Showing posts with label Tampa Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tampa Events. Show all posts

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tampa Bay Wine and Food Festival, 2014 #TBWFF

Drink wine, eat great food while giving back to local charities - that's what the Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival is all about. This event is hosted annually at the Straz Center with more than 40 wine suppliers and restaurants waiting to make your evening magical. This event funds The Brandon Foundation,which in turns provides financial assistance to over 50 Tampa Bay area charities.

Taking place September 12 & 13, 2014, the Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival is a weekend full of fun and delicious times. I am very excited to be attending this event - Gabe and I are completing our pre-wedding diet cleanse on Friday the 12th, so the Gala will be my first sip of wine in 2 weeks!

September 12th: Southern Charm Wine & Food Gala and Auction
The Gala is a black-tie optional event with an expected 900 guests who will enjoy Tampa Bay's finest wines and foods which is located on the three floors of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Along with amazing food and wine, this event will also feature live entertainment, games and an auction.

September 13th: Grand Tasting
The Grand Tasting is a casual wine and food event with wines from all over the world. Along with amazing wine, food will be provided from Tampa Bay's top restaurants.

Southern Charm Gala, Friday, Sept. 12
VIP starts at 7 p.m.
General Admission starts at 8 p.m.
$100 per person $125 per person VIP

Grand Tasting. Saturday, Sept. 13
1 - 5 p.m.
$75 per person

VIP Gala and Grand Tasting $175
General Admission Gala and Grand Tasting $150

Follow Tampa Bay Wine and Food Festival on Twitter and Facebook for current promotions. Save 15% off your Tampa Bay Wine and Food Festicval tickets through Monday with promo code 15tbwff2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Swimming with Tigers at Dade City Wildthings

This weekend, my best friend Keri and I had the chance to play and swim with a baby tiger named Tora at Dade City's Wildthings.
Dade City's Wild Things (in conjunction with Stearns Zoological Rescue & Rehab Center, Inc.) is a 22-acre zoo located in Dade City, Florida. We arrived at the gift shop and received a token for a trolley ride to the property. From there, we waited for our tiger swim to begin.
The reaction I got from family and friends prior to the swim was interesting. The funniest was from My Mom, who was concerned about me being scratched or bit 4 weeks prior to my wedding. Prior to animal interaction, we were told where we could pet Lola (everywhere below her collar).
After we fed and played with Tora, it was time for the swim. We received our next set of instructions,  to swim behind her so. This was so she wouldn't get confused and swim to us vs. the trainer.
Tora weighed 35lbs on the day we swam with her. We were told that we were one of the last people to swim with her, since the state cuts off human interaction with tigers when they reach 40lbs. 
This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I've swam with both dolphins and sea lions multiple times, but swimming with a tiger is something I never imagined doing.
The entire time we were with Tora, she chuffed. Chuffing is how tigers say hello and you could tell she was happy.
After the tiger swim, we went on a walking tour of the zoo where we met over 200 rescued and adopted animals and the property is located on an ancient sinkhole. There were a few stories on animals who resided at Dade City's Wildthings that captured my heart. There is a Jaguar who was kept in a contained space while growing up and was unable to grow his ligaments properly. Dade City's Wildthings rescued him and he now has a girlfriend.
Photo from Dade City Wildthings Facebook
We also met a Florida Panther who is a cancer survivor.
photo from Dade City Wildthings Facebook
And we met a buck, who I do not have a photo of - who was hit by a car. His jaw shattered and he has neurological damage. This animal had no chance of survival if it weren't for his new family who gave him a safe home.
Here is where my heart breaks. Upon going on facebook this morning to get some photos of the animals from the walking tour, I learned that Dade City Wildthings was severely damaged by a storm (2 days after we visited). The brunt of the damage went to Roy's habitat, a 1,000 pound Siberian tiger, who is the largest animal at Dade City's Wild Things. His special fence was damaged - this fence can hold the weight of a 2,000-pound cow. My heart goes out to Dade City Wildthings and they have an emergency relief fund set up for those who can help.

