Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fodder & Shine and Hidden Springs Ale Works – Seminole Heights

It’s been a busy couple of weeks!  I went to Boston to celebrate my friend Padma’s bachelorette weekend (more on Boston food coming up soon…) Then the following weekend we had two weddings and a Halloween party.  Now I’ve finally got some down time to catch up on all the October foods.

Lance and I took part in the Heights Vibes Bicycle Ride a few weeks back.  A group met at Fodder & Shine, then biked around Seminole and Tampa Heights visiting different murals and art installations.   At the start was a big mural on the side of Fodder & Shine depicting a quilt-like collage of some of the local Seminole Heights businesses.  They were in the process of finalizing the mural for a launch party the very next day.  Many of the logos looked familiar – including Ella’s, Rooster & the Till, Angry Chair Brewing, and The Independent Bar.     

The bike ride was sponsored by Velo Champ bike shop – and apparently they take similar rides about once a month (check out the calendar here).  We really enjoyed ourselves – I’d definitely recommend taking part in one of these rides!  The next one is November 29th in Bradenton starting at Motorworks Brewing. 

We took a pit stop at Hidden Springs Ale Works – a new craft brewery that just opened about a month ago.  They let us all bring our bikes in and store them in the back while we cooled down with some beers.  Our bartender was really friendly and I enjoyed everything in my flight.  The décor was a little sparse, but they had literally just opened. 

The bike ride ended back at Fodder & Shine, and since we hadn’t dined there before, we decided to grab a bite before heading home.  It was opened about a year ago by Greg & Michelle Baker, who also run The Refinery.  The food is inspired by early cracker cuisine from early Florida natives. 

We enjoyed a wedge of the bacon-fat cornbread along with cornmeal fried chicken, collard greens, and PBR Mac & Cheese.  I cornbread was topped with butter and local honey – it was tasty, but a little drier than I prefer.  But the fried chicken was really fantastic.  Very crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. 

It’s also a great spot to just grab a local beer and enjoy it on the patio with your 4-legged friend  – they have “Yappy Hour” every Sunday 1 – 5pm.  Tonight they actually hosted a pet costume party!

Fodder & Shine is located at 5910 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604 and is open 5pm – 12am Monday – Thursday, 3pm – 2am on Friday, 1pm – 2am Saturday, and 1pm – 12am on Sunday.     

Hidden Springs Ale Works is located at 1631 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602 and is open 5pm – 10pm Thursdays, 3pm – 12am on Fridays, 12pm – 12am on Saturdays, and 12pm – 9pm on Sundays (they are closed Monday – Wednesdays).  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bizou Brasserie at Le Méridien Hotel – Tampa, FL

This past Sunday, we enjoyed brunch at Bizou Brasserie, a ritzy hotel restaurant at the Le Méridien downtown.  It opened about a year ago at the site of an old courthouse.  The design merges the original historic architectural features with mid-century modern furnishings.   It’s like someone filled The Oxford Exchange with West Elm’s current catalog.

We had a CL Deal so we got $30 for only $15, which was the perfect amount for our brunch check (it’s still posted on the Creative Loafing website, so if you want one, you can purchase one here while they last…)

They have a pretty concise menu, but everything on it sounded fantastic.  I ordered the crab cake benedict (buttermilk biscuit topped with lump crab cakes, sweet chili jam, poached eggs, and spicy hollandaise sauce).  Lance ordered their Bizou burger – it was a too early in the morning for burgers in my opinion, but he was excited about the caramelized onions at goat cheese atop the chuck and short rib half pound burger. 

I was thrilled with my benedict and the breakfast potatoes it was served with were wonderful.  Lance’s burger came with some of the best fries I’ve had in a long time.  The burger itself was a bit too messy for such a classy restaurant – the cheese and onions oozed everywhere.  The waitress did warn us that the burger came with a lot of cheese, but even Lance thought it was a bit much. 

They do also have a case full of exciting pastries that you can order right there at the counter – we saw a banana bread pudding that I may need to try next time.  Overall a great breakfast – especially for only $15!

Bizou Brasserie is located at 601 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33602 and is open 6am – 10pm Sunday – Thursday and 6am – 11pm Friday – Saturday.   

Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Pot Chicken & Sausage Cajun Pasta

I recently started following Buzzfeed’s Tasty page on Facebook.  They post tutorial videos every day of simple recipes summarized in about a minute or less.

I tried out my first one of their recipes and it was a huge success!  And it was incredibly simple – you just throw a bunch of ingredients in one big pot until it all cooks down into creamy delicious Cajun goodness.

This would be a great recipe when having guests over for dinner since it’s hassle free and makes enough to feed a crowd.  Next time I might do a bit less pasta & add more veggies, but we were very impressed with how this turned out.

One Pot Chicken & Sausage Cajun Pasta (adapted from Tasty)

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 diced chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 16 oz pasta
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 T Cajun seasoning (or equal parts cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper)

1. Pour olive oil into the pot. Add diced chicken breast to the pot, cover with Cajun seasoning, and stir until the chicken is evenly seasoned. Then, add sliced sausage and stir. Cook the meat on medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

2. Once the meat is cooked, add in the garlic, onion, peppers, and mushrooms, and stir. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes as the veggies cook down.

3. Add the dry pasta to the pot (if using long, thin noodles, break in half), then pour in the chicken broth. Stir until everything is well-mixed. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, keep covered bring the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes (stirring every two minutes). If there still extra chicken broth, you can discard it, cook longer until the liquid evaporates, or add a little cornstarch to thicken the liquid.
4. Lastly, add heavy cream and parmesan and stir until your pasta is well blended. Garnish with green onions, more parmesan, a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning (if you want some extra spice), and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!