Sirata Beach Resort Staycation, St Pete Beach

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
This past weekend, my husband Gabe and I got to spend a few days checking out the Sirata Beach Resort in St Pete Beach, FL. Sirata is currently undergoing a massive $15 million renovation and their newly renovated guestrooms (they have 382 guest rooms and suites). After making the 40 minute drive from New Tampa, we arrived to our staycation and were able to spend 2 full days doing nothing but relax.
We've stayed in St Pete Beach quite a few times but this was our first experience at Sirata. It is a pet friendly resort and we found ourselves wishing we brought along Baloo. I can just imagine him sitting in the living room, watching birds fly by. They give back to Pet Pal Animal Shelter, which is a organization close to my heart.
I was very impressed with our room, a one bedroom suite with a separate living area and kitchenette. It was  modern mixed with beach casual, a perfect setting for a beach getaway!

During our stay, we enjoyed the most perfect weather Florida could offer. It wasn't hot, it wasn't cold, it didn't rain and it wasn't humid. While on the beach, I noticed a golf cart driving around and learned that it was the first day Sirata began their Beach Bites, offering guests a variety of food and beverages. It was VERY popular among those laying out.
Sirata Beach Resort owns it's portion of the beach, so the alcohol rules do not apply in their section. We enjoyed a glass of prosecco on the beach! There are only a few places alcohol is allowed on the beach, so this was a pleasant surprise. Even with alcohol permitted on the beach, it wasn't a party atmosphere which was fantastic. We were able to have our drink and relax at the same time in a beautiful setting.
Parts of Sirata were still under construction , including two of the pools and famous Harry's Beach Bar. I am very excited to see what it will look like under construction, as the same architects that renovated Rowe Bar at neighboring Don CeSar. Harry's will be an open air concept with views of the pool and beach.
Due to multiple weddings on property, we didn't spend much time at the pool but once the two new ones have finished their transforamation, Sirata will be home to an oceanside oasis with amenities such as a hanging chair garden, fire pit, pool bar and private cabanas.
We had lunch at Rum Runner’s, which will be next to get a facelift once Harry's is completed. Even as is, I loved the vyb this beach bar had to offer. I made the joke that I didn't wear makeup for two days while on this trip, which was partially true. Rum Runner's will have a rustic feel to it with a communal table of liquor crates, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit and activities such as over-sized Jenga and foosball tables.
We had a very chill beach stay, something I haven't experienced in a very long time. No pressure to get dressed up or make it to a specific timed reservation. Very come and go as we pleased, with flip flops on and sand in our hair, while witnessing two nights of magical sunsets and waking up to walks on the beach. I couldn't have asked for more!

Sirata Beach Resort Transformation Schedule:
February 13 – August 2
Creating a new North Pool playground area, including updating Harry’s Beach Bar. While we’ll be sprucing Harry’s up, don’t worry, we’re maintaining that genuine ‘flip flop’ beach bar entertainment experience that has made it famous.

May 28 – October 2 we’ll be adding a uniquely St. Pete design touch to the breezeway featuring artwork from a locally sourced Tampa Bay artist. This will truly complement the transformed North Pool and Harry’s area.

August 3 – October 31 our transformation concludes as we create a new area where you can truly “Play More”. The transformation of Rum Runners Bar & Grille will make it an authentically fun and engaging beachfront dining area. And, for more of that “Play More” Siratafied experience, you’ll want to check-out our new beachfront private lanai guest rooms, a signature of Sirata Beach Resort.

Many thanks to Sirata Beach Resort for hosting us. I was not required to write a post, and all opinions are my own. 

Tips for throwing a Kentucky Derby viewing party with 14 Hands Winery

Thursday, April 26, 2018
One of my favorite events throughout the year is the Kentucky Derby. Going to the Derby has been on my bucket list for as far back as I can recall. The southern charm, the hats, and of course the booze has always intrigued me. This years Derby falls on Cinco de Mayo. It will also be the weekend prior to us leaving for Thailand. I have a feeling we will have a big party on Derby day!

