This Bar Ain’t so Baaaaah-d

Blind Goat Food and Drink Co. Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay

So we had to do it! We know it’s corny, but it was too easy NOT to go there. I mean, come on, at the grand opening, Blind Goat Food and Drink Co. had an actual goat hanging out at the bar. Granted, we don’t think they splurged for a blind goat, but it still did the job.

Living in South Tampa and being in our twenties makes it seem inevitable to find us hanging out on Howard on the weekend. Now, don’t get us wrong, we love us some SoHo fun, but we have “graduated and matured” (a nice way of saying we are getting too old), and have broadened our horizons a bit further outside of our SoHo box if you will. Case and point, Blind Goat Food and Drink Co.

As you can see, we were so excited to be asked to present our new friends with the Food Blogger’s Award after their awesome showing at The Taste of South Tampa last month. We had been to the space a few times prior to the ribbon cutting and in the first few months they have been open, Blind Goat has already made changes and improvements to the dining/ drinking experience.

Let’s start with the obvious… the facelift the restaurant received prior to opening was a nice improvement to set the new scene for customers. Let me warn you though, if you are a Gator fan, this bar may not be your cup o’ tea. It is all decked out in garnet and gold and definitely gives the vibe of an upscale frat bar (in all the right ways). It has great drink specials, easy food options to munch on, live music and games to keep drinkers entertained.

But really, what do we care most about? FOOD & DRINK of course! The hottest selling point for us would have to be their awesome Shot + Beer Specials! Obviously our go-to would be the “Don Juan”. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a good tequila shot and Corona?  We have even been back since their food menu has been added to and found ourselves really enjoying the flatbreads and salad we ordered.  Ryan tried the Mediterranean Steak Salad recently and found it to be really flavorful and unique. It had Marinated Flap Steak, Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers, and Tomatoes tossed in a White Balsamic Vinaigrette and served in Boats of Romaine upon a bed of Tzatziki. The Tzatziki on the bottom was a really fresh and funky twist. I tried The CDS Flatbread which had Feta Cheese, Grapes, Sausage, and was drizzled in Olive Oil. Bottom line…I devoured it in minutes.

All in all, we love our new neighborhood friends and look forward to many more nights hanging out at Blind Goat Food and Drink Co. Be sure to check them out. And as always, let them know NHIE sent you!

-Nicholas
Blind Goat Food and Drink Co. on Urbanspoon

NHIE Bridal Shower

Yes, you read that correctly. We here at NHIE Tampa Bay, THREW A SURPRISE BRIDAL SHOWER! As crazy as it sounds, we recently teamed up with some awesome, local brands to help pull off a unique and fun surprise bridal shower for our close friend who lives in Tampa Bay and it was a huge success.

For starters, we needed to find a space. Knowing we wanted something unique (because we have to be different), we went on a hunt for the perfect spot. After one drive down Howard, we spotted, Bumble Tampa, a local girl’s boutique located between Bella’s Italian Cafe and London Philips. We were intrigued and pleasantly surprised when we walked in to meet owner, Stephanie.

We immediately fell in love with the unique spot and cute decor. It is girly, but not foofy, and has the perfect flair we wanted for the shower. We chatted a bit with Stephanie about our idea and she was immediately on board. In the coming weeks, we threw around ideas and put together some really fun things for the party.

Cue Glitz Events Tampa, a local wedding and events planning business, who jumped on board to help with event planning! This was the fun part. We knew we had our florist, Florist Fire, locked down. She did such a BOMB job at our recent engagement, that we HAD TO have her back to make this event extra special. We also knew that the bride to be would love to have her favorite local eatery, Green Lemon, on board for food. We reached out and that was that! We then reached out to our favorite local bakery, SweetTooth Cakery, to help provide engagement ring cookies (that were delicious!).

