Quick Bites: Be Authentic Apparel, Blossom & Shine Jewelry, Kairos Ceramics, Blueberries, Oggi's, and a Moveable Feast
Things We Love
Show off your eat-buy-support local pride with makers from right here in Tampa Bay. Two options:
JUST BE Authentic Apparel’s Jen Bravo and Whitney Bressler created their brand of clothing and accessories to share inspirational messages while also supporting organizations focused on empowering women. Order online at justbeauthenticapparel.com or find JUST BE at Simply Elegant Unique Boutique in Tampa and local events.
Rep your city – no matter which side of the bridge you’re on – with a handmade necklace from Blossom and Shine in either sterling silver or filled 14k gold on an adjustable 16” to 18” chain. Order online at blossomandshine.com or follow on Instagram or Facebook for upcoming market dates and locations.
In our visit to Tarpon Springs (page 22), the focus was obviously food, but the history of the area is all about natural sea sponges. “Basket” sponges are vase-like in shape, and make for a prime vessel to house fresh herbs in your kitchen or air plants in any room of your home. Get yours along the sidewalk on Dodecanese Boulevard, or through some of the same stores online at spongedocks.net.
EVERYDAY OBJECTS, REFINED
Crafted to bring handmade beauty into daily life, Kairos Ceramics reminds us that even everyday objects can help organize our environment in a way where being present comes first. From tumblers – try one out when you enjoy a cup at Bandit Coffee in St. Pete – to a coffee pour over brewer, beauty and utility combine. Order online at kairosceramics.com or follow on Instagram or Facebook for upcoming market dates and locations.
Whether you pick them up at a local market (see our Source Guide) or pick your own from area farms, Florida blueberries are in season. Perfect straight from the plant, we also like them frozen … alone, or in this simple recipe for a good-for-you treat.
FROZEN YOGURT BLUEBERRIES
6 oz. Blueberries
6 oz. Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla is our preference, but any flavor will do)
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using a toothpick, dip each berry in yogurt, swirling until well-coated. Place on the baking sheet, keeping berries well-spaced. Put the baking sheet flat in the freezer for about an hour to set. Once the yogurt is frozen, transfer yogurt-covered berries to small containers or baggies and store in freezer for a quick and easy treat.
NEW RESTAURANT MEETS OLD SICILIAN TRADITIONS
Oggi on Davis Islands in Tampa offers “Italian Street Food” and quirky ambiance
WORDS AND IMAGES BY LESLIE STAIR
Davis Islands in Tampa is teeming with history, culture and personality. The small, main drag in downtown is lined on either side with a handful of restaurants and bars. Meet the new kid on the block: Oggi Italian Street Food, which opened its doors earlier this year.
Through those doors, multi-colored distressed wood planks line the walls and the restaurant decor showcases colorful boxes and cans of European imports. Italian wine is served alongside locally brewed beers and a chalkboard advertises the mozzarella “barn” or “garden” wheel du jour (creations of house-made mozzarella and meat or vegetables rolled into a wheel). A romantic outdoor seating area – complete with lights threaded above outdoor tables, hanging planters and music playing to create a relaxing ambiance – is marked by an artistic, modern metal arch crafted by Tampa-based welding company Rustic Steel Creations.
Founder Joe Di Bartolo, whose family is originally from Sicily, says the inspiration behind Oggi (“today” in Italian) is using quality ingredients to prepare Italian food in traditional ways. In some cases that means ingredients imported from Italy – the pasta has a hint of nutmeg in it, which provides a distinct and flavorful taste – in others, locally sourced produce. Trisha Donze, the restaurant’s chef, works with vendors to identify local farmers who may not have the infrastructure to mass market their vegetables, so selections change weekly (during a recent visit, Florida-sourced eggplant, bell peppers arugula and cherry tomatoes were on the menu).
If you go, roasted chicken with lemons and pasta al forno are both signature dishes worth trying, and each meal starts with a complimentary antipasto plate – for example, a garbanzo bean medley, caponata and olives – perfect for sharing on a romantic date or with friends.
236 E. Davis Blvd., Tampa
A MOVEABLE FEAST
When we saw that one route of St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin’s Virtual Progressive Dinner included a stop at Red Mesa Cantina for a margarita, we were dubious about the “healthy” part of this Healthy St. Pete initiative. After all, the popular drink is typically made with syrup that sends the calorie count into the more-a-meal-than-a-drink zone.
So, we joined Dr. Tomalin for one route of the series of self-guided tours of St. Pete restaurants, styled on the old-fashioned neighborhood tradition of dinner parties where each course is served at a different home.
What we found was that not everything is the lightest item on the menu, but by choosing smaller bites and dishes and drinks made with just a few ingredients (such as a bramble cocktail at Station House that foregoes any premade syrups for only fresh blackberries, lemon juice and gin) you can keep your overall calorie count down while enjoying some of the best restaurants in the city. Add to that the benefit of walking between the locations, and you have a fun night out that is a little less likely to show up around your waistline.
Our progressive dinner sampled from each of the (not-so-creatively- named) official tours that are listed on the website, starting with that bramble cocktail (from Downtown #1), adding in seafood from The Lure and The Oyster Bar (Downtown #4 and #3, respectively), then dessert from Parkshore Grill (#3) and drinks rooftop at The Canopy at the Birchwood (#3).
In addition to these tours of downtown, other areas of the Burg are set to be added, with the deputy mayor’s home neighborhood of West St. Pete (think Jungle Prada and environs) up next.
“With so many options, it was impossible to include everyone, so we want this to serve as inspiration to find what works for individuals at their favorite establishments,” said Dr. Tomalin. “This approach fits with Healthy St. Pete’s goal to promote a more livable city that is attractive to residents, employers and visitors alike.”
Learn more about the Healthy St. Pete initiative and view all the virtual progressive dinner tours online at healthystpetefl.com/vpd.