What’s happening in food: Festa Italiana celebrates in Ybor City, Tampa Heights restaurant Ulele announces new chef

Palm Harbor Citrus Festival, Taste at the Straz and other tempting events await, too.
Published April 3
Updated April 3

MAIN SQUEEZE: Palm Harbor Citrus Festival

The 11th annual Palm Harbor Citrus Festival offers food and a beer garden, as well as carnival rides, live music and games. 5 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday, noon Sunday. 1190 Georgia Ave., Palm Harbor. Free. (727) 784-4287.

PASTABILITIES: Festa Italiana

You’ve got a couple of options when checking out the Ybor City tradition that is Festa Italiana. At 11 a.m. Saturday, the celebration of Italian culture and heritage spotlights a bocce invitational during the free Italian Heritage Day — complete with a wine competition, cooking demonstrations, nosh tents, a market and a grape stomp. At 1 p.m. Sunday, look forward to 80-plus wines from Italy and California throughout the Winefest of Italy tasting, which also offers craft cocktail samples, grub, wine for sale, an auction and entertainment. $50-$65. Italian Club of Tampa, 1731 E Seventh Ave. (813) 248-3316. italiandaytampa.com.

ALL HANDS ON PLATE: Philfest

Florida’s largest Filipino festival, Philfest, brings three days of food, exhibits, colorful parades, art and competitions. Don’t miss out. 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. Sunday. Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex, 14301 Nine Eagles Drive, Tampa. $5 in advance, $7 at gate. (813) 925-1232. pcfitampa.org.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Taste at the Straz

Formerly known as Best of Tampa Bay, Taste at the Straz delights with bites and beverages from 50 area restaurants and caterers, in addition to wine, craft beer and liquor tastings. A quintet of live bands is also planned. The smorgasbord serves as the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts’ signature fundraiser, which has collected more than $2.5 million for arts education programs. 7 p.m. Saturday. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $95, $150 VIP. strazcenter.org.

WELCOME ABOARD: New chef joins Ulele

Ulele has announced the arrival of executive chef Patrick Quakenbush. Now leading the Tampa Heights restaurant’s culinary operations, Quakenbush most recently served as the culinary director for Tavistock Restaurant Collection, behind upscale eateries like Timpano, Blackhawk Grille, Sapporo and Abe & Louie’s. In addition to working in Orlando, the Ohio State University alum has another Sunshine State connection: He opened the Sarasota location for Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar as chef partner in 2005. Quakenbush’s love of food comes from the extensive traveling he did in Europe, journeys that exposed him to several cultures and tastes. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work for a celebrated business that thrives on quality and value, relationships and family,” Quakenbush said in a statement. “Ulele is a special restaurant — a destination restaurant in a spectacular setting that has been successful since the day it opened in Tampa Heights in 2014. It’s obviously a place where beautiful memories are made. I look forward to being a part of it and joining the talented team already in place.”

RAISE A GLASS: One-Year Anniversary

Right Around the Corner observes a year of business as the region’s first arcade nanobrewery with special releases, a food truck and all of those classic games you stop in to play on the regular. Tickets include a limited-edition beer mug, two 12-ounce pours, a koozie and a sticker. Noon Saturday. 2244 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15. (813) 360-0766.

PERFECT PAIR: Taco and Tequila Crawl

Down exclusive drink deals — choose from tequila, margaritas or beer — and tacos while sauntering around downtown St. Petersburg. The inaugural Taco and Tequila Crawl visits at least 12 participating bars and other stops. Noon Saturday. Park & Rec, 100 Fourth St. S. $22.50-$40. (727) 245-9100. eventbrite.com.

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