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Pollo Tropical Launches Cuban Hot Dog For 4th of July Weekend

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Pollo Tropical is launching a new dish to their menu just in time for 4th of July weekend.

The Cuban Hot Dog at Pollo Tropical “starts with an all-beef frank on a soft hot dog bun and is then topped with ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, papitas and finished off with a drizzle of mayo-mustard.”

Now that sounds delicious and the only thing it’s needing is some salami to pay homage to Tampa. As a long-time Cuban Sandwich aficionado and judge, I want to try this dog.

The Cuban Hot Dog will be sold Friday, July 2nd through Monday, July 5th at Pollo Tropical restaurant locations throughout Florida or via the brand’s MyPollo app.

They’re suggesting a pairing with Pollo’s recently-launched Rum Mojito. The “new Rum Mojito is made with real White Rum, sparkling water, natural lime, mint flavors and has 5.8% alcohol by volume. At just $ 2 each, it’s the perfect way to celebrate this weekend. The ready-to-drink cocktail can be found exclusively at most Pollo Tropical locations throughout Florida – for dine-in, drive-thru and carry out. “

Pollo Tropical is a subsidiary of Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. and is a quick-service restaurant concept known for its fresh chicken, marinated for 24 hours in a proprietary blend of citrus juices and spices.

Other favorites include Mojo Roast Pork and freshly made sides including rice, beans, sweet plantains and more. The menu’s emphasis is on freshness and quality at a great value, with an added focus on unique catering packages.

Founded in 1988, the Miami-based company currently owns and operates 140 locations throughout Florida, plus five licensed restaurants on college campuses and one licensed location in a hospital, and franchised locations throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Puerto Rico.

Follow Carlos Hernandez on Twitter @CarlosEats or visit him at CarlosEats.com

Carlos Eats

September 9, 2021 |

NEWS: Armature Works launches Hurricane Dorian Relief Drive

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Are you looking to help the survivors of Hurricane Dorian? Armature Works located at 1910 North Ola Avenue in Tampa is working to help the victims of the storm.

AW Mercantile, located inside of Armature Works, will act as a collection center for baby supply items daily through next Monday, September 10th from 9AM to 7PM. You can also bring hurricane relief supplies over to Boca Kitchen Bar and Market at either the SoHo Tampa or Brandon location, Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club, or Sea Critters Café in Pass-a-Grille.

Hurricane Relief Drive

All donors will receive a voucher good for 10% off at all Armature Works concepts and any of the aforementioned Armature Works affiliate family of restaurants. All donations will be delivered to SOL Relief, which focuses on “providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief with the use of aviation”. For more information about SOL Relief, visit solrelief.org.

Armature Works proprietors, Chas and Taryn Bruck, through The Bruck Family Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, will match any donated items received during this drive.

At least 60% of homes in the Bahamas were destroyed when Hurricane Dorian passed through and at least 7 people were killed.

Carlos Eats

September 4, 2019 |

WTR Pool & Grill launches new Florida-inspired menu for 2019

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WTR Pool & Grill located at 7700 West Courtney Campbell Causeway inside the Godfrey Hotel in Tampa has launched a new dining menu for 2019 that is now available to the public.

Menu prices start at $ 7.99 for starters and move up to $ 36 for a special prix-fixe menu.

Matthew McCahill, Food & Beverage Director at Oxford Hotels and Resorts in Chicago, has worked with WTR Pool & Grill Executive Chef, Joe Garcia, to curate this menu that is inspired by Florida and meant to appeal to large audience throughout Tampa Bay.

Chef Joe Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the food industry and previously worked for Grille 116. He is originally from Dallas, Texas.

New menu items include a Maple Chicken and Waffle cone, Florida Bayou popcorn, Strawberry Shortcake French Toast, Beignet Donut Burger, and a Titan Power Bowl.

The Florida Bayou popcorn features buttermilk battered gator tail with creole remoulade. The dish mixes Chef Joe Garcia’s New Orleans background the popular Florida gator.

Some menu items I want to try in the future are the Walkerswood Shrimp & Grits and the Miso Glazed Scallops. Both look incredible and from the ingredient list seem like they would complement my taste buds.

The prix-fixe menu has several options including Apple Panzanella Salad, Pepper Crusted New York Steak Strip with truffle shallot demi, Seafood pasta made with fresh diver scallops, and more.