You can learn more about Dade City Wildthings on their website and on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Tampa Summer of Rum Festival comes to Ybor city and a #giveaway

The 2014 Tampa Summer of Rum Festival is coming to Ybor City on August 16th!! This makes me so happy, as we live right down the street from The Cuban Club of Tampa Bay (literally less than a half mile walk). Even better, this years festival will be inside! The Summer of Rum Festival will transform The Cuban Club’s 3 unique floors and their newly expanded outdoor space into multiple island inspired “Rum Zones” serving rum drinks from the over 20 participating brands from around the world.
The 2014 Summer of Rum Festival will take place from 2pm to 11pm on August 16th at 2010 N Avenida Republica De Cuba, Tampa, Florida .

The rum zones include:
Cuban Club Main Street - Consisting of Main Stage, Rum Shacks, Rum Huts, and more!
Cruzan Mojito Cantina – All kinds of Mojitos served from a Cuba inspired Cantina
Captain Morgan Pirate’s Cove – Pirate’s HQ with pirate movie playing all day in the theater and pirate themed rum drinks from Captain Morgan
Island Rum Tasting Party – Taste 40+ rums from around the world!
Food Truck Alley – Food truck rally serving island inspired foods.

In addition to the unique “Rum Zones” described above, numerous rum brands will be creating one of a kind “Rum Shacks” where featured rum drinks will be served. These Rum Shacks are designed to create the experience of ordering a rum drink in one of the Caribbean Island Countries.

The Cuban Club’s newly expanded outside concert area will be transformed into a Caribbean Island Main Street lined with street vendors, street performers, and multiple custom built rum shacks serving multiple varieties of rum drinks. Live entertainment is also scheduled throughout the day featuring Reggae, Ska, Calypso, Soca, Jimmy Buffet Tribute, and other island inspired musical acts. The Summer of Rum Festival will be a unique and rare large scale festival to occur in Tampa during the summer months. Outdoor events/festivals are scarce during these months due to the heat and daily rain downpours.

Ticket Giveaway!
I am giving away two sets of General Admission tickets. Let me know in a comment below what your favorite rum drink is and be sure to enter through the rafflecopter widget.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

General Admission tickets are $20.
GA Admission gives you access to the Summer of Rum with all day re-entry privileges. Enjoy live entertainment on our main-stage, each our unique rum zones, rum shacks, games, and more while you sip on your rum drinks. Once inside, your rum drinks are available for purchase. Only a limited amount of tickets will be available.

VIP Rum Experience tickets are $95.
Enjoy UNLIMITED RUM DRINKS in the VIP Tent from your own VIP bar. VIP Tent will feature prime views to main stage, decorated tent/shade area, bars to serve VIP ticket holders only, some seating area, and a cooled air-mist system (NOT air conditioning). Go inside the Cuban Club to cool off and enjoy the Island Rum Tasting Party! As a bonus, your VIP Rum Experience will include 1 Rum Tasting Pass good for 5 tastes at the Island Rum Tasting. Includes a collectible Summer of Rum Shot Glass. Additional Rum Tasting Pass can be purchased. Rum tasting opens from 2pm to 6pm ONLY!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hyatt Good Taste Series Culinary Competition, Florida Caribbean bracket #GoodTasteTampa

A few weeks ago, I had the honor to judge the Florida/Caribbean bracket of Hyatt’s inaugural Good Taste Series Culinary Competition at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.  This competition featured 11 up-and-coming chefs from Hyatt hotels across Florida and the Caribbean competed for a chance to move onto Hyatt's National Good Taste competition in Hawaii. This was an amazing experience.