To get me ready for the Kentucky Derby, My friends at 14 Hands Winery sent me a few bottles of wine along with some tips from Sarah Tracey of The Lush Life. These tips are perfect for anyone looking to host a Kentucky Derby viewing party.  Sarah came up with a fresh approach to the mint julep, using 14 Hands brut instead of Bourbon, and friends this is right up my alley.
Photo Credit: Sarah Tracey from The Lush Life
The Lush Life Sparkling Pineapple Julep Recipe
Combine one tablespoon of pineapple preserves and 7 mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add 1.5 oz gin, fill shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass and top with 5 oz 14 Hands Brut. Garnish generously with mint sprigs and a slice of fresh pineapple.

A Kentucky Derby viewing party wouldn't be possible without proper dress and Decor. Along with the amazing recipe above, Sarah also came up with some staples, including a DIY Derby Hat decorating station (LOVE).
Photo Credit: Sarah Tracey from The Lush Life
Encourage a Festive Dress Code
On your invites, encourage your guests to get into the Derby spirit with their style! Seersucker and pastel bowties are fun for the fellas, for the ladies fabulous hats are mandatory. Vintage and thrift stores are fun places to hunt for creative party attire that looks like you stepped straight off of Millionaire’s Row.

Set the Scene with Country-Chic Décor
Create a country-chic rustic tablescape with burlap runners, antique lace, vintage photos in charming silver frames, mason jars and of course lots of bright florals. Equestrian touches like horseshoes or horse cutouts are a playful and whimsical detail. And don’t forget the perfect touch to a table setting is the wine! Add in a couple bottles of 14 Hands Limited Release Kentucky Derby® Red Blend to top off the ambiance.

Don’t Forget About Party Favors
Create a DIY hat decorating station and invite guests to bring a plain hat to deck out. Source ribbon, silk flowers, feathers and other fun items from your local craft store; set out some glue guns, and let guests create their own designs.

Raise the Stakes & Place Your Bets
The race is a little more fun if you have some money down on the winner! Let your guests fill out wager cards, have everyone throw a dollar or five in the pot, and the winner takes all.

14 Hands Winery sent me a few bottles of wine to sample, along with these tips. This was not a paid post, nor was I asked to write this post. 

Waitress the Musical at the Straz Center

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
I am going to take you on a trip down memory lane. In 2007, I had the opportunity to attend the Sundance Film Festival with my (then) job. We sponsored one of the booths at a VIP party and it was one of the coolest experiences I had while working. That year, the movie Waitress premiered with Kerry Russell as the main actress (who I was a fan of from the Felicity days). Waitress was all the hype of the festival.

Fast Forward 11 years later (ouch). I saw a promo for Waitress in NYC featuring songs written by Sarah Bareilles. I have a work playlist that I listen to daily, which includes Sara, Norah Jones, Dido and a few others. To say I'm a huge fan of everything Sarah Bareilles touches is an understatement. She's a constant at my parents dinner party and I know every one of her songs by heart. Waitress AND Sarah Bareilles - major fan girl moment for me.
I'm fortunate to live in an area that has a fantastic traveling Broadway lineup. This week, from April 24th - April 29th, Waitress the Musical will be at Straz Center Tampa. I had a chance to check it out last night and was very impressed. I was curious to see how they would bring Waitress to Broadway, given it's storyline. It was very well written and the stage set was super impressive. I felt at times I was watching a movie, not at a live production. The talent was absolutely incredible and left me jaw dropped at many times throughout the show.
Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by five-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles ("Brave," "Love Song"), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland). "It's an empowering musical of the highest order!" raves the Chicago Tribune.
This is a story inspired by Adrienne Shelly's beloved film, Waitress. This show tells the story of Jenna (played by Desi Oakley) who is a waitress and expert pie maker. She is in a loveless, abusive relationship and ends up pregnant. The story is based around her wanting to enter a baking contest which would give her a chance at winning $20k and start a new life. Plus there is a new doctor in town who shows her what being happy looks like. It's a darker story (abuse, affairs, etc) but on stage, it was hilarious and engaging. It was a very good show and I would suggest seeing it!
"WAITRESS is a little slice of heaven!" says Entertainment Weekly and "a monumental contribution to Broadway!" according to Marie Claire. Don't miss this uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood and the magic of a well-made pie.

