7 Places In The Tampa Bay Area To Expand Your Foodie Experience

7 Places In The Tampa Bay Area To Expand Your Foodie Experience

Need help picking out where to go for dinner?
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Picking out a cool spot to dine out is always tricky, especially when there are hundreds of places to dine out in the Tampa Bay Area. In the past year I have been on the hunt to find unique and local restaurants that serve delicious food and provide a great atmosphere to get together with friends, family or your significant other. Here’s a list of some great food places in the Tampa Bay area.

1. Datz- Tampa, Florida

Datz is probably one of my favorite finds in Tampa. With an eccentric menu with things like burgers with mac 'n' cheese buns, or a doughnut burger. The atmosphere is unique and gives off an urban and hip feeling.

2. Dough- Tampa, Florida

After an amazing meal at Datz you can stroll on over next door to Dough and end the night with a delicious treat. Dough is owned by Datz. Dough has a bright and colorful interior. You can make a choice of a variety of unique and delicious treats such as Lucky Charms Cheesecake, S’more’s Doughnuts and Fruity Pebble ice cream. If you do stop by what all the hype is about on the ice cream doughnut cones. If you really want to expand your taste buds, Dough is the perfect place to go with friends, family or your significant other.


3. Chocolate Pi- Tampa, Florida

If you are a chocolate aficionado like me, then Chocolate Pi is the place for you. This small and dainty restaurant located in South Tampa. Here they make homemade sodas on the spot, and with a menu that changes constantly you have to opportunity to try something new each visit- or stick with your favorite treat. Here I highly suggest trying one of their Mason Jar desserts where they layer different ingredients like brownie, salted caramel, vanilla bean custard or toasted meringue.

4. Ciccio Cali- Brandon, Florida

If you are looking for a lighter, healthier meal Ciccio’s is known for their variety of different bowls that are bursting with flavor from the "Gigante" with avocado-glazed buffalo chicken, to the Vegan bowl containing a medley of fresh veggies topped with a lemon agave vinaigrette. In addition to their bowl culture they offer other options like stir-fry, wraps, salads and pizza. On the weekends they offer a brunch menu with options like an amazing French toast waffle pretzel or their new gluten free pancakes.

5. Ichicoro- Seminole Heights, Florida

Instead of your ordinary ramen packets from the grocery store head on over to Ichicoro where you can try a big and flavorful bowl of freshly made ramen. The ambiance is very urban and upbeat, however they have a six person per party limit, making it a good date spot or place to catch up with a close friend.

6. Eddie & Sam's NY Pizza- Tampa, Florida

Now if you are a New Yorker like me, you would truly appreciate Eddie & Sam’s. They are located a block from the Riverwalk and Curtis Hixon waterfront park in downtown Tampa. What makes Eddie & Sam’s one of the most authentic and unique place in Tampa is the fact that they have water shipped from New York City to make their pizza dough — if that isn’t authentic then what is?


7. Oxford Exchange- Tampa, Florida

Oxford Exchange, or OE, is located across the street from the University of Tampa. Oxford Exchange is popular for their wide variety of coffee and tea. The atmosphere of Oxford Exchange is very light and modern, with a conservatory with live plants and natural sunlight. Oxford Exchange is a great spot to have brunch with the girls or celebrate a birthday.

If you are not in the mood for eating you can study in their lounge or browse their store located in the front of the building.

Cover Image Credit: Don Sullivan

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Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip

No haters are going to bring me down.
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This piece is intended to be a satire of an experience at Coachella.

With Coachella officially over, lives can go back to normal and we can all relive Beyonce’s performance online for years to come. Or, if you were like me and actually there, you can replay the experience in your mind for the rest of your life, holding dear to the memories of an epic weekend and a cultural experience like no other on the planet.

And I want to be clear about the Beyonce show: it really was that good.

But with any big event beloved by many, there will always be the haters on the other side. The #nochella’s, the haters of all things ‘Chella fashion. And let me just say this, the flower headbands aren’t cultural appropriation, they’re simply items of clothing used to express the stylistic tendency of a fashion-forward event.

Because yes, the music, and sure, the art, but so much of what Coachella is, really, is about the fashion and what you and your friends are wearing. It's supposed to be fun, not political! Anyway, back to the main point of this.