Next up, we needed decor. We searched pinterest for “bar” ideas and decided on a Mimosa Bar and two Sangrias, white and red. In addition, Onli Beverages, provided some non-alcoholic drinks to sip on in the form of their fun, sparkling sodas made right here in Florida! They added an extra pop of color and tasted great too! Flair Exchange provided some fun decor items that were made here locally to pull our vision together. Buccaneer Party Rental provided the folding chairs at a very reasonable cost and we were on our way to pulling it all together.

Now, the hard part….PULLING IT ALL OFF! In the days leading up to the party, we did a final walk through of the space, discussed the set up and rearrangement of the boutique, met with the vendors, and brought it all together. We bought some frames and printed some pics of the fam and the happy couple to add our personal touch to the space and put together cute favors with help from a ring pop and wedding gift boxes shaped like a bride’s dress.

The day came and everyone pitched in to make things work seamlessly. With all of the help from the girls at Glitz helping with day of setup, it was easy for us to pull everything together. The weather was gorgeous and the space worked out wonderfully. We set our Spotify Playlist created just for the party and waited.

Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay Bridal Shower Bumble Tampa

The bride pulled into an empty lot (since we had the party on a Sunday thanks to Stephanie at Bumble when all other shops in the lot are closed) to see all of her “Tampa Family” waiting to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. It was an awesome time. We even set up a photobooth in the dressing room of the shop and had a station for guests to share date ideas with the happy couple (thanks Pinterest and Glitz for making this work so effortlessly).

We enjoyed mimosas and sangria while chowing down on Green Lemon brunch and sharing our stories of the soon to be bride and groom. We played some games, opened gifts, and enjoyed a champagne toast courtesy of momma of the bride. All in all, it was a great day and wonderful celebration of love for our favorite Tampa bride to be. If you are looking for local vendors to help with making your upcoming event something EXTRA special, definitely reach out to the girls we worked with around town. We couldn’t have done it without them!

-Nicholas

Bailey’s Brunchin’ at Carmel Kitchen

A few years ago, we enjoyed our first brunch experience at Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar in South Tampa. When we ordered brunch on an IPad, we had a great experience. Now, years later, we were invited back by our new friends from Bailey’s Catering to try out the new, updated brunch menu at Carmel. Bailey’s, formerly located in Hyde Park Village, then on Davis Islands was a full menu restaurant that closed shop to focus on the catering portion of their business. And are we glad they did!

Bailey's Brunch Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar South Tampa Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay

Now, Bailey’s has teamed up with Carmel to offer guests an amazing culinary experience through brunch served on Saturdays 9-2pm and Sundays 10-2pm. We were so excited when we got the invite that Ryan and I jumped at the opportunity to taste these amazing treats.

Bailey's Brunch Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar South Tampa Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay

We headed over on a Sunday morning to get our taste test on. We met Kim Bailey, owner of Bailey’s Catering, as we walked in and he explained his hope that we came ready with our appetites. Luckily, we did, so we had no trouble getting started on chowing down. It was really nice to sit down and be served water with Aunt Hilda’s complementary bite-size fresh homemade blueberry muffins. They were tiny bites of deliciousness that set the scene for an amazing brunch to follow.

We quickly decided on our brunch cocktails of choice: Ryan went for the Strawberry Bellini and I for the Landmark Mimosa. As we sipped on our cocktails, we began discussing our plan of attack for this brunch session. We decided to start with Soulful Fried Chicken and Waffles and a 2 Eggs Any Style, poached of course with well done bacon. As you can tell, not many pictures were taken during brunch that day because of the lack of time the dishes sat untouched. We scarfed down ALL of the food we tasted so quickly, it was crazy.

Throughout the tasting session, Kim came over and chatted with us explaining how things were made and the careful thought that went into each dish. He also recommended we try the Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes (even if just a small one) and of course, we couldn’t leave without taking a Homemade Cinnamon Roll to go. So, we listened to our mentor for the day and did as he said. And were we glad we did?! The tastes that we experienced for not only a brunch, but any meal we have had around town, were nearly unheard of! The freshness and attention to detail all the way down to the poaching of the eggs, the tastes of the homemade preserves and the 100% Maple Syrup were ON POINT! We honestly cannot say enough great things about the hospitality and awesome experience we had at Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar that day. We owe a HUGE thank you to Kim Bailey of Bailey’s Brunch and hope our hashtag of the fun we had sticks #BaileysBrunch. Enjoy!

