What’s happening in food: Golden Spoons, free movies at Paul’s Landing, giant gingerbread house

Still feeling Grinchy? Get into the seasonal spirit this weekend with a gingerbread workshop, a free tasting of prepared party foods and a free Christmas movie at the Vinoy
Published December 5 2018
Updated December 7 2018


Every year for the past 50, the Times’ sister publication Florida Trend has put out its list of Golden Spoon awards, honoring more than 150 restaurants around the state. The 2018 list has just been released and the Tampa Bay area did us proud, with a number of longstanding restaurants and newcomers honored. In the “best new restaurant” category, Grace on Pass-a-Grille was singled out in Pinellas County. (Stubborn Seed in Miami Beach took the Robert Tolf award for best new restaurant — I’ve got to go check that one out.) Other Golden Spoon awards this year included:

Clearwater: Rusty’s Bistro, Cafe Ponte (Hall of Fame)

Clearwater Beach: Caretta on the Gulf, Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber (Hall of Fame)

Dunedin: Black Pearl

Indian Shores: Salt Rock Grill

Safety Harbor: Parts of Paris

St. Petersburg: Annata, FarmTable Cucina, Il Ritorno, Marchand’s (Hall of Fame), Parkshore Grill

St. Pete Beach: Maritana Grille (Hall of Fame)

Tampa: Bern’s Steak House (Hall of Fame), Cena, Columbia (Hall of Fame), Edison Food + Drink Lab, Ichicoro, Mise en Place (Hall of Fame), Pane Rustica Bakery & Café, Rooster & The Till

Get a complete list at floridatrend.com/golden-spoons.

sip and screen: festive MOVIES

The Vinoy’s beautiful marina-front restaurant Paul’s Landing is sprinkling a little Christmas movie magic into every Thursday night beginning tonight. Thursday, they screen Home Alone, pictured left. Next week, it’s The Grinch, followed by Elf on Dec. 20 and culminating in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Entry is free and special seasonal concessions will be served during each movie night along with themed signature cocktails (additional cost). Guests are encouraged to don their favorite holiday apparel or dress up like one of their favorite characters from that evening’s movie. Play yard games starting at 6:30 p.m.; movies start at 7. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. paulslandingstpete.com.


Mark your calendars. On Dec. 15, FarmTable Cucina in St. Petersburg is hosting a Winter Wonderland Workshop. Guests can sit beside the Christmas tree on the patio and enjoy free apple cider while creating their own miniature winter wonderland gingerbread farmhouse. $35 includes one gingerbread house, building supplies from a candy land supply table and two seats on the center patio. Noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Book at farmtable.tocktix.com.


A new location of Smashburger opened in Seminole at the Bardmoor Promenade on Nov. 30. The parent company, Regrub, aims to open 34 locations across west-central Florida over the next five years. The central draw here is burgers that have been squished with a “signature smashing tool,” the pressure causing full contact between the meat’s surface and the flattop grill. To get all fancy about it, these burgers are examples of the Maillard reaction. The chain was started by Rick Schaden and Tom Ryan in 2007 in Denver and has grown to more than 340 locations in nine countries and 38 states.


On Saturday and Sunday, all Fresh Market stores help you gear up for holiday entertaining with free samples from noon to 4 p.m. Think fodder for cheese and charcuterie boards, easy reheats like Maryland crab cakes, festive desserts like white chocolate raspberry yule logs and specialty cocktail mixers like ginger beer or muddled lime and cranberry hibiscus. Even if you’re not entertaining anyone this holiday season, it’s free snack, am I right?