One of the biggest things people love to hate on about Coachella is the fact that many of the attendees have their tickets bought for them by their parents.

Sorry? It’s not my fault that my parents have enough money to buy their daughter and her friends the gift of going to one of the most amazing melting pots of all things weird and beautiful. It’s not my fault about your life, and it’s none of your business about mine.

All my life, I’ve dealt with people commenting on me, mostly liking, but there are always a few that seem upset about the way I live my life.

One time, I was riding my dolphin out in Turks and Cacaos, (“riding” is the act of holding onto their fin as they swim and you sort of glide next to them. It’s a beautiful, transformative experience between human and animal and I really think, when I looked in my dolphin’s eye, that we made a connection that will last forever) and someone I knew threw shade my way for getting to do it.

Don’t make me be the bad guy.

I felt shame for years after my 16th birthday, where my parents got me an Escalade. People at school made fun of me (especially after I drove into a ditch...oops!) and said I didn’t deserve the things I got in life.

I can think of a lot of people who probably don't deserve the things in life that they get, but you don't hear me hating on them (that's why we vote, people). Well, I’m sick of being made to feel guilty about the luxuries I’m given, because they’ve made me who I am, and I love me.

I’m a good person.

I’m not going to let the Coachella haters bring me down anymore. Did my parents buy my ticket and VIP housing? Yes. Am I sorry about that? Absolutely not.

Sorry, not sorry!

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Harasta

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Burger King Surpasses Other Fast Food Establishments In Quality, But Not In Style

If Burger King tried just a little bit harder, they would crush the fast food game.
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I have many fond memories of Burger King from growing up. The paper crowns were adorable, the atmosphere was fun, and I did feel like a king surveying my fast food kingdom. Now, as a nutritionally deficient adult, I’d like to feel that way again. Alas, Burger King grew up along with me and it did not age well.

Before we begin, I should clarify that this is not a paid advertisement for Burger King, because I am willing to offer my services pro bono until the beloved restaurant chain gets back on its feet. While it may be bold of me to assume that the company is struggling financially, I don’t think it’s out of line considering the likelihood of witnessing a drug deal in any BK parking lot. That’s not a good look.

Speaking of which, maybe it’s time for Burger King to work on their presentation. The King himself is a horrendous mascot, but so is Ronald McDonald. Yet McDonald’s has no trouble maintaining a fresh and sexy image. How can this be? I believe that McDonald’s is very aware that their food is garbage and they know that we know that, so they can no longer market it that way. Instead, their commercials feature hip, young people breakdancing fueled by chicken McNuggets. Though it is but an elaborate ruse, it must be working. Burger King, on the other hand, has had the same platform since its inception in 1953. It’s essentially nothing more than “we have burgers; please eat them.” That might as well be the slogan. It’s not bad, but it must at least be said with conviction.

Here’s the thing: Burger King really does have fantastic burgers. Frame-grilling is truly the way to go. Sure, certain burgers on the menu are a little bit more expensive than at Mickey D’s or Wendy’s, but it’s worth it to get food that actually tastes like something. Plus, they have a veggie burger for those vegetarians who don’t mind being seen at Burger King. Their chicken nuggets are clear winners as well. They are far crispier and more flavorful than McNuggets, though it is disappointing they are no longer shaped like crowns. And if you want onion rings, Burger King is really your only option.

There is one department in which Burger King loses spectacularly: fries. McDonald’s fries may only be edible for about fifteen minutes, but they are a delicious fifteen minutes. Arby’s curly fries are on a whole other level that neither restaurant can ever hope to reach. But even Taco Bell’s limited edition nacho fries were better than BK’s soggy, sad potato sticks. They taste vaguely fishy and I don’t know if they’ve ever formally met America’s best friend, salt. If I want a full meal, I don’t want to go to Burger King for the entree and drive down the street for the side.

Listen, Burger King, you have a lot of wonderful qualities. You have a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine! If I need a raspberry ginger ale for whatever reason, I know I can count on you. Please hear me when I say that you have limitless potential and I believe in you. But you need to believe in yourself.

Cover Image Credit: James Sutton on Unsplash

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