Disclaimer: I received 2 tickets to this event, hosted by the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, in exchange for promotion and an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Two weeks ago The Dude and I attended our first Taste of South Tampa event. The weather was perfect and Hyde Park Village was festive, but not too crowded, on a relaxing Sunday. The streets of this outdoor boutique shopping area were closed. Instead of cars, 40 local food and beverage vendors were sharing their creations with the happy and hungry people milling about.
|Grimaldi's Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria|
Knowing there was a lot to take in, we paced ourselves. All sizes of snacks were available, from small plates & shot-glass-sized samples to giant sandwiches and full bottles of beer/soda . By tasting a nibble here and there, we enjoyed trying new items and old favorites. This probably sounds frivolous, but by the looks of some overstuffed folks at the end, we were glad we did.
|Fruitwood Standup Market / Timpano Chophouse|
The vendors were super friendly. We had as much fun watching them prepare the dishes as we did eating them. Fruitwood Market was showing off their salad skills with their signature 68$ Chopped Salad. (Have to admit I broke my "just nibble" rule here and ate the whole serving; it was simply too tasty to stop.) Meanwhile the guys at Timpano Chophouse were flashing their mussels (sorry, couldn't resist).
Our top favorites of the day were Anaar Bar & Grill's kabuli palow (braised lamb with basmati rice, carrots and raisins, top left cup with fork in it), Inside The Box's chicken & waffle sandwich (too rich and fried for me but very popular with my son) and Rollin' Oats Quinoa Falafel with Tzatziki .
The best part of this foodie fest was that it was family friendly. It seems like too many food/drink events have a minimum age of 21. Not only were kids welcome here, they had their own Kids Zone to burn off some energy. It included a Tampa Bay Buccaneers obstacle course and Tampa Bay Rays pitching area. Nearby booths had mini-golf, as well as ball & beanbag toss games. They were giving away lots of promotional goodies too (footballs, frisbees, sunglasses, etc.) These were a big hit with the The Dude! We also had fun spinning the prize wheel at the Post Apartment's booth where I won a Starbucks gift card.
It was a hot day, perfect for the dozen or so flavors of iced teas from China Mist. We were glad they had full-sized self serve cups too, no tiny sample glasses there! My favorite was their unsweetened peach tea. I also enjoyed Two Henry's and Brown's beer samples as well as a sip of Marion Mule from DrinkLocalBooze.com. I had been looking forward to trying Florida Cane Vodka. Unfortunately, it was added to a lemonade & had a slight artificial taste that didn't work for me. I'm going to guess it was the mixer that added the odd flavor.
|The dude received some playing cards from the nice folks at Yelp|
A grand day really was had by all! Before arriving we had wondered if the party would be too crowded or the food and drink only meh. We were both pleasantly surprised and are already looking forward to the 10th annual Taste of South Tampa next spring!
|Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza|
Our day ended with stop at the toy store for some LEGO. Then there was time (and apparently just enough room) to try "one more bite". I love the way these Minecraft guys are eyeing this oversized meatball from Anthony's. What do you think: Do they look hungry or are they thinking "OOF. I can't believe I ate the whole thing"?
For a list of all participating vendors, as well as other info on the next Taste of South Tampa visit: