What’s happening in Tampa Bay food: Dunedin Orange Festival, Epic Chef Showdown

Plus, more than 30 local restaurants take home ‘Wine Spectator’ nods for their standout wine lists.
Published July 10
Updated July 10

CITRUS CELEBRATION: Dunedin Orange Festival

Now in its 10th year, this citrus celebration spotlights craft brews, food, vendors, activities for kids and live music. A vintage pinup girl contest (5 to 8 p.m.) and a brew-off (6 to 8 p.m.) round out the Dunedin Orange Festival. Benefits Dunedin History Museum and Dunedin Chamber Foundation. Free. 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Saturday. Edgewater Park, 51 Main St. dunedinorangefestival.com.

TAKE A WHISK: Epic Chef Showdown

Eight local restaurants face off during the fifth annual Epic Chef Showdown, running Mondays through Aug. 26. Every week, the culinary battle tasks chefs from the participating dining destinations with whipping up two dishes using a mystery box of ingredients. Ichicoro Imoto, the Mill, Mise en Place, Red Mesa and Rooster and the Till are among the competitors, judged by a panel of local personalities. Admission includes a multicourse meal with wine pairings. Don’t have a ticket? Catch the action on big-screen TVs in the lobby area. Benefits Feeding Tampa Bay. $250 and up per couple. 6:30-9 p.m. Epicurean Theatre, 1207 S Howard Ave., Tampa. (813) 999-8702. epiccheftampabay.com.

LOCAL LOVE: Wine Spectator awards

Last week, Wine Spectator unveiled the winners of its annual Restaurant Awards, more than 30 of which call Tampa Bay home. The victorious local eateries, among the nearly 3,800 honorees from all 50 states and 79 countries and territories, were recognized for their standout wine lists in three categories. Here’s a look at who took home what, starting with the biggest nod.

Grand Award: Bern’s Steak House

Best of Award of Excellence: Alfano’s Restaurant, Bascom’s Chop House, Birch and Vine, the Capital Grille, Charley’s Steak House, Columbia Restaurant, pictured, Forlini’s Restaurant, Haven, Massimo’s Eclectic Fine Dining, Rococo Steak, Sea Salt

Award of Excellence: 400 Beach Seafood and Taphouse, 717 South, Annata, Armani’s, Ava, Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Caretta on the Gulf, Clearwater Wine Bar and Bistro, Council Oak Steaks and Seafood, Del Frisco’s Grille, Eddie V’s, Edison: Food and Drink Lab, Elevage, Fetishes Dining and Wine Bar, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Ocean Prime, Parkshore Grill, the Rez Grill, Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Tampa and St. Petersburg), Salt Rock Grill, Sea-Guini, Seasons 52, Shula’s Steak House

Find the full lineup of winners in the Aug. 31 issue of Wine Spectator, which hits newsstands Tuesday, or online at restaurants.winespectator.com.

DIG IN: Junk Food July

The other day, our arts writer Maggie Duffy declared this sweaty summer month Junk Food July. What prompted her playful nickname? Well, look no further than National Hot Dog Day, 7-Eleven Day and National French Fry Day. Something tells us you know the deal for 7-Eleven Day: Stop by your nearest 7-Eleven to land one free small Slurpee from the convenience store franchise between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. today. But don’t sleep on build-your-own wieners and other National Hot Dog Day festivities at Indian Shores pub Caddy’s, 20025 Gulf Blvd., at noon Wednesday. (The locations in downtown St. Petersburg and Gulfport also get in on the fun at 4 p.m.) As for National French Fry Day, St. Petersburg’s 3 Daughters Brewing, 222 22nd St. S, serves house beer, cider and hard seltzer while Tampa Bay food trucks put their spin on traditional fries from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

BRAIN FREEZE: Free Hurricanes at Roux

If you’re jonesing for a new weekday pick-me-up, head to South Tampa. Roux, the sophisticated strip-mall restaurant inspired by New Orleans, has taken to social media with a promise to offer free frozen Hurricanes until Nov. 30. The deal is designed to embrace hurricane season, and you can booze up your cocktail even more with a $3 rum floater. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. 4205 S MacDill Ave., Tampa. (813) 443-5255. rouxtampa.com.

HELPING HAND: Karma Juice Bar popup

A fire broke out at Karma Juice Bar and Eatery on the Fourth of July, according to the downtown St. Petersburg spot’s Facebook page. Owners said that no one was hurt, but its doors on First Street NE are closed until further notice. If you need an acai bowl in the meantime, you can visit the Clearwater location — or Karma Juice Bar and Eatery’s temporary popup at Intermezzo Coffee and Cocktails in the EDGE District. The popup opens Wednesday. 1111 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. karmaeatery.com.