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Cigar City Brewpub

23 Mar

I forgot to blog about my trip to the Cigar City Brewpub in Tampa before I went on vacation last week. I’m getting pretty bad at this. I’ve had a few of Cigar City’s beers before and had even visited the taproom a few years back, but it had been awhile so I went with a flight to try more than one.  I went IMG_0941with the hard cider, Maduro Brown Ale, Space Race and Barley Berry Jam. The only reason I know this, by the way, is not from superior memory, but from this awesome app on my phone called Untappd. It’s how I “check-in” or log my new beers. It’s like Facebook, but for you and your beer drinking friends. But that’s another post.

Anyways, I remember liking them all, the Space Race the most, which I think was a stout. But again not the biggest fan of the cider. Just too sweet for my taste. They had a ton of beers on tap so there is definitely something for everyone. No, I don’t remember how much the flight cost.

The dinner menu had a good variety and I went with the empanada of the day, which happened to be something with buffalo chicken when I went. It was pretty good; i’d eat it again. Nicole was a total copycat and got the same thing, but our other two friends went with the flank steak, which looked delicious, and the mac n cheese with ropa vieja, which I can attest was delicious. We had an appetizer of caprese salad, which was fresh and filling. Overall for the price it was a good deal. The decorations inside were cute too with use of beer barrels, bottles, cans, etc in all the furniture and walls. I don’t think i’d drive that far again just for the beer, but if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping by.

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

13 Sep

11039287_10153639623562650_6035191452863452582_nI finally made it to Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Tampa and it was everything I hoped and dreamed of, and more. A few friends and I had a ladies night out and the wine alone was worth the trip. You walk into a cute shop where you can buy or taste wine, then there is a separate bar area, and the dining area is also separate in the back with it’s own fancy ambiance. It was very modern and cute, but not very private. That was my only complaint; all the tables were very close together and I could just about see everyone in the whole dining room area. And no, it wasn’t because i’m as ta as a giraffe.

We started out with wine flights and at first I was confused why it cost $14 for four wines, but when I realized they were full pours I was happily surprised. Two of us went with the sparkling flight (including myself) and one of the girls ordered the desert wine flight. The sparkling flight included the Blanc de Blanc, Raspberry, Almond, and Peach wines. They were all extremely good, but we were all super 12026520_847738711978925_64502214_nimpressed with the almond. If you’ve never had almond champagne or sparkling wine before, it’s something you should try to find immediately. You will not be disappointed. I took home a bottle for $14.99. Worth every penny. The desert flight included Rhubarb, Peach, Sweet Red and Raspberry. Their wine list was them most extensive I’ve seen in awhile including just about every style of wine you could think of, including ice wine, plus some interesting flavors like rhubarb and passion fruit.

We were also blown away by the food. We were not expecting such good quality. I went with Dana’s Parmesan-Crusted Chicken that came with a side 11999024_1181703215189668_3953828204313261282_nof Betty’s Potatoes and garlic green beans for $17.99. I don’t usually eat a lot of meat and will eat half of a chicken breast and bring the rest home, but this was so flavorful I cleaned my entire plate. Even the shredded potatoes were so cheesy and delicious, I wished there was more of them.

But honestly, it’s a good thing I don’t live closer to this place or I would be broke. If you have a Cooper’s Hawk near you and you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it.

Cooper’s Hawk Raspberry Sparkling Wine

12 May

IMG_4192Even though i’m not a mother I had the most relaxing Mother’s Day yesterday. Nothing beats laying by the pool with a book and a glass of champagne, especially if it’s raspberry flavored. My mom wanted to crack open the bottle of sparkling wine her and my dad bought from Cooper’s Hawk at their anniversary dinner a few months ago. I’ve heard great things about this winery/restaurant and have been itching to go, but this wine was the clincher. It was the best sparkling wine I have yet to taste. Not too sweet,IMG_4191 not too dry with just the right amount of tart from the raspberry flavoring. From their website it looks like a bottle is $14.99 and I would definitely pay that, if it wasn’t so far away. Once I get around to visiting this place myself I will be sure to report back on the rest of their wines.