Waitress Tampa showtimes
Click here for tickets
April 24th 7:30
April 25th 7:30
April 26th 7:30
April 27th 8:00
April 28th 2:00, 8:00
April 29th 2:00, 7:30

Planning a trip first time trip to Thailand

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
I cannot remember the last time I was this excited (also nervous) about going on a trip. In 4 weeks, my husband Gabe and I, along with another couple, will be on a 27 hour flight (god help me) to Thailand! Thailand has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. This goes back to when Leonardo DiCaprio starred in The Beach, circa early 2000. Last fall, when our friends asked us if we wanted to go to Thailand, it was the quickest I said yes aside from the night I was proposed to.

When that conversation happened back in September, the trip felt like a lifetime away. We limited our travel leading up to the trip, reduced spending wherever possible, eating home more often than not and I've been selling stuff on Poshmark, all so we could take this trip without putting anything on a credit card. It's working out pretty well! To date, we've paid for all the hotels and our flights in cash, plus we have money to for daily activities. I've sold over $300 this month on Poshmark, selling things that have been sitting in my closet (easiest money I've ever made and I've become rather obsessed with selling stuff).

Today I want to share an overview of this trip and some of the amazing sites we will see. When we get back from the US, expect a ton of blog posts on Thailand :)
Big Buddah, Phuket
Usually we don't have this much time to plan a trip so I have been going a little OCD with the travel planning.  Below is a brief overview of our itinerary. We are open to any and all suggestions from friends who have visited Thailand before (however, our destinations are set in stone as everything has been paid ahead of time with no cancellation....so please don't tell me to go to Chiang Mai - we dropped the ball there).

Day 1-3 Bangkok
Temples: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, maybe Wat Traimit
Markets: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Chatuchak Weekend MarketJJ Night Market
Bangkok Royal Palace
I have no idea how we will feel landing in Bangkok at 5:30am after being on a 27 hour flight. I'd rather not think about it actually. If we get out of customs and into Bangkok by 8am, we will do a day trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We will dedicate one day to see the temples seems really packed, but from what I've read, very doable if we start early.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
I'm very excited about visiting Wat Pho - it is the home of Thai Massage school. Guess what an hour Thai Massage costs there....$13. Also while in town, we are excited to check out the Chatuchak Weekend Market which is the worlds largest weekend market. Basically, we will be spending time in Bangkok doing a lot of shopping, visiting a lot of temples and a lot of eating & drinking!

Day 4-6 Sai Yok / Kanchanaburi 
Erawan Falls, Hellfire Pass, Lawa Cave
image from www.thefloathouseriverkwai.com
I can't tell you how excited we are about staying at The Float House River Kwai in Sai Yok. We "splurged" on this stay....splurging in Thailand means spending over $100 a night. The Floathouse River Kwai has villas on the lake, surrounded by tropical forests and mountains of Saiyoke. The floors lead right into the river with a floating deck. I can see our 2 nights here spent drinking wine and relaxing. Of everything we are doing on this trip, this is the one place my husband keeps bringing up. He's very excited about staying in a villa on the river!
Erawan Falls
We are going to visit Erawan Falls which is an hour away from The Lake House River Kwai. There are a few other "must see's" in proximity to the resort that we will check out but we are really looking forward to a few quiet days before heading into the chaos of Phuket.

Day 7-11 Phuket
James Bond Island Phangnga Treasures Sunsrise Trip, Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, The Real Phuket City Tour, Surfing in Kata
James Bond Island
I've had a lot of people ask why we're spending so much time in Phuket. Easy answer, the ease of being able to Island hop. We also like to party and Patong is known as a huge party town but the location we chose to stay here isn't the rum buckets, it is the ease of island hopping. In Phuket we will visit James Bond Island on an sunrise trip and see where The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed. We are spending half a day at an Ethical Elephant Sanctuary, bathing and swimming with Elephants! Gabe will get to go surfing, which was the one thing requested for the trip. Thailand will mark the 4th country he has surfed in!
Kata Beach
We will also make sure to check out the other side of Phuket in a city tour (it's more than parties and beaches!). I am looking forward to seeing the colorful buildings of Old Phuket Town and we may fit in a cooking class. I'm sure there will be late nights and too many drinks in our future while in Phuket as well. We will be bringing The Morning Recovery Drink!