Carlos Eats

February 1, 2019 |

Indie Flea Market launches at Armature Works – 1/21

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The popular Indie Flea Market will expand to Armature Works on Sunday, January 21st, 2018 from 11AM-3PM.

The event will be recurring every 3rd Sunday of the month. Vendors will assemble at the upcoming food hall and event center to sell “handmade wares, upcycled home goods, vintage treasuries, artisanal foods, flowers and cacti…to name a few things”.

Hundreds of people regularly attend this event so it is great that they are expanding in size.

The event is a dream come true for Tampa’s growing hipster-scene that started in Ybor City and Seminole Heights, and has now shifted into Tampa Heights.

Still no concrete word on when Armature Works (originally slated for a September 2016 opening) will open fully to the public, but it has to be close if the posts online are any indication.

Address: 1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33602

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/176520142952144/

Follow Indie Flea on Instagram: @IndieFlea

Carlos Eats

January 16, 2018 |

Beef O’ Brady’s launches new menu items and deals

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Full disclosure: I was invited to Beef O’ Brady’s to taste their new menu and check out the new deals they have available in exchange for my opinion. Opinions are my own and do not represent Beef O’ Brady’s.

I recently visited the original Beef O’ Brady’s location (founded in 1985) in Brandon to check out their new menu and deals. I have lived in Brandon since 2005 and was not aware that the restaurant chain originated in my own backyard or of their location on Kings and Oakfield. The founder, Jim Mellody, who passed in 2002, continues to have this location run by family heirs.

The original location is exactly what you would expect from a classic sports bar and is a reminder of the dominance this concept carried in the late 90s and early 2000s era with wood decor and dim lighting. The entrance is reminiscent of a time long gone for Americans as fast-casual chains have taken a bite out of the restaurant industry and the 2008 Financial Crisis ate many of the prominent American chains.

This was especially true in Brandon which suffered greatly when the housing market collapsed as a suburban neighborhood. Times have changed though and Brandon is growing faster than ever with new apartment complexes and home communities appearing year-round.

Many of the additions to the menu at Beef O’ Brady’s are following current food trends such as healthier menu items at arguably affordable prices. The prices are much cheaper than similar American concepts such as Applebee’s, Chili’s, and the like.

Boom Boom Shrimp

I first tried their Boom Boom Shrimp which looks pretty much like Bang Bang Shrimp from Bonefish Grill. This appetizer has appeared on menus in numerous restaurants in the last few years as Bonefish has sought to push it into the limelight. The dish doesn’t match the flavor or taste of the obvious dish it resembles but isn’t half bad either.  I wouldn’t mind sharing this with a few people as an appetizer occasionally.

Chicken Fajitas

One of the better deals I saw that is new to the menu is Fajitas on Thursdays for $ 9.99. Some chains have driven the price of these menu items up to $ 15-$ 20 that historically was always a draw for more budget-conscious, middle-class families. Beef O’ Brady’s gives a nod back to that trend with this and the quality is arguably the same or better when compared to those other chains. The regular price of this dish is also great at around $ 12.

The wings on the menu have also managed to weather a hike in chicken wing prices that have hindered profits at other sports pubs such as Buffalo Wild Wings. Beef O’ Brady’s continues to offer specials for wings on Wednesday and the traditional wings are meaty. I tried the Nashville Hot Dry Rub flavor which is far superior to the spicier rubs at Buffalo Wild Wings that hardly stick to the meat.

Another dish I was tried was the Five Cheese Cheeseburger. It resembles a Frisco Melt and is quite filling.  The topping is a mozzarella stick. As a fan of burgers in general, I found the burger was good, but missing a sauce to help with all the meat and bread happening. During my days at USF I was frequently grabbing a burger from Beef O Brady’s in between classes and they have always been above-average for the price-point and concept. Curly fries are always great  as well, though this time I went traditional (still good).

From the healthy options or “lighter side”, I tried a chicken salad with quinoa. I was a little surprised to see this on the menu but see it as a nod to the changing habits of Americans and probably an attempt to lead to a compromise in couples and families trying to find a place that caters to different food habits and tastes. The grilled chicken tastes good and the prices are around $ 10 which again is not too bad for a healthier dish.

Overall, these new menu items suggest Beef O’ Brady’s is making a serious effort to diversify the menu and add more options than traditional pub fare and that makes sense considering the price of wings these days and the way the average diners tastes have diversified.

