplies in less than a week. Free. 2-3 p.m. Friday. South Shore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin. (813) 273-3652. ifas.ufl.edu.

Master gardener Annie Marie Boehm will teach the Growing Microgreens lesson at Ruskin's South Shore Regional Library on Friday. [Times (2011)]

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Raspberry Gin Punch [Courtesy of Whitley Neill]
    Five recipes, and lots of tips, for perfecting a festive batch cocktail.
  2. A roasted vegetable frittata [MICHELLE KOBERNICK   |  Special to the Times]
    This good meal for guests comes together quickly.
  3. Tampa's Oak & Ola was one of two restaurants that the annual Golden Spoon Awards honored with its Best New title. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Locals nabbed nods from the Golden Spoon Awards and Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer, plus two wine tastings and half-off Willie Jewell’s barbecue.
  4. Bright Ice has started serving small-batch ice cream, dessert bars and coffee in St. Petersburg. [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
    Plus, a roundup of some recently announced spots.
  5. Almond date mix [MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    You need something simple and satisfying.
  6. From left: Owners Junbae Lee, Jim Barrie and Brittney Barrie are behind BarrieHaus Beer Co. in Ybor City. [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
    Its grand opening is Dec. 14 and 15.
  7. Debbie Bernhard, inset, posted an invitation in the "I Love St. Pete" Facebook group welcoming strangers into her home. [Debbie Bernhard]
    Debbie Bernhard was surprised by the reaction to her Facebook invitation.
  8. Christmas cookie illustration [Illustration by Lisa Merklin]
    Try an internationally inspired cookie plate this holiday season.
  9. The gingerbread latte at Intermezzo Coffee. [MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    From a Thai temple to a French bistro, here are some of our favorite bites this month.
  10. The Tampa Bay Repeal Day Gala will bring its Prohibition-themed bash back to Tampa's Cuban Club on Dec. 7. [Times (2011)]
    The Tampa Bay Repeal Day Gala in Ybor City, Largo’s Death by Chocolate, canning classes at the Fairgrounds, St. Pete’s Plant-Based Popup Dinner and more.
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