Day 12-16 Krabi / Railay
Phi Phi Islands Early Bird Speedboat Tour, 4 Island self-guided tour, Hiking Railay Viewpoint, Emerald Pool & Krabi Hot Springs (maybe)
Railay Phutawan Resort, photo booking.com
We decided to book a hotel in Railay without researching much into it. Now it's paid in full and we found out we are on an island with no cars, only accessible by boat! I am the research queen, not sure what happened there. However, Railay is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Krabi. It's also low key, which is probably what we will need after 5 nights in Phuket. Plus the infiniti pool at our hotel is ridiculous, and we got an deluxe ocean view room for less than $60 a night.
Phi Phi Islands
While here, we will visit Phi Phi Islands, including Maya Bay (the location The Beach was filmed). We are booking an early bird tour so we avoid the crowds, which I've heard are quite horrendous mid-day. Maya Bay is actually closing down on June 1st for the first time to tourists so they can recover and regrow. I would have been heart broken if we went to Thailand and weren't able to visit Maya Bay.
Chicken Island
We also found out we can do a very popular tour in Krabi on our own. The 4 Island Krabi Tour usually costs $50 a person, but we can rent a 1/2 day self-guided tour for $50 total and can bring our own drinks (we'll be visiting Chicken Island, Koh Mawr, Tup Island, Poda Island). We will have the flexibility of going at our own time and not being with a mass of people. Plus as I mentioned, BYOB! I am not 100% sold on going to the Emerald Pool & Krabi Hot Springs, that is something we will decide when we arrive. I think I've read up too much on those destinations, and when I learned people bathe there on the weekends, the magic was lost on me.

Day 17-19 Bangkok
Historic City of Ayutthaya
Historic City of Ayutthaya
Our friends will remain in Asia after we head home, so we have a few days to ourselves in Bangkok prior to returning to the US. We are going to attempt a half day trip to the Historic City of Ayutthaya. Our last 2 days in Bangkok will be a whirlwind as we don't arrive in town until 2:00pm Thursday and fly out at 8pm Friday. However, we will try everything to visit Ayutthaya as I've heard great things from other travel bloggers!

Hard to believe this trip is almost here!

Beautiful - The Carole King Story, The Straz Center

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
One of the things we miss most about living in Ybor City is the proximity to The Straz Center. Both my husband Gabe and I love going to Broadway shows and we definitely took advantage of being less than 5 minutes away in the 5+ years we lived in Ybor. Now that we live in New Tampa, our visits have been less frequent.

I had the opportunity to go see Beautiful - The Carole King Story last night at The Straz Center. This show tells the story of Carole Kings remarkable rise as teenage song writer to Rock n Roll hall of fame. Last night also happened to be World Theater Day!! Perfect timing :)
Goosebumps. You guys.....this show. If you are in Tampa, buy tickets now. Beautiful runs through this Sunday, April 1st.  If you aren't in Tampa, find a location near you that has this show on tour (Fort Meyers & Jacksonville, you're next). Beautiful - The Carole King Story quickly stole my heart and top spot for favorite Broadway musical.
I grew up listening to Carole King. She was and still is one of my parents favorite singers. On Saturday's, we would always have musical chore days. This did nothing to excite me to do chores, but listening to music over the vacuum and hearing my parents sing is something I will always remember. Due to this, hearing Carole King reminds me of doing laundry. These days, Carole King is one of the artists on rotation during my Mom and Step Dad's dinner parties.