These options and prices could mostly stand up by themselves (especially the fajitas) for the restaurant sphere they are in. I recommend it to people wanting traditional American food on a budget.


Carlos Eats

January 12, 2018 |

Roux Tampa launches new lunch menu and it’s excellent

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Full disclosure: I was invited to Roux Tampa for a tasting of their new lunch menu in exchange for my opinion. Any opinions stated are my own and do not reflect Roux Tampa or any affiliates.

I visited Roux Tampa today for a tasting of their new lunch menu. The new menu has a variety of dishes added alongside items that were traditionally available. Most menu items are $ 12 or less, providing an affordable and quality experience.

Boudin Balls at Roux

We started with the Boudin Balls ($ 7): Two crispy boudin balls with rice, pork, onions, green peppers, seasonings, creamy pepperjack cheese, Zatarain’s Creole mustard crema. These were excellent and plenty to share. Every last bite was delectable and a waiter nearby was correct to mention that they went great with the in-house hot sauces at Roux.

Florida Gator Bites at Roux Tampa

The Florida Alligator Bites ($ 14) also did not disappoint. They were crispy in a way that might remind you of Bang Bang Shrimp though with a Cajun-twist. I also loved these – they were on the heavier side compared to the Boudin Balls, but went extremely well with the cocktails tried.

Cornbead Skillet at Roux Tampa

Another appetizer we indulged in was the Roux Iron Skillet Cornbread ($ 9) which features sweet corn, streusel topping, jalapenos, and Steen’s Cane Syrup butter. First of all, everyone who goes to Roux should have this on EVERY visit. It is phenomenal. It might not be new to the menu as I remember it being served in the past, but it is memorable and delicious down to every last bite.

All three appetizers stood up well and I would have been happy with any of them, but like I said you must order the cornbread if you visit Roux. If you love yourself that is.

Cucumber Fizz at Roux Tampa

Cajun Mule at Roux Tampa

Then there was the Cucumber Fizz Cocktail and Cajun Mule. The Cajun Mule features an exclusive Tidal Boar Cajun Ginger Beer that twists the expected flavor of a Moscow Mule, but in a good way. Both drinks were refreshing and exactly the kind of drinks you want to enjoy in Florida.

The ingredients balanced well and the booziness was just right, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the importance Datz Restaurant Group has placed on drinks at their establishments.

Moving on to the main courses…

Steakburger at Roux Tampa

Pork Belly Banh Mi Po' Boy at Roux Tampa

We enjoyed the Steakburger ($ 12) with fries which has a ribeye-filet patty that will most certainly satisfy a quick burger craving, but the Pork Belly Banh Mi Po’ Boy ($ 12) stole the show.

Each piece of pork belly hit your tongue with pleasurable fatty goodness. The composition of the sandwich fit the banh mi name well and the ingredients were all fresh. The French Bread in the sandwich had the crunch we all have come to expect from a delicious banh mi sub without hurting the jaw.

The Asian-Creole fusion works well and I’m quite curious to see how this could be utilized in other dishes considering the heavy influence the French have in Vietnamese cuisine.

It’s important to note that this isn’t your average banh mi and to examine that in the pricing as well since a banh mi sub will normally run you somewhere between $ 4 and $ 7 by itself.

Red Beans & Rice at Roux Tampa

We couldn’t leave without having some red beans & rice ($ 8) which is a staple of New Orleans cuisine. The dish normally adds meat on top for an additional charge, but we wanted it as a side dish. It’s a solid dish and a true homage to Louisiana Creole cuisine.

Summer of 75 at Roux Tampa

Finally, before leaving I had the Summer of 75 which is a gin cocktail (please keep reading!) that actually tastes more like a pineapple French 75 (hence the name I assume). This cocktail was excellent and continued the excellent mixology menu. Well-balanced and not too sweet, while having the right amount of booze. Roux could carry itself on its cocktail selection by itself, but of course the food is also great.

To conclude, what we have here is a great lunch menu and cocktail list that is well worth your time and fairly priced. Stop by Roux for lunch. I’d recommend it.

Roux Tampa. 4205 South MacDill Avenue Tampa, Florida 33611. (813) 443-5255. http://www.rouxtampa.com/


Carlos Eats

November 2, 2017 |

Oishi launches early bird sushi happy hour (Channelside)

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Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Oishi Sushi located in Channelside. I was invited to taste the sushi in exchange for writing up a post about their new sushi happy hour and for my opinion on their sushi. Any opinions written are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the sponsor.

