Dining planner: This week, attend Clearwater Beach Uncorked or Tampa Bay Veg Fest, or dive deep into a charcuterie class

Times (2014) This year’s Tampa Bay Veg Fest gets a new location, with dozens of vendors setting up shop in Perry Harvey Sr. Park in Tampa on Saturday. [Times 2014]
Times (2014) This year’s Tampa Bay Veg Fest gets a new location, with dozens of vendors setting up shop in Perry Harvey Sr. Park in Tampa on Saturday. [Times 2014]
Published Nov. 1, 2018

Tampa Bay Veg Fest: MEAT-FREE MEETUP

This is starting to be a seriously delicious time of year. Saturday marks the ninth annual Tampa Bay Veg Fest, an event that started as a labor of love by an all-volunteer crew at Florida Voices for Animals. Its major goal is to teach folks about the benefits of a plant-based diet, but over the years it has developed into a humdinger of an event. (In 2014, it was recognized by One Green Planet as one of the Top 10 must-attend Veg Fests in the country, and in 2016, it won an award from Downtown Tampa Partnership.) It has changed locations over the years, but this year is held at Perry Harvey Sr. Park, a larger venue where thousands of attendees can listen to nationally known vegan speakers and nosh their way through samples of nondairy milks, cheese and ice creams; faux plant-based "meats"; desserts; and all things vegan. There is also a vegan mac and cheese competition and a series of chef events. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. 1000 E Harrison St., Tampa. Free admission.


Saturday and Sunday mark the seventh annual Clearwater Beach Uncorked, on the beach adjacent to the Wyndham Grand. The foodie festival returns to celebrate the area's top chefs, restaurants and breweries, everyone's toes in the sand. The two-day event is packed with interactive experiences, tastings, cooking demonstrations and competitions between notable local chefs and restaurants. Benefits the St. Petersburg College Foundation. 1-4 p.m.; VIPs get in at noon. $75 per day general admission; $100 Sunday for VIP access (Saturday VIP sold out). (813) 777-0113. For more information, visit


The Fenway Hotel in Dunedin is opening in stages over the coming weeks (the hotel starts taking room reservations Nov. 8), starting with the hotel's main restaurant, Hew Parlor & Chophouse, open now. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. At dinner, the focus is chophouse cuts, chef-driven seasonal preparations and an extensive whiskey and Scotch collection, and the Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar overlooks St. Joseph Sound. The boutique historic hotel is a project of Tampa-based Mainsail Lodging & Development (the Epicurean in Tampa) and in collaboration with the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA. Originally opened in 1927, the original Fenway Hotel is considered to be the "most historically valuable structure" in Dunedin and was home to the first radio station in Pinellas County. (It began broadcasting from the roof in 1925.) 453 Edgewater Drive, Dunedin. (727) 683-5999.


Chef Brian Polcyn, author of Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, is holding a two-day educational course on the art of whole-animal butchery and the craft of charcuterie at Mise en Place in Tampa 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 11 and 12. The James Beard-nominated chef and author has been making his own cured meats for 35 years. Polcyn will be joined by Mise en Place chef Marty Blitz. The two-day class is $599; buy tickets at For questions about the event, email 442 W Kennedy Ave., Tampa.