I laughed and cried throughout this show. Memories, both beautiful and sad came to mind throughout the 2 hours. Carole King's songs are something most generations would recognize, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend”, and BEAUTIFUL.
Beautiful - Photo rights Carnegie Hall. Sarah Bockel as Carole King
I had a total ugly cry moment during "You've Got A Friend". This was one of my Dad's favorite song and he used to sing it to me. When he passed away at the age of 52, we played James Taylor's version of this song at the funeral. My Step Father requested the song to dance with me at his and my Mom's wedding (my parents were still alive when my Dad passed away). Although I was a mess, it was such a beautiful part of the musical - and yes, I am crying writing this.
Four Friends. (l to r) James Clow as Don Kirshner, Andrew Brewer as Gerry Goffin, Sarah Bockel as Carole King, Jacob Heimer as Barry Mann and Sarah Goeke as Cynthia Weil
If you aren't familiar with Carole Kings story (honestly I wasn't!), she started her career in writing hits for some of the biggest acts in the music industry alongside her then husband Gerry Goffin who she met in college. The pair were teamed up with Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann and the two pairs frequented #1 on the Billboard top 100. They wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards. Growing up, Carol dated Neil Sedaka in high school and "Oh! Carol" was written about her.
Beautiful - Queens College Sarah Bockel as Carole King and Andrew Brewer as Gerry Goffin
When Carole and Gerry divorced, she then became the singer we all know her as today, one who still holds one of the most successful solo acts in music history. She is a longtime friend of James Taylor, who happens to be one of my top 5 artists and has collaborated with more music acts to even try and list out. It's easy to say without Carole King, the music scene wouldn't be what we know it as today.
This show is incredible. You will sing along with it and leave with a giant smile on your face. Beautiful - The Carole King Story will be playing the following dates and times at The Straz Center. Click here to buy tickets
3/28 7:30
3/29 7:30
3/30 8:00
3/31 2:00, 8:00
4/1 2:00, 7:30

Special thanks to Tampa Bay Bloggers for providing us tickets to the show. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Key West Island Adventure Eco Tour - Fury Cat

Monday, March 26, 2018
While in Key West for our girls trip, my best friend Keri and I had the opportunity to take a Island Adventure Eco Tour and enjoy a laid back day in Key West's backcountry. The Island Adventure by Fury Cat included an Eco Tour, Snorkeling, Kayaking and Paddleboarding. We had a pretty packed schedule during our trip but we wanted to do something different. This tour was the first thing we did on the trip and we truly enjoyed it.
The 4.5 hour Island Adventure trip happens twice daily, 9:30 & 3:30. We booked the 9:30 knowing we would be able to have the second half of the day to do whatever we wanted. Once we boarded the boat, we found ourselves with fresh fruit, pastries, coffee, soda and water. We were also informed that after the snorkeling portion of the trip, beer and champagne would be provided! This was very excited news to us as this wasn't listed online when we booked the trip.

The snorkeling was the first stop of our adventure. Keri and I chose not to partake in this, as the water was very cold still and being Florida locals. Those who snorkeled saw tons of marine life. The Captain told us frequent sightings are spiny sea urchins, tropical fish, conch shells, sea sponges, stingrays, Goliath grouper and event sea turtles and dolphins!
Keri and I were the only ones on the boat who chose not to snorkel and the champagne started flowing once we said we weren't going swimming. On this beautiful Thursday afternoon when all our friends and family were working, we were enjoying a mimosa, on a boat, in the middle of the beautiful blue waters of Key West. Life is Good.
We were then brought to a sandbar and the Mangroves. We got on kayaks and went over to the Mangroves, learning some facts about the Eco system. I forgot to mention, they brought along more champagne and OJ for us! Two happy girls right here.
After our Eco Tour, we went over and hung out on the sandbar. It was surreal being the only people out here. I finally got to use my new GoPro that my husband got me for Christmas. I'm still learning but captured some incredible shots. I can't wait to use this in Thailand next month!
We also had the option to paddleboard at this time but we decided to head back to the boat and have lunch. Lunch had a lot of options including fried chicken, salad, build your own sandwich bar, fresh fruit and more. More as in more mimosas!
It was then time to head back to the mainland. Keri and I have been to Key West a few times and over our journey's, we found White Tarpon which is located at the Marina Fury Cat picked us up at. We hightailed it over to White Tarpon for Happy Hour and indulged in $1 oysters and Key Lime Pie Martinis!
I would strongly suggest th3 Key West Island Adventure Eco Tour to anyone visiting Key West. It is a fun, unique and relaxing adventure that will show you a different side of the island!

I received complimentary sailings through The Florida Keys. As Always, all opinions are my own. 

