Dear Foodie Friends,
king; devoted Get ready to awaken your senses and indulge your soul as I share with you my two night gourmet adventure in Tampa. In this blog post, I will be covering our stay at the fabulous Epicurean Hotel. In part two, I will share with you our discoveries as we ventured out to check out the Tampa culinary scene.
Eat: At Elevage, they’re crafting dining experiences that speak to lovers of life’s great flavors. The way they see it – there’s no greater celebration of life than to indulge our most basic human need, and I for one, couldn’t agree more. They do it exceptionally well here.
Drink: The perfect cocktail or the right glass of wine can turn an ordinary evening into an unforgettable one. There are many options for imbibing here; you can order a drink pool side, at the lobby bar or head up to Edge, the hotel’s roof top bar; the perfect place to catch an innovative cocktail with a view to boot. You can also partake in any of the wines that have been selected and placed for you in your room.
So now that our tour was done, we bid Tom adieu and headed back to our room to get ready for our dinner. We decided to stay on property our first night and dine at Elevage, which turned out to be a good thing, since it began to rain as we headed down for our 7pm reservation. Fortunately for us, that was the only rain we saw the remainder of our trip. Shaina and I decided to mosey up to the bar before sitting down for dinner. Bartender Jack (donning a blue & white checkered shirt which we discovered was a highly favored choice of garb of men in Tampa) crafted up a Moscow Mule for me, which I am happy to report was served in the proper copper cup and was outstanding. Shaina ordered the Watermelon Pisco which of course I got to try and it was delicious as well. It was made with Kappa Pisco, House watermelon syrup and lime juice. Time to have a seat for the main attraction.
Our server Kylie and Restaurant Manager Joshua were very attentive and helpful in making recommendations to us. We decided to start off by sharing the Horiatiki Salad, made with watermelon, feta, cucumber, pickled onion, spicy greens and tossed with a cracked olive vinaigrette.
I spotted sauteed Fiddleheads on the menu and was so intrigued. Neither of us had ever heard of them. Turns out they are the furled fronds of a young fern that we were told were only available for a short window in the Spring. Ours were sauteed with garlic, shallot, chili flakes. They had the texture of a crunchy green bean with a slight bitterness that we both found to be irresistible. We devoured these.
Another side that we both really went crazy for was the smashed cauliflower made simply with farmhouse cheddar and breadcrumbs. The ingredients may be few, but what they do to transform them back there in the kitchen is what Elevage is all about- taking the familiar and elevating it to a whole new level. I think we are both still salivating over this dish.
For our entrees, Shaina chose Scallop a la Greque with artichokes, sunchokes, asparagus, licorice herbs and saffron vinaigrette. Of course I got a taste and the scallops were cooked perfectly and the flavors all came together very nicely. I ordered the Duck Paprikash with crispy duck confit, buttermilk dumplings, kale and spicy paprika cream. I loved every bite of the duck and the sauce complimented the dish perfectly.
Rounding the bend, we approach the final stretch of the evening…dessert. Decisions, decisions. The pecan brownie with ganache and salted caramel ice cream won out amongst some stiff competition. As Shaina so eloquently put it, “So fudgy, so chocolatey, so delicious.”