One of the perks of living in Florida is the almost constant sunshine. Saturday is college football day but it’s often the day families get out and spend time together. I was extremely excited when I heard about the Tampa Bay Taste Fest. They were showing college games in two projectors on the lawn of Curtis Hixon Park. If you’ve never been to Curtis Hixon, it has a water splash pad for kids to play in and on the other side it backs up to the Hillsborough river with access to the riverwalk.
Towards the top of the lawn there were several corn hole games set up along with a football toss for the kids. There were 10 -12 food vendors lined up on the edges and two bars because what is football without beer. An array of bands took center stage throughout the day and covered various genres. This event was perfect for families and was even dog friendly.
Now on to why I’m really here… The food. Since it was a tailgate most of the food samples were tailored to game day food i.e. wings, nachos, ribs etc. You were required to purchase tickets to exchange for food samples. Since I’m a food blogger I went for the VIP ticket so I could have unlimited food and drinks instead of trying to choose from five vendors. You know expand my opinions and bring you guy’s more. Here’s a feature of each of the restaurants I had the pleasure of trying.
Roux which is known as the base for many creole/cajun dishes is a restaurant in south Tampa. I had the pleasure of dining there on my birthday one year so I was delighted to see them at the event. The food was great. They came to bring the flavor with their shrimp and grits. It was so good, I went back twice.
I’ll be honest, I’ve always driven by Sonny’s and never thought to give them any play. In Oklahoma we are big on our bbq – I love a good brisket. Since it was free and it was BBQ I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give them a try. I have to admit that I’ve been underestimating Sonny’s all this time. I tried the brisket and it was so tender and moist. Almost as good as my cousin Larry’s BBQ.
Anything with the words artichoke, Feta and lemon will pretty sell me. I tried the Lemon Feta Chicken which had chicken, artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, Feta cheese, basil and a lemon-butter white wine reduction. If you ever visit Grillsmith this is a great option for lunch or dinner.
Perhaps the real champions of the night were Champions Bar. They were serving up 5 Cheese Mac and Cheese with a burnt end in the bottom and topped with brisket and bacon jam. Lawd! It was so good I forgot to take a picture. I had to snag a second shot of my mother in laws.
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
It’s always nice to have a little something cold and sweet on a hot summer day. Jeremiah’s Italian Ice was scooping up some goodness. I had the cookies and cream and it was good but the best flavor in my opinion was the strawberry lemon.
American Social Bar and Kitchen
This restaurant is new to the Tampa bay area so I’m thrilled to visit and try out their menu. If the rest of their food is anything like their wings they’ve got it going on.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
You can always count on nachos to come through and save any tailgating party. Fuzzy’s chicken taco’s did just that. I only tried one nacho because these were for my daughter. However we have Fuzzy’s often and they have yet to disappoint.
My family and I enjoyed our time and we’ve been talking about the event all week. If you are in Tampa Bay next year around this time, look up the Tampa Bay Taste Fest and go or you’ll be sad you didn’t. Lastly, splurge I the VIP ticket, unlimited food and drinks and that includes beer and alcohol. Thank me later.