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Dining Planner: Fall feasting at Tampa Bay History Center, tailgate festival, bacon-themed 5K

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Published Sep. 30, 2015

BACK TO THE FUTURE: HYDROPONICS MEET CLASSICS

At this year's annual black-tie Tampa Bay History Center Gala on Oct. 9, the food has a story to tell, too. The theme this year is "Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Future," with the Columbia Restaurant offering guests multicourse menus from the 1920s and the 2020s. Smoked salmon topped with creme fraiche, deviled eggs with caviar and paella campesina harken back to the 1920s, while organic, farm-to-table offerings like hand-carved roasted lean buffalo sirloin presage future culinary trends.

The party, which gets under way at 7 p.m., is $250 per person ($100 for those younger than 40). That's a lot of green, but there are exciting greens: A special "wall" of hydroponic greens from Tampa's Uriah's Urban Farms will offer guests a chance to harvest their own greens and combine them with mojo pulled pork, Asian chicken and spicy tofu. Committee member and professional chef Caroline Brabson Thaxton brought Uriah's Urban Farms on board to help showcase the food movement of the future. Then, classic desserts — root beer floats, a waffle station and pineapple upside-down cakes — take you back in time, while key lime, chocolate or banana shooters put a modern twist on old favorites.

Tickets are available in advance at tampabayhistorycenter.org/gala. (813) 675-8991.

TAILGATE: BUT CLASSY-LIKE

On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, the Event Development Institute, Pepin Distributing and new title sponsor, Vintage Beverages, put their heads together for the Vintage Beverages Tailgate Taste Fest. This is all about top-tier tailgating food options, just in time for college football season imperatives. Hosted at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa, festivities begin at 3 p.m. and continue through 9. Guests can enjoy live, in-game action, live music and some of the best sliders, chicken, barbecue and small plate food options in Tampa. Restaurants participating include Cask Social Kitchen, Champions, James Joyce Irish Pub, Sonny's, PDQ, Shula's, Splitsville, Hablo Taco, Hooters and many more. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of (five tastes); $15 for additional tastes; $75 for unlimited. 600 N Ashley Drive. TailgateTasteFest.com.

BACON: BECAUSE BACON

And if you like your noshing with a patina of self-righteousness, the Great American Bacon Race, also on Saturday, is for you. It's a 5K at the Florida State Fairgrounds, with — pregnant pause — bacon stations. Forget Gatorade. This will make you run faster. After the race is over, there's a Bacon Bash after-party with free bacon and music. There are awards and prizes based on time and age group (including at 1K Bacon Dash for children), and it is walking- and stroller-friendly. Registration ($49 price for adults ends Friday, $60 day of) opens at 8 a.m., and the race starts at 9. 4800 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. You also can register online at americanbaconrace.com/tampa.

SUDS: TOP IT OFF

And as if your Saturday isn't busy enough, Green Bench Brewing Company celebrates its second anniversary with food trucks, an indie market, indie fest, a bottle release and music by Archaic Interest, Mountain Holler, DJ Repete and Avery Moore. There's no cover, and festivities run noon to close. 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 800-9836.

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