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

Carlos Eats

September 9, 2021 |

Willa’s Provisions hosts Miami’s Benh Mi for a pop-up this weekend in North Hyde Park

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Willa’s Provisions in North Hyde Park will host a pop-up on Saturday and Sunday this weekend with Miami’s Benh Mi from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Benh Mi is a Vietnamese-inspired eatery in Miami Beach founded by Executive Chef Benjamin Murray and Chef-restaurateur Michael Kaplan, featuring a menu of homemade Bánh Mi sandwiches, salads, snacks and pastries.

Murray and Kaplan make all items in-house, except for the bread, sourced from Bettant Bakery located just down the street from Benh Mi, named after the popular Vietnamese sandwich, the Bánh Mi. . They are dedicated to procuring ingredients from local and artisanal purveyors, farms, and businesses that ensure a high-quality touch.

“Michael has been a mentor and friend of mine for years, and we’re honored to welcome him and his creative team from Benh Mi to Tampa for the weekend,” said Willa’s Provisions Cofounder Merrin Jenkins.

“We’re looking forward to introducing the neighborhood to Benh Mi’s menu while pairing beloved items from our own cocktail and food program. This will be the first of many pop-up collaborations we plan to host in the future featuring talented chefs and restaurants we admire.”

“I always wanted Willa’s and Willa’s Provisions to be more like a lifestyle brand than just a restaurant and cafe. A place where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks in a casual and warm environment, but also a trusted source and curator, a place where you can discover new ideas, cuisines, or pantry goods.”

“A big part of Willa’s culture is to be a lifelong learners and this pop-up and collaboration is about introducing Tampa to Benh Mi. Not to mention one of the founders – Michael – is a dear friend and my favorite cooking partner. We’ve cooked everything together from homemade pastas and sauces to back yard bbqs for 20 people. He’s a professionally trained chef and I’m the amateur home cook learning from him – which is always a blast.”

Guests are invited to experience a taste of the eatery with a menu that will feature Char Siu Mushroom Bánh Mi Sandwich, Xtra Crunchy Chicken Tender Bucket, Green Papaya Salad, Iced Ube Latte and more, plus Willa’s favorites with a Benh Mi spin, including an exclusive Willa’s Provisions Roasted Chicken Bánh Mi sandwich. On the cocktail side, guests can enjoy beverages in pouches like the Saigon Sunrise, Willa’s Fix, and Willa’s Peach Tonic.

Veggie Spring Rolls
Char Siu Mushroom Bánh Mi Sandwich
Ube Latte

“We are so excited to collab with Willa’s to bring our Vietnamese inspired cuisine to Tampa. Willa’s and their owners/operators share so many of the same values as us, with regards to product sourcing, quality of food, innovation and team building. Working with people that are so aligned with us is always a special pleasure, we hope Tampa is as welcoming as Miami has been,” said Michael Kaplan, New Wave Hospitality Group Owner/Partner.

Originally started as a passion project of Murray’s during the height of the pandemic, Benh Mi has flourished into a successful brick and mortar location receiving praise from Forbes, Eater Miami, Time Out Miami, The Miami Herald, Indulge Magazine, and more. Chef de Cuisine of Pao by Paul Qui in Miami, FL.

Murray fuses his ingredients and techniques from his mother’s native Japan and his father’s traditional American cooking. He worked his way up through some of Miami’s most popular restaurants and became Chef de Cuisine of Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami.

Carlos Eats

August 26, 2021 |

NEWS: Whiskey Foxtrot this weekend at Epicurean Hotel Tampa – SOLD OUT!

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The third annual Whiskey Foxtrot Tasting is this weekend at the Epicurean Hotel in South Tampa. Events are running most of week starting on Wednesday, November 6th. This year’s event is a celebration of women in whiskey.

Featured women include:

  • Nicole Austin, George Dickel Master Distiller
  • Erin Yesser, Edrington Ambassador
  • Natalia Cardenas, Woodford Reserve Ambassador
  • Jill Boyd, Compass Box Whisky Maker
  • Ingrid Rodriguez, WhistlePig Regional Manager and Steward of the Brand
  • Andrea Wilson, Michter’s Master of Maturation
  • Shayna Kaufman, Brown-Forman Brand Ambassador

Guests will sample more than 200 whiskeys and bites presented by some of Tampa’s top restaurants including Bern’s Steak House, Elevage, Big Ray’s Fish Camp, Nebraska Mini-Mart, Forbici, and more.

If you love whiskey, this event is one of the best ones I have ever had the chance to attend and highly recommend fans to watch.

Tickets are SOLD OUT. General Admission tickets are $ 95 per person and VIP is $ 175 per person. VIP includes an hour of early access and access to exclusive bottles, as well as a VIP cocktail lounge located at the EDGE rooftop bar with music, a cigar rolling station, and new this year – a Whiskey & Chocolate Lounge in the Epicurean Theatre.

Themed dinners from whiskey partners are also sold out. If you missed your chance to get tickets this year, make sure you grab them next year.

Event proceeds and opportunities to win will benefit Operation First ResponseJackson In Action 83 Foundation, and Southeastern Guide Dogs through the Laxer Family Foundation.

More information is available at

Carlos Eats

November 6, 2019 |

What’s happening this weekend in Tampa Bay? 11/1-11/3

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Some cooler weather is finally upon us and festivals are everywhere. What’s happening this weekend in Tampa Bay?

  • Savor St. Pete: Clearwater Beach Uncorked has moved to Downtown St. Pete and is serving up food and drinks including wine, liquor, and beer on Saturday, November 2nd and Sunday, November 3rd. Tickets start at $ 75 for General Admission. 21+. 400 Bayshore Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
  • SouthShore Seafood & Arts Festival: Enjoy seafood, music, crafts, and more at a waterfront park in Ruskin this weekend. Over 15,000 people are expected to attend. Tickets start at $ 5. Family and pet-friendly. 2401 19th Ave NW, Ruskin, FL 33570.
  • Tampa Riverwalk Food + Art Festival: Downtown Tampa is having a food and art festival at Tampa Waterworks Park next to Ulele and Armature Works on Saturday, November 2nd from 10AM-7PM. 70+ vendors are expected to attend. Food trucks and live music will be present. 1710 N Highland Ave, Tampa, FL 33602.
  • Day of the Dead Block Party: The Dog Bar St. Pete is having a Día de los Muertos party on Saturday, November 2nd, from 11AM-6PM. The block party will have face painting by Nicole Desiree Hays of Body Wars, Nueva Cantina’s food truck, chihuahua races, DJ Shannon C, street vendors, a costume contest, raffle prizes, and more. 2300 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33712.

Did I miss something? Reach out.

Carlos Eats

October 30, 2019 |

NEWS: HART bus driver fatally stabbed this past weekend in Tampa

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HART bus driver, Thomas Dunn, was fatally stabbed by a passenger this past weekend in Tampa on Nebraska Avenue. The passenger involved in the incident has been charged with one count of murder.

According to Fox 13 News this incident “comes roughly 5 months after Dunn spoke at a December 3rd  meeting where he raised concern about the safety of bus drivers after he says a woman who was a passenger assaulted him by spitting in his face and trying to break his arm”.

The CEO of HART, Ben Limmer, released a statement:

“We are devastated by the tragic events that took place today involving our HART bus operator. We are working with the Tampa Police Department as they conduct their investigation into this horrific matter,”

“We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the bus operator, as well as to all of our HART colleagues.”

Local transit advocate and former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe responded as well to the incident:

Carlos Eats

May 25, 2019 |
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