Guided by Hyatt’s global food and beverage philosophy: Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served., each competitor used local ingredients, regional influences and healthy options to prepare three plates: one breakfast item, a lunch or dinner entrĂ©e and a kid’s meal. 11 chefs, 3 courses = 33 dishes. I tried each one of these beautifully presented dishes and I am not responsible if you end up licking your screen after reading this post.
I must admit - I am not a breakfast person. Not that I dislike breakfast, I do love a great brunch. However, I find myself opting for a fast protein shake in the morning vs. a hearty sit down meal. My game face went on instantly when I learned we would start with 11 breakfast dishes, 10 of which contained eggs (belly, I am sorry). Thank goodness for the talented chefs who participated in the event. To this day, I have no idea how I made it through course one and I still cannot eat a runny egg.
Top Left: Free Range Pork Tamale by Donald Ellison, Hyatt Regency Miami
Top Right: Broiled Eggs, Bacon Marmalade, French Toast Croutons, Baked Farmers Vegetable by Abhay Nair, Hyatt Regency Trinadad
Bottom Left: "Scotch Egg": Rosy Tomorrow's Farm Egg, Scott Bonnet Sausage, Florida Calloloo Emulsion, Plantain 'Maxim' by Noel Willhite, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point
Bottom Right: Pulled Pork Hash and Eggs with Grilled Crostini, Peach Chutney and Fruit Ceviche by Peter Zemaitis, Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa (my favorite breakfast dish of the day)
Top Left: Roasted Poblano Pepper Stuffed with Chorizo, Corn and Black Beans Hash, Refried Pinto Beans, Chipotle Lime Hollandaise, Sunny Side Up Egg by Michael Chong, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
Top Right: Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Florida Whiskey Maple Syrup and Candied Pecans, Macerated Florida Peaches by Eric McBride, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Bottom Left: Baked Egg White Benedict, Gulf Blue Crab, Manchego Spinach, Corn, Canadian Bacon, Red Eye Hollandaise by Ian Goldman, Hyatt Regency Sarasota
Bottom Right: Blue Foot Puff, Organic Pork Sausage, Local Poached Egg by Cary Roy, Hyatt Regency Clearwater
Top Left: Corn Bread and Jalapeno Waffle with Crispy Organic Chicken, Collard Greens and Poached Egg with Yellow Heirloom Tomato Sauce by James Monahan, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville 
Top Right: Abuelita's Sweet Potato Hash, Sweet Potatoes, Green Peppers, Cilantro, Thyme and Cuban Soffrito by George Parra, Hyatt Regency Coral Gables
Bottom Left: Florida Breakfast Strata: Roasted Potato, Sweet Pepper, Asparagus and Gouda Cheese, Strata Heirloom Tomato Relish and Avocado Crema, Brioch Toast with Blueberry Lavender Jam by Raul Reveron, Hyatt Regency Orlando International 

We did not take a break between breakfast and lunch. I was texting my Mom during this short transition, telling her there was no way I was going to make it through another 22 dishes. She kept responding that my life must be so hard, lol. The only comparison I have to my mental state at this point is running a full Marathon. While I had 11 dishes down, we had 22 to go and this was a chance to eat dishes from multiple talented chefs. Time to get with the program belly!
Top Left: Cumin Spiced Glazed Lamb Chops, Peppered Polenta, Emulsion of Carrot and Green Pea, Garden Vegetables by Abhay Nair, Hyatt Regency Trinadad
Top Right: Tri Colored Ceviches: Ecuadorian: Whole Shrimp Ceviche in a Concase Tomato Spicy Citrus Sauce with Chives and Malanga Chips; Mexican: Mahi Ceviche Strips, Green and Red Jalapeno, Cilantro, Hass Avocado and Tomatillo with Julienne Corned Chips; Peruvian: Diced Grouper Ceviche, Aji Amarillo Leche de Tigre, Peppers and Onions with Cancha Serrana by Donald Ellison, Hyatt Regency Miami
Bottom Left: Florida Chowder: St Augustine Royal Red Shrimp, Cedar Creek Clams, Heart of Palm "Scallops" Young Coconut "Calamari", Coconut Bacon Dashi, Black Garlic, Pablano, Yellow Carrot by Noel Willhite, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point (and in my opinion, the winning dish of the day - WOW)
Bottom Right: BBQ Key West Pink Shrimp, Roasted Mango Jalapeno Salsa, White Cheddar Hominy Grit Cake by Peter Zemaitis, Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa
Top Left: Spiced Diver Scallops, Thai Jumbo Lump Crab Salad, Roasted Peanut, Confited Shitake Mushrooms, Crispy Five Spice Bacon, Chili Vinaigrette, Green Onion Strings by Michael Chong, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
Top Right: Pork Parquetta, Cheddar Grits, Local Red Mustard Greens and a Red Wine Reduction by Eric McBride, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Bottom Left: Mote Marine Sturgeon 2 Way: Seared Sturgeon, Forbidden Black Rice, Citrus Vanilla Scented Foam, Surgeon Caviar, Broken Tomato Meringues by Ian Goldman, Hyatt Regency Sarasota
Bottom Right: Olive Oil Poached Local Hog Nose, Veracruz Style, Olive Ricotta, Cured Pork Jowl by Cary Roy, Hyatt Regency Clearwater
Top Left: Fried Green Tomato and Crab Cake "Sandwich", Roasted Tomato Jam, Mango Salsa, Baby Mustard Green Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette by James Monahan, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville 
Top Right: Paiche with Coconut Saffron and Heirloom Tomato Salad, Lime Dressing by George Parra, Hyatt Regency Coral Gables
Bottom Left: Coriander-Fennel Crusted Petite Filet of Beef and Pickled Royal Red Canaveral Shrimp, Sweet Plantain Spheres, Blood Orange Sabayon, Balsamic Reduction by Raul Reveron, Hyatt Regency Orlando International 

