Divine Dining for Easter: Our Top Seven

Easter is just around the corner which means its time for family, food and (for us Christians) celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. In our humble opinion, there is no better way to do that than spending some time with family and friends over a good meal! Here are some recommendations for brunch and dinner that are accepting reservations for Easter!

1. Della’s After Dark- On recommendation from a friend, since we have never had the opportunity to dine here, Della’s is offering some mouth watering dishes this Sunday from 10:30am -3:30pm. Just reading some of these items makes me hungry: Tiramisu French Toast (Are you for real?!), Jalapeno Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits!?!… how about some chorizo gravy or a fresh squeezed orange juice mimosa? Please report back on your experience if you decide to dine in… Reservations are currently open and can be made online at dellasafterdark.com or by calling (813) 684-3354.
Della's After Dark on Urbanspoon

2. Carmel Cafe- One of our favorite spots for brunch, dinner or just a glass of wine after a long day at work. Carmel Cafe is always dishing up tasty brunch dishes. If you haven’t had a chance to stop in, this is the perfect time. The atmosphere is great for a relaxing afternoon. There are five locations around the bay area so check out the website to find the one nearest to you.

"Go To" Brunch

Classic Benedict from Carmel Cafe

Carmel Café & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

3. Birch & Vine- Located on Beach Drive in St. Pete, this new addition to the strip has been hot, hot, hot! We stopped in a while back for an event and fell in love with the atmosphere, the view and of course the food (we ordered from the bar!). We can only imagine the delectable food that will be served this Sunday. Easter Brunch will be served from 10am-4pm and you can check out the menu by clicking here! I already made my decision; the Eggs Benedict with steak cut bacon, pretzel english muffin, drizzled with hollandaise and served with sweet pepper hash (yum!).

Easter Brunch Birch & Vine
Birch & Vine on Urbanspoon

4. Datz- As if you needed another reason to head into Datz, why not make it brunch, lunch or even dinner this Sunday? This might be your chance to try their amazing Red Velvet Pancakes!! You can easily make a reservation online at datztampa.com! Be sure to get it done soon as Datz is always crowded with hungry foodies and patrons.
Datz on Urbanspoon

5. Edison Food & Drink Lab- This funky foodie joint near the University of Tampa is a great place to expand your palette with their Breaking Brunch menu! They will be serving up breakfast and lunch plates but also some interesting sharing platters,like House Gravlax Gnosh, Mexican Holiday & Iced Plat de Fruit de Mar, that are sure to keep you chatting. Make a reservation here and let them know you are coming on Facebook

6. Columbia Restaurant- Have you been to this Tampa Bay staple yet? If not, they are offering their full a la carte dinner menu with some specials just for Easter that include  Baked Virginia Ham and Stuffed Leg of Lamb! So call ahead to reserve your seats at one of the bay area locations.
Edison: Food+Drink Lab on Urbanspoon

7. Bavaros Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria- If you have never had a wood-fired pizza with proscuitto and a fried egg, you have not lived! I know my friends over at #FoodieChats would agree!  Need I say more? Head over to Bavaros homepage to make a reservation now.

Proscuitto Pizza with a Fried Egg

Proscuitto Pizza with a Fried Egg from Bavaros

Bavaro's Pizza Napoletana & Pasteria on Urbanspoon

Happy Easter and Happy Eating! We hope you enjoy your new adventures with friends and family. Please connect with us on Facebook so we can hear all about your experiences.

- Ryan

Taste of South Tampa 2014

After a successful weekend of birthday fun, we woke up late Sunday morning to head to The Taste of South Tampa in Hyde Park Village. We made a stop before we went in to meet up with our friend, Susan, the winner of our giveaway. After snapping a quick pic, we made our way to the front of the line and headed on in to enjoy some delicious treats.

As soon as we stepped inside, we were ambushed by our buddy from Fruitwood Standup Market  yelling for us to try “the freshest salad” in Tampa. After munching on the salad and flatbread, I opted out of the fresh squeezed juice seeing as I am highly allergic to liquified beets (a whole nother story for a different time). We grabbed some iced tea from China Mist and were on our way to eat through Tampa. Here’s a rundown of the highlights of our food tour:


taste collage3

1. Inside the box Catering- chicken and waffle sandwich with a syrup drizzle. This was BY FAR our favorite of the day…..the bomb dot com (Spoiler Alert: It snagged our vote for best dish).

2. Big Crush Slush- Arnold palmer with fresh raspberry puree and white peach puree. This was AWESOME! It was refreshing and each had their own twist. We are DEFINITELY looking to work with these guys in the future!

3. Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore Airport- Elvis Milkshake (Peanut butter, banana, bacon, and BOURBON combined with creamy vanilla bean ice cream) and bbq slider. Milkshake was a bold choice for the hot, Florida weather, but Rob and I took our chances and it actually had a pretty interesting taste. I could definitely have another!

4. Kona Grill- Pork and mashed potatoes. Rob said the pork had great flavor and the mashed potatoes tasted fresh too!

taste collage

5. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza- fresh made meatballs and sauce. These reminded me of the meatballs my mom makes from home. They were extremely moist and delicious!