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival Review 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018
Food, Wine, Concerts, exciting rides and animals can only mean one thing. Busch Garden's Food and Wine Festival is back! On the weekends through April 29,you can take advantage to see some of the biggest acts in musical entertainment while enjoying delicious food, craft brews, a large selection of wine and cocktails!
The best part about it, your admission covers concerts and this is a valid event with any annual pass, fun card or daily admission. A few weeks ago, Gabe and I had the opportunity to check out this years Food and Wine Festival. Busch Garden's festival gets better year after year. I was very impressed with this years selection of food and drink. They had quite a few options for dietary restrictions which was great to see. We had a fantastic time and hope to get back again this year.
I strongly suggest getting one of the food samplers if you go. You can use these to select any food or drink at the festival. It's much easier than pulling out a credit card or cash at each food cabin and you have a choice between a variety of levels. If there is a concert you want to sea, one of the VIP Concert Seating options is the way to go!
5 item sampler: $29.99
10 item sampler: $39.99
12 item sampler: $59.99
VIP Concert Seating level 1 + 5 item sampler: $44.99
VIP Concert Seating level 2 + 5 item sampler: $34.99


ARTISAN EATS
Duck Fat Truffle Fries
Pupusas with Curdito & Grilled Shrimp
Smoked Trout, Watermelon Radish Charred Herbs Vinaigrette (GF)
Duck Fat Truffle Fries with Parmesan Truffle Aioli (GF)
Wine: Fleur De Mer, Rose
Beer: Founders Brewing Co., All Day IPA 4.7% ABV, IBU 42

COOKING WITH COKE PAVILION
Orange Fanta Whoopie Pie
Orange Fanta Whoopie Pie (VEG)
Pulled Pork Slider with Cherry Coke BBQ Sauce
Baked Brie with Strawberry Fanta Coulis (VEG)
Wine: William Hill Estate Winery, Pinot Noir
Beer: Pair O' Dice Brewing Co., Lucky Lucy Strawberry Blonde 5.5% ABV, IBU 15

COKE FUSION


Minute Maid Apple Glazed Pork Belly
Boiled Peanut Hummus with Coke® Drizzle (V)
Minute Maid Apple Glazed Pork Belly with Kimchee Slaw
Coke® Infused Chocolate Cupcake Topped with Pop Rocks (VEG)
Wine: Michael David Winery, Freakshow Red Blend
Beer: Tampa Bay Brewing Co., Reef Donkey APA 5.5% ABV, IBU 36

FIELD HOUSE EATERY
Grilled Lamb Chops
Char Sui Duck Steam Bun
Habanero-Infused Baklava with Fresh Pomegranate (V)
Grilled Lamb Chops with Tabouleh & Tzatziki (GF)
Wine: Josh Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon Craftsman 14
Beer: Motorworks Brewing, Intellectual Property Ale IPA 6.9% ABV, IBU 85
Frozen Cocktails: Mojito, Red Sangria

GOURMET LODGE
Beef Brisket on Spiced Corn Waffle
Mango Shrimp Ceviche with Sweet and Spicy Marinade (GF)
Beef Brisket on a Spiced Corn Waffle with Amberbock BBQ Sauce
Griddled Cheese Cake Sandwich with Raspberry Drizzle (VEG)
Wine: Trapiche, Oak Cask Malbec
Beer: New Belgium, Fat Tire Belgium White Ale 5.2% ABV IBU

SAVORY TAVERN
Fried Frog Legs - Photo Rights: Busch Gardens
Guava Empanada (VEG)
Shrimp Po Boy
Fried Frog Legs with Bacon Corn Fritters & Cajun Remoulade
Wine: Pacific Rim, Riesling "J"
Beer: Motorworks Brewing, Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA 6.3% ABV, IBU 85

CHEF'S PLANTATION
Gochujang Ribs - Photo Rights: Busch Gardens
Short Rib & Brie Grilled Cheese on House-Made Brioche
Salmon Cake with Lemon Aioli
Gochujang Ribs in Korean BBQ Sauce
Wine: Lobetia, Rose
Beer Funky Buddha Brewery, Pineapple Beach Blonde 5% ABV, 20 IBU