22 dishes to down, 11 to go. That is what I had to keep telling myself at this point. We were 2/3 the way through this amazing culinary journey. The kids menu was the talk of the day among the judges. What were they going to present us with? How many chicken fingers would we see? Towards the end of this course, my psycho phone died and some of my photos didn't save (oddly enough, ones that were deleted were not the last ones I took).
Top Left: Quinoa and Caramelized Apple Slider with Swiss Cheese on a Whole Grain Roll, Fruit Pearl Salsa and Honey Roasted Clusters of Seeds and Nuts by Abhay Nair, Hyatt Regency Trinadad
Top Right: Kid's Mock Sushi: Bean Sprout and Grilled Chicken, Spinach Wrap with Shrimp and Mango, Lemon-Ponzu Papaya Sauce by Donald Ellison, Hyatt Regency Miami
Bottom Left: Banana Waffle: Gluten Free, Whipped Strawberry Yogurt "Push Pop" (think Flintstones Pop), Fresh Fruit by Noel Willhite, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point
Bottom Right: Skewered Grape and Peanut Butter Powder, Peanut Butter Stick and Blueberry Gelee, Liquid Blueberry Ravioli with Peanut Butter Powder by Eric McBride, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (my favorite kids dish)
Top Left: Organic Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese Pops: Cheddar and Mozzarella, Hidden Serving of Vegetables, House Made Ketchup by Ian Goldman, Hyatt Regency Sarasota
Top Right: Make a Wish "Peanut Butter and Jelly" Cake by Cary Roy, Hyatt Regency Clearwater
Bottom Left: 7 Grain Whole Wheat French Toast, Strawberry-Blood Orange Compote, Peanut Butter Honey Syrup by James Monahan, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville
Bottom Right:  Cornflake Crusted Chicken Asparagus Bites: Baked Chicken Wrapped Asparagus Spears, Cornflake Crusted with Carrot Ribbons, accompanied by Honey Mustard, Sweet & Sour Ketchup and Blueberry BBQ by Raul Reveron, Hyatt Regency Orlando International 

Photos missing from the Kids for Kids by Kids section:
Kids Chicken and Waffle Slider, Maple Celoute, Grilled Fruit Skewers by Peter Zemaitis, Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa
Cheesy Turkey and Spinach Empanadas, House Mada Marinara, Crisp Kale Chips by Michael Chong, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
"Fish Sticks" Plantain Crunch, Mahi, Grilled Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Mango-Banana Salsa by George Parra, Hyatt Regency Coral Gables
Congrats to Chef Noel Willhite of Hyatt Regency Coconut Point who was crowned the winner of the Florida-Caribbean bracket of Hyatt’s inaugural Good Taste Series Competition. He will advance to the national competition, taking place on November 4, 2014, at the Andaz Wailea Maui. Along with advancing to Hawaii, Chef Noel Willhite, received a Shun knife, a year subscription to the food magazine or cookbook of his choice, a $500 American Express gift card and an all-expense paid trip to the national competition. The final winner at the national competition will receive an additional week of vacation, paid travel and accommodations to the Hyatt destination of choice within the U.S., Canada or Caribbean as well as bragging rights until next year’s challenge.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Keeping Florida beautiful with Zephyrhills Water #FLFAVORITES