6. Grimaldi’s- Bruschetta and Canoli. Recently opened in Westshore Plaza, this booth provided some good dishes too. The bruschetta was a nice snack to enjoy as we continued on our walk.

7. Rollin’ Oats- Fressh Greek salad medley and a quinoa falafel with tzatziki. Ryan found the salad and falafel to be really fresh and devoured the WHOLE thing! A MUST try!

taste collage2

Of course, no NHIE day is complete without some dranks (intended spelling error). We stopped and sipped on some bubbly from Cooper’s Hawk. Ryan took a short break here as he enjoyed a free, five minute massage from Massage Envy. He eventually caught back up to us, feeling nice and well-adjusted as we headed over to the Florida Cane’s Distillery to try out a shot of blueberry lemonade vodka. Not being vodka drinkers, it surprisingly was pretty good. Ryan and I also tried a Two Henry’s Brewery IPA beer before heading out for the afternoon.

All in all, it was a fun day at the Taste of South Tampa. A few recommendations for the future… more food and drink vendors that are LOCAL would be cool to see and less non-foodie vendors would be nice.  It was a bit hotter for an outdoor event than we would have liked (mainly because we were partying the prior night away with celebratory birthday drinks). Luckily for us, there were lots of stops along the way where we could keep hydrated in the Florida heat.  The South Tampa Chamber of Commerce put on a nice event to close out my birthday weekend and we look forward to attending the event again for its 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY next year!

 

Eat on!

-Nicholas

Not So Secret Gardens

Needless to say we’ve had quite a busy past few months- what with us braving the great outdoors, spider monkeying through treetops, gallivanting all over town for birthdays and more or less eating our way through Tampa Bay. So this past Saturday when we found ourselves post Alessi breakfast sandwiches with nothing to do, Nick & Ryan hit the interwebs for some inspiration. We knew we definitely didn’t want to spend the day inside given the gorgeous weather and it didn’t take long for my phone to buzz with news of an outdoor adventure. This time we decided to trek it over to St. Pete (and by trek we’re just being over dramatic… it’s not that far people- get over it) and take in the beautiful sights and sounds of the Sunken Gardens.

sg7

Located on 4th Street in St. Pete, “Sunken Gardens is a botanical paradise in the midst of a bustling city” and it’s totally true! Who would have thought nestled up next to Carrabbas is this tranquil garden? We made a quick pit stop at Panera across the street for some green teas (gotta stay hydrated in this hot Florida heat) and headed inside. The first thing I noticed was how much shade the tropical foliage provided and was immediately grateful since I neglected to use my moisturizer with SPF that morning (#girlproblems) The second thing I noticed was the sign directing guests towards the wedding. Since we were in no shape, or fashion to be attending a wedding we made a quick left and got on our way.

sunken1

 

It took us about 6 steps to the left to realize we are not plant people. Listen, we are all for making the best of an experience, and we always do but it takes a certain person and a certain mindset to really appreciate botany. About 3 steps after that, we were totally immersed in the atmosphere. It was such a relaxing environment and it was almost as if you had to whisper not to disturb the beauty of the space. In fact, they actually have yoga classes right inside the garden. We made our way over towards a new tortoise friend who came to life right away and we swore he was trained to do that when guests came by. As we winded around the paths we discovered little nooks and crannies around every bend. We saw cacti, breathtaking canopies of intertwined branches and were on a mission once we heard the waterfalls.

PicMonkey Collage

We had heard from the woman working at Panera that the waterfalls at Sunken Gardens were amazing. Eh… let’s just say they’re no Niagra Falls, but waterfalls none the less. The next noises we heard came from a photographer directing the bride and groom in their post wedding ceremony photo shoot. It just so happened it was in the direction we were heading so we did a quick peek, a short congrats and we were on our way towards some wildlife. We saw kookaburras, macaws and our favorite part of the gardens- the Chilean flamingos. We definitely spent the most time admiring these beautiful creatures and quizzing each other on our flamingo knowledge. (I knew why they were pink thank you very much!) For those questions we couldn’t agree on, we turned to Siri (which was pointless cause she’s horrible. So as I sit here now I am Googling why they stand on one leg, feel free to do the same- no freerides here)

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With that we were at the end of our tour of Sunken Gardens, but not St. Pete. Stay tuned to see what other goodies we discovered in The Burg.

 

Happy Adventure Hunting- Allison

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Taste of South Tampa Giveaway

As most of you know, we “NHIEers” here love us some good food, good drinks and enjoying the outdoors here in Tampa Bay. Lucky for us, we jumped on the Taste of South Tampa bandwagon that takes place in Hyde Park Village on April 13th from 1-4pm. The Taste of South Tampa is the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s signature annual event. Hyde Park Village is transformed into an outdoor festival offering live entertainment, beer, wine and soda along with an array of delicious food samples from various local restaurants. This family friendly event will feature a Kids Zone with complimentary facepainting, Lil Mac Fire Truck and other fun activities!Also, the new Pet Zone will include treats and wading pools for the pups!

