Sunday, January 19, 2014

Laughter is brightest where food is best!

Breathless with food intoxication, we literally lost ourselves this weekend... the way my tastebuds are still dancing I believe I may never recover.

The (extremely) long awaited Grand Awakening weekend for Tampa's brand new Epicurean Hotel was finally here and every expectation was overachieved beyond the moon and stars.  I may have tempted your interest last year when I posted here about the pop-up restaurant to sample some menu items or here when I won a fun marketing contest for the new hotel as well gaining my entry into the opening gala this weekend.   I thank my dear friends and family for supporting my photo with likes and shares and endless toleration as I begged for their help to win - to you all I dedicate this post and a future glass of bubbly together here.

Behold the culinary genius and what promises to be a place where sugary dreams and savory sips will be shared by many lucky souls.  

In this theater directly off of the hotel lobby, you cam learn new techniques and digest culinary inspiration. 

They were ready to start cooking us up some ravioli and mozzarella in carrozza in the theater kitchen.  

Whimsy is found around every corner from the adorable pig table in the lobby to the artwork in every nook and corner... each space meant to be explored.....

You may find yourself wandering inside of Bern's famous wine and spirits now located in the hotel lobby- where you can sip and shop.  Bern's famous steakhouse is right across the street and you will no doubt find a new favorite vintage to savor before partaking in  a nice ribeye or filet followed by the romantic and sweet Harry Waugh Dessert Room there.

The cocktail party continues in the Elevage bar located just past the lobby before the restaurant reveals itself.  The specialty for the evening is this hopping room was cognac with a twist...

In the Elevage restaurant, we were treated with deviled eggs, tea sandwiches and picnic chicken- which I could have eaten all night.... but then the BBQ gulf oysters weren't making it too far out of the kitchen either- which they had completely opened for touring and to to taste and sip some more.  It must be mentioned that every.single.server. bustling through these hundreds of people sharing Their space had a smile and a patience that few top notch restaurants can ever even hope for- bravo to an organized chaos so well done you would think you were on the set of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast.

 The pool awaits you as does the spa....We dined on teriyaki duck hearts, luau chicken and THE MOST MELT IN YOUR MOUTH, SERIOUSLY TO DIE FOR Kahlua Ribs that you could ever dream of.   There are no words to truly give you the punch of flavor and tender texture we experienced. I do believe I will partake in some pampering when I'm back here in a couple of weeks relaxing again in this oasis. Seems like a great place to spend your anniversary or Valentines night, doesn't it!

 Oh wait..... did someone say dessert?  How about Chocolate Pi!  Yup, that's the name of the onsite cakery and dessert shop full of even more wonder and merriment.....

 Help yourself they said..... and so we did!

Have I yet mentioned the generous wine tastings offered during the event around every bend, in every room... clink a glass of Moet Champagne, perhaps share in some Silver Oak Cabernet or try to get my husband away from that Banfi Brunello.  Then join us on the rooftop bar "Edge" on a comfy couch and watch the skyline and scope out the stars while you are munching on hand passed swordfish sashimi, flatbreads, mortadella, ham wild mushroom bomba.  (Do not tell anyone about the reuben beer tartar that will knock your socks off!!!! )
It was such a bustle of activity and the hottest new nightspot in town - so this picture was shared with compliments of the Edge's pinterest page showing you the beautiful space.

Then, there was the garden terrace with foie gras bratwurst, a raw oyster bar, an amazing arrangement of cheese & charcuterie and our favorite entertainment of the night by an amazing local group called Busted Blues- who we realized we have enjoyed several times before at a Yelp event and local restaruants- do check them out and support them at various local venues, they really are special!

The star behind the flavor is Chef Chad Johnson - somehow tirelessly juggling room after room of tasty parties... each one better than the next.

Doesn't every hotel need a living wall to snip fresh greens from each and every day?  Certainly - and why not make it a great space for the "green carpet" and photo ops?  

Truly a smashing success, this new Tampa treasure will be far more than just a destination - it is a journey in and of itself.  

So, When do you want to go?? 

 Laughter is brightest where food is best. 
- Irish Proverb