Thursday, May 10, 2012
Cool, Chic and Comfort
on Hot Beach Drive
Tryst Gastro Lounge | By Ronda M. Parag
Open since late September 2011, Tryst Gastro Lounge is finding a fashionable and chic crowd along St. Petersburg's Beach Drive. Early in the evening guests dine on innovative and fresh small plate cuisine and later gather at a Manhattan-style inspired lounge. The feel is comfortable and not too formal with large tufted sofas along the wall, black and silver wallpaper, a black bar with glittery lighting and a mosaic tile backsplash. The interior combines glam, style and comfort and was designed by local designer Rob Bowen, who has done numerous homes and condos, but this was his first restaurant/bar. The décor speaks to the sophisticated and stylish crowd gathered there on a recent Friday night. Outside guests lounged on stylish outdoor furniture listening to a dee-jay spinning tunes. Chef Mark Kaba describes the music as acid jazz. Music is available on Friday and Saturday nights as well as a jazz trio on Wednesdays.
Owner Renaud Cowez and Executive Chef Mark Kaba sought to create a modern lounge with an emphasis on food too. Kaba describes the food as "International Modern created with classic techniques." "What makes good food good is lots of layers and good product," Kaba said. The menu changes about every two weeks according to what is available. While the menu is still developing, Kaba says that he sources the best local produce, only local seafood, organic as much as possible and antibiotic free chicken. "It's a constant evolution and growth," said Kaba. "We will be expanding the kitchen in the back to have more space to create." The menu has evolved over the initial six months, while three menu items have not changed: Beef Carpaccio, Corn Chowder and Scallops. "These dishes are the most popular and guests won't allow us to take them off the menu," said Kaba. "The Chicken Tandoori Lollipos are also a huge hit."
The bar offers 27 draft beers and 180 bottles along with handcrafted cocktails including the signature cocktail — The Tryst — combining muddled lime, rose syrup and Cruzon® Raspberry Rum topped with Champagne. M
Tryst Gastro Lounge
240 Beach Dr. NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Rustic Farm Charm
Boca Kitchen Bar Market - Hyde Park | By Ronda M. Parag
Open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends, the menu offers a variety of starters, salads, flatbreads and market specials. Tastings called Boca-dito's include Prosciutto and Teleggio Fig Jam, Smoked Salmon or Tomato & Mozzarella served on fresh Ciabatta Bread. Try the Mason Jar Spreads & Breads served on a oversized board with Dolce Blue and Walnut, roasted Red Pepper and Granna Pesto, Tapenade Trio and Goat Cheese with mesquite grilled Flatbread. Another good choice is the Baked Feta, wrapped in phylo and served with pickled Chow Chow and seasonal citrus and micro greens.
The dinner menu offers four over-sized flatbreads certainly large enough for sharing or for a meal itself. Try the Rustic Italian topped with Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Wild Mushrooms, Black Mission Fig Jam and Dolce Gorgonzola. The current 10 entrees include the signature Lobster Pot Pie and a selection of local fish including Tuna and Sea Bass. The Braised Short Ribs are tender and tasty atop sliced potatoes with a Burrata stuffed tomato gratin. On a recent Sunday evening, the popular "staff meal" a value at $16 was almost sold out, just one order still available. The waiter touted the organic chicken breast and the menu says "Just order it — the Chef says you'll love it." For a lighter meal, the menu offers a selection of imported cheese and dry aged charcuterie.
Offering a selection of wines and beers from the bar, Boca is a fresh edition for Bay area foodies. M
901 W. Platt Street Tampa, FL 33604
Friday, May 4, 2012
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Leave it to the former Executive Chef of Bern’s and SideBern’s to pick up on the hottest culinary trend in the country and bring it home: Pop•Up Dining. The brainchild of L.A.•based Chef Ludovic Lefebvre who appeared on “Top Chef Masters,” Pop•Up Dining is a guerilla restaurant that, as its name implies, literally pops up at a selected space for a limited time. “When I read about LudoBites I was immediately curious and excited,” states Pierola. “Here’s a highly regarded chef who’s frustrated that the economy is stalling his own efforts to open a restaurant. So he finds a breakfast and lunch only place, borrows it in the evenings for a few months, and cooks his most recent creations. And because of the limited overhead, guests can enjoy fine dining at casual dining prices. It’s the ideal restaurant for these times.” Now Pierola is ready to bring her creative talents to the pop•up dining trend with a limited engagement at Pinky’s Diner for 10 nights in November (09•13 and 16•20). Called KitchenBar, it will continue her exploration of world cuisine and mark her return to the local dining scene since leaving Bern’s in 2007. “KitchenBar is the natural evolvement of my culinary journey, “ adds Pierola. “After Bern’s and SideBern’s, I dined my way across the country, Mexico and Europe and consulted with a number of restaurant groups.” KitchenBar is the culmination of Pierola’s travels and experiences, and will offer the thrill of amazing products, precise execution and her unique creativity to everyone. “Breaking bread should be an affordable, daily expression,” explains Pierola. “KitchenBar will be a dining democracy; exceptional food, exceptionally priced. Come eat what’s next.” Guests can pre•purchase wines from uber•wine merchant Bob Sprentall of B•21 which will then be delivered to Pinky’s. Or, they can choose to bring their own. And after November? “This is an ongoing series, so stay tuned,” sums up Pierola. “Click ‘like’ on KitchenBar’s Facebook page to find out where we’ll pop up next.” Pinky’s Diner is located at 3203 W. Bay to Bay Blvd. For reservations 813•374•4537.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The international Slow Food movement has officially come to Tampa Bay. To celebrate the formation of a new chapter, Slow Food Tampa Bay will host its first event – a Slow Food Sampler on Thursday, July 8th from 7–9 p.m. at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg.
The event will feature samplings of locally produced food supplied by Whole Foods of Tampa and prepared by Chef Dave West of The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium of Brandon. Slow Food Tampa Bay board members will be on hand to talk about upcoming activities. The event also will include a raffle of tickets to the Jack Johnson concert in Tampa (with proceeds supporting Slow Foods Tampa Bay) and a silent auction for a package that includes 2 tickets and dinner at Pelagio Restaurant. Tickets to the Slow Food Sampler are $10 per person, available at the door and via the new website: slowfoodtampabay.org.
Who: Newly Established Tampa Bay Chapter of Slow Food
What: Slow Food Sampler event
Where: Studio@620, 620 1st Ave S., St. Petersburg
When: Thursday, July 8, 7-9 p.m.
Why: To introduce the concept of Slow Food to the Tampa Bay area
About Slow Food
Slow Food Tampa Bay is the 10th chapter of the organization in Florida, whose mission is to promote food that is good, clean and fairly produced.