I am a born and raised FL girl. I lived in Daytona Beach for 32 years before relocating to Tampa, where we have lived for the past 3 years. To say I love FL is an understatement and I couldn't pick one thing - a few of my favorites are the sun, water, beach and the weather.
Zephyrhills is encouraging Tampa Bay residents to tell them what your “Florida Favorite” is by using #FLfavorites on social media – every time the hashtag is used, Zephyrhills will donate $1 to the Hillsborough River cleanup project along with Tampa Bay Watch and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.

You can find Zephyrhills Social accounts here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Use the hashtag #FLfavorites as many times as you like through September 15th and help them reach their goal of $50,000 for the Hillsborough River Cleanup Project. This donation will complete a series of “We Love Florida’s Water” land and water-based projects including river clean-up, watershed education, and recycling activities..
Beautiful Bayshore in Tampa Bay

So that's it! Use the hashtag and help keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.

I was compensated by Zephyrhills for the time spent on this post, however opinions are my own.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Brews of the Burg and The Vinoy Renaissance's new craft beer, Paul's Landing

This Thursday, 6.26.14, Brews of the Burg is taking place - a 4 hour tour of local breweries in St. Petersburg FL with an after party to celebrate The Vinoy Renaissance's new craft beer. The tour will start at 12:00 and will visit three local breweries: Three Daughters Brewing, St. Pete Brewing Company and Cycle Brewing. During the 4-hour tours, guests can participate in scavenger hunts via social media with a chance to win nights at the beautiful Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club, free brunch at Marchand's Bar and Grill or free growlers of the Vinoy's brand new craft beer./ new brew.

Each participant will sample crafts and receive complimentary brews at each of the 3 stops. Brews of the Burg is taking place on Renaissance's 3rd annual Global Day of Discovery, with 155 Renaissance Hotels around the world.

Following the brewery tour, the Brew Bash after party will take place from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in Marchand’s at The Vinoy. Sample local craft brews from the brew bus and microbreweries, enjoy ale-inspired food pairings from the resort’s executive chef and step behind the barrier to test out turn-table skills with Scratch DJ Academy.

Space is limited and tickets are only $22.90!! To purchase tickets and reserve your spot for this one-of-a-kind event please visit

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mothers Day at the Dali Museum, St Pete

My parents came over to Tampa for Mothers Day weekend and I had only two days notice to plan something amazing. The majority of the big brunch places were booked solid. That's when we decided to take Mom to the Dali Museum in St. Pete. It's quite baffling that we have lived in Tampa for three years and not experienced this masterpiece. Mom was very excited, especially after learning we would be able to experience the Warhol Exhibit which has been extended through June 1.
Upon walking in, the first thing I noticed was the very large gift shop, selling items with Dali's patterns including umbrellas, shirts, martini glasses, espresso cups, clocks, prints and much more. I had to tell myself 10 times that I was on a wedding budget and to keep on walking, only to find out when I got home that I could shop their online store.
The Dali Museum building is a piece of artwork itself, with a large free-form glass bubble made from 1,062 triangular pieces of glass. Inside, there is a helical staircase which pays homage to Dali’s obsession with spirals. Audio tour was available for both the exhibits, explaining the artwork in detail. I thought I was familiar with both Warhol and Dali until this visit.
Dali's Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea
Growing up, I was always a huge fan of Dali's The Persistence of Memory. I have a print of it on my wall at home. While I thought I knew a lot about Dali and his collection, I really didn't. During this trip, I found a new piece of Dali's to obsess over. Walking up close to this huge painting, I saw a woman standing along the Mediterranean Sea. When I turned around to ask Gabe a question, I saw the reflection of Abraham Lincoln in his sunglass lenses. I was not expecting that - so of course, I grab my phone to see if it reflected the same way. Sure enough, Abe appeared like magic. This piece is called Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea and We learned that the painting was inspired by a Scientific American article Dali read about visual perception which investigated the minimum number of pixels needed to describe a unique human face. Dali was challenged by that question and set about making this portrait of Lincoln using 121 pixels. The photo above does not do this painting justice and you have to see this for yourself.
Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man
Another Dali piece which caught our attention was Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man. Geopoliticus Child reflects the new found importance America held for the world and for Dali. The man breaking from the egg emerges out of the “new” nation, America, signalling a global transformation. You can read more about this piece by clicking here.