COAST-TO-COAST COOKERY
Cauliflower Cake
Cauliflower Cake with Sriracha Aioli (V)
Pan-Seared Steak with Chimichurri & Roasted Poblano Hash (GF)
Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Sauce (VEG) Wine: SAVED, Red Blend
Beer: Swamp Head Brewery, Wild Night Honey Cream Ale 5% ABV, IBU 21
Frozen Cocktails: Blue Lemonade, Watermelon Frosé

SOUTHERN STATION
Bananas Foster Panna Cotta - Photo Rights: Busch Gardens
Venison Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Fresh English Peas, and Blackberry Demi-Glace
Bison Slider on a Poppy Seed Roll with Bacon and Sriracha Ketchup
Bananas Foster Panna Cotta with Caramel Popcorn
Wine: Alexander Valley, Merlot
Beer: Founders Brewing Co., Solid Gold Lager 4.4% ABV, IBU 20
Frozen Cocktails: Blue Lemonade, Watermelon Frosé

COMFORT KITCHEN
Tostones Rellenos - Photo Rights: Busch Gardens
Tostones Rellenos de Pollo Fried Plantain Cups filled with Stewed Chicken
Cabernet Wine-Filled Chocolate Truffles (GF, V, VEG)
Bacon Mac & Cheese
Wine: Terrazas de los Andes, Malbec
Beer: 3 Daughters Brewing, Beach Blonde Ale 5% ABV, IBU 24

LIGHT FARE CANTEEN
Antipasti - Photo Rights: Busch Gardens
Antipasti of Roasted Tomatoes, Artesian Meats, Cheeses & Olives (GF)
Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent Medley of Mushrooms in a Flakey Pastry (VEG)
Lobster Tart with Leeks & Swiss Cheese
Wine: Rutherford Ranch, Sauvignon Blanc
Beer: Rekorderlig, Strawberry-Lime Cider 4.5% ABV

TASTY TAQUERIA
Short Rib Taco - Photo Rights: Busch Gardens
Duck Taco with Sweet Chili Sauce, Slow Roasted, Asian Sweet Chili Sauce on a Corn Tortilla
Short Rib Taco Tender Beef with a BBQ Demi Glaze & Onion Straws on a Corn Tortilla (GF)
Portobello Mushroom Taco Balsamic Vinegar Roasted Portobello Mushrooms Paired with Corn on a Corn Tortilla (GF, V, VEG)
Wine: J. Lohr, Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon
Beer: Goose Island Beer Co., Goose Island IPA 5.9% ABV, 55 IBU
Frozen Cocktails: Mojito, Red Sangria

GARDEN GATE CAFÉ
Tuna Poke - Photo Rights: Busch Gardens
Truffle Seafood Mac & Cheese, Shrimp, Scallops, & Cod in a Creamy Swiss Cheese Sauce Scented with White Truffle
Tuna Poke, Hawaiian Seasoned Tuna
Wine: Murphy Goode, Sauvignon Blanc
Beer: Brew Bus Brewing, You're My Boy Blueberry Wheat 6% ABV, IBU 12

CONCERTS:

Here is the lineup of concerts at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival. You can purchase a VIP seating upgrade (as mentioned above), which will get you prime seats and 5 treats from the festival. There is literally something for everyone at this years festival! There are quite a few concerts from this years festival I would love to see.
March 3rd: Sister Hazel and Edwin McCain 5:30pm
March 4th: Group Niche 6pm
March 10th: The Fray 7pm
March 11th: Southern Uprising - Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band 3pm
March 17th: Olga Tanon 7pm
March 18th: Goo Goo Dolls 6pm
March 24th: Better than Ezra & Tonic 5:30pm
March 25th: Michael Bolton 6pm
March 31st: Boyz II Men 7pm
April 1st: Natalie Grant 6pm
April 7th: Hank Williams Jr 7pm
April 8th: TLC 6pm
April 14th: Bret Michaels 7pm
April 15th: Kool & The Gang and The Commodores 5:30pm
April 21st: The All-American Rejects 7pm
April 22nd: Cole Swindell 6pm
April 28th: Flo Rida 7pm
April 29th: Kaleo & Bleachers 5:30pm

Special thanks to Busch Gardens for hosting us at the VIP media preview. I was not required to write a post, as always all opinions are my own. 
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