Taste of South Tampa no date

Tickets are already on sale, but you are in luck because we are giving away TWO FREE TICKETS to the big event. With the event going on its 9th year, we are SO excited about all of the great businesses participating. Here’s the list of businesses already signed up.

 

Alessi Bakeries
Anaar Bar & Grill
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
Austrian Peppers
Berninis
Big Crush Slush Company
Blue Water Grill (@ Holiday Inn)
Brew Bus Brewing
Brown Distributing
Buddy Brew Coffee
Cabot Creamery
Carne ChopHouse
CDB’s Southside
China Mist Tea
Coopers Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Crispers South Tampa
Dubliner Irish Pub
Fish Hawk Spirits
Fruitwood Standup Market
GrillSmith Restaurants
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Hooters
In The Box Catering – Metropolitan Ministries
Irish 31 Pub & Eatery
Jimmy John’s
Kahwa Coffee
Keel & Curley Winery
Kona Grill
MacDinton’s Irish Pub
Press Box Sports Emporium
PRP Wine International
Shell’s Seafood
Tequilla’s
Terra Sur Restaurant & Bar
The Florida Distillery
Two Henry’s Brewing Company

Check back to the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce site each week for new additions!

Enter for your chance to win NOW by clicking the link below! It’s SUPER easy to enter, so MAKE IT HAPPEN! Good luck!

Taste of South Tampa Ticket GIVEAWAY

-Nicholas

Rock & Roll All Night

If you were in town 2 weekends ago, it’s a good chance you were at the Gasparilla Music Festival; you… and what seemed like the rest of the Tampa Bay area. With 2 full days of back to back performers, there was certainly no lack of entertainment. We were lucky enough to meet Jamie who was running PR for the event the week prior and she hooked up us with some passes for the festival. As you might know, our group is always on the lookout for new music. We are constantly Facebooking, Tweeting & Shazaming songs to spread the music love- so we were super stoked to check out the bands and see if we could find some new jams.

gmf1

Ryan, Nicholas & I took a look at the list of performers for each day and after Youtubing and Spotifying (how many more social networks and websites can I mention in this post?) we found some bands we definitely wanted to check out on Saturday. Since the event was being held at Curtis Hixon, we once again thought it would be a good idea to bus it downtown. After a missed stop, a short walk and an awkward encounter with a man on the bus we were ready to get the day started. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to go last year but after hearing how amazing it was we were anxious to get inside and see how everything worked. The first thing that caught our attention was the amount of people at the event- it was packed! We shouldn’t have been so shocked though, the weather was perfect, the music sounded great and the view over the water at our alma mater, The University of Tampa was breathtaking. There were 4 different stages and all the performers were staggered so when one was over, you just cruised on over to the next and kept on jamming. We decided to head into the amphitheater and take in our first show, Matt Woods.  This was probably my favorite stage of the whole festival. It was so intimate and the view over the river was gorgeous- not to mention how awesome he sounded. We were definitely off to a good start.

Apparently all the walking we did after we missed the first bus (fail) caused us to work up an appetite and it was over to the row of food tents to browse the options. There were tons of restaurants to choose from and we must have walked back and forth 7 or 8 times before we made a decision. Ryan, being probably the most adventurous food-wise in the group, went for the smoked pork and gator sausage with southern slaw from The Refinery in Seminole Heights. Never Have WE Ever tried pork & gator, but I have to say, not bad. Still on the hunt for some grub, Nicholas and I went for grilled cheeses from The Independent. Except these weren’t your grandma’s grilled cheeses made with white bread and Kraft cheese straight from the plastic package, they were legit. I opted for the one with feta, spinach and roasted red peppers while Nicholas decided on the Indie grilled cheese (pears sautéed in honey and spices, and creamy gouda, served pressed on rye bread). After one bite I knew we made the right decision. Delicious!

gmf2

After our snacks we decided to venture around and grab some drinks. While the boys went for a Blue from Sweetwater 420, I enjoyed a Florida Ave Ale  as we took in some more acts. After a quick bus ride home to let Dex out- we were back downtown to check out the bands we were most excited about, Delta Spirit, RJD2 (check out this website if you have some time. It’s totally interactive and awesome) & The Flaming Lips. I was especially excited to see RJd2 because a. He’s from Philly (I know what you’re thinking.. you’re from South Jersey, that’s not Philadelphia, whatever) and b. his musical style was described as “trip hop”. This was probably my favorite performance of the day. Not to mention the break dancers and hula hoopers (not totally sure what the noun for someone that Hula Hoops would be?) that broke out right near us. 

When it came time for the headliner, The Flaming Lips, the weather had definitely cooled off and we needed something sweet to warm us up. Obviously everyone had the same idea as we hopped in the long line at the Hot Donut cart. As we waited, we watched the donuts being made and couldn’t wait to get our hands on the goodness. The boys chose their toppings and we headed back towards the stage for the main event. It was a long day and a lot of back and forth but it was definitely worth it to have a chance to be a part of one of the biggest things Tampa’s got going and we can’t wait to see what the next few years bring to the event and our great city.

Rock On- Allison

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