Those are just two of the amazing pieces you will find at the Dali permanent exhibit. You could literally spend hours going from masterpiece to masterpiece. Along with the permanent collection, Dali has multiple traveling exhibits that comes through it's doors. Currently, you can find the work of Andy Warhol.
Andy Warhol's Art. Fame. Mortality. exhibit has been at the Dali since January. This exhibit was so popular that it received an extension until June 1st. I always remember Warhol's iconic pop art all throughout my life. It was amazing seeing it in person.
Warhol Campbell Soup and Heinz Ketchup
While I have seen many movies portraying Andy Warhol, it was a completely different experiencing his art in person. My Mom mentioned that my Godmothers husband Jude knew Warhol during his tenure at the Times in the 80's. Who would have known. If Jude were still around today, I am sure he would have been able to tell me some crazy stories!
Warhol - Jackie O
Remember that gift shop I mentioned above? Check out these umbrellas. I may have to find my way back to the Dali museum rather quickly to pick one of these up before our trip to Europe.
Visit the Dali Museum online for ticket prices and hours.

Dali Museum on Facebook | Dali Museum on Twitter | Dali Museum on Instagram | Dali Museum on YouTube

Friday, May 2, 2014

Win two tickets to Ryan Wells Foundation, Evening with the Chefs

How does a night of eating and drinking to support a great cause sound to you? If you are in the Tampa Bay area, you could have the choice to win an amazing night out. Ryan Wells Foundation, Evening with the Chefs, was one of my favorite events to attend in 2013. You can read about our night out by clicking here.
photo from
First, a little about the event: Ryan Wells Evening with the Chefs is a delicious night out celebrating the life and dreams of Ryan Wells. Ryan became actively involved in the Culinary program at Tarpon Springs High School in his junior year. At this time, his plans to become a chef and attend college for the Culinary Arts blossomed. While returning home from a FRLA seminar at Johnson and Wales University in Miami, he was tragically killed in an automobile accident. You can read more about Ryan's story by clicking here.
photo from
The Ryan Wells Foundation carries on Ryan's dream while fulfilling the passion of young high school students aspiring to become chefs. Since its formation in 2005, The foundation has awarded 82 scholarships to Pinellas County students amounting to over $690,000!
photo from
At Ryan Wells Evening with the Chefs, you will have the opportunity to interact with the student chefs while meeting  some of Pinellas Counties top chefs. The 2014 guest chef lineup includes: Sheraton Sand Key Resort, Executive Chef John Harris. Chef Doug Bebell of Mystic Fish. Chef Scott Bebell of Guppy's. Chef Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill. Chef Mark Heimann of The Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club. Chef Mark Hyrcko of Island Way Grill. Chef Stephen Jordan of Sandpearl Resort. Chef Chris Ponte of Cafe Ponte. Chief Chocolate Officer William Brown of William Dean Chocolates.
photo from
While enjoying your delicious food, you can also sip on spirits, wine, and craft beer will also be provided by Coastal Wine & Spirits, Southern Wine & Spirits, and Palm Harbor House of Beer.
photo from
I have a pair of tickets to give away to this amazing event. Sadly, I will not be in attendance this year as my former roomate Tara is getting married that weekend and Evening with the Chefs falls on the same night as her rehearsal dinner. My only request is that whoever wins dines on delicious food and drink for me!
The Ryan Wells Foundation asks the participating chefs a question every year to be featured in their event program. They want to ask my readers the same question: If you could cook for anyone, living or deceased, who would it be a why? Answer in the comment field below and make sure you enter through the rafflecopter widget, as this is out I select my winners!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 1, 2014