-Nicholas

Disclosure: We received brunch through a Bailey’s Catering partnership in exchange for our honest review. All opinions are our own.

Carmel Kitchen & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

A Fish Made of Copper


Well not quite, but Copperfish Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar recently invited us to a private, blogger friendly event introducing us to the new owners, Lorena and Gordon Davis, and some great food too! A week or two ago, we got a message from our blogger friend, Lora Hogan, inviting us to join her and some other bloggers at Copperfish to check out their great menu and highlighting some of their classic dishes and drinks. The quirkiest part of the event was the name. Wait for it…. #BloggerFish!

Copperfish Tampa Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay

I knew our favorite girl over at I Run For Wine would be joining, so when I walked in all by my lonesome, I knew to make a b-line for Megan. Megan and I only get to see each other once every month or two, so it’s always fun catching up. We grabbed a glass of wine and began digging in to some of the great shared dishes the chef had prepared for us to enjoy in the bar section of the restaurant. We chowed down on some great tasting Oaxaca Shrimp which reminded me of a take on “Bang Bang Shrimp” (so good) and Copperfish Grilled Oysters with Herb Butter, Parmesan and Romano Cheeses while sipping on some wine and chatting with the other “bloggerfish”.

Eventually, the time came to move into the private dining/party room in the way back of the restaurant (one which I had never been to before). The room was great! It was the perfect spot for many different types of event: a cocktail party, an intimate dinner party (like we were having), a networking event, birthday dinner, etc.

There was a table set for about twenty  with plenty of room for more guests, a bar set up in the corner, wrap around couches lining the walls of the room, private restrooms and a door to close to give the party some privacy.

Once seated, we all introduced ourselves more formally and we were then introduced to the wonderful owners of Copperfish, Lenora and Gordon Davis. They are a great couple who complement each other perfectly. They sat and enjoyed the entire meal with us (something I have never had the opportunity of enjoying before). The fact that the owners took time out of their busy schedules to sit with us and chat personally meant a lot and shows how committed they are to their business and brand.

We began our meal with a deliciously fresh Bibb Salad. It had sliced apples that gave it a nice crunch and was neatly dressed with a light dressing. Moving on to our main course, Megan and I began to devise a plan of attack for enjoying as much of a variety of main dishes as we could. We easily convinced our girl, Kat (@theKatLewis), to join in on our plan. So, we each ordered something different: I got the Hand Cut Rib Eye, Megan got the Black Grouper and Kat went for the Sea Scallops. In the end, it worked out beautifully….for ME! I lucked out by combining forces with my fellow bloggers to hit multiple flavorful dishes on the menu in one sitting. I would NEVER have been able to try all that had I been eating without other, open minded people.

The ribeye was cooked beautifully, the scallops were not fishy at all and the grouper was delicious! The wine was flowing comfortably throughout dinner and it took us right on into dessert. Conversation was great and it was fun to put a face to some of the other personalities we interact with on social media.

We ended the delicious meal with perfect, sugary treat. The Chocolate Souffle that was prepared was phenomenal. Granted, if you know me well, you know I am not a huge chocolate dessert fan, but this was in a world of its own. When I broke the top layer with my spoon, chocolate immediately oozed out. And the addition of the raspberries around the outside gave the dessert a fresh touch.

In the end, I really enjoyed the night. I got to hang with some great blogger friends, met some new ones, and enjoyed delicious food. I am looking forward to going back…especially for their brunch special! #brunchbuffet

Weekly Events

Mon-Friday Happy Hour

4pm-6:30pm in the bar/lounge and courtyard patio

Tuesday Ladies Night

630pm-10pm 1/2 off  drinks in the bar/lounge

Sunday Brunch

10am – 3pm

$25 Farm to Table Buffet, Raw Seafood Bar, Carving Station, and much, much more!