TAPS Restaurant Bar & Lounge

1 Apr

IMG_20140323_134714Last weekend I went on to see the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie playing at the Tampa Theatre with my best friend and we arrived downtown a little early so we stopped at this neat restaurant/bar about two blocks away called TAPS. It has a very laid back, upper class feel that fits in well with that part of Tampa offering a large selection of craft beers on draught and bottled as well as tapas style food. It was a nice day so the small lounge had the doors open, but it was a little warm inside, and this is coming from the girl who is usually cold everywhere.

We shared the roast beef sliders au jus, which was about a nine inch sandwich cut into three,  that was delicious for $10. We also got a flight of four I think it was 6 oz. pours my choice from the draught menu for $11. I didn’t try anything new except for Lindeman’s Framboise, which I believe is a different brand of framboise than i’ve had previously. I think it’s the infusion with raspberries making it a tart drink that I love most. Even my handsome companion, who is not a big beer drinker, thoroughly enjoyed it.

The menu is a little pricey but if you’re looking for a specific brew the selection is awesome; they literary give you a book to look through. If you’re ever in the area, it’s right across the street from the Tampa Museum of Art and definitely worth a try.

New Year’s Eve at The Wine Studio

3 Jan

IMG_20131231_195652After much searching for something relatively cheap and grown up to do for New Year’s Eve this year I found the perfect place off Henderson in Tampa called The Wine Studio (which was voted Best of the Bay in 2013 by Creative Loafing for Best Wine Bar). They had a $75 special for a prix fixe menu including three courses for couples that night with a delicious menu. $75 for two people is a great price. It came with a complimentary appetizer that we could choose between something with shrimp or a cheese and strawberry preserves spread with crackers. We went with the cheese spread and it was actually quite tasty to mix the cheese with the preserves on top of crispy, sesame seed covered crackers.

The next course was an apple walnut salad with a zesty house-made vinaigrette dressing that was mouth watering. The main course was the best part. It was a steak bourgeoisie fondue. They set up the fondue pot with some flavored broth and give us each a cutting board with chopped steak tips, broccoli, mushrooms, bread and three dipping sauces (A1 steak sauce, bourgeoisie with capers and some type of horseradish sauce).  It was so much fun to cook our own food and perfectly time consuming as our reservation was at 8 p.m. and we planned on staying until midnight to see the ball drop on their projector T.V. The classic movie lover in me appreciated their choice of playing the Turner Classic Movie channel until closer to midnight.20131231_202308

I forgot what the desert was called but it tasted like a mix between chocolate pudding and frosting served with a fresh strawberry on top. It goes without saying but it was amazing. The smallness of the restaurant made for an intimate experience that was amplified by the classy decor of string lights, candles and paintings from local artists. They even gave us glow sticks and party horns to celebrate with. All of that paired with a bottle of champagne was the best way I could imagine to ring in the new year. This place is definitely worth the drive.

 

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Southern Teir Pumpking

12 Nov
Southern Tier Pumpking courtesy of Google.

Southern Tier Pumpking courtesy of Google.

I went to Square 1 Burger this weekend and besides it being absolutely delicious, I had the best beer that the whole world should know about. If you like beer, and you like pumpkin pie then you will fall in love with Southern Teir’s Pumpking. It’s a seasonal brew that comes out in August and is 8.6% ABV. It has hints of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and tastes exactly like a pumpkin pie. It is by far my favorite pumpkin beer that I have ever tried.

Carmel Cafe Update

10 Sep

The affordable $5 deals after 5 p.m. Carmel Cafe has on Wednesdays is now available every day of the week. They also have an expanded menu for the $5 food deals that include Calamari Fries and a Mini Mezze Platter. Now they have a full bar and offer 5 martinis as part of the $5 deals. The catch is the deal only lasts from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. I can’t wait to go check out their new location in South Tampa off Swann Ave. I will be sure to update you soon.