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The Rez Grill Hard Rock Tampa happy hour impresses

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Full disclosure: I was invited to The Rez Grill for a tasting of their happy hour menu. Any opinions displayed are my own and do not represent Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.

Last week I went out to The Rez Grill for a happy hour tasting (called “Social Hour) at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. Guests can enjoy food and cocktails for just $ 7 from 3PM-6PM from Wednesday-Saturday.

During my visit I tried to stick to things I didn’t try during my last tasting. I do recommend the Benton’s Ham based on my last visit.

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My favorite thing I tried was the banh mi! It was incredibly delicious and totally a great deal. We liked it so much that we ordered it twice. This banh mi is gourmet, the bread perfection, and the chef makes the Pâté from scratch and it shows. Also the pork…so good!

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The second thing I would recommend is the Smoked Fish Dip. The fish itself depends on the day you visit, but I had Rainbow Trout in my dip and it was truly delectable down to every last taste.

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The chopped salad is what you would expect from at traditional restaurant, it had some remnants of a 1905 salad to it. Not a bad option when you’re sipping on some of their sangria.

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Note: The sangria at The Rez Grill comes in a caprisun pouch and is called When We Were Young. It’s a novelty that is really catching on. The sangria was excellent and was clearly soaked in plenty of fruit. They thankfully put the straw in before I had the pouch, saving me the trouble of trying to put the straw into the pouch.

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For cocktails I only tried the 1944 Mai Tai which packed a punch and was more than enough for me during the visit. I’d really like to try more of the drinks in the future and I’m actually going to return this week for happy hour again.

Free parking at Hard Rock Tampa and this menu certainly makes The Rez Grill and attractive happy hour spot that I highly recommend that you check out soon.

Join the Tampa Bay Foodies Club for a Meetup on Wednesday, 6/13: http://www.meetup.com/Tampa-Bay-Foodies-Club/events/251532483/

Carlos Eats

June 16, 2018 |

Ichicoro ANE in Downtown St. Pete impresses

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I crossed the bridge last weekend for the Distant World’s Final Fantasy concert at The Mahaffey Theater and needed a bite to eat after. Geniabeme raved about Ichicoro ANE when I last saw her at Keel & Curley for U-Pick Strawberries the day before so I had to check it out for myself.

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Ichicoro ANE is located downstairs from Station House in Downtown St. Petersburg. The inside is beautifully done and has plenty of seating both in the bar and in the restaurant which is a huge difference between this location and the original in Seminole Heights.

I can best describe it as an Izakaya or Japanese pub. The best way to think of most of the menu items is similar to the concept of Spanish tapas. Ramen is also on the menu but there are a number of Japanese appetizers and dishes that we decided to try during our visit.

The dim lighting and ambiance is masterful and takes the best parts of the original location’s foundation.

You’ll find wooden decor throughout and an open kitchen that is unlike most restaurants in Tampa Bay. The music sets the mood for a perfect and intimate night out with friends or for a chill date. I was in love with the atmosphere.

The food was also a winner. The meal began with a gyu bao bun. Spicy and flavorful with a gochujang mustard inside. The price was the standard for Japanese and Asian bistros in Tampa Bay these days ($ 7). I appreciated the complexity of this dish compared to average pork belly bao.

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After that I decided I needed something a little filling since I skipped lunch and went for the Tonkatsu ($ 10). This dish was cooked practically to perfect. There was a slight chew in the middle, but it was minor enough that is didn’t cause the dish to falter. The ends were perfectly crispy. They used bulldog sauce which I also use at home (the only proper way to serve this dish as approved by Japanese cooking tv shows and documentaries). It was beautifully presented and the cabbage underneath was a nice bit of greens.

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The Smokey Yucca Korroke was also enjoyable a nice starch to be enjoyed during the visit. Many of the dishes on the menu are traditional Japanese pub food and there are also some hard to find items such as Okonomiyaki which I certainly want to try in the future.

Our waitress was chill and friendly and I am happy with all the seating choices at Ichicoro ANE. She didn’t rush us to make decisions and also was quick to put in orders. It’s completely different from the rushed environment at the Seminole Heights location and I like it much more for that. I dine more for experience than because of necessity or because I’m in a rush. I like to savor every moment.

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For drinks it was hard to make a decision and I finally went with The Chocobo Lure (in honor of Final Fantasy). Imagine my surprise when the drink was inside a ramune glass which shook me with excitement. The drink features umeshu, yuzu cordial, Cappelletti, Aperol, Velvet Falernum, Agnostura and plum bitters. I normally don’t like plum wine but this one was enjoyable.

In the future I would like to certainly try more of the Japanese whiskey selections. The matrix charts for spirts seem to be the rage lately in restaurants.

I didn’t even dent the fish or meat menu and I hear the wagyu is delicious, but I’ll have to do that another day. Ichicoro ANE leaves plenty of things to try and an incredible environment to enjoy it in.

I’m impressed and I’ll be back soon and I recommend you also make a trip if you find yourself in St. Petersburg.

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P.S. Make sure to check the photobooth in the entrance. It’s pretty neat!

Restaurant Name: Ichicoro ANE

Cuisine: Japanese, Asian

Neighborhood: Downtown St. Petersburg

Address: 260 1st Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Phone Number: (727) 300-0281

Website: http://www.ichicoroane.com/

Menu: http://www.ichicoroane.com/menu/

Carlos Eats

January 31, 2018 |
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