Add on $10 Bottomless Housemade Infused Vodka Bloody Mary’s, Housemade Sangria, and Mimosa’s

 

-Nicholas

Disclosure: I received dinner through a Copperfish partnership in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Just Like Momma’s Cooking

So a few weeks ago, Ryan was surfing the interwebs and while on Instagram, he came across a picture of what most Instagrammers would call #foodporn. And so IT began…

We saw this picture and immediately were salivating. Upon liking the pic, the team at Family Table Catering replied to the post. They asked if they could send some food out for us to try and we thought, “Ummmmm DUH!”. Within 2 days, the food was delivered fresh to us in Hyde Park and ready to eat!

Once I brought the HUGE bag home, Ryan and I surveyed the package to come up with an action plan. Our package of food included:

1. (2) Strawberry & Spinach Salads w. Spring Minestrone Soup

2. (1) Roasted Veggie & Quinoa Bowl

3. (1) Grilled Lemon & Herb Chicken Breast

4. (1) Spanish Rub Pork Tenderloin

5. (1) Lemon Curd Pudding Dessert

With so much amazing looking and fresh made food, we knew we were in for a treat! We decided I would tackle the salads (since Ryan isn’t a goat cheese fan) and he would get the chicken (since it looked and smelled AMAZING). Then, I snagged the pork tenderloin for dinner and soup as a midweek snack while we agreed to share the quinoa bowl and dessert.

As easy as it was to get the food prepped and delivered to us, it was EVEN EASIER to prepare the meals when we were ready to eat them at home/work. They were labeled with heating directions as well as a coding system to let us know if the meals were gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free, vegan, etc. This makes it really easy for those who have dietary restrictions to be sure they know what they are consuming.

We went through the week, without the hassle of grocery shopping or prepping for meals because, low and behold, Family Table Catering had it covered for us! It made the weeknights stress free and allowed us more time to focus on other things, like NHIE. Not to mention, there were minimal dishes that needed cleaning because they come in plastic containers that can be recycled.

If you look through the pictures we snagged, you will notice, there is one main item missing….the Dessert! Let’s just say it was clearly a fan favorite and therefore I had no shot at snagging a pic! As far as the other food, it was fresh, well cooked and kept well while waiting to be devoured in the fridge. The chicken and pork were juicy and not dried out, the veggies were flavorful and the soup may have been my favorite of all! If I could have timed myself, there is a chance I may have broken a record for the quickest to devour a soup in one sitting.

We would hands down recommend this company for anyone looking to practice come portion control as they eat, anyone looking to eat a healthier option, and anyone who is short on time after a long day of work that may want an alternative to fast food or the crappy frozen meals available at the grocery store. YUCK!

My main question was trying to figure out what made this company different than the others in the area. WELL, I am glad I inquired! The main difference in Family Table Catering Service is a more high end approach to prepared meals, similar to having a private chef to stock your fridge. These meals are sourced only after the order is placed (which is different from most other companies in the area). They are prepped from local farmers markets not made in bulk batches. We love this idea because it promotes our #everythinglocal approach to being in Tampa Bay. Additionally, Family Table is a TRUE family business that tries to uphold the highest standards for clients with constant menu testing and recipe development.

We had a great experience, so you should definitely follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up to date on the amazing dishes they provide throughout Tampa Bay!  And if you get the chance to test it out yourself, be sure to leave a review on their Yelp Page as well! We promise, you will NOT be disappointed! AND for a limited time, our friends at Family Table Catering Services are offering our friends a discount of 15% off of your first order using the promo code ” NHIE15″ in all caps at checkout so you can have the luxury of enjoying some meals as freshly made and carefully planned out as the ones you miss from home!

Eat your heart out! Don’t say I didn’t tell you so!

-Nicholas

 

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