Food, The Frugalista Life

All About My Visit Tampa Bay Foodie FAM Trip

Tampa has really grown into something I never expected over the last decade I’ve been living here. I’m from Orlando so coming here in 2007 was something huge for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch the city’s food scene grow and be part of the growth as a food writer. I never thought in a million years I’d build lasting relationships with restaurants and restaurant owners.

Visit Tampa Bay invited me and a group of other local foodies for their first ever Foodie FAM trip. If you recall, I worked with VTB earlier this summer after Robert and I got engaged so I was beyond thrilled when I got the invite for this trip.

The first day was kinda chill and all about the food. I checked in to the Epicurean Hotel (they gave a complimentary glass of rosé y’all!) and rested for a bit before the festivities started. Our first stop was lunch at Casa Santo Stefano, to which I hadn’t been to yet. I was very excited to finally try out the restaurant because I live less than 10 minutes away and I’ve had my eye on it for a long time. We all ate and drank our way around Italy, although in Ybor City. We followed that up with a trip down to Cru Cellars in South Tampa for a wine tasting where I tasted my first orange wine and nibble on a variety of cheeses. Our night ended with dinner and hella dranks at EDGE Rooftop Bar and Élevage SoHo Kitchen.

Our second day was jam-packed. The day started with breakfast at one of the best brunch spots in Tampa, Oxford Exchange. I ordered their famous pancakes last visit but this time I went with their French toast and a side of fruit. Y’all, that toast is going to be my other go-to for any visit; it tastes just like a cinnamon bun and I throughly enjoy myself a savory breakfast. I’m pretty sure I walked off part of my breakfast during my tour of the Wish Farms facility in Plant City. I buy their fruit all the time from Sanwa Farmer’s Market so it was crazy to me that I’d actually be touring their farm at some point. The treehouse is a whole vibe and it is so cool to see the various fruits being harvested and packaged to send to grocery stores. It hits a little differently now when I grab Wish Farms fruit from Sanwa now…feels like I’m part of the family almost.

We ended our second night with a trip to Sparkman Wharf to eat at a few different restaurants out there. I really ate and drank to my heart’s desire. I started off with the Afro-Cuban sandwich from 7th & Grove followed by a Mango Peach Sangria, Spicy Watermelon margarita, and Jackfruit tacos at Jotoro, an ice cream trio from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and the “Hello, Gorgeous!” cocktail at The Battery. Needless to say, I went home feeling good and full.

I had a great time during the Visit Tampa Bay Foodie FAM trip. It’s always fun to experience the city I live in as a tourist almost and just have a whole bunch of fun eating great food and going to restaurants I hadn’t been to yet also.