STOMP - Jaw dropping excitement at the Straz Center, Tampa

On Wednesday night, we had the opportunity to see STOMP at the Straz Center in Tampa. This was my favorite live performance to date. The entire hour and a half my jaw was dropped, I was laughing and I had a huge smile on my face.
STOMP is a show perfect for audiences of all ages and if the traveling show happens to find its way to your city, I strongly suggest this as a date night or family outing. The show is an hour and a half without intermission. We were on the edge of our seats all night, waiting to see what happened next.
The STOMP cast entertained us without words. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments to create rhythm – matchboxes, wooden poles, newspapers, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps, water, sand, you name it. USA Today says, “STOMP finds beautiful noises in the strangest places.”.
STOMP will be at the Straz Center in Tampa through Saturday. Tickets from $49.50-69.50. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice and will increase based on demand.

STOMP at Carol Morsani Hall
Thursday, May 01, 2014 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 02, 2014 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 03, 2014 2 p.m.
Saturday, May 03, 2014 8 p.m.

Friday, April 25, 2014

#Giveaway - Los Lonely Boys to Headline the 2014 Tampa Bay Margarita Festival

The very popular Margarita Festival in Tampa is returning in 2014 with a Grammy winning artist slated for the festivities - the Los Lonely Boys. The 2014 Tampa Bay Margarita Festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 24th, 2014 from 2pm to 10pm at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Downtown Tampa. I have four tickets to give away! Read below :)

In addition to Los Lonely Boys, the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival will feature live bands throughout the day. Where else can you ride a giant mechanical Corona bottle? There will be margaritas in all flavors and varieties, from traditional to exotic flavors, along with a variety of craft margaritas. 
Tequila brands participating include Sauza, Hornitos, Camarena, Don Julio, Dobel, Margaritaville, and more to be announced. Other brands include Corona Light and Bud Lime-A-Ritas. 

A Grand Tequila Tasting event is also scheduled for Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at the Epicurean Hotel, where attendees can sample 40+ tequilas, including ultra-premium and rare ones. Food pairings will also be provided by chefs at the Epicurean Hotel.

We all know Tampanians love their festivals but the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival will be the only large festival to occur in Downtown Tampa during the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. In 2013, the event sold out at over 5,000 attendees. 

Ending the tequila filled evening, the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival will close with the largest fireworks show in the area with the Downtown Tampa Skyline as a background. 
GA Tickets to the festival is only $10 until 4/30, $15 after, $20 at door (if available). VIP tickets include unlimited Margaritas as the Grand Marnier VIP Cantina for only $75 until 4/30, $85 after, $100 Door (If Available) 

I have 4 General Admission tickets for the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival to giveaway to two Tampa readers! Let me know in a comment below what your favorite margarita is. Also - be sure to enter through the rafflecopter below as this is how I select my winners at random!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ghost the Musical at Straz Center, Tampa

On Tuesday night, we had the opportunity to check out opening night of Ghost The Musical at Straz Center in Tampa. Leading up to the show, we heard "I wonder what they will do with the pottery scene" and "Ghost? As in Patrick Swasey Ghost??" from tons of people.
Just like the Oscar winning movie, Ghost The Musical follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death.
What surprised us the most was the special effects. It was truly unlike anything I've seen on stage before. I forgot at times that I was at a show vs. watching a movie. As you can see from the photo above, Sam truly had a ghost look to him. One thing that was really neat was how they were able to graphically make Sam walk through solid doors.
Ghost will be at the Straz Center from April 22 - 27, 2014 at Carol Morsani Hall. Click here to purchase tickets. The show last 2:25 with an intermission and tickets range from $46.50 to $81.50.

Show Dates & Times 
Tues. 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 7:30 p.m.
Thurs. 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 8 p.m.
Sat. 2 and 8 p.m.
Sun. 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Ghost the Musical is recommended for ages 13+. Please be advised that there is mild violence, mature themes and dialogue.