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Oishi Ultimate Japanese Cuisine located in Channelside has launched an early bird sushi happy hour for hungry fans to enjoy sushi at more than reasonable pricing. The special is every day from 4PM-7PM except during special events.

Enjoy Gyoza, Shumai, and Karage (Japanese Fried Chicken) for just $ 4 during happy hour. Sushi rolls are $ 5 or $ 6 and include favorites such as the Rainbow Roll, Volcano Roll, Hi-5, Rock Lava, and more.

Hibachi is also discounted during the early bird special to $ 12-$ 14.

Instagram Photo

It had been some time since I visited Oishi (or Channelside) and was really impressed with how good everything tasted.

Oishi seems less busy now that the Tampa Riverwalk has taken much of the thunder of Channelside, but the product still tastes fresh and approachable.

I remember a similar thing happening in the past with Qachbal’s Chocolatier downstairs. The shut down of the movie theater in Channelside really hurt the local businesses there.

Love boat sushi from Oishi

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During my visit I tried the Double O Roll, Fire Fighter Roll, Hurricane Roll, and Sex on the Moon.

I normally wouldn’t order sauce on my sushi and keep my rolls fairly simple, but these rolls had balance and you could taste each part well. The caviar and roe on top of the rolls was a nice touch.

Instagram Photo

My favorite roll I tried was the Hurricane Roll ($ 11.50) which is spicy octopus, conch, avocado, and fish egg inside a roll topped with white and red tuna, onions with spicy mayo, and eel sauce on the side. I am not normally a fan of octopus – but I gobbled it up.

Another favorite was the Sex on the Moon ($ 12.95) which has cream cheese, asparagus, avocado, eel, shrimp tempura, smelt roe with tuna, tempura flakes, eel sauce, spicy mayo, caviar, scallion, and sesame. Cream cheese and asparagus in my sushi rolls are not my thing normally, but I was impressed at the flavor combination. I recommend it.

If it was up to me, I would have some live music and try to have more events and promotions to bring people back to Channelside – the plaza is still great for having events – it has to compete more now that the Riverwalk is busy with tourists and locals though.

I hope local businesses like Oishi pull through – if you haven’t been in awhile I recommend heading back for a taste – the happy hour is more than fair.

See full happy hour menu:

early-Bird-Menu

BONUS: Since Oishi is located next to Thai Thani – they also have delicious Thai Tea 🙂

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Restaurant Name: Oishi Ultimate Japanese Cuisine

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi

Neighborhood: Downtown Tampa, Channelside

Address: 615 Channelside Dr. Tampa, FL 33602

Phone: (813) 228-9202

Website: http://oishitampa.com

 

 


Carlos Eats

June 11, 2017 |

SpaceX successfully launches and lands rocket

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SpaceX successfully launched and landed a Falcon 9 rocket early Friday morning, another historic feat for the commercial company.

  • SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 early Friday
  • Rocket sent communications satellite into orbit for Japanese compay
  • SpaceX successfully landed 1st stage rocket booster for 2nd time

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:21 a.m.

Those who stayed up overnight said seeing the launch was worth staying up late for.

“You see it first, and then you can feel the vibrations, and then you hear the sound, and so it’s quite spectacular,” said Ed Tronolone, who was visiting from Jupiter.

The rocket delivered a satellite to orbit for a Japanese television and communications company called SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.

The JCSAT-14 satellite will hover more than 22,000 miles above Earth in geostationary orbit, delivering broadcast, data and internet service to Japan and beyond.

While the rocket was on its way to orbit, hundreds of miles off Florida’s east coast, the rocket’s first-stage booster successfully landed on a remote controlled barge.

This is the second successful landing at sea for SpaceX, following last month’s historic first landing on a ship.

That booster was brought back to Port Canaveral to undergo tests and will eventually be launched again.

“May need to increase size of rocket storage hangar,” SpaceX Founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted Friday morning.

Musk says the goal is to reuse rockets to drive down the cost of launches.

SpaceX is hoping to ramp up the number of launches. By the end of the year, they want to be able to launch every two to three weeks.

Another communications satellite, this time for Thailand, was just delivered to the Cape and is scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 at the end of the month.


SpaceX successfully launch a JCSAT-14 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (SpaceX)

Bay News 9 – local-news

May 6, 2016 |
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