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A guide to Tampa Bay food and drink events this weekend

A local family revives the Polar Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, two chili competitions and more.


A beloved 1980s and ’90s slushie-style drink is making a comeback in Bradenton and Sarasota. Local entrepreneur Mike Micochero and his family have brought the Polar Cup back to the area, slinging the throwback treat from a van as an authorized distributor at events and other community appearances. “I fell in love with The Polar Cup as a kid and we would enjoy this treat all of the time — especially after football practices at Southeast High School. I’m proud to bring The Polar Cup back to our community,” said Micochero, who is also a representative with Otis Spunkmeyer, in a statement. “The Polar Cup was such a big part of our lives and it’s incredible to hear stories of people introducing their kids and grandkids to their favorite blast from the past.” He and his wife Diane, son Michael and daughter Cindy will service the events, as well as businesses, with their eight current flavors: lemon, watermelon, cherry, pina colada, strawberry, mango, pineapple and sour apple. They aim to expand their Polar Cup presence throughout southwest Florida. Other future plans include increasing the van’s fleet size and possibly a brick-and-mortar location.


Taste your way around the 10th annual Chili & Salsa Bowl. The crowd at the Countryside Country Club downs chili and salsa samples, then casts a vote for the People’s Choice award. Live music, games, prizes and face painting are planned, too. Benefits Humane Society of Tampa Bay. $10. 1-4 p.m. Saturday. 3001 Countryside Blvd., Clearwater.

Speaking of chili, if you think you’ve got what it takes to make the tastiest chili, Irish pub and restaurant O’Toole’s invites you to throw down during the Chili Cook Off. Cash and other prizes go to first and second place. Benefits 4 Lucky Dog Rescue. $10 entry fee. 1-4 p.m. Sunday. 1215 W Brandon Blvd., Brandon. (813) 684-2600.

Chili samples are one highlight of the Chili & Salsa Bowl, which will take place at Clearwater's Countryside Country Club on Jan. 11. [ Times (2009) ]


Tasty Venues welcomes the start of 2020, and continues its weekly tea-fueled gathering, with It’s a New Year! British Tea. Apple, beet and goat cheese, classic cucumber and ham and pear sandwiches are on the menu, alongside roast beef and coleslaw canape, lemon ginger scones and pot de creme. $25. 11 a.m. Saturday. 951 E Brandon Blvd., Brandon. (813) 381-4999.


Hosted at gourmet foods shop Vom Fass, Brandy & Bacon pairs aged brandies from Spain, France and Italy with bacon dishes. Reservations are required. 7-8:30 p.m. Jan. 9. The Shops at Wiregrass, 28249 Paseo Drive, Suite 110, Wesley Chapel. (813) 907-2167.


Join fellow oenophiles and Redneck Wine Company for the Friday Night Wine Tasting. As many as seven wines are up for sampling. $10. 6-8 p.m. every Friday. 3225 S MacDill Ave., Suite 117, Tampa. (813) 837-0004.


The next health-minded Nature’s Food Patch cooking class, Mac & (Multiple) Cheese Sauce Options, is made for mac and cheese fiends. Instructor John van Vlaardingen pulls off some mac for you to try, a lesson that includes a how-to on different plant-based cheese sauces. Free. 6 p.m. Jan. 9. 1225 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 443-6703.


This year, Einstein Bros. Bagels rings in National Bagel Day earlier than usual, so as not to conflict with National Pizza Day on Feb. 3 (when Bagel Day is typically observed). Stop by your local store from the national chain for a celebratory offer: a free bagel and shmear with a purchase. A coupon that can be used toward another free bagel and shmear during a later visit is also given out. Free. All day Jan. 15. Locations vary.

On Jan. 15, Einstein Bros. Bagels will offer a free bagel and shmear to customers who make a purchase at their local store. [ Courtesy of Einstein